March 1, 2022 to February 28, 2023
To The Most Worshipful Grand Lodge A.F.& A.M. of Minnesota:
It is my pleasure and duty to present the annual report of the Grand Secretary for the fiscal year ending February 28, 2023.
PROCEEDINGS, COMMUNICATIONS, COMMISSIONS, ETC.
The link for the Annual Proceedings of the 169th Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of Minnesota have been distributed by e-mail and made available through Grand View.
Commissions have been issued as necessary since the last Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge with the direction of M.W. Brother Tony R. Krall.
There were three Occasional Communications of the Grand Lodge of Minnesota this past year:
- May 14, 2022, Faribault – Faribault Lodge No. 9, Lodge Hall Dedication
- September 24, 2022, Farmington – Corinthian Lodge No. 67, Rededication Ceremony
- October 29, 2022, Underwood – Corner Stone Lodge No. 99, Lodge Hall Dedication
There were 126 Chartered Lodges on the rolls March 1, 2022. There were two lodge mergers over the course of the past year: Stewartville Lodge No. 203 merged into Pleasant Grove Lodge No. 22 on November 7, 2022; Lake Superior Lodge No. 349 merged into Euclid Lodge No. 198 on February 13, 2023. There are presently 124 Chartered Lodges on the rolls as of February 28, 2023.
Annual Returns were received from all Chartered Lodges on time or within a reasonable period thereafter with the exception of the following fourteen Lodges who still have not sent in the report for 2022: St. Paul Lodge No. 3, St. Paul; Chain Lake Lodge No. 64, Fairmont; Mystic Star Lodge No. 69, Rushford; Golden Fleece Lodge No. 89, Litchfield; Antiquity Lodge No. 91, Redwood Falls; Libanus Lodge No. 96, St. James; Bethel Lodge No. 103, Lake Crystal; Ben Franklin Lodge No. 114, Luverne; Golden Sheaf Lodge No. 133, Morris; Canby Lodge No. 147, Canby; Crescent Lodge No. 207, Staples; Fides Lodge No. 246, Sanborn; Red River Lodge No. 292, E. Grand Forks; Nashwauk Lodge No. 331, Nashwauk.
We have a relatively short period of time between the end of the Grand Lodge fiscal year on February 28th and the Annual Communication to prepare for the Annual Communication. It can create a serious burden on the Grand Lodge office when the Annual Returns (which are due annually on January 15th) are late and/or incomplete. Much more importantly, we appreciate and sincerely thank those Lodges and Secretaries who, year-in and year-out, file their returns promptly as required by the Minnesota Masonic Code.
Membership as of December 31, 2021, 9,245
Total Gains 409
Total Losses 788
Net Membership December 31, 2022 (unadjusted) 8,866
The membership figures show a 4.1% net loss for the year, 379 Freemasons.
BOND AND INSURANCE
The Grand Lodge has arranged through the West Bend Mutual Insurance Company, to provide Property, Liability, Medical Payment, Employee Dishonesty, Paraphernalia, the Grand Master’s jewel and Contents Coverages for the Grand Lodge. This group policy is issued in the name of the Grand Lodge and the Constituent Lodges as scheduled. The liability limit of the underlying policy is $1,000,000 and that amount is increased to $5,000,000 through an excess liability umbrella policy. Our group policy (excluding property coverage) is open to any Constituent Lodge wishing to participate and share in the group coverage expense. In addition to the above coverages, there is in effect coverage for Worker’s Compensation through the SFM Companies and a new Cyber liability policy ($2,000,000) through BCS Insurance Company. Directors and Officers liability coverage ($3,000,000) is under a policy issued by the Selective Insurance Company and covers Grand Lodge Directors and Officers, as well as Constituent Lodge Officers.
In the interest of time, I shall not review the entire financial schedule in detail. Detailed numerical reports of income and expense items and expenditures and income versus budgeted amounts can be viewed on the following pages. The Grand Treasurer’s Report covers the fund balances, and we are both in agreement as to our asset values. The annual certified audit of the Grand Lodge of Minnesota takes place every May and the auditor’s report will be available for the asking from the Grand Lodge office and a summary printed in the Grand Lodge Proceedings. You can be assured that the general operating expenses of your Grand Lodge are watched very carefully. We are here to manage the funds and other assets of the Grand Lodge that have been entrusted to our care, and we hope that we have been of the best possible service to Minnesota’s Freemasons.
To manage the ever-growing workload in the Grand Lodge office, we continually look to technology to help us become more efficient. This May marks our third year using Grand View Systems for member management and communications. The platform has proven invaluable in helping lodges more effectively engage with members, and exciting, new features are being regularly added to the toolkit.
Over the last year, we added auto-pay functionality for paying dues (in advance) in monthly installments, a lead qualification process to reduce the number of frivolous inquiries, and, with our sincere thanks to the Grand Lodge of Ohio, thirty-eight new automated email templates. Those email templates are timed to be sent a certain number of days after a status-changing event in Grand View. For example, when a candidate is initiated, he will receive automated emails from us 7, 14, 30, 60, and 90 days after he has been advanced. Each email provides a reminder that the lodge is here to support him on his journey, additional information about the degree process, as well as some words of encouragement. Seemingly small items like these automated emails have proven to be very powerful tools for member engagement. They will never be as good as, or replace, personal contact among brothers, but in our increasingly hurried society, they are a valuable supplement.
Some of the features we are working on for next year include ACH transfers for payments to lodges, to reduce printing and postage costs involved with mailing checks; automating certificates of good standing for inter-jurisdictional affiliations; and print-at-home dues cards with a built-in letter of introduction.
GRAND LODGE OFFICE
The office of Grand Secretary administers the day-to-day activities of the Grand Lodge of Minnesota, in addition to providing support to the officers and brethren of constituent lodges, the Grand Master, Grand Lodge Officers, Committees and Boards, District Representatives, Custodians, other Jurisdictions, and Appendant Bodies.
I extend my sincere thanks to our Assistant Grand Secretary, W. Brother Peter Van Osdol, for his hard work and cooperation with the duties he handles. Pete handles many of the day-to-day questions that arise, as well as the bookkeeping chores, around the office.
I would also like to thank the Area Deputies, District Representatives, Committees, and Lodge Secretaries for their hard work and dedication. It is largely through your volunteer efforts that our fraternity continues running, and it would be nearly impossible for the Grand Lodge office to function smoothly and efficiently without your assistance. In particular, I would like to recognize the efforts of Brother David Hartman for his valiant work overseeing the management of the Grand Lodge’s membership inquiry pipeline, and W. Brother Jason Lang for his extraordinary efforts in assisting the Grand Lodge office update and deploying new resources in Grand View.
The Grand Lodge office plays an important role in the fabric of Minnesota Freemasonry. To the 8,866 members of Minnesota Lodges, it has been my distinct pleasure to serve as your Grand Secretary this past year and I thank you for the confidence you have shown in me by electing me to this office.
Keith W. Reierson, Grand Secretary