Thursday, June 7, 2018

Taking The Show On The Road!

Yup, that's a lot of pins.

This is the Grand Lodge of Illinois AF & AM Eastern Area of Illinois--15 districts and 99 Lodges.  I'm to be the new Eastern Area Education Officer, so this is my domain.  I've usually steered clear of Grand Lodge positions--I've always felt I reach more people and am able to do more good with my books, and through the Midnight Freemasons blog.  In fact, I had an opportunity a couple years ago to join the Grand Lodge line--I backed out at the last minute when I realized that perhaps I'm not the right type for that duty, and that Illinois probably isn't ready for a Grand Master Creason even 15 or 20 years from now.

But then this AEO job came up, and I realized what a unique opportunity it offered.  We've been doing some interesting things at Homer Lodge No. 199 and with Admiration Chapter No. 282 RAM with education--in fact, both the Lodge and the Chapter have education and member development as its central focus, and both are seeing a very positive impact on our membership.  And of course the Midnight Freemasons have been leading the charge in emphasizing the need for better Lodge education--not to mention proving through its tremendous success that there is indeed an interest in topics relating to Freemasonry.  When this job came up, I realized I was uniquely qualified to fill it--I'm knowledgeable in the subject, and the challenges.  I know many of the District Education Officers (which include Midnight Freemason Darin Lahners).  And as a bonus, I know the State Education Officer, also a former Midnight Freemasons contributor WB Scott Dueball.  So here we go on a new adventure.

In Illinois, like in many other places, education and member development is being taken much more seriously than it was even a decade ago.  The biggest challenge is that Freemasonry hasn't done a great job in encouraging Masons to study in more depth the topic of Freemasonry for a couple decades or so--so we find ourselves short on scholars, teachers, presenters, writers, etc.  So that's really where we have to start--building core groups of educators.   There are Masons interested in this area.  I get emails nearly every day.  It's a matter of providing them with the resources, training, guidance, and opportunities to share what they're learning.  And that's going to be my focus.

Sounds simple, right?  Believe me, it's easier said than done.

So going forward, I would imagine I'll be writing a lot about the places I'll be visiting, and the things I'm learning during my travels. I don't plan on visiting all 99 Lodges, but I do plan on visiting at least one in each District during my first year.  It should be an interesting new adventure, and I hope it will provide me with plenty of fodder for future articles and posts.

~Todd E. Creason, 33°

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