Grand Master 2021-2022
Right Worshipful Grand Lodge Officers, Most Worshipful Past Grand Masters, Worshipful Grand Lodge Appointed Officers, Worshipful District Deputy Grand Masters, Worshipful Grand Lodge Committeemen, Distinguished Guest From Appendant Bodies Masters, Wardens, Brothers, Family, Ladies, Friends and all, Welcome! First and foremost, I want to thank God for His blessings.
First and foremost, I want to thank you, the Grand Craft of Kentucky for your continued faith in me as we embark on this year of ground-breaking enterprise of revitalization of Freemasonry.
Thank you Most Worshipful now Past Grand Master Ernest Jackson for paving the way and simply being my brother and friend over these past several years.
I want to thank MWPGM Geary Laird for an exemplary installation. Once again, your ritual work is something for all Masons to aspire to. You have always lifted me up and it has been such an honor and privilege to install this auspicious body of Officers with you today.
Thank you MWPGM Todd Eastham for being my Installing Grand Marshal. Todd has always had faith in me and encouraged me. I continue to enjoy our discussions about how to move the needle on Freemasonry.
Thank you MWPGM Terry Bowman. Terry picked me out of a large crowd to become his District Deputy in District 22 many years ago. He lit the spark that culminated into what has transpired today. Thank you for your faith and friendship.
A heart felt thank you to Brother Michael Martin and his lovely wife Rhonda. Their commitment to the Masonic fraternity goes above and beyond to make sure that the moments we all celebrate are captured in outstanding photographs. Equally important is Brother Brian King for his expertise in videography and his dedication.
I also want to take a moment to thank Brother Leonard Richardson for driving me across the state and putting up with my silly humor and long hours of postulating on how to help the Craft.
To my fellow Grand Line Elected and Appointed Officers along with my District Deputies and Committeemen, thank you for your promised support, your wisdom and knowledge to assist me, and your evident passion and commitment to Freemasonry.
Thank you for every lady that came to show support for your husband on their Masonic journey. I realize the sacrifices that you make, and you do not go unnoticed. Each one of you make a difference and I’m blessed to call you my friends and extended family.
To my family and children, thank you all so much for your constant encouragement and enthusiasm. All of them have extremely busy careers and lives and I am so humbled that they came to show their love and support to me. Thank you for sharing this milestone with me. I love you all dearly.
I am truly humbled, proud, and excited to be standing before you in this moment as Grand Master of the Free and Accepted Masons of Kentucky. When I made this decision that led me on this path, my goal was not just to be a success, but to be of value. The famous Mark Twain who became a mason in 1861, quoted, “Why not go out on a limb? Isn’t that where all the fruit is?” So, out on a limb I went…
My journey has never been alone. I was blessed to have someone who has always believed in me and has never faltered in that belief. Someone not only that I could not have made it without, but that I would not have “wanted” to make it without. As much as I love Freemasonry, all this is nothing if she is not by my side. I remember her telling me that I must plan, prepare, and expect to win. I remember her promise to support me if it meant that I could fulfill one of my dreams in this lifetime. When I faltered, she did not. This has not changed. Not when I was gone more than I was home, not when I took phone calls in the middle of the night from a brother needing help, not when so much of our life together was put on hold because she realized the good, I wanted to do and the people I wanted to help. Most importantly, not when she gave up so many things in her own life. Not once. Coming home from long nights on the road, she reminded me that God was directing my steps, so there was no reason to look back over my shoulder, that I must keep moving. The very essence of strength, compassion, courage, grace, and beauty. Naturally I am referring to my wife, the first lady of Kentucky Masonry, Sam Gibson.
As I reflected on what kind of Grand Master I wanted to be and what kind of difference that I wanted to make, I kept returning to the word HONOR. Honor is dignity in carrying out, and living the values of respect, duty, loyalty, selfless service, integrity, and personal courage in everything one does. My commitment to the craft is to be a man of HONOR.
My goals to benefit the craft are many. There have been some that said that perhaps I was taking on too much or thinking outside the box a little too far. When we make decisions for the Grand Craft, we must, by virtue of our office, differentiate what the Craft wants versus what they may need. However, I kept in mind the words of the determined Henry Ford, who revolutionized the automotive industry. He quoted,” If I had asked people what they wanted, instead of building a car they would have said faster horses”. As Masons, if all we focus on are limitations, then all we will have will be limitations. This is not to say that I will not glean knowledge from others as I firmly believe that we can learn from one another. I respect and value those who came before me in this role. I’m fortunate to have such an outstanding group of officers and deputies on my team. Each one of them have an abundance of intelligence, creativity, caring, and energy that they will bring to the table. They are men of substance, integrity, and honor and together I believe we will create a momentum that will propel Kentucky Freemasonry forward for many years. Kentucky Freemasonry has achieved much over the years, but I firmly believe that we didn’t come this far, only to have come this far. We have more work to do and a future for Freemasonry to secure.
Character, Conduct, and Commitment is my promise as Grand Master as well as my challenge for every Mason in Kentucky. As Masons, we have sworn to uphold many things, but there are none as important as these 3 things.
I have several programs this year that will benefit the Craft, so that others may benefit from the works that we do as Masons. Sam will also have a program that will allow her to continue her fight against human trafficking.
We will once again have a fantastic Leadership Academy that will assist our brothers in achieving their goals and aspirations and become more informed Masons as they prepare to lead our Fraternity.
The Grand Lodge Scholarship Program will continue to help change to lives of students across the Commonwealth to help them create a positive future.
The Veterans program will support so many of our wonderful veterans for their sacrifices and service to our country.
We will be conducting another Ritual Competition, encouraging Entered Apprentices, Fellowcrafts, and Master Masons to participate!
This year we will be supporting the Masonic Homes and their Masonic Care Program which will directly benefit our brother Masons and their widows. The Masonic Homes will always have my continued support in their efforts to help so many.
Shortly after our Annual Communication, I am inviting all the heads of our appendant and concordant bodies to join me in a UNITY luncheon to discuss how we can support one another and share ideas to promote our respective bodies. It is my hope that this will become an annual occurrence, since I firmly believe each one is important, and we must support each other.
Finally, I’m so excited to announce that for the first time in Kentucky Masonic history, I will be launching a public awareness campaign across several social media platforms about the importance of Freemasonry. I am enthusiastic that the Grand Lodge of Kentucky will be taking part in this groundbreaking effort.
It’s going to be a phenomenal year! Like the amazing Winston Churchill said, “This is no time for ease and comfort. It is time to dare and endure!
As your Grand Master, I will not accept the statement, “We have never done it that way”. I will consider that a rallying cry to try harder, go further, and to dare to think differently. We are not just men; we are KENTUCKY MASONS!
Please join me on this journey.
God bless all of you and may the Great Architect of the Universe continue to bless this great Fraternity of ours!
James H. Gibson
Grand Master 2021-2022