|Volume LIV||August 2007||Number 3|
A Message from the Grand Master
Throughout this issue, you will see and read examples about what I've found to be a wonderful trend in Pennsylvania - growth! Not only have we approved the formation of another Traditional Observance lodge, but our youth have shown a renewed enthusiasm with the recent addition of two Rainbow Assemblies, a new DeMolay Chapter and a new Job's Daughters Bethel. I believe that as a result of Masons Helping Masons, our commitment to Freemasonry and to each other has yielded a greater interest in the bonds we share within our Masonic family. These bonds are strong, and have lasted for many generations. I am pleased to report that so far, Grand Lodge has presented approximately 1,700 50-year emblems, 2,300 60-year emblems, 400 70-year emblems, and 50 75-year Diamond Jubilee Awards to deserving brethren. I have had the honor of granting many of these awards personally, and remain in awe of the dedicated, admirable men I have the privilege to call "brother."
Another interesting and positive trend is that since 2002, the average age of our new members has steadily declined. Five years ago, the average age of a new member was 44; in 2006, it was 40, and so far this year, it has been 39! This demonstrates a new era of interest in our fraternity by younger generations, who are recognizing the many benefits our brotherhood provides. Our challenge is to maintain our members' interest in the traditions, ritual and service opportunities we present in order to continuously strengthen these bonds as brethren. This heritage of strong tradition and selfless service was recently recognized by the Pennsylvania House of Representatives with a resolution this spring.
While we are still planning changes to this publication based on the survey responses we received from the May issue, you will notice that we have taken your comments to heart and made some modifications already. Many of the ratings and comments were extremely positive, but we strive to continually improve our services to our members. Some of you mentioned that you would like to learn more about the present and future of Pennsylvania Freemasonry. I am pleased to report that at the end of 2006 and in the first quarter of this year, the Grand Lodge and its entities, including the various Masonic Charities, were under the budget recommended by the Committee on Finance and approved by the membership. I believe this demonstrates a commitment to fiscal responsibility while providing high quality fraternal and charitable services as Masons Helping Masons.
Some exciting and significant events are planned throughout this year, including the Grand Master's Charity Golf tournaments, the galas in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia and Autumn Day at the Masonic Village at Elizabethtown, where we will pay tribute to all veterans, Masonic and non-Masonic, who have made significant sacrifices to preserve the freedom we enjoy every day. If you are a veteran, please be sure to attend this meaningful ceremony and give us the opportunity to thank you for your service to our country as we dedicate the new Veterans Grove in your honor.
Sincerely and fraternally,
Ronald A. Aungst, Sr.
R.W. Grand Master
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