Chicago Council Princes of Jerusalem
2019-2020 Annual Report
Illustrious Deputy Representative, Illustrious Active Emeritus, Illustrious Brothers, my Dear Brothers All:
I hope that this message finds you and your family in good health and good spirits. For the last two years, I have had the privilege to observe the inner workings of the Executive Committee and the Board of Directors, and I am very proud to share my observations with you. There have been many significant changes within our Valley during this time. We have a new Deputy Representative, a new Executive Secretary, and many new roles and responsibilities have been modified or created. It is my hope, and my personal belief, that these major changes have gone on largely unnoticed by the members of the Valley in general. There has been a tremendous effort on the part of so many individuals in order to make this possible for us. I would like to bring to light some of those individuals.
I will begin with two of my fellow Presiding Officers, Bro. Angelo Deserio and Ill. Bro. Lance Welter, VA, MSA, 33°. I have watched these two Masons put in more hours of work than are available each week. I honestly do not know how they did it. With all the changes happening in our Valley they instilled a new vigor to refresh and renew all aspects of our operations. With their guidance, we completely revamped the annual budget, updated the by-laws of all the bodies, and pledged that if our Valley was going to host a meeting it was going to be an event you would not want to miss. With every line item on the budget and every decision regarding an event or reunion, there was only one item weighed on the scale opposing it; Is this the best use of the Valley’s resources to provide a genuine benefit to the most amount of our members? If the answer was, “Yes” we changed it. The work these men did during their term will have an enormously positive effect on our Valley for many, many years to come. I think it’s important that you know that.
Another great example of the tremendous effort that goes largely unseen is the Labors of Ill. Bro. Stanley Smith, MSA, 33°, and his staff. Many of our events have a theme. The way that theme is communicated most prominently is by transforming our beautiful facility into a completely new space. I am continually amazed by how much he is able to accomplish with so very little provided to him. As a result of the many changes happening with our budget and committees, the holiday party last year slipped through the cracks…but you probably didn’t notice, thanks to the truly impressive creativity and skill of Ill. Bro. Stanley. And for those of you that attended the ‘Speak Easy’ event, you already understand. What you might not know is how many hours it takes to make our events so enjoyable and memorable. It takes a lot, Brothers.
Everything we do is possible due to the hard work and devotion of our office staff. Bro. Dave Koss and his team do so much for us, and the less obvious it is, the better job they did. They work a lot longer and a lot harder, with much more heart than I have ever worked in any job I’ve held.
I admire them, and we all depend on them. Their value cannot be overstated.
While there are many more groups of people that I could mention, I would like to conclude with a focus on our Almoner’s Office. We are all in the grips of this challenging pandemic, which has changed so much of our daily life. The moment the ‘Shelter in Place’ order was given in Illinois and our Grand Master decreed that our meetings be placed on hold, the entire focus of everyone on every committee shifted to the welfare of our fellow Scottish Rite Masons. It was truly emotional to behold. All Masons speak of ‘Brotherly Love, Relief, and Truth’, but we aren’t often given the opportunity to have our convictions tested. We are all in the midst of that test right now. The response I have seen from the Valley of Chicago and the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction has made me so proud of my affiliation. I hope you feel that same pride. Ill. Bro. James Patton, 33°, Bro. Bradley Baker, VA, and Bro. Kristeffor Caldwell, along with their volunteers have made hundreds upon hundreds of phone calls to reach out to every one of our members. Imagine that…imagine the time and effort involved to reach out to everyone. Asking them if they are safe. Asking them if they are in need. Asking them if we can help. Yes, WE. They are calling on our behalf, not on behalf of the Valley. What is the value of the peace of mind they are providing? This is Masonry, my Brothers. These times may be challenging, but they are also the opportunity to prove that we walk as well as we talk. These Brothers are helping us keep our obligations.
My Brothers, we have done everything possible to ensure that we hit the ground running when these challenging times pass us by. I am eagerly looking forward to greeting each of you when we can meet again in our hallowed halls. I hope that you feel the same pride that I do when we consider that we are members of this great Fraternity, and our Valley of Choice.
In these times of uncertainty and change we can, each of us, anchor ourselves on our Masonic values, our commitment to each other, and to our Scottish Rite Valley. Many things may change, but the most important of them will never do so. I am so very grateful to serve as an officer of our Valley, and I am so very grateful to call each of you my Brother.
Yours Most Sincerely and Fraternally,
Chad M. Lacek, HGA
Chicago Council Princes of Jerusalem