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Ohio Freemasonry

Interview with 2024 Grand Orator

Read our recent interview with the 2024 Grand Orator.

Please introduce yourself. Tell us your name, title, home lodge, and how long you’ve been a Freemason.

I am Wayne A. Fischer, Grand Orator of the Grand Lodge of Ohio.  My home lodge is Kilwinning Lodge #356 located in the Cincinnati Masonic Center which is also the home lodge of the 27th President of the United States, Willam Howard Taft. I have been a Mason for 22 years, having received the 3 degrees of Blue Lodge Masonry on April 27th, 2002 as part of the first “One Day Class” along with my son Alan.

Tell us about how and why you became a Grand Lodge Officer? When did you join? 

My wife Lois and I received an invitation for dinner from Right Worshipful Brother Richard A. Dickerscheid and his wife Teri. This was a little unusual but Rich and I had been friends for many years so I didn’t think anything of it other than a night out with good friends. During dinner Rich and Teri talked about their journey as part of the Grand Lodge of Ohio. Towards the end of dinner, Rich mentioned that it was time for him to identify someone he felt could become a leader of the fraternity and who would begin the journey he would soon be completing. I was on the verge of saying, “good luck with that” when he asked me if Lois and I would consider me being appointed Junior Grand Deacon if he were elected Grand Master.  

He and Teri both explained the responsibility that comes along with being a part of Grand Lodge and recommended that we take our time and think about the offer. This was so unexpected that as we left the dinner, we just looked at each other and asked ourselves if this is something we want to do and more importantly is this something we really could do. Of course, I also had to ask myself if the responsibility that goes with the journey was something that I was capable of doing. It took several weeks, a couple of discussions with a past Grand Master and talking with our children before I called Bro. Dickerscheid and told him that Lois and I felt we could accept the offer and responsibilities that come along with it.  

Photograph of Grand Orator and his wife, Teri Fischer in formal wear.
Grand Orator, Wayne Fischer and his wife, Lois.

 What is the role of the Grand Orator? What are your responsibilities?

Grand Orator is the 4th year as an appointed officer of the Grand Lodge of Ohio. The role of Orator is an opportunity to learn about the Lodges around the state that are celebrating a historic milestone. It is also an opportunity to learn about the cities, towns and communities that make up the personality of each lodge. In this role you get to really know the Brothers of the Lodge as you talk with them about their Lodge and the area they call home.

After doing research, the Grand Orator gives a short talk that helps capture the moment in terms of the Lodge’s history or has special meaning to the members who live in the community. These orations are part of ceremonies performed by the Grand Lodge Officers such as Lodge Dedications, Reconsecration of a Lodge or the laying of a cornerstone at a community building. This year the Grand Lodge Officers had the privilege of doing a re-enactment of the cornerstone laying at the Canton Masonic Center celebrating the building’s 100th anniversary.  

In October, I will be giving a response to the community welcome at the 215th Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of Ohio in Dayton as my last opportunity to speak as the Grand Orator of the Grand Lodge of Ohio.

What does it mean to you to be part of the Grand Lodge of Ohio leadership?

Leadership of any organization, large or small, requires a high level of responsibility. Freemasonry being such a historic organization with great luminaries of the past makes being a part of the leadership a mission that is an honor. As I have traveled through the state’s 25 Districts, met many Masons and their families, I have come to realize the importance of the commitment I made; providing a roadmap into the future for the Lodges and members of our great fraternity.

What do you hope for the future of Ohio Freemasonry?

Organizations have to change with the times to remain vibrant. My hope is that Freemasonry can continue to adjust and prosper, while remaining true to those basic tenets we hold so dear: Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth. While we can continue to lean on our past successes, we must work hard to meet the challenges of attracting new members and inspiring them to become better men for themselves, their families and their communities. 

Can you share your favorite moment from your time as an Ohio Freemason?

I have so many memories that come to mind. The first of course was the day my son and I joined this great fraternity. My “Master Craftsman” was my father who was the Master of our Lodge. It was a cold spring day in downtown Cincinnati and the line to get into the coliseum was so long it took what seemed like hours to get in to pick up our initiation materials. The arena was packed with many hundreds of men, all there for the same reason, to become Masons.

There were many other very memorable moments that are really special including being installed as Master of Kilwinning Lodge, becoming a District Education Officer, a District Deputy Grand Master and of course that evening back in October of 2020 when I was installed as Junior Grand Deacon.

To pick one favorite moment is impossible because every one of my Masonic memories going all the way back to my childhood and attending Masonic Christmas Parties, Coney Island Days, Thanksgiving Day Breakfasts, and other Masonic events with my grandfathers remain highlights of my life even before becoming a Mason myself.

 Do you have any advice for members looking to get involved? 

As I look back at my Masonic Journey, I think the very best advice I can give a new member is don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. Don’t become a member in name only, get involved in your Lodge even if you don’t think you can become an officer. Our Lodges need members sitting on the sidelines, volunteering to help with Lodge events, being part of your Lodges Fellowcraft team. Freemasonry shouldn’t be just a spectator sport. To get the most out of Freemasonry, members need to get involved in their Lodge. They need to travel to other Lodges with their Brothers, see how other Lodges do things. They need to meet other Masons at District events; you’d be surprised how much you have in common and how quickly strangers become friends.

Anything else you’d like to share? 

It has been a pleasure taking the time to really think about the questions I’ve given answers to.  It has made me really look into some of the reasons I decided to become a Grand Lodge Officer. I hope that others that read this will understand a little more about what makes me tick and I hope I can continue to grow in both my personal Masonic Journey, and as a Grand Lodge Officer to continue to make The Grand Lodge of Ohio a leader in the greater world of Freemasonry.

Interested in reading more interviews with Grand Lodge officers? Read our conversations with the 2024 Grand Marshal and the 2024 Senior Grand Deacon!