Opening the Order’s Door: Keys to Success as a State Deputy
In an address to the Knights of Columbus’ state deputies, Supreme Knight Carl Anderson said that opening the door of K of C membership to every Catholic man, reaching out to Catholic communities regardless of where they are located, and adapting to changing demographics in the countries where the Order is located, are some of the major keys to success as a state deputy.
Supreme Knight Anderson made his comments on Thursday, June 12, at the opening business session of the annual State Deputies Meeting in New Haven, Conn., site of the Supreme Council headquarters.
His address focused on the theme, “10 Keys to Success as State Deputy,” which stresses the need for setting realistic goals, maintaining positive attitudes, overseeing membership and insurance growth, fostering open communications, conducting training sessions and reaching out to local parishes and communities to establish programs of support and charity.
One of the important ways to achieve success, especially in the area of growth, is to focus on recruitment 365 days a year, he said. “Too many jurisdictions, and subsequently local councils, take a break during summer and don’t start focusing on membership until September. When that happens they lose 20 percent of their work time to achieve their goals,” the supreme knight said.
Supreme Knight Anderson went on to discuss two beliefs he has held throughout his involvement with the Knights of Columbus: 1) the Knights of Columbus has the moral obligation to offer every eligible Catholic man the opportunity to join the Order and enjoy its benefits, and 2) the Knights of Columbus needs to be everywhere the Catholic Church is today.
The best method of meeting these goals is to follow the One Member, Per Council, Per Month recruitment strategy and strive to earn Star Council status, he stated.
The supreme knight noted that state deputies represent the Order in their respective jurisdictions and are responsible for carrying on the vision and the mission bequeathed to them by earlier generations of leaders. Venerable Father Michael McGivney founded the Order in 1882 with a group of Catholic men from New Haven to provide financial protection to widows and families and to prepare Catholic men to know and live out their faith within a society that was not always friendly to the Church.
“The Supreme Council can do a lot to supplement efforts at the local level, but we cannot do more than you (state deputies) and the local councils do,” he added. “We are the spiritual sons and heirs of Father McGivney and we need to ensure that our actions reflect the positive life he led.”
Ultimately, Supreme Knight Anderson said, membership growth is about welcoming men into the Order who are going to change many peoples’ lives and do so much good through the Knights of Columbus year after year. He added that Pope Francis, in his Message for the World Day of Peace, said that the Church desperately needs fraternal communities with a missionary spirit.
“We have 132 years of the finest, most dedicated, dynamic fraternal community with a missionary spirit. That same fraternal missionary spirit needs to be passed along to hundreds and hundreds of Catholic men we must offer membership to,” the supreme knight said.
Another presenter was Louis Barbour, vice president for membership growth, who spoke about need to promote membership growth to ensure an even greater future for the Order. Later in the day, Thomas Smith, chief insurance officer, outlined the highly-rated Knights of Columbus Insurance program that offers financial security to members and their families and provides the funds for the Order’s impressive list of charitable programs. He also underscored the need for a partnership between fraternal leaders of the Order and the insurance force. George Hanna, supreme warden and senior vice president of Fraternal Services, spoke about how the Order’s wide-ranging charitable works assist councils in recruiting and retaining members and how these efforts bring immediate assistance to those most in need in parishes and communities throughout the world. Among the most popular and effective are three programs that help provide food, clothing and shelter to needy persons and families: Food for Families, Coats for Kids and the Order’s collaboration with Habitat for Humanity.
The event for state deputies continues through Sunday, June 15.