Chapter is the Key for Success Companions; let's take the seven letters which compose the word; CHAPTER, and see what each letter should stand for in order to make our York Rite Bodies survive in the new millennium.
"C" should stand for Charity. As Masons, we have been taught this lesson from
the start of our Masonic careers. It is therefore appropriate that this would be where we begin our key for success. ROYAL ARCH RESEARCH ASSISTANCE is our Philanthropy and as Royal Arch Masons; we should support it.
I am asking each Chapter in the state to give at least $1.00 or more per member to this worthy cause. Without our contributions, many children will suffer because of the hearing problems associated with auditory perception. With Excellent Companion Jack L. Sharp, volunteering his time and efforts to serve as Chairman of the Royal Arch Research Committee; I am counting on each Chapter in the state to contribute. If you don't have the money to make a contribution, then have some type of fund-raiser. Anything from a pancake breakfast to washing cars to taking up donations or what ever you feel will work in your area. If you need assistance, your Grand Chapter is just a phone call away.
"H" should stand for Harmony. Getting along at our convocations is essential for our survival. When we bicker, argue and ridicule the good intentions of others; then we will not convey that positive attitue which is needed to entice our new members into actively attending and participating; or a Master Mason into wanting to become a member.
It is my opinion that if there are 12,000 Scottish Rite Masons in the state, then there should be 12,000 York Rite Masons and vice-versa. After all, both Rites have Masonic lessons which a Master Mason needs to know in order to improve in Masonic knowledge. We should not ridicule someone because of their involvement in the Scottish Rite; nor should a faithful York Rite Mason be chastised for his dedication to the Craft. Working side by side is the only way we can hope to grow in the future.
"A" should stand for Activity. Doing something at our convocations besides opening, reading the minutes and closing, is a must if we intend to generate enough interest to keep the membership involved. We must plan family nights, Royal Arch Widow's Degrees, Masonic education nights, degree practice nights and anything else that might generate some interest among the membership.
Inviting Master Masons to a family night and explaining to them that their Masonic education is incomplete without the York Rite, is a good way to get new members. Having a special supper for the widows is a good way of getting some of the older members to attend, while at the same time, showing that we have not forgotten these ladies who have sacrificed their time and efforts for the good of our beloved York Rite. Anything besides the same old dull routine will enhance our meetings and thus produce growth.
"P" should stand for Pride. We have to have pride enough to at least learn the opening and closing where books are not used. We are setting a bad example for our newly exalted Companions by using the books. They come to the stated convocations and soon have the impression that it is okay if they use the book. We have to stop this practice and take pride in ourselves and the work which we are presenting.
At the present time, we have a short form opening and closing for those York Rite Bodies which have more than one body meeting on the same night. There has been discussion around the state, if this short form is of any value. Reading the books adds weight to the argument that it should not have been adopted. Companions; if you think that the short form is a benefit to your York Rite Bodies, then take the time to commit your part to memory.
"T" should stand for Teamwork. We have to have more than just two or three willing to work. If you are a
ritualist; then learn a part or two for degrees. If you are not a ritualist; volunteer to help with setting up that Chapter for degrees. If you have a bad back; volunteer to work at registration, refreshments or some other job.
Getting involved is one way to show your support. Regardless of what your job is; when you get involved, it shows your fellow Companions that you do care about the future of the Craft and of your York Rite Bodies. Every one working together is certainly a good key for success.
"E" should stand for Encouragement. Encourage Master Masons to finish their Masonic education by taking the York Rite degress and orders. Encourage York Rite Masons to take an active part; however, don't be pushy. Give our new Companions time to get acquainted with their new customs and responsibilities. There are some who will jump at the opportunity to do some ritual work; then there are others who will be an addet to us in the future, if we don't scare them off before they are ready. Let them know that when they are ready; there will be something for them to do.
"E" might also stand for Excellence. Last year, our M.E.P.G.H.P. Tony H. Vernich started a program which in my opinion will certainly have an impact on the growth of York Rite Masonry in the state. The Chapter of Excellence Award is beneficial to York Rite Bodies and I encourage you to dedicate yourselves to meet the qualifications needed to obtain this award. I have appointed
M.E. Companion Tony as Chairman of the Awards Committee. He will be overseeing this program and all correspondence will be mailed to him.
"R" should stand for Revive. Companions if we have Charity, Harmony, Activity, Pride, Teamwork, Encouragement and Excellence, the
"R" will fall into place. With the positive attitudes generated by doing what we should be doing; then reviving our beloved York Rite is easy.
If we don't get started today, then we can forget about tomorrow, and the time and efforts that our Companions of yesteryear put forth will have been in vain. Companions; don't let this happen. You owe it to yourselves, as well as to the dedicated Companions of the past, to make sure that York Rite Masonry survives for a future generation.