Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Hope You're Enjoying Your Summer!

Dear Brethren and Friends:

Well, I hope this edition finds you relaxing and enjoying what remains of the Summer of 2012. So, what's going on? What's happening? Glad you asked!

The Valley of Philadelphia was very well represented at the 2012 Annual Meeting of the Pennsylvania Council of Deliberation. Congratulations again to Bros. Skip Leopold and Tom Wible on receiving their Meritorious Service Awards! 

Next July, the Council's Annual Meeting will be held at the Seven Springs Resort, out in the beautiful Laurel Highlands of Western Pennsylvania. Congratulations go out to Bros. George Burns and Jeff Lees on their nomination to receive the MSA at the 2013 meeting! Both of our Brothers have served our Valley with such dedication that has earned them both this honor.

I have some more good news from the Annual Meeting to share with you as well. Again, our Commander-in-Chief was pleased to accept on YOUR behalf, the "Ill. Richard A. Kern, 33, Benevolence Award for Pennsylvania." This award is presented annually to the Valley that has the highest percentage of total membership donating to the Supreme Council's Annual Blue Envelope Appeal. Congratulations Brethren on receiving this award, again, and  Thank You, for your support of our Scottish Rite Charities. 

As many of you may already know, Illustrious Bro. Kern, was a member of the Valley of Philadelphia as well as an Active Member of the Supreme Council and Right Worshipful Past Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania. He is also the only Brother ever named to the station of Honorary Past Sovereign Grand Commander for the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction.  We have an enviable record for winning this award named in our Valley Brother's honor and memory.

The Supreme Council has recently announced that the Bicentennial Membership Jewel will soon be available for you to purchase. The jewel can be ordered by any Northern Masonic Jurisdiction Scottish Rite Mason for $25. Once available, the jewel can be ordered online from the Supreme Council's web site.

The Supreme Council recently introduced its new "Bookend Concept," in regards to conferring Degrees during Reunions. To comply with the Bookend Concept, a Valley will need to either confer or show the DVD presentation of the 4th Degree, along with three Degrees which exemplify the Scottish Rite Core Values, and complete the Reunion with the 32nd Degree. The Scottish Rite Core Values are explained as Degrees that demonstrate the following; Reverence for God, Justice, Toleration, Devotion to Country, Service to Humanity, and Integrity. 

Two such Degrees are the 22nd, "Prince of Libanus,'" and the 24th, "Brother of the Forest." The Supreme Council recently had both of these 'Bookend' Degrees produced on DVD for showing at Reunions.

They also produced a promotional video for both:

These are indeed exciting times to be a Scottish Rite Mason. Speaking of which, have you mentioned that to a Masonic friend yet? 

Our Fall 2012 Class is just around the corner. The Class Honoree this Fall is, Ill. Jay W. Smith, 33, Right Worshipful Grand Master of the Right Worshipful Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, Free and Accepted Masons.

Everything begins on Friday, October 19, 2012, when Philadelphia Lodge of Perfection holds its Fall Special Communication. The Degrees to be conferred that evening and throughout the upcoming Reunion will be announced shortly. 

The Reunion will continue on Friday, November 16th, when DeJoinville Council, Princes of Jerusalem and Kilwinning Chapter of Rose Croix, hold their Fall Special Convocation and Assembly respectively.

The Reunion concludes on Friday evening, December 21, 2012 with the Fall Special Rendezvous of Benjamin Franklin Consistory. Our Grand Master will honor us with his presence that evening.

We learned during the Council of Deliberation's Annual Meeting that only 30% of eligible Master Masons belong to the Scottish Rite. This is unacceptable. Scottish Rite has so much more to offer to our Brethren. Let's all do our part to introduce a Masonic friend to this most vital, and dare I say it, necessary part of the Masonic family.

As always petitions can be downloaded 24 hours a day from our Valley web site. Share your Scottish Rite experience with a Masonic friend today!

Our Valley has some fun and interesting activities coming up as well.

Our Sovereign Prince, Ill. Frank Weckenman. 33, MSA and the other Officers of DeJoinville Council hope to see you on their bus trip to Delaware's Nemours Mansion and Gardens on Saturday, September 15, 2012.

This tour of the 300 acre of the country estate of Alfred I. Dupont, costs $21 per person.

You can board the bus at either LuLu Shriners, 5140 Butler Pike, Plymouth Meeting at 7:00 AM or Prospect Masonic Temple, 9th & Lincoln Streets, Prospect Park, at 7:45 AM

The trip includes the tour of the Mansion and Gardens followed by lunch on your own at Brandywine Prime in Chadd's Ford, PA. 

Yes, I know I said it was 300 acres, and yes, that is a lot of walking, but guess what? There is no walking, they have a bus which will take you to each point of interest on the tour! How about that?

If you are interested in this trip and would like to have more information or order tickets, click here.

Our next 'grrrrrreat' Family Life program is the Valley's Family Picnic at the Cape May County Zoo on Saturday, September 29, 2012 from 11:00 to Dusk.

We will have our own catered pavilion for the day, so bring your family and your lawn chair! The cost per person is $5, which includes the Zoo followed by a family barbeque with; Hamburgers, Hot Dogs, and all the fixings!

If you are interested in this Valley family event and would like to have more information or order wrist bands, click here.

Hey did you miss out on our Valley Family Day at the Camden River Sharks? Well, you can still be a part of this great Valley event by purchasing a River Sharks/Valley of Philadelphia ball cap!

