Oriental Consistory S.P.R.S.

2020-2021 Annual Report

 What can we say about 2020? It was a year that many felt was put on stand still. The pandemic certainly changed the way we all interacted and worked. The Valley of Chicago Officers, Board and Staff decided to not sit idly by but to take on the challenge to recreate engagements, maintain the brotherhood, improve communications, prepare for a safe reopening, as well as take on some house improvement projects at the Cathedral. It has been a very busy year behind the scenes. Our Executive Secretary, Brother Dave Koss, is working closely with Members, Officers, and the Cathedral Board to bring all these efforts together.

In past reports we have focused on the events that brought us together. In this report we will center on innovations the Valley’s engagement and the infrastructure improvements that we have implemented. In the beginning of the fiscal year, we held the first virtual experience, the annual election of Officers and Board Members. We welcomed new Presiding Officers and Board members committed to place a high priority on leadership development by identifying goals and potential resources needed to advance the Valley of Chicago’s vision and mission. With the new environment in our World, they instilled a new vigor to refresh and renew all aspects of our operations. We revamped the annual budget, updated the by-laws of all the bodies, and pledged that if our Valley was going to host virtual meetings it was going to be engaging. We reached out to members for their opinions on improving the membership experience and had positive feedback on the actions that were taken.

Member Polls
We wanted to hear from our members what would increase their membership experience. The Presiding Officers frequently sent polls for input on opinion from Valley tartans to vaccination opinions. The input has been valuable to getting our Valley ready for reopening.

Virtual Education Series
Guided by the Presiding Officers, each month we present a specialist in the field of Masonic Education to facilitate a presentation and open question forums. 

NMJ Virtual Reunions
The NMJ has been insurmountable in providing the Scottish Rite with Virtual Reunion degree presentations and Thursday night at the Rite presentations to keep the membership thriving. We had 46 new candidates join the Valley of Chicago this year.  

Almoner Assistance
The Valley of Chicago in accordance with the Almoner Program extended their efforts to support the COVID relief program. With many members effected by the pandemic a new team was assembled to address these needs. The obligation of the membership is to support

Cathedral
With in-house events not possible the House Committee forged ahead with projects on the Cathedral. Our team has researched and installed a Bipolar unit in the HVAC system to eliminate contaminants in the air system, installed a temperature reader system, repaired leaks, painted, updated cameras, resurfaced the parking lot, replaced pavers, researched patio repairs, and several other projects to keep the Valley of Chicago safe and secure for our brethren.

Staff
Our staff has been improving procedures and processes to streamline membership services.

Virtual Events and Micro Events
The Valley, in support of our valued vendor, offered members holiday pick-up meal programs so they could celebrate with family and friends without the extended cost of shopping. The Valley also took on what was called Micro Events. These were small group outings that fit within the states gathering limitations. Brothers were able to go Axe Throwing, Bowling, Escape Room Challenges, and more. These were designed to have fun and build bonds amongst each other.

Communications
We also focused on communications with our members.  We continued to integrate and present consistent messages in our newsletters, Echoes emails, and web site.  We had teams of volunteers that did wellness checks and calls to just talk to members.

In closing this year has been full of challenges, but the Valley of Chicago has stepped up to the challenges and has done their best to keep our brethren involved.  We care deeply about our commitment to one another and will continue to hold that as our top priority.   I pray everyday for those that have had lost someone over the past year and those that are struggling due to the pandemic.  Having lost my father, it brings it even closer to home.  I am looking forward to a great year ahead, and to keeping our Valley and its membership enrolled and having fun.

Your In Faith,

Karl Nygard
Commander-in-Chief
Oriental Consistory, S.P.R.S.