Trestleboard – February 2021

From the East

Worshipful Jesse Middleton

     My Brother’s, the first month of 2021 is behind us. Consuelo’s first ever virtual Installation was nothing short of a great success. Thanks to the Officer’s Line for taking the time out of their evenings and away from their families to record this historical event. A special thank you to Wor. Tom Handell, Wor. Mike Sherman, and Wor. Mark Doubleday, all of who were part of the Installing team. Lastly, thank you to our Junior Warden, Bro. Jon Rick who spent many hours burning the midnight oil to edit the final cut.

     There were 51 people on the Zoom Installation. Right Worshipful Randy Brill, the Senior Grand Warden, graced us with his presence and commented on how well put together Consuelo’s virtual Installation was. There were leadership from the Youth Groups, Ms. Patti Newman and Ms. Kathy Tipton. Master’s and Past Master’s of regional Lodges were in attendance to include Wor. Tom Colgan, as well as a few Brother’s who we do not see on a regular basis; Bro. John Boyle, Bro. David Price, Bro. Vance Johnson, Bro. Clyde Askrin, and Bro. Chris Chapman. Thank you to all who logged on to virtually support Consuelo Lodge.

     Since then, I have received an out pouring of congratulations, words of wisdom, and a bit of encouragement. To be completely honest, I was not prepared for the amount of phone calls, texts, emails, and even hand written letters that I have received since then. Words cannot do justice to the way many of you have made me feel recently. You’re kind words have certainly made an impact on me, and I am even more excited to serve Consuelo Lodge. Everyone’s outreach and support is what makes Consuelo stand out. It’s those actions that will enable us to push boundaries and open doors to endless possibilities as the year progresses.

     January saw our first Stated Meeting of the year. The budget was presented and the Brothers voted to accept the budget laid out for 2021. The budget included additional funds for community outreach programs, our Widow’s program, and the youth groups. There were also funds set aside for a future Table Lodge and a welcome back dinner, once we begin to open.
     Committee’s were established per CMC guidelines. Bro. Jim Forester will be heading the Audit Committee, Bro. Gregory Cross will be leading the Membership Retention Committee,  WM. Jesse Middleton, SW Jeff Powell, and JW Jon Rick will be the Charity Committee, and the Pillars plus Sec. Wor. Doug Ford and Tres.Wor. George Tegart will round out the Executive Committee. The evening was ended with the reading of the CMC where Brothers discussed the abilities of the Charity Committee, and also what it means to be a “member” of a Lodge. Remember, as an EA or FC you are a Brother, unfortunately until you receive your third degree and sign the by-laws you are not technically a “member” of the Lodge.     On January 16th, Consuelo had a few Brothers present at the Novus Veteris stated meeting lead by Consuelo’s own Wor. Mike Singer, who will be presiding as the Worshipful Master of Novus Veteris for the next two years. Novus Veteris’s Wor. Mark Doubleday provided a fascinating education piece on Pythagoras and many other Masonic intricacies related to Pythagoras.

     Consuelo Brothers participated in Novus Veteris’s Jeopardy that was very entertaining and challenging. If you think you know Masonic lore and ritual I recommend, when the opportunity presents itself, you participate in this fast paced trivia put on by Novus.

     As the year progresses my Brothers, I hope to get more invitations to different Lodge virtual meetings, and when I do, I will definitely share them. It is my hope, that when we open here in the next couple of months, that a large group of Consuelo Brothers will travel along with me to spread the fellowship that Masonry is well known for.

     February will be a month where we focus on our Brothers. Our Stated Meeting will be on February 8th, 2021, at 7:30 PM (By-laws state Stated Meetings must begin at 7:30 PM), the Zoom link will be going out a few days before. If you have not attended virtually in a while, I implore you to attend.

     We will be discussing ways in which we can take care of our Brothers and how we should be focusing on everyone’s wellbeing. Come with ideas on how we can have an impact on our Brothers health and happiness. Remember, you don’t always have to be there with the Brother to interact or make them feel better. Sometimes a phone call or hand written letter can make the world of difference. Consider the next time you have five minutes of free time, just five minutes, say maybe you are travelling home from work or the store, maybe your waiting in line at the drive-thru to pick up some food, consider that Brother that you have not heard from in a while and call them just to say, “Hi!” I promise you, if you do that, both of you will feel better and will have made that bond that much stronger. Be safe and be healthy my Brothers, great days are ahead.

From the West

Bro. Jeff Powell

     Many people have made comments on how well the Consuelo 2021 Installation of Officers went last month. If anyone missed it, you really missed out on something great. Although I still would prefer meeting in person, this Installation was a demonstration of the brothers of our lodge coming together and excelling in a time of challenges, and an example of how things can be done in the future, until things normalize. Thanks again to Brother Jon Rick, for putting all of the pieces together and making our lodge shine. I’m not sure, but hopefully there is a recorded copy around somewhere for those who may have missed it. I wouldn’t mind watching it a second time.

     Being a youth group leader and advisor for many years, I would like to encourage anyone who can to get involved with our youth groups. If any brother feels like they’re stuck at home with nothing to do, both Job’s Daughter’s and Rainbow are having regular online meetings that Mason’s are welcome to attend. Just reach out to one of the leaders for the meeting login information. I have heard that DeMolay is also considering starting up online meetings soon.

