|Volume LV||August 2008||Number 3|
Call 'Em All
"Call 'Em All," the new batch call system provided by Grand Lodge, enables Worshipful Masters and Secretaries of lodges to give their dialing fingers a rest and contact their membership quickly and efficiently regarding upcoming meetings, events and funerals. Hundreds of brethren can be reached within a matter of minutes.
In order for the system to work, however, the phone numbers entered in the database must be correct and up to date. This is the most common problem users run into, according to Bro. Ray Unger, Pocono Lodge No. 780, Cresco, who mans the "Call 'Em All" Help Desk hotline. Other technical issues arise, such as a message being interrupted and then repeated over and over again, but typically resolve themselves and only affect a few of the recipients.
Despite a glitch here or there, Bro. Unger hears good feedback from the members. "It's the best way to let lodge members know of an event in a timely fashion," he said, whether it be a meeting cancellation for that evening, a funeral with only a few days notice or a chicken BBQ scheduled a few weeks later. "I caution any secretaries, or whoever is in charge of communications for their lodge, who opt out of the system. They won't know what they're missing."
According to Bro. Alvin Hollister, District Deputy Grand Master for District 14, as of the end of June, 2,917 broadcasts had been distributed, with more than 407,000 individual phone calls to members since the program was initiated. In the month of June alone, more than 37,000 calls were placed and approximately 72 percent of the lodges are participating in the program.
For those who may have questions or who may need help with the system, the Help Desk may be reached at (800) 816-7007.
Keeping It in the Family
For the Shaver family, including four brothers and one sister, Masonic organizations embody the legacy of their father, Bro. Howard A. Shaver, Sr. For more than 50 years, the brothers have remained active with Wyoming Lodge No. 468, and sister Joan Shaver Hermann is a Golden Star member of Harmony Eastern Star Chapter No. 58. Even Bro. J. Clinton Shaver, who resides in Minnesota, spreads fellowship and community service in honor of their father.
"Our father was such a great example of what a Mason is," Bro. J. Hall Shaver said. "He was a 'go-giver' of the first class. There wasn't a person who needed help that he wouldn't help. He was very popular and really left a mark on the community."
"We feel as if he is always watching over [the lodge]," Bro. Joe Shaver said. "We're very proud of our father."
After conducting some research as far as Chicago, Bro. J. Hall has found no other records of four living brothers who have belonged to the Masonic fraternity for more than 50 years.
Bro. J. Clinton was the first to follow his father's footsteps at the age of 21. The rest of the family joined the fraternity in succession when they turned 21, except for Bro. Howard Shaver, Jr., who was serving in the Air Force. He joined as soon as he returned home. They also belong to the Irem Shrine and the Keystone Consistory. In May 2007, they all received their 50-year pins.
Three of the family members, Bros. Joe and J. Hall and sister Joan, remain in their hometown of Wyoming, within walking distance of the Wyoming Lodge. The brothers helped during the lodge's expansion from a second floor room to a two-story building.
Bro. J. Clinton's work took him to Minnetonka, Minn., home to several other members of the Shaver family, but he did not transfer his Masonic membership from Pennsylvania.
"I have a loyalty to my father's lodge," he said. "I'm very supportive of lodge functions, and if they need me, I'm there. I enjoyed the fellowship of the members. Being from a small town, I got as many members to join as I could. Since the lodge was something started by our father with his friends, we just want to make sure it continues."
"Freemasonry, to me, is an organization that helps people and brings people together," Bro. J. Hall said, who served as the lodge's Worshipful Master from 2002 to 2003. "There is always something we can do to help."
He involves himself in many of the lodge's activities and helps organize a charity golf tournament each year.
Bro. J. Hall's son, J. Hall Jr., is continuing the tradition as a as a member of the Wyoming Lodge. His daughter is a more than 25-year-member of the Order of Eastern Star, serving as Worthy Matron of Harmony Chapter No. 58, Wyoming, 2002-2003; District Deputy Grand Matron, 2004-2005 for District 21A (now 12A) and as an advisor for the Rainbow Girls.
Bro. Howard also moved from Wyoming for his career. If not for his transfer, he would have served as the lodge's Worshipful Master 30 years to the day after his father held the position.
He resides close to Allentown, but he never thought twice about changing his membership. He, too, makes great effort to attend many lodge dinners and functions, including Bro. J. Hall's golf tournament. His wife is actively involved in Eastern Star and is a Past Worthy Matron, Harmony Chapter No. 58, 1964-1965.
"There's no question, our involvement in Masonic organizations have kept us close as a family," he said. "We've done it all to honor our father."
The youngest, Bro. Joe, has always been involved in his community, as a retired funeral director, former Luzerne County Chief Deputy Coroner and as a Mason.
"It's a great fraternity," he said. "They've done a lot for the community; anyone who needs it, they've helped. I've met a lot of people in my more than 50 years as a member."
The Shaver's mother, Freida Meissner Shaver, was active in Eastern Star, and Joan has followed in her footsteps. As a military wife, Joan traveled around the country and found Masonic organizations to be the same wherever she went.
"You can always find someone to depend on," she said. "If you ever need something, the fraternity is there."
She enjoys participating in her local chapter's activities and events and helping whenever she can. "The meetings are inspirational," she said. "It's wonderful to be part of something so beautiful."
She resides in the Shavers' childhood home and jokes with her brothers about sending them to their rooms when they return for a visit.
"My brothers are wonderful men," she said. "I'm blessed to have them in my life. We all get along and even our spouses get along. There's no dissention in the ranks."
The family stays in close contact, whether they are calling one another about a Masonic event, to wish each other a happy birthday or just to razz each other. "We have a wonderful family. We speak at least once or twice a week," Bro. Joe said.
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