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From The Chaplain's Desk
From The Chaplain's Desk: Reflection On The Pledge
 

By Charles Dimmick, CT State Grange Chaplain

  June 5, 2016 --

The motto of the Grange is In necessariis unitas, in dubiis libertas, in omnibus caritas (“In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity”). The phrase was originally coined by a German Lutheran theologian back in 1627, during the Thirty Years War. For the Grange, what are our essentials? They can be found in our tradition and rituals. We pledge at every meeting that a good Granger “Places faith in God, nurtures hope, distributes charity, and is noted for fidelity”.

When we take the first degree we agree to a list of obligations as members, including “I will not knowingly wrong or defraud a Brother or Sister of the Order in word or deed; nor will I permit it to be done by another if in my power to prevent it”. In the ceremony for installing officers we are told that “honesty is inculcated, education nurtured, temperance supported, brotherly love cultivated, and charity made an essential characteristic”.  Furthermore it is stated that we bid welcome to all “who have generous hearts and open hands to help the needy, raise the fallen, and aid in making the labors of this life cheerful”.

What about non-essentials? We are assured when taking the first degree oath that it will not conflict with our moral, social, religious, or civic duties. In these, we as Grangers are at liberty to do whatever seems right to us as individuals. Additionally, when Grange officers are installed they pledge “I will not take advantage of the position to bias, in any way, either directly or indirectly, the political or religious opinions of any member of the order.”

Reflecting on this pledge, it occurs to me to emphasize that when I write these monthly columns I am stating my own religious opinions, and I most definitely do not want any of my readers to feel that I am trying to force my opinions on them, beyond what is clearly stated as Grange essentials, that is: place faith in God, nurture hope, dispense charity, and be noted for fidelity.

As for the “accidents” of religious practice, I come from an Anglican (Episcopal) background, and thus am used to doing things religious in a particular way, but these ways are objectively no better or no worse that the practices of Baptists, Methodists, Pentecostals, Mormons, Roman Catholics, or Jews. You can be any one of these and still hold fast to the Grange essentials. In closing, remember the words of the prophet Micah: “What does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God”.

 
 
 

 
     
     
       
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