     It is my hope that those of us who can, start attending some of these meetings, so that when the real meetings start we might already be in the habit of attending. The attendance of brothers at these meetings are important for many reasons. A couple of which, in a tangible way, our young men and ladies are supported by the lodge and that they are apart of our Masonic family. These young folks are the future representatives of Masonry. I hope to see you on these Zoom meetings soon.
     With that out of the way, I have been informed that as Sr. Warden of the lodge, my trestle board articles should contain some sort of educational value. My thoughts on how to accomplish this is to pick a different famous Mason, past or present, each month and write about them. Although due to size constraints, I can only be brief. For this month, however, I am not going to do that, instead I would like to cover Anti-Masonic sentiment.
What is Anti-Masonic sentiment?

     Anti-Masonic sentiment can probably best be described through the examples of it which have existed in many forms over the ages. In 1738 , Pope Clement XII introduced a prohibition of Masonic associations, and all the way up to 1983, their members were prohibited from supporting Masonry. There was a political party in the United States called the Anti-Masonic Party, which existed between 1830-1850. In the 1990’s in the United Kingdom, any government employee was required to disclose whether or not they were a Mason. Even today, Masonry is banned in a lot of Islamic countries, and a simple search on the internet, will yield many pages which have a negative view of our fraternity.

     How can this be? With all of the good things that I see our fraternity involved in, it’s difficult to understand how Masonry is viewed negatively in so many cases. After all, we contribute charitably in many causes, we live our lives with positive tenets, and are committed to making the world a better place by improving one brother at a time. These are all things that the world needs and in my opinion, is lacking of in many areas. Historically, the reasons for Anti-Masonry can be explained because of power, greed, or envy. In a lot of modern cases, I believe it’s simply because people don’t understand who we are or what we’re about. 

     How do we change this? If we do nothing, we may still attract new members, but probably for the wrong reasons. I think we can do a better job of explaining who we are, what we do and changing the sentiment. A lot of organizations have a spokesperson to explain what they’re about, others have websites or both, but a lot of people may not know where to look, or who or what to believe. That’s where we can do our part, by sharing (not recruiting) Masonry within our circle of friends, family, and co-workers (not during work hours), and letting them see the difference in us, and that we’re Masons, we can hopefully eventually change the sentiment toward Masonry in a more favorable direction and attract good men to our fraternity for the right reasons.

From the South

Bro. Jon Gary Rick

My Brothers, I must admit it feels as if only mere days have passed since I last put pen to paper for our trestleboard, but despite my own perception of time, the hourglass can not lie and we find ourselves at the start of February. As I look back on January, of course the first thought that comes to mind is our installation of officers.

     I vividly recall the Junior Warden’s charge that was given to me by Worshipful Tom Handell; although I’ve heard it a number of times before, this instance was of course different. Like with any of our ritual, each time you hear it, you unlock some new aspect you might not have considered before. This time it held much more meaning as I was the one being installed in the South.

     The now obvious (to me) references to cardinal virtues rang out as I attempted to fully internalize what was being said to me. The continued practice of temperance was a clear message. Before I was made a mason, I thought I knew what temperance meant. If you would have asked, I would have rattled off something to the effect “having the ability of self-restraint”, and while I wouldn’t have been wrong per se, temperance is actually so much more.

     In my now ever-so-slightly wiser opinion, I believe temperance is truly about balance; doing the right thing, at the right time, in the right amount. I think it’s easy for most individuals to equate temperance with only “negative” vices, like indulging in too much to drink. The real challenge arrives when needing to exercise temperance in aspects of our lives that we believe to be positive. Can you really have too much of a good thing? I believe you can; coming on too strong, having too much passion, being over zealous, no matter the subject, can cause those on the receiving-end to reject your premise without ever hearing your message. That’s why making good use of the compass we’ve been given is so vitally important. Especially in the highly divisive world we find ourselves in today. Now more than ever, we must be the example for others to follow, of those who best can work and best agree.

     In preparing this article I revisited the May 2020 issue of the Fraternal Review which was on the very topic of temperance and while I attempted to sum up the following paragraph by Bro. C. Douglas Russell, I ultimately felt it was best to present it to you in its original form as it truly conveys the importance of the subject at hand.

     “A fascinating aspect of temperance is how it relates to ‘temper’ and ‘tempering.’ We can build character by striving to be even-tempered instead of temperamental. The steel of a sword is ‘tempered.’ If too soft, it would bend; if too hard, it would break. The mortar used by stonemasons is ‘tempered’ – in just the right proportions to properly hold stones together. Similarly, spreading the cement of brotherly love requires the right proportions of soft and hard qualities, being somewhere between coddling and tough love. Perhaps the image of Temperance on the facing page suggests proportionality: pouring the right amounts together for a proper mixture.” – Bro. C. Douglas Russell, Southern California Research Lodge

     When I first read that passage, I had much empathy for our Lodge’s Officer Coaches. The challenge of preparing the officers for their new positions each year, finding the right balance of encouragement and the right amount of fire to light under each butt, I’m sure must be a struggle; indeed a constant exercise of temperance.

     I then began imagining the world at large, if all who inhabit the planet focused on temperance and the improvement thereof, what a truly wonderful world it would be. As I returned to reality, I reminded myself that the best way to improve the world is to improve myself and I once again recommitted to that cardinal virtue, of which morality hinges.

     However, unlike the Master Blacksmith who has perfected the art of tempering steel, I realize I have not yet mastered the art of tempering my actions and emotions. To do so will require that I have an honest dialog with myself over my successes and shortcomings in my daily life. Working that rough ashlar into a more perfect one; which I am blessed to have the tools of the craft to aid me, as do you my brother, we just need to continue to help each other use them.

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