Jul 262016

by Rick Grotton, State Master

To the Directors: I would like all directors to send , email or text me a complete list of all committee members you have in your department ASAP. We are composing the schedule for State Grange and do not want to leave anyone out.

To all members: Remember the deadline for resolutions is August 15, 2016. This date will be strictly enforced so get ’em in. (Send them to State Secretary Sharon at headquarters.) We want to make sure Granges have ample time to discuss them so their delegates will know how to vote at State Session. There are some very important issues to be brought before the delegate body this year, so it is important that your Grange is represented! Don’t  be left out–your ideas, thoughts, and vote are extremely important!

To all members: Remember if you have an issue that arises within your Grange, you should first, try to work it out on your own. This can be done with effort and thinking for the Good of the Order.  If it cannot be resolved within your Grange, contact your Deputy, who, if assistance is further needed will contact the Chief Deputy, who, if need be, will contact me. A chain of command is needed to keep order so issues do not become escalated due to too many people getting involved at once. Confusion solves nothing. I love listening and talking to my brothers and sisters and am always available to answer questions and to pass on information, however, work with your Deputy. Let’s all work together for the GOTO!!!

Jul 242016

By Sherry Harriman

Hello everyone. We had a great time at the family camp out weekend, we missed  those of you who couldn’t attend. Approximately 45 people came for part or all of the weekend most arriving early for an extended stay.

Friday morning brought an enthusiastic group of 25 to play mini golf in the sweltering heat. Buzz taking first place and Gloria a very close second.  The ice cream parlor was open for a nice cool treat after their rousing game.  Later that evening we had a delicious potluck supper.

Saturday was another hot and busy day with Junior judging,  giant Chinese auction and 50/50. Twenty folks drew for teams for horseshoes, with a large cheering or hecklers gallery on hand. Jim and Rick came out the victors. After lunch 24 people paired up for bocce ball,  Richard and Mike tossing their way to become the champion team.

After supper we all converged at the Meserve campsite for ice cream sundaes and enjoyed a surprise birthday cake for Gloria.

Plans were made to come to Silver Spring Campground again next year July 14, 15 & 16.  Hope you will join us for another fun time.

Jul 232016

IMG_5815On Thursday, July 21, Mildred Hall of Mt. Vernon was presented with two certificates commemorating her 80 years of membership in Grange.

She joined the Grange in Belgrade in 1936 and transferred to Mill Stream Grange in Vienna in the 1950’s.

Master Paul Lavender (r) of Mill Stream Grange presented her with a Maine State Grange certificate honoring her for her continuous membership. Senator Paul Saviello  presented a certificate from the Maine Legislature recognizing her 80 years of Grange membership and commitment to the community; it was sponsored by Senator Saviello and Rep. Hillard and signed by the President of the Senate Michael Thibodeau and Speaker of the House Mark Eves. Mildred also received a lovely bouquet of roses from her fellow Grangers. Congratulations Mildred!

Jul 222016

Annisby Jim Annis, Legislative Director

This recently received from National Grange…

In the final hours before leaving town, the Senate passed (68-30) a compromise GMO labeling bill, the House passed (305-117) the Senate bill and Congress sent the legislation to the White House where the President signed it into law. The legislation immediately preempted Vermont’s GMO labeling mandate and barred other states from imposing requirements that differ from the new federal standards.

In a nutshell, the new GMO law does these things:

• Food that contains any GMO ingredients must be identified on-package with, 1) the presence of a USDA approved symbol identifying the presence of GMO material or, 2) a smartphone-readable QR code that links to ingredient information or, 3) on-package label in plain language. Small businesses have the option to place a telephone number or web site on packages that direct customers to additional information.

• In order to require a label, foods must contain genetic material that has been modified through recombinant DNA techniques and could not otherwise be obtained through conventional breeding or found in nature.

• Separates the definition of genetically modified from bio-engineered. Genetically modified techniques introduce foreign genetic material into a plant species. Bio-engineering techniques use specie’s own genetic material and is similar to centuries of natural genetic selection.

• Protects the common Commerce Clause which sets uniform procedures for goods and services to enter commerce throughout the United States. A patchwork of state labeling laws is counter to the Commerce Clause.

• Products from animals fed GMO grain or other ingredients will not have to be labeled.

• USDA will implement the GMO labeling program.


Jul 182016

Nelsonby Robert and Agnes Nelson,
Co-directors Ag Committee

The weather has finally warmed up. The corn crops are doing very well in our area. Farmers are chopping and bailing hay as fast as they can work. The gardens are beginning to look good. The Farmers’ Markets are opening up everywhere.

We were at Ossipee Valley Fair yesterday. Steve Haycock and Roberta Meserve set up a display for the Maine State Grange. It was an exceptional display especially with the small area they had. I hope they take this display around to the fairs wherever they can and set it up. It is an inspiration.

