By Jim Combs
I want to wish a very Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year to each and every one of you. I trust that the Holiday Season has been a good one for you and your family.
I would like to say Thank You for trusting me enough to Seat me in the East and I hope that I will the Master that you want. Past Master, now District Deputy Grand Master, David Haddix did a superb job in his leadership this past year and will not be an easy man to follow. Thank you, David, for all your hard work and devotion to the Lodge.
I would like to take this opportunity to share with you my three main goals for this year for Breathitt Lodge #649:
GOAL 1: BUILD THE CRAFT
Yes, I do mean increase our membership, and I believe we can do that by achieving all three of our goals. But my main thrust, when I say build the craft, is by making each member of our Lodge more knowledgeable in the ancient arts, parts and points of Freemasonry.
I want every officer of the Lodge to be completely versed in all aspects of their respective office. I want to seek volunteers to learn some of the different lectures that we never put on, so that each and every member grows in the knowledge of our craft.
I would like some of the more experienced craftsmen to train the rest of us in all the many facets of the ancient order. I know that I, for one, dont have the knowledge that I should have. I want us to be able to proudly, completely and professionally put on each of the degrees in such a way that each new member immediately realizes the beauty, symbolism and nobility of Freemasonry. Past Masters, we need you to teach us, and our new members.
If you dont pass on the knowledge and experience you have, then it will be lost to the fraternity forever. THE STRONGER WE BUILD THE CRAFT; THE STRONGER WILL BE THE DESIRE OF OTHERS TO BE A PART OF SOMETHING MEANINGFUL.
STRENGTHEN THE FAMILY
When I say, the family, I am talking about the Blue Lodge, the Eastern Star, the York Rite, the Jackson Shrine Club, etc. I would like to see each member of the body coming together to work, thrive and shine as one. None of us can do without the other, and none of us is more important than the other.
Please read I Corinthians, chapter 12. Individually, we are limited by what we can do, but the more we come together as one body, with many parts, the more we see those limits stretched beyond our imagination. When I say I would like to strengthen the family, Im thinking along the lines of (what I consider to be) the Lords Prayer.
The Disciples prayer is Our Father, who art in heaven, but the Lords Prayer is found in John chapter 17. If you read Christs prayer carefully, you will see that the strongest underlying principle was UNITY.
As God the Father and Jesus were ONE, Christ wanted each apostle, disciple and future child of God to be as ONE. I want each member of the body to know the desires, goals and needs of the other members, and to be willing to be an assistance, and not a hindrance, to the other members. I would like to see us incorporate, more fully, multi-organizational activities.
I want to plan for four (4) FAMILY NIGHTS. And remember, Im not just talking about our spouses and children. Im talking about all the organizations getting together and having fellowship, getting to know each other, learning more about each other, COMING TOGETHER AS ONE. And since I dont want any one organization to be overburdened, I want these to be POT LUCK dinners. We all bring something. Im looking at having these FAMILY NIGHTS in February, June, August and October.
I would like to see each organization pitching in with the others on fund raisers.
I would also like to start a newsletter in which every organization has input. I believe that will help us to better know each other, be aware of what is happening in the family and most importantly, BE AS ONE.
THE MORE UNITED WE ARE IN OUR EFFORTS, IN OUR SHARING AND IN OUR LOVE, THE MORE OUR COMMUNITIES ARE GOING TO WANT TO SUPPORT US AND BE A PART OF OUR FAMILY.
GOAL 3: INCREASE OUR
We must be more active and visible in our community. The community MUST see us as an important, integral part of their county in order for us to thrive. Some of the things I would like to see are:
A. Continuing the SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM. In case you didnt know, we gave out a $1000 Scholarship to a graduating high school senior in 2003. We need to continue to do this each year (who knows, maybe even grow). We have it covered for 2004, but we will need at least two fund raisers this year to insure that we have the money for next year.
B. Begin a Food Drive in October so some less fortunate families can truly have a Thanksgiving Dinner.
C. Begin a Toy Drive in November to ensure that some less fortunate children will receive toys on Christmas morning.
D. I would like us to have a FIRE FIGHTER APPRECIATION DAY in July. We could have a picnic for our family, invite and honor the fire fighters in this county who VOLUNTARILY sacrifice ssssoooo much for you and me, and WE could man the intersections with their boots to raise money for the six fire departments in this county.
These are just four steps that we could take to show this county that we care and dont just TALK about helping others, but actually DO IT.
There you have it I want to Build the Craft, Strengthen the Family, and Increase our Community Presence. I am not saying there is anything wrong with any of our organizations, but let me ask you a question and please give yourself an honest answer.
If you were not already a part of this family, and you looked at what we currently are, what is there that would make you want to be a part of it?
Now let us imagine a Lodge, Eastern Star Chapter, York Rite and Jackson Shrine Club that you see as very PROUD of who they are, very SKILLED and PROFESSIONAL in what they do, who are different organizations that COME TOGETHER AS ONE to SHARE, LOVE and HELP each other and their county, who are actually OUT THERE MAKING A DIFFERENCE in individual lives and in the BETTERMENT OF THEIR COMMUNITY.
Let me ask you, HONESTLY, which would you rather belong to?
These are my goals for 2004. Will you help me achieve them?
Master, Breathitt Lodge #649 F&AM