THE GRAND LODGE OF THE MOST ANCIENT AND
OF FREE AND ACCEPTED MASONS FOR THE STATE OF VERMONT
General Order No. 1 49 East Road
Barre, VT 05641-5390
Series of 2011-2012 July 5, 2011
To all Brethren of the Grand Lodge of the Most Ancient and Honorable Society of Free and Accepted Masons for the State of Vermont. Pursuant to the authority in me vested by virtue of §206.1(a)(11) of bylaws of the Vermont Masonic Code, I issue this general order for the government of the Craft.
THIS SUMMARY AND SECTIONS III, IV, V, VIII & XV ARE TO BE READ TO THE BRETHREN OF EACH SUBORDINATE LODGE AT THE FIRST REGULAR COMMUNICATION FOLLOWING ITS RECEIPT.
General Order No. 1 contains a list of the Grand Lodge officers, committee chairmen, decisions and orders of the Grand Master. This summary is to be read to the Brethren of each Subordinate Lodge at the first regular communication following its receipt. The entire general order shall be on file in the lodge secretary's office and it must be made available to any brother upon request
Grand Lodge Officers, District Deputy Grand Masters, Past Grand Masters
and Grand Lodge Committee Appointments
Officers of the Grand Lodge, District Deputy Grand Masters, and Committeemen are appointed as listed in the appendix to this General Order. They are admonished to conform their conduct and performance of their duties in strict accord with the ancient customs, usages, and landmarks of the fraternity and with the Vermont Masonic Code.
Recognition of Freemasons in Sister Grand Jurisdictions
WHEREAS, sister Grand jurisdictions have the right, responsibility and authority to determine those persons whom they recognize as Freemasons within their territorial jurisdictions.
WHEREAS, all of the persons recognized as Freemasons by sister Grand jurisdictions may or may not be recognized as Freemasons if within this Grand jurisdiction.
WHEREAS, Freemasons have always been encouraged to participate in the Masonic affairs of sister Grand jurisdictions while sojourning in their realms and to thus enhance the vitality, strength and harmony of Freemasonry wherever practiced.
WHEREAS, Vermont Freemasons should not be compelled to inquire into the regularity of Freemasons who have been determined qualified by sister Grand jurisdictions when they sojourn within their territory.
NOW, THEREFORE, it is hereby ORDERED that:
- A Vermont Freemason sojourning in a sister Grand jurisdiction, which has been recognized by this Grand jurisdiction, may participate in any Masonic communication or activity therein.
- A Vermont Freemason has no burden to inquire into the regularity of Freemasons duly recognized by such sister Grand jurisdictions in order to participate in Masonic meetings and activities.
Use of Alcoholic Beverages
The guiding principles of our Craft dictate that we govern our affairs with temperance, harmony and respect. In order to abide by these principles, it is appropriate to issue guidelines on the use of alcoholic beverages.
- Each Freemason shall, at all times, be circumspect in his use of intoxicating beverages so as not to bring disrepute to himself or to the Craft.
- No Freemason shall consume any alcoholic beverages on lodge premises prior to or during any subordinate lodge communication, session or meeting, without a prior dispensation from the Grand Master.
- No Freemason shall consume any alcoholic beverages while participating in a parade as a Freemason.
Smoking is not permitted in the lodge room at any time. Smoking is restricted to such other rooms of the lodge building as may be lawful under the law of the jurisdiction.
Weapons of any kind are prohibited within all Lodge buildings, with the exception of on duty, uniformed police officers. Lodges with hunter safety courses can apply annually for a dispensation from the Grand Master.
A subordinate lodge may engage in charitable and fraternal fund raising activities provided that such activities are in full compliance with the law of the land. Further:
- Each fund raising activity must contain factual information on its solicitation material disclosing the use of the proceeds.
- Every fund raising activity which is not entirely for charity shall prominently state on its solicitation material that "payments are not deductible as charitable contributions."
