In an effort to better connect the Grand Lodge of Ohio leadership with the over 40,000 brethren that make up this great craft we have started an interview series with members of the Grand Line. Through this series we hope to educate Ohio Masons on the men that lead this great organization.
Please introduce yourself. Tell us your name, title, home lodge, and how long you’ve been a Freemason.
My name is Randy Clark, and I am the Grand Chaplain for the Grand Lodge of Ohio. My home lodge is Dayton Lodge #147. I have been a Freemason for 35 years and came to Freemasonry because of my involvement in DeMolay. Counting my DeMolay membership, I have been connected to Ohio Freemasonry for 43 years.
I joined DeMolay in 1981 when asked by a friend from my church youth group. I was a member until 1988 when I aged out. I was later the State Master Councilor (1987-1988) and I met my wife that same year as she was our Ohio DeMolay State Sweetheart.
Tell us about how and why you joined the Grand Line? When did you join?
Our now Grand Master asked me in the summer of 2022 if I would serve with him as the Grand Chaplain this year if he were elected. After talking with my wife about the opportunity, given that spouses are very much a part of the journey, I told him “yes.”
I have been a Freemason for my entire adult life – and for the majority of that time, I was also a pastor. I had always hoped for the opportunity to serve my Grand Lodge and Grand Master with the skills and experiences I had in ministry. My office is a single-year appointment, so for me this is a one-year commitment. What is a marathon for most of the line officers is more a sprint for me.
The Grand Lodge officers spend nearly every weekend together from January through June each year. There are many miles of travel and long days spent away from home. Our wives travel with us and have their own time together when we have fraternal events to attend. It is very much a special group that bonds together, spouses and officers both, by our work but also by the time we spend together. My wife, Dana, and I have made special friendships that will last the rest of our lives.
What is the role of the Grand Chaplain? What are your responsibilities?
When the other Grand Lodge officers and I discuss our duties, my answer is always the same; I am just here to pray. While sometimes said humorously, it is my primary duty to pray at public and private events whether that means grace for a meal, a prayer at the opening or close of a meeting, or praying as part of one of our public or private ceremonies.
My other responsibility as Grand Chaplain is the Necrology Committee. At the Grand Lodge session in 2024, I will report on the deaths in our Grand Lodge during the year, remember those Grand Lodge leaders who have passed, and offer some appropriate remarks to honor those who have left our fellowship.
What does it mean to you to be part of the Grand Lodge of Ohio leadership?
I am honored to be a small part of the leadership of the fraternity that has brought so much to my life. I met my wife because we were both involved in Masonic youth groups and then our children were all involved in the same groups as teenagers. I now get to give back in a small way to our Grand Lodge, its districts, lodges, and members by serving this year. It is especially meaningful to me because my personal faith in God has been expanded and enriched by being a Freemason.
What do you hope for the future of Ohio Freemasonry?
As a long-time member who is now also middle-aged, my hope is for my grandchildren to have the same fraternal opportunities I have had. For me, this is personal because I am the first Freemason in my direct family line as far back as I can find. My son is a second generation member. I am the start of what, I hope, will be a long and fruitful fraternal legacy.
Can you share your favorite moment from your time as an Ohio Freemason?
In keeping with my previous answer, my favorite moment was being a part of my son’s degrees when he became a Freemason during the pandemic. I had been part of his DeMolay life, but that was still a dad-son relationship where I was an advisor and he was a member. Most of my favorite memories are around being a part of men beginning their Masonic journey. When that man is also a family member or close friend, it means all the more because we now have a connection we didn’t have before.
Do you have any advice for members looking to get involved?
Go to your lodge’s next meeting. I am not a frequent attender of my own lodge’s meetings due to other responsibilities so I am talking to myself here, too. The best way to find a meaningful connection or to become part of something you enjoy at our lodge is to go. The relationships we form with men we would have never known happen when we are on the same degree team, work together on a lodge holiday party, or walk next together in a local parade. Freemasonry is local and personal and there is no way to do it well except at your lodge.