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The Organization And
Richard h. sands
The Symbolic (Constituent) Lodge
A LODGE is a constitutional number of Masons which meets regularly to conduct business and hold social events. Each Lodge is autonomous. It operates under a set of Bylaws approved by the members of that Lodge. These Bylaws specify the manner in which they can be changed by the membership and also specify the times of regular meetings, the nature of various committees, the dues required of each member, and other matters peculiar to that Lodge.
Not all Masons in a community or neighboring communities belong to the Lodge in a given community. They may belong to Lodges in other communities far removed from this one, or in another State or even Country. Most often, Masons maintain their membership in the Lodge in which they received their degrees – they refer to this as their “Mother” lodge. In Michigan, dual or even plural membership is permitted, so a Mason may petition the local Lodge for membership and still keep his membership in his Mother lodge or other lodges, and this is often the case. The funds to operate the local lodge come from the annual dues it charges its membership, plus fees that it charges for its degrees, and any investments from previous years.
Each Lodge has an organizational structure specified in its Bylaws. There is an Officer Line chosen annually by vote of the membership. This usually consists of a Worshipful Master, Senior Warden, Junior Warden, Treasurer, Secretary, Chaplain, Senior Deacon, Junior Deacon, at least two Stewards, a Marshal, a Tyler and a Musician. The Bylaws specify which of these are elected and which may be appointed by the Worshipful Master; although the Constitutions of the Grand Lodge takes precedence and requires that the Master, Wardens, Treasurer and Secretary must be elected. The Bylaws also specify certain standing committees required.
The operation of the Lodge is somewhat unique to American institutions. The Worshipful Master is entrusted with tremendous powers – he is truly the Master of that Lodge. What he says goes, and the only recourse available to the membership is an appeal to the Grand Lodge. If a Master does not want to do something, such as entertain a motion, which he believes is not in the best interest of the Lodge, he doesn’t have to.
The Lodge meets in quarters dedicated to Masonic usage by the Grand Lodge. This currently is a room or rooms in a Masonic Temple or Center. The Lodge may not own a building, so the building is owned and operated by a Temple Association, the membership of which is chosen by the lodge and other Masonic organizations using the building. The Temple Association may assess the various organizations a monthly fee for the operation and maintenance of the building. If the building is sold, the monies received must be returned to the lodges or other organizations that generated them initially.
The Officers of the Lodge
The Officers of the Lodge and their duties are listed below:
Worshipful Master –
He is elected for a one-year term and must have held the office of Warden in a recognized Lodge. In the local lodge his word is final, so he has an awesome responsibility. He must be a good man and true. He must obey the moral law, cheerfully conform to the laws of the nation, submit to the constituted authorities, promote the general good of society, and help our craft grow in knowledge and as Masons. He should be courteous to his Brethren and faithful to his Lodge. He should respect genuine Brethren and discountenance imposters. He must see that no person can be regularly made a Mason or admitted as a member of his Lodge without previous notice and due inquiry into his character. He must not receive anyone into his Lodge without his producing proper vouchers to show that he is entitled to the privilege. The Master must promise a regular attendance on the committees and communications of the Grand Lodge, and that no new Lodge can be formed without the permission of the Grand Lodge. He must see that no recognition be given to an irregular Lodge or to anyone initiated in such a Lodge.
The Master has the entire officer corps to help him, but he is responsible to see that the officers conduct themselves according to the Code and the Bylaws. He is also responsible to see that each new candidate coming into the Lodge and his family are educated in Freemasonry and that the candidate receives degrees conducted in the prescribed manner. It is also his duty, at the time that he resumes office or before, to present an agenda for the upcoming year.
Senior Warden –
He is also elected for one year, and he functions much like the Vice-President of a Company. In the absence of the Master, the Senior Warden assumes the duties and responsibilities of the Master; hence, he must remain well versed in the affairs of the Lodge. The Senior Warden’s regular attendance is essential. He is to carry-out the wishes of the Worshipful Master and to assist him in the operation of a regular and well-governed Lodge.
