C. Fred Kleinknecht, 33°
Sovereign Grand Commander
Various Masonic organizations are contributing to a growing interest in Masonic education, research, and leadership training.
One of the many highlights of the 1998 Scottish Rite Leadership Conferences was the interest expressed by the attending Brethren in Masonic education and research. For instance, the excellent presentations by Ill. Bros. Forrest D. Haggard, G.C., and H. Wallace Reid, respectively the President and Vice President of the Scottish Rite Research Society (SRRS), were enthusiastically received, and the societys Executive SecretaryTreasurer, Ill. Ray L. Bunnell, 33°, signed up 208 new SRRS members, 81 of these as Life Members. That brings present SRRS membership to 6,432 as of August 1998. By 2001, the bicentennial of the founding of The Supreme Council, the societys goal is to have 10,000 members. Considering the society began with only a few charter members in 1990, that is phenomenal growthand richly deservedlargely because of the excellence of SRRS publications. For instance, the societys annual hardbound volume, titled Heredom, consists of scholarly, yet highly readable, essays by society members. Under the expert editorship of Ill. S. Brent Morris, 33°, Heredom has become one of the premier Masonic research publications in the world.
To celebrate this fact and introduce more Brethren to the SRRS, most of this special issue of the Scottish Rite Journal is dedicated to abbreviated articles from the most recent volume of Heredom. They are presented to demonstrate the diversity and quality of SRRS publication. The society also has a newsletter, The Plumbline, edited by Ill. Pete Normand, 33°. It keeps members up to date on news from the scholarly world and includes book reviews, insightful comment, and feature articles on current research. All this is to be had for the price of SRRS membership, plus other benefits such as gift books and special "bonus" books or other items that can be purchased at greatly discounted prices through the society. Annual membership is only $20.00, and Life Membership (individuals only) is $300.00. Application information is located at the end of this article. Apply now and become part of the worlds fastest growing Masonic research society!
Masonic education and leadership training were also central to the 1998 Scottish Rite Leadership Conferences. Several Brethren urged the Rite to create its own leadership training courses. In fact, several excellent courses already exist, and there is no need to "reinvent the wheel" when Brethren can avail themselves of so many leadership resources that apply to all branches of Freemasonry from the Symbolic Lodge, to the Appendant Bodies, to all other Masonic organizations. Please consider the following resources as prime examples of Masonic leadership materials.
The Supreme Council, for instance, offers a free 18-page publication titled "Guidelines for Dynamic and Successful Membership Maintenance and Expansion." The 1990 edition is appropriately prefaced by these words: "Contained in these pages are ideas that work! Theory has been left out; only practical and proven approaches have been included."
The Masonic Renewal Committee of North America also offers leadership books and printed guides, videotapes, audiotapes, and promotional materials. Any Mason can benefit from these carefully developed programs, but certainly every Lodge or Temple should have at least one complete set for use by interested members. Contact information: Masonic Renewal Committee of North America, 10200 N. Executive Hills Blvd., Kansas City, Missouri, 64153. Tel. 18888918235. Fax. 8168919062. E-mail to: http:www.masonic-renewal.org
Ill. Allen E. Roberts, 33°, passed away on March 13, 1997, but his dynamic spirit lives on in his brainchild, the Masonic Leadership Center now housed in the George Washington Masonic National Memorial in Alexandria, Virginia. Manned by Bro. Paul M. Bessel, 32°, the Center is meant as a clearing house for Masonic information of every sort, especially leadership materials, among them an Internet course on Masonic leadership. Brethren can register for this course, receive a computer password for the first chapter, read the chapter, take a quiz, then receive the password for the next chapterall through their home computers. While responsive to inquiries by telephone (7037393295)) or fax (7037393296), the Center is most easily accessible via e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) for the ever-increasing number of Brethren who are taking advantage of this modern means of nearly instant communication. Or write: Masonic Leadership Center, Library of the George Washington Masonic National Memorial, 101 Callahan Drive, Alexandria, VA 22301.
Similarly, the Masonic Service Association and the new Masonic Information Center, both under the leadership of Ill. Richard E. Fletcher, 33°, as their Executive SecretaryTreasurer, offer extensive and very inexpensive materials for Masonic education and leadership. Write, fax, or e-mail your specific inquiries or ask for a list of publications. You wont be disappointed. Contact information: Masonic Service Association or Masonic Information Center, 8120 Fenton Street, Silver Spring, MD 209104785. Tel. 3015884010 Fax. 3016083457 E-mail email@example.com
These are only the most outstanding of the several sources for Masonic research, education, and leadership. There are others, too numerous to mention, but why not start with these? At the 1997 Biennial Session, Ill. H. Douglas Lemons, 33°, Lieutenant Grand Commander of The Supreme Council and S.G.I.G. in California, addressed the assembled Brethren in the Temple Room of the House of the Temple. Speaking as the Chairman of the Committee on the State of the Order, Ill. Lemons focused on one theme: "Everything starts with leadership." He concluded his presentation saying: "We must identify captains and sub-captains, and team leaders, the supervisors, and the overseers. We can no longer afford the luxury of calling on a few well-worn honor men and, again, commissioning them to accomplish a task requiring a dozen men. We must recruit new leaders from among our Masters of the Royal Secret.... I am confident that, once awakened, this mighty organization will reclaim the ground we have lost, raise banners in a stiff wind, and rightly reclaim our needed spot in society." We can achieve this goal with the support of dedicated Brethren informed by Masonic education and strengthened by knowledge of the principles of Masonic leadership. The ranks manned by such Brothers are already growing, but we need more dynamic leaders supported by willing and knowledgeable Brethren. Many Grand Lodges have programs to develop such men. The national resources noted above, as well as others, also provide strong guidance on how to enhance Masonic knowledge and build Masonic leadership. The working tools are in place. Let us grasp them and achieve success! As the theme of the 1998 Scottish Rite Leadership Conferences proclaimed, "The Time Is Now!"