First, let me say how honored I am of the trust you have in me to lead our Grand Chapter for the next year. I will work tirelessly to grow our Grand Chapter. After the year we’ve had, we will all have to work very hard to get back on track. I want to thank M.: E.: David Raymond on the great job he did over the last year. It truly was a tough job under the circumstances.
Before I go any farther, I have to acknowledge and thank some people, without whom I surely would not be here. First, I have to thank my Mom, Dorothy, for the obvious and my Father who cannot be here as he has gone to be with the Great I AM. However, I am sure that he is looking down on this event and will be watching over me this year. I would also like to thank my wife, Sally, for standing by my side. If they could be here today, I would introduce my sister April and her husband Jim, my baby sister Julie and her husband Jack, my brother Todd Orleman and his wife Marcia, my daughters Michelle, Melissa and her husband Cory, and Maryanne and her boyfriend Erik, my granddaughters Rylie and Anna, and my grandson Maxwell.
There are a lot of Companions that I owe for my masonic journey and I will probably miss one or two. Forgive me if I miss you now, but trust that you are never forgotten. M.; E.; Griffith Jones, M.: W.: Edward Trosin, M.: W.: Edward Gilbert, M.: E.: Bruce Testut and my good friend who has pushed and advised me along the way, M.: E.: and Deputy Grand Master Richard J. Kessler. I truly thank him for installing me today.
My motto for this year is protecting the true light. As Masons, we are given light from the first time we enter the lodge room and that light is added to at each degree. Now as Royal Arch Masons, we must work at protecting that light. The funny thing is the different ways that this light takes first is the light that is in all of us and we must look after each other and help each other whenever possible.
My biggest effort this year is to key on our ritual, education, and charity.
Ritual: Ritual is like the opposable thumb that makes us different from the rest of the animal kingdom. Our ritual makes us different from any other organization. Our ritual, when properly rendered, reveals some of the most important lessons one can teach. Therefore, I am taking the responsibility of education away from the AGL’s so they don’t have to focus on anything but the ritual. We need to put more effort into all of our rituals, from opening to closing and the ritual and floorwork in our Degrees. As our Degrees are used to teach, they are also used to impress the wonders of our history upon the minds of the candidates. So, I charge the AGL’s to go forth and instruct the companions in the proper use of our treasured ritual.
Education: This year I have asked the DDGHP’s to appoint an education officer. It will be the duty of the education officer to educate the companions, old and new, as we will all grow from this. Education is so important that it cannot be presented properly if the companion has other duties. The education officer will be responsible for conducting the CDC and other courses that he feels his district will benefit from. The education chairman this year is M.: E.: Piers Vaughan as I feel that with his background, he is most qualified to head this committee.
Charity: As in any masonic organization, charity is as important as any other topic. Charity is as deep in our organization as anything because we have always been there to help, aid, and support our companions. Our scholarships have been assisting not only the youth of our members, but in some cases, our members themselves. We have been assisting companions who, unfortunately, have had some major health issues through the Medical Relief Fund. This fund has been the difference between medication or food on the table. Over the years, the Medical Research Foundation, has donated millions to help the Institute with research and add equipment to different labs. I thank you all for everything you have done to support this effort and ask that you continue to donate to these worthy causes. All of this helps us to support our companions and our future.
Fraternity: The Grand Chapter has had great success over the years because of the continuity in the line and the original 11 points. As each GHP has picked out the points that he feels need attention, all 11 are still in the program.
This year mine are Ritual, Education, and Charity. The last item that I would like to bring up is the overall health of the fraternity. As Royal Arch Masons, we are re-builders and we must put some of our effort into increasing the membership. If we sell our ritual, education, and charity, this Grand Chapter will have no choice but to grow. Now, we must go forward and practice Royal Arch Masonry. May the Great I AM watch over us all and I hope that for next year’s Grand Chapter, we will be able to meet in person and celebrate like we are used to. God Bless this fraternity and you and your families.