|Volume LIX||May 2012||Number 2|
Grand Master's Message
I cannot believe that approximately five months have passed since being installed as your Grand Master. Thank you for your support of your Grand Lodge, your District Deputy Grand Masters, your Worshipful Masters and me.
The Grand Lodge officers and I have had a very busy schedule. We presented 13 new District Deputy Grand Masters to their respective districts in January and February. The lodge rooms were filled to capacity at every presentation; I feel these great turnouts indicate a growing interest in Freemasonry! I also had the pleasure of presenting 50-year Masonic Service Emblems to Bros. Edward O. Weisser, R.W. Past Grand Master, and his brother, Bro. William Weisser, along with three other deserving brethren in Newtown Lodge No. 427, Woodside. I congratulate all of our brethren who have achieved a milestone in their service to Freemasonry.
We are working hard to strengthen and grow Freemasonry throughout the Commonwealth. In order to prepare our lodge officers for the future, we have conducted seven regional officers' workshops, five secretaries' workshops and seven regional schools of instruction. On March 10, we held the Masonic Congress in Elizabethtown with the appendant bodies in Pennsylvania. We discussed the challenges that are facing the fraternity today in our changing society and how we can better help one another be successful.
One of my goals is to reduce the number of suspensions for non-payment of dues. Each lodge labors to produce programs and opportunities to enrich the lives of every Mason and his family. Please, before letting your membership lapse, think of what you are giving up. As an example, your membership in Pennsylvania Freemasonry enables you and your eligible family members access to a full continuum of services at a Masonic Village, including health care services should you ever need them at some time in the future. In addition, you have added peace of mind in knowing that these services may be available to those brethren and ladies with limited financial resources or those who may have exhausted their assets through no fault of their own. I truly believe that when you consider the great value of your Masonic membership, you will want to continue to be a member of our great fraternity.
Every lodge will be holding an open house this year to promote Freemasonry within our communities. I encourage every member to get involved in this endeavor to ensure we make a positive impact on all those who attend.
One of the most visible and appreciated ways we have been able to show our generosity has been through our Help for Our Heroes program. I encourage you, brethren, to continue to give from your hearts to assist those in our military as well as their families, who need our support while their loved ones are preserving our freedom.
Following are some exciting opportunities I hope you will take advantage of:
For those of you interested in joining Nancy and me on the Alaska cruise next year, the dates, itinerary, cost and details will be in the August issue of "The Pennsylvania Freemason." We also will have information about the trip at Autumn Day on Sept. 22 at the Masonic Village at Elizabethtown.
The Masonic education lessons are up and running online, and we already have had very positive feedback. I encourage each of you to participate in our education programs, no matter how long you have been a Mason. The newly updated ritual booklet is now available through your lodge. If you are ready to learn degree work, see your lodge secretary about signing one out.
I urge you to plan to participate in a historical joint Quarterly Communication and banquet this June (see p. 6). The more we work with and support our Masonic family, the stronger our memberships and our offerings will be.
It is with great regret that we say "goodbye" to our devoted Bro. Thomas Hopkins, District Deputy Grand Master. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this time of deep loss. I have appointed Bro. Kent Hackney to serve as District Deputy Grand Master for District B for the remainder of the year.
In closing, I ask each of you to be Master Builders by getting involved in your lodge and community. By working together, we can have a great influence on moving this fraternity forward.
Sincerely and Fraternally,
Jay W. Smith
Right Worshipful Grand Master
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