Last Sunday, October 23, Most Worshipful Brother Randall L. Brill was installed as Grand Master of Masons in California. From all of us at Consuelo Lodge №. 325, we look forward to an incredible year of prosperity under his leadership, inspired by his theme: “Fulfilling our obligations.”
File this under possible Masonic firsts: This May, San Diego Masonic lodge S.W. Hackett № 574 held a second degree ceremony with current masters of nearby lodges sitting in every officer’s position. “The theater of it was really next-level,” says Ethan Carswell, who received the Fellow Craft degree. “I met some great people and some great mentors.”
From scientists and soldiers to politicians and philanthropists, many of the world’s most influential men have also been brothers of the mystic tie – and great authors are no exception. Here, we profile three Masons whose legendary works have captured the imaginations of so many readers both in and out of the brotherhood.
Mark Twain – born Samuel Langhorne Clemens – was the trickster storyteller of American letters, so it should be no surprise that he applied his particular brand of observation to the Masonry as well. Take, for instance, his description of a character in his 1897 “Tom Sawyer’s Conspiracy”:
My Brothers, As the sun sets on my year as Master of the Lodge, I humbly reflect at the great year you all have made. Looking back to the beginning of the year, many were not sure if we would even open. It was not a guarantee that we would be able to return to labor within our Lodge, but through patience and perseverance we were able to open with some restrictions.
In September, NBC’s streaming service Peacock debuted a new television adaptation of Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol, based on the follow-up novel to the smash hit The Da Vinci Code. One of the most anticipated novels of all time, The Lost Symbol originally set several sales records when it was released in 2009—selling a million copies on its first day and staying on the New York Times bestseller list for 29 weeks.
My Brothers, the sands of the hourglass seem to be falling faster and faster as the year wanes. Recently, we had our “Past Master’s Night.” The Degree was very well done with Worshipful Tom Handell in the East. The candidate, Bro. Currie, was passed to the Degree of Fellowcraft and enjoyed more enlightenment as he was introduced to additional moral lessons veiled in the allegories of the Middle Chamber. This is a signpost of Consuelo Lodge that the year is coming to an end.
My Brothers, welcome to October! The sun is already setting earlier, the leaves are slowly falling from the trees, and there is more darkness in a 24 hour period than light. As time begins to dwindle down on 2021, Consuelo Lodge is still going strong.
Brethren, we are in the last quarter of the year. In the coming months we will have the Mason of the Year, Hiram Award, Grand Communications, Elections, Veteran’s Appreciation Night, and the Holiday Party. All of this, some degrees including Past Masters Night, and another community project we will fit into the next three months. We can, and we will. I will be breaking up a few of the above events into committee’s to spread out some of the work. That being said, I encourage everyone to participate as they can. Your contribution to the success of these events is what makes Consuelo 325 such a successful lodge. If you would like to volunteer to be a chairman of any of these committees please let me know ASAP.
My Brother’s by the time you receive this Trestleboard edition, August will be over half spent. These last two months have been very busy in the Lodge, and outside with Masonic events. For those that are interested, I trust you have had the capacity to join at least one of the events Consuelo #325 has had to offer. Whether it’s been a degree, Coffee & Donuts, Consuelo at Refreshment, Fire Side Chats, the Pancake Breakfast, or our visit to the combined East San Diego Masonic Lodge # 561/ San Diego #35 Lodges for a BBQ and to donate blood. I would find it easy to defend there has been something for everyone this month.
Around 1853, the subject of this photograph, Samuel Larison (also spelled Larrison), drawn by the promise of the Gold Rush, emigrated to California. Larison mined for a few years and “met with more or less success.” Eventually he left prospecting and purchased land to farm. He settled with his family near the town of Cloverdale in Sonoma County, California. There he became a pioneer winemaker, a cooper for the new wine industry, and a charter member of the town’s Masonic lodge.
“Time is free, but it’s priceless. You can’t own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep it, but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it you can never get it back.” – Harvey Mackay. My Brothers, where has the time gone? Already it is July, and we are into the second half of our year. While we are just beginning to open the doors to Consuelo Lodge, we are already full-speed ahead in preparing to confer the best possible degree the Lodge is capable of, providing all Brothers with the best possible experience in their Masonic journey, and becoming more visible in the Escondido community.
As Oliver Napalan prepared to be raised to the degree of Master Mason in October 2019, he was sweating buckets. And rightly so. While he’d felt a few nerves in advance of receiving each of the first two degrees of Masonry, he knew this time would be different.
The trades have historically represented a path to a living wage. That doesn’t just mean electrical work, carpentry, and plumbing. High tech and skilled sectors like solar installation, renewable-energy maintenance, and IT support are expanding rapidly. Yet few young adults are encouraged to enroll in the kinds of schools that teach those skills.
