From The East – May

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May 112007
 

Signs, prayer, gavels

As we close our Lodge we again exchange the signs or the symbols of our obligations. As we repeat these signs with each other from week to week we are silently repeating our obligations to each other. These symbols and signs are ways that we have for reminding us of the more complicated ideas they represent.

As we all know prayer is an essential part of every lodge stated or called meeting, and is a part of the opening of each lodge, as well as the closing. We are taught that before engaging in any great or laudable undertaking we must first invoke the blessing of deity.

Again, the familiar rap of a gavel re-focuses our attention and directs us “to prepare to quit our sacred retreat of friendship and virtue to mix with the world.”

So again, we find new meaning in our ceremonies. Let the next closing of the next lodge be, again, a reminder of those first lessons we learned.

We have firmed up our plans to visit our brothers in Claremore Oklahoma and to confer a Texas style Master Masons degree there. We have dispensation from the Grand Lodge and a candidate. The date of the trip is May 19th. Our degree won’t start until afternoon so most of us will probably travel there on Saturday morning, (about 41/2 hour drive.) The Claremore lodge will have a dinner for us at the lodge after the degree. If you want to spend the night in Claremore, (most will,) we usually stay at the Days Inn, (918 341-2323,) they would offer a group rate on 10 or more rooms of $59, single or double.

See you in lodge. We have another busy month ahead.

Fraternally,

Fred Smith

Worshipful Master

From the East – April

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Apr 122007
 

Duties of officers

In our opening and closing ritual we recite the various duties of the officers of the lodge. These duties remind of us of our unusual organizational structure as well as serving to connect us to our brother lodges throughout the world having this same structure. In some way each office is responsible for some aspect of finding, teaching and retaining good men in our fraternity. In our Plano lodge we have raised six new Master Masons this month. We all, officers or not, should review our responsibilities to these new Masons, realizing that this month is not the norm in Masonry and each of these new Masters should be greeted with the greatest of enthusiasm.

The Grand Master’s Conferences and Masonic workshops addresses the topic of the way we treat our new brothers, (EA’s, FC,s or MM’s.) And, I urge all of you that have not attended one of these to do so, especially current and future officers. There are still three workshops in our area scheduled in April and four Grand Master’s Conferences. See the schedule on the Grand Lodge website.

We have firmed up our plans to visit our brothers in Claremore, Oklahoma and to confer a Texas style Master Masons degree there. The date of the trip is May 19th. Our degree won’t start until afternoon so most of us will probably travel there on Saturday morning, (about 41/2 hour drive.) The Claremore lodge will have a dinner for us at the lodge after the degree. If you want to spend the night in Claremore, (most will,) we usually stay at the Days Inn, (918 341-2323,) they would offer a group rate on 10 or more rooms of $59, single or double.

See you in lodge. We have another busy month ahead. And I wish everyone a very Happy Easter.

Fraternally,

Fred Smith

Worshipful Master

From the East – March

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Mar 202007
 

The work of the lodge

The work of the Lodge begins with the Master announcing the purpose for the meeting. In our Plano Lodge we either have a stated meeting as required in our by-laws or a called meeting for the purpose of conferring degrees. This month we plan to confer five Master Mason degrees and perhaps an EA degree in five or six called meetings. A called meeting is announced in the Stated Meeting to give notice to all members of the lodge of our intention to hold the called meeting. Otherwise, if the lodge desires to call a meeting not previously announced, all members must be notified by mail or telephone.

In a broader sense, the work of the lodge is all those things that we do to assist our brothers, or join in fellowship with our brothers or contribute to our communities. We meet in fellowship each week at meal time; we offer assistance to our brothers in need. We contribute to the community through our programs such as “Gift of Life” or “Lamar Medals” and recognize community leaders with our “Community Builder” award. Our affiliated organizations such as Scottish Rite, York Rite and Shrine have operated some of this country’s most well known philanthropies.

We have contributed to our community for 79 years with our annual George Washington’s Birthday Dinner celebration, the first being held in 1928 the last year of Calvin Coolidge’s presidency and the year of the first Academy Awards.

We have begun talking with our brothers in Claremore, Oklahoma about renewing our mutual visitation weekends. We may be traveling to Oklahoma this spring if we can work something out.

See you in lodge. We have another busy month ahead. And I wish everyone a very Happy Saint Patrick’s day.

Fraternally,

Fred Smith

Worshipful Master

From the East – February

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Feb 152007
 

Honor the flag, introduce visitors

With a battery of gavels and a declaration in the name of God and the Holy Saints John the lodge is opened. The Master announces the purpose of the lodge and we get to the business of the evening.

In our lodge we begin the business of the evening by acknowledging the sovereignty of our country and state through a pledge to the flag of our country and to the Texas flag. It is the Sr. Deacon’s responsibility in our lodge to greet visitors, make them feel welcome and examine them if necessary to assure that they are Mason’s recognized by our Grand Lodge and are in good standing. He then, after the lodge is open, introduces them to the Lodge and also presents to the Lodge any grand officer present. Even if a visitor is already known as a Mason, he is usually introduced to the lodge. Such introductions in lodge may be the threads of which fraternity is woven; if they are as kindly, courteous and interested as the hospitality of Masonry indicates, they may be woven into a cloth of friendliness which is equally a cloak of warmth to visitor and to host.

Dignitaries visiting a lodge are almost always formally introduced. No matter how well known he may be, no lodge would receive a Grand Master without presenting him formally (introducing him) to the brethren. The forms and ceremonies for this differ in different Grand Jurisdictions but the intent is the same in all; to honor the distinguished official of Grand Lodge and to set him before the brethren with dignity and importance.

Please make plans to attend our annual George Washington’s birthday dinner. Tiny Powell recalls that this event had been practiced in Plan long before he became a Mason. This year, as in the recent past years, the dinner will be held at the Plano East High School cafeteria beginning at 6:00 PM. Please invite you family and friends. There will be entertainment following dinner and everyone is urged to stay and enjoy.

See you in lodge. We have another busy month ahead. And I wish everyone a very Happy Ground Hogs Day.

Fraternally,

Fred Smith

Worshipful Master

From the East – January

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Jan 262007
 

Open the Lodge

As we open each Lodge in the name of God and the Holy Saints John, we open this new year of 2007 shortly after the recognition of the day of St. John the Evangelist on December 27th. We open our Masonic year with the recognition of Saint John the Baptist on or shortly after June 24th.

Some Masonic scholars believe that the real explanation of Freemasonry’s connection with the Holy Saints John Festival Days is not to be found in the history of the Craft – but, rather, in the history of ancient religions. These festival days are as old as the ancient systems of worship of fire and Sun and recognized the mysteries of the shortening and lengthening of days. Primitive people tried to explain these “mysteries” in terms of their daily lives. What could be more natural than to think these phenomena were the actions of an Unknown Deity who held very their lives and well-being in His hands?

The early Church wanted these pagan festivals stopped, but they were very popular with the people. The solution to the problem was simple; substitute Christian meanings and Saints for pagan gods on these holidays and continue to celebrate the same ceremonies on the same dates – but under a different name. Therefore, the celebration of the Summer Solstice became the Festival of Saint John the Baptist and the celebration of the Winter Solstice became the Festival of Saint John the Evangelist.

The Plano Lodge celebration of George Washington’s birthday has been scheduled for February 24th, and, will be held as usual at the Plano East High school. Please put this on your calendar and invite your family and friends.

See you in lodge. We have another busy month ahead. And I wish everyone a very Happy New Year.

Fraternally,

Fred Smith

Worshipful Master