2012 York Rite Grand Commandery – PHA
I attended my first York Rite Grand Conclave recently. It was held in Dallas so I didn’t have to travel to all ends of Texas, a big state. Grand Sessions in Prince Hall Texas are great gatherings of celebration. Business is done but the emphasis is on camaraderie, fellowship, motivation and inspiration.
One of the things I like about Prince Hall is that it holds Grand Sessions of the men’s and women’s Bodies in the same building at the same time. Separated for most of the time they come together for meals, installation and a joint deliverance of each other’s annual allocution. In this case it was the Grand Commandery and the Grand Guild coming together.
First up for the joint presentations of allocutions was the Grand Princess Captain of the Grand Guild, R. Lucille Samuel. Now annual allocutions, like state of the union addresses, are usually recounts of travels and accomplishments with maybe a bit of reinforcement and goals for the coming year…”I went here, I went there, we did this, we did that, our membership grew/lost, I have this new program for next year, etc.”
So I settled back in my chair, relaxed and lazily squinted up at Grand Princess Captain Lucille Samuel. Within minutes I sat bolt upright with a big smile of admiration. I was not going to have to listen to the usual pabulum this day. This Sister challenged her Body and all of us! And she did so boldly without the slightest hint of timidness, with the Right Eminent Grand Commander on one side of her and the Grand Master of Prince Hall Masons in Texas on her other side.
Below in her own words is what she had to say. The next day before our joint installation I approached her and told her that her message needed to be heard by others and that I can do that. So here is something that could be a wake-up call for your organization.
Will Our Organizations Sustain? A Wake-up Call
By R. Lucille Samuel
Grand Princess Captain
Lone Star Grand Guild of Texas PHA
As I stated last year change is coming whether we are ready or not. There are two things that can happen, we may stand still and allow life to pass us by or we can get on Board and transform from a Yard into a Garden. We may have to alter our attitude but it is worth the risk for our Organizations.
We have a very important question to ask ourselves. WILL OUR ORGANIZATIONS SUSTAIN and if so for how long? At the present time we are walking on a very unstable foundation. The infrastructure of our organizations is slowing weakening. In order to remain strong and present a united front we have to work as ONE. The statement I use quite often is “If You Don’t Stand For Something You Will Fall For Anything”! At this time we are not standing we are sitting and allowing our organizations to slowly crumble around us. We are so busy placing blame on each other instead of taking the time to SUSTAIN our organizations.
A lot of times leaders feel that if they have the financial security then the organization will remain strong and invincible. This is only a short term fix to a long term problem. You may have a brand new roof on your home but what good is it if the foundation is shaky! If you want your organization to remain strong you have to employ the membership to SUSTAIN the foundation!
So what do we need to do to SUSTAIN our organizations? We need to create programs that appeal to the interest of our membership. We need to attract members that have a genuine interest in our mission. Our focus needs to be on the Community and future of our youth.
Instead of the competitive struggles of each other we need to concentrate on the issues at hand. We are losing our membership because we have lost our focus on the main objective. These organizations were created to assist with charity, community service, educational assistance and support of our youth and elderly. As leaders we are here to educate and train others to prepare to replace us in the future. The problem is we have stopped teaching because we are too busy in competition with each other. It should not matter who gives the most donations or raises the most money in fundraisers. You may be educated by academics but you display ignorance in people skills. Many of our leaders spend too much time worrying about losing their positions instead of researching why our membership is dwindling. If you are losing more members than you are recruiting there should be a RED FLAG! Talking down to others, rude attitudes or ignoring your officers and advisers is a sign of insecurity. The last time I checked these are Non-Profit Organizations and we pay to become members. Remember nothing on earth is permanent. We all have a voice and a vote. The same way you are voted in you can be voted out!
We are all here for a common purpose. There should be no animosity toward another leader because their organization is excelling beyond the others. The membership should not have to endure the pettiness of their leadership. We need to TEACH what we PREACH!
In the book of Samuel there is a story of Saul the first King of Israel. He made David his special assistant because he admired his work. Although Saul was anointed by God he was also possessed by an evil spirit and he defied God. He became jealous of David and tried to kill him on numerous occasions. He nearly killed his own son because he was caught up in being superior to others. In the end he took his own life.
The fact is this happens amongst our members of various organizations. We become so fixated on our titles that we forget where we came from. We treat our members without respect and honor. We don’t stop to think how others feel or even ask their opinions.
In our organizations today we are not motivated for the right reasons. Our motivation comes from the desire to reach the top before we have even scraped the bottom. Whatever happened to work your way up and on the way receiving a few bumps and bruises to remind us why we started this journey in the first place.
It is very frustrating to watch what our pioneers shed blood and tears for slowly fade away. We need to reflect back on our traditional values and goals. In order to SUSTAIN our organizations we need to engage in two way communication. It seems that we are not able to TALK to each other but we can TALK about each other. There is so much work that needs to be accomplished that there is no room for envy or back biting. If we spent as much time working together as we spend working apart this Jurisdiction could ROCK the Universe!
“People are like stained glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within!” We have to stay focused and assist members in their thirst for knowledge. We need to renew our commitment to the organization.
In the story of Cain and Abel jealousy consumed Cain. In order to SUSTAIN our organizations we have to realize that this is not a contest but it is all about the mission that brought us here. Some of us panic at the thought of someone else learning our jobs. We are afraid to share knowledge or experience in fear of replacement. We stress out or make up untruths about others because we want them to feel inferior or incompetent. We coerce or persuade members to vote against each other because of our insecurities.
We are an organization based upon the Christian religion. There is no such thing as a part time Christian. You cannot shout on Sunday and back-stab on Monday! However it is a known fact that if you give more than is expected of you, you will get more than you expect. Fulfillment is not what you receive but what you give.
We have to be flexible and able to adapt to change. We cannot continue to use the same old strategies that were used to create organizations in the past. There has to be a continuous improvement so the organization does not become complacent. Involving the members and listening to their ideas also promotes growth. Reward members when possible and publicize their positive achievements. Fresh innovative ideas are needed in order to maintain our focus. We cannot remain as the “status quo” to become what we want to be. In order to attract and retain quality membership they have to be motivated and assured that they are crucial to our success. Members also need to feel there is room for progression and acceleration within the ranks.
Our organization is similar to the engine of your car. If you don’t perform the required maintenance the engine tends to not function properly and this affects the whole automobile. Sometimes a major overhaul is needed. No vehicle can perform effectively if the engine is not operational. A leader cannot function without the assistance of their membership.
I challenge all leaders to forget about what we used to do and start focusing on what WE NEED TO DO! Working against each other will never SUSTAIN our organizations. If we don’t start now by supporting each other and working as ONE Jurisdiction there will be no future for the Masonic Family. This is not a PROMISE this is a FACT!
Ask yourselves have I been a blessing to someone today or shared a blessing? ‘Don’t look at me…Look at who is in charge of me… Remember I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
Jesus had no servants, yet they called Him Master.
Had no degree, yet they called Him Teacher.
Had no medicines, yet they called Him Healer.
Had no army, yet kings feared Him.
He won no military battles, yet He conquered the world.
He committed no crime, yet they crucified Him.
He was buried in a tomb, yet He lives today.
Feel honored to serve such a Leader who loves us.
R. Lucille Samuel
Grand Princess Captain
Lone Star Grand Guild of Texas PHA
Heroines of the Templars Crusade
International Grand Junior Shepherdess
International Grand Deputy of Texas
International Grand Court of Cyrene Crusaders
“BRING ONE TEACH TWO”
Please do not hesitate to contact Grand Princess Captain Samuel at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell her what you think.