Worshipful Master Jewel

January 2015 Communication

Posted December 21, 2014

I first want to thank you for electing me as your next Worshipful Master. I am honored to take the gavel and lead Laurel Wreath in the next year. I want to thank the outgoing Worshipful Master for his support of the last year. I also want to thank all the Past Masters for helping me over the past few years as I made my way through the lines. Without their help, I would not be ascending to the East. Thank you all.

As someone not from the Laurel area, I want to spend my next year diving and exploring all the previous Worshipful Masters of this great lodge. More details to follow.

My first month as WM will be a busy one. Our installation of officers will be Monday, January 5th, with dinner starting at 6:00pm and the Open Installation at 7:30pm. Dinner will be provided by my wife and family and will be Midwestern style.

It is my goal to visit as many Lodge installations as possible, details on those dates are forthcoming and I will share once I know them. Some important dates for the month of January are as follows: January 15th at 7:00pm is the required Article XVI reading at Centennial Lodge for the SW and JW. January 16th at 7:00pm is the annual Bingo Night at the Grand Lodge. I will seek out as many people to assist as possible just like last year. Our 2nd meeting on January 19th is slated to be a regular stated meeting.

Brethren, I look forward to this new year and I hope it will be a fruitful, prosperous, and busy year.

Sincerely and Fraternally,

Philip Maxon, Worshipful Master elect

December 2014 Communication

Posted November 22, 2014

Well, Brethren, the time has come at last for my final(!) "From the East". Time flies, as they say, when you're having fun, and I must say that in spite of my initial trepidation and the various challenges we've faced, I can truly say that I've had a good deal of fun serving as your WM this year. Hopefully this is reciprocal. We're going out on a good note, having conferred one more MM Degree last meeting. Brother Wilson was raised with outstanding competence by my soon-to-be successor Bro. Phil, with help from a number of visiting members of Birmingham Lodge and the presence of a number of PMs and of our new G.I. We may now look forward to the leadership of one of the youngest WMs the Lodge will have ever had, supported by other youthful Line members; this makes me see a bright future ahead of us, one which I'll be pleased to support in every way. If our Foundation has been well reinforced, the credit for it redounds to the credit of all of you.

Speaking of credit, I'd be remiss if I failed to mention here the selfless efforts of Bros. Bernie Burke and Zalman Ali; thanks to them we now have a large new projector screen properly mounted, which should aid in future presentations.

Lastly, of course, a few general announcements:

(1.) The first mtg. of Dec. will feature Elections. After that, we'll finalize plans for the Well, Brethren, the time has come at last for the Christmas Party December 15 starting at 6:30 p.m. (let us remind significant others, et al, that it's a potluck affair; casseroles, etc. will be most welcome; also that it's Toys for Tots, and I still think a silent auction table is a good idea). Then I'll cover the Annual Comm. very briefly and turn things over to the once-again visiting Bro. Harold Grainger for a final Program.

(2.) All our subsequent Practices should be devoted to getting the Installation right; the Practice that our DGL will sit in on to approve will be held 1/3, sometime that afternoon.

And so, as one year fades away and another begins, I leave you with my fondest Thanks, some fine memories and a joyful anticipation of our approaching future.

Fraternally Regards,

William T. Masonis, Worshipful Master

November 2014 Communication

Posted October 24, 2014

And so, Brethren, we come to the month of November; the time of shortening days, cooling nights and falling leaves. All in all, not really one of my favorite times of the year - I'm more of a long-daylight guy. But it is also the month of Thanksgiving, a time of taking stock of our year's achievements and of giving thanks for all the helps we've had in realizing them. Right off, I can certainly say I'm thankful for the tireless industry demonstrated by the Lodge throughout the year in meeting all our challenges and producing good results. I'm especially thankful that our Officers, particularly SW Maxon and JW Tucker are so far along and well prepared for the duties about to devolve upon them. Our SW has already cleared every hoop he needs to pass through on his way to the East, save the PMs' Degree (far more than I could say for myself at this point last year), and by the time this is printed our JW will have filled in the East twice. his first stint involving Degree work! All others, especially our SD, are progressing accordingly. Truly, we can soon look forward to years of upcoming dynamic youthful leadership!

