WM Rob Moron speech at 2015 Installation

November 7, 2015
Harmonic Lodge #356 EC

Worshipful Brethren, Visiting Brethren and all Distinguished Masons.

Brethren, the only way that we can live, is if we grow. The only way that we can grow is if we change. The progression of the Degrees illustrates this very well.

It has been 129 years since a Brother Morōn has sat in this chair, in this Harmonic Lodge #356. It is with humility, appreciation and gratitude that I stand here before you, not only as the symbolic representative of King Solomon, but as the humble representative of this Lodge. And while I cannot lie and say I am not filled with some measure of pride, it is not about me…

We have a tremendous opportunity for ourselves as brothers who were brought together by way of our mutual curiosity of the Craft. While we are not perfect now as a Lodge, we have the mindset to build towards perfection. We have an unshakeable foundation that has been laid through nearly 200 years of history. This Harmonic Lodge #356 has soul and substance. It has a story filled with romance, drama, tragedy and triumph and of course fraternal love.

Masonry worldwide, in general, struggles to be. Many Lodges struggle to merely exist, and others strive to gain new membership and even to collect dues from current members. New Lodges fight everyday with undeserved negative connotations about the institution and perceived irrelevance in today’s world.

But we as English Masons have a unique flavor to our Craft. And our Sovereign Land gives this Harmonic Lodge #356 a unique position not only as an English Lodge in the Eastern Caribbean, but as the First English Freemasonry Lodge on United States soil. There is only one other, that being St. Thomas Lodge #9679, which is also the Lodge in which I was initiated, passed and raised. So to these islands, perhaps needless to say, I do have a sacred and indissoluble attachment.

Our geographical location is indeed a strategic one, just as the United States Virgin Islands have always been a strategically located territory. The arms of the influence of Harmonic Lodge reach far and wide, in all directions, like the radii of a circle.

As the Mother Lodge of no less than four Lodges in the Eastern Caribbean ‐ St. Ursula’s Lodge No. 8952 EC, in Tortola; Unity Lodge No. 9166 in Anguilla; St. Thomas Lodge No. 9679 on St. Thomas; and Victoria Lodge No. 2196 in Barbados; the work by Harmonic Lodge, carried on by those founding Brethren and Worshipful Brethren that literally paved the way for what we now possess, cannot go unrecognized.

It must be recognized, not for glory or accolade, of course that is more than well deserved, but to remind us new brothers of the type of gusto and gumption and energy it takes to build things that can stand the test of time.

From this position we harness much influence. And as we know, the Craft is not limited to English Masons alone.

The home of our District Grand Lodge of Barbados and the Caribbean is also home to the Grand Lodge of the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of the Caribbean and its Jurisdictions. And having been formally recognized as a Regular Lodge by the United Grand Lodge of England, I put it to all the brethren, as a matter of common knowledge that our Lodges are in Amity. The brethren of each may visit each other’s Lodges and interact Masonically.

As you may, or may not know the grand master of the Mother Grand Lodge of England, H. R. H. The Duke of Cumberland, issued a charter for the African Lodge No. 1 later renamed African Lodge no. 459 September 29, 1784. The lodge was the country’s first African Masonic Lodge. And there is much more to that story, but I need not dilate here.

It is not difficult to see the common historical roots we share.

As such, I would like to recognize the visiting brethren here today…

How good and how pleasant it must be, before the Great Architect of the Universe, to see the unification of honorable men, on the square.

This gives even more credence to the peculiarity of our geographical position, our place in history, and our ability to further cement the bonds that bring us together as Brothers.

Perhaps not so coincidently, the day after my election I happened to have had the honor of meeting and sitting with the Most Worshipful Grand Master Kernel O’Brian Branford, the Rite Worshipful Deputy Grand Master Andrew Firebrace, and the Rite Worshipful Past District Deputy Grand Master and Current Special Grand Advisor for the Grandmaster for Puerto Rico, St. Thomas and Tortola, Roy Estrill, Jr, of the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of the Caribbean and Jurisdictions. It was evident that these esteemed brethren hold the highest respect for English Masonry and they proceeded to educate me on the history of inter‐lodge engagements and visitations in the Caribbean, which, to my personal disappointment had been previously unknown to me. I was embarrassed at my ignorance of this. But the lesson here brethren is that we always have an opportunity to be illuminated.

At the conclusion of our meeting there was a consensus that both organizations have distinct attributes that make them special and that we can learn a great deal from each other. This relationship further solidifies the concept of the universality of Freemasonry.

So here we are now in the present moment. As I see it, Harmonic Lodge, given all of its diversity and other peculiar attributes, is the perfect case study in the creation or rather the re‐creation of a vibrant Lodge that is in every way an institution of Brothers that stands apart and beyond the divisive ritualism, traditionalism, die‐hardism, exclusivism, hollow pomp and circumstance or any other distasteful or baneful thing that can sometimes infiltrate an organization. Though allow me to be absolutely clear, I wholeheartedly and fully recognize, acknowledge and respect that it is through traditional rituals, in their various forms, that the fundamental principles Freemasonry and of good citizenship in general are inculcated. This is the Regularity so often mentioned in our Craft Lodge.

