2019-2020 Annual Report of the Depuity Grand Master
My Brothers, it has been a year of highs and lows for all of us. Most likely the year didn’t turn out at all like we were planning. As I am writing this report we are going through a time unlike any of us has ever experienced. But we must remember this Fraternity has been through many tough times in its history and it has survived. The reason it has survived is due to our dedication to the Craft. Even in the toughest times Masons have been able to be leaders and models of how we should act in times of crisis. We can still be effective even if we can’t do business the way we are used to. I applaud the Lodges that are thinking out of the box and meeting via video conference or conference calls. We can still stay connected with all the platforms out there to communicate.
We must remember our obligation to take care of our distressed Brother Master Masons, their widows and orphans. It is my hope that all our Lodges are making some phone calls to check in with those Brothers and make sure their needs are being met. Remind them the Grand Lodge Charity Fund has been established for just this reason. Applications can be obtained through the Grand Lodge office and will be kept strictly confidential with the Trustees. This is money is given based on the application and is not required to be paid back. During times like this it is important to remember why we have this fund and remember Masons support this fund for exactly this reason.
I have been working closely with the Senior Grand Warden, Junior Grand Warden and Grand Treasurer-Secretary in planning my upcoming year. I feel we have created a team that will be very successful. We have implemented Microsoft Teams which will help us communicate with each other easier and more efficiently. We will be able to connect with our District Masters and Committees so we can disseminate information when we can’t meet face to face. We will be working to be as transparent as we possibly can so we can get feedback, positive or negative, from all Masons in South Dakota. We need to get Masons in this State to get ENGAGED with Grand Lodge in order to come up with a plan forward that we can agree on. We HAVE to get rid of this East River/West River, my Lodge vs your Lodge, this PGM vs that PGM mentality. It is not helping Masonry in this State and it is not helping us bring new members in or get older members back. We are Freemasons which means we are free thinkers. We meet on the LEVEL with each of us being able to give our own opinions and feedback without someone invalidating us by telling us we are wrong. While I may not agree with another Brother, we should be able to have good Masonic discussion, listen closely to both sides and go home and think about what was talked about before jumping to a conclusion. We all went through the same 3 degrees but we all are writing our own journey. My journey is mine, yours is probably different but that does not make one right and one wrong. What makes Masonry great is all of us coming together to work for a common goal.
I do not have all the answers but with the elected line, committees and your input and support we can work to move Masonry forward in South Dakota. Thank you for your continued trust and support. I look forward to working together with you in the upcoming year. Listed are functions I was able to represent the Grand Lodge since my last report:
Scottish Rite Remembrance and Renewal (Speaker), Huron
Midwest Conference on Masonic Education, Cedar Rapids, IA
50 year Award Larry Hornstra, Armour
60 year Award I.J. Carey, Mitchell
Installation of Officers, Mitchell
Midwest Conference of Grand Lodges, Omaha, NE
District 16 meeting, Hill City
Yankton Valley Scottish Rite Reunion, Yankton
Daughters of the Nile Supreme Queen Visit, Sioux Falls
Knights Templar Degree Work, Sioux Falls
Mid-year Meeting, Pierre
Conference of Grand Masters of North America, Louisville, KY
I remain active in Resurgam Lodge #31 in Mitchell, SD. Also this report should include the countless hours the elected officers all spend responding to phone calls, emails, text messages and mail. I can say I do enjoy communicating with all of you who have reached out to me. I look forward to hearing from all of you!
Jason D Swindler
Deputy Grand Master/Grand Master Elect
Grand Lodge A.F. & A.M. of South Dakota