Trestleboard – January 2021

From the East,
My Promise to You

WM. Elect Jesse Middleton

     My Brothers, thank you all for electing me to serve as Master of the Lodge for the 2021 Masonic year. I want you all to know that I appreciate you all for having the faith in me to lead the Lodge out of the darkness of 2020 and into the Light of 2021. I hope you were all able to get some rest and family time in during the holidays. While the course is not clear, there is hope that we will again be meeting by Summer, and when we do, I will be sure that we are all ready to hit the ground running.

     In the mean time, we will continue to hold our Zoom meetings. Whether they are weekly or bi-weekly has yet to be determined, and I will leave that choice to you all. Please let me know if you wish to continue to hold these meetings weekly, or if you are tiring of the virtual experience, we could go to every other week. When we do have meetings, I will do my best to create an agenda, and get that out to the Brothers prior to the meetings. During the meetings, I would greatly appreciate if Brothers would begin to volunteer to put together a Masonic paper to share. As the year progresses, I would truly like to see all of you having done some sort of education piece for the Brothers. Whether that piece is Masonic, a discussion on a CMC amendment, or some educated advice on matters of the world, all I am looking for is the buy-in and participation of the Brothers who are truly enjoying themselves. A wise person once said, “You never really know something until you can teach it to someone else.”

      I stand by my expectation that we will be able to open in some form, come Summer time. When we do, we will be working on reigniting those bonds that have made our Lodge so strong. At the January stated meeting, I will be sharing my calendar and budget for the year. Though the calendar is merely a notional idea due to current restrictions, I assure you, you will find it exciting and full of a variety of activities for everyone.  The investment in our Brothers and community will be sure to create a lot of attention and surely make the Brothers feel like they are getting a return on the time they are putting into the Lodge. 

     For those who wish to discuss their ideas and expectations for the Lodge, please do not hesitate to reach out and explain to me what you would like to experience or what you feel could be better. My contact information can be found on imember, and any medium you wish to use, text, call, or email is fine by me. I want to hear from the Brothers, whether it’s positive or negative.The feedback you all give is what makes it possible for the Lodge to improve and that, in and of itself, is what Masonry is all about.

     As the year progresses, we will begin to count the wins and the challenges will seem less difficult. I look at everything Lodge related as a team effort. Solomon’s temple wasn’t built by one person, so it will take all the Brothers who are able to participate to drive the Lodge in a positive direction. There will certainly be progress made as we begin to move and gain momentum through the success of family and community projects. Where we stand at the end of 2021 will be in a much higher place than we started the year at. I promise you, if you participate, that you will not only appreciate the time you have spent among your Brothers, but you yourself will have grown too. You will be a better person for serving both your Brothers, and your community. 

     Now, take the time to think about the year 2021. Make a plan, dare to take a few calculated risks, and push yourself to be better than you were the day before. What do you want the year to hold for you? What achievements would you like to accomplish? What challenges can you overcome? How bad do you want the success that 2021 could bring to you? How much do you want to improve yourself? What would you improve? I now challenge you to put all of this on paper and stow it somewhere so that at the end of 2021, you can look back and see just how far you have come in only one trip around the sun.

From the West

Bro. Jeff Powell

     As we wrap up our 2020 year, I would like to begin by saying thank you for electing, and entrusting me as your Senior Warden for the ensuing Masonic year. Our Master elect Jesse Middleton has put together an excellent lineup of officers for 2021, and I am excited and looking forward to being a part of it. Since I had initially predicted about three weeks duration for the entire lockdown, I do not have a very good track record about determining when things will return back to normal, but my guess is that we will incrementally be less restricted, and end up completely back to normal by mid to end of 2021. My hope is that things will happen much sooner than that.

     Since 2020 is nearing its end, I wanted to take a moment to reflect a little bit on the year. On the surface, I think most will agree, there have been some disappointments. For instance, the previous year for Child ID broke many records in both events and number of ID’s given. With Brother Jon Rick as the Chairman, and Brother Jason Beyer able to book the fair, I had high confidence that 2020 Child ID records would have surpassed the previous year. Also, our lodge is blessed to have many fine cooks, one of which is Brother Parker, but as Senior Steward, we didn’t get to enjoy the great meals and snacks he would have provided for meetings if we were able to meet in person. Also disappointing is the fact that many brothers did not advance this year, and we essentially have paused making new Masons. 

