Thank you for your warm fraternal reception with the Grand Honor.
I will first ask Assistant Grand Secretary Worshipful Brother Claude Soucaille to introduce the accompanying Grand Officers.
I would like to share with you my perspective, or my theme rather, for this Masonic Year toward our Craft.
Our fraternity is basically resting on a foundation with 3 interlocking, interdependent pillars, supporting one another, namely 1) expanding membership / receiving new members, 2) peace, harmony, fellowship & brotherly love, 3) ritual work, Masonic education & research.
A sample diagram in your hands demonstrates the three pillars for your comprehension. This is nothing new nor reinvention of our understanding of Freemasonry, but merely a very straightforward summary of where we stand & what challenges lie ahead for all of us.
Referring to expanding membership / receiving new members, one of the three interlocking, interdependent pillars, I quote the following:
"Instead of focusing on how we can bring more members into our fraternity, we should be asking ourselves: How can we add more value to Masonry, so that more will join & fewer will leave. We should refuse to consider giving a lesser effort to our work. We must always demand the best in our lives, especially in our Craft. In Masonry, only our best is good enough. We should all remember this well, and do our very best to be an upright Mason." That being said, we shouldn't compromise quality of our candidates. All constituent lodges have in place the standard protocol in interviewing the candidate & investigating candidate's profile before brethren cast their ballot in the lodge. We always explain to the candidate that time commitment is critically essential, i.e.: attending regularly stated meetings, Masonic education & research meetings, fellowship activities, etc. Without regular attendance, it is only a matter of time before the new brothers to lose focus & sight of why we come to the fraternity at first place. As a gentle reminder, there are certain rules & regulations which we must strictly adhere to in terms of different qualifications per our Grand Lodge of China constitution, before we can accept the petition from a candidate.
Let's move on to the second pillar: peace, harmony, fellowship & brotherly love.
One of my many goals during this Masonic year is to foster interaction, bonding between the constituent lodges within Grand Lodge of China. We, as one big family under one roof, can work together as a team for our Craft. Therefore I have one request for Your Lodge, i.e.: to hold during this Masonic Year 1) a joint stated meeting, or 2) a lodge visit / receive a lodge visit, or 3) a joint degree work, naming just a few suggestions for Worshipful Master Tomas to consider, plan & complete during this Masonic Year.
I encourage brethren of Your Lodge to attend the following fellowship events: 1) the Chinese New Year fellowship dinner, organized by Worshipful Master Tony Hsieh & brethren of Han Lodge, to be held on Saturday 20 February, 2) fellowship outing, organized by Worshipful Master Charles Teng & brethren of Sun Lodge, to be held on Sunday 27 March 2016.
Joint installation of 9 constituent lodges held on 29 August 2015 was very successful, productive & rewarding. We should plan ahead for one in August this year as well.
Grand Lodge of China has had a long history of relationship with many Grand Lodges around the world. I would of course like to expand & reach out to as many Grand Lodges as possible, to exchange with and to inspire each other for the benefit of the "Craft". "Within four seas, all are brethren" ”四海之內，皆兄弟也”
Grand Secretary MW Norman Pin & I returned over a month ago from Paris where we attended the Annual Grand Communication of Grande Loge Nationale Francaise & installation ceremony of Grand Master Most Worshipful Jean-Pierre SERVAL. It was a great experience, inspiration to meet brethren of GLNF, brethren from around the world & a great privilege, honor to represent Grand Lodge of China in international Freemasonry arena. I inivte you, brethren of Your Lodge, to join our Grand Lodge of China delegation to visit Grand Lodge of Japan on 18, 19 March 2016 & to visit Grand Lodge of the Philippines on 27 - 30 April 2016.
We now look at the third pillar: ritual work, Masonic education & research.
Grand Lodge of China has scheduled, under the organization of Deputy Grand Master Right Worshipful Dennis Liao, quarterly Masonic research & education session, the next one being on Wednesday 16 March 18:30-20:45. As you know, all GLOC research paper can now be accessed thru Drop box folder via an internet link provided by our Assistant Grand Secretary W Bro Claude Soucaille.
Some of you were not able to attend the Grand Master's banquet on 24 October 2015.
I present to each one of you a pair of white Masonic gloves as a small token of my appreciation for your trust & confidence in electing me to this time-honored position.
I hereby share with you the following:
"White gloves are intended to teach all Masons that the act of a Mason should be as pure & spotless as the white gloves presented to all Grand Lodge of China brethren. Hands are the symbols of human actions: pure hands are pure actions. Operative Masons wore gloves to protect their hands from the effect of their work, we today's Speculative Masons wear the white gloves for a more noble & glorious purpose."
In summary, to build & further strengthen the solid platform as the foundation of our fraternity supporting by the three pillars, we must allocate equal amount of time, balanced efforts & resources to all three. Freemasonry is not a social club. Learning is at the core of Freemasonry. We all joined the fraternity to learn to improve ourselves, & that improvement require knowledge, & that in turn calls for learning more about the craft. Fellowship alone does not meet our objectives / goals set out to accomplish when joining Freemasonry. The quarterly GLOC research meeting is an excellent venue to share & learn from each other. I encourage Your Lodge to organize its own Masonic education & research meeting as many other constituent lodges do.
In closing, I remind you the words of our First Grand Master late Most Worshipful David W. K. Au delivered during his installation in 1949:
"Freemasonry goes beyond holding ritual ceremonies to entertain its members or to seek honors for the few, erecting magnificent temples, soliciting social elites to join, or conducting charitable businesses to meet one's ego. Freemasonry goes deeper to nurture a perfect personality with one’s conscience. The philosophy of Freemasonry lies within the Chinese ancient wisdom. Mencius said: "The square and compasses produce perfect squares and circles. By the sages, the human relations are perfectly exhibited.” which best elaborates the symbolic meanings of Masonic tools.
I hereby recite the above in Chinese for another perspective of comprehension.
After more than 60 years, these words of wisdom echo resoundingly today.
A Masonic annual calendar, listing all Grand Lodge of China activities for this Masonic Year & beyond, has been distributed, to be updated regularly, to all the lodges so that we all can plan ahead & better manage our time dedicated to the Fraternity.
Grand Lodge of China is holding this Masonic Year regular office hours: 15:00 to 19:00 on Tuesdays, Thursdays & Saturdays. Either or both Grand Secretary MW Norman Pin & Assistant Grand Secretary W Bro Claude Soucaille will be available during the regular office hours.
Last but not the least, I hereby appoint RW Jackson Cheng, who is not with us this evening, to be the Grand Inspector of Your Lodge.
Thank you for your attention.
Worshipful Master : I now return to you the gavel, a symbol of authority, for you to govern your lodge.
Grand Lodge Of Free and Accept Mason of China Located in Taipei, Taiwan