The cap features the River Sharks' "Shark-bite C" logo with "Valley of Philadelphia" embroidered on the back. These very nice quality hats are available for only $10. We have a limited supply left, so don't miss out. Send your check made payable to "Scottish Rite Bodies," to the Scottish Rite Office Masonic Temple, One North Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 191017-2520. Be sure to put 'ballcap' on your check's memo line.

The Board of Governors of the Children's Dyslexia Center of Philadelphia invite you to attend their annual "A Toast To Reading" benefit event on Friday, November 2, 2012 at the William Penn Inn, Rte 202 & Sumneytown Pike, Gwynedd, PA 19436 from 7:00 PM - 9:30 PM.

This year's benefit is held in memory of Ill. Thomas Hopkins, 33, who was instrumental in developing this annual fund raiser and served as its Chairman from its inception.

For more information on how to purchase tickets, click here.

Now I now it's Summer and we have another heatwave peeking over the horizon, but, how about some cool thoughts? Ready? Close your eyes. Let your mind drift for a moment. Think about colder temps, holiday shoppers bustling about, strings and strings of colored lights, holiday tunes on the radio, are you there? Okay, what does that remind you of? You are absolutely correct if you said the Valley of Philadelphia's Holiday Celebration Dinner!

This years event will again be held at the Radisson Hotel Philadelphia, on Friday, December 14, 2012 from 6-10 PM.

For more information on this great Valley event or to purchase tickets, click here.

Well that will do it for this edition. I pray that the Grand Architect continues to watch over each of you and your families. Enjoy what remains of the Summer. Be safe, have fun and most importantly, RELAX!

Don't forget our Fall Class. Talk to that Masonic friend you meet at the backyard cookout.

Sincere fraternal regards,

Steven A. Morrison, 33
Valley Secretary

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Happy Birthday America, Happy Birthday Freedom

Dear Brethren and Friends:

On this eve of our Nation's 236th Birthday, I give pause to recognize what this great experiment in freedom means.

Two hundred and thirty-six years ago when those first Patriots signed the Declaration of Independence and declared to the world that America was a free nation filled with a free people who were prepared to go forward and make their timeless imprint on history, the world took notice. How could this upstart survive in a world ruled by crowned heads that had the unlimited resources to bring destruction upon it and bring it back under the rule of colonialism?

As a man of faith and a Freemason, I believe that Divine Providence had a lot to do with it. The Founding Fathers, were going forth to begin a Nation in which everyone who was willing to take a chance can succeed. Freedom provides one with opportunity to venture forward, to grasp the gold ring, to dream, and to create. We profess to be children of God. How could God not lead this fledgling dream to become a Nation? We are His children, and we offer each and everyone of us, freedom to live and grow regardless of race or creed. "Love one another as I have loved you. . ."

Every American is provided with the opportunity to have an education. Using this gift to one's best potential is what makes the difference. Thanks to this reward of freedom, America has been the first in so many frontiers. The most classic and best example is the venture of Orville and Wilbur Wright. Who would think that one day this invention of flight would lead to our Star-Spangled Banner being planted upon the surface of the Moon?

Here everyone has a chance. It is up to the individual as to whether they choose to dream big enough to take their chance and pursue their dream. To the naysayers, who say that race or station can prevent a dream from coming true, all I can say is, "you've given up and given in" and that is not what being an American is all about. 

Our 26th President and Masonic Brother, Theodore Roosevelt knew what it meant to be an American dreamer. A sickly child afflicted with asthma. He strengthened his body, improved not only his mind, but the work of his hands and his daring spirit. His 'big stick' announced to the world that we had arrived. We were a Nation with industry and determination and that we were going to be a leader in the world. We had survived a civil war. We reunited, we healed the hurts, we expanded our borders and our dreams. Can do, will do, is the spirit of America.

This Country thrives on the best production of the brightest creators, the biggest dreamers. Our Founding Fathers knew that. They may have never envisioned everything we've become, but they laid the foundation upon which the most wonderful house has been built. A house in which through every window a beautiful vista awaits the eyes to behold.

We are in the midst of some very uncertain times. There are those that will proclaim gloom and doom. There are those that feel we have ventured far from the path of the Founders, while some believe it is best if we do. This is why we are free to vote for our government. We, the people, make the choice and the majority rules. But, the majority is still the Brethren of the minority. We are one people, united and indivisible. Win or lose, we have each other's back. No one is left out or left behind, but by their own choosing. God has truly blessed America.

Songs have been written and sung proudly to let the world know who we are and we're about. We ask God to bless America, and as you venture this great nation, "from sea to shining sea," you might say, 'well, yes, God has indeed blessed America.' Let us never sway from His guiding light.

Many of us can trace our roots in this country back to only one or two generations. This 'lamp beside the golden door,' with all of its promise attracted so many to leave what they knew to come to a new world and begin  a new life. Those that did, helped to create what we have today.

There are those that have entered this country in the less than proper way, and while we would not agree with that route, we understand their yearning for opportunity not only for themselves but for their children and grandchildren. America holds the promise. We don't need 'hope and change,' we represent that. We always have.

We've been challenged by evil. Those that choose to defy the glory of freedom. They learned in the most harsh manner that America means to survive. We will defend our people, our land and our freedom. We will also come to the aid of freedom loving neighbors around the globe. American blood has watered the soil of every Continent and was shed for the cause of freedom. We've never been a conqueror, we are defenders, we are protectors. But when we've been the victor, we've also been the compassionate friend to the defeated. 

Happy Birthday America. Happy Birthday Freedom. Thank you for your opportunities and for your promise.

May God continue to bless America. May He also bless each and everyone of you and your families.

Sincere fraternal regards,

Steven A. Morrison, 33
Valley Secretary