Category Archives: Education

George Washington and the Virtue of Temperance

George Washington and the Virtue of Temperance

 “In politics as in religion, my tenets are few and simple. The leading one of which, and indeed that which embraces most others, is to be honest and just ourselves and to exact it from others, meddling as little as possible in their affairs where our own are not involved. If this maxim was generally adopted, wars would cease and our swords would soon be converted into reap hooks and our harvests be more peaceful, abundant, and happy.”

George Washington

 The most recognizable Mason in American History, George Washington was born in Westmoreland County, Virginia, on February 22, 1732.

Bro. Washington was initiated as an Entered Apprentice Mason on November 4, 1752 in Fredericksburg Lodge # 4 in Fredericksburg, Virginia.  He was subsequently passed to the Degree of a Fellow Craft on March 3, 1753 and raised to the sublime Degree of a Master Mason on August 4, 1753, all ceremonies being conducted by Fredericksburg Lodge # 4.

Although 265 years have passed since his initiation, we all share a bond with Bro. Washington.  Because of the unchanging nature of Masonry, we can know with certainty that Washington took the same vows as an Entered Apprentice Mason that we assumed over two centuries later.  We can be equally assured that before being passed to the degree of a Fellow Craft, Bro. Washington was asked the question, “As an Entered Apprentice Mason, what came you here to do?”  His answer, as so many who preceded and followed him, would have been, “To learn, to subdue my passions and improve myself in Masonry.”

It is this phrase, “to subdue my passions,” that is the focus of this presentation.

Temperance is defined as the act of voluntary self-restraint; It is the act of refraining from exercising an act which one otherwise has the ability to perform.  It is no accident that Freemasonry joins subduing one’s passions with learning and improvement.  In each of our three degrees we promise some act of restraint, or temperance.  We promise not to reveal the secrets of our fraternity.  We promise not to cheat, wrong or defraud each other.  We promise not to divulge the confidences reposed in us by our brothers.  We promise not to violate the chastity of the female relatives of other Masons.  We promise not to strike another Mason in anger.

All of these promises reflect the Masonic virtue of temperance.  We have the physical ability to perform all of the things that we have promised not to do.  But it is the quality of temperance – the exercise of restraint and patience – that does truly curb our passions and lead us to be better men.

Brother George Washington clearly mastered the virtue of temperance.  There are three examples from his life – one from personal life and two from his public life – to which I wish to draw your attention this evening.  Each of these examples reflect the attitude that Washington displayed toward temperance and restraint.

The first example is found in a letter that Bro. Washington wrote to his young niece, Harriot Washington.  Washington wrote, “You are just entering the state of womanhood, without the watchful eye of a Mother to admonish or the protecting aid of a Father to advise and defend you; you may not be sensible (aware) that you are at this moment about to be stamped with that character which will adhere to you through life.  Think, then, to what dangers a giddy girl of 15 or 16 must be exposed in circumstances like these.  To be under but little or no control may be pleasing to a mind that does not reflect, but this pleasure cannot be of long duration.”

Every man here this evening who is a parent has at one time or another had the pleasure of explaining to a child why it isn’t necessarily a good idea to do something just because you can.  Washington was engaged in that same level of discourse with his niece.  His letter to her reflects his (and Masonry’s) value on self restraint and reflection.

The next two examples come from Washington’s public life.

First, in 1782, after the end of the Revolutionary War and before the writing and ratification of the Constitution, Washington received a letter from one of his officers, Major Lewis Nicola.  In what has become know as the “Newburgh Letter,” Nicola suggested that Washington proclaim himself king.  Washington replied to Nicola by letter the same date and called Nicola’s suggestion “a calamity.”

Washington could have been king.  He was the single unifying figure in the post Revolutionary War United States.  He had the stature and the popularity to declare himself king.  Surely Washington was aware that a kingdom was his for the taking.  It seems almost impossible to imagine that the idea was not at least a little bit tempting to him.  But all of the historical evidence points to the contrary.

Washington rejected the idea of proclaiming himself king.  His prompt response to Nicola was unequivocal.  Washington fought against England for the concept of republican government.  To fight and win such a battle, then embrace a monarchy for his own sake, would have been a repudiation of the principles in which he believed.

In Washington:  A Life, Ron Chernow writes, “But over the years, this man of deep emotions and strong opinions had learned to subordinate his personal dreams and aspirations to the service of a large cause, evolving into a stateman with a prodigious mastery of political skills and unwavering sense of America’s future greatness.  In the things that mattered most for his country, he had shown himself capable of constant growth and self-improvement.”

Could Washington have proclaimed himself king?  Most certainly the answer is yes.  But Washington realized that to do so would not only ultimately be ruinous to his newborn country, but would also cause him to betray his own beliefs.  Washington exercised the Masonic virtue of temperance.  He could have been king, yet he chose to exercise restraint in making what he believed to be the best choice for his country.

The final example of Washington’s temperance is his refusal to accept a third term as president of the United States.  He actually made this refusal on two separate occasions – once following his second inauguration in 1793 and again preceding the presidential election of 1796.

At the beginning of his second term as president in 1793, Washington made it clear to all that he would not accept a third term as president.  First, he was simply exhausted by public life and wanted to return to Mt. Vernon.  Second, he believed that it was important to establish the precedent of a peaceful and orderly transition of the office of the presidency.  He feared that if he accepted a third term and then died in office, the precedent would be established that the presidency was an office to which one was elected for life.  Washington was determined to avoid this, so he refused all entreaties to accept a third term.

