Is It Time Yet for Stewardship?by James T. Feezell, PM
Deputy Grand Master
I've often thought we Freemasons have given short shrift to our Stewards. Historically, a Steward was an officer of authority and great responsibility, think the British Lord High Steward, or Tolkien's Stewards of Gondor. Somewhere along the way, Stewards took a low path from right hand of the monarch to sommeliers and inflight wait staff. The lodge Steward, nowadays, often appears relegated to the role of mere Masonic gopher, shuttling candidates within the lodge, and food and refreshment without. In those lodges with real, installed Stewards, and not just Stewards du jour
for a particular conferral, or an empty chair with the collar and jewel draped over the back, the office is more often simply a first dues-paying step on that path to pillar officer, Wardens and Master, where the "real" glamour and power are found, where "the magic happens".
I think it's an unfortunate evolution of the office and its importance; Stewardship may be our greatest responsibility to the Craft and responsible Stewardship our greatest contribution.
It appears to me now may be the time to focus on Stewardship, in the sense of responsible planning and management of our Craft, particularly Freemasonry in the District of Columbia. Collectively, we've enjoyed a helluva decade. Since 2003, we've basked in the media spotlight of Messrs. Brown's and Hanks's explorations of our myriad plots and conspiracies (mostly imagined), as well as Nick Cage's of our vast, hidden holdings of precious gems and metals (sadly, also imagined). In 2011, we celebrated our 200th anniversary, with the attendant fanfare, celebrations, and congratulatory commemorative medallions and breast jewels. In 2012, we raised our Bic lighters and called the band back for an encore to celebrate the first year of our third century. In the past decade, we've commissioned art exhibits, hosted international conferences, founded Grand Lodges across the globe, chartered our annual constituent lodge and minted our annual Honorary Past Senior Grand Warden or Grand Emeritus, twinned ourselves nigh unto exhaustion, and even planted our Grand Lodge banner on distant soils. All pretty impressive for four thousand and some members of our modest planned city of 68 square miles.
Still, we are Free Masons, emulating the operative designers, planners, and builders who founded the Craft, not the bed sheet-clad, perennial revelers of the Faber chapter of Delta Tau Chi. It appears to me it may be time to nudge our brother in the South to set down his column already, roll up our sleeves, and set our collective attention to the business of laying a solid and sustainable foundation for the coming century. A survey of our lodges, constituent, as well as Grand, and their accounts, suggests to me we may be well served by some candid assessment of the State of the Jurisdiction.
The organization that supports and embodies our ancient and gentle Craft may want for some repointing. For cautionary examples of extended hiatus of Stewardship in our Craft, we need not look so far as the "recent unpleasantness" across the Atlantic. Some of the "aggressive" measures our sister jurisdictions have implemented at the corner of Waning Membership and Waxing Overhead ought suffice.
It appears to me the Grand Lodge, the Masters, Wardens, Past Masters, and Past Grand Masters of the jurisdiction, would do well to begin a frank discussion about where we are today, including ritually, operationally, and financially, and how that compares not only to the vision of the Founders of our Grand Lodge, but also our potential as a model of excellence, both in our community and in the Masonic fraternity. Are we, collectively, building and improving, or coasting and depleting? How to close the gaps between our current state and our aspirational? What actions would the responsible Steward undertake?
Reveling in the vineyards makes for a pleasant respite, but it is the quarries and the temple where the great works are built and the great builders are cultivated. Let's undertake the assessment and labor that need be done to place our lodges and our jurisdiction on a firm footing for our tercentennial. If you have ideas, suggestions, or comments, please contact me at email@example.com
. The Grand Master's and my door, phone, and inbox are always open to ideas for the good of Masonry, as well as offers to help labor in their implementation.
Arlington National Cemetery is one of the country’s most sacred shrines honoring our nations’ Veterans who have sacrificed their lives for our freedom while serving in past and present conflicts. At 10:15am on December 10, 2011, the Grand Master will perform a wreath laying ceremony at Arlington’s Tomb of the Unknowns. This moving ceremony is in memoriam of all of our nation’s fallen soldiers, many of whom were Masonic Brethren, all of whom were Brother and Sister Patriots.
This event is open to the public. Please feel free to invite family and friends. All visitors wishing to observe the ceremony should arrive at the Tomb of the Unknowns approximately 15 minutes prior to the scheduled start time. The dress code for spectators should be weather appropriate and in consideration of Arlington’s dignified atmosphere.
What: Tomb of the Unknowns Wreath Laying
When: December 10, 2011, 10:15am
Where: Arlington National Cemetery’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers
Parking: Visitors’ Center has paid parking, Metro Accessible
Dress: Winter Weather Appropriate
For additional information, please contact Dustin Rawlins at Dustin.Rawlins@SingletonLodge.com
On December 10, 2011, the Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia will partner with Wreaths Across America
to place nearly 100,000 wreaths on the graves at Arlington National Cemetery. We need as many volunteers as possible to assist in this effort, so please invite your family, friends, and Brethren to attend.
All volunteers should arrive at the cemetery between 8-8:30 am to receive a briefing address. The briefing will contain information regarding some of the basic guidelines to follow as far as the cemetery is concerned. Volunteers will then be instructed to go to the trucks to get wreaths for placement in assigned cemetery sections. The Wreaths Across America volunteer event does not have a dress code; however, participants should dress warmly, keeping in mind the spirit of Arlington’s dignified atmosphere.
