From the East
Greetings from the East,
This is one of the last times, if not the last, I wil be addressing you in this manner through the Trestle Board. The November Stated Communication is quickly approaching us. On Tuesday night, November 13th we will conduct the business at hand for Phalanx Lodge #31 which includes the election of the 2013 officers. This time of year is always exciting for me. I have been fortunate enough to be in the officer line up since I was raised seven years ago. Except for a matter of three months, I have been fulfiling a role on my way to the East. What a journey it has been.
I think about my mother and father more these days than I ever have. They departed this realm Master 22 years ago and five years ago, respectively. I was one of the fortunate men who had the privilege of being raised into Masonry by my dad. It was a moment I will never forget. Standing in my driveway afterwards he said to me:
“You will be Master one day…”. At the time, it was a nice thought. I was proud that he felt that way but it was a far away ambition. After toiling with the Craft for six years I finally ascended to the East. I recall the words of my father every time I have the honor of sitting in the Master’s chair. My dad left his Earthly home just shy of his 81st birthday to continue his work in the next life with the Great Architect of the Universe. Each meeting over which I have presided this year, I have worn his Masonic ring.
He was a member of Charles M. Setzer Lodge #693. Although it took me a few years after my legal age to join the fraternity, I am extremely proud that I have done so. With the example my parents set, the portrayal of Masonry by my dad and a former colleague and current great friend, WB Dr. J. Ralph Linn, I saw the way things could and should be. It is my sincere hope that I have served the brethren of Phalanx well. It is my continued hope that I represent this fraternal order in a manner that is pleasing not only to its members but to my dad and the Great Architect of the Universe. I want to say “I love you and I miss you” to my mother and father. I look forward to joining them one day so that we may continue our relationship of love and support.
With all of this said, brethren, I want to urge you each and everyone to make a special effort to be in attendance for the November Stated Communication. The meal will be delicious, as they all have been this year, the fellowship wil be outstanding and the events of the evening are oh so important. Just like within our own country, so few elect those who affect so many. As I have said previously, this is “your” lodge. It is what you make of it and we want to make it the best it can be.
Again, I appreciate all of the thoughts, words of encouragement and prayers that have sustained me through 2012. Just because I will be descending from the East, don’t think that I do not want or need them. I look forward to fulfiling another calling within the Craft, whatever it may be.
I would like to leave you with a thought to dwell upon for a while…
Ralph Harkey – Master
From the West
Brethren, for the past few days I’ve been racking my brain trying to think of some-thing to write. Clever, humorous, or inspirational, it didn’t matter, just something with some substance to it. I’d read news articles, watch the History Channel, but nothing was coming to mind. So I resorted to something I’ve been doing for many, many years to help clear my head. I took a long drive.
Now there’s nothing exotic about taking a long drive. You basically get in your car, turn on the radio, and pick a direction. I prefer to drive outside of the city into the more rural areas. There’s not so much traffic, and the openness is relaxing.
As I’m driving along I see old barns and I think of how much of this used to be farm land before man invented subdivisions. I’d sometimes see old rundown buildings being taken over with weeds and years of decay. Other times I see old homes surrounded by junk, but the house itself looked like it was really something magnificent back in its day. Just this evening, not far from my house, as traffic slowed and I looked over to my left, I saw a cross on the side of the road that I had driven by many times, but had never noticed before. I wasn’t able to make out the name on the cross, but I’m sure that name will never be forgotten by the family and friends who lost a loved one on that very spot.
My driving sometimes takes me to places I didn’t know existed, and other times I seem to retrace the same route over and over. But all of these random trips have one thing in common, there’s no direction to them, no final outcome of finding what I’m looking for. As most of the time I never know what I’m looking for to begin with.
For many years I had no direction and never knew what my purpose in life was. I joined Masonry in 2005, the only person in my family ever to have joined, and have attempted to make the most of it since that time. I’ve learned so very much, not just through the ritual work, but through the many I now call brothers. I’ll admit that there have been some bumps along the way, some questions as to what I’m really getting out of this, but slowly and surely a number of those questions have been answered.