Washington’s act of restraint in refusing a third term established the precedent, which has lasted for over two hundred years, of an orderly transition of presidential power.  This precedent has been so strong that it has guided our country through the difficult days following the deaths and resignations of presidents.  Indeed, the orderly transition of power is one of the defining characteristics that distinguishes the United States from most of the world’s other nations.

Brother George Washington exercised the Masonic virtue of temperance personally and publicly.  His restraint led to the development of a high moral character which benefitted him individually and the country as a whole.  Bro. Washington is our best example of how subduing one’s passions lead to improvement.

In his book, Patriarch, presidential historian Richard Norton Smith writes the following passage, “Even at this stage of his career, then, Washington remained a revolutionary.  But it was a revolution of character, not of politics, to which he committed himself.  He staked his presidency – and his place in history – on a belief that men could be wise enough to restrain their passions and reasonable enough to keep government in check.”

What then, is the contemporary application of Bro. Washington’s example?  It is this – let us practice patience and restraint in a civil society where such virtues are considered quaint and old fashioned.  Let us be faithful to our sacred vows of temperance.  Let us be wise enough to reflect and to restrain our passions.  Like Washington, let us also be participants in a revolution of character.

Delivered by Dan M. Kemble
February 9, 2017
Burlington Lodge # 264
Burlington, Kentucky

Sources:

Washington:  A Life.  Ron Chernow, 2010, Penguin Press.

Patriarch.  Richard Norton Smith, 1993, Houghton Mifflin Company.

George Washington:  A Biography (Volume VII).  John Alexander Carroll and Mary Wells Ashworth, 1957, Charles Scribner’s Sons.

George Washington:  A Biography (Volumes I through VI).  Douglas Southall Freeman, 1948-1954, Charles Scibner’s Sons.

Washington:  The Man and the Mason.  Charles H. Callahan, 1913, Gibson Brothers Press.

Northern Kentucky DeMolay January 2017 Installation

Northern Kentucky Chapter, Order of DeMolay, held its installation of officers on January 29, 2017 at Bradford Lodge No. 123, Independence, Kentucky. Bro. Josh Ball, who also serves as State Junior Councilor, was installed as Master Councilor of the Chapter. This is Bro. Josh’s third term as Master Councilor!

The Installation was performed by State Master Councilor Draven Sims along with his corps of officers.

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Our Master, Bro. Buddy Wallace, along with Junior Warden Adam Gross and Secretary Dan Kemble attended the installation. Worshipful Bro. Buddy is pictured above with the members of Northern Kentucky Chapter, Order of DeMolay and the state officers of Kentucky DeMolay.

Northern Kentucky Chapter meets at Bradford Lodge No. 123 on the 2nd and 4th Sundays of each month at 2:00 P.M. Please support these young men and welcome them into the family of Freemasonry.

January 2017 Stated Communication

Our speaker for our January educational program was Worshipful Brother Ed Tanner, reflecting on the 50+ years he has been a member of our fraternity.

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I title this paper: “Masonry: Where It Was, Where It Is, and Where It’s Going.”

Subtitled, A review of my 50 years as a Mason. I would like to quote Bro. James R. Robinson, P.M., Boone-Union Lodge No. 304, F&AM, Union, KY, after receiving his Gold Card and 50 year membership pin. It is, “Fifty years is not a long time.” I totally agree with Bro. Robinson when I stop to think about what I have done and where I have been in the last fifty years, and before that, in and outside of Masonry. Time does fly by and can’t be saved for future years. I was Initiated, Passed and Raised at Boone-Union Lodge No. 304, F&AM, in 1965 at the age of 23. I had three uncles, two cousins, one which was the Master, and one Grandfather and church members who belonged there, and my father-in-law belonged to a Lodge in Chicago, IL and I became interested in what the Masons were and what they did. My initiation class consisted of five men, one of which was my father and one was a cousin, and I was the active candidate in the Master Mason Degree. As I sat on the steps outside the Lodge waiting to be called for my turn in the Legend of the Temple and listening to hear, “Ok Ed, your turn, come on up,” I couldn’t help but wonder: “Did I make a right choice?” The Lodge was located on the second floor and with every step I made up those stairs, wondering, what was going to happen to me? The other four never came back down from that room upstairs. I soon found out, and rose to appreciate it. Today as I reflect on my 50 plus years in Masonry, I’ve asked myself, “What have I seen, learned and hopefully helped someone or some cause.” In 1965 upon attending a Masonic Lodge I noticed that almost every man was wearing a suit and tie. After the initiations I recognized the officers knew their degree and ritual work almost to perfection, were sincerely glad to meet me and made me feel welcomed to join this Fraternity and especially this Lodge. As I observed my first nomination of officers later that year in 1965 I noticed that there were no shortages of candidates for the chairs. As my class was the second one to be raised in 1965, there were others ahead of me being asked to fill chairs. I never accepted the offer to take a place in the Lodge line until several years later, as I worked second shift and Saturday work was scheduled and wouldn’t permit me to give full attention to any office. There were no Past Masters being asked to fill a chair in the line as every Brother moved up the ranks to the station in the East. There was a full Degree Team which traveled to several Lodges to portray The Legend of the Temple. After a few years of regular attendance in Lodge I was handed a script for the third ruffian in The Legend and told, “Learn the part.” The following information is compiled from the Grand Lodge Proceedings of 1965, 1966, 2015, and 2016 published by the Grand Lodge of Kentucky:


Grand Lodge of Kentucky, F&AM

Membership Data
                                                        1965                  2015
Total Members                      100,235           38,814
50 Year Members                1,840                 6,762
Total Lodges                            471                     369

Net Membership Decrease Since 1965: 61,421
Net Lodge Decrease Since 1965: 102
Total Current Members Less 50 Year Members: 32,052

Membership totals are not adjusted for dual members. In other words, the total numbers are inflated.


