Wednesday, August 31, 2011

News from Chicago

Hello Brethren and Friends:

I want to start this edition by saying that while the weather here in the "Windy City," has been delightful, your Valley of Philadelphia delegation's thoughts are with those of you back home who may have been affected by Hurricane Irene. I pray that you all escaped any major damage or devastion. To those that may have experienced Irene's fury, I hope that the damage is minimal and that recovery is not going to be an obstacle.

Okay, so what's happening or should I say at this point what happened in Chicago?

Well, first I would like to offer my sincere and enthusiastic congratulations to our Active, Ill. Russell W. Baker, 33 on his elevation to Deputy for Pennsylvania. I often refer to Bro. Russ as the Valley's Best Friend. Any of you who know Russ know that is exactly what he is. We look forward to continuing to work with our Brother for the continued growth of Scottish Rite Freemasonry.

Now to answer the question I'm sure all of you want the answer to. We will have 5 Valley Brethren receiving the 33rd Degree next year in Cleveland, Ohio. Those Brethren are (in alphabetical order):

Matthew D. Dupee
Jeffrey S. Greene
William L. Kingsbury
John Lanckowski
Harry B. Rutter

Congratulations to each of them on being selected for this Masonic honor. Each of them have impressive resumes of service to our Fraternity.


Never, ever, ever, take Amtrak's "Cardinal" when traveling to Chicago! 26 hours in an "airplane" seat is very unforgiving on the human body.

Here endeth the lesson.

I will be enjoying a few days of vacation (or cleaning and repairing damage Irene may have left at my trailer) when I return home from Chicago. I will be back in the office on Tuesday, 6 September.

I pray that the Grand Architect continues to watch over each of you and your families and provide you with his Divine protection.

Sincerely and fraternally,

Steven A. Morrison, 33
Valley Secretary

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Shake, Rattle, and Roll!

Brethren and Friends,

Shake, Rattle and Roll! Yesterday's earthquake shook the Masonic Temple all the way up to the Scottish Rite Office.  What an experience! Fortunately damage in our area, if any, was minimal.

Well, we've reached the 20 Candidate mark for the 2011 Fall Class! Well, actually we have 21 Candidates. Can we reach 25 or 30? Thanks to the Brethren who've done their work in getting Candidates. Lets see how many more we can get!

Our Fall Reunion begins on Friday, 16 September. Philadelphia Lodge of Perfection, led by our Thrice Potent Master, Ill. Robert J. Burns, 33, will be the first to welcome the members of the "Ill. Thomas K. Sturgeon, 33, Right Worshipful Grand Master Class," to the Valley of Philadelphia.

The Degrees to be presented that evening are the 4th (in DVD format), 12th, Master of Mercy, and the 14th, Grand Elect Mason.

The Reunion will continue on Friday, 21 October with the Special Convocation of  DeJoinville Council, Princes of Jersusalem and the Special Assembly of Kilwinning Chapter of Rose Croix.

Our Sovereign Prince, Bro. Stephen J. Bradley, 32 and our Most Wise Master, Ill. Robert J. Bateman, 33, hope to see you and your Candidate there for the presentations of the 15th, Knight of the East and the 18th, Knight of Rose Croix.

The Reunion will conclude on Friday, 4 November with the Special Rendezvous of Benjamin Franklin Consistory.

Our Class Honoree, Ill. Thomas K. Sturgeon, 33, Right Worshipful Grand Master and Active Member of the Supreme Council, will honor our Valley with his presence that evening.

The 27th Degree, Knight of Jerusalem, the 31st Degree, Knight Aspirant and the 32nd Degree, Sublime Prince of the Royal Secret will be presented to the Class.

A Holiday Dinner event is in the planning stages for December. More information will be available about that soon.

Don't forget the bus trip to Autumn Day. Seats are STILL available! For more information, please visit- DeJoinville Council's Autumn Day Bus Trip Master Masons are welcome!