Junior Warden –
He is also elected for a one-year term. He is like the Second Vice-President of a Company; in the absence of the Master and the Senior Warden, he is to govern the Lodge. In the absence of the Senior Warden, he is to assume that station. The Junior Warden superintends the Craft when at refreshment. The jewel of his office is the plumb, which admonishes us to walk uprightly in our several stations, to hold the scales of justice in equal poise, to observe the just distinctions between intemperance and pleasure and to make our passions and prejudices coincide with the line of our duty. His regular and punctual attendance at all of our meetings is important.
The Treasurer is elected for a term of one-year. It is his duty to receive monies paid to the Lodge from the hands of the Secretary, keep a correct account thereof, and pay the same out by order of the Master and the consent of the Lodge.
He is also elected for one year. It is his duty to observe the will and pleasure of the Worshipful Master in recording the proceedings of the Lodge, transmit a copy to Grand Lodge when required, receive all monies paid into the Lodge paying the same to the Treasurer, taking his receipt for therefore.
Chaplain – The Chaplain may be elected or appointed and it is his duty to perform those solemn services which we should constantly render to our Infinite Creator and which, when offered by one whose holy profession is to point to heaven and lead the way, may by refining our souls, strengthening our virtues and purifying our minds, prepare us for admission into the society above, whose happiness will be as endless as it is perfect.
Lodge Education Officer –
The education officer is appointed. It is his duty to assist the Worshipful Master in diffusing Light and Masonic knowledge to the Brethren of the Lodge. He or one whom he requests puts on five- or ten-minute programs of Masonic Education in the Lodge or in the buffet room after Lodge. He also assists the Master by training and supervising Intenders for the instruction of candidates and their families.
Senior Deacon –
The Senior Deacon may be elected or appointed, according to the Bylaws of the Lodge. It is the duty of the Senior Deacon to attend on the Worshipful Master and to act as his proxy in the active duties of the Lodge, such as the reception of candidates into the different degrees of Masonry and the introduction and accommodation of visiting Brethren. He also attends the altar by order of the Worshipful Master.
Junior Deacon –
The Junior Deacon may be elected or appointed, according to the Bylaws of the Lodge. It is his duty to attend on the Wardens and to see that the Lodge is duly tyled.
The Stewards are appointed. Their duties are to see that the tables are properly furnished at refreshment and that every Brother is properly provided for. When in the Lodge, they also assist the Deacons and other officers in performing their duties. They often lead the processions and their crisp actions add much to the dignity of the floor work.
The Marshal is appointed and is in charge of the Brethren when they are in line of march. He also assists the Master in his various duties.
The Musician is appointed and does not have to be a member of the Lodge. It is his duty to provide music to accompany the floor work and at other times for the enjoyment of the Brethren.
He is appointed or elected in accordance with the Bylaws and does not have to be a member of the Lodge.. It is his duty to guard the avenues approaching the Lodge to prevent the approach of cowans, eavesdroppers, or other unauthorized persons. (A cowan is one who tries to masquerade as a Mason, and an eavesdropper is one who tries to steal the secrets of our Fraternity.)
The Grand Lodge
There are approximately 390 + 50 Lodges of Free and Accepted Masons in the State of Michigan – the 390 are constituent lodges of the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of the State of Michigan and the 50 are constituent lodges of the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of the State of Michigan. These Grand Lodges are in mutual recognition. Visitations are permitted between lodges affiliated to these two grand lodges by invitation only at the present time. The remarks that follow pertain to the former grand lodge only.
AT ALL MASONIC BANQUETS or social hours two toasts are mandatory: "The President and the Craft", and "The Grand Master and the Grand Lodge of Michigan.” Every Mason hears numerous versions of the latter, and various responses to it; these inevitably help color his first impressions of Grand Lodge. A long speech is not essential in either proposing or acknowledging the toast; but wherever any formality is observed one may properly expect that remarks about Grand Lodge and Grand Lodge officers will be pertinent, correct, and informative.
