Dear Brethren,

Thank you for investing once again in our beloved Fraternity! The Masonic year is off to a splendid start, and I thank you for what you are doing to reinvigorate the Craft and show your pride in Freemasonry. As I travel across the state and engage in social networking, I am seeing the great examples of Brethren investing in themselves, their Lodges and communities, all in the name of Freemasonry. The late fall season was dedicated to Lodge Officer Installation ceremonies, and I was pleased to attend several. Additionally, I was honored to present several service awards to men who have lived the better part of their lives as Freemasons including one 80-year award (see separate article on page 12). Presenting service awards and hearing the stories of these great men is one of the greatest responsibilities of any Grand Lodge Officer. Each and every time, we are reminded of why we invest in Freemasonry.

We have a great schedule of Grand Master’s classes kicking off (see page 13), and it is heartwarming to hear about the number of men interested in joining our ranks. Remember the one-day ritual format is only the beginning of the Masonic experience, and we need to engage the man in attending Lodge and other Masonic functions. Only through being engaged will he truly understand what it means to be a Freemason. Work hard and teach him how to apply the principals of Freemasonry to his everyday life, truly allowing him to live as a Freemason.

Our public awareness campaign is in full swing now, and we are receiving a very good response to our social networking sites. We will soon see other more traditional media being utilized to raise awareness of what it means to be an Ohio Freemason. Other states and appendant bodies are watching our success and, in some cases, emulating our work. There is no better compliment than to see your materials being used as examples for others to follow. I am confident our campaign combined with your personal stories will be of great benefit to our Craft for generations to come. Remember, each of us has the responsibility to be our Brother’s keeper, and it is important we pay it forward.

I am very excited about the bus excursion we have planned for July 31 through August 4 to Gettysburg and Washington, DC. This five-day dive into all things Masonic is certain to pique your interest. The Masonic history of Gettysburg, the solemn experience of laying a wreath at The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the George Washington National Masonic Memorial, a dinner cruise on the Potomac, a Masonic ceremony at George Washington’s Mount Vernon are on the historic itinerary. We will also be participating in a joint 150-year Reconsecration ceremony with the Grand Lodge of DC of the DC Lodge, of which our Ohio Brother and President James Garfield was a charter member of in 1869. Contact Fayette Travel at 1-800-451-7903 for details about costs and to register for the trip. My wife, Kelly, and I look forward to having you on board.

Keep investing – it’s working!

Fraternally, Jess N. Raines, Grand Master

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