Vasa Order of America
Grand Master's Message

Fall 2016 -  click to HERE to View in Swedish

 
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THE GRAND MASTER’S MESSAGE

Dear Vasa Brothers and Sisters,

We concluded our Vasa travels for the year with a trip to District Pennsylvania No. 9. They held their biennial convention at Punderson Manor, a beautiful mansion, located within Punderson State Park in Newbury, OH, just a half hour east of Cleveland.

We are looking forward to the holiday season that is upon us as you read this. Most of our Vasa lodges have a long tradition of celebrating the holidays, starting with Lucia and her procession of “tärnor”, “stjärngossar” and “tomtar” coming into a darkened room, singing the traditional Lucia song and often a number of other songs. For most of us, the culmination of the holidays is Christmas with all the traditional food and the tree beautifully decorated with presents under it waiting to be opened. In Sweden, most families open presents in the late afternoon or early evening on Christmas Eve. Many Vasa families brought that tradition with them to America.

The special Financial Report issue of the Vasa Star is now available on the web. I highly recommend that you study it. You will find the audited financial statements for 2015 for both the Grand Lodge and the Vasa National Archives. Our auditor is the independent auditing firm H&J CPA, Inc. in Concord, OH. This is the third year in a row we have a complete audit and we now have an audit trail showing our financial record of accomplishment. You will also find the tax returns for both organizations. I know many of you have asked the question “Where does my money go?” This is where you can find out.

You will also find one entry for monies recovered in the settlement of the RCG lawsuit and another one from Bank of America refunding excess investment fees charged over many years. Each of these is in excess of $150,000, monies that we now have in the bank because of much work on the part of GT Keith Hanlon and GLMEB Bruce Elfvin. It should be noted that these monies are not available for spending, as they are scholarship and Old Age and Benefit monies respectively.

I recently attended a Lodge anniversary party and had the privilege of talking to a long time member who related the story of arriving at Ellis Island from Sweden at the age of 3 in 1928. He mentioned that he recently had the opportunity to visit Ellis Island where he was interviewed about his experiences as an immigrant who had arrived and been processed through the facility. He encouraged everyone who had come through that facility to do the same when visiting that historic place.

We are now at the end of the year and I am requesting all secretaries to send me information about your members who will be celebrating their 75th, 80th etc. birthdays in 2017. Please also include anyone celebrating birthdays in excess of 100 years. With this information, I will be able to recognize them with a birthday greeting on their special days.

The next Grand Lodge Convention is now about 1½ years away and you must elect your Grand Lodge Delegate at your next District Convention. Delegate information must be submitted to the Grand Secretary no later than four months prior to the convention. That means this information has to reach GS Joan by the end of February 2018. It is critical that you elect delegates who are willing and able to run for Grand Lodge positions. All GL positions are filled by delegates and current officers. Delegates may run for and be elected to all GLEB positions except to Grand Master and Vice Grand Master, where prior service on the GLEB is required. Appointed positions, including Grand Lodge Deputy, are often filled by Delegates as well. While this is not mandated, the incoming Grand Master, who makes these appointments, will get to know the delegates pretty well during the convention.

You have heard me say this many times before: MEMBERSHIP CONTINUES TO BE OUR NUMBER ONE CHALLENGE and you need to keep that in mind at all times. Your lodge needs to have a Membership Chairman, though this is not the only person in charge of membership retention and recruitment – YOU ALL ARE! By retaining your members and getting new members, your lodge can grow and thrive. For this to happen, interesting lodge meetings are essential. The competition for your current and prospective members’ time is stiff. You need to have food at your meetings and put on programs that your members want to attend. Cultural Leaders, work with your District Cultural Leader and with your lodge members to create programs. It is every member’s job to make the meetings attractive to current and prospective members. Recruiting ONE new member is all I ask from each one of you. Keep your current members! Don’t be boring!

In Truth and Unity,
Tore Kellgren,
Grand Master


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