|Volume LIV||November 2007||Number 4|
A Message from the Grand Master
What an honor it was for us to afford our Grand Lodge's 3rd Grand Master, Bro. Benjamin Franklin, a Masonic Funeral Service he never had, celebrate our Grand Lodge's 275th Anniversary, culminating with the opening of the doors to our magnificent, awe-inspiring Masonic Temple in Philadelphia! Our National Historic Landmark, which houses seven lodge rooms and our Masonic Library and Museum, has begun to play an integral role in the art and cultural community, as evidenced by the increasing number of tourists and educational programs. Who would ever believe, as we continue to face mergers of existing lodges, that we would warrant and constitute two Traditional Observance lodges, Kite and Key Lodge No. 811 and Lodge Ad Luchem No. 812? Least of all, your Grand Lodge was one of the three Grand Lodges to constitute the Grand Lodge of Cyprus! I am proud of what this administration was able to accomplish through the efforts of your Grand Lodge Officers and our individual brethren's dedication to Masons Helping Masons. It truly has been a great privilege to serve as your Grand Master over the past two years.
Your response to appeals for support to restore and preserve our Masonic Temple has been overwhelmingly successful. Because of you, our Masonic Temple will return to the awesome splendor that our forefathers worked so hard to create in the years leading up to its dedication in 1873. It continues to be our responsibility to ensure that its grandeur inspires the spirit of Masons Helping Masons in future generations.
Besides the experience of a lifetime, Freemasonry has afforded my lady, Norma, and me friendships built and support derived through open, personal relationships with our brethren and their families throughout our jurisdiction and many other Grand Jurisdictions throughout the United States. I have appreciated members speaking to me openly, telling me issues they are facing, programs they appreciate or challenges they have experienced. While I wish I could make everything perfect, realistic changes and improvements are something for which we all need to take responsibility, if we truly desire to strengthen and grow our great fraternity. I believe we have had numerous programs which have challenged us to remember the reason we joined Freemasonry in the first place - to care for and about one another within our Masonic family.
One major objective I wished to accomplish during my tenure was to create a stronger bond among the family of Grand Lodge Officers by building relationships based on trust. Next to my own family, they have been the most supportive throughout my term, and for that, I am eternally grateful. On Dec. 27, I will be relinquishing the gavel as your Grand Master, placing the authority in the capable, devoted and trustworthy hands of Bro. Stephen Gardner. I will faithfully support him and the other Grand Lodge Officers, and look forward to each of their respective terms.
I am fortunate to have had a great lineage of Freemasons in my family to emulate, beginning with my big brother... revered as most big brothers... the late Luther Jr., and a very special cousin, the late Ralph Aungst. I was also fortunate to know through the lives of Norma's family members, who are still with us spiritually: her grandfather Dee, the virtue of patience; Uncle Buss, unending kindness and service to others; Uncle Bob, a Past Master, compassion; and most especially, Pop, who instilled in me the value of family. Each of these beloved individuals have had strong supportive ladies, as I am privileged to have also been blessed with. Mom said, "You are who your friends are." It just doesn't get any better than what it has been, and is today!
My parents sacrificed for what I was afforded in life as a professional, a father, a husband and now, as a Mason. In return, I have striven to give back to my profession, the children of my community and my beloved fraternity.
Now, once again, I am looking forward to re-focusing my life on my family, who has sacrificed much over these past years. While it is impossible to make up lost time, I know I will make the best of the time ahead of us, that they, too, will hopefully realize that service to others is an honorable and worthwhile virtue.
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