My Brothers, the light at the end of the tunnel is finally here. I appreciate everyone’s patience, and their excitement to get the show going. The last 17 months have been something that most, if not all of us, have never experienced. The isolation and unknowing has certainly taken its toll on many people, and it is not lost on me that some aspects of life may never go back to what they were 17 months ago.
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! While it is not the most preferred conditions, the Temple again has Brothers working together within its walls. By the time you have read this, the Officers have already performed at least one practice of the Second Degree. One Brother is ready to perform his Proficiency, and a hand full of others are preparing to present to the Senior Warden and Officer’s Coach (Wor. George Tegart).
My Brother’s, April is here, and with the spring flowers comes the hope that Lodge will soon be open for in-person meetings. This past week, it was communicated that the Grand Master has requested that lodge’s, “Get Ready.” The news has also been passed via the Secretary & Treasurer’s training that The Grand Lodge of California is actively working on a plan to open up Lodges in a safe and respectable manner. The Grand Master has even calendared an in person event for June.
My Brothers, how quickly two months passes. By the end of March, a quarter of my term as the Master of Consuelo Lodge will be behind us. This week I happened to have a great conversation with a Past Master of the Lodge. In our discussion, he made a reference that will now be forever be a part of my year, “The Master’s position is just another shot at being a “Steward” of the Lodge.” How true that is.
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.
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.
My Brothers, Sisters, Families and Friends,
I am hoping this finds you safe and well. The Season is upon us! Every year I hear stories of reflection and it reminds me to look back on the things that happened during the year and how they connect to the past, beyond the previous watermark of a new year.
Thank you for your letter submissions and thank you Worshipful Ross Douglas for building the lodge a time capsule for our letters to the future. This will commemorate our Lodges history. Here are a few pictures, please enjoy.
I hope this finds you all safe and well. Elections will be held at our first virtual stated meeting on December 14, 2020. The meeting will start at 7:30 per Consuelo by laws. Please look for the meeting details and be there to support our Brethren who have worked very hard to prepare for the possibility of being elected to serve our Lodge in 2021. Please look for details for the meeting as the date grows nearer.
Lodges must hold elections each year. Lodges must hold installations for the Pillars who will be serving for the ensuing year.
There are protocols that must be adhered to unless alternatives are granted by the Grand Lodge of California.
Consuelo #325 usually holds elections at the November Stated Meeting. This year, we will hold them at our December 14th, Stated Meeting so that we may properly notify our Brethren of the elections and to prepare for the elections.
What are we working toward as a fraternity? It’s a simple question, but also a complex one— and one that in the past we haven’t necessarily worked on answering.
As the year 2020 winds down, I look back on the things that occurred and look forward to passing leadership of our Lodge to the capable hands of our Senior Warden, Jesse Middleton and Junior Warden Jeff Powell. I realized the opportunity to serve in a way that no other Master has done in the past.
Masonry prepares us to cope with and play active roles in change. What we learn, we apply. We strive to change our internal and external character to better ourselves so that we may better serve humanity. Why I am I starting this article by stating things we already know?
As Master of the Lodge I am continually humbled by the situations that arise. Flexibility in these uncertain times is a must. To be ready to address anything that may go wrong, quickly, is a must. Planning for future events while adhering to rules of governing bodies, that may change month by month, week by week or day by day can cause discomfort which we learn to cope with.
In the 1950s, when the famous touring magician Lee Grabel pulled into a new town to perform his Broadway Magical Mystery Extravaganza, the illusionist always sought out a local musician to help with his most famous act: the floating piano.
My Brothers, one of my mantra’s, that You all well know, is that many hands make Light work. Along the way to the East, I met many Brothers who allowed me to share the world through their eyes. They experienced the history I could only read about in books. Many of these Brothers became good friends, as well as Brothers. As Brothers passed from this physical life to the spiritual life they had prepared for, I realized that the things that I learned from, and about, these Brothers may not be passed on to my newest Brethren. I thought a lot about how we could preserve the memories of our brothers in some way and pass them on to future generations.
“You have joined the sacred order of the Stonecutters, who since ancient times have split the rocks of ignorance that obscure the light of knowledge and truth,” booms Patrick Stewart’s cartoon character, Number One, master of the secret fraternal lodge that Homer Simpson is being initiated into.
They say that you can measure your success as a parent by the success of your children. And by that standard, I’m proud to say I’ve been an exceedingly successful dad.
It’s well established that Masonry provides fathers and sons with a bond that’s often passed down multiple generations, providing both a literal and spiritual link across the ages. And yet, the lessons of Freemasonry aren’t confined to a paternal lineage. In fact, for some, they take their full bloom when applied to the complex, delicate, and profound connection between a father and daughter.