GGR September 2018

Stephen A. Balke
General Grand Recorder

Stephen A. Balke<br>General Grand Recorder
Stephen A. Balke
General Grand Recorder
Photo by Michele Balke

It was truly an honor to be Appointed (Elected by the Trustees of the General Grand Council) to the position of General Grand Recorder. The honor isn’t wholly in the position, but being included on one of the most effective and communicative leadership teams I have witnessed. Since last year’s Southwest York Rite Conference, I have seen planning, hard work, and results from MPC David Grindle, and RPCs Monty Glover and Bill Snyder – prioritizing based upon facts and interactive communication, transparency in activities, and long term focus without penalty to interim needs. It is my hope and intention to assist them in continuing their accomplishments, and privilege to be invited to become a member of this team.

Some Quick Gratuities

MPC David Grindle and RPC Bryan Bechler have left the office thoroughly workable! The organization and processes have made learning the job and assessing the needs for a path forward not only possible, but feasible. Thank you!

Next week’s Weekly Decryption will have an article regarding the Technology Committee, projects and progress, but a general directive that has been given is to continue the work of my predecessors in streamlining the business of this office. The overview picture is that the priorities are availability and disaster recovery of our data, centralization and process flow of information, and ease of use for our Affiliate Grand and Constituent Recorders. We have some real Rock Stars who have already stepped up to the plate: MIC John Bridegroom, MIC Daniel Hanttula, MIC Dayle Schrock, MIC David Witte, IC Geoff Joosten, IC Rod Wagoner, and Companion Len Roughgarden.  Each of them has taken ownership of an aspect of our technology implementations and are simultaneously working cooperatively because the separate systems aren’t exactly separate. That said, our needs far outweigh our available resources. If you have some technology expertise and would like to assist in some exciting projects for Masonry in general and the General Grand Council in particular, WE WOULD LIKE TO SPEAK WITH YOU!

My experience in the various Masonic organizations has shown me that there is usually someone who takes care of the day to day – more correctly translated, makes sure our operations stay running. If you happen to see Lady Karen Grindle, please say “Thank you!”, she ensures that everyone gets the awards and literature, orchestrates parcel and post logistics, and keeps the office running. Lady Michele Balke also plays an integral role in facilitating my ability to participate in Masonic activities and contributes in many ways herself. Thank you to them both, and to all of our ladies who help make the good works and great times happen!

What’s next?

For the past (first) month, most of the minutia involved with the role transition has been addressed. We have also spent a good deal of time planning and prioritizing activities and projects. The following items have become the main focus of this office:

  • The Veteran’s Medals are scheduled arrive Wednesday of next week. As soon as they are engraved, the over 100 pre-ordered (so far) will be shipped to be presented to our Companions who served.
  • The Ritual Committee has reported and recommended a revision for the Ritual. The General Grand Trustees are meeting on October 11th, 2018 and approval of a final ritual is scheduled. Printing vendor limitations aside, the intention is that these will be ready by the Southwest Conference (November 2-3, 2018) for purchase.
  • Mapping and documenting the processes of the office and the interactions with Affiliate Grand and Constituent Councils. This is both for the office, and we are going to start releasing “how to” or job aid documents and videos for reference.
  • The Triennial Proceedings is well under way. It is planned to be published before the end of the year.
  • An inventory of supplies is being undertaken (Thank you, Lady Karen!) and will be completed by the end of the year, after which an ongoing inventory will be available and trackable for fulfillment of any orders for items we stock.
  • The regular publication of the Weekly Decryption.

It is an exciting time to be a Mason, and a fantastic experience watching the Craft grow – YES, GROW. We are stemming the tide of loss of membership in the United States by implementing some of the practices that have been previously put aside, and watching Masonry – and Cryptic Masonry – explode in several foreign jurisdictions. Join us in facilitating and turning the trends for the betterment of Masonry!

  • A form to share your Ritual, Festive, or Jurisdictional event will be available soon so that we can all know about these important occasions!
  • The Weekly Decryption will be improved by including an article that presents knowledge or experience in Masonry, Leadership, Esoterica, or other Craft materials.
  • Let us know if there is an idea that needs to be a part of our vision and activities.
  • (Shameless 2nd Plug) – If you have practical experience with Technology implementation, we want to know what you are able to and want to do. Lots of exciting projects!

If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact me!

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