Making Good Men, Better Men Since Time Immemorial
Making Good Men, Better Men Since Time Immemorial

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June 2023

Brethren All,

June is the month of sweet brides and happy times. The warmth of summer arrives and in the heart of Masons love and humility should arrive constantly. When times seem so harsh in our country and world, yet the caring of a brother mason is always in the forefront. How many times can one brother stand forth in honesty, humility, and with truth toward the Supreme Architect of the Universe (Our God).

When think of the sunrise on beauty, there is so much beauty in Masonry when it is performed correctly. Why tell a newly made brother, you had a great degree when it was performed with so many mistakes it is embarrassing. Truth is what separates a Mason apart from the community.

Today let us all shine as the June sun and bring the true riches of a Mason to this world that we may all stand in accordance with our rituals.

I love all my brethren.

Right Worshipful and Reverend
Ricky Kilgore, Grand Chaplain

May 2023

Brethren All,

As the month of April has slid by without much notice, the month of May is here. To all my brethren and with love to each of you I declare this to be a month of growth in Masonry. Each day we must realize brings us one day closer to meeting our LORD.

The visitations we had so far have brought us to many, many fine Masons we would never have met. The brotherly Love of Masonry is to be the same as hand in hand to each other. Our obligations are very distinctive. The strawberry winter we have just went through is to show us how our God has designed things to come.

People today want to join masonry because they have heard what a great peace it brings to men. One thing we should remember is that, they are joining us not the other way. Remember today quality is still better than quantity.

Let the light of the Great Lights shine through each of us to those less fortunate. In the name of the Great Architect of the Universe may you read this with Peace.

May God’s Healing come to you all.

Right Worshipful and Reverend
Ricky Kilgore, Grand Chaplain

March 2023

Brethren All,

The month of March is a month in which we all look forward to. This month bring us into our Spring season, which is at times brings bright and cheery. This month nice smile, friendly handshakes and brotherly love stands forth in our hearts.

The pain of this month is brought by one brother disrespecting another brother no matter what group you are in or whether you mean to or not.

Brethren who fish, hunt or play golf can find absolute joy this month. Especially to meet on the square and in meetings of the lodge. This is a time when conferences come greatly enjoyed by all Masons. Special meetings show brothers stand as men in aspects of masonry.

Today let us stand hand in hand as it was spoken of in one of our special reports. My Jesus bring joy to us all. God Bless and may your sins be forgiven.

Right Worshipful and Reverend,
Ricky Kilgore, Grand Chaplain

MONDAY MUSINGS

Happy Monday!

Dear brethren,

I have a question for us all to consider: Are we, as Masons, giving due attention to living as just and upright men? It seems simple – perhaps elementary, even – to conduct ourselves in a manner befitting our position during our lodge meetings. However, one we leave the lodge room, how quickly we forget the tenets we have just heard recommended to our consideration!

As family men, are we applying our working tools to our wives and children? Are we properly subduing our passions, or are we giving in to the daily stresses of the day? 

As professionals, are we industrious, diligent, and dependable? Are we treating our superiors and subordinates fairly, daily squaring our actions by the Square of Virtue? 

Brethren, in our quest to become men of impeccable character, we must pursue the virtues of Masonry with unwavering tenacity! Settling for “good enough” won’t convince the world of Masonry’s good effects, nor will our substandard efforts produce anything other than mediocrity. 

Our task is great. But take heart, brethren! We have been given great tools – tools that are able to polish the rough ashlars of our lives. Let us daily commit ourselves to the cause of Masonry and never swerve from our duty to the Craft. 

Fraternally, 

Bro. Chris
Right Worshipful Grand Orator
Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of F&A.M of Alabama

January 2023

Dear Brethren, 

The month of January is a very special month because it begins the New Year with fresh ideas. God is always here to help us and if we allow him he can make our lodges profit for hope, fervency and zeal. This is the month I pray for all Masons to begin a new day standing together to raise the values of life more and more. We have shifted to far to a woke society and everything else matters more than our happiness and strength.

Today I pray for you all and that you might turn to God for further advice and direction of walk. Please remember your obligations more today than yesterday. God Bless.

Right Worshipful & Reverend Grand Chaplain
Ricky Kilgore

Grand Orator Introduction

Dear brethren, 

Fraternal greetings! My name is Chris Henley, the Senior Warden of Saints John #931 in Anniston, and a plural member of Eastaboga # 155. As the newly installed Right Worshipful Grand Orator of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Alabama, it is my honor to serve the brethren of Alabama in this capacity. I am incredibly grateful to Most Worshipful Bro. Rusty Beck for asking me to serve for the 2022-2023 year. 

I am looking forward to offering regular posts on the Grand Lodge website, and I am especially excited to travel across the state – and abroad – speaking to lodges on topics on Masonry. If you would like for me to come and speak at your lodge, please feel free to send me an email at brohenley931@gmail.com 


Here are a few of the topics I have prepared to present, although there are always new projects in the works! 

