The Grand Lodge of Vermont
The most ancient and honorable society of FREE & ACCEPTED MASONS of the state of Vermont
George J. Deblon
Grand Master Telephone (802) 223-1883
49 East Road Toll Free: (800) 479-3975
Barre, VT 05641-5390 firstname.lastname@example.org
June 18, 2016
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.
THE SUMMARY BELOW IS TO BE READ TO THE BRETHREN OF EACH SUBORDINATE LODGE AT THE FIRST REGULAR COMMUNICATION FOLLOWING ITS RECEIPT.
Summary of General Order No. 1
The detail of General Order No. 1, on the pages that follow, addresses the following:
- Grand Lodge Officers, District Deputy Grand Masters, Past Grand Masters and Grand Lodge Committee Appointments
- Visiting in Sister Grand Jurisdictions
- Use of Alcoholic Beverages
- Ceremony of Recognition of the Flag
- Vermont Masonic Code
- Ritual and Floorwork
- Prohibited Balloting
- Use of Cell Phones
- Appointment of a Lodge Education Officer
- Uncoded Ritual and Floorwork
- Reports Required on VTROLLS
- Grand Lodge Officer and Committee Reports
- Care When Using Social Media
- Grand Master's Programs; Have Fun!
General Order Number 1 contains a list of the Grand Lodge officers, committee chairmen 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.
END OF SUMMARY
General Order No. 1
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 listed in the appendix to this General Order. They are admonished to conform their conduct and performance of their duties in strict accordance within the ancient customs, usages, and landmarks of the fraternity as well as within the Vermont Masonic Code.
Visiting in Sister Grand Jurisdictions
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, the following guidelines are issued concerning 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 or ceremonial event without a prior dispensation from the Grand Master.
- No Freemason shall consume any alcoholic beverages while representing Freemasonry in public or 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.
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. 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 the 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.
Vermont Masonic Code
The Vermont Masonic Code contains provisions governing all Freemasons, all subordinate Lodges and the Grand Lodge in this jurisdiction. The importance of its provisions cannot be overstated and they 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 officers, 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.
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.
Use of Cell Phones
Cell phones are to be off or in silent or vibrate mode, and is not to be used in a lodge room after the first sound of the gavel until the Lodge is closed.
Appointment of a Lodge Education Officer
To enrich Lodge meetings, to further provide Masonic education to all Brothers in attendance at Lodge meetings, and to increase the potential of improved attendance at Lodge meetings, each Lodge will appoint and utilize the services of a Lodge Education Officer. This person is responsible for ensuring that a few moments of each regular communication are devoted to such education.
Uncoded Ritual and Floorwork
At the 1998 annual communication of the Grand Lodge of Vermont, a resolution was adopted regarding obtaining, using and securing a completely clear 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.
Reports Required on VTROLLS
VTROLLS reporting is a requirement for all Lodges. All Lodge Secretaries are required to see that the following are completed on VTROLLS:
- The Lodge's annual report will be submitted by the tenth day of April in each year;
- The annual roster of elected Lodge officers will be entered by the tenth day of May in each year;
- Action will show "attesting" that the IRS Form 990 or 990N has been submitted to the IRS annually and in a timely fashion.
- Membership records and Lodge information will be updated continuously and in a timely fashion.
Failure to do so will void the Lodge's right to vote at the Grand Lodge session. In addition, failure to file the Form 990 or 990N with the IRS subjects the Lodge and Grand Lodge to severe penalties from the IRS. \
Grand Lodge Officer and Committee Reports
All Grand Lodge Officers and committees are to file their annual reports, electronically if possible, to the Grand Secretary by the tenth day of May that they may be included in the Annual communication Book of Reports.
Care When Using Social Media
Brethren are reminded of their obligations and the statement in the Temple Lecture that refers to the "Constitution guarded by the Tyler's Sword." Social electronic media are used extensively as one method of communication. Brethren are reminded that care and thought are necessary before posting material on social media. Your actions as a Mason on these social media sites should promote the highest standards of morality and integrity. You shall not identify another Brother as a member of the Craft without his permission, shall not discuss any Lodge business, nor discuss any information related to an applicant or his investigation. Actions that do not promote high standards will be considered unmasonic conduct. You are reminded that submissions on social media become a permanent record, that positive and negative comments about a Brother or the Fraternity become generally available. Thus, you should always display courtesy toward others.
Programs of Grand Master Adopted At Annual Communication
I invite your attention to the remarks of the Grand Master-Elect Address to the Annual Communication on June 15th, 2016. In those remarks, it was recommended that the Grand Lodge continue with the C.A.R.E. Program and the Scholarship Program, as well with the continuation with all existing awards and programs, which is to include the Proud To Be A Mason program and the Masonic License Plate program. It was mentioned that there will be no new program put into place, but we will go with a theme, "Back To The Basics". It was also encouraged for all lodges to have more family oriented Masonic functions, and to participate in community events. A special committee was formed last year for the purpose of the Northeast Conference of Grand Masters, Deputy Grand Masters and Grand Secretaries, which the Grand Lodge of Vermont will be hosting July 15-17, 2016, in Killington, VT. Brethren, please remember to have fun!
The Grand Master-Elect Address can be found in the book of proceedings.
I am confident that the full import, significance and authority of this general order will be understood by all Brethren of the Craft.
George J. Deblon, M.W. Grand Master
Robert J. Donnelly, Jr., R.W. Grand Secretary