Where are we today? Membership is down, Past Masters are asked to fill positions in the line, officers read their duties from a book, can’t put on degree work themselves and have to ask Brothers from other Lodges to stand in, which is mainly due to only four or five members attending or the majority of the members are older and don’t drive at night, yet they still want the Lodge to stay alive and function, members don’t learn charges to the degrees, roughly present a proficiency examination from a new Brother, which is not an asset to him. After all, he is there to learn. Another alteration is the dress code of members in Lodge. It was explained to me that going to Lodge, a replica of King Solomon’s Temple, was compared to going to church. Dress that way. Times have changed and the dress code has been greatly reduced by Lodges and churches. Many Pastors say they would rather have members present and dressed as they wish than not have them attend at all. I suppose this could be the same line of thinking for Masters of Masonic Lodges today. True, many Masons don’t own a suit or like to wear a tie, but respectable, clean clothes should be the unspoken code for Lodge or other function attendance and the Grand Lodge Communication as well. In the Address to a Newly Raised Candidate, which has been presented by Bro. David Wood, P.M., Boone-Union No. 304 and Elvin E. Helms No. 926, there is a statement and I quote, “Membership in a Masonic Lodge can no more make you a Mason than membership in a Musical Club can make you a musician.” And so it is with Masonry and the Masonic Lodge. There are four classes of men in this world. Firsrt those who are Masons neither in name or nature; second those who are Masons in name only; third, those who are Masons by nature; and lastly, those who are Masons both in name and nature, and this class are God’s noblemen. I thought so much of this address that I learned it to present it after the death of Bro. Wood. Some men don’t ask for a petition because they aren’t interested or don’t care what the Masons stand for or do. Some men join, get raised or get in line and even become Master, after which they rarely and sometimes never set foot in a Lodge again. They become Masons in name only. Masons in name only also applies to the appendant bodies of the Masonic Order which members join and never participate in meetings or Degree Work. It makes one wonder, “Why did they join?” Is there some material profit or favor they expect to gain from saying, “I am a Mason,” or by wearing a ring? Those by nature are men who never ask for a petition but lead a respected, helpful, meaningful life, which all Masons should do. We probably all know someone whom we respect and think that they would be a good Mason because of their many good qualities. Those who are Masons in name and nature which there are many, take their obligations seriously and go about doing good deeds, not expecting any recognition or reward and being proud to be a Mason. Yes our numbers are down and those who are truly Masons in name and nature and interested in the Order still attend Lodge, still fill a station when asked, even though they may have for sometime but really don’t want to, learn and confer degree work, know how to open and close a Lodge properly, instruct proficiencies and go about doing good deeds for their Lodge, their community and especially their fellow man. Above all these Brothers are willing to assist others who have the desire to learn. In closing, “Where Are We Going?” That question can be answered by every Mason in the Commonwealth. To state it better, ask yourself, “Where Am I Going?” Do I dress and act the part of a respected Mason and am I going to learn rituals and degree work, am I going to attend Lodge on a fairly regular basis so I know what is going on with the Lodge and staying informed, contribute to the Lodge activities, instruct by word and actions, and be involved with the other Masonic bodies I belong to. Those members who are called upon and accepting an invitation to confer degrees, lectures, or charges for another Lodge are fading. I ask you, “Who will fill their shoes?” They will always be needed and asked to assist for reasons already stated, and thanks to God, they willingly accept the invitation. Masonry will be around a long, long time if the present members get involved in their Lodges and show the world what Masonry is about, thereby attracting men who want to be Masons and asking how to join, by doing deeds in the community, schools and toward their fellow man. Fifty years isn’t a very long time. I have seen many changes in both district and Grand Lodge, due to electronic communication and voting procedures, most of which are good, as secretaries don’t have to file reports to the Grand Lodge in triplicate or communicate with sister Lodges by the use of U.S. Mail. A most significant step is the fraternal relations with the Prine Hall Masons, something that would not have happened fifty years ago or even ten to fifteen years ago. I hope I contributed to a small part in Masons, maybe inspired a Brother to step up and take a part or fill a chair, taking a chair when asked by a new Master, even though I really didn’t want to, but later felt honored that I was asked and accepted the request. As a young man of 23 years of age, sitting on Lodge steps in 1965, wondering about his choice, I now know it was a good one because of the great men I have met and respected and still meet those kind of men, men from sister Lodges that attended my Lodge whenever there was degree work, just to visit, the grant men I have served under or served as Master of a Lodge or being involved in other bodies. Yes, it was a great choice and Masonry has taught me very much. I have gotten more out of Masonry than I have put into it and I am thankful for that. It is up to the present and future members to learn, serve, and keep the Greatest Fraternity in the World, going forever. My sincere wish is that they will. Fifty years isn’t a very long time. Get involved now, time is passing.

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November 2016 Stated Communication

On Election Night 2016, the Brothers of Elvin E. Helms No. 926 welcomed a capacity crowd for a great night of Masonry in Petersburg, Kentucky. We were honored to have Most Worshipful Grand Master Todd Jones, Right Worshipful Grand Junior Warden Geary Laird, Worshipful Grand Senior Deacon Coleman Waford and Worshipful DDGM Kevin Schneider (District 18) in attendance.  We had an excellent meal provided by Bro. Mike Boffemmyer, followed by the introduction of our distinguished visitors, an especially interesting education program for the evening, a new twist on our program with Kelley Elementary School, the Worshipful Master’s report from Grand Lodge, and last but not least, were able to share our Grand Master’s 2015-2016 Lodge of Excellence Award for the first time in Stated Communication.