We will be attending Waterford’s World Fair on July 17th. We will be having at least one fair to visit weekly and sometimes two or three as the weeks go on. It is nice to see all of the work the Grange members are doing. You should all be very proud.

Jul 172016

A Volunteer Fair is scheduled for August 20th, 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. We will have Maine State Grange Membership committee, CS/FHH Committee, Junior Committee, Youth Committee, and CWA Committee tables.  Junior and Youth will be doing activities for children.  CS/FHH will have raffles and will be selling bagged lunches for $5.00 and desserts for $.50.  We will also have speakers on genealogy, successful community service, Iris Network, Junior Flag Presentation, simple crafts for kids, and age-friendly Community projects.  We will also be having tours of the Maine State Grange Building and its history.

Individuals should come to learn what we are and what we are doing.  We will have some great information, games, and fun.

Right now I am trying to confirm a Red Cross Blood Drive, game warden and state police fingerprinting program.  This event is free unless you would like to purchase a snack or drink.  We will also have a suggestion box for individuals looking for more information on State Grange, Pomonas, and Sub Granges.

For more information please contact Christine Corliss 207-457-6265 or Christinecorlissatymaildotcom  (Christinecorlissatymaildotcom)  

Jul 172016

National Grange Membership/Leadership Director | membershipatnationalgrangedotorg  (membershipatnationalgrangedotorg)  

Tradition and culture issues and concepts word cloud illustration. Word collage concept.

Recently, I visited my high school to enjoy their production of Fiddler on the Roof, the classic story of Tevye and his family. As I sat in my seat listening to the opening tones and lyrics of Tradition one line spoken by Tevye truly stuck with me. “Here in Anatevka, we have traditions for everything; how to sleep, how to eat, how to work, how to wear clothes… You may ask, how did this tradition get started? I’ll tell you, I don’t know, but it’s a tradition!”

As the story goes on, Tevye must come to terms with the changing world around him. To do this, he must learn how to balance the old traditions of his faith with the world he lives in, and by the end of the story, Tevye has learned how to celebrate traditions while at the same time adapting to the world around him. Immediately, my mind went straight to the Grange with our numerous rich traditions. Our traditions that have stood the test of time, but how do our traditions play a part in the recruitment and retention of new members? Is it possible that we can strike a balance between our traditions with the need to remain relevant to our members and our community? I say, “ABSOLUTELY”!

When we look at the identity of our organization, it’s necessary to remember that at the end of the day we are a fraternal organization and it is our ritual and fraternal bonds that are the foundation of what binds us together throughout the nation. At times, we shy away from our traditions either because we feel they don’t fit with society or we don’t understand why we do what we do. How often have we heard a member ask why something in the ritual is done the way it is and the answer they receive is “because we’ve always done it that way”.  This is almost the same as Tevye exclaiming “…it’s tradition!” Wouldn’t it better serve our members and ourselves to take the time to understand and explain the history and meaning behind our traditions?

Much of our ritual dates back almost 150 years to the founding of the Grange and as such may not be quickly understood by someone who is new to the Grange. Ritualism is something that was commonplace to those of my Grandparents generation who were involved in many different organizations from Masons to the Royal Neighbors who each had their own unique ritual. However, ritualism isn’t as common today as it was a century ago.  When we bring new members into our Grange, we must ensure that our rituals and traditions are fully explained to them. Place yourself in the shoes of a new member who is observing our ritual for the first time. It could be unusual to see certain aspects without an experienced member to answer questions that a new member may have.

Our traditions can also be a tool by which to both recruit and retain members. We should not be afraid to share our traditions should be shared with new members upon joining the Grange and we should also be sure to refresh the collective memory of our current members. Our traditions are rich and meaningful and there are many people who are looking for a return to the more traditional and basic values that our rituals and traditions espouse.

For those of us who have been Grange members for a number of years, our traditions seem to be natural and second nature to us and we may have become complacent with them. It is of the utmost importance to take pride in our traditions and fully understand what we do and why we do it. It is then that we will be able to share our traditions with and excite new members about the history, ritualism and traditions of the Grange. So let’s pull out the manuals, the stations, the regalia and unwritten work. Blow the dust off and practice the floor work once again. As we do this, let us take the time to understand the meaning behind these traditions and strengthen our fraternal bonds.

Reprinted from The Patrons Chain, the E-Newsletter of the National Grange.

Jul 162016


By Walter Boomsma

Merriam-Webster provides a simple definition of “ritual” as a formal ceremony or series of acts that is always performed in the same way. Ritual creates consistency and people value consistency. Consistency diminishes uncertainty and leads to trust. Trust in turn leads to influence.