Support our Learning Center - A Toast To Reading

Our next Family Life event- Family Life-Christmas in Hershey

Just a reminder, the Scottish Rite Office will be closed from 26 August until 6 September.

That will do it for this edition. May the Grand Architect continue to bless you and your families.

Have a great day!

Sincere fraternal regards,

Steven A. Morrison, 33
Valley Secretary

Monday, August 22, 2011

I'll Be Away For A Few Days

Brethren and Friends:

How about this delightful weather? Wow! Very nice and very cool for August!

Well, what's going on in the Valley?

Dues continue to come in and for those that have sent them in, again, THANKS! and for those who's "check is in the mail," THANKS TOO!

I get phone calls from time to time from Brethren asking if we take credit cards for dues payment. In the Valley, we do not take cards, but you can use your card (I beg the forgiveness of my favorite financial guru, Dave Ramsey!!!) to pay your dues by visiting the "Members Center" of the Supreme Council web site - Supreme Council, NMJ

As always we're asking you to consider making a donation to the Philadelphia Children's Dyslexia Center when paying your dues. If you have not yet paid your dues, please give this worthy charity, the VALLEY'S charity, OUR charity, YOUR charity, some consideration. Our Center Director and the Staff of the Center are doing great work to open doors for children affected by dyslexia, but with your help they can do so much more. Thank you for your kind consideration of this worthwhile effort.

I remember as a boy I loved to read. I still do, but find the time to do so anymore, extremely limited. I loved to read biographies in particular. I learned so much about many great historic personalities. As a matter of fact, a book I read when I was in third grade on the life Francis Scott Key, helped me answer, correctly, the "Final Jeopardy" question one evening. Of course I was home and had no money on the line, but it was fun watching my wife exclaim, "How did you know that?"

When I think of how dyslexia is robbing young people of this same joy, it angers me. Thankfully we're able to do something about it. Please Brethren, give to our Center if you are able.

There are STILL seats available on both of the buses for the Autumn Day bus trip on Saturday, 17 September. If you've never been to our beautiful Masonic Village at Elizabethtown, this a great opportunity for you to go and enjoy the sights, scenes and FREE FOOD at this annual Pennsylvania Masonry outing.

Both buses leave at 9 AM from Tacony Temple, 4400 Magee Avenue in NE Philadelphia or LuLu Shriners, 5140 Butler Pike in Plymouth Meeting.

The cost per person is $23. This covers the round trip cost of your seat, which means you don't have to pay the high GAS PRICES, TOLLS, or spend TWO HOURS driving! The bus will depart E-town when the festivities conclude at 4 PM for the trip home to LuLu or Tacony (make sure you get on the right bus!)

The trip is open to Valley members, their families, Philadelphia area Master Masons and their families. Perhaps you have a friend you want to introduce to Freemasonry or even to the Valley, invite them to come along with you on the "Autumn Day Scottish Rite Express."

Send your check made payable to "Scottish Rite Bodies" to the Scottish Rite Office, Masonic Temple, One North Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107-2520. Be sure to include which location you will board the bus at!

Our Fall Reunion is fast approaching and since my last edition, I'm proud to report, we have 18 Candidates. But, as I said before, I want 20 or more. Come on guys, we all know at least one Brother who would enjoy Scottish Rite, lets get him in this Class.

We will be one the last stops our current Right Worshipful Grand Master makes before he leaves office on 27 December. Wouldn't it be nice for him to come into Gothic Hall on 4 November and see a large Class named in his honor?

Petitions are always available by visiting our Valley's web site - Valley Petition

Remember, if you are the first line signer of 3 Candidates in one year, your dues the following year are FREE!!! We have several Brethren that are enjoying that benefit right now. Oh and before I forget, if you are the first line signer on 25 Candidates over the course of your Scottish Rite lifetime, you become a LIFE MEMBER, which means, you NEVER, EVER, have to pay DUES AGAIN! Now if that isn't an incentive, I don't know the meaning of the word!

