|Volume LVIII||February 2011||Number 1|
The Grand Master States: "The Renaissance is Working!"
For the first time in 50 years, the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania experienced positive growth in 2010! As a result of our brethren's acceptance and promotion of the 21st Century Masonic Renaissance, more men not only became aware of our fraternity, its tradition, charity and good works - but they decided that they, too, wanted to be part of it.
During the past 30 years, the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania has averaged an overall decrease of 3,384 members per year. In 2010, we broke a 50-year trend by showing an increase of 449 members!
Why did this occur?
I authorized members to engage in selective invitation, permitting brethren to invite a man of good character to join this fraternity. I did this because I believe it is essential that Masons work on visibility and community involvement to modernize our image.
Some members did not agree with this change, but many understood the need to embrace it. At each of the 25 Renaissance Visitations I made across the state earlier this year, about five or six brethren came to see me afterward, and each told me a similar story: "I would have joined (10, 15, 25) years ago if I'd known how. My (dad/grandfather/uncle) was a Mason, but I never knew I had to ask. Now that I am, he's not here to see it." I believe these men who came forward represent a very small percentage of those who have had the exact same experience.
On Dec. 28, 2009, when I took office as your Grand Master, I promised to demonstrate that: "It is possible to preserve our rich history and heritage while also modernizing it within the 21st century culture and strengthening it for future generations." Well, I believe I have fulfilled that promise, but I certainly have not done it alone. I asked for your help, faith and cooperation, and so many of you have contributed that and more. I ask you to continue with me on this path: stay involved and visible in our communities so we can grow and share this fraternity we all love.
Our work, however, is not done. The 21st Century Masonic Renaissance requires teamwork, brotherly love and good old- fashioned hard work. We must continue to mentor our new members, encourage them to participate and grow in Freemasonry.
We must also continue to work hard to preserve the quality of our ritual work so we can pass along our meaningful traditions to future generations. We have made strides in this area, as more than 3,500 of the newly instituted proficiency pins were awarded in 2010. I was thrilled to hear that we had to order more than expected to acknowledge the many brethren who have taken the initiative to learn our beautiful ritual and sustain our heritage. I believe that having the ritual available in written form has made it easier and more convenient for our aspiring brethren to become proficient.
Let us continue to work together in unanimity to further the 21st Century Masonic Renaissance in 2011!
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