A Mason's interest in Grand Lodge will be further animated if he attends its Annual Communication for himself. He will perhaps be impressed by the dignified formality of the proceedings, the deferential respect shown to Grand Lodge officers, especially the Grand Master, the comprehensive reports of the chairmen of committees, and the crowded array of Masons in attendance.
From time to time Special Communications of Grand Lodge may be called, for the Constitution and Consecration of new lodges, the Laying of Corner Stones, and the Dedication of lodge buildings. The ritual of these ceremonies is gracefully composed and skillfully presented, and never fails to move and delight those who are present.
Occasions such as these may kindle a Mason's interest in Grand Lodge. He may wonder what it really is, and how it really operates. The summary given on the following pages will, we hope, help to satisfy his curiosity.
Grand Lodge and its Constituent Lodges
The Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of the State of Michigan has always been a competent body, respected by other grand lodges and their members throughout the world. We may well be proud of our membership in such a body, and we should acquaint ourselves with its qualities, its historical standards, and its activities.
Masonic scholars agree that Masonry in some form goes back to a far-off period before there was general literacy, a period referred to for convenience as "time immemorial". It is also generally conceded that speculative or symbolic Masonry in something like its present form is relatively modern, and began to be clearly formulated after the formation of the Grand Lodge of England in 1717. Elsewhere you may find the fascinating account of the establishment of that first Grand Lodge, to which the many grand lodges of the world trace their origin (see above, Chapter II).
It is not the purpose of this chapter to recount Masonic history except in the most casual of necessary references. The story of the formation of the Grand Lodge of Michigan has found ample expression in Freemasonry in Michigan, Bros. James Fairbairn Smith and Fey, and elsewhere (see Chapter III of this book).
It was early recognized that, unless there was some supervision, diversities in philosophy, communication, and customs could readily appear in the practices of individual lodges. By submitting to a superior coordinating territorial body, the lodges could be reasonably assured of maintaining essential uniformity of practice and ritual. Thus every lodge in this grand jurisdiction must have been warranted by our Grand Lodge, or by a recognized pre-existing grand lodge from which it was properly released or transferred, and it must be governed by that sovereign authority.
The Grand Lodge of Michigan is at present composed of 390 constituent ( as opposed to subordinate) lodges in thirty-three Districts. The representatives (usually the Worshipful Masters) of these constituent Lodges collectively are Grand Lodge. Each lodge has its own warrant number: they extend from Zion Lodge, No. 1, to Britannia Lodge, No. 601. The lower numbers were assigned at the formation of our Grand Lodge in 1826 or on the reconstitution of the second Grand Lodge in 1841. Since then lodge numbers have been assigned serially, according to the date of the lodge warrant. The question immediately arises as to why, with numbers from 1 to 601, we have only 390 constituent lodges. There are several explanations. Certain lodges for various reasons have been obliged to surrender their charters.
Other Grand Lodges
There are many Masonic grand lodges in the world, with most of which we have a definite amicable relationship. There are on the other hand certain bodies calling themselves Masonic which we do not recognize, because they have not convinced our Grand Lodge of their genuineness, whether in the matter of their origin, their territorial responsibility, or their fundamental adherence to true Masonic principles and practices. These lodges or bodies are classified as clandestine by our Grand Lodge. Their members are not to be admitted to our lodges, and according to our Grand Lodge rules it is a serious Masonic offence for a lodge or member to countenance impostors or to hold Masonic communication with clandestine Masons or irregular lodges. The screening of visitors or applicants for affiliation should accordingly be careful and thorough. Documents submitted should be scrutinized in detail for the authority and status of the certifying lodge in relation to our own Grand Lodge. A list of the grand lodges which are recognized must be available at the tyler's register. It is preferable to reject a proposed visitor until full information can be obtained rather than to risk committing a Masonic offence by admitting a visitor who is later found to be unqualified. The report of a board of trial should be based on documents as well as on performance. If authentic information is not at hand it can be obtained from the Grand Secretary.
