MINUTES of the BOARD OF GENERAL PURPOSES
May 10, 2014
TruFel Masonic Hall, Bible Hill
The meeting was called to order at 11:00 am and the Chairman began with a moment of silence to honour the brethren who have gone to the Grand Lodge Above, opening prayer and thanked everyone for coming. He then asked the members present to introduce themselves.
Grand Master Remarks:
The Deputy Grand Master, Bro. Paul Frank brought regrets from the Grand Master.
Approval of Minutes:
It was regularly moved and seconded that the minutes of the February 22, 2014 meeting be approved as circulated. The question was called and the motion was Carried.
Motion to Deviate from the Order of the Published Agenda:
It was regularly moved and seconded that the Chairman of the Board be permitted to deviate from the order of the published agenda. The question was called and the motion was Carried.
Business Arising from the Minutes:
Discussion regarding the tabled motion from the February meeting that reads as follows:
A lodge that retires its Warrant shall be placed in temporary darkness and may only be reactivated by a petition to the Board of General Purposes, signed by at least seven former members of that Lodge who are in good standing and residing within the Jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Nova Scotia, giving the name and number of their present Lodge. A petition to reactivate shall state the names and standing of the members proposed for the office of Worshipful Master, Senior Warden and Junior Warden. If a petition is not received within fifteen years from the date of retirement of the Warrant, the Warrant will be deemed to be surrendered and place in permanent darkness.
Explanation: The current Section 8 permits the revival of a Warrant but does not provide clear course of action to effect such revival. The purpose of the amendment is to provide clear course of action for the former members of a Lodge to revive a Warrant that they had earlier agreed to retire.
R.W. Bro. Everald Armstrong, representing Halifax District, stated that, after many meetings and prolonged debate during the district meetings, it is the feeling that there is no need for the proposed amendment and these particular regulations are unwarranted. It is felt that as long as there are members of the lodge that are still alive and willing, they should be allowed to reopen a lodge that has gone into darkness regardless of how long it has been and how many original members are available and he will be voting against the motion on behalf of his district.
R.W. Bro. Ronald MacNeill, representing Kings District, also stated that there has been much debate over this proposed amendment. They also felt that the amendments were unnecessary and there are instances where members may want to revive a lodge that has gone into darkness i.e. a military lodge whose members have all been posted out and new military members wish to reopen the lodge but there are no original members left locally. Therefore, Bro. MacNeill will also not be supporting the amendments.
Wor. Bro. Frank Gammell, representing Pictou County District, after much discussion with the members of the district, also feels they are unnecessary changes and that the current regulation is enough to sufficiently cover the situation.
The Grand Lecturer and Chairman of the Ritual Committee, Bro. Gary Patterson stated that the only issue he has with the proposed amendments is the amount of former members needed to reopen a lodge being seven. He does agree that it should be members of the original lodge to resolve to reopen a lodge but is not sure if seven is the number that should be used. The members of the lodge that vote to close the lodge should be the members who vote to reopen the lodge. He is not in favour of the entire motion but certainly if that particular number was adjusted then he would be in favour of the amendments. DRAFT
The Grand Treasurer, M.W. Bro. Harold Crosby reminded the Board that the purpose of the amendment was to provide some guidance for the way to go about reviving a lodge that had voluntarily surrendered its Charter. The reason that lodges are surrendering their Charter is because the membership is declining and there aren’t enough members available to provide leadership. If that’s the case then why should members who have no affiliation with the lodge be given the rights to revive it? Another issue is that when a lodge surrenders its charter, all of the assets are turned over to Grand Lodge. In the last 25 years, 27 lodges have gone into darkness and it’s becoming a storage issue so there needs to be some sort of a cut off so that the Grand Lodge isn’t continually storing items indefinitely. The reason the number seven is there is because that is the number of masons it takes to petition Grand Lodge to open a new lodge.
The Chairman of the Board, Bro. James White said that he agreed with everything that Bro. Crosby stated. If a child or a grandchild of a former member of a lodge that has gone dark and they wish to reopen the lodge, they should not be allowed because they were in fact not a member of that lodge. If members are voting to close a lodge, then those members need to be the ones to vote to reopen. It is not up to someone else to reopen the lodge.