All this duly noted, I must point out I'll need the assist of the JW & SW at the upcoming GL Annual Communication, Fri. ll/14 @ 6:00 p.m. and Sat. ll/15 @ l0:00 a.m. At the next (ll/5) mtg. we'll take up the GMW one last time. I hope to squeeze in another Program or two, and as we've now a fair backlog of FCs awaiting the Third Degree, maybe we'll find time to move some of them through. Of course, we've also got to start the planning for our annual Christmas affair. Like an atom, we're never truly at rest, as it should be.

Thanks to Bros. Todd, Hughes and Whetzel for stepping up for a little PM work last mtg. My time in the East grows short (already!); so let's get ready to carve up those turkeys and reflect with thanks upon a year well spent!

With All Fond and Fraternal Regards,

William T. Masonis, Worshipful Master

October 2014 Communication

Posted September 21, 2014

Well, Brethren, we reconvened on Labor Day after our summer hiatus, and it was, indeed, a day of labor for us. You all rose to the occasion and we covered a lot of ground; in addition to performing a 2nd Degree conferral that included courtesies to other Lodges. The very next meeting of the month found us conferring a 1st Degree, with our Brother JW Tucker doing a most creditable job taking the East through the whole 1st section. It has been said of Masons, that, as descendants of temple builders, for us "laborare est ourare", viz. "labor is worship". In this regard our recent exertions give evidence of our piety.

This pace shall slow a bit in the coming month, but we shall by no means be idle. First, it must be noted that this Friday, 9/19, will feature a Memorial Service held at the Lodge for Brother Howard Terrell, beginning around 7:00 p.m., conjointly with the O.E.S. On the practice date of 10/1, our Brother SW Maxon will be standing his 3rd Degree Proficiency for the Masterhood; we'll need a full Line for this, so try to keep the date open.

The first meeting of October I'd like to hold as a PMs' Night, so if you're a PM reading this or know someone who is and who'd be interested, bring them along and be prepared to take a Chair or the East for a while! I also hope to hold a Program that evening.

Finally, on the second meeting, it being my birthday, I'm in-tending to selfishly take off, unless something major comes up. Brother JW Tucker has graciously agreed to stand in for me for the whole night on this occasion. I'd intended it to be SW Maxon, but he'll be out as well that evening. As a consequence, this amounts to a "Colts' Night". Don't worry Phil - your night is coming!

So, in the spirit of our ongoing industry, and in consideration of your constancy, I salute you all after the manner of the Grand Table Lodge's fashion: VIVAT! VIVAT! VIVAT!

With All Fond and Fraternal Regards,

William T. Masonis, Worshipful Master

September 2014 Communication

Posted August 19, 2014

Well, my Brothers, though I'll say for myself our recent "dark" period has been restorative for me, as I hope it has been for all of you, now the time looms near for us to begin in earnest again. I must recall that by our common consent of the last stated meeting, our next will be held on Monday, Sept. 1st, Labor Day. I real-ize this may represent some inconvenience, being a holiday, but we have indeed no small amount of Labor be-fore us, which I would like us to set to before it gets out of hand.

This applies to that very Monday, when I hope to hold Proficiency for the Brothers who are in line for their FC Degree, who've been working hard through the summer with Brother Burke. We owe it to them to move them along; thus, I hope for as close to "all hands on board" as possible for this night, also to encourage attendance at our continuing Wednesday night practices, as this is going to be a somewhat complex evening.

My basic plan is this: Open as usual, greet GI Bro. Andrukitis and take up GMW. Then go down to EA and hold the Proficiency; back to MM to vote on Proficiency and conduct business; then to FC and hold FC Degree, and finally up again to MM to close.

This is complex, and also involves the dreaded "MC" lecture upon which Bro. Gary Beall, with the steadfast assistance of Bro. Bob Murphy, has been making wonderful progress. This effort, too, deserves to be honored. It's a lot right on coming back, but I doubt not our capacity to pull it off.

In the meantime, let us not forget that we've never truly been idle. Strawberry Night went well, with a record 13 recipients, to round out 14 years of this service to the community, 99 scholarships being given out in that time at a total cost of 177 K dollars. We also got a nice website up and running thanks to Bro. Mogenthaler, as well as acquiring a good projection screen which should aid our presentations nicely. The Crab Feast, though expensive, did well on its various fundraising activities, including the silent auction, all of which's items were sold. I'd like, in view of this, for us to have another one during the Christmas party.