Whereas the territorial jurisdiction of our Grand Lodge is exclusive within Michigan (with the exception of the Prince Hall Grand Lodge mentioned above), there are parts of the world having no local grand lodge where genuine lodges exist in the same area owing allegiance to different grand lodges which are recognized by our Grand Lodge. For example in Bermuda there are lodges variously warranted by the United Grand Lodge of England, the Grand Lodge of Scotland, and the Grand Lodge of Ireland, with all of whom we are on a cordial fraternal relationship. It is customary for the Grand Master or other representative of other grand lodges to be invited guests at the Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of Michigan. In turn our Grand Master or his representative will often, on invitation, attend the meeting of a grand lodge of one of the other States or the provinces of Canada.
Although the United Grand Lodge of England is looked upon as the mother grand lodge of world Freemasonry, each grand lodge is supreme in its own area and owes no allegiance to any other grand lodge. It is often reported from other jurisdictions that the Grand Lodge of Michigan is held in the highest esteem and regard among other grand lodges.
In the Proceedings of our Grand Lodge, which is printed at the end of each Grand Lodge session, there is a list of grand lodges with whom we have fraternal relations. Many of these appoint from our membership a representative "near" (this word is used rather than "to") our Grand Lodge, and in turn our Grand Master appoints one of their members as our representative "near" a grand lodge with whom we are in amity. As far as possible such representatives appointed from our membership attend the Communication of our Grand Lodge and answer a roll call for the grand lodges which they respectively represent.
Grand Lodge meets as a deliberative body once a year, on the fourth Tuesday of May and the Wednesday following (unless Memorial Day comes on the Monday preceding, in which case Grand Lodge is delayed one day). The authority and functioning of Grand Lodge and its officers is expressly set forth in the Book of Constitution. It in turn is binding upon the Craft because it has over the years been approved by the Masters (or their legal representatives) of the constituent lodges meeting in annual session. The brethren who are entitled to vote at the Annual Communication are the Grand Officers, the Past Grand Masters, and the Masters (or their legal representatives) of all lodges on the register of Grand Lodge. The representatives of lodges which are delinquent in making returns and payments to Grand Lodge are disqualified while the default continues.
All constituent lodges in the jurisdiction should be represented at the Annual Communication of Grand Lodge. The Master and Wardens should attend if possible. In the event that all three cannot attend, a qualified proxy appointed by the lodge may receive a ballot. Each Master or legal representative is entitled to cast a ballot for three votes. Each Grand Lodge Officer and each Past Grand Master is entitled to one vote. Past Masters and Master Masons too are admitted to the sessions of Grand Lodge, though they are not entitled to vote. A Past Master is entitled to speak on the floor of Grand Lodge.
The Grand Master rules the Craft and is in fact Grand Lodge between the Annual Communications. He reports fully on his actions and rulings in what is called the Grand Master's Address. Grand Lodge appoints a committee of Past Grand Masters to consider his Address in detail. This Committee on Division and Reference refers certain portions of his address to various Grand Lodge Committees for report and recommendation. These reports, which are presented later, rule on whether the Grand Master had the power to do what he did and may recommend whether the actions taken or proposed by the Grand Master and reported in his Address should be confirmed or not. Upon acceptance of this report by Grand Lodge the matters so approved become the actions of Grand Lodge and effective accordingly. Because during the course of the year there are too many administrative details for one man to carry out, the Grand Master delegates or assigns certain duties to members of Grand Lodge, who serve as chairmen of the various committees.
