Once again we are in the mid cycle of our impressive summer heat and dry cycle. Thus far we have been “lucky” as we have had a relatively mild summer.
As we are all aware; in the great State of Texas we have three seasons like the rest of the country, but we often have “Super Summer” also, when the temperature often climbs above 100 degrees for extended periods of time. Hopefully, this summer, we may miss the extreme heat we have experienced in past years during those “Super Summers”.
So why are we thinking and discussing our Fort Worth Scottish Rite Fall Reunion as we are in the throws of summer or, “super summer” as it may be?
Thinking and discussing our Fall Reunion now gives us an opportunity to look forward to a “cooler time” filled with great Scottish Rite opportunities and to begin to put serious actions in work, to plan and develop our Fall Reunion.
The 2016 Spring Reunion was a great time and we had an outstanding group of eighteen candidates who became Scottish Rite Masons and began their “walk” to “greater light “. As we have begun to look back at the 2016 Spring Reunion to discern its success and function we have identified several important adjustments that can be made to enhance our candidates experience and provide an apprentice level of understanding of the degrees.
Our Reunion Class Director, Hon. Mark Paris, 32nd Degree KCCH, has offered several functional and educational assessments, and improvements that the Class Director Group will be introducing during the 2016 Fall Reunion.
- Provide each candidate with a “Honor” mentor during the entire Reunion to assist in guiding the candidate through the degrees, facilitate “between presentations discussion”, share lunch and provide a “ready contact” for the new Scottish Rite Mason after receiving the degrees. The mentor would “follow” the new Brother for the first year following the Reunion and coach and counsel as may be purposeful.
- Begin the first day of the Reunion with an “on stage rally” of all of our brethren who are involved in the Reunion, in any and all manner, with our candidates prior to the degree presentations. There are 100 or more Scottish Rite Masonic Brothers involved in the Reunion and noting; the drama presentation “Actors”, Stage Crew, Sound Team, and Wardrobe personnel and others necessary to the degree presentations are not seen as “audience” by and with our candidates. Our candidates need our visual presence and physical presence support and they need to understand the few brethren that “sit” in the Reunion audience are those, which are not currently participating in Reunion production but are on site each day of the reunion.
- Provide a 2-3 minute “plain talk” introduction of the degree before each degree presentation to prepare the candidate for the drama and have an apprentice understanding of the degree. A synopsis of the degree will be offered along with the intent of the degree, an introduction to the apron and the jewel of each degree and “what to watch for” during the drama presentation that will create an opportunity for discussion following the degree presentation.
- Following each degree presentation, a brief interactive discussion 5-6 minutes in duration will be introduced that will enable our candidates to begin to understand the moral, virtue and Scottish Rite purpose of the degree. This discussion takes time for questions and esoteric discussion of the history of the degree and the Scottish Rite values that the degree presents in drama.
- Offering opportunities to any and all legacy and “Honored” Scottish Rite Brethren to join the Class Director Group, ensuring adequate resources are always available to support our new candidates and new Scottish Rite Masons. A key element in the support of our Reunion Class Director Program is participation by all brethren especially our Honored 33rd Degree and 32nd Degree KCCH brethren.
- Development of a Class Director Handbook penned by Hon. Chuck Dunning, 32nd Degree KCCH, that standardizes and professionally presents policies and procedures to direct the efforts of the Class Director Group; as they meet, prepare for reunion, train new participants in Class Director work and to enhance the candidates and other Scottish Rite Masons fraternal experience.
The list of enhancements is not the total of the assessments and improvements that our Class Director Group is making, but it provides a “flavor” of the intent and purpose of the Class Director Group in supporting our Reunion and the candidates receiving the Degrees.
Where are we going from here? This mid summer is the time to begin a new, consecrated effort by all of us as members of the Fort Worth Valley. We need to challenge ourselves and each other to seriously engage any and all Masonic Blue Lodge Master Masons that are also Scottish Rite Masons, asking them to return to a supportive participation in our Valley, as they are able, and encourage all Master Masons that are not Scottish Rite Masons to join us.
If every Scottish Rite Mason in our Valley would purposefully and actively seek candidates for membership in the Fort Worth Scottish Rite, we could have 30-40 or more candidates for the Fall Reunion. This could be our goal for the Fall Reunion, but should not limit us, as hard work and determination starting this summer, could pay large dividends for this fall.
All of our great Valley brethren that continuously and faithfully provide leadership for Reunion, and all that participate in the many facets of Reunion functions, should be very proud of their contribution and hard work. Our Valley thanks all and encourages all to continue in the work, as participation by all members is paramount. We are truly blessed to have the dedication and support from our Valley brethren.
As Fort Worth Scottish Rite Masons, Let’s challenge ourselves and our Valley to set appropriate high goals for membership and to develop a robust group of candidates (40 or more) for the Fall Reunion. Lets set the goals and let’s “beat the goals”. Let’s have the greatest Reunion in history. It is always greater to underestimate and over produce than to over estimate and under produce.
Let’s be bold as we set goals that challenge us rather than goals that are routine.
We can reach high goals and we can do all we plan to do, if we all participate, and if we all work hard, as each may be able…