The Grand Secretary further explained that when a lodge retires its Charter, it is not just the Charter that is returned to Grand Lodge but it is many boxes of papers, medals and anything else pertaining to that lodge and it has become an enormous problem. There needs to be a time limit so that after that time has passed, these boxes can be shipped to the Nova Scotia Archives as a matter of public record.
The Chairman, called for the question. Nine members voted in favour of the amendment. Six members were contrary minded. The motion was Carried.
M.W. Bro. Lawrin Armstrong, Chairman of the Jurisprudence Committee stated since the last meeting of the Board, there have been requests for by-law changes from 3 lodges, Acadia Lodge No. 13 to close for January and February and remain open for July and August but the documentation was incorrect and confusing so it was subsequently sent back to them for revision. Prince of Wales Lodge No. 29 submitted a change regarding payment of services for the secretary and treasurer as well as 50 year jewels and this motion was recommended for approval. Harmony Lodge No. 52 applied to change the months for their election and installation of officers and the month to appoint their auditing committee and this is recommended for approval.
The remainder of the report is a request to the Jurisprudence Committee by the Grand Master to establish a Committee of Review under Chapter 5 Section 9 to consider an appeal by 2 members of Eureka Lodge No. 42 against their conviction by trial commission on charges of conduct unbecoming a Mason under Chapter 5 Section 2 of the Constitution. The Committee of Review was established and after due consideration of all documentation and procedures associated with the trial, the Committee of Review dismissed the appeal and confirmed the Trial Commission’s findings of guilty. A report to this affect was submitted to the Grand Master with recommendations regarding sentence for those concerned.
The Committee Chairman, at the request of the Grand Master, is in the midst of reviewing the results of another Trial Commission’s findings where the accused was found not guilty of conduct unbecoming a mason. Since this matter is still being investigated, it will be reported on a later date. The report on this matter has been submitted to the Grand Master the Chairman is awaiting his response.
M. W. Bro. Armstrong moved that the Jurisprudence Committee report be adopted. Seconded by Bro. MacNeill. The question was called and the motion was Carried.
Public Relations Committee:
M.W. Bro. Roy Lively, Chairman of the Public Relations Committee reported that the parade season is getting underway. He voiced some concerns over the 10’, 8’ and 5’ banners that have been loaned out to various lodges and have not yet been returned to the Public Relations Committee and he has other lodges requesting them for their floats and they have not been available. He is asking for the DDGM’s assistance in locating them and facilitating their return as soon as possible. DRAFT
The bridge banners were up in April and will be up again for the month of August in time for the Natal Day celebrations and again in October for Thanksgiving.
The plaque in Annapolis Royal that was placed last year had some mistakes on it has been completed and replaced and a single light has been placed to showcase the plaque.
Coming up in November, a WW1 plaque commemorating all of the fallen members of all lodges from that war is under construction. After the Remembrance Day parade, all members will be invited back to Freemason’s Hall for the Grand Master’s dedication of the plaque to the Wall of Honour.
The website is constantly being updated and revised.
3 more vignettes have been completed this year – the “Bluenose”, the “Hello My Name is”…., and one on Alexander Keith, “Ambushing Alexander” which are now all available on YouTube, the website and the audio will be on radio. There have been many rave reviews from other Grand Jurisdictions regarding the videos on YouTube. A suggestion was made to play them during the Annual Communication in Truro so that members can stand and watch them if they wish. Bro. Shauffenburg suggested an email be sent to the members informing them of the YouTube videos and updates.
The birdbath which was formerly located on the Freemasons Home property in Windsor will be picked up by Bro. Lively and stored in his garage to be restored. One suggestion is to place it in the Public Gardens but nothing solid has been decided on where it should be placed. Another suggestion would be in the cemetery in Windsor where many of the deceased residents of the Freemasons Home have been laid to rest. Bro. Lively stated that anyone who has a suggestion should put it in writing and email it to him for consideration and they will all be brought forward to the Board in the fall and the decision will be made at that time.
Recommendation of the Grand Treasurer and the Grand Secretary:
The Chairman of the Board, Bro. James White recommended that M. W. Bro. Robert Northup would remain Grand Secretary and M. W. Bro. Harold Crosby to remain as Grand Treasurer. It was regularly moved and seconded. The question was called and the motion was Carried.
