Looking back

MW James Barrett, PGM

Throughout the years, Freemasonry has been instilling and cultivating many ideals, such as the ideals of liberty of conscience, of truth, equality, charity, freedom, justice, morality, and a fraternal bond, in the hearts and minds of Masons. Our beliefs, ideals, and the accomplishments of the greatest Fraternity the world has ever known should have its history recorded in order that its own members, as well as the profane, may know our commitment to diversity and inclusion, and highlight the accomplishments of our Brethren throughout the past 10 years. This narrative reflects just a small fraction of the great work that is being done, the parts which it has played, is playing, and should play in a world, which more than ever, needs our wholesome influence.

Freemasonry in Germany has a long and proud heritage, tracing back to possibly 1733.

The history of the American Canadian Grand Lodge, (ACGL) as it is written, could not be complete without a full accounting of the activities of those dedicated brethren. Those who have served as Grand Lodge Officers, Masters, Wardens, Secretaries, together with the Brethren of our lodges, who have contributed to the growth and development of the ACGL throughout the ensuing years.
The history of the ACGL over the past 10 years didn’t start with the drop of a Gavel. It began a few years prior with the vision, goals, and leadership of our Past Grand Masters, setting our sights on progress instead of dwelling in stagnation caused by the major reduction of the U.S. Forces in Germany, from a high of 225,000 in the seventies down to 35,000 today.

The last ten years 2012-2022 brought many changes to the ACGL, some of which were well received, and some changes, required personal “adjustments” and a bit of getting used to. A very important part of the ACGL begins with the Grand Line and their support of their predecessor’s plan for development and communication, together with the commitment of the Members in supporting their Grand Lodge Officers in developing those goals, and to continually move for-ward. The vision of the Grand Lodge with support of the Brethren during this period excelled in many areas. Beginning with a Grand Lodge review in 2011 to reduce the cost structure of the Grand Lodge and bring the expenses in line with current revenues, the closure of the Grand Lodge Secretary’s office in Frankfurt began in 2012 and was completed in 2013 to an office located in Füerstenfeldbruck. Another review, to further modernize the Grand Secretaries capabilities was completed in 2016 and resulted in the closure of the office located in Fuerstenfeldbruck to the home of the Grand Secretary, resulting in significant savings.

Charity for causes deemed worthy. Over the past 10 years, whether it be within the bounds of the ACGL or beyond, the ACGL has given over 58,000 Euros to Charity. Of these, the most notable being in 2020, large swathes of real estate in Beirut were either levelled or severely damaged by an accidental explosion of Ammonium nitrate. It didn´t take much time before a well-planned campaign was launched under the leadership of the ACGL to help support the rebuilding of a previously funded Shriner´s hospital for children in the city. The Grand Lodge leveraged different sources of support from within the Grand Lodge as well as from the British Grand Lodge of Free-masons (BFG), individual lodges and individual Brethren to end up with no less than Euros 33,000 being sent to the VGLvD´s Freimaurerische Hilfswerk to be topped up with their own matching funds. This achievement should be included as one of the most noteworthy charitable initiatives of the ACGL. A year later the ACGL once again rose to the occasion with lodges and individual Brothers donating no less than Euros 5000 to help rebuild stricken areas after flash flooding in western Germany in July of that year.
The digitalization of Grand Lodge forms, publications, documents, and Members Library received some upgrades from the typewriter and hand printed paper forms still in use, to online forms. Books, brochures, and pamphlets are now available in the Members Section of the ACGL Web page. In addition, the Secretaries Handbook was updated, to include the many monthly and yearly re-porting forms.
First impressions are everything – the ACGL Web-site; an important part of our credibility of how we reflect Masonry to the non-masonic viewer, as well as to ourselves, has been improved and modified to meet current technological platforms and infrastructure. Not only does the ACGL website provide information of the Grand Lodge but also upon request, provides an individual homepage for our Lodges. The ACGL website is also an integral part of Web-tools, utilized as an online tool, Web-tools was improved, and redesigned to meet those current technological platforms and has been implemented for Lodge Secretaries, to maintain their Lodge finances, a paperless record of its members, their individual progression, and status changes.

Paper Dues Cards became a thing of the past, just this past year a plastic dues card was introduced into the ACGL. Effective 2022 all dues paying members of an ACGL Lodge will be in possession of one of these cards. High-lights of the card is a QR (quick response) code which reflects if the currents year’s dues have been submitted. The reading can be done with a Smart Phone and reflects only the validity of the bearer. Even though the history of the past 10 years has been written, at the time of this writing, the history of the future is waiting for you, and to confidently, look forward into the centuries which are to come.

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