Corporations Associated with Grand Lodge
The financial affairs of the Grand Lodge are those of a major corporation; in fact, Grand Lodge is incorporated under the laws of the State of Michigan. There are also two other corporations closely allied with the Grand Lodge. These are the Masonic Home Charitable Foundation and the Michigan Masonic Home. Each of these corporations has a board of directors or trustees who are responsible for the operations of these corporations. An organizational chart appears below:
Board of Directors:
Grand Master, Deputy Grand Master, both Grand Wardens, Grand Treasurer and Grand Secretary
Michigan Masonic Home Charitable Foundation Michigan Masonic Home
Board of Trustees: Board of Trustees:
G.M., D.G.M.,G. Tr., G. Secr. and G. M., D.G.M., G.Tr, and
6 members appt. by the Bd. of Directors 9 mbrs. appt. by Bd. of Dirs
Masonic Foundation of Michigan
Board of Trustees:
Bd. of Dir. of the Grand Lodge and
Six elected members
The Michigan Masonic Home Charitable Foundation and the Michigan Masonic Home corporations were formed relatively recently in an effort to provide some protection from lawsuits for the corporations and their board members. The Charitable Foundation currently controls upwards of two hundred ($200 M) million dollars, most of which are invested to provide operating funds for the Michigan Masonic Home.
Each of these corporations has an internal organizational chart unique to itself. We will discuss only one of these here; namely, that of the Grand Lodge:
Grand Lodge Committees
For the better part of two days before the opening of Grand Lodge the items of the forthcoming agenda are considered by the Board of General Purposes. The President of the Board is elected by the Board at an earlier meeting of the Board, and he, or an elected vice-president, presides at its sessions. The Board is composed of the Grand Master, all Past Grand Masters, the Deputy Grand Master, the Grand Wardens, Grand Chaplain, Grand Secretary, Grand Treasurer, and members of the Board elected by the lodges in their Districts. The total membership is about 50. The standing and special committees of the Board are made up from the membership of the Board. The pending legislation is submitted to the Board on the Monday and Tuesday, and discussed by the Board. The Board then assigns someone to speak on the issues involved when the legislation is brought before Grand Lodge for action.
Grand Lodge titles are familiar to most of the brethren, but are sometimes confused or handled loosely. The Grand Master is addressed initially as "Most Worshipful Grand Master", and thereafter as "Most Worshipful Sir". All Past Grand Masters are addressed as "Most Worshipful Sir" or as "Most Worshipful Brother Blank". The Deputy Grand Master, both Grand Wardens of Grand Lodge, the Grand Lecturer and Grand Chaplains, past and present, are entitled to the prefix "Right Worshipful". All other appointed officers, past and present, are entitled to "Worshipful" or “Brother Tyler.” Such expressions as "The Right Worshipful Sirs", "Worshipful Jones", and "Brother Bill" are carefully to be avoided. Proper Masonic usage would call for "The Right Worshipful Brother or Brethren", "Worshipful Brother Jones", and "Brother Jackson".
Board of Directors
When the Grand Lodge is not in session, the administrative responsibilities are carried out by the Grand Master, the Board of Directors (consisting of the Most Worshipful Grand Master, the Right Worshipful Deputy Grand Master, the Right Worshipful Senior Grand Warden, the Right Worshipful Junior Grand Warden, the Right Worshipful Grand Treasurer and the Right Worshipful Grand Secretary), the Board of General Purposes, the Right Worshipful Grand Lecturer, the Right Worshipful Grand Chaplain, the Regional Grand Lecturers, the District Deputy Instructors and several committees appointed by the Grand Master. Accordingly the Board of Directors relies heavily on the work and recommendations of its committees. There currently are eleven standing committees and a fluctuating number of special committees of a greater or lesser degree of permanence. The work of the standing committees is outlined below.
At each Annual Communication of Grand Lodge, immediately after the installation of officers, the Grand Master shall appoint the following standing Committees, the members of which shall hold their offices for one year, or until their successors are appointed, unless otherwise specified in these bylaws, and who shall be entitled to the same mileage and per diem as other officers of the Grand Lodge.
