Message from the Deputy for Pennsylvania
THE CHALLENGES FOR THE FUTURE
by Thomas K. Sturgeon, 33°, Active
If we are to assess the future of our Scottish Rite Valley, we need to refer to the membership statistics. The paramount issue for all of the Scottish Rite is simply membership. As it is with all of Freemasonry, the number of members has steadily decreased since 1960 and the Scottish Rite has suffered a like decrease. The truth is that the Scottish Rite membership has decreased at a faster rate than the Grand Lodge.
Twenty years ago, the Scottish Rite in Pennsylvania enjoyed having approximately 50% of all Pennsylvania Masons as members. Today only 30% of Pennsylvania Masons are members of the Scottish Rite. That accelerated decline is alarming and needs to be dealt with.
The leadership of the Supreme Council has made major steps to modernize the AASR. One of the more important changes is the use of DVD recordings of many of the degrees. These DVD degrees are very well done with great acting, tremendous stage sets, and excellent directing. The other obvious benefit of the DVD’s is an expedited presentation for the new class who is viewing the DVD degree.
The time between the degrees can be almost immediate rather than having 15-20 minutes of dead time while the stage is being reset.
The Supreme Council has focused a great deal of time and resources on helping our brothers in need. This is being done mostly through the Almoners Fund. The Supreme Council is letting our members know that we care about them. In addition to financial assistance, our members are remembered on their Masonic birthday as well as their true birthday.
We have so much to offer and it becomes a duty for all of us who care, to look among our brothers and to invite them into the AASR. Let us again, grow the membership in our Scottish Rite Valleys so to ensure the future of this wonderful Masonic body so that future generations of Freemasons will have available to them, what we enjoy today.