|Sat,||Dec||14,||3:00||Installation of Officers|
|Fri,||Dec||27,||6:00||Feast of St John|
|Tue,||Jan||7,||6:30||January Stated Meeting|
From the East
The last time I missed a lodge election was in November 2008, when I had the honor of serving as a poll worker on the night President Obama was elected. It was a tremendous experience meeting so many of our fellow citizens on their way to express their voice on a wide range of issues, and like jury duty, doing what I could to contribute to the machinery that makes our country great. This year, I have the happy duty of presiding over our own Annual Election of Officers, and I hope we will have a full lodge on November 5. As we know, Freemasonry contributed a great deal to the conception of what became the American political system in the 1700s, and each November we hold our most important Stated Meeting of the year, when we elect the principal officers of the lodge: Worshipful Master, Senior and Junior Wardens, plus the Treasurer and Secretary. While our prohibitions on electioneering and the courtesy with which we conduct our affairs might be welcome changes to the politics of our nation, our version of democracy is no less vibrant. I had this same feeling at our Annual Communication in October. Of course, there we had a long list of legislative measures to consider, each of which had a set of more-or-less passionate supporters, and equally committed detractors in some cases. We considered everything from technical fixes to the California Masonic Code to details of the Ritual to changes in qualifications for lodge offices. Toward the end of a long day, frayed nerves were showing, and we had gone well past the intended time to conclude business.
In the end, though, the Fraternity came together to speak with one voice in approving the per capita and budget for the coming year, and to elect our newest Grand Master, Most Worshipful John L. Cooper III, and the Deputy GM and Senior & Junior Grand Wardens who will work with Most Worshipful Cooper in the coming year. For each of these offices, nominations were closed after a single name, and a unanimous ballot was cast. It was a powerful statement of our ability to set aside our differences over governance and come together as brethren.
The weekend concluded with powerful statements from the leaders of our youth orders and the Installation of Grand Officers, including Wor. Lawrence Altomare as Sr. Grand Steward and myself as Grand Organist. Our year has already begun with exciting events: Past Grand Master Fred Sorsabal (2006) was honored at Placerville Lodge #40 with his Golden Veteran Award for 50 years in the Fraternity, with no fewer than six PGMs in attendance! We also attended the Grand Master’s DeMolay Class at the Oakland Scottish Rite, and participated as 23 young men joined that fine group. Already we are working with Br. David Forsyth for the restoration and rededication of the gravesite of our first Master, Wor. Nathaniel Spaulding with the Grand Lodge in attendance next March.
Our own lodge had a busy week of its own. We had a good turnout at the Rockridge Out & About festival, including members of our youth orders on their return from Grand Lodge. We were then proud to pass Br. Dennis Baum to the Fellowcraft Degree on a visit to Burlingame Lodge #400, where our brethren put on a fine degree, with Br. Chris Nowell in the East, Br. Tim Urlaub as Sr. Deacon, and Wor. Tim World delivering the charge, while I shared the organist duties with their organist, Wor. Jack Burrous, a treat for us both. Br. Baum’s grandfather was a Hiram award recipient at Burlingame, and many of the brethren who attended had known him. This is one of the many bases on which we form our friendships and establish our connections.
Finally, please mark Tuesday, November 19 on your calendars for a Lodge Family Night honoring our Past Masters. Nellie’s Soul Food Restaurant is hosting us for a buffet dinner for all lodge members at a cost of $25 per adult, with a maximum of $40 per family. This will be a fun night of fellowship, and a chance to honor the brethren who have served ODR in the East. As we enter this transitional time of the year, we could ask for nothing better than to celebrate our 145 years as one big lodge family!