1. Jurisprudence This committee is to consist of three members whose duty it shall be to examine and report upon questions of Masonic Law and legislation submitted to it for investigation.
2. Appeals This committee consists of three members whose duty it shall be to examine and report upon all appeals, memorials, and petitions in relation to any matter of complaint or grievance within this jurisdiction, which shall come before Grand Lodge. At least one week before the time appointed for such hearing, the Chairman shall give written notice to such of the parties interested as may have caused their residence or address to be communicated to him, of the time when and the place where the Committee will hear such appeals.
3. Finance. This committee is to be comprised of three or more members, but not to exceed seven members, which shall examine and audit the accounts of the Grand Treasurer, Grand Secretary, Board of Trustees of the Masonic Home and all other Officers, Boards and Committees of Grand Lodge having the disbursement of any Grand Lodge funds; and shall satisfy itself that all money and securities belonging to Grand Lodge, or to which Grand Lodge is entitled, are actually in the hands of the authorized custodian thereof. It shall examine all accounts and financial matters referred to it; and shall, at each Annual Communication make a full report of the financial condition of Grand Lodge.
4. Lodges. This committee is to consist of not less than three members, whose duty it shall be to examine the records of work and the returns of lodges under dispensation; and to make reports to Grand Lodge whether or not, in its opinion, charters should be granted to such lodges; and also to examine and report upon any returns of proceedings of chartered lodges which may be referred to it.
5. Fraternal Relations. This committee is to consist of three members whose duty it shall be, under the direction of the Grand Master, to examine all petitions, applications and requests of other Grand lodges for fraternal recognition and intercourse, and report thereon in writing to Grand Lodge, with such recommendations as are deemed advisable; to examine the correspondence and reports from other Grand Lodges in fraternal relations with Grand Lodge as the Committee may deem advisable, and to review from time to time and report thereon in writing to Grand Lodge and other Grand Lodges to the end that the Craft may be strengthened throughout the world and the Ancient Landmarks of Freemasonry be preserved.
6. Credentials. In addition to the foregoing Standing Committees, the Grand Secretary shall be ex-officio A Committee on Credentials, and it shall be his duty to examine the credentials of all persons claiming the right of membership in Grand lodge and report their names, Masonic standing, rank and connection to Grand Lodge, at the beginning of each Communication.
7. Orphans Relief and Educational Assistance. This committee shall expend on behalf of orphans, such funds as may be from time to time appropriated for such expenditure by Grand lodge, or otherwise donated for such purpose. All the expenditures by said Committee shall be under the direction and control of the Grand Master. Said Committee shall consist of five members, each member to hold office for five years except that, when first appointed, the appointment shall be so made and arranged that the term of one member shall expire each year.
8. Masonic Service and Education. This committee shall be composed of ten members appointed by the Grand Master, in such a manner that each member will be in charge of approximately three Masonic Districts. Each member to hold office for five years, with appointments so staggered that the term of two members shall expire each year. The Right Worshipful Grand Lecturer shall be an ex-officio member of this Committee. Its duties shall be to formulate and place in operation a program of Masonic Education which will have, as the final objective, the proper enlightenment of the members of the lodges in this Grand Jurisdiction on any matters pertaining to Freemasonry, which shall include annual local officer training workshops consisting of instruction pertaining to the powers, duties and responsibilities of their office as well as instruction pertaining to the proper management of a lodge, which is not contrary to our Landmarks, laws and customs; and to report at each Grand Lodge session, its activities for the past year, its proposed program for the ensuing year, and the appropriation necessary to continue its work, the same to be approved by Grand Lodge in session.