Please feel free to contact firstname.lastname@example.org
for additional information. So we may have an accurate count of volunteers, please take a moment to sign up at http://bit.ly/GLDC-WreathLaying
What: Wreaths Across America
When: December 10, 2011
Where: Arlington National Cemetery
Parking: Visitors’ Center has paid parking, Metro Accessible
Dress: Winter Weather Appropriate
Dustin R. Rawlins
Aide to the Grand Master
Chair, 2011 Grand Lodge Community Outreach Committee Dustin.Rawlins@singletonlodge.com
The Washington, DC Field Coordinator for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure is seeking 14-16 adults to assist with traffic control and shuttle services on Sunday, September 25, 2011.
Traffic volunteers, working in conjunction with local authorities, will direct all vehicles to designated parking lots. Additionally, volunteers will assist in directing family, friends and spectators to the Closing Ceremony site.
If needed, a few of these volunteers will drive a continuous shuttle, transporting crew members and staff from the load-out lot to the Holding Area.
What: 14-16 team members needed for Traffic Control/Shuttle Team 3-Day for the Cure
Where: Washington Monument, 1500 Constitution Avenue NW Washington DC 20560
When: September 25, 2011, 12:30 PM-6:00 PM
Special Considerations: Volunteers should be able to stand for long periods of time outdoors.
Volunteers registered for this shift will not be able to attend Closing Ceremony. In order to make this a valuable volunteer experience for you, please consider this choice carefully, as we do require you to commit to the entire time allotted for the shift.
For additional information or to volunteer, please contact Dustin R. Rawlins at email@example.com
Today I write to express my support and urge the participation of your lodge in a noble cause relating to the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
On Friday, October 7th, 2011, Federal Lodge No.1 and the George Washington Masonic Memorial will be hosting a tribute concert in the Memorial’s amphitheatre to raise badly needed funds for ongoing construction of the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. All proceeds from the tribute concert will go to the National Parks Foundation in support of the construction.
It is wholly appropriate to honor and memorialize these Americans, the passengers of Flight 93, who were the first to fight back against the September 11th terrorists and because these heroes likely prevented a second destructive attack on a national landmark in our nation’s capital.
Please bring this outstanding opportunity to the attention of your lodge and its next communication. I look forward to seeing many of you there on October 7th.
2011 marks the 10-year anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Great time and resources have been expended over the past decade to honor the heroes, commemorate the dead, and aid the families of those lost in the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
The victims of Flight 93—which crashed in Pennsylvania before it was able to strike the District of Columbia—have received far less attention. The men and women aboard Flight 93 acted heroically, choosing to sacrifice their own lives to deny the fanatics who hijacked their plane the destruction of a second target in Washington, DC.
A national memorial to honor the heroes of Flight 93 is under construction at the crash site in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Sadly, donations and grants needed to pay for the Flight 93 Memorial have not received nearly the attention of the American public as the efforts for the memorials at Ground Zero and at the Pentagon. There is still a pressing need for support.
In the spirit of charity and brotherly love, Federal Lodge No. 1 invites you to help honor the memory of those who were first to fight back against our attackers and complete all the planned features of the Flight 93 National Memorial – "A Common Field One Day… A Field of Honor Forever"
On October 7th, at 7:00 pm, we will host a tribute concert to the victims of Flight 93 in the amphitheatre of the George Washington National Masonic Memorial in Alexandria. The evening will feature musical performances inspired by the American Spirit by world-renowned soprano Ms. Alessandra Marc and the IBIS Chamber Music Society. A champagne reception with the artists will follow the performance. All proceeds from the event will be given to the National Parks Foundation to assist with the completion of the Flight 93 National Memorial.
As individual Brothers and as our Sister Lodges, we respectfully request that you would support this effort by attending the event and considering a sponsorship or donation from your Lodge.
Details on tickets, sponsorships, and the artists may be viewed at the event’s website, www.flight93concert.com.
We hope you will join us for what will surely be a thoughtful tribute and a beautiful evening in the aid of a worthy and noble cause.
Michael D Black, Worshipful Master
Brother Tyler J Coffey, Concert Chairmen
I am writing this as an appeal for a donation to the new Fisher House that will soon be opening on the grounds of the Veterans Administration Medical center (VA Hospital).
The Fisher House program is a unique private-public partnership that supports America's military in their time of need. The program recognizes the special sacrifices of our men and women in uniform and the hardships of military service by meeting a humanitarian need beyond that normally provided by the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs. Because members of the military and their families are stationed worldwide and must often travel great distances for specialized medical care, the Fisher House Foundation donates "comfort homes" built on the grounds of major military and VA medical centers. These homes enable family members to be close to a loved one at the most stressful times - during hospitalization for an unexpected illness, disease, or injury.
A new house has been built on the grounds of our VA hospital and will open within two weeks. While the house is almost ready for occupancy there is a need to purchase essential items, i.e. irons, ironing boards, towels, bed linens, etc, for which funding was not foreseen. To purchase these items we need at least $2,000. I am asking our members and lodges to look in their heart and make a donation so that we can purchase these and other living essentials for the home. Please make your donations payable to the “Grand Lodge, F.A.A.M. of DC” and send the check to “Grand Lodge, FAAM of DC, 5428 MacArthur Blvd., NW, Washington DC 20016-2524”.
I thank you for any consideration you may give to this appeal.