11 Jan Papyrus Magazine Winter 2023
Volume 44 Number 1
Illustrious Sir Joseph “Joe” W. Johnson
Nobles, thank you for bestowing on me that great honour of being elected as your Rameses Potentate. I look forward to working with all of the Nobles and Ladies from our many Clubs and Units within Rameses. As we get more normalized after the few years in the pandemic, we are finally able to envision active Club and Unit participation in meetings, parades, and events. I know everyone has been looking forward to this year and we, as your Rameses Divan, are hoping to make things happen to improve membership, communication and bring back the fun. We cannot do it alone, but with all the Clubs and Units working together, we can once again move forward.
I must commend Illustrious Sir Donald Campbell on his year and his work to pull us out of the pandemic frozen stage where everything was in hibernation or semi lockdown. No, the virus hasn’t gone away, but people are more careful in what they do and where they go. We still see some people masking up and that is their privilege. You see it in the Lodges as well, and once the membership returns, we can start that communication with our Brethren on joining our Great Philanthropy and the fun side of fellowship.
Congratulations to Noble Michael Webb on being elected as our Oriental Guide. Welcome to you and Lady Leslie. We looking forward to working with you in 2023. Since you were our Marshal on the Appointed Divan, you are fairly familiar with what goes on at Rameses and with your new replacement Noble Peter Wallace, I am sure you can mentor him and make him successful as well. Also congratulations to the rest of the Elected Divan and to my Appointed Divan for taking on their responsibilities for the upcoming year.
I have served on the Divan for four years. The last three years were during COVID-19 and these years have not been easy for Rameses Shriners. We lost a lot of members through the Black Camel and didn’t gain very many new members during that time. Things are looking better, and after last year’s Spring Ceremonial in St. Catharines, this years Spring Ceremonial is booking fast. Border crossing without having to show a COVID Vaccination report or filling in the ArriveCAN App means that once again we can get to the Imperial Session in Charlotte, NC, this year.
This year we have reinstated the Public Relations (PR) Team with Illustrious Sir Ray Causton, P.P., Chairing and Illustrious Sir Al Berry, P.P., Co-chairing. This team is further made up of Noble Hugo Avendano creating PSA’s, and Social Media members Noble Mehdi Pakzad and Noble Kelly Holden. We are creating an external Facebook and Calendar site for the Clubs and Units to post their activities, photos, and information, to help spread what the Clubs are doing and inviting interested individuals (other Shriners, relatives, Masons, and the public) to support and attend these events. They are also working on those 4-minute pitches you can give to your fellow Masons in Lodge and educate them on “Who are the Shriners and What do they do?”. Support of your Craft Lodge is essential in inviting Brethren into Shriners.
We also have an active Membership Chairman in Noble Randy Ling and his team. We are making sure that Membership and PR work closely together to help solve that membership issue and let the communities know who we are and what we do as well. Keep an eye on these two teams this year.
This year, unlike the last few, we are planning a Potentate’s Cruise Trip in the north-east US and Canada, with hopes of stopping at two of our Shriners Children’s Hospital locations (Boston, MA, and Montreal, QC). Keep an eye on the Papyrus for details.
We are looking at having a return of the Management Seminars for the Shrine Club and Unit leadership (Presidents, Secretaries, Treasurers, or others interested in leadership positions). Time and place will be sent to the Clubs and Units. While we won’t have straight Zoom meetings, we may make hybrid on site and Zoom meetings to help accommodate the Shrine Clubs in the furthest reaches of Rameses’ territory.
I am also looking at extending the Zoom meetings to the Ambassadors to try and keep up with happenings, as well as Zoom meetings with the Past Potentates. Past Potentates have a wealth of knowledge that isn’t always tapped.
First Lady Joyce’s Project is in the support of Mobility Devices for the Shriners Hospital for Children – Canada Rehabilitation Services. These devices are custom tailored to the individual patient and grow with them or are replaced as the need arises. The description of her Project is located in the Papyrus.
First Lady Joyce and I will see you in our travels. May everyone stay safe and have fun again. Travel and visit our Shrine Clubs and Shrine Events. You are what Shrinedom is all about. Our Shrine children look to us for support.