9. Publications. It shall be the duty of this committee to prepare for publication those revisions to the “Blue Book” of Michigan Masonic Law which are approved by the Grand Lodge at an Annual Communication. The Committee is further empowered to present to the Grand Lodge such proposed amendments to Michigan Masonic law which are desirable in the interests of grammatical correction, clarity and consistency; and may be delegated such other duties with respect to official publications as are authorized and assigned to the Committee by the Grand Lodge or the Grand Master. Said Committee shall consist of three members, each member to hold office for three years except that, when first appointed, the appointment shall be so made and arranged that the term of one member shall expire each year.
The Publication Committee is given authority, subject to approval of the Grand Master and the Board of Directors to:
10. Landmarks. This Committee shall consist of all the living Past Grand Masters of this Grand Lodge whose duty it shall be to advise the Grand Master and the Grand Lodge, upon his or its request, concerning the Landmarks of the Craft and the welfare and good government thereof. The chairman shall be appointed by the Grand Master.
11. Investments. This Committee consists of the Grand Master, the Deputy Grand Master, the Senior Grand Warden, the Grand Treasurer, and the Chairman of the Grand Lodge Finance Committee; whose duty it shall be to invest the funds of the Grand Lodge, including all trust funds thereof, in such manner as shall be in accordance with the provisions of the Grand Lodge Law. Its duties shall also include those specified elsewhere in the Regulations and Bylaws. There is an appointed Chairman of the Committee.
12. Grand Lodge Strategic Planning. This committee was formed initially to draft a Strategic Plan for the Grand Lodge of Michigan. This plan was subsequently adopted in principle by the Grand Lodge in session. The Committee now faces the task of advising the Grand Lodge and the Grand Lodge Board of Directors on ways to implement this Strategic Plan.
In addition to the foregoing standing committees Grand Lodge appoints special committees, some of which may be temporary for a special purpose, while others are of a more continuing character. Those in the latter category are discussed below.
1. Annual Arrangements Committee. This committee is responsible for assisting the Grand Master in making all necessary arrangements for the annual communication of Grand lodge. This includes interactions with the hotel, the dinners, the table decorations, the meeting rooms, coffee and donuts and lunches for the various committees, displays, et cetera.
2. Bequests, Wills and Estates. This committee interacts with all potential donors to the Grand Lodge, the Michigan Masonic Charitable Foundation, the Masonic Foundation of Michigan, and the Michigan Masonic Home.
3. Computer Committee. This committee is responsible for advising the Board of Directors on matters concerning the use of computers in the Grand Lodge Office and by the Lodge Secretaries. It also is charged with developing computer programs for the benefit of the Grand Lodge Office and the lodges.
4. Fraternal Clubs and Associations. This committee is charged with establishing guidelines for the existence and operation of local Fraternal Clubs and Associations.
5. Future Program Development. This Committee is chaired by the Deputy Grand Master and includes all of the moving Grand Lodge Line with the exception of the Grand Master. It also includes one or two Past Grand Masters for continuity and memory. The purpose of this Committee is to provide an opportunity for the Grand Lodge Officers to discuss and plan future activities for the benefit of the Craft.
6. Juvenile Diabetes. This committee is charged with furthering the charitable activities of the program on Juvenile Diabetes.
7. Lodge of the Year. This Committee administers the Lodge of the Year Awards.
8. Mason of the Year. This Committee administers the Mason of the Year programs in our individual lodges, the District Mason of the Year programs and the Michigan Mason of the Year program wherein the lodges, districts and Grand Lodge selects a particular member to honor for his Masonic accomplishments.
9. Masonic Parade. It is the duty of this Committee to make the arrangements for the Masonic Parade in connection with the Eastern Star Fair in Alma.
10. Masonic Renewal and Development. This Committee is responsible for guiding and implementing Masonic Renewal in our lodges.
11. Speakers Bureau. This Committee is responsible for finding Masonic speakers for our lodges upon the request of the lodge.
12.Washington Masonic Memorial. This Committee is responsible for diseminating material associated with the George Washington National Memorial to the lodges and for coordinating fund-raising activities for said memorial.
