BUILDING A CIVIL BROTHERHOOD
Welcome to the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of the State of Oklahoma! As we begin our 116th year, I am humbled and honored to serve as Grand Master. My first,
and most engaging goal, is to help Lodges achieve success in our jurisdiction. By working together, we can accomplish great things for Oklahoma Masons and Masonry.
Let me draw your attention to the Grand Master’s pin for 2024 pin. That pin displays the theme for our year – Building A Civil Brotherhood. The theme has been selected in the hope that our fraternity may display, model, and teach a moral characteristic which is vitally important, yet sadly, too often missing in today’s society – civility.
Webster’s dictionary defines civility as “formal politeness and courtesy in behavior or speech.” We as Masons are familiar with extending formal politeness and courtesies in Lodge. The primary focus of
those Masonic courtesies and procedures is to foster peace and harmony in the Lodge.
“Civility also indicates awareness, the ability to control one’s passions, as well as having a deeper understanding of others.” Controlling one’s passions are also words familiar to Masons. “ Freemasons
and members of the Masonic family have had a long history of fostering civil dialogue and building civil societies. Masonic Lodges represent a peaceful assembly of people that are of different places of origin,
languages, backgrounds, and beliefs.”
“Civility is more than just politeness. It is about disagreeing without disrespect, seeking common ground as a starting point for dialogue about differences…” My sincere hope is that we may exemplify those
lessons taught in our ritual: control our passions, treat others as we would be treated, disagree agreeably, treat all with respect, and meet on the level, part on the square.
NINE PILLARS OF CIVILITY
- Be considerate of others’ opinions. It’s ok to agree to disagree.
- Manage your emotions. Get curious instead of furious.
- A silent voice is not always a weak voice. Sometimes it’s ok not to respond.
- Be Kind! Make your point about the issue, not the person.
- Listen actively, learn how to Engage respectfully!
- Think about the impact of your actions and not the intent.
- Ask questions to learn. Answer questions with respect.
- Remember the acronym QTIP (Quit Taking It Personal).
- Have empathy! Just because you have not experienced it, does not mean it does not exist.
We have many challenges and opportunities to confront in the coming year. It is my sincere hope that we can meet and overcome each challenge with civility and unity. As we consider opportunities, looking
to the future, a few of the words in our state song Oklahoma! come to mind:
It ain’t too early, and it ain’t too late…
Brand-new State, gonna treat you great!
Plenty of air and plenty of room…
Plenty of heart and plenty of hope!
Let us attend to the important tasks of our Fraternity, challenges and opportunities, with plenty of heart and plenty of hope!
John F. Carter M.O.H.