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Pictured above, left to right: Jim Fletcher, DDGM 19; Geary Laird, Grand Junior Warden; Tom Roundtree; Larry York; Coleman Waford, Grand Senior Deacon; Chuck Yokum; Robby Ratliff; Jason Wallace; Most Worshipful Grand Master of Masons in Kentucky, Todd Jones; Sammy Meyerratken; Brad Drew; Buddy Wallace; Dave Cassesa; Worshipful Master Ernie Stratton; Ken Rogers; Jim Herzog; Travis Bush; Mel Kinser; Garry Kelly; Mark Rosen.
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Pictured above, left to right: Coleman Waford, Grand Senior Deacon, Grand Lodge of Kentucky; Dave Cassesa, Committee on Education, Grand Lodge of Kentucky; Most Worshipful Grand Master of Masons in Kentucky, Todd Jones; Ken Rogers, Committee on Masons Helping Masons, Grand Lodge of Kentucky; Worshipful Master Ernie Stratton; Right Worshipful Grand Junior Warden, Grand Lodge of Kentucky, Geary Laird.

Our education program for the evening was presented by Worshipful Brother Marc Rosen of Poage Lodge No. 325. Brother Rosen is a former District Court and Circuit Court Judge in Boyd, County, Kentucky. His topic was the Grand Lodge of Kentucky Appeals Committee, on which he has served for many years, what is its purpose, and how it performs its functions. Especially interesting was the dialogue between Most Worshipful Grand Master Todd Jones and Worshipful Brother Rosen allowing for an explanation of the checks and balances between the judicial and executive branches of the Grand Lodge of Kentucky. As a result of the very unexpected conversational presentation and in following the Constitution of the Grand Lodge of Kentucky we do not have a transcript of the program to make available.

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Pictured above, left to right: Marc Rosen; Worshipful Master Ernie Stratton.

Larry York of Demoss No. 220 shared with us a brief writing he had published in the November 2016 issue of the Masonic Homes Journal:

WHAT IS A MASON? by Larry York, DeMoss No. 220

A Mason is a man who has decided he likes to feel good about himself and others. He cares about the future as well as the past. He does what he can both alone and with others to make sure the future is good for everyone. Recently I found that to be true. I belong to a small Lodge in District 19, DeMoss Lodge No. 220. Our Lodge was in need of some repairs, most importantly a new roof. To help offset the cost, we purchased a shotgun to be raffled. Tickets were printed up for a dollar donation.

We did get our roof replaced and the shotgun raffle was a success because we made enough on the raffle to replace our gutters and downspouts, also. I would like to take this time to thank everyone that participated in the raffle. I would like to especially thank the man who sets the example of a true Mason. His name is District Deputy Dan Kemble of District 18. He was the winner of the raffle. Upon his name being drawn as the winner, he donated the shotgun back to the Lodge to be raffled again later in the year. Thanks again to everyone that made our raffle a huge success.

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Pictured above, left to right: Most Worshipful Grand Master of Masons in Kentucky, Todd Jones; Larry York.

An update on our program with Kelley Elementary School: a local church has come forward to help the school and has opted to take over our Christmas program, extending our reach and allowing us to redirect our own focus. As we all know, fine arts programs are the first programs to have their funds redirected or cut entirely. We now have the distinct honor of being able to redirect our support to the Kelley Elementary School Choir program and the school’s Family Resource Center. Thanks to the church for helping with the Christmas program, we are now able to support and maintain the Choir program which has been in danger, as well as support the Family Resource Center and Director Shelly Hoxmeier. The Masons of Elvin E. Helms No. 926 have led by example and now others are joining in the efforts to aid and support our local elementary school.

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Pictured above, Worshipful Master Ernie Stratton poses with the 2015-2016 Grand Master’s Lodge of Excellence Award earned by Elvin E. Helms No. 926.

 

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After a long and fruitful evening, Elvin E. Helms No. 926 was closed in peace and harmony at 10:30pm. We thank all of our guests for making the trip to be with us this evening and hope you will return again soon!

October 2016 Stated Communication

Brothers and guests of Elvin E. Helms Lodge No. 926 met on October 11 for the Lodge’s stated meeting. Brothers Adam Gross and Sammy Meyerratken provided a fine chicken dinner for the evening meal.

Our featured speaker for the evening was Ms. Shelly Hoxmeier, Director of the Family Resource Center for Kelly Elementary School. Ms. Hoxmeier thanked the Lodge for the bicycles donated to Kelly Elementary as attendance incentives and for the annual fund raising that we do to provide Christmas for certain students at the school. Ms. Hoxmeier informed the Lodge about the purpose of the Family Resource Center and about her duties as Director. Ms. Hoxmeier’s presentation provided some very timely and penetrating insights as to the challenges faced by students and school staff. Worshipful Master Ernie Stratton presented Ms. Hoxmeier with a Certificate of Appreciation for her services to the students of Kelly Elementary School.

Join us on the evening of November 8, 2016 for our next stated meeting. Dinner will be provided by Brother Mike Boffemeyer. Business will include nomination of officers for 2017. Our featured speaker for the evening will be Worshipful Brother Marc Rosen, Past Master of Poage No. 325 and former member (and chairman) of the Grand Lodge of Kentucky Committee on Appeals.

