The Road Ahead: Opinion-R

We’re blocked. When you get to a road block, I imagine several possibilities pass through your mind.  Can we get through the blockage?  Is there an alternate route? Did we take a wrong turn somewhere? Or, is this the end of the road?  We’re at such a decision point with the Kansas Lodge of Research.

Our heritage.  The Kansas Lodge of Research (KSLOR) was established in 1982 under Article IX, Section 15 of the Constitution of the Grand Lodge of Kansas: “The Kansas Lodge of Research is hereby established with the authority to conduct research, hold discussions, gather and preserve Masonic information, assist in the maintenance of the Grand Lodge library, supply papers or speakers at the request of Lodges when convenient, and conduct a program of general service to the Craft in the field of Masonic Education and Information subject to the provision of the law.”

How we got to this point.  In 1982, there were over 66,000 Masons in Kansas.  Even if only 1/100th of 1% of the Masons then were enthusiastically devoted to KSLOR, there would be 6 leaders to carry the load.  As of January 1, 2017, we had 17,281 Kansas Masons and most are over 67 years of age.  Mathematically, we’d be lucky to have one (1) Mason with the leadership skills, determination, vision, and time to dedicate to the advancement of KSLOR.  More importantly, he’d also need to find and groom others for succession of leadership for long-term success of the lodge.  Although the succession training formula has worked well for the Grand Lodge elected leadership through the Deputy Grand Master leadership programs, KSLOR has not been part of the leadership succession training and vetting opportunities.

The way forward. KSLOR is a Grand Lodge entity which has reached a leadership roadblock.  Has it reach the end of its usefulness? Should it have a modified mission?  Should it just be left to die of its own weight? Or should it be injected with hungry, ambitious leaders who would eventually be good candidates for Area Deputy Grand Master or Grand Lodge elected leadership?  I believe it should be the latter with a modification to Section 15.  The demographics of Kansas Masonry has changed over the past 35 years.  Certainly, the ambitious and wide-ranging mission of KSLOR needs to be reduced to a point it can be more easily managed.

Next steps.

  • First, the Council of Administration must step in to make leadership appointments to KSLOR.  Head of KSLOR should be equivalent to an ADGM and earn the title of Right Worshipful during their term. It should be made a prestigious, sought-after position that gives the incumbent the same exposure as an ADGM.
  • Second. The mission should be reduced to simply ResearchPublishSpeak as defined under the KSLOR strategic plan that was gaining much ground in 2014-2015.  Maintenance of the Grand Lodge Library and Museum should be removed from the KSLOR mission.  Even with a highly capable professional archivist on staff, progress to electronically catalog and maintain the library holdings is moving at glacial speed.  If KSLOR can do three, interrelated things well, we’d be light years ahead of where we are now.
  • Third. Integrate KSLOR into everything we do.  If we keep it in the constitution, then its important enough to have presentations for/by KSLOR at Leadership Academy, Annual Communication, and at any time there is a major Grand Lodge event.   For example, if rededication of the State Capital building was important enough to do, what has been done to capture that part of our legacy, add its lessons learned to our Masonic Education line up, and provide knowledgeable speakers to carry that to lodges across Kansas?

The road ahead.  Kudos to those KSLOR members who have made significant contributions. Your efforts have not been for naught. This is not a crisis of membership.  Thanks to the partnership by Kansas Masonic Foundation, our membership reached a high in the past few years.  What’s missing is integration with Grand Lodge leadership with a limited, related, important mission.

Feedback welcome. If you are a member of KSLOR, you have the ability to log into this web site and comment on this article.  If you’d like to make your own posts, click Contact Us and send a note to the Secretary requesting upgraded permissions.

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No Meeting prior to Leadership Academy

There will be no meeting of the Kansas Lodge of Research the eve of the Leadership Academy. An unexpected result of leadership turbulence at KSLOR has let slip the second best opportunity this year to promulgate the three pillars: Research, Publish, and Speak. Hopefully, more information will be forthcoming.

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Master Cancels September 9th Meeting

Brothers

The September meeting of the Kansas Lodge or Research has been cancelled for lack of attendance.  There were too many conflicts of various kinds.  The next meeting is planned for the Leadership Conference on the first weekend on November.  I will call those brothers who have indicated they will be in attendance.

Jon Woodward, Secretary

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Mark Calendars for November 3 Meeting!

WM John Crary officially announced today that the next KSLOR meeting will be held at the Capitol Plaza Hotel and Conference Center in Topeka on the evening of Friday, November 3, 2017.  This will be a dinner meeting held on the eve of the Leadership Academy being hosted by the Grand Lodge of Kansas.  Registration and additional information is forthcoming, but mark your calendar and plan to attend.

In the meantime, make your hotel reservation for the night of November 3rd and register on the Grand Lodge web site for Leadership Academy.

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KSLOR Annual Communication Held

The Annual Communication of the Kansas Lodge of Research took place on March 16th, 2017 as part of the 3-days of activities surrounding the Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of Kansas in Topeka, Kansas.

M:. W:. Daren Kellerman addresses Kansas Lodge of Research

After an address by M:. W:. Daren L. Kellerman, Past Grand Master, the lodge graciously voted to sponsor a featured guest speaker at the Midwest Conference of Grand Lodges/Masonic Education that will be taking place in Topeka 18/19 Aug 2017.  This is an excellent opportunity for Kansas Masons to be a part of an event that rarely takes place in Kansas.  Stay tuned for more details, but I’m told the event with our sponsored guest speaker will be open to all Kansas Masons with preference going to Kansas Lodge of Research members.

R:. W. Wayne Rector making the proposal for the discount books.

