Labor Resumes in Oklahoma
Submitted by Right Puissant Companion Clyde H. Schoolfield Jr., General Grand Lecturer
Front row: Robert G. Davis (Grand Master of Masons in Oklahoma), John F. Carter (Grand High Priest of Royal Arch Masons in Oklahoma), Clyde H. Schoolfield, Jr. (Grand Master of Cryptic Masons in Oklahoma), and Robert R. Rolseth (Grand Commander of Knights Templar in Oklahoma).
Back three rows: The 72 newest Cryptic Masons in Oklahoma.
While the pandemic put a damper on all Masonic activities, degree conferrals, particularly at festivals, may have suffered the most. Over the past year, as we slowly began our return to normalcy, we were able to hold several small regional degree festivals. This was definitely an improvement over the previous year, but it paled in comparison to our pre-pandemic years.
This month we were able to get back to (what passes for normal) here in Oklahoma, holding our annual Grand Master’s York Rite Festival on Saturday, September 11th in Oklahoma City. The guest of honor was Most. Wor. Bro. Robert G. Davis, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge A.F. & A.M. of the State of Oklahoma. This is an annual ritual (literally) of ours in which we confer the York Rite degrees on candidates from throughout the state. We were last able to hold this event in June of 2019.
The morning began with the conferral of the Capitular degrees: Mark Master, Past Master, Most Excellent Master, and Royal Arch. The afternoon began with the Royal Master degree, conferred by John L. Logan, Regional Deputy General Grand Master for the South-Central Region. This was followed by the Select Master degree, conferred by our current Grand Council officers, including Most. Wor. Bro. Davis in his other capacity as the Grand Principal Conductor of the Work in Oklahoma. The Festival concluded with the conferral of the Commandery orders: Illustrious Order of the Red Cross, Order of Malta, and the Order of the Temple.
As excited as we were to see the return of this annual event, it in no way compares with how excited we were at the prospect of seventy-two new members joining us at the festival. (See the accompanying photograph.) But these candidates didn’t just materialize out of thin air; they were the result of months of preparatory work by our Grand Council officers, membership committee, and local Councils.
Beginning in 2013, we have been making a concerted effort in Oklahoma to emphasize membership recruitment. These efforts have used a number of diverse methods ranging from widely distributed promotional materials to visits to local lodges. These recruitment strategies have been topics of discussion for the past several years at our South-Central Regional Conferences. Much of the material from these conferences are available online in the “Membership Recruitment Presentations” and “Membership Recruitment Resources” sections of our regional website:
These recruitment strategies are also discussed in an article that I wrote last year entitled “Membership Recruitment During a Pandemic,” which is also available on our regional website.
I would encourage our Grand Councils, along with their local Councils, to seriously examine various methods that might improve their membership recruitment and to adopt those that they find to be most appropriate for them. I don’t doubt that they will be pleasantly surprised by the results.