Worshipful Master's Message - Lodge of Light Installation
13 Jun 2017 - 11:28am
Brethren, below you will find the text of WBro. David Stokes' response to the Toast to the new Master, given at the Lodge of Light Installation on the 6th of May 2017. WBro. Stokes does not claim originality in the theme, and a fair bit of it is straight from a paper he had the good fortune to read recently, duly adapted for the evening
"Our proud Fraternity’s design is to redesign men into men of empathy and sympathy, men of purpose, and refinement. Men who understand that the best way to make things happen is by respecting each other's value, in coming together as a team, or a Lodge, to its and our mutual benefit. Do we hold ourselves accountable to that aim? We have a choice, to do what is right or do what is easy. We have the option to build bridges, or to erect walls and wear the consequences.
Deputy Grand Master RWBro. Bill Merrill attending the Lodge of Light's Installation - seen here with Incoming Worshipful Master, WBro. David Stokes GP
Masonry needs good men; men of vision and enthusiasm, men who understand that there is a right way and a wrong way to affect change, to motivate, and inspire others to action. When we joined Freemasonry we all had a vision of what to expect of the Craft. For many the reality of Freemasonry isn't what they expected. Freemasonry, contrary to contemporary attitudes, is elitist. It is an Organization that gives every man an opportunity to lift his game, so that no matter his situation, he may find his place in this society of men who live by higher ideals. He raises his own esteem that he may reside among the morally elite of our Communities. This was always Masonry's aim.
The buildings we're proud to hold our assemblies in were built with the money, and labour of our predecessors. Our Lodges were created, grown, and maintained by those who had strength, perseverance, and fortitude. While not always just, while not always right, one can never question their desire and belief in holding the Craft in high regard. Masonry isn't for everyone. Masonry is elitist. So what? How do we discover whether it is for a prospective candidate?
For this Lodge Candidates are not an option for the future, for without Candidates, we have no future.
The solution starts the very first moment someone decides to inquire about our choice. Is it he who is interviewing us? Or should it be us who is interviewing him? We aren't for everyone. So what? Do we sell ourselves short just so we can get him to join? How does that help him, the lodge or the Craft? We should be proud of our history and legacy, and stand firm to protect it. Should we re-assess our interview process, and instead of trying to sell Freemasonry to an applicant and his family, should we not ensure that he and his family are right for us? They are joining our Masonic family. We are welcoming them into our world where our honour, respect, and reliability are important. We should be perfectly clear to every man, exactly what is expected of him as a Freemason. Telling him it takes little work, and he only needs to give a little time is wrong. Telling a man that Membership doesn't require any effort or only small commitment only tells a man that his Membership has little worth. Does that instil any sense of value for what Masonry is?
Masonry is cyclical. It has been so since its inception hundreds of years ago, yet we're trying to perpetuate merely a moment of its history, the boom times of the 50s and 60s. Time will show that in this age of our Fraternity came to an important reawakening. And that re awakening should start with the Lodge of Light. This is where we shed ourselves of insecurity; where we acknowledge that it isn't our quantities that make us powerful and relevant, but the quality of the men who come to us and swear to our oath.
Let it be you that a Brother admires, because you personify that ideal. Let it be you that agrees to help when the Lodge is in need. Let it be you that take the high road when it may be easier to walk away. Let it be you that takes Masonry forward.
The Freemasonry we all seek is within us, accept it and pass it on with the generosity of a Brother. This voluntary Organization won't voluntarily offer anything but the opportunity. We have to be wise enough to grasp it with both hands and let it do its work in us as we walk, head high as Masons with a purpose – that purpose, to make good men better.”
Kind Fraternal Regards
WBro. David Stokes G.P.