     Also, the youth groups were in a similar situation. My daughter was elected Agate Chapter Sweetheart and had been looking forward to attending Conclave, until it was cancelled. Granted, in hindsight that may have been a blessing in disguise. 

     With our lodge normally participating in celebrations for Widows and Veterans, providing Child ID, the youth orders, scholarships, Masons for Mitts, Christmas Party, and caroling, to name a few, it is almost incomprehensible to consider Masonry as non-essential. I suppose it may make some sense if you are solely considering the virus, but when other things are considered, the non-essential label begins to break down.
     However, it is not beneficial to remain focused on the negative. One thing that makes Freemasonry has survived for a very long time, in part by the ability of the fraternity to adapt. Under the leadership of Worshipful Tracy Reynolds, our lodge made many steps to continue to move forward, starting from meeting online in a casual manner, to ending up having our first ever official virtual stated meeting, and the election of officers. Thank you Worshipful Reynolds for rescuing the year!

     One final thought, as indicated above, Masonry has many benefits and our brothers may appreciate and get more out of some benefits as opposed to others. One of my favorite aspects of Masonry, has been performing ritual in front of the lodge. This has been helpful to me because I generally have been introverted, shy, and have lacked the self-confidence to speak in front of groups. The essential thing about Masonry, for me, is how we get set up in a sink or swim situation in the lodge, where there is not really a way to back out, and the only thing that can be done is to perform the ritual. While I begin sweating, and shaking with wobbly knees, I usually end up pulling it off and end up with better confidence, at least until the next time. I really miss performing the ritual, the in-person fellowship, and camaraderie experiences that our lodge provides.

     Thank you all, and have a Happy New Year!

From the South

Bro. Jon Gary Rick

     Thank you. Of all the things I want to say, I wanted that to be the first. Thank you for your trust in electing me to serve as a pillar of our lodge, thank you for all the support, mentorship, and brotherly love. I quite literally wouldn’t be here without the support of my brothers. Words alone will never fully express my gratitude, but I hope my actions over the coming year will.

     I’ve often wondered what my first trestleboard article would be about should I ever be honored with the privilege of writing one. As the time drew near and our lodge elections came to pass, I fretted over the thought of having nothing meaningful to write; I hope this will do..

     As the year begins anew and we leave 2020 to the history books, it’s important to look ahead; however as Masons it’s vital for us to reflect upon the past. Unknown to many California Masons, in other Masonic Jurisdictions, before a candidate takes their first degree they are invited into a Chamber of Reflection. While the actual chamber itself can take on many different forms, with a variety of objects within, it’s purpose is nearly always the same; to reflect upon what has led the candidate to this point in their life and to prepare themselves for the journey that lays before them. 

     Without a doubt, at the start of 2020, no one expected the year to unfold as it did. From a record breaking 47 million acres burned in Australia due to wildfires, to sports icon Koby Bryant’s unfortunate helicopter accident, to the global COVID-19 crisis taking over a million and half lives, to even more wildfires in California. To say that the year was marred by tragic events would be an understatement at least.

     The craft however endures all. Through the dedicated leadership of Worshipful Tracy Reynolds, we met every Monday evening virtually. Consuelo’s Executive Committee met each and every month to ensure bills were paid. Our lodge continued to do it’s good work by awarding college scholarships and providing relief to those in need. One of the prouder moments I was honored to witness is when the Executive Committee unanimously voted to wipe away student lunch debt for the Escondido Union High School district. The sum of the debt was small but the impact was large.

     The road to this point has indeed been rough and rugged, but we are not alone. We have one another and we have the continual blessing of the Great Architect of the Universe. As the pages of the calendar have now turned and we embark upon a new year, I invite you into the Chamber of Reflection with me. I invite you to reflect upon the past and prepare yourself for the journey ahead. Our road is still fraught with challenges and there will be difficult problems to solve, but together we will succeed. Renew your hope for a brighter year ahead and rally with me in support of our new Worshipful Master, Jesse Middleton. 

     Until I can shake your hand in lodge and again behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity, I offer these very last words to reflect upon when the road might yet again become challenging.

     “The greater the difficulty the more glory in surmounting it. Skillful pilots gain their reputation from storms and tempests.” — Epictetus.

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