To the vast majority of you who labored diligently to file your Lodge’s Annual Return and payment, thank you! The staff and I have worked with you all month to insure the information we received was accurate and timely. A substantial number of you who filed on the FORM 8 needed corrections to your filings. Many over paid the assessment and will receive refunds.
By way of comparison, those of you who printed your Return from the database provided more accurate information with far fewer errors. The staff time needed to correct some written Returns can only be described as excessive. Again, I encourage your Lodge to provide required information electronically through MORI.
As a reminder to the Lodges who do not use MORI — you must file Monthly Status Reports with this office by the 5th of EACH month whether there are changes or not. The data is essential to the orderly work of the Grand Lodge. These reports are not optional. They are required of all Lodges not electronically updating their information. Had they been filed in a timely manner, many Annual Return errors would have been avoided.
Please remember any Lodge may appoint an Assistant Secretary to augment the Secretary’s ability to serve the Lodge properly. Several Lodges have the Assistant responsible for data entry. This eliminates the need for the Secretary to learn something new and allows the Lodge to be better served.
I had one District Secretaries’ Meeting during January with one more scheduled in February thus far.
A couple of items from that meeting that may interest you are:
- When entering any membership affiliation, Blue Lodge or other body, dates of affiliation must be entered. Otherwise, the MORI function which tracks years of service will not operate properly.
- When reporting the Tyler on the Certificate of Election in MORI, choose the “find” option, do a regular search, and “select” your Tyler from the results.
The Secretaries’ Meetings are a great vehicle for sharing knowledge with one another so we all may become more competent and thereby, more valuable to the Craft we serve. If you would like a session in your District, contact your DDGM or DER.
If your Lodge received a request from this Office concerning the ownership of and other information about your Lodge Hall and you have yet to respond, please do so immediately. This information is vital to determining the liability of the Lodges and their members. We can provide you with information and documents to help correct any deficiencies.
E-mail has become an essential communications link. As postage rates increase, e-mail becomes even more important. I request of you and encourage you to update and maintain the e-mail addresses for the Lodge for which you are responsible. How important is this? When I send an e-mail to all Master Masons in Maine 18,785 names are found. Of that, only 4,856 will receive the message. 13,929 Master Masons either have no or an incorrect e-mail address in the database. We can and should do better than this. As the year goes forward make a special effort to update, add to, and maintain your Lodge members’ ability to communicate by e-mail.
Make sure your Lodge Historian is preparing the history for your Lodge. They must be received in this Office no later than March 1st to avoid a late penalty.
The Annual Communication is May 6th and 7th at KORA Temple in Lewiston. Elections will be held for the following positions and offices: Grand Master, Deputy Grand Master, Grand Senior Warden, Grand Junior Warden, Grand Treasurer, Grand Secretary, two members of the Finance Committee, and one member of the Maine Masonic Charitable Foundation Board of Trustees. If you, or a member of your Lodge wish to offer yourself as a candidate, you must notify this Office of your intent no later than March 15th.
You will receive the official notification of the Annual Communication, relevant supporting information, and a Proxy Form for your Lodge soon. Lodge representation at the Annual Communication is required by the Constitution. Please encourage your Lodge to plan now to participate in May.
On February 15th the Maine Masonic College is offering a course, “Understanding World Religions,” at United Lodge in Brunswick from 9 AM until 2 PM. RW Charles Plummer will teach world religion from the perspective of what any well informed Mason should know. To sign up or for more information, contact this Office – 843-1086.
The Dirigo Leadership Program is holding a session on February 8th at United Lodge in Brunswick. Brethren from the surrounding area are encourage to attend. For more information contact RW Jeffrey Sukeforth at — email@example.com.
Anyone interested in submitting an article for the next edition of the Maine Mason, please do so on or before the March 15th deadline. Send submissions to MW George Pulkkinen, editor, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
From the Insurance Corner
Chairman Fred Lunt, Jr.
Committee on Insurance
We are about to enter the eighth month of The Grand Lodge of Maine’s insurance policy with the Great American Insurance Company of New York. These months under our present coverage has been a time of bring our coverage’s and underwriting information up to date. I have to apologize for the lengthy time it took us to get some quotes back to the Lodges. This was an unexpected hurdle in our attempt to provide needed coverage to all Lodges in Maine. Your Finance Committee has worked very hard to update coverage’s and to send out the correct billing to all Lodges. As you all know by now every Lodge in Maine under the terms of our constitution has to pay for liability coverage through the Grand Lodge. About one third of the Maine Lodges are also obtaining property coverage through the Grand Lodge Master Policy. Again I am reminding all Lodges that have a building must have an Association filed with the Secretary of State office showing the Association as the owner of the Lodge Building. A Lodge cannot own real estate in Maine. As time has a way of fleeting by it will not be long before you will be receiving your bill for the Grand Lodge of Maine renewal coverage billing. This Master policy renews June 1, 2014. For those Lodges that want a quote to cover the property (building and or contents) under the Grand Lodge policy remember we must have at least a month lead time to get that quote back to you. You must complete an application for coverage to get a quote. In the insurance world nothing happens until the paper work is complete. If you have questions of concerns your Insurance Committee is ready to help. You can contact us through the Grand Lodge Secretary.
Also note: Office Hours are Monday through Friday from 8:30AM until 4:30PM. Extended hours on Monday are cancelled until further notice.
Thanks for all you do,
Mark E. Rustin