|SEPTEMBER 2, 2011 --
Growth in new membership and growth in new Granges, this is our future. I am a firm believer in respecting our history and our past while always looking and moving towards the future. Sometimes we have to slow down and look at our past and our rich history, look at who we are. I have often wondered why people belong to the Grange. I understand why people belong to the Grange, but WHY do people belong to the Grange? I saw in a member’s eyes why they belong to the Grange. Not the obvious stuff. It’s not the good programs, it’s not the building. Bud Beecher loves the Grange as much as he loved his wife. Upon receiving his 75 year certificate you could see in his eyes Grange in his heart and his soul. That’s why someone belongs to the Grange. That’s why our organization is as amazing as it is. I am always preaching the future, tomorrow, the future, tomorrow. But Bud got me thinking. There is no future, there is no tomorrow without always remembering who we are and where we came from.
I am not telling any Grange what format they are to use. I am asking every member of every Grange in Connecticut to take a moment, get your hands on one of the original manuals and READ IT. Don’t read the words. Read the manual, read what it means, read who we are, why we are who we are. These are amazing, amazing words. For the most part, these words were written in 1867 with minor modifications since then. They are as poignant and necessary today as they were when they were written.
The fundamental foundation of our ritual and our organization is its members and their beliefs. A good Patron of Husbandry exemplifies these qualities, the qualities of their obligations daily. They live it, they breathe it, they believe it. That’s what a true Grange member is. Our ritual is viewed by many members as an obstacle. We are taking in more and more new members to my extreme delight. It is our obligation to encourage and enable all members to know and understand these words our founders have written. There are no obstacles, there are no ghosts in the closet with these words. I believe when we encourage all members to read and understand the ritual they too will agree our obstacle is not ritual, it is us.
We have to continually be challenging ourselves to improve our Granges for ourselves, our members and our community. That’s how we take our rich history and continue to build that platform to our future.
I hope when I receive a service award I am able to have that same look in my eyes.