Many of you have experienced problems reaching Brothers who have moved “away” with information about your Lodges, dues notices, etc. Here are a couple of possible avenues to follow.
When you mail a letter to the last known address write “Address Service Requested” on the front of the envelope. This will prompt the postal service to send you any address change information they have.
This link — http://www.deathindexes.com/ssdi.html — will take you to an access point for the Social Security Administration Death Listing. The free link will provide information on deaths up to the last three years. The Ancestory.com link to this information will provide information up to six months ago.
I hope this information will be helpful as you maintain accurate records for your Lodge.
You receive both invoices and statements from this Office. The invoices serve as a bill seeking payment for the items listed on the invoice. Statements reflect those invoices not paid within 90 days of the original invoice.
We attach a copy of the original invoice(s) to the statement for your clarification. Please do not pay the original invoice and the copy attached to the statement. If invoices are paid with 90 days of purchase this should not affect you.
Foreign Affiliates (Brothers from jurisdictions outside Maine) need to be cleared by this Office by a Certificate of Good Standing before your Lodge takes any action. Once your Lodge receives certification and acts, let us know and we will enter the new member into the database for you. It can be daunting to navigate the data entry for this category. Save the headache — call us.
Annual Returns for 2014 should be on your radar now. Be sure all the data is entered into MORI in a timely manner. If this is done, the return will be ready for you to print and submit as early as January first. If you have any questions concerning data entry, please call us. We will help you overcome your concerns. If you do not use the database, you are still required to file an Annual Return (Form 8). You must request this form if you need it. Lack of a form is not and excuse for late filing.
Certificates of Election must be filed as soon as the installation takes place in order for us to have accurate information about your Lodge. They can be filed through MORI, e-mail, or snail mail forms. Be sure that your Lodge Officers of Record are correct.
E-mail has become an essential communications link. As Secretary you should endeavor to maintain an accurate and complete list of e-mail addresses in the electronic database. Brothers may notify this office by using the Grand Lodge website. In the lower left click the link regarding e-mail. This allows them to update their contact information.
When e-mailing the Office, please include the Lodge name and number in the e-mail. It would greatly assist the staff in responding to your message.
Please order diplomas early enough (4 or 5 days) for this Office to provide them to you for presentation after the Degree Work.
Thanks for all you do,
Mark E. Rustin
Maine Masonic Charitable Foundation
The Trustees of the Charitable Foundation have authorized the “build out” of the Grand Lodge Library into the space formerly the drive through banking area. Fund raising is just underway and opportunities for you and your Lodge to support this vital outreach of the Foundation will be announced soon. Check the Foundation website for more information and the opportunity to support the project.
The Charitable Foundation Website, www.masoniccharitablefoundation.org, allows the visitor to become familiar with the work we do to benefit others. As you work your way through the site, you begin to sense the “length of our cable tow.”
The site also allows for you to apply for matching grants online. Fill out the electronic form and submit it. It immediately enters the pipeline that ends with the Lodge’s receipt of a check for the program match.
The Masonic Bikes for Books now allows Lodges to receive matching $500.00 grants for up to three schools. Simply raise $500.00 for each school and the Foundation will match each one. That could mean $3000.00 worth if bikes and a good deal of reading improvement.
The site also offers the opportunity for individuals or groups to make a donation to the Foundation. These donations are part of what it takes to keep our Foundation a Public Foundation and thus tax exempt and able to accept tax deductible donations. Share this information with your Lodge Brothers and others. Let them become aware of this website and the enormous good we do together as a Foundation. Encourage them to “Like” the Foundation on Facebook at www.facebook.com/mainemcf or by searching Maine Masonic Charitable Foundation on Facebook. This way everyone can see what other lodges are doing in the community.
From the Insurance Corner
I have been getting calls from the Lodges about the Grand Lodge mandated insurance coverage. Yes the Lodges are required to be covered and pay under the Grand Lodge Insurance Program for liability. Coverages on building and contents can be obtained from your local agent or through the Grand Lodge insurance program. Please be aware that many times if you go outside the Grand Lodge Policy for coverages your lodge may being obtaining double coverage and paying twice for liability. Remember if your coverage is written by an agent outside the Grand Lodge program be certain that the Grand Lodge of Maine is named as an additional insured.
I am happy to report that in my conversations with Lodge representatives I am finding that most have Associations or Trusts that are the legal owner of the Lodge Building. Those Lodges that are renting space to hold your Lodge meetings still need to have coverage on your contents and liability exposures. Very seldom is such coverage afforded to you as tenants by the landlords. It is also wise to maintain a listing of who owns what when a Lodge is housed in a building owned by an Association or Trust. If the Association or Trust owns the building and not the contents and there is a loss, having a “who owns what list” makes an insurance adjustment easier.
I am available to answer questions you might have about your insurance coverages even if the coverage is obtained for an agent outside the Grand Lodge coverage. Having Insurance coverage is protecting the assets of your Association or Trusts as well as the assets of the Lodge and its members. Thinking you don’t need coverage is not a wise decision.
Fred Lunt, Jr. Chair,
Grand Lodge Insurance Committee.
Brother Secretaries: The Grand Master has become concerned that many lodges have websites which have been abandoned or removed with no notice to the Webmaster. On three separate pages of our Grand Lodge website we have all lodges listed including a hyperlink to their website if known. However, it does not present Maine Masonry well when those links lead to pages announcing the upcoming installation of the 2006 officers or to a page which says “Not Found”. We have just gone through the Grand Lodge site and removed links to 34 lodges as a result. Please take a moment to check your lodge’s website link at www.mainemason.org/lodges/byday.asp and if your lodge’s link is missing, you need to send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org promptly. It’s easy to fuss and fume about the web and all its weirdness but it IS the place where the majority of people go nowadays for information. Having a good, up-to-date website with pertinent contact information about your lodge may not help – but it certainly won’t hurt!
One side note: many of you have used a web hosting service which offered a free site for your lodge. The domain name was difficult to remember (or get right) – and the service was/is often down. (One host accounted for 14 of the 34 lodges we removed, in fact.) The cost to a lodge for its own domain name and annual hosting shouldn’t be more than about $75/year: it’s a small amount to invest in the publicity and public face for your lodge – but be sure you’re going to keep it current. It WILL attract interest: just ask the lodges who invest the time and energy into theirs.
And a caution: should you grab one of your new members to take this task on, please be sure they are familiar with the Grand Lodge Social Media policy (which applies to websites as well) and that they understand that all material posted to the web must be with the approval of the Lodge’s Master.
FROM THE LIBRARY
As you learned from the Grand Secretary’s newsletter last month, we have (somewhat gently) begun a roll-out of a fund-raising campaign for our Grand Lodge Library. Since moving to Holden, the library has increased in size by nearly 40% – and we continue to grow each week. So far, we’ve received about a thousand volumes through donations: most of the books are relevant to Freemasonry but we’ve also been adding a few books on history, genealogy, Maine, as well as biographies of well-known Masons, non-Masonic books by Masonic authors, and much more. We welcome your visit and are happy at any time to answer questions you may have. This past month, several Brethren have said “I go by there all the time but just haven’t stopped.” They should! YOU should! Come on in…..
Check out our section on the Grand Lodge website where you can find a catalog of all our books right there online – and read about what we’re up to now.
Ed King, Grand Librarian