Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Dear Brethren and Friends:

Received an email this morning from "The Valley of Philadelphia's Best Friend," Illustrious Russell W. Baker, that I have to share with you.

Unless the Valley of Harrisburg receives 30 more petitions, WE, YOU, ME, US, OUR, Valley of Philadelphia is NUMBER ONE in new members for the Fall 2013 Reunion Season!

Congrats to everyone, our Membership Team, Recommenders, and Candidates (Yes, we couldn't have done it without you) on a great Fall Class!

Now, lets turn our attention toward the Spring. We've got a title to defend. . .

Monday, November 18, 2013

Dear Brethren and Friends:

Good Morning and Happy Monday everyone!

Yes, it is the Monday after the conclusion of our Fall Reunion. The Holiday Season approacheth (Sorry, woke up in a Shakespearean type of mood this morning) and my post-Reunion work has just begun.

But, you know what? Your post Reunion work has just begun as well. What's that? What do I mean by your work? Oh come on now! You didn't really believe that all Scottish Rite was is going to Reunions, watching Degrees, eating delicious meals, enjoying fellowship and seeing my smiling face at the top of steps, did you? Well, I have to agree those are all good things but, NO, that isn't all there is! Far from it.

As we are now, post-Reunion you have a few chores to do as well. First: Candidates. Get one or two or three or how ever many you are able, for the Spring Class. Speaking of which, it will be named in honor of our Illustrious Valley Brother, Past Most Wise Master of Kilwinning Chapter of Rose Croix, current Orator of Benjamin Franklin Consistory and NEXT Right Worshipful Grand Master of Masons in Pennsylvania, Robert J. Bateman, 33! Lets honor Bob with a large Class. To our new members, you were part of a very large Class, if each one of you got one or two Candidates, imagine how large the next Class will be?

Second: If you are not currently involved in our Valley this Spring could be your 'springboard' (Sorry. I had too. It works!) to getting active. We had a number of new Brethren take parts in our Fall Reunion Degree conferrals and we hope and expect that will happen again this coming Spring. So, it's up to you. You have time to mull it over but, seriously, give it some thought. A large or small or even a non-speaking part, once you get started, it can be the beginning of a great new happening in your life. Ask any of our active members how much fun and fulfilling it is to be a part of the 'team.'

Third: I'm leaving this one up to you. What will be your selected chore for your Scottish Rite experience? Only you know. But it might just be an idea that's worth giving a look at! Ask Bro. (Soon to be Illustrious)
Dan Scheetz. He took a membership program idea and built our Spring 2013 Class into an amazing success. Just don't let him talk you into seeing that his seat is fluffed.

To all our newbies: You have nice new name badge and a shiny new jewel. You are the last to receive that jewel too. Sorry but you cannot wear either of those items at your Blue Lodge. Nope. You can't. The ONLY place you can wear them is at a Valley Reunion or if you visit another Valley. So, you know what your next chore can be; getting our Spring dates on your 2014 Calendar NOW. They can be found by visiting

Now I know the next question from our new guys is; "When will I get my dues card?" Our dues cards are run by our governing Body, the Supreme Council, at the headquarters in Lexington, Massachusetts. I will order them this week. In the meantime should you wish to visit another Valley and garner some stamps in the old, well, new, passport, give me a call and I will give the Valley you plan to visit a heads up and you will be welcomed in the most fraternal of manners.

Okay, I believe I've said enough. I have a very busy week ahead. Oh, before I check out, we still have 5 tickets remaining for our "Christmas in Hershey" Family Life event. Want them? Bring or send me a check made payable to "Scottish Rite Bodies" and they're yours. How much? $7.50 per person!

Have a great Monday and even better week ahead!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Dear Brethren and Friends:

Good Morning and Happy Day Before!

Yes, tomorrow evening is the final installment of our 2013 Fall Reunion and we will greet our new Brethren as Sublime Princes of the Royal Secret, 32nd Degree. I know I don't have to tell any of you what a momentous occasion this is in a Brother's Masonic career. Being a Scottish Rite Mason is something to be proud of. Scottish Rite is Freemasonry's most popular brand! There are more Scottish Rite Masons in the whole spectrum of Freemasonry than any other. This includes the York Rite, Shrine, Tall Cedars, Grotto, you name it.

I'm asking everyone to be sure to take the time to greet and congratulate as many of our new Brothers as you can. Nothing can take the place of a warm Brotherly greeting in the moment of celebration, and that is exactly what tomorrow evening will be, a celebration of and for our new Brothers and our Valley.

