Greetings Nobles, Ladies and Friends,
I would like to start off by personally thanking the Nobility for allowing me to continue to represent them and being advanced to the high office of Potentate, Rameses Shriners. It is both an honour and privilege to do so and I am very humbled by it. Please know that both Lady Ann and I have your best interests at heart. Thank you.
Serving Rameses Shriners these last four years have again, been my honour, visiting the various Clubs and Units, attending your functions and representing you at an Imperial level. What I have seen is that Rameses remains a leader in Canada and Internationally. Through your efforts we continue to donate our time and monies to keep our hospitals running, especially our Montreal Hospital, and I am humbled by your generosity.
I would like to congratulate the Elected Divan on being advanced to the next rank as well as both the Treasurer and Recorder for being re-elected to their offices. I would also like to congratulate our new Oriental Guide to the Divan, Noble John Neil, welcome Noble John and Lady Peggy. As well, a thank you to both Nobles Reddy Sampath and Les Bodrogi for the interest you showed in running for the Oriental Guide position.
As everyone knows, we lost two months due to this Pestilence (I refuse to use its name) which has plagued the world, however, we plan to make the most of it, as the saying goes “If you’re dealt Lemons, make Lemonade”, well we plan on doing just that. Let’s all plan on making this a most positive year with only good thoughts and intentions.
Nobles, the Shrine was built on the premise of having FUN, and that fun turned into hundreds of thousands of Masons becoming Shriners. It was the experience of having FUN and good times at our social gatherings, parades, and other events that built this great fraternity into the World’s Greatest Philanthropy, “Shriners Hospitals for Children”.
We must bring back those times of Fun and Fellowship if we expect our declining membership numbers to rebound, the remainder of this year will be built on the premise of our Imperial Potentates “Fun and Fellowship” slogan. I encourage jokes to be told, kibitzing to be fruitful, and all around good times in the name of Shriners and Shriners Hospitals for Children.
Nobles, we must always be vigilant about our Brand, which is the FEZ. Know that when you wear your Fez in public, people are watching you, so wear it often and wear it with pride and respect.
My slogan this year is “BIGGER THAN OURSELVES”. When I joined the Shrine, I was looking for something I could be part of that was more than just about myself. It is said that Masonry makes “Good Men Better”, and Shrinedom takes those good men and makes “Communities Better”. Everything we do as Shriners is done for someone else, specifically children with crippling and burn injuries. This is where the “Bigger than Ourselves” comes in. The money you raise, the events you participate in, the dues you pay, the time you spend at and for your Shrine Club, Unit and Rameses Temple is all for the benefit of our Hospitals and the Children who we help on a daily basis. Please don’t forget why you became a Shriner, as the need is still there as the number of cases our Hospitals see every year continues to increase. This past year and even now we are in a situation where our members may question or have felt “why belong to an organization that does not meet or can’t have the FUN that we are supposed to be having”. Well Nobles, because you are part of something far “BIGGER THAN YOURSELF”, you are part of the “World’s Greatest Philanthropy” and that takes work on your part. So Nobles, let’s all continue to be part of something “BIGGER THAN OURSELVES”, let’s be Shriners and make our ancestors proud.
Nobles, we have several issues which we need to resolve so that we will survive and although “change is hard”, we need to embrace this change, especially in the field of technology. Zoom has become the “norm”, however we need to look beyond Zoom if we expect to attract new Nobles to our great fraternity. Going electronic or digital is paramount, not only as a cost saving measure but also in the forum of communication. Today’s generations conduct their lives via technology, in various forums of social media, and if we expect to attract these new members we must change our thought process and keep up with these changing times. It is nolonger acceptable to say things like “well, we have always done it that way”, because Nobles, those ways have not been working for some time now. We must stop thinking of what we like to do and start thinking what others may like to do, remember, “it’s not about you”.
We need to look at who our “target audience” is and gear our efforts and fraternity towards them so that one-day we can be replaced. There are several immediate areas where we can enact this change and one is in this periodical, Papyrus and how it is produced, delivered and read. Every other periodical and news publication has already gone digital in one form or another.
Nobles, I regularly use a saying, which fits our present day situation perfectly, “you’re either on the train or you’re left at the station”, therefore we must stop being left at the station and get on this train.
Remember we are . . .
“BIGGER THAN OURSELVES”