I have discovered that the answering machine in the Scottish Rite Office has gone to the "great office supply store in the sky." It was allowing you to hear my outgoing message but it wasn't recording your message to me. I've had a few Brethren call me and say "I left you a message, but you didn't get back to me," now if that happens once it's a coincidence, but I've gotten a few complaints. This happened last week. So rather than purchase a new machine, I figured I would make use of our Verizon for business plan and make use of the voice mail service included in their bundle package. Well, as you probably know, they were on strike, so getting the voice mail set up has been, well, lets say it's been an "experience" and leave it at that! I hope to have that completed by this Tuesday, 23 August. Thank you in advance for your patience and your understanding.

Beginning this Friday, 26 August the Scottish Rite Office will be closed. It will reopen on Tuesday, 6 September.

I will be in Chicago attending the Annual Sessions of the Supreme Council, at which our Brother, Leonard R. Bezar, 32, will receive the 33rd Degree. Bro. Len has served our Valley as Sovereign Prince, Most Wise Master, and on the Membership Committee. Currently he is serving the Valley as a member of the  ROTC/JROTC Representatives Committee. He is also active with the Children's Dyslexia Center Board of Governors. Congratulations Bro. Len!

When we return from Chicago, I will be taking a few days vacation and returning to the office the Tuesday after Labor Day.

Don't forget the "Toast to Reading" which is a great way to spend an evening and support our Center for more information, please visit - Toast To Reading

And keep in mind our next GREAT Family Life event, "Christmas in Hershey" For more information, please visit - Christmas in Hershey

Well that will do it for this edition. Be safe, take care, and get a Candidate!

May the Grand Architect continue to watch over you and yours.

Sincerely and fraternally,

Steven A. Morrison, 33
Valley Secretary

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

As the Fall Reunion Approaches

Brethren and Friends:

I hope this edition finds you and yours well and healthy.

Dues are starting to come in and that is always a good sign. Our Valley survives on the dues paid by our members and of course the efforts of our Trustees. They do a great job and deserve all the credit they can get, especially in today's economy.

While I am on the subject of dues, I've received a number of phone calls and emails in the office regarding the $21 "Assessment" shown on your dues bill. The "Assessment" is your dues to the Supreme Council. Just like your Lodge pays dues for you to the Grand Lodge, we are required to pay dues for you to the Supreme Council. I know the word "Assessment" tends to get folks upset and believe me, I've tried for a number of years to get them to change that to read, "Supreme Council Dues," to no avail, but I wanted you to know what it means.

For many years the Valley had paid those dues for you, but in recent years the Supreme Council has had to increase its dues by $3 per year. This is scheduled to continue until 2014. After much discussion and research into what other Valleys are doing, the Executive Committee voted to keep our dues at the price of $60 plus the assessment.

I know I don't have to tell you that if you are active in the Valley, you get that $60 back plus. To those that have paid their dues already, thank you. To those that have yet to send in their dues, I thank you too, in anticipation of them being received.

Our Fall 2011 Reunion begins on Friday, 16 September, and as of right now we have 15 Candidates for the Class, which is named in honor of our Right Worshipful Grand Master, and Active Member of the Supreme Council, Ill. Thomas K. Sturgeon, 33.

We're five away from the desired 20. Lets get going Brethren, talk to that Brother in Lodge, you know him, you sit next to him at every meeting, or maybe at dinner. Let him know about our Valley and how much you enjoy it and how it could be better if he was there with you.

That evening, Philadelphia Lodge of Perfection, led by our Thrice Potent Master, Ill. Robert J. Burns, 33, will present the 12th Degree, "Master of Mercy," and the 14th Degree, "Grand Elect Mason." The 4th Degree, "Master Traveler," will be presented in the new DVD format.