To our new Brothers that are a part of this group (that would be the Facebook group, for our Web Edition audience), after tomorrow you will be 'entitled to all the rights and privileges' of a Scottish Rite Mason and Valley of Philadelphia member. One of those 'rights' is your opportunity to become involved in our Valley and to contribute to its ongoing success. You have a unique opportunity to become a part of new and exciting adventure for our Valley coming this Spring as we bring back the live Cast of the 4th Degree, Master Traveler. This Cast will be made up entirely of members of the "Supreme Council N.M.J. 200th Anniversary Class." You will set the example for all our Classes going forward as well as record in our Valley history as being the first! Step up. Volunteer. Be a part of the team! Scottish Rite, much like anything else in life rewards you for what you bring to it.

Have a great Thursday everyone!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Dear Brethren and Friends:

Good Morning and Happy Wednesday everyone. This is your friendly Valley Secretary bringing you joyous fraternal greetings and reminding you that I always have your best interests in mind.

So now you're thinking, "Okay Steve, what's up?" and I don't blame you, but, I just wanted to remind you that we are Brethren and we are, I hope, friends, before the following announcement causes you to have (undeserved) angst in my general direction.

YOUR ATTENTION PLEASE: The Grand Banquet Room is CLOSED on Friday night, to anyone and everyone who does not have a dinner reservation or a pre-paid ticket.

Now what does that mean? The Temple's new caterer is very strict in her accounting of meals needed. She requires our reservation deadline to be at least 10 days prior to our meeting. She gives me a few days 'wiggle room,' to add for possible late editions. But, as of yesterday she called for the FINAL number. Which I gave her.

Therefore, be advised, and please everyone spread the word, IF YOU DO NOT HAVE A DINNER RESERVATION YOU WILL NOT BE SERVED ON FRIDAY NIGHT, NOR WILL YOU BE ADMITTED INTO THE GRAND BANQUET HALL. Just showing up with the attitude of "everything will be alright," WON'T WORK! Our Stewards will not sell you a ticket as there is no meal or seat available for you. You will not be served without a ticket. No ifs, no buts. You had time to make your reservation. You were notified at the last dinner of this coming change and it has been publicized here, on my blog, and in The Double Eagle. No excuses.

I would like to thank everyone in advance for your expected cooperation and understanding.

Have a great day everyone!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Dear Brethren and Friends:

Good Morning and Happy Tuesday. Yes, it's snowing but RELAX, it isn't going to stick.

Can you believe our Fall Reunion is over, done, completed, this coming Friday? It is.

Kilwinning Chapter and Benjamin Franklin Consistory, will cap it all off with the 18th and 32nd Degrees. I am sure that they will both perform exemplary work and make us all proud as well as inspire both the Class and our usual gang of sideliners, and of course, Illustrious Brother, Cliff Hutchens.

As we welcome our new Brothers into our Valley as Sublime Princes, we hope that they will become active and participating Scottish Rite Masons among us. As always opportunity to become involved is always there, but this Class has the very unique chance to make history in our Valley.

Beginning this Spring we will return to actively presenting the 4th Degree, Master Traveler, with a live Cast. Yes, we're going to 'retire' the DVD. We hope to build this Cast from the members of the Fall Class, and going forward having the preceding Class cast the Degree for the next conferral. This could be the start of great tradition in our Valley.

Bro. Brian Skoff, has agreed to take on the role of Degree Master for this new adventure. He and I will be addressing the Class about this on Friday night, but, we have a number of our new Brethren in this group already (the Facebook group, that is to our Web Edition followers. You REALLY need to get a Facebook account!), and hopefully they will be interested in being a part of this new project.

If any of you are interested in taking part, please let us know.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Dear Brethren and Friends:

On this Veterans Day, I would like to thank not only my fellow Valley Vets, but everyone who has ever honorably worn our nation's uniform.

Thank you for your Service!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Dear Brethren and Friends:

Good Morning and Happy Thursday everyone!

I called our numbers in to the Caterer yesterday and she now has our 'official' count. But in 26 years in Freemasonry I know (as you probably do too) that we shouldn't just be "Free and Accepted," but also "Procrastinating" Masons as well.

With that in mind I reserved for an extra 10 possible reservations. I already have 1 of those gone. So that means that there are 9 left. Did you call in yet? You have 9 chances to avoid paying a late fee for your dinner ticket. Call TODAY, don't delay. Or you can email to, or the EASIEST way of all (Again, So Sorry, Web Edition Followers), click, "Going!"

See that, we're not just, "Pennsylvania Freemasonry's Best Kept Secret," but also the "Valley of Second Chances" too!

Have a great, try to stay dry, Thursday everyone!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Dear Brethren and Friends:

Good Morning and Happy Day after the Deadline!

As of last evening we have 205 folks that have reserved for dinner on Friday, 15 November. Not as big a crowd as we had last month, but that's still not bad.

So, dinner reservations are over. Now comes the next phase, and that starts this evening with our 18th and 32nd Cast rehearsals. We have a few new guys in the 18th and we have two in the