JUNE 5, 2002
TO: MY MANY PRINCE HALL F&AM BROTHERS
I greet you my Brothers again with Open-Heart Friendship and Brotherly love. Last month was a great time in Masonry for me. This years confess of Grand Masters was held right here in Las Vegas and I got to spend sometime there. I got the opportunity to be with some of the Grand Masters, Past Grand Masters, Deputy Grand Masters and Grand Lodge Wardens. It was a time of reflection as I talked to these knowledgeable Brothers, I was encouraged to continue my Quest in the Uplifting of Masonry.
I also went to Milwaukee, Wisconsin for the 121st Supreme Council Session. It was a great time, talked to many Brothers about my Quest and passed out copies of my letters. Many discussions were held during that weekend and my mailing list has grown up to 120.
When I returned home and thought about what to write about for this month. It came to me when I was on my daily morning walk with my dogs. When God puts a conviction in you it is hard to deny. What came to me was that in order to uplift Masonry we have to have solid LEADERSHIP in our ranks. It was like a bolt of lighting that hit me. All good undertaking start with great Leadership.
After more then 30 years in the United States Army, I got to understand a great deal about Leadership. The Army explains Leadership "as the art to influence men to accomplish a said mission". It is so very true in Prince Hall Masonry.
We open our Lodges in ritualistic form and we explain the duties of the Worshipful Master in the East, the Wardens and the Deacons. We get an explanation of their duties and responsibilities and must enforce those duties. As in any large organization we have to have vision and direction to ensure that our goals are not overlooked and we are that light upon the hill so that all can see.
Again these are my thoughts and interpretations of Leadership. I have traveled to many Jurisdictions and Lodges and I have been amazed on how some of them select their leadership. Some have a so called line up list weeks before the elections, others select from positions and not their works, or some come out to run just because they don't like the person running for a seat.
It truly pains me to see business work that way. Key Brothers in our Lodges talking bad about others or how things are not going so well with a project. I was taught that I was suppose to give wise council to a Brother at all times and not wait till after the fact. The real kicker is that on the day of elections Lodges are full, you see Brothers who you haven't seen all year. I'll call then the "Fork and Spoon Brothers". These Brothers are dangerous; they haven't been involved in any projects or come to meetings. They are lost when they get there and only voting for a friend and not the most qualified Brother.
I might get some Brothers mad after reading this letter and may not want to remain on my mailing list. I say to those Brothers this is not an attack on any one person, Lodge or Jurisdiction. This is a wake up call that we need to do business better. We need to remember from Whence We Came. We need to remember our Charges from the Second and Third degrees especially these paragraphs.
The Second Degree the second paragraph reads; It is unnecessary to recapitulate the duties which as a F. C. you are bound to discharge, or to enlarge on the necessity of a strict adherence to them, as your own experience must have established their value. Our laws and regulations you are strenuously to support; and be always ready to assist in seeing them duly executed. You are not to palliate, or aggravate, the offenses of your brethren; but in the decision of every trespass against our rules, you are to judge with candor, admonish with friendship, and reprehend with justice.
The Third Degree the third and fourth paragraph reads; In the character of a Master Mason, you are authorized to correct the errors and irregularities of your uninformed brethren, and to guard them against a breach of fidelity. To preserve the reputation of the fraternity unsullied must be your constant care. Universal benevolence you are always to inculcate, and by the regularity own behavior, afford the best example for the conduct of other less informed. The Ancient Landmarks of the fraternity, entrusted to your care, you are carefully to preserve, and never suffer them to be infringed, or countenance a deviation from its established usages and customs of the fraternity.
Your virtues, honor, and reputation are concerned in supporting with dignity the character you now bear. Let no motive, therefore, make you swerve from your duty, violate your vows, or betray your trust, but be true and faithful, and imitate the example of that celebrated artist whom you have this evening represented. Thus you will render yourself worthy of the honor which we have conferred, and merit the confidence we repose in you.
True Leadership is that Brother who is a forerunner in your lodge, community, church, work and home. He is always on time to meeting and the one always lending a hand on projects. He stands out in the crowd, always gives positive input, he knows that he is representing Prince Hall Masonry wherever he goes. Most important is that, he is an Example Setter. These Brothers are the ones that will truly uplift Masonry just in their daily walks in life.
So if we continue to govern our Lodges with true Friendship and Brotherly love we will have the right Leadership in our Lodges and harmony will prevail. The results; Lodges with goals and vision, membership on the increase and Lodges that belong to the community. Remember each and every one of us has a vote and it counts; use it for the right reason. When in doubt seek true and wise counseling from a Brother you trust or is your mentor.
The Leadership of today will mold the Leadership of tomorrow. I say to you rise up look to the Lord and the convictions of your heart, Prince Hall Masonry will be uplifted.
I thank you Brothers who have encouraged me to continue this quest and keep sending me your Brotherly Love and Prayers. I will be the Light on the Hill for all to see.
RICHARD (RICAN) VEGA