Grand Chancellor's Message delivered by Grand Chancellor Phillip E. Feigel
Today we find ourselves at a remarkably auspicious time for the Knights of Pythias, Domain of New York. In 2018, we will celebrate the 150th anniversary of our beloved Order in our State. We also will host the Supreme Lodge Convention for the first time since 1998. We have great reason to take pride in being a Pythian and to feel excited and energized. Together we can chart a course for this year, prepare to celebrate our successes, and move forward. These are responsibilities which should be taken very seriously and honors which should be treasured.
This Administration has three major goals: increase membership, increase membership and increase membership. I ask you, my Brothers, to join me on our journey to restore the Knights of Pythias here in New York to its former glory. To do so, we must roll up our sleeves and really dedicate ourselves to making the Knights vibrant for at least another 150 years. We must connect to the heart and soul of our commitment and remember why we are Pythians and what it means to each of us individually. Is it your desire to do charitable work? Is it your desire to connect with your community? Is it your desire to engage in good times and fun events? Take a moment to ponder what plugs you into the Knights of Pythias. When we genuinely enjoy what we are doing, it shines through in our faces, our demeanor, and our actions. And thus, we set an example for others to follow. When we are lit from within, we create an irresistible pull for others to join us.
The Membership Committee and the Grand Chancellor's team will visit the lodges in the Domain of New York to discuss recruitment and retention and to extend our hands in friendship. We will be out in the field distributing flyers, tri-folds and applications, speaking to neighbors at barber shops, auto garages, diners, local stores and athletic events. We will increase our efforts to create lodges in new locations, such as Manhattan and Syracuse.
Being a statewide organization, the Knights should have a presence in the world's center of commerce and entertainment, as well as in a major manufacturing and educational hub of Northern New York.
At the same time, we will continue to hold formal Membership Committee meetings where we hope to see Chancellor Commanders and Lodge Membership Chairmen, to talk about new ideas and to learn from each other. We must all work together. Our motto will be: "Participation Generates Membership."
Please share your genuine joy at being a Knight with others and lead by example. At high school, college and job fairs throughout the State, there are thousands of fine young men looking for new opportunities. What better way could there be for them to chart their own journey than to have the friendship and support of a lodge? At this point in their lives, they are looking to make connections and to increase their exposure in the community. Let us assist them in attaining their goals and in turn, let them assist us with ours.
While increasing and sustaining membership is crucial to our survival, charitable endeavors remain a top priority. Charitable deeds will be incorporated into our membership drives to attract new members while raising funds for our altruistic causes. Getting men to join the Knights of Pythias will be part of our fundraising.
The Pythian Humanitarian Fund is the charitable umbrella of our Domain. By statute, it is empowered to raise funds for four Grand Lodge Altruisms - The Pythian Camp, Morris Smoller Social Service Fund, the Scholarship sub-committee of the Youth Commission, and the Knights of Pythias Diabetes Research Association, Inc. - as well as for the Pythian Servicepersons and Veterans Committee. The Humanitarian Fund raises thousands of dollars annually through organized programs, such as shake-a-can solicitations run by hardworking Pythian volunteers, raffles, our Annual Pancake Breakfast, held in March in Coney Island, and our Annual Brunch held in June in Oceanside. Your participation in Humanitarian Fund events is encouraged and welcomed. It is through you, our loyal members, that we can continue our charitable work.
For 75 years, the Knights of Pythias in New York has been sending children to camp, who ordinarily would not have this opportunity to escape the hot streets of the city to enjoy a truly memorable experience. The Pythian Camp will continue to thrive and to bring happiness to needy children.
The Scholarship sub-Committee of the Youth Commission rewards the children of our members who have achieved top grades and have performed community service, with substantial scholarship grants. Children of Pythians who have been members for at least two years are eligible for these scholarships. Grandfathers, please have your sons and sons-in-law join a lodge, so that we can get new members and their children can receive scholarships.
For the past 34 years, The Morris Smoller Social Services Fund has aided our members and their families who are in need of rehabilitation facilities, nursing homes, hospice care facilities and long-term care. This Fund will continue to contribute money to these facilities, so our members in need of them will have easier access.
Many brothers consider the Servicepersons and Veterans Committee to be our crown jewel. This committee sends packages to service men and women stationed here at home and in outposts throughout the world. Clean socks and undergarments, hygiene articles, such as toothpaste, shaving cream and feminine products, as well as things of good cheer, are gratefully received by our troops. Each box contains a note from the Knights of Pythias. The Committee also supplies hospitals such as Walter Reed in Maryland, St. Albans in Queens, Castle Point in Beacon, and Veteran's Hospitals in Brooklyn, Manhattan and the Bronx, with products for our veterans.
Over the years, we have contributed large sums of money to the American Cancer Society and the American Diabetes Association to help them in their quest to eradicate cancer and diabetes, which have been particularly devastating to members of our Order and their families and friends. We will not stop helping these worthwhile charities.
We also support many other worthwhile organizations, including Camp Sunrise and the Double H Ranch which provide memorable camping experiences for children with cancer and other life-threatening diseases at no cost to their families. We also participate in the Special Olympics for physically challenged individuals, drug and substance abuse rehabilitation programs, and our annual Coats for Kids Program.
We will continue to support all of these noble charitable causes. We will try to entice potential members to join the Knights or Pythias by showing how wonderful we are.
Over the years, our members often have asked, what is going on in Grand Lodge? The Grand Council wants to know your concerns and problems and will try to address them.
As part of the effort to spread knowledge of the workings of the Order, sideline lodge members will be invited to Grand Council meetings to observe their officers and Past Grand Chancellors at work. If you would like to attend one of our meetings, you should contact the Grand Secretary. Please be mindful that there is limited space and that we can only accommodate three or four people at each meeting. Grand Council meetings are held on the first Monday of each month, except for legal holidays, and begin promptly at 8:00 p.m. at our Grand Lodge Office.
Our 150th year of existence in New York is a major milestone for our Order. Various ways of celebrating the event are in the early stages. A gala banquet, a celebratory journal and souvenir items, such as commemorative pins, are being planned. The Committee will ask lodges, vendors, sponsors and individuals to participate, in an effort to make this a successful and memorable event for our Domain. We hope that you will help us to obtain advertising for our journal.
You may have noticed the absence of the word "I" and the names of individuals throughout this Message. These omissions are intentional. Everyone appointed, from the Chief Deputy Grand Chancellor through the Deputy Grand Chancellors, Committee Chairmen and members, executive appointees and Grand Council members will work AS A TEAM. Let me stress that there is no "I" in the word team.
So, I ask you to join the Team.
I ask you to invest time and energy into our beloved Knights of Pythias.
If we work together, you will feel the energy and enthusiasm that will carry us all above and beyond our past successes into an incredible year of milestones and celebrations.
If there ever was a year to love being a Pythian, it's this one. Participation Generates Membership.
Phillip E. Feigel
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