At this point Bro. Mel Gosse delivered a very informative Power Point Presentation regarding Communication improvements within the Public Relations Committee. The highlights of a very comprehensive Communications Project Charter developed by Wor Bro Kelly Hancock and Bro Mel Gosse was presented to the board.
Bro. Mel outlined that the approval and adherence to such a plan would have far reaching benefits not only to the Public Relations Committee directly, but also to the fraternity as a whole. The plan will provide processes for Strategic Planning, Accountability, Transparency, more effective management of time resources and funds, more effective communications and information sharing and improve organizational structure.
A detailed analysis will be conducted on all areas within the Public Relations Committee, the relationship between Public Relations Committee and all other committees of Grand Lodge and with all lodges within the jurisdiction. It is also a part of the project charter to review existing and all future external communications by the Public Relations Committee to general public through the various medias.
Bro. Mel went on to emphasize how extremely important it is for any committee or lodge with projects that requires funding, to develop a project charter for approval by the appropriate body to ensure the efficiency of the project and provide Accountability and Transparency to all of the appropriate stakeholders.
It was then moved that the Communication Project Charter be formally approved by the Board of General Purposes, the motion was duly seconded, the question called for and the motion was unanimously carried.
The Grand Secretary said that the most common complaint he hears is that members “don’t receive” the information from Grand Lodge, even though the Grand Lodge office has made every effort to correspond with the members at large and members of this Board. This needs to be addressed. There also needs to be improved communication at every step up the line for the various committees with regard to large DRAFT
projects and the funds that are needed to complete them so that they don’t get denied at some level because there isn’t enough information.
Bro. Gosse responded by saying that although you will never achieve perfection when it comes to communication, he will address the issue of communication from Grand Lodge during the District workshops over the coming year. He also stated that if the project charter is adopted by other committees, then it will alleviate the issue of projects being rejected.
Lengthy discussion continued covering all aspects of improving communication within the Jurisdiction, between Grand Lodge and lodge secretaries and informing them how to disseminate the information to their members, email profiles, increasing membership to the Grand Lodge website so there is access to the mailing list for all members, and many other topics which Bro. Gosse stated that if there is to be an Administrative workshop, both he and Bro. Hancock would be available to facilitate and as well to meet with any other committees to aid in their own development of a project charter for their own agendas.
Bro. Gosse asked that his project charter be approved. It was regularly moved and seconded. The question was called and the motion was Carried.
Bro. Frank reported some interesting information from the All Canada Conference attended by himself and the M.W. Grand Master.
The first item dealt with the Widows Sons motor cycle club. There was a presentation by an attendee from Ontario. He is a police officer and he had a power point presentation on the similarity of the Widows Sons and a group of police officers in Ontario who call themselves the Wild Hogs and Hells Angels. He compared the bikes, vests, etc. and it was concluded by everyone that it was difficult to tell the difference between these two innocent groups and the Hells Angels. He said if it difficult for us to tell the difference imagine how difficult it would be for the general public. He would like to see a ban on the Widows Sons and if they wanted to form a group perhaps they could be more like the Blue Knights. He felt that there is enough negative impressions about Freemasonry without adding to it.
The other interesting item was the connection between the Shrine and the Grand Lodge of Arkansas. After a lot of discussion there was an agreement among most in attendance that the Shrine will not be able to support their hospital system as long as members had to belong to a Craft Lodge and most would support the Shrine dropping that requirement. Needless to say this would create a lot of discussion.
The Chairman of the Board, Bro. White, stated that although there is usually a meeting of the Board of General Purposes immediately following the conclusion of the Annual Communication of Grand Lodge, these meetings were always poorly attended because of other unavoidable duties at that time. He suggested that the business which could have been conducted at that meeting be put off in favor of attending to that business at the regular meeting in September. However he would need to know which Board of General Purposes committees are of interest to the new DDGMs and elected members so he asked that they notify him directly with their preference. It was suggested that this be discussed at the DDGM workshop taking place on June 28, 2014.
Bro. White thanked the DDGMs and elected representatives who are leaving this year and expressed his appreciation for their service, attendance, participation and dedication to the Board of General Purposes.
The next regular meeting of the Board of General Purposes will be held on September 27, 2014 at the Tru-Fel Masonic Hall in Bible Hill commencing at 11:00 am.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned on a regular motion at 12:40 pm.