Assuredly, this re‐creation is achievable because we have the working tools to do so. We are a progressive and broadminded society of Entered Apprentices, Fellow‐Crafts and Master Masons. We have elder brethren with the experience of the past and with a hopeful eye to the future. We have a beautiful Lodge in a beautiful Land. If the Great Architect were to bless us any more he would have to come down and literally hold our collective hands and do it for us.

But that would not make us good Masons, would it?

So no doubt it is fair to say that Harmonic Lodge is not perfect. And of course, what I say holds true for St. Thomas Lodge. My Brother SW and many others, and I, can attest to the amount of energy expended to try and hold our daughter Lodge together in the face of many challenges. I will say that St. Thomas Lodge is in a better place than it was just a short time ago. It has a purpose, and though still in a state of evolution, has a firm course to hold.

It is fair to say that we can do better. And we will do better. Additionally, it could be reasonable to say that sometimes the ideas and concepts required to create a social and fraternal organization that is pleasant and edifying for its members, are not adequately adopted and implemented. Perhaps it might be a bit too bold to say that ritual‐ism might have alienated some of us and others who possess other great talents, the resources, the sense of charity and the general potential and good will to make our organization better by their participation.

In my view, tradition should not trump the Trowel. Especially at the expense of Harmony.

The vision of Harmonic Lodge is local. In actuality, all Lodges are local. And my interpretation is as follows:

The Masonic structure of the local Lodge extends to the District Lodge, which extends to the Grand Lodge. It is a bottom‐up structure. Should there be no local Lodge, there would be no District Lodge and hence, no Grand Lodge. And although distinctions among men are needed to preserve subordination, we must not forget that we are Brothers.

This is why the Level is so important brethren. We must always remember that we are in service to each other and that we prize honor and virtue above the external advantages of rank and fortune. And that philosophy begins within our own organization of men. It is not only applied to the secular world.

A very good brother once told me that you can take a pile of your aprons and adornments and medals and not be able to trade them for a loaf of bread or a bottle of milk, should you fall on misfortune and find yourself poor and penniless…

So please let us focus on the development of this Local Lodge first. Let us become good stewards, officers and brethren first. Let our example speak by actions and our Harmony resonate throughout the secular community and throughout the Masonic District.

Let us also be conscious of the things that take up time during our Lodge meetings that bring no true Masonic benefit. We must be aware that we all have reprioritized precious time away from our wives, our significant others, our children, our families, our professions, our collective lives in general. As Master my duty is to ensure the dispensation of Masonic wages in the form of Light. So this year we will learn more, speak more and deliberate more on all things Masonic in all of our proceedings. This is a natural progression for Masons of merit and precept, who hold a Lodge.

So as much as my Mastership will be a learning experience for me, I will make it a learning experience for you. There is always much to learn and re‐learn in the Craft Lodge. Of course by you, I mean the so called “younger brethren” relatively new to the Craft, including myself; and of course, what I feel is a majority of the so called “elder brethren”, that are still engaged and hopeful for a resurgence of harmony.

But I would be remiss not to mention that I know there are cynical brethren too. I know that there are brethren that may disagree with what I have said today. Disagree with how I interpret Freemasonry and may also disagree with the ideals of my vision as a new Worshipful Master of this Lodge, as I lay it out before you here today. Some have said I have ill‐conceived Masonic notions and some even bitterly and vociferously disagree with my own election as Master. There was additionally contention that the established tradition of ascension was harmfully violated.

May I remind all of us of the following excerpt from the Book of Constitutions, which I might add that we are exhorted to read as Masons, because, and I quote, “scarcely a case of difficulty can occur in the Lodge in which that book will not set you right”; of which it is stated in section four which is entitled:

Of MASTERS, WARDENS, FELLOWS, and APPRENTICES ALL preferment among masons is grounded upon real worth and personal merit only; that so the lords may be well served, the brethren not put to shame, nor the royal craft despised; therefore no master or warden is chosen by seniority, but for his merit. It is impossible to describe these things in writing, and therefore every brother must attend in his place, and learn them in a way peculiar to this fraternity.

Nevertheless, I do know that it is in the benefit of the Lodge for the friends and enemies of a matter to debate in whatever forum may be had. For friction is a brother of progress.

Brethren, the Masonic Lodge is very much a microcosm of social life. Becoming a better person as a result of Freemasonry comes not from only the study of the principles on which our society is established, but also from the disciplined work done in the Lodge itself and the Masonic interaction we have with each other.

As such, let us have a Local Craft Lodge that makes us proud. That brings us comfort and joy. That eases our anxieties and soothes our afflictions by our sense of Fraternity and our affection for one another. Let us have a Lodge that makes our significant others happy that we belong to it. Let us have a Lodge that we truly look forward to coming to. Let us have a Lodge that makes others seek membership. Let us have a Lodge for which dues are a pleasure to pay.

And finally, let us have a Lodge that shines its Light as does that bright Morning Star that rises in the East, and brings us peace and whose warmth will undoubtedly foster our growth in harmony.

Thank you.

W.M. Rob Morōn