September 2016 Stated Communication

The Brothers of Elvin E. Helms No. 926 met again in Stated Communication for a busy and productive evening of Masonic Brotherhood. The first order of events this evening was to hear the Fellow Craft Proficiency of Brother Sammy Meyerratken. To the expectations of everyone present Brother Sammy did a fantastic job and is now officially eligible to participate in the District 18 Outdoor Master Mason Degree which will be held on Saturday, September 24 beginning at 10am at Hershell Freeman’s farm, located at 440 Ripple Run Road, Verona, KY. As an added bonus, the Grand Officers of the Grand Lodge of Kentucky will be conferring the first section.


Next, we were honored to have Illustrious Brother Bill Lorenz give his presentation on Magic Squares and Magic Numbers for our educational program.

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Page 1 – Melencolia I is a 1514 engraving by the German Renaissance master Albrecht Dürer. It is an allegorical composition which has been the subject of many interpretations. One of the most famous old master prints, it has sometimes been regarded as forming one of a conscious group of Meisterstiche (“master prints”) with his Knight, Death and the Devil (1513) and Saint Jerome in his Study (1514).

 

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Following his presentation, the Brothers of Elvin E. Helms No. 926 had a presentation to make of our own. Illustrious Brother Bill Lorenz was made an honorary member of our Lodge.

Pictured above, left to right: Dan Kemble, District Deputy Grand Master, District 18, Grand Lodge of Kentucky; Ernie Stratton, P.M., Master; Illustrious Brother Bill Lorenz.
Pictured above, left to right: Dan Kemble, District Deputy Grand Master, District 18, Grand Lodge of Kentucky; Ernie Stratton, P.M., Master; Illustrious Brother Bill Lorenz.

Pictured above, left to right: Ernie Stratton, P.M., Master; Bob Bradford, P.M.
Pictured above, left to right: Ernie Stratton, P.M., Master; Bob Bradford, P.M.

Worshipful Brother Bob Bradford submitted a Petition for Affiliation at our August Stated Communication. At tonight’s Stated Communication he was elected unanimously to membership at Elvin E. Helms No. 926. Brother Bob, we’re looking forward to putting you to work!


We are half way to our goal for the Kelly Elementary Christmas Fund. Keep up the great work Brothers, but remember time is running out. If you like to support this annual charity of our Lodge, please contact our Secretary, Worshipful Brother Ed Tanner by clicking here.


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Pictured above, left to right: Vern Gregory; Tom Roundtree; Ernie Stratton, Master; Brad Drew, Master of Latonia No. 746; Chuck Yokum; and Ira Brockman. Not pictured: Lee Onkst.

Last but not least, the Brothers from Latonia No. 746 visited with us this evening to claim the traveling gavels. They had six members present in total, four of them Scottish Rite Masons as well. If you would like to claim the District 18 Traveling Gavel or District 18 Scottish Rite Traveling Gavel for your Lodge, they can be claimed at the next Stated Communication of Latonia No. 746 on Thursday, October 6. Latonia No. 746 serves a fellowship meal at 6:30 with their Stated Communication following immediately at 7:30.

August 2016 Stated Communication

It was another great night in Petersburg this Tuesday with lots of visitors and lots of upcoming activities.

As a reminder, this Saturday, August 13 is our annual Widow’s and Awards Dinner, held at the Petersburg Community Center, 6517 Market Street, Petersburg, KY 41080, beginning at noon and ending at approximately 3:00pm. As usual this event is open to everyone who would like to enjoy the occasion with us as we honor our widows and present service awards.

The traveling gavels did their job this evening and we had a full house with visitors from Grant No. 85, Good Faith No. 95, Demoss No. 220, Burlington No. 264, Boone-Union No. 304, Wilmington No. 362, Crittenden-Dry Ridge No. 694, and Hebron No. 757. Worshipful Brother Eric Creech of Good Faith No. 95 claimed the District 18 Traveling Gavel for his Lodge while Worshipful Brother Andy Canafax claimed the District 18 Scottish Rite Traveling Gavel for Grant No. 85.

The next opportunity to claim the District 18 Traveling Gavel for your Lodge will be at the next Stated Communication of Good Faith No. 95 on Friday, August 26 at 7:30pm. The next opportunity to claim the District 18 Scottish Rite Traveling Gavel will be at the next Stated Communication of Grant No. 85 on Thursday, August 11 at 7:30pm. Thank you to all of the Brothers in District 18 for keeping these traveling gavels traveling!

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Pictured above, left to right: Worshipful Brother Andy Canafax, Master of Grant No. 85; Worshipful Brother Eric Creech, Master of Good Faith No. 95.

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Pictured above, left to right are the four Brothers from Good Faith No. 95 that visited us this evening: Worshipful Brother Bob Lainhart, Treasurer; Worshipful Brother Ernie Hughes, Junior Steward; Worshipful Brother Eric Creech, Master; David Bird, Senior Warden.

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Pictured above, left to right are the two Scottish Rite Brothers from Grant No. 85 that visited us this evening: Worshipful Brothers Tommy New, Chaplain; Andy Canafax, Master.

Last but not least, Worshipful Master Ernie Stratton passed the Constitution Quiz and received his Constitution Scholar pin from Worshipful Brother Dan Kemble, District Deputy Grand Master, District 18, Grand Lodge of Kentucky.


The education program for the evening was presented by Worshipful Brother Adam Gross and featured two papers.

From the NSW Freemason, December 1992 (Australia), Author Uncredited

The Art of Tubal-Cain
Masonry and Metallurgy

We, as Masons, know Tubal-Cain is depicted as a blacksmith. We do not know when he lived, but probably in the days when primitive man used tools of stone or flint to work naturally-occurring pieces of gold, silver, copper and meteoric iron into weapons, tools and ornaments for use in war or peace. At some stage, man utilized fire to liberate metals from their ores, and there came that magic moment, some thousands of years ago in Mesopotamia, when copper ores bearing tin were smelted; this first alloying of metals launched the Bronze Age, a great step forward in this ascent of man. This early metallurgy promoted the first explosion in international trade, as bronze coinage formed a novel means of exchange, and the cradle of civilization in the Eastern Mediterranean area thus spread to Europe.

