Volume LVIIIMay 2011Number 2

The Wind Beneath Our Wings

Let's face it, brethren. Oftentimes in the name of charity or community goodwill, our lodges undertake large projects only to realize that without our ladies pitching in, they may not have come to fruition. One may liken our ladies to the lyrics in the Bette Midler song, "Wind Beneath My Wings."

In 1994, the late R.W. Past Grand Master W. Scott Stoner came up with an idea to hold an ox roast to help Casiphia Lodge No. 551, Mount Joy, build up its charity fund. The event was catered at the Donegal Masonic Center for a few years, but the lodge has prepared and cooked its own ox ever since.

Bro. Stoner's wife, Phyllis, and his sisters, Sharon Stoner and Jocelyn Kline, have assisted with the event over the years, alongside some other mainstay helpers including: Nancy Smith, wife of Bro. Jay W. Smith, R.W.D.G.M.; Nancy Smith, wife of Secretary Bro. Jay V. Smith; Beulah Shank; Doris Wickenheiser; Judy Baker; Rochelle Derr; Peg Hamm; Cindy Jerman; and numerous others.

The ox roast is a two-day event, usually held the first weekend in August. On Friday afternoon and evening, the volunteers prepare the food and on Saturday, they serve approximately 750 meals in the banquet hall and in take-out containers. It takes a lot of helping hands to roast and slice the meat, prep the sweet corn and potatoes, clean off the tables, wash the dishes and ensure the center is kept spotless.

Casiphia Lodge No. 551 has been very fortunate to have these hard-working ladies participate in this event and numerous other lodge activities. Since the first ox roast, the lodge has raised approximately $50,000 toward its charity fund. In 2010, the lodge name changed to Ashara-Casiphia Lodge No. 551 due to a merger with Ashara Lodge No. 398, Marietta.

A few miles away, in the Lancaster Masonic Center, Bro. Willis M. Hackman, MSA, 33º, a member of Abraham C. Treichler Lodge No. 682, Elizabethtown, heads up a bi-annual pie baking fundraiser to benefit the Lancaster Children's Dyslexia Center housed within its walls.

Just in time for Easter and Thanksgiving, members of Lancaster-area lodges come together to make, bake and sell pies of a variety of flavors and options, including freshly-baked, frozen and even sugar-free. Volunteers recently completed 1,754 pies for this Easter season. In the fall, baked apple dumplings and chicken corn soup are available as well. From 2002-2010, the sale of more than 15,000 baked goods and soup generated a profit of more than $141,000 to benefit the Children's Dyslexia Center.

But it's not easy.

According to Bro. Bruce H. Jackson, P.M., more than 100 volunteers sign up to help get the enormous job done. It requires man (and woman) power to plan, schedule helpers, solicit sponsors for donations, purchase and mix ingredients, label and pack boxes, promote and deliver the pies, and of course, clean up.

"Brethren bring their wives, children, friends and neighbors to help," he said. "It's about 50/50 men and women." In fact, three of the most instrumental members of the formal fundraising committee are women who take charge of paperwork, analyze orders and make sure supply fits the demand.

While many women quietly champion the values and efforts of Freemasonry behind the scenes, others choose to join Masonic-related organizations like the Order of the Eastern Star, Order of the Amaranth or Order of the White Shrine of Jerusalem.

Order of the Eastern Star

The Order of the Eastern Star is the largest fraternal organization in the world to which both women and men may belong. There are approximately 1 million members under the General Grand Chapter worldwide, and approximately 40,000 members in Pennsylvania alone.

Members strive to exemplify high principles, care for and serve members and others, and learn character-building lessons through ritual work. The organization is charitable, educational and scientific, and is dedicated to charity, truth and loving kindness.

Eastern Star Chapters donate funds to a wide variety of worthy charities including: Multiple Sclerosis, cancer research and support, Arthritis Fund, Heart Fund, Knights Templar Eye Foundation, Shriners Hospitals for Children, orphanages, scholarship funds for students going to school for religious training, veterans hospitals, Masonic Villages, Masonic youth groups and many others within the Grand Jurisdiction of Pennsylvania. Proceeds from Caring and Sharing and Homes Committees' Luncheons and Bazaars provide for members in need through the Fraternal Fund.

For more information about the Grand Chapter of Pennsylvania, visit www.paeasternstar.org.

Order of the Amaranth

Members of the Order of the Amaranth are reminded of their duties to God, country,and fellow beings. All are urged to portray their belief in the "Golden Rule" and in truth, faith, wisdom and charity, the virtues of the Order, while extending fraternal friendship to those in need.

In 1979, this dedicated philanthropic organization established the Trust Fund, "Amaranth Diabetes Foundation, Inc.," in order to focus its charity work on one major project. The foundation funds grants for researchers studying the various causes and effects of diabetes. The American Diabetes Association oversees the selection of eligible researchers.

To learn more about The Grand Court of Pennsylvania, visit www.paamaranth.org.

Order of the White Shrine of Jerusalem

The White Shrine is an international not-for-profit organization with Shrines throughout the United States and Canada. The term "White" refers to the purity of the life of Jesus Christ. Members must profess not only a belief in God, but also in Jesus Christ as the Savior and Redeemer of the world. The Order does not replace the Church, but enriches its teachings.

The White Shrine's aim is to bring together men and women of high moral and social character to share their desire to spread the Gospel, aid and assist those less fortunate and create enjoyable experiences for themselves.

The White Shrine holds regular meetings, social activities and fundraising projects to assist those in need of rehabilitation, regardless of race, creed, sect or gender. For more information about the Order of the White Shrine of Jerusalem, visit www.supremeshrine.org/Pennsylvania.html.


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