Most Worshipful Grand Master Kenneth F. Poyton's speech given at his installation as Grand Master, May 20 2019.
Right Worshipful Deputy Grand Master, Most Worshipful Past Grand Masters, Grand Lodge Officers, distinguished guests and brethren all. Good Afternoon.
To the brethren of this Grand Lodge, I stand before you as your Grand Master for the upcoming year. These past eight years have been lifechanging for me. The brothers I have met not only in this Grand Jurisdiction but from many other jurisdictions, have had such an impact on me that I can’t imagine what my life would be like if I were not a Mason. I believe that I am an open book and the person you have seen and got to know these past eight years is the same person standing before you today. I promise you that I will do my very best to live up to the oath I have just taken.
I would like to congratulate my predecessor Most Worshipful Brother Carlson for your years of dedication to this Grand Jurisdiction. When we traveled together, I could tell how much the brethren enjoyed being with you and you with them. It was not surprising that many times you were one of the last to leave a lodge after a visitation. Most Worshipful thank you and enjoy the new freedom.
Most Worshipful Brother Ault, thank you for introducing me today. We have known each other for a long time and are so fortunate to be members of Harmony Lodge and to have been influenced by such wonderful brothers. Whoever thought that when we served Harmony Lodge together in the mid-1990s, we would be here today doing this. It is an honor to have a Past Grand Master of Harmony Lodge introduce me.
Most Worshipful Brother Knudsen, thank you for installing me today and for having the confidence in me to appoint me as District Deputy Grand Master in 2011. I have done my best these past eight years whether it be presiding over an installation or just listening to a brother. When you asked me to lunch at the Shrine Club eight years ago, I had no idea that it would come to this.
Most Worshipful Brother Willi, I want to thank you for all the help you have given me since you were installed as Grand Secretary. As your time as Grand Secretary ends, I wish you and Christine the best as you embark on another stage in your lives.
Right Worshipful Brother Reed, welcome to the team as our newest Grand Secretary. You and the office staff are critical to this Grand Jurisdiction running smoothly and efficiently.
Right Worshipful Grand Marshal, here we go! Brethren, when my Master of Ceremonies passed away, I asked Brother Michael to fill his shoes and finish this journey with me. Worshipful Brother Dunford and I had the exact same thought process that we had a job to do, and it must be done right, and you were no different. This is serious business, but I am sure we will have some fun along the way.
Right Worshipful Brother Grist, this day will be etched into the deepest part of my soul. The highlight of today is when you and your Master of Ceremonies Worshipful Brother Kent were presented with your jewel and apron. I know that both of you are excited to get started and the brethren in the South are ready to receive you.
I wish to thank the elected and appointed officers of Grand Lodge as well as the committee members for joining me this upcoming year. This year will be a busy one but not too busy to listen to you and your wise council. To those officers who I have appointed for a one-year term, I asked you to join me because you are special brothers who touched me in a positive way over the years. I will do my best and I am sure you will as well. I have made numerous changes to the members of various Grand Lodge committees and I want to thank those brethren who have served this Grand Lodge so faithfully for many years. I especially wish to recognize and thank the members of the following Committees who meet every month to do much of the work:
- Public Relations
- Building Committee
- Board of Managers
In a very short period of time, you will see scaffolding around the Grand Lodge. Numerous repairs must be made to make sure this great structure we are in today is with us for many more years to come. You may have heard the Grand Treasurer in his speech that we have had to budget $500,000 for this project. With any luck, it should be completed by the end of my term and under budget. Based upon what I believe I am hearing I have been working closely with Right Worshipful Anderson and Right Worshipful Southern to update our web site, to make it more informative and easier to use. For example, I plan on using Grand View to house much of our forms, constitution, and educational material because I don’t believe the public needs to see these. Working from our home page, it will be easy to sign up to volunteer for a ChIP event or register for a Candidate’s Forum.
During my term, we will also be reintroducing the Officers Forum at one DDGM Visitation to each district. The topic will be to explain how Masonic assistance works. This is a vital and essential program which must be understood by the Worshipful Master, his wardens and the lodge secretary. This is one of those programs which I intend to have placed on Grand View.
I am very excited that we will be reintroducing the New Wardens Workshop with the simple theme of "I wish I knew that before I became Master". This will be under the direction of Most Worshipful Brother Iacobucci and his team of five very recent Past Masters from each district. I am confident you will find it informative, educational, and fun. This committee has already begun to meet and expect to have something to present around September. Once the presentation has been finalized you will be notified when a workshop will be held. Attendance will be mandatory if you plan on sitting in the East. I must commend Worshipful Brother James Halderman from Hope Lodge, who recently had a program for one of his meetings to discuss this very topic. I would like to have the members of this committee stand and be recognized. Brethren if you have a thought on this please see one of these brothers and let them know what it is.
I have said it in the past, that it is harder to get into some golf clubs than it is to get into Freemasonry. I believe that we need to improve the investigation process. If you don’t believe me, just ask yourself how many new brothers have we taken in this past five-year period and are they active now? I have asked our Senior Grand Warden to head this project. Grand Lodge already has useful information on this process which is a great starting point for our investigative process. Remember my brothers, sometimes it is OK to say to a person that this organization may not be right for them at this time.
One of the implements of a Worshipful Master’s profession is the book of Constitution, which is to be diligently read in his lodge for obvious reasons. Last year Most Worshipful Carlson also required that a section of the Grand Lodge protocol also be read at every meeting. This will not change this year, but Grand Lodge will help you with this duty. Every month starting in September we will be providing the Worshipful Master and the Secretary with what is to be read. I believe this will help all of us to be on the same page and be more educated as to the expectations Grand Lodge has for all of us. Yes, if you happen to be visiting another lodge or lodges you will hear the same message more than one time in a month.
I would like to explain my Grand Master’s pin this year. In addition to the normal items on every pin, you will see that in the middle is an open bible with the square and compasses on it exactly as you see it at every lodge meeting. The inspiration of this came from a drawing my dad made when I was appointed as a DDGM and the fact that every one of us knelt at the altar and made a promise to do certain things and to act a certain way. I know that I am not even close to perfect but If I do what I promised to do. I will be a better person and a better brother. I was reminded by our Grand Historian that my pin should have something about me on it, hence the golf clubs. However, something you will never see on an altar is the two golf clubs under the bible. On the back of the pin you will see my Right Worshipful Grand Marshal’s initials and mine.
Between our initials are the letters F.M.B.L. which we all know the meaning of. I want to thank Worshipful Brother Gottschalk for his assistance in designing my pin.
My quote this year is: "We are more alike my friends than we are unalike" comes from the Human Family Poem by Maya Angelo. I chose this because I believe she is right.
My brothers, I have always felt that when we are in an open lodge room we are in a sacred place and should act accordingly. During this time, we are brothers not "guys". We are brother Sam not just Sam. The Master of your lodge is Worshipful Master, not Worshipful. I am not telling you that you can’t have fun, but I think you get where I am coming from. I am asking you to pay strict attention as to how you behave and address your brothers during a lodge meeting. I know this will not be easy in the beginning, but the more we do it the easier it will become. As Grand Lodge officers, it is our duty to point out when something needs to be corrected. I trust that you will have an open mind and be receptive to these suggestions.
In conclusion, my brothers now that this Grand Lodge year has begun in order, let’s give your Grand Master a gift and have this year conducted in peace and at this time next year closed in harmony.
Sincerely and Fraternally,
Kenneth F. Poyton
This message is printed in The Freemason Magazine, June 2019