There is a definite metallic streak running through our Masonry. We were divested of money and metallic substances even before we entered the Lodge. In the Sectional Lectures, there is a strong allusion to extractive metallurgy with the mention of chalk, charcoal and clay as the emblems of freedom, fervency and zeal. Clay is our ‘Mother Earth’, providing both the metals and the refractories to contain them at high temperatures; from charcoal, we derive the heat energy to smelt and refine them; and from chalk, the flux to alloy with the gangue and separate it from the ore.

What of metals today? My career as a metallurgist has embraced the casting, working and fabrication of metals. Today’s readers may be interested in a short description of the five principal methods of shaping metals.

1. Casting involves making a mold, a cavity of the shape required, in a plastic material, usually sand, and filling it with liquid molten metal; it constitutes the foundry industry,

2. Working includes forging, rolling, extrusion, rod and wire drawing, and pressing in many ways. Both casting and forging to shape date from the days of Tubal-Cain.

3. Machining is only about 200 years old; generally, it includes turning, boring, milling, shaping and grinding, and is a finishing process for work-pieces first cast or wrought to a rough shape.

4. Fabricating by assembly and joining, such as bolting and riveting (the Sydney Harbor Bridge is a good example), welding and brazing, and soldering.

5. Powder Metallurgy is a spectacular development of the last 50 years, and involves the compacting of metal powders in a die, followed by sintering at a high temperature to crystallize them into union; many parts can be produced by mass production methods, ready for use without machining.

If Tubal-Cain were the first artificer in metals, his disciples today are known as tool engineers, who provide the expertise to design and devise the machines, methods and tools to be used. It is not surprising that nearly all the Working Tools presented to us in our Craft Degrees are essential tools in the fabrication of metals; one cannot imagine a tool engineer without the benefit of the pencil and the rule, and the square and the compasses.

Metals run like shining threads through the whole tapestry of human history; besides the invention of coin age, they have played a critical role in the invention of printing, the harnessing of steam and the internal combustion engine, the discovery and use of electricity, the achievement of powered flight, and the advent of nuclear energy.

The art of Tubal-Cain, now called metallurgy, is unfolding the secrets of nature and science. The GAOTU provided the materials in the firmament, and man’s inspired fashioning of them by tools, is, I hope, stamping our work divine.


The second paper presented was written by Brother John Hubbell, Sharon Lodge No. 327, McLean, VA.

Thoughts on Masonry

While thinking about what to do for this program, I considered many possibilities. As you know, there are a ton of resources out there full of fascinating lectures and works on Masonry. Our own library downstairs is full of them. Rather than repeat what I’ve read, I thought I’d talk about some of the revelations I’ve had about Masonry in my “vast” experience of two years as a Master Mason. I’ll say at the onset, these are my own ideas, and certainly don’t necessarily represent the official positions of Masonry.

Why we don’t recruit.

I am the product of two people who, among other things, were both psychologists. My mother’s favorite joke was, “How many psychologists does it take to change a light bulb? One! But the light bulb has to want to change”! To me this explains in large part why we don’t recruit and in fact why it would be self-defeating to do so. If we are to have a hope of achieving our stated goal of making good men better, first those good men must want to change. The most valuable lessons in the world, forced on someone unready or unwilling to hear them are wasted. Conversely, the simplest lesson passed on to someone willing to hear it and seeking self-improvement can change that person forever.

A small anecdote. A Mason I know was recently up for a very big promotion and, during the interview process, the owner of the company told him that when he had been hired originally, the owner had thought of him as competent but unremarkable. However in the last year, the owner was amazed at the change in him. Other managers and employees had noticed as well and that his improvements across the board were the reason he was being given the promotion. The owner asked him what had been the genesis of the big change. My friend’s only response, the only thing he could think of which fit the timeline, was that he had become a Mason. In a later discussion he asked me what could be so magical about Masonry that his co-workers and superiors could see so remarkable a difference. My thought and my answer to him was that while Masonry had certainly given him some impressive tools, he was the one who had made the most important step to becoming a better man. He had chosen to do so.

The Many Layers of Masonry.

If any of you have seen the movie Contact with Jodie Foster, or (being a fan of books, I’ll say) better yet, if you have read the book by Dr. Carl Sagan, you might remember that the core element to the plot is the message they receive from outer-space. This message at the beginning seems to be just the repetition of non-random number groups, but as the people in the story dig deeper into the message, they find out that there is video and sound imbedded in the signal. They dig deeper still and find there are schematics and mathematical formulas, some of which are beyond our understanding.

How does this relate to Masonry? I think that Masonry is like that message. If you want this just to be a simple fraternal organization, it can be. If you want to dig a little deeper, you can learn as much of the ritual as you wish and try to understand the lessons behind them. If you want to really dig, and look at our ancient history, dive into the incredible amount that has been written by Masons attempting to learn whence we came, and perhaps where we are going, you can do that as well. Perhaps you will be that Mason who finally finds that secret word which was lost forever at the death of our Most Excellent Grand Master Hiram Abiff. Masonry seems to be, limitless. And perhaps that is the point. We will find as much as we are willing to seek and work for and maybe, as much as we are ready to understand.

Why we are here and what it means to be a Mason.