R:. W:. Bro. Wayne Rector presented a proposal from Macoy’s to sell books at a discount as a possibility.  M:. W:. Michael Halleran, PGM, now works for Macoy’s and provided a discount offer to KSLOR officers.  The lodge voted to refer this to committee to be investigated under the incoming KSLOR leadership.

Speaker’s Bureau reported that there were no dossiers turned in from Leadership Academy.  We still need folks to sign up so we have available speakers.

R:. W:. John Crary, WM of KSLOR gives his inaugural address

Officers nominated and then elected for the ensuing year, although it can only loosely be called nominations, are as follows:
WM John Crary
SW Wayne Rector
JW Frank Keedy
TR Wayne Rollf
SY Jon Woodward

R:. W:. Bro. John Crary, newly elected WM of KSLOR addressed several initiatives he wants to pursue.  Candidate Handbooks have been redrafted and he’d like to see these finalized and readied for distribution to replace the current handbooks given out for each degree.  He wants to see Speakers Bureau gain some speed and will actively work to add dossiers to the available speakers on the KSLOR.org web site.  He was also fired up about enabling individual contributions to the Craft through Masonic Research/Publishing.  He cited plenty of opportunities to support and grow the membership and capabilities of the lodge.  He asked for membership engagement and set a workable trestle board for the Craft.

Spellbound crowd as R:. W:. John Crary, WM KSLOR, delivered his inaugural address.

MEETING SCHEDULE:

  • JNext meeting will be virtual.  The meeting will by by conference call on June 18, 2017, 7 pm – 830 pm.  Details on the call-in number is forthcoming.
  • Saturday, September 9, 2017 there will be a face-to-face meeting in Wichita.  Speaker/dinner TBD.  We’re targeting the Scottish Rite facility with a catered meal.  R:. W:. Wayne Rector is POC.
  • June 18 19-2030 hours teleconference
  • August 18-19 is the Midwest Conference of Grand Lodges/Masonic Education in Topeka.  KSLOR dinner details are forthcoming.
  • Nov 3 Friday of Leadership Academy with guest speaker – Topeka
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ANNUAL COMMUNICATION – 2017

The Annual Communication of the Kansas Lodge of Research will take place in the Pioneer Room, Maner Conference Center, Capitol Plaza Hotel, Topeka commencing at 3 pm, Thursday, March 16, 2017.

Members.  Please log in and review the Consent Agenda for approval prior to the meeting.   The Consent Agenda is in the Members section of this web site.  If you have questions or need more information, please contact our Secretary, Bro. Jon Woodward via our Contact Page.

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2017 Dues are Due!

Still a Bargain at $10 Annually

Dues are $10 US annually payable at the beginning of the year and are not prorated. Your payment goes toward the operation and extraordinary work of your Kansas Lodge of Research.

In 2016, we financed the ability to digitize the holdings of the Grand Lodge Library being researched and documented by our Grand Lodge Library Archivist.  Next step is to make the digital catalog available via Internet through this web site.  Imaging being able to find, see, and research our Topeka holdings online.  This is a huge step and your membership in KSLOR is making that possible.

Please click the link below and continue your active support of this important work.

2017 REGISTRATION and Online Dues Payment Page

 

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KSLOR Supports Member Data Archival Project

Dylan Sweyko-Kuhlman, Grand Lodge Library & Museum Archivist, has a large archival project for which he is asking KSLOR assistance.  This project is is two phases: Scan retired member cards as pictures then transcribe the data so it can be stored as text and searched.

Phase 1 (Scan) – This part must be done on the scanning machine at the Grand Lodge building in Topeka.  There are over 430,000 cards the need to be scanned.  The work is simply taking cards from the file cards from the drawer, scanning them into a computer, and returning the card back to the file.  On average, 500 cards can be scanned in a typical hour of volunteer work.  We are currently in Phase 1.

Phase 2 (Transcribe) – This part can be done remotely and takes more effort.  Once there are enough cards scanned, this process will be kicked off.  More details on complexity, process, and number of volunteers needed will be provided later in the year.

Volunteers Needed.  As a member of KSLOR, please consider volunteering your time at the Grand Lodge Library and Museum and expediting Phase 1 of this project.

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KSLOR to Meet November 5th in Topeka

The Fall Meeting of the Kansas Lodge of Research will immediately follow the closing of the annual Leadership Conference on November 5. The location will be announced during the conference, but it will be held at the Conference Hotel (Crown Plaza at Topeka Boulevard and 17th Street in Topeka). This is the first meeting since Grand Lodge met in March. KSLOR members should LOG IN and then review the Consent Agenda and Proposal.

Your officers have been busy working on several initiatives, including the revision of the Candidate Handbooks to bring them into the 21st Century and make them useful in the mentoring process, as well as the development of a functional speakers bureau. Further, several articles have been included in the pages of the Kansas Mason, but most of the onus of that effort has fallen on Herb Merrick, Chair of the Publications Committee — we need research articles from the members to maintain the pace of publication.

We have also become involved in working with the Grand Archivist to undertake several projects to digitize membership and administrative records of the Grand Lodge from its earliest years. These initiatives will be discussed during the meeting and opportunities for all members to become involved will be reviewed.

Finally, the Grand Lodge Library and Archives have requested the assistance of the KSLOR in the acquisition of archive specific software to modernize the record keeping in inventory management of the brotherhood. The second attachment presents information on this request and will be presented by PGM Rick Reichert.
The Grand Archivist has been invited to join us to answer questions about each of the items under his area of expertise.

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Pencil KSLOR on your Calendar for Nov 5th

KSLOR leadership recently met and is contemplating a Stated Meeting for the membership in conjunction with Leadership Academy VI which will take place the weekend of Saturday, November 5th.  Please check back soon for specific plans, location, and agenda.  Thanks for your patience while we regroup.  KSLOR will be at Leadership Academy so look for our table.

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