We will be trying something new beginning with our September gathering as well. As many of you know, our dinners are a great opportunity for our Brethren and Ladies to enjoy each others company and some great conversation. But, we have found that lately, our dinners seem to be taking longer and have caused us to get started later. To try and alleviate this, we are going to have a buffet dinner, rather than our traditional sit down dinner. All the same menu items you love will be there, (yes, that means fish too!) soup and salad will still be available, and we will still have the refreshments at the end of the night. Carving stations will add to the enjoyment of the meal. The meal price will still be $15 per person. The reservation deadline will still be the Wednesday before the Friday evening meeting.

Our Valley's Advisory Committee after meeting with the Caterer, feel that this will speed up our meal and get our evening off to a good start. Your cooperation is appreciated.

Don't forget the bus trip to Autumn Day. Our Sovereign Prince has arranged for two buses, one leaving from Tacony Temple (4400 Magee Avenue in NE Philadelphia) and the other from LuLu Shriners (5140 Butler Pike, in Plymouth Meeting). As of right now, we have sold 9 seats on the bus from Tacony and 5 seats on the bus from LuLu. You know what that means? There's still PLENTY of seats available for you!

Autumn Day happens on Saturday, September 17, 2011 at our beautiful Masonic Village in Elizabethtown, PA.  This annual outing sponsored by the Grand Lodge is one of the highlights of the Masonic year. You can stroll the beautiful grounds, shop the farm stand, visit a friend who is a Village resident, shop the craft stands, get information on the doings of the entire Pennsylvania Masonic family, and enjoy all the FREE eats. The buses leave LuLu and Tacony at 9 AM and leave the Masonic Village at 4 PM. This means NO TOLLS, NO DRIVING, NO HIGH GAS PRICES, LOTS OF SITTING and RELAXING, and FELLOWSHIP with FRIENDS on the bus.

The cost per person is $23, this is the cost of your roundtrip seat on the bus. Valley Members and their families are welcome to attend, but then again, so is that Master Mason friend who you've been trying to recruit for Scottish Rite. I'll bet he and his wife go to Autumn Day every year anyway, so why not invite them to climb aboard the "Scottish Rite Express?" You never know.

Make your check payable to "Scottish Rite Bodies" and send it in to the Office, TODAY!!! For more information click here.

The Board of Governors of the Children's Dyslexia Center of Philadelphia and the Officers and Members of Richard Vaux-Ivanhoe Lodge No. 384, wanted me to remind you about, "A Toast To Reading," on Friday, 28 October 2011 at the William Penn Inn. This event benefits the efforts of the Center and its mission of teaching kids affected by dyslexia to read, for FREE. More information is available here. Check it out. Tell your Lodge or other Masonic body about it as well. Anyone can be a sponsor.

We are in the planning stages of a Holiday Dinner to be held in December. One of the things that we plan to have that evening is a silent auction to benefit the Center. If you can donate an item to the auction, please contact the Scottish Rite Office.

Perhaps you and your wife have a favorite restaurant, why not mention our Center and the auction to the manager? You never know, maybe they'll donate a gift certificate to help the Center.

"Christmas in Hershey" is our next Family Life event. More information and a ticket order form will be available in the September issue of THE DOUBLE EAGLE, but in the mean time you can go here for details.

Well that will do it for this edition. May the Grand Architect continue to bless all of you.

Sincere fraternal regards,

Steven A. Morrison, 33
Valley Secretary

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Sad News

Brethren and Friends:

It is my sad duty to report the passing of Mrs. Marguerite Brown, mother of our Commander-in-Chief, Ill. Raymond G. Brown, 33. 

Mrs. Brown passed away on Tuesday, August 9, 2011.

The Services are private, but if you wish to send a card or note to Ill. Bro. Ray expressing your sympathies, please contact me in the Scottish Rite Office for his information.

May the Grand Architect have her in His Holy Keeping and offer His Divine comfort to the family during this most difficult time.

Sincerely and fraternally,

Steven A. Morrison,
Valley Secretary