For me the oft asked question of, “Why are we are here?” is no longer a question. I believe we are here to live, learn, grow and help others do the same. Masonry, what we teach, how we interact and what we profess to believe has reinforced that belief. In the Entered Apprentice Degree we show new Masons that we care little for their material success in this life. In the Fellowcraft Degree, we admonish them to walk uprightly in their several stations in life, and in the Master Mason degree we remind them that Master Masons should spread the cement of Brotherly love and affection, that this will unite us into a Temple of Living Stones. There are numerous other examples, but just about everything we do as Masons helps us become better men, and helps others to do the same.

Belief in Higher power.

Yes, we require it so you have something on which to base your oath, but also, if you don’t believe in a “Higher power” you must think yourself the top of the food chain, and since the stated purpose of Masonry is to make good men better, if you think you are the best there is, there’s not much we can do for you.

Importance of Mentorship

We could print out ritual and catechisms and hand them to the candidate with instructions to learn them; while they might learn the information, there would be no bond, no spread of brotherly love or affection. In the mentor/student relationship, the student spends energy to show up and learn and the instructor spends energy to show up and teach. The student sees that both of them are spending energy, and I think that helps show the importance of what is being taught. In the Master Mason lecture there is a passage which I think is applicable, “Thus was man formed for social and active life. The noblest part of the work of God.” The increased depth of friendship between student and mentor, where not just the ritual or catechism is taught, but also side lessons, and sometimes just friendly conversation, to me proves the value of process.

The beauty of imperfection.

While we seek to learn ritual and degree catechisms perfectly and be able to return them perfectly in Lodge, I’ve learned the importance of the imperfections as well. When returning my Master Mason’s catechism, I so wanted it to be perfect. My wife years ago labeled me a “closet perfectionist”; a label which I originally dismissed, but as with many things my wife has said, I had to ultimately agree with her for the same reason I always do. She was right. While returning the catechism, I was doing it perfectly and was so proud of myself when I then hit a section which is ironically the same in every degree and screwed up. As is often the case in situations like this, a heartbeat after I made the mistake, my brain, while sitting on the sidelines listening to my mouth said, “Wait! What did you just say!?!” To which the other half of my brain replied, “Doesn’t matter, you just blew “perfect”. Oh well, nothing to be done but back up and prove to yourself and everyone else you really aren’t a complete idiot and say it the right way this time and move on.” I did, and the rest of the return went well. After the lodge had closed, I was in the kitchen licking the wounds of my pride (yeah I know, I take the whole pride in perfection thing too far) the Worshipful Master of the Lodge, Mike Pierce, came into the kitchen and complimented me on how well I’d done with the examination. Since that Closet Perfectionist thing was still in control, I said something to the effect of, “It was good, but it wasn’t perfect.” Worshipful Pierce then said something which changed my whole perspective on things. He said, “It was good because of the mistake, not in spite of it. You saw the mistake, backed up and took another run at it, proving to us, and more importantly to yourself, that you really did know the correct words, and then, you moved on.” Not to make too big a deal of it, but that was an earthshaking moment for me. Not to be perfect? Unheard of! But that was just one more moment in my Masonic journey of personal growth. It forced me to think of all the good and valuable things in the world which would not be so, without imperfections. What would a gold ring be without the added impurities which give it the strength to be durable? I don’t know, but pure gold makes for a good investment, but crumby jewelry. What would steel be without the impurities which give structural steel the strength to support a sky scraper? I don’t know, but I know I wouldn’t want to walk in a city built with it. I could go on with examples both obscure and minor, but I will close this by saying I want you to imagine the most beautiful sunrise or sunset you have ever seen. Hold that image in your mind. Think about what makes it so stunning, the different hues and reflections, the light and colors bouncing off everything. Now take away the clouds.


The presentation was concluded with the Virginia Presentation Volume version of the Closing Charge.

Message from Montana

The following article comes from the Short Talk Bulletin, published by the Masonic Service Association of North America, June 2016.


Are New-Member Expectations Realized?
By Brian J. Murphy

The author is currently Grand Master of the Grand Lodge AF&AM of Montana. This was his Grand Master’s message in the March, 2016 issue of the “Montana Freemason.” The Grand Lodge of Montana is observing its 150 Anniversary this month.  –Editor

“The secret of CHANGE is to focus all your energy, not on fighting the old, but building on the new.”  — Socrates

Many of the “buzz words” overheard during the recent Conference of Grand Masters of North America included: change, retention, education, paradigms, connectivity, technology, social media, communication, security, perceptions, traditions and so forth.

These notions are nothing terribly new. We’ve been hurling them about for years, but these days they are certainly being emphasized to a much greater magnitude.

There appears to be a consensus among many that THIS IS A GREAT TIME to be a MASON!

Things ARE changing in a positive way! Worthy young men ARE seeking what we offer in Masonry, and boy, do we ever need them …in a BIG way.

But here’s the rub… many have done their homework. They do what they do best. They use the tools and technology they are familiar with. The internet has made the world a very small place, so they go online; read articles; research the pros and cons; delve into our historical significance; view YouTube videos showing austere men dressed in tuxedos and white gloves performing precision-driven floor work to grandiose music amidst elegant and palatial surroundings.

They witness learned men of stature reciting meaningful and profound dissertations meant to provoke thought and capture hearts. They’ve probably gone on Facebook or other social media and observed images of Table Lodge banquets lined with well-dressed, distinguished gentlemen enjoying Masonic camaraderie and fine food, toasting and singing odes to the Fraternity and the glory of God.

The young prospects of today come hungry for knowledge and preloaded with wonder and awe and great expectations before they ever knock at our door. They’re anticipating great leaders who will offer them guidance and mentorship — someone to fill their sails and help them navigate our world’s tumultuous waters.