Thus, gentlemen, I close with the exhortation that we now begin to dust off our cobwebs to begin to settle down to a true upcoming "Labor Day". Again, thanks for all you do and continue to do in service to your Lodge, each and every one.

With All Fond and Fraternal Regards,

William T. Masonis, Worshipful Master

June 2014 Communication

Posted May 21, 2014

My personal favorite month has been, I'm pleased to say, one of positive accomplishments for the Lodge. We jumped right in with the last of our Service Award ceremonies, with Bro. Joe Thomas receiving his 50-year pin from our Grand Inspector Brad Andrukitis, followed immediately by a fine First Degree conducted entirely by our own Bro. SW Phil Maxon. Bro. Phil continues to reinforce my faith that in but a short half a year's time I'll be taking that walk away from the East. Go Phil!

We then went on to hold our Open House/C.H.I.P.s Programs concurrently, along with Patmos Lodge, both of which events went off very well, with 49 children being registered despite our having access to only 2 machines, and a number of interested and interesting enquirers visited the Lodge. By the way, Brethren: while we were working the C.H.I.P.s, Bro. JW Mike Tucker was approached by 1 lady enquiring if we could do the same at Laurel's 4th of July Festival, and another who asked if we could do it at a Redskins' game in the Fall (w/a possible 40K Gate!). If either or both of these contacts pan out, we may soon need to engage in the Program again in a major way. Stay tuned on that. The very next practice found neither myself nor Bro. Phil able to attend, but the reins were competently picked up by Bro. JW Tucker, who did a fine job of getting our Bro. SD Beall squeakily close to Proficiency on his Middle Chamber Lecture, thanks to dedicated work on the part of himself and Bro. Treas. Bob Murphy. One of the pillars suffered an accident, but it's now repaired and fascinating historical material was revealed in the process.

Next weekend found the SW, JW and myself down at the Grand Lodge for the Semi-Annual Communication, at which much updating of info was received and the new Grand Line was voted in. Our second meeting involved much housekeeping and preparation for our upcoming Strawberry Night, when we get to give back to the community and invest in our collective futures through our Scholarship awards. This meeting was rounded out by a rousing speech on the meaning of the 3rd Degree and the responsibilities of Masonry in general by Bro. Harold Grainger, Pres. of M.E.S.H. Corp., PM of Daylight Lodge, 33rd Degree holder, Honorary Member of the Grand Line of DC, etc., etc. I knew it would be a great presentation and was so happy to be able to get him.

And so, my Brethren, as PM Grainger himself would say, the Work goes on; and we should be glad in it. I look forward to closing for the summer with some flourish, Thanks to all of you!

With All Fond and Fraternal Regards,

William T. Masonis, Worshipful Master

May 2014 Communication

Posted April 24, 2014

Well, Brethren, T.S. Eliot may've dubbed it the "cruelest", but for us April was the busiest month thus far. The final release of Winter's grasp turned us into a veritable "hive" of activity. Back-to-Back we survived a visit by the MWGM and his Line to give Service Awards to 2 deserving Brothers, with a 60 - year recognition going to our own great PM Bro. Bob Hughes (who, by the way, has been tirelessly providing the GL with a summation of our history), as well as 3 Third Degrees conferred in one evening. This was followed by a graveside service for our recently departed Bro. Hurst, who's son gave us a generous donation in appreciation, and a home visit to confer another 60 - year Award upon Bro. James Skidmore (the last remaining soul to have been initiated with Bro. Bob Hughes). Much makeup housekeeping has had to be addressed as well, and preparations for our Open House/Main Street Festival Events are fully afoot. A finale' to April should be a 2nd Degree Exemplification by SW Bro. Phil Maxon on Weds. 30th. As usual for this, we really need "all hands on deck" - mark your calendars!

May will find us no less busy, perhaps more so. There'll be one more Service Award given on 5/5, as well as (I hope) another lst Degree. The next Saturday will find us hosting the Open House, on Main Street, or both, as the case may be. The 14th may see another 2nd Degree Exemplification, this time for our SD Bro. Gary Beall. The 17th is the GL Semi-Annual Communication, which I and the Wardens shall attend, and finally, with all this practice, it's my hope we'll be holding a 2nd Degree Conferral on 5/19 for somebody (-ies). All this, and we must also be preparing for Scholarship Night in June. So, all in all, it's a good thing the Winter Doldrums are past us!

With All Fond and Fraternal Regards,

William T. Masonis, Worshipful Master