  • “Chipping Away: Becoming the Best Mason You Can Be” – A practical review of what it means to be a “good” Mason in the twenty-first century. 
  • “First Things First: A Reflection on Ritual” – Our ritual is important to our lives as Masons. But why? This talk examines the moral and practical implications of the ritual. 
  • “In Defense of Masculinity: Virtue, Honor, and Freemasonry” 

Brethren, Masonry is alive and well in the state of Alabama! I am excited to travel to meet new brothers, fellowship in and outside of lodge, and discuss the important topics in Masonry as we seek to live our lives as virtuous men.

“To educate a person in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society.” – Bro. Teddy Roosevelt

Until next time, keep chipping away, brothers! 


R.:W.: Chris Henley

Grand Orator

Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of F&A.M, Alabama

brohenley931@gmail.com

(256) 375-4150

The Successful Worshipful Master

Now that you have that Worshipful Master position…

Taking a half-day management seminar is not going to teach you what you need to know about supervising people.  In fact, the only way to really learn what it means to be a supervisor or manager is to be one.  At the same time, it is important to go into the Worshipful Master role with the proper attitude – one that is grounded in the notion that you are not perfect.  Keep in mind that trying to avoid mistakes is an admirable, but unattainable goal.  In fact, trying to avoid repeating mistakes is probably the better approach.  By now you are fortunate; you have served in many chairs as an officer of the Lodge.  A role model over the years who has demonstrated what it means to be a good manager and officer.  Generally, the greatest managers are those who are great leaders.  Demonstrate and direct those you already possess and try to work on those that you do not.  Leadership skills are not necessarily elusive.

Five things a new Worshipful Master should consider…

While there is no single, correct way to lead, there are certain things a new Worshipful Master should consider.  For example:

  1. What leadership skills, distinguishing quality and abilities do you possess?  Which ones are lacking and how can you develop what you need?
  2. Who are the men you will be leading or supervising? The members and officers of the Lodge.  Your job will be in communicating with proper instruction.  A more stable mature Lodge may need a Worshipful Master who allows the Lodge to run itself.
  3. What do the members of the Lodge expect of you?  Are you familiar enough with the institution’s culture to act appropriately and to set a solid example?  Can you be the kind of Worshipful Master your Grand Lodge wants and expects you to be?
  4. What are your own aspirations and expectations?  Do you have the desire and the energy to be a good Worshipful Master?  Are you eager and confident enough to do an effective job?
  5. Can you pool all of your knowledge and experience so that you are able to make fast, appropriate Worshipful Master decisions when you are called upon to do so?  Are you familiar with Lodge policy, legalities, and individual needs of your members?  Also, your Grand Lodge expectations to know how to respond to changing situations and circumstances.

Unless and until you are clear on these considerations, you may not be ready to step into the Worshipful Master position.  Once you are comfortable with them, however, you are ready to make a start on being an effective Master of the Lodge.

Great Master of a Lodge… Can be made…

They say that great Masters are born, not made. However, the other school of thought says that Masters possess common traits.  These traits are no secret, so being a great Master is simply a matter of acquiring or developing these traits.  The first thing to keep in mind is that great Mater’s have vision.

The term “visionary” is tossed around so frequently, that it has little meaning these days.  It might be described as being a thoughtful planner.  A great Master of a Lodge sees past the existing condition or state of his Lodge and imagines what could be.  This becomes the vision or goal.

The Master must then be able to express this vision to the officers and members in such a way as to make it compelling.  The more effective the Master, the more compelling the goal.  The more compelling the goal, the more motivated their followers be become.

Worship Master – First job is to inspire action…

Consider the great leaders of history.  George Washington, for example, painted a picture of freedom for the new world called “America”.  His vision was so compelling that he moved armies of men into action.  While this is an extreme example, the point is that the goal is not what makes the Master.  It is the vision and the expression of that vision.  The compelling goal might be to replace the roof on the building of the Lodge or simply to install a new computer system and under budget.  Whatever the case, paint the picture in a way that makes the officers and members of the Lodge want to obtain it.  Once you have inspired action, the momentum will help move you ahead.  A subtle point to not here is that a poor Master and officers drains the energy of the members.  There is nothing more difficult than trying to bolster the productivity of a work team when the Master or officers is/are unable to command a degree of respect.  Work done begrudgingly as a result of verbal humiliation will not retain the quality necessary for continued success.

Create Positive Energy…

A good Master, a good Officer, creates energy and draws out the natural energy and enthusiasm of the members of their Lodge.  While your members are using their energy to move toward the vision, your job is to make sure the pathway is clear.  Any obstructions that stand between your officers or members and their success should be cleared away by the Worshipful Master.  These roadblocks might come in the form of outside resistance, lack or resources, etc.