Brethren, as you yourself look at Masonry and what it means to you, don’t just look at your individual place in Masonry, but look at the big picture of what Masonry stands for as a whole. The bond we all share, the various reasons why we all came together, and the good work that we do. It really is a beautiful thing!
Kai T. Ferell, SW
From the South
It has certainly been a busy year for us, and it will continue to be even busier as we head into November and December.
As with every November we look forward to the coming year, and the need for brothers to fill the chairs. I realize now there is a constant need for us to keep “refilling the hopper”. I think it is important that we encourage our newest master masons to do their third degree catechism, and begin their journey through the officer’s line.
Becoming an officer in the lodge is one of the most rewarding experiences I have had in my life. The wonderful times that I had in the kitchen during my two years as a steward, followed by two wonderful years learning floor work as a deacon were awesome. I have continued to grow and learn as the Junior Warden this year. With each year I have learned more and more about the fraternity, and I continue to learn something new every time I set foot in the lodge.
We have lots of new Master Masons, and in my opinion it is imperative that we encourage them to express their interest in being an officer. As each new Master begins selecting his officers it certainly helps to know who is interested in participating as an officer.
Thank you again for the opportunities you have afforded me so far, and I look forward to several more years in the chairs.
Jim Lofton – JW
From the Secretary
Brethren, as I alluded to in last month’s Trestleboard, the final few months of 2012 will be quite busy with a number of very
important dates, but perhaps none quite as important as the November 13th Stated Communication.
On the agenda that evening will be three very important items:
Election of your Lodge’s 2013 Officers (Master, Sr. Warden, Jr. Warden,Treasurer, Secretary and Trustee);
– review and determination of the disposition on members delinquent in payment of their 2012 dues;
– and discussion and voting on changing our annual dues from “$83.00 plus Grand Lodge per capita” to “$65.00 plus Grand Lodge per capita” (which still accounts for an increase in rent).
These are all very important to the future of Phalanx Lodge and deserve thoughtful consideration. Please plan to attend if you are able.
For December, the installation of 2013 Officers is scheduled for Saturday evening, December 8th, and our final Stated Communication in 2012 follows on Tuesday, December 11.
We look forward to seeing you in the Lodge.
Mike Hamrick, PM
From the Craft
WE ARE CONSOLIDATED!!
In late 2011, Joppa was barely able to open the lodge and had too few active members qualified to be officers who were willing to continue serving. We were faced with the choice of surrendering our charter or consolidating with another lodge. If we simply surrendered our charter, most of the Brothers of Joppa would become “unaffiliated” – an inactive status that would cause us to forfeit our membership in appendant Masonic organizations such as Scottish Rite, York Rite, Shrine, etc. Thus it was decided that the better course of action was to seek consolidation with another lodge.
Upon inquiry, Phalanx Lodge No. 31 expressed an interest in consolidation. After several meetings, between representatives of both lodges, exchanging information, filling out forms, sending required notifications to the Brothers of each lodge, votes by each lodge, and notification to the Grand Lodge, our lodges were consolidated as Phalanx Lodge No. 31 in January, 2012 and the result is that we are still active Masons. We were accepted into the ranks of Phalanx in a most gracious and Masonic manner and put to work just as if we had been Raised in Phalanx. Phalanx respected our origin by incorporating “Joppa 530” into their official seal and honored us by having a plaque made with the names and dates of all of Joppa’s Past Masters. It is a pleasure to once again attend meetings with a large number of Brothers in a very active lodge.
I urge you to attend communications as you are able, and when you receive your 2013 Dues Notices, respond positively. We meet on the second Tuesday of each month in the same location and at the same hours as we did with Joppa. All that you will need to do upon returning is learn some new names.
Rocky Boyle, PM Joppa
Secretary of Joppa 2006 -2011