Grange Notes by Tim Swartz, Grange President (with everyone’s help) January 1, 2024
January 6: We’re meeting at the Grange Hall, in person, so we can revive our rituals
This coming Saturday gives us a chance to relive the traditions of being a Grange member, as we’ll put on a meeting complete with the opening and closing rituals, plus an initiation ceremony for members who have joined over the last several years. We’ve decided to do this to revive our continuity with the Grangers who have come before us, who built this organization–and the Grange Hall–and have passed down the legacy of community service we strive to carry out.
We want to strongly encourage anyone who has joined the Capital City Grange, but has not been to a full meeting to please come to this one, so you can see and hear what you’ve missed. We have found the ritual a useful way to organize the meeting and set an agenda, as well as ensuring that we remember those who came before us. And it makes sure that we all stand up and sing at least a couple of songs at every meeting! For those of you who don’t know already, the Musician is a full officer in every Grange, and is vital to the meetings! When you come, you’ll be given a songbook, and we’ll expect you to sing out when the time comes.
The ritual we use is a modified one, somewhat shortened and streamlined from the version in the Grange Manual. We have removed the requirement for hearing a password from everyone, for example. But we’ve kept the sashes–they are beautiful blue velvet with gold trim–and a lot of the original, well-written language that urges us, for example, that “whatever you do, strive to do well” at the end of every meeting. It’s well worth hearing and taking part!
We also think this is important because we are strongly connected with the rest of the Grange organization in the State of Vermont, and even across the country, through the National Grange of the Patrons of Husbandry. In our own history, the VT State Grange organization has been vital to our success. They supported us when a bunch of “outsiders” from the contra dance and other rental groups joined en masse in 2005 (about 70 new members!). They have continued to support us, with financing loans that have been essential to completing the renovations and improvement projects that have made our Hall more efficient, more welcoming and more functional. Those of you who have gone to State Grange meetings know that the “ritual work” is still a vital part of those events. Being familiar with the meeting rituals keeps us connected.
I’m asking all the “experienced” members who have taken part in our meetings with ritual to show up by 3:45 PM at the latest to have a quick “practice session” before the actual meeting starts at 4:30 PM. We’ll also be sending out E-Vites to all the Grange members on our books, to make sure that they remember to show up–this is going to be fun!
If anyone wants to get a PDF copy of the “Meeting Ritual” we use, and/or the “Obligation” ceremony we use to initiate new members, please send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll bring printed copies to the meeting.
During the meeting, I’ll be asking for reports from all of the “standing committees”: Agriculture, Legislative, Family Activities, Health Concerns, the Hall and Community Service. We’ll also hear and discuss the Treasurer’s report, and solicit any “Suggestions for the Good of the Order”–which is what led to our plan to revive the ritual form for this meeting–and future ones, I hope.
We’ll also be singing at this meeting–another good reason to get together in person. Every meeting features both an Opening and a Closing Song, led by our Grange Musician, plus an “anthem”–we do the Star-Spangled Banner in even-numbered months, and an alternative, like “This Land is Your Land” in odd-numbered months. So bring your vocal cords with you.
We’ll also be performing the “Obligation” ceremony–a brief initiation ritual to welcome members into the Grange. If you’ve joined in the past several years, but haven’t had this experience, please take part–it’s not only painless, we really do want to welcome you.
Any other questions–you know where to reach me!
Erin: getting ready to Emerge
Many of the readers of these Grange Notes will know Erin Barry, the organizer who brought the idea of the Kids Trade & Play clothing exchange to the Grange, and who has kept it going for 7-1/2 years. Well, it turns out that she does other things besides the great work she does as a Grange member and volunteer. Erin has been chosen as part of the 2024 class of “Emerge Vermont“, the state branch of a national organization that encourages and trains women who want to run for office. The 2024 cohort of 18 “future leaders” will receive 70+ hours of training over 5 months, aimed at equipping them to run for and win offices–from local to national. 42 past members are now in the VT State Legislature, and other members include our Vermont Secretary of State and Attorney General, plus our U.S. Congress member, Becca Balint.
We will be watching Erin’s future career with interest–she’s already on the School Board in Marshfield and clearly, the sky is the limit! To learn more about Emerge Vermont, which was founded in 2013 by former Gov. Madeline Kunin, check out their website!
New year, dues year!
Before you make a decision–here are a few factors to consider:
- We’d love to have you as an active Grange member–one who wants to come to meetings and help to run the organization. Being a paid-up member entitles you to vote on decisions in the meetings. And we really need more people who want to pitch in and work with us–on community service projects as well as on painting & construction projects. Even if you don’t want to come to every meeting, we can keep you involved and busy!
- 75% of a Grange members’ dues ($24 out of $30) get sent on to the VT State Grange. They go to support the State and National Grange organizations–ones which help to support us. We appreciate the interest-free construction loans that have helped to finance the major projects we have done, and the loan which helped us purchase the wood-pellet furnace in 2022!
- If your aim is mostly to help the Grange financially, rather than to be an active member, another way is to donate to the Friends of the Capital City Grange. Your contribution will help to fund further projects to improve our wonderful Grange Hall, and can also be tax-deductible! You can make those donations online at: https://capitalcitygrange.org/
- If you want to join the Grange, we encourage you to do so, by downloading the application, using the link under “How Can I Join?” on the About Page on our website! Just fill it out, and follow the instructions on where to send the form and the dues check. Or bring them to a meeting–this one or any of our monthly meetings.
Thanks to all who have been contributing!
PO Box 192
Northfield Falls, VT 05664