And if not the enlightened societies of Voltaire, Mozart, Washington and Churchill, they’re hoping to at least be accepted into a Fraternity that promotes philosophical discourse and provides instructions for personal improvement. If not drawn to the pageantry and mysteries of Masonry, young men have forever been lured by the core ideals of Freemasonry. They’re expecting Freemasonry to fulfill its purpose and do what it actually claims to do, and has done for generations.

And when that ravenous neophyte finally wanders up to knock at the door of your Lodge, what will he find?

Brothers, I’m of the firm belief that we do not have a membership problem — we have a new member retention problem.

So even when we do gain a zealous disciple, and IF that new Master Mason can somehow manage to overlook the worn out carpet, peeling paint, dead flies on every windowsill, shoddy ritual work, empty chairs, lack of education, lousy food (I once had cold spaghetti on a paper plate), inconsistent dress code, and absence of the intellectual enrichment he’s craving, and decides not to commit “Masonic suicide” but stays on because he sees an opportunity for himself to benefit the Lodge with fresh ideas and build the Masonry that suits his needs, like his grandfather would have .. will we let him? Will we allow him to question our outmoded ways? And if we do, will we empower him to appeal our outworn modus operandi and introduce us to his world? Will we permit him to improve the menu with tastier recipes?

Brothers, the answer HAS to be YES!

Because in doing so, that new, young Mason will bring friends whom he knows share his same desire to affect positive change in themselves, families, community and the world. They then become the much needed spark plugs and fresh batteries to crank the engine. They’re the ones to throw a new set of tires on our dilapidated jalopy, push it out of its rut, and get it rolling under its own power once again.

Listen, we all realize small town Lodges are suffering. I’ve visited more than a few that easily have enough members but are stalled for lack of a quorum. Everything has a shelf life, and not unlike that deserted carton in the back of every fridge; the one that no on wants to smell or dispose of, there are Lodges whose expiration date has long come and gone.

To repeat, we have a retention problem.

Quite frankly, why would a Lodge want to get new members when it cannot keep the ones it already has? What’s the point?

Personally, what I’ve learned and come to know is this: no Worshipful or Most Worshipful can make someone care. No one can. To quote myself: “We can suffer all futility save that of lethargy and indifference.” All we as individual Masons can hope to do is set our standards higher, lead by example and inspire others to do the same.

The core Brothers, the ones who actually show up and want to improve themselves, their Lodge and the world — YOU are the ones who have to labor even more earnestly. YOU are the operatives that must have a shared vision and a plan to enact for the future and your own destiny. Doing nothing is not a plan. Waiting for something to happen, or for some magic Grand Lodge miracle cure, is not a plan.

Lodges who haven’t had a new candidate in a while, SHOULD be the most prepared to deliver the best Masonic experience for that new high school principal who just moved to town. An abandoned building is a tombstone for the dead. During all that downtime, the idle Lodge is the one who would best benefit by fundraising for that new coat of paint and carpeting from this century. Believe me, when a community observes Brothers in motion; engaged in improving themselves, inside and out, they’ll be more likely to ask the questions we’re all yearning to hear:

“Excuse me, but what’s a Mason? How do I become one?”

Brothers, be prepared to smile with polished confidence when you answer.

July 2016 Stated Communication

It was “Patriotic Shirt Night” at Elvin E. Helms Lodge No. 926 on Tuesday, July 12.

Our Secretary, Bro. Ed Tanner, looked mighty spiffy in his red, white and blue shirt.

KIMG0097

Bro. Ed, along with WM Ernie Stratton and MWPGM Keith Dreier, Grand Treasurer of the Grand Lodge of Kentucky, are pictured above.

MW Bro. Keith spoke about the day to day operations of the Grand Lodge and gave an overview of issues that the Grand Lodge handles on a daily basis. He stated that despite the fraternal nature of our Order, it is necessary to manage the Grand Lodge in a professional and businesslike manner. He also spoke about the relationship of the Masonic Homes and the Masonic Home Journal to the Grand Lodge. MW Bro. Keith further advised the Craft that although the Grand Lodge of Kentucky is a tax exempt organization, gifts to the Grand Lodge, unlike gifts to the Scottish Rite Foundation or the Masonic Homes, are not deductible for income tax purposes. MW. Bro. Keith also mentioned the success of the Grand Master’s bicycle program. As of this time, Kentucky Masons have donated 906 bicycles to local schools. District 18 Lodges contributed 78, or roughly 9% of that number. Once again, District 18 is among the state leaders in participation. Following his presentation, MW Bro. Keith was made an honorary member of our Lodge and presented with an Elvin E. Helms Lodge lapel pin. We wish MW Bro. Keith well in his office as Grand Treasurer hope that he is a frequent visitor to our Lodge.

Amazing Discoveries and Rediscoveries in Sacred Geometry

Frank Chester is an artist, sculptor, and educator. He is also a geometrician. In fact, he may be the most important geometrician that has ever lived, and this is not an overstatement. He has rediscovered many of the ancient secrets of Sacred Geometry and that’s not all. He has made a new discovery, that of a 7 sided form, which he has dubbed the Chestahedron. He named the form so partly for himself as its discoverer, and partly because of it’s incredible relation to the form and function of the human heart which, of course, resides in the chest.

He has made available a lecture on his discoveries: The New Sacred Geometry of Frank Chester: The Chestahedron and the Wonder of Seven.

Frank Chester has written a book called A New Sacred Geometry and is available for purchase on his website at http://www.frankchester.com/. Prints, jewelry, and sculptures are available as well.