Recognizing that the internet continues to grow in use and importance to the business community, Bro. James L. Ernette, R.W. Grand Master, determined that it is essential for Freemasonry to play a role in this new communications phenomenon. The Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania entered "cyberspace" on February 15th when the first pages of the newest Masonic site on the "World Wide Web" were made available.
Since that time, two complete issues of The Pennsylvania Freemason have been displayed, the On-Line Gift Shop has opened for business, more than 1,600 people have taken the "virtual on-line Tour of the Masonic Temple, Philadelphia" and 158 visitors have left messages in the "Guestbook." In just ten weeks, more than 9,200 people from 40 different countries have visited the web site to learn more about the programs of Freemasonry in Pennsylvania. The site has received an average of ten e-mail messages each day from members and visitors requesting specific information about a program of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania.
Already being called one of the finest Masonic web sites available, this is only the beginning of a very ambitious plan to provide an interactive, fun-filled, educational, and inspirational Internet experience for members and visitors.
In the next few months there will be comprehensive materials on-line about the Masonic Homes, the Pennsylvania Youth Foundation and all of the Masonic Youth Groups, the Masonic Foundation for Children, The Masonic Library and Museum of Pennsylvania, the Masonic Blood Bank/Organ Donor Committee, and the Masonic Education Steering Committee. On-line tours of the Masonic Homes, the Masonic Conference Center--Patton Campus, and the Friend To Friend Masonic Memorial at Gettysburg will be included.
Soon you will be able to log on to the Grand Lodge web-site to view the Masonic Scholarship Resource Guide, and to print out a scholarship application. The entire text of the publication, "Speakers for the Blue Lodge," will also be available. If you sign on now, you can add your name to a mailing list to receive an e-mail notification when major additions or changes are made to the web-site.
Future plans call for the development of a Master Masonic Calendar for the entire state, and the development of a web-page for EVERY Lodge in the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania.
The Grand Lodge Committee on Internet Services is chaired by Thomas R. Labagh, P.M., Abraham C. Treichler Lodge No. 682, and includes: Dale H. Fera, D.D.G.M., Masonic District E; Rodney E. Boyce, Westmoreland Lodge No. 518; Fred R. Kaylor, P.M., Abraham C. Treichler Lodge No. 682; William D. Neill, Jr., Westmoreland Lodge No. 518; and David Zinman, Shekinah Lodge No. 246. Bro. Zinman is the "Webmaster," an Internet term for the person in charge of the technical day-to-day support and maintenance of the web site.