|Volume LIX||August 2012||Number 3|
A One Day Masonic Journey
Leads to the Experience of a Lifetime
Bro. Eric Teasdale, North Hills Lodge No. 716, Wexford, has a lot on his plate: managing golf operations and a retail golf shop, giving golf lessons, conducting events and tournaments (and occasionally competing), and raising three children ages 5, 7 and 9, with his wife, Nicole.
His free time is limited and valuable. For him to become actively involved in a community organization says a lot not only about his character, but also about the caliber of the organization. Fortunately, the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania was able to accommodate his unique schedule (and that of 1,936 others) through the One Day Masonic Journey on Oct. 30, 2010.
Many of Bro. Teasdale's relatives on his mother's side of the family were affiliated with one or more Masonic organizations. He was not unfamiliar with the fraternity before joining, but he had his share of misconceptions.
"My initial perception of the fraternity was that of most non-educated Masons - that it is a secret society," he said. "Once I became a Freemason, I realized that Masonry is an organization with secrets, not a secret society, and that it has a rich, storied, honorable tradition. I have come to realize that Masonry is about friendship, brotherly love and fellowship."
Through his work (and play) at the Shannopin Country Club, he became acquainted with several Freemasons who spoke very highly of the fraternity. His decision to join was finalized after talking with Bro. G. James Wehrheim, North Hills Lodge No. 716, who was his first line signer, and Bro. Raymond T. Dietz, R.W. Senior Grand Warden.
"The decision to join through the One Day [Masonic Journey] is a personal decision," he said. "For me, I have a very busy work schedule and a very young family and didn't think I could take the time to join via the traditional route at this stage in my life. I'm glad they continue to offer the One Day [Masonic Journey] to attract good candidates and brothers whom the fraternity might not have been able to attract before."
After observing the degree work at the One Day Masonic Journey, Bro. Teasdale was amazed at how the conferring officers were able to remember all the dialogue. He immediately wanted to become involved. The following month, his lodge was conferring a First Degree and two Third Degrees and he asked his second line signer, Bro. Grant McLaughlin, to attend the meeting with him. During the meeting's fellowship time, he introduced himself to several lodge officers and expressed an interest in joining them on the floor. He was appointed a seat on the floor the following month, and at the end of his first year as a floor officer, he started conferring degrees. To date, he has conferred three long first degrees and two short second degrees.
"Conferring a degree in the lodge is a great sense of accomplishment, and I respect all who have done so before me," he said. "The amount of study required is tremendous and the pressure of delivering motivates me to want to confer degrees. I have not delivered a perfect degree yet - I don't know if it's possible - but that's what I'm striving for."
Bro. Teasdale attributes his ability to learn the first degree so quickly to the recent introduction of the ritual manual. "With the ritual manual, I learned the first degree and delivered it in an open practice within one month," he said. "I could never have learned it mouth to ear in that time frame, if at all, with my time constraints. It has also standardized the ritual, which I believe is a good thing."
He is somewhat fortunate to have more time off from his job in the winter months when the weather prohibits golfing, but his plate still remains nearly full trying to be as involved in his children's lives as possible.
"There is never enough time in the day to do everything you want to do," he said. "It is a delicate balance that is ever-changing. I always try to go to my children's appointments - doctor, sporting events, school activities, etc."
Freemasonry has much to offer members whether they are seeking knowledge, enlightenment, friendship, responsibility or the opportunity to help others. In return, brethren are able to give back to the fraternity through their eagerness to learn and grow within the brotherhood, commitment of time and energy and advocacy on behalf of Freemasonry.
"To me, the secret of Freemasonry is that people of greatly different backgrounds can sit down in the lodge and enjoy each other's company," Bro. Teasdale said. "My involvement in the lodge has allowed me to meet many new good people who I might not have met without joining."
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