Even if we haven’t committed Grange Ritual to memory, all but the newest members know what “The hour of labor has arrived and the work of another day demands our attention…” means and at least in general, what will happen next. In ceremonies soon taking place around the state, “Since God placed man on earth, agriculture has existed…” will signal the beginning of officer installation ceremonies.

I suspect one of the reasons our founders developed extensive ritual was to create consistency. During the rapid explosion of the Grange, it certainly became important to achieve some level of consistency. They were so successful that to this day, many people’s impression of the Grange reflects it’s beginnings. That is not a bad thing, certainly. Of course, there is the obvious downside that consistency means we stop paying attention and things become automatic.

There once was a long term member who had served as chaplain for many years. When she spoke, it was a rapid-fire monotone that, quite frankly, my brain could not keep up with. Conversely, I will always remember certain portions of the degrees I was taught because they were given by another long term member who seemed to genuinely enjoy sharing the lessons. (Let’s not forget that the degrees are lessons and we are teaching!) To this day, I can see and hear him in a large part because he was a teacher and not just a reciter. In the truest form of the word, what we call “the ritual” is about consistency and communication. Remembering the words is one thing; understanding the words is something else. What we say should be a reflection of what we do.

During officer installations, the master  is invited to “open with an original address” but “should close with the following…” That’s when we hear those familiar words “Since God placed man on earth…” Then, after reminding us of the importance of agriculture, the installing master shares some thoughts that I’ve often wished were part of every meeting. “The Order of the Patrons of Husbandry is the only association whose teachings accompany its members in their daily pursuits.” If you have the good fortune to attend or participate in an officer installation, let those words be a trigger and pay attention! The value of the Grange is not limited to meetings, ritual, and being at the Grange Hall. The value of the Grange can be found in our “daily pursuits.”

There are many reasons the Grange was so successful in its early history—one is found in the fact that the “lessons of the Grange” were truly a way of life and it was a way of life that had appeal and value. Being a Granger was relevant not only at the hall but also in the field and community.

During a recent interview, I was asked about the relevance of the Grange today given some of the changes in farming and agriculture. The interviewer seemed to be suggesting that those changes would, in fact, be a significant opportunity for the Grange. Several community/subordinate Granges in Maine are demonstrating that truth because their very existence and program are lightening and elevating the labor of their farmer members. Other community/subordinate Granges have recognized that our existence and program is not at all limited to farmers.

I often describe the Grange as “steeped in tradition, but relevant for today” in a large part because the teachings of the Grange are no less needed now than 150 years ago. “Honesty is inculcated, education nurtured, temperance supported, brotherly love cultivated, and charity made an essential characteristic.” Just looking at that one sentence—do individuals and society in general have a need for those teachings? Are the values of the Grange any less important and relevant today?

If you remain unconvinced, fast forward to the master’s challenge at the close of installation. “And now, Patrons, carry with you a feeling of compassion for those who strive to make the world a better place. Let us work hand in hand for the good of our neighbors. Let us remember that those with trials and tribulations need our help most of all.”


Any degree or ritual quotations are from the forty-sixth edition of the 2013 Subordinate Grange Manual. The views and opinions expressed in “Exploring Traditions” are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official doctrine and policy of the Grange.

Jul 152016

By Kay Khalvati
MSG Membership Director

Summer is here! How wonderful it is to have long, sunny days with hot temperatures and blue skies. For Grangers, the temptation can be to skip the regularly scheduled meetings, and go fishin’ or some other relaxing summertime pastime. And probably membership building activities are not our first thoughts.

But please remember that this can be a wonderful time of year to invite people to visit your Grange. We recently had a “Bring Your Friends and Neighbors to Grange” night, with 17 guests present. Not only did our Grangers have a good time, but a local artist agreed to hang several of her paintings in the dining room for all to enjoy. The summary of this event includes these varied thoughts:

  • everyone enjoyed the meal and camaraderie
  • the age range was from 2 months to 80+ years
  • the art exhibit was enjoyed by all attending
  • our Lecturer prepared a handout titled “Who We Are, What We Do” which outlined our Community Service and Fund Raising events
  • new visitors to Grange expressed the following thoughts:
    • “Thank you for inviting me, I had a wonderful time,
    • I had no idea this Grange did so much in our community,
    • I can’t join right now, but I will gladly help, please call me,
    • I only come to Maine in the Summer, but I will make sure to come to this event next year….we loved it,
    • I need 2 applications, one for me and one for my friend.”

I am a firm believer that the best advertising for Grange is our Grangers themselves. Please invite your friends and neighbors to your Grange, and please let us know what worked for you.

P.S. I want to apologize to you all for the uncertainty in our personal lives that is spilling over into our Grange lives as well. Jim Rogers and I are both younger members of our families, and we currently have five siblings that are terminally ill, none local. We appreciate your good thoughts, and will try to minimize the impact this has on our Grange activities. Thank you for your understanding.