Volume LVIIIFebruary 2011Number 1

December Quarterly Communication
District Deputy Grand Masters Donate Funds Raised by Lodges for Masonic Villages

Bro. Robert A. Burns, District Deputy Grand Master for District A,
proudly presents a check to Grand Master Sturgeon, on behalf of the lodges in his district, for the Masonic Villages.

On Dec. 1, 2010, at the December Quarterly Communication in Philadelphia, the District Deputy Grand Masters reported that a total of $723,323.86 had been raised, donated and pledged from the lodges toward the Grand Master's charity initiative for the year, most of which will benefit the Masonic Villages.

In response, R.W. Grand Master Thomas K. Sturgeon said, "I am extremely proud of the hard work our lodges and districts across the state do to support our Masonic Charities. The many hard- working, selfless efforts of our brethren demonstrate our individual and collective commitment to the many good works our charities were founded to provide and perpetuate."

Grand Master's Remarks

During the meeting, Grand Master Sturgeon provided the following remarks to the brethren:

"Last December 28th, I stated to all Pennsylvania Masons that if you will follow my lead and be willing to be tolerant of change, be understanding of my plan, and to go to work to rebuild Pennsylvania Freemasonry, we will be successful.

"The 21st Century Masonic Renaissance is a success: Pennsylvania Freemasonry is on the move!

"Some will credit our success to Dan Brown and his very successful novels. I believe that novels like 'The Lost Symbol' did not hurt us, but they also are not responsible for our increase in membership.

"Our increase is due to the hard work of your Right Worshipful officers, the heavy work load and dedication of the District Deputy Grand Masters, and the acceptance of a new way of doing things by the membership across the state.

"Throughout this year, I have taken a reasonable amount of criticism. But I was committed to the Renaissance in December, and I continue my commitment today, regardless of the critics. One of the most revered Freemasons of all time, Bro. George Washington, stated, and I quote: 'Leading by conviction gave me a consolation within, that no earthly efforts can deprive me of. The arrows of malevolence, however barbed and well pointed, can never reach the most vulnerable part of me.' The thoughts of that great American Freemason have sustained my faith in the Renaissance throughout this year.

"There are those who have expressed concern that by initiating more men, we are forfeiting quality for quantity. I reject that assumption.

"Let's look at the facts. This year, (2010) we have initiated 4,393 new Masons. In the year 1920, we initiated 19,383 new Pennsylvania Masons, and in 1946, we took in 16,280. We all acknowledge that both of these years were following a major world war and the men coming home found Freemasonry to be something important in their lives. Those are huge numbers of new Masons and I ask you: Were they men of quality? They fought to preserve our American freedom, and if you ask me, these veterans were men of quality!

"Let me share a few more statistics with you. From 1919 until 1928, this Grand Lodge averaged 10,668 new members each year. From 1944 until 1953, we averaged 11,207 new members. If you think we did a good job this year, let me remind you that this Grand Lodge has had nine years in the last 100 years where we took in over 10,000 new members. Consider this, if you will: there have been 61 years in the last 100 where this Grand Lodge took in more new members than we did this year.

"And yet this is the first time in more than 50 years that we have seen an increase in membership. I believe that more men have chosen to join Freemasonry because they have finally had the opportunity to learn about it, understand it and were encouraged to pursue their interest in it!

"As your Grand Master, I am proud of what we have accomplished. The men we have welcomed into this great fraternity are of exceptional quality, and it is my honor to call each one of them, 'Brother.' Thanks to each of you for your dedicated efforts to rebuild this great fraternity."

The Grand Lodge was pleased to welcome The Honorable Mayor and Bro. Michael Nutter, who gave brief remarks.
Waiting to be introduced are, left-right, new District Deputy Grand Masters: Barry W. Littleford, District 12; Robert J. Neff, District 45; John W. Hawk, District 33; and John W. Wells, II, District 22.
Grand Master Sturgeon welcomes State Representative and Bro. Dwight Evans.
A large contingency of brethren from the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, Prince Hall Affiliate, attended the December Quarterly.
At the banquet following the December Quarterly Communication, Grand Master Sturgeon presented Bro. Ernest Borgnine with the Pennsylvania Franklin Medal. See pp. 10-11 for a biographical sketch of this Renaissance man!
Grand Master Sturgeon and Grand Master Heard recess out together. Grand Master Sturgeon sported a Philadelphia Eagles jersey he received from the District Deputy Grand Masters in the Philadelphia region, which he promised to wear in Grand Lodge if their lodges raised significant funds for the Masonic Charities.
R.W. Grand Master Thomas K. Sturgeon presents M.W. Grand Master Heard, Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, Prince Hall Affiliate, with the Gavel he was given at the Annual Communication on Dec. 28, 2009. Upon accepting the "Unity Gavel" for his use at Prince Hall Grand Lodge sessions, Grand Master Heard provided remarks.
Retiring District Deputy Grand Masters, from left-right: Guilford G. Rowley, Jr., District 33; James D. Gustafson, District 22; and Donald W. Weaver, District 45, are escorted to the East by Grand Marshal Jon A. Fair. Grand Master Sturgeon recognized them for their service to Grand Lodge and the membership. Bro. William H. Brandt, Sr., District 12, was honored in absentia.
On behalf of the Grand Lodge of Florida, Grand Master Sturgeon presented Bro. Richard Fitzsimmons, District Deputy Grand Master for District 24, with a commendation recognizing him for his "Act of Kindness" as he assisted a stranded stranger, who is a member from Florida, while he was in Erie.
Grand Master Sturgeon made two Masons at Sight, shown with Jeffrey W. Coy, Grand Treasurer: the Honorable David N. Wecht, Administrative Judge, Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, and the Honorable Keith R. McCall, 136th Speaker of the State House of Representatives. Each received the three degrees in Freemasonry conferred by the officers and District Deputy Grand Masters of the Grand Lodge.

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