13. Veterans Hospital Masonic Volunteers. This Committee is responsible for providing volunteers at the six Veterans hospitals in Michigan. These volunteers, among other duties, assist the crippled Veterans in attending worship service.
1. Masonic Foundation of Michigan. This Foundation has a Board of Trustees consisting of the Board of Directors of the Grand Lodge plus six elected members, from among which the President and Vice-President are elected by the Board of Trustees. This Foundation is incorporated as a 501 c (3) corporation to receive tax-exempt contributions. The Board of Trustees uses the income from its endowment to provide matching support to the lodges for scholarships and other community charities. The Foundation also supports our Library and Museum, our program in Juvenile Diabetes and the Model Student Assistance Program (drug and alcohol abuse).
2. Michigan Masonic Youth Foundation. This Foundation has a Board of Trustees to which the Grand Lodge sends two members. The purpose of this Foundation is to provide funds in support of the various Masonic youth groups.
3. National Masonic Foundation for Children. This Foundation is not a Michigan Foundation but also has a Board of Trustees to which we currently send a member. This Foundation among other activities supports the program for drug and alcohol abuse in which it trains public school teachers to recognize these problems among the school children and counsels them on ways to deal with the affected children.
Elected and Appointed Committees
1. Board of General Purposes. The members of this Board are elected by their Masonic Districts for a three-year term to represent them.
2. Regional Grand Lecturers. These are appointed by the Grand Master upon recommendation of the Grand Lecturer to assist the latter in putting on District Lodges of Instruction in five areas encompassing the State.
3. District Deputy Instructors. The members of this group are elected by their Masonic Districts to conduct instructions in the Ritual at the local lodge and District levels. They are coordinated by the Regional Grand Lecturers.
4. Grand Master’s Representatives. These Masons are appointed by the Grand Master annually to represent him in the lodges. This is a trial program in which each GMR is assigned six lodges. It is his duty to assist the local lodge officers in their various administrative duties and, with the assistance of the Worshipful Masters and Secretaries, to compile an annual report on each lodge which is discussed in detail with the members of the lodge and copies then distributed to the lodge, the Grand Master, the Deputy Grand Master, the Board of General Purpose member and the Coordinator as well as a copy kept on file.
Proceedings of Grand Lodge
Each year shortly after the Annual Communication the general Proceedings of Grand Lodge are published. This informative volume is sent to each lodge secretary; it should therefore be accessible to any brother who requires it. Additional copies may be consulted in the Grand Lodge Library or in the office of the Grand Secretary. The Proceedings contain the Grand Master's Address, together with much other interesting and valuable information, statistical and financial. They include particulars of actions taken by Grand Lodge, and a great quantity of detail necessary for the complete records of the year to which the book relates.
The preceding outline has been compiled solely for the purpose of providing information. It is intended to be a careful and accurate summary, but it has no constitutional authority. A true Masonic student will have read his Book of Constitutions carefully. He will consult it from time to time to ensure that he and his lodge are in line with the program of Grand Lodge which changes each year after the Grand Lodge session. He will peruse and study the Proceedings and, where the opportunity offers, share relevant facts and information with his brethren. By understanding Grand Lodge more fully he will come to respect it more completely.
In conclusion, perhaps a few words in praise of Masonry and Grand Lodge are not entirely out of place. When we contemplate the unselfish character of the institution whose program is the betterment of the individual and the communication of happiness in a wide area without thought of reward, we may well be proud of our inclusion in its membership. When we think of the careful and generous distribution of much of our resources to those in need, and when we consider the high standard of morality constantly inculcated and maintained by our Order in an environment where the old ideals are under constant attack, we must continue to admire and respect Grand Lodge as the coordinator of what is good among men of high principle.
The Book of Constitutions of the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Michigan, 1998. (Available from the Grand Lodge Office).
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