Leadership is a two-way street…

To be an effective Master, you must have the support of your officers and members.  This is something best tackled by means of good communication.  While your Lodge’s goal may be something that you don’t have control over, strategy to achieve that goal can and should be a group effort.  Talk to your members.  Get their input and their ideas about how to achieve whatever it is that you are setting out to do.  Your officers should feel good and willing to help.  This means, they should not feel helpless or afraid to speak up and share ideas and opinions.  For example, if you are searching for solutions to a problem, bring a set of solutions to the Lodge, but be open to suggestions from the members.  A member needs to feel as though his input can generate progress and create positive change.  Support your members.  Let them make mistakes and learn from them.  The lack of originality and risk-taking is the mark of a Lodge that is soon to be extinct.

Be Adaptable and Flexible…

Flexibility is another important skill you should have.  In today’s working world, change is the only constant.  The best Worshipful Master and the most note-worthy Lodge leaders are and will continue to be those who can most readily and most easily adapt to changing circumstances, situations and members.  The style you are using now may not be effective next year, or even next week.

Seven Traits of an Effective Master…

  1. Clearly define goals, direction and responsibilities for each Officer and member of the Lodge.
  2. Successfully communicate necessary information to all Officers and members of the Lodge.
  3. Work with members to establish expected results and achieve those results.
  4. Use the right person for the specific job function.
  5. Build an open, trusting, respectful, and honest relation with all members.
  6. Give Officers and working members’ recognition whenever it is deserved.
  7. Get more out of members without losing control.

One of the best ways to motivate members to produce more and better work is to give them more control.  This includes making their own decisions, managing their own time and working independently.  But how can you follow such advice while also retaining control of your team?  After all, you’re the Worshipful Master and your members do need your leadership, no matter how much responsibility you give them.  Here are some tips to keep in mind…

There is a difference between responsibility and power.  Yes, you need to give members more responsibility.  That way they’ll be more responsible, make better judgements, and learn to think on their own.  You need to give your members the chance to do things on their own and even to make their own mistakes.  But this doesn’t mean putting the power of running the Lodge in their hands – that’s your job.  In fact, many members may not want that kind of responsibility.

Empower your members.  What they want is to know that you have confidence in their ability to master their own tasks.  They want the sense of pride thar comes from have done something independently, thinking a problem out and solving it.  So, it’s up to you to choose the areas in which you want to give them more responsibility.  Pick a discrete task and say, “I’d like you to handle this on your own.  Feel free to ask me questions but go ahead and work on it alone.”  If the task is suitable for a team, ask two or three members to handle it together.  That will accomplish team building and increase responsibility at the same time.  Also check back from time to time to see how the work is going.  Your members will be relieved to know that you are there if they need you.

Some members don’t want responsibility – and some want too much.  Just as you need to pick the task, you need to pick the person when it comes to assigning extra responsibility.  Some people really do want to be told what to do, while others just want some guidance.  There are some who are power hungry.  If you give them the chance, they will try to take over your authority.  One tell-tale sign that you have a power-hungry member is that he will start telling other members what to do.  You must put a stop to this right away.  This is probably a member who is not a good match for his job, but one who, with the skills to match the ambition, may have promotion potential.  In the meantime, however, you are the Worshipful Master of the Lodge and you are the one in charge.

Delegate Meaningful Tasks…

Responsibility for its own sake isn’t going to help anyone.  Your members will feel as if it’s just a game.  You need to assign tasks with meaning and ones that will benefit your Lodge and Grand Lodge.  So, think about what needs to be done and what members can do more independently.  Then, make assignments accordingly.

Ask for Feedback…

A very good way to encourage responsibility and to learn something useful is to ask members to comment on how work is progressing, how operations are done, and how things could be Improved.  Members like participating in decisions and they are ideal participants since they are the ones doing the work.  Ask for their feedback.  You’ll be glad you did.  You will have cultivated the concept of responsibility while still being the Master in control.

Tips on Rewarding your Members…

Here are some of best ways to let members know you value their efforts:

  1.  Praise:  It can’t be stressed enough.  Praise is what makes members happy.  If a member knows that his Lodge members are pleased with his work performance, he will keep trying to improve his performance.  The reason for this is simple, he wants to keep earning that praise.  The Worshipful Master’s praise is worth a lot in emotional value.  Members get a great amount of self-satisfaction from knowing they have done something correctly.
  2. Party:  If a committee or team has done a really great job on a project, it may be time to celebrate.  You may want to do the celebrations with a meal.  Something simple like a cake and refreshments.  This lets your members know that you appreciate their efforts.
  3. Public Recognition:  This act differs from praise because a broader audience is involved.  Try a plaque with the engraved name of every member of the year.  Whatever route you choose, the member will feel valued when you make his great efforts known to all members and others that may visit the Lodge.  After all, members are proud when they do a good job and they would like other people to know that they are appreciated.  Maybe for some, their employer should know.

Goals…

  1. To contribute to the overall goals of the Lodge.
  2. Demonstrate the values put forth in good standards of conduct.
  3. Practice responsibility and professionalism in all areas of life.
  4. Reliable, dependable, and honest.
  5. Look for the good in other people.
  6. Work well with others to get things done.

Prepared and Presented by:

Garry P. Wates

Past Master

Hewitt-North-Birmingham

Lodge #519

2022