|Volume LIX||August 2012||Number 3|
Grand Master's Message
When you receive this message, most of our lodges will be called off from labor for the summer. I hope each of you are having an enjoyable summer with your families. As we approach the fall, all of us need to be working to prepare for our lodges' open houses and the One Day Masonic Journeys. Many lodges conducted open houses in the spring and continue during the summer, while other lodges will be conducting theirs in the fall. Any questions about dates and locations for specific upcoming lodge or district open houses may be directed to your District Deputy Grand Master or an individual lodge. The statewide schedule for the One Day Masonic Journeys is on p. 4.
With our open houses, let us show the community what Freemasonry is all about and what a great organization we are. We need to demonstrate that we are not a secret organization. Like many of the lodges and districts featured in this issue, I encourage all of you to become involved in community events by participating in parades, county and local fairs, blood drives and Child Identification Program (CHIP) initiatives, and promoting our activities in local newspapers, Facebook and other social media.
The One Day Masonic Journeys give us the opportunity to provide those potential members who cannot travel the traditional way, to become members of our fraternity. There are approximately 300 Masons who only have their Entered Apprentice or Fellowcraft degrees. What a great opportunity to make these men Master Masons in order that they may enjoy all the rights and privileges of this great fraternity.
In the May issue of "The Pennsylvania Freemason," I stated I was concerned for those members who were about to be suspended for non-payment of dues, and that my goal is to reduce the number of suspensions. Since Dec. 27, 2011, we lost approximately 1,600 members due to non-payment of dues, so we fell short of that goal. I again ask each one of you: if you know a member who was suspended for non-payment of dues, please ask him to reconsider his decision. No member should be suspended due to ill health or economic hardship, or because he resides in a nursing home and cannot pay his dues. As Masons, we need to help those who are in need. If you know of a brother in a situation like one of these, please notify your secretary immediately in order that he may make sure the brother's dues are forgiven and he may be returned to a Mason in good standing.
Speaking of Masons helping others in need, this month's cover highlights our Masonic Children's Home during the Annual Youth Appreciation Day, featured on pp. 18-19. With next year being the home's centennial celebration, we have launched a new capital campaign and established a new society for generous donors as described on p. 20. Keep thinking of ways your lodge can support the youth during the home's milestone next year.
In June, we had a successful Joint Quarterly Communication with Grand Royal Arch Chapter of Pennsylvania at the Valley of New Castle. What an historic event! I must thank Most Excellent Grand High Priest Richard B. Meredith for suggesting this event more than two years ago, for all his help, and for allowing those who were not York Rite Masons to attend an open meeting of Grand Chapter to learn more about this body of Freemasonry. I also extend sincere appreciation to all of the officers from the Valley of New Castle and to our Grand Secretary, Mark Haines, for their hard work putting this event together. Approximately 300 Masons attended both sessions and the banquet. Bro. Richard and I were very pleased with the results. I feel we accomplished what we set out to do: we established new friendships, renewed old ones and had a great time at an event that was beneficial to both bodies.
As summer ends and September arrives, I hope you are ready to get involved in your lodge, and together, we can work toward strengthening our fraternity for future generations.
I encourage you to attend Autumn Day at the Masonic Village at Elizabethtown on Saturday, Sept. 22, and enjoy this annual open house with festivities and fellowship for all ages. For those of you interested in joining Nancy and me on the Alaska trip next summer, there will be three presentations held in the Deike Auditorium that day showing the itinerary, and representatives from Holland America will be available to answer your questions. For more information or to book your trip immediately, learn more about this adventure on p. 5.
Check out what a difference we're able to make in the lives of our military families on pp. 6-7. Please keep those donations coming to support our Help for Our Heroes program!
Finally, continue to educate yourself through our online educational portal. This is an excellent resource; the more we learn about Freemasonry, the better we are able to be Master Builders, Building for Our Future!Sincerely and Fraternally,
Jay W. Smith
Right Worshipful Grand Master
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