Ceremony of Recognition of the Flag
The Ceremony of Recognition of the Flag is a mandatory part of our ritual and floorwork and is to be observed at each regular communication of a subordinate lodge and each special communication of importance. The ceremony, while simple, shall be impressive and reverent.
990N & 990 IRS Requirements
Every Lodge must file an annual 990N form with the IRS. This is a two part process. First: Either the Lodge Secretary or Treasurer must file on line, meeting the IRS requirement. Second: The Lodge Secretary must annually certify on VtRolls to the Grand Lodge that the IRS requirement has been completed. Failure to do so subjects the Lodge and Grand Lodge to severe penalties from the IRS.
Lodges with income over $50 thousand must file an annual 990 with the IRS. This must also be certified annually on VtRolls by the Lodge Secretary.
Vermont Masonic Code
The Vermont Masonic Code contains provisions governing all masons, all subordinate lodges and the Grand Lodge in this jurisdiction. The import of its provisions cannot be overstated and are to be adhered to in all circumstances. Specific attention should be directed to the provisions relating to the following: Petitions for the degrees and advancement of a candidate; mentors duties; mandated committees of subordinate lodges; lodge bylaws and their amendments; official correspondence outside this jurisdiction; public processions and display of regalia.
Ritual and Floorwork
The esoteric ritualistic work of this Grand Lodge is the Webb Work as most recently revised in 1995 and reaffirmed in 2001. The instructions, provisions and work as published in the Ritual and Floorwork are mandated in this jurisdiction unless otherwise sanctioned or authorized.
Dress In Lodges of Sorrow
It is vitally important to the dignity of lodges of sorrow, Masonic funerals and burial services, and the respect being accorded to the family that all officers be dressed in a manner that will not diminish or detract from the solemnity of the occasion or the memory of the deceased brother. Therefore, all participating officers are to be dressed in suits and ties, or jackets and ties, as well as aprons and jewels appropriate for the occasion.
The Master should inform the brethren, prior to balloting on a petition for the degrees or for affiliation that they may not cast a negative ballot based upon race, color, creed or national origin, nor out of personal pique or malice. A brother doing so is guilty of unmasonic conduct.
Uncoded Ritual and Floorwork
At the 1998 annual communication of the Grand Lodge, a resolution was adopted regarding obtaining, using and securing a completely worded Ritual and Floorwork Book. The provisions of the resolution and the rules published through the Grand Secretary's Office relating to the same shall be rigorously observed and the security of the Ritual assured. A copy of the resolution and rules is appended to this general order.
Any violation of that resolution and rules shall be considered unmasonic conduct and subject the offender to Masonic discipline."
OES Use of the Masonic Square & Compass
The Order of the Eastern Star may use the Square and Compass upon their Bible at all their meetings. In addition to my approval, each Chapter will have to receive approval from the Worshipful Master of the effected local lodge. Each Lodge should provide instructions for proper use if requested.
Programs of Grand Master Adopted At Annual Communication
I invite your attention to the remarks of your Grand Master to the Annual Communication on June 15th, 2011, an excerpt of which is appended hereto. I further invite you attention to the Masonic License Plate Program and the Scholarship Funding Program. Information may be obtained from the Grand Secretary's office. I direct your effort and support of the goals outlined in these recommendations.
VtRolls reporting is a requirement for all lodges. All Grand Lodge officers and committees are to file their annual reports with the Grand Secretary by the tenth day of May. This will enable the Grand Secretary to make copies thereof for the annual communication Book of Reports. The Book of Reports is part of the registration packet provided to each member of the Grand Lodge at the time he registers for the annual communication. Failure to do so will void the lodge's right to vote at the Grand Lodge session.
I am confident that the full import, significance and authority of this general order will be understood by all brethren of the Craft.
THIS SUMMARY IS TO BE READ TO THE BRETHREN OF EACH SUBORDINATE LODGE AT THE FIRST REGULAR COMMUNICATION FOLLOWING ITS RECEIPT.
The entire general order shall be on file in the lodge secretary's office and it must be made available to any brother upon request.
Philip W. Morton, M.W. Grand Master
Palmer E. Martin, R.W. Grand Secretary
Appendix A: Recommendations
I recommend the continuation of all the existing Grand Lodge award programs, especially M.W. Brother Tom Johnston, IV's Hiram awards. One is given to the Lodge that has the most attractive improvement to their lodge's façade. The second is given to the lodge that improves its interior in an interesting and educational manner.
I recommend that two additional awards be given for the most active lodges in community service and charitable work. One will be given to a lodge in the South and one to a lodge in the North. Your District Deputy will provide one recommendation for his district.
I recommend the following Grand Lodge Officers and Deputy Grand Masters be appointed for 2011- 2012. (See Attachment 1)
I recommend that General Orders No. 1 & 2 Series 2010 – 2011 be in force until superseded by General Order No. 1, series 2011 – 2012.
I recommend that the Grand Lodge of Vermont hold its annual communication on Wednesday, June 13, 2012 at the Sheraton Hotel and Conference Center in Burlington, VT opening at 9am.
Appendix B: Resolution and Rules pertaining to the Uncoded Ritual
At the 1998 annual communication of the Grand Lodge, the following resolution was adopted.
"RESOLVED, that each secretary of a subordinate lodge, upon written request to the Grand Secretary, and upon execution of a form consenting to the following conditions, shall receive one completely worded Ritual And Floorwork book; and further resolved that:
- It shall be and remain the property of the Grand Lodge of Vermont and shall be immediately returned to the Grand Secretary upon the order of the Grand Master as a result of its improper use or for any other reason he deems masonically proper.
- It shall remain under the exclusive control of the lodge master or secretary in a secure place in the lodge.
- In case there is no secure place in the lodge, it may be secured in the home of the lodge master or secretary, with special dispensation by the Grand Master.
- It shall be made available to the lodge officers, for use within the lodge room, for the sole purpose of learning the ritual and practicing the floorwork.
- It shall not be available for public use or general perusal.
- It shall not be used for any other purpose without the express written consent of the Grand Master.
- It shall not be reproduced or copied, in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, in any manner whatsoever.
- Any violation of this resolution shall be considered unmasonic conduct and subject the offender to Masonic discipline."
In accordance with the action of the members of the Grand Lodge in adopting the foregoing resolution, I issue these rules for the guidance of the lodges and brethren.
- The trustees of the Grand Lodge shall, from time to time, determine the reasonable cost of reproducing a copy of the uncoded Ritual and Floorwork.
- Any lodge requesting an uncoded copy shall send a written request therefore to the Grand Secretary. The Grand Secretary shall send the form consenting to the conditions of the resolution to the lodge secretary for execution by the master and secretary and he shall inform the lodge secretary of the cost for the uncoded copy. The lodge secretary shall return the executed consent form and payment to the Grand Secretary.
- The district deputy for the district shall personally deliver the requested uncoded copy to the lodge secretary. The district deputy is to satisfy himself that provisions have been made for the security of the uncoded copy and for its use strictly in accordance with the adopted resolution. The district deputy shall obtain, annually, the signature of the current custodians (lodge Master and Secretary) attesting their continued consent to the conditions of the resolution.
- No more than one uncoded copy shall be delivered to, or be in the possession of a lodge.
- The uncoded copy shall be used as a reference book only; it does not replace the coded Ritual And Floorwork book which is presented to each brother upon the completion of the third degree; it does not replace or supersede the mentor system of guidance and instruction of a candidate; it does not lessen the district deputy's responsibilities but is an addition to them; and it shall not be used in opening or closing a lodge or in the exemplification of a degree.
- The Grand Secretary shall maintain a record of Grand Lodge Officers, District Deputy Grand Masters and lodges in possession of an uncoded Ritual and Floorwork book.
Appendix C and D