The following announcement was issued on April 3, 2013:
MIC Ends Mark Twain Award Competition;
New Initiatives in Masonic Awareness Planned
In 2006, the Masonic Information Center, an arm of the Masonic Service Association of North America, launched the Mark Twain Award for Excellence in Masonic Awareness, planning to sponsor the Award for three years. With growing Lodge participation, the competition was extended for an additional four years. Now, having completed its 7th year and having recognized 129 winners, MIC feels it is being pulled to serve new initiatives, and no Twain Award will be offered in 2013.
"We deeply appreciate the participation of hundreds of Lodges and the positive Masonic journeys that entrants have traveled with their Brethren and their communities," said George Braatz, MSA Executive Secretary. "Across the country, I have personally met with and heard from dozens of participants, telling stories of how the Twain Award guided their Lodges back to a position of strength in the community. Time and again, I heard that the Twain Award guidelines provided simple processes through which their Lodges rekindled their enthusiasm for our Masonic identities and respect for our historical Fraternity."
"In our seven years of experience with the program, we witnessed how the principles and procedures used by Mark Twain Award competitors have proven themselves as successful avenues to greater Masonic awareness. These practices can be easily perpetuated without the necessity of an award program," Braatz said. "We encourage Lodges to continue to use these methods for their own success, even though there will be no trophy at the end."
Although the contest ends, its resources will remain archived online and available to Lodges needing examples of success stories and tips on moving forward.
Much has changed throughout the world since MIC released its 2004 report to the Grand Masters, "It's about Time," in which MIC proposed that moving Masonry into the 21st Century meant making a call to action and moving away from lethargy. Research led to the proposal of the Mark Twain Award as an incentive, geared primarily for Lodges looking for extra tips on how to break free of old habits that inhibited both Masonic participation and Lodge potential.
In this different world of global cyber communications, MIC plans to focus on Masonic awareness and Masonic service in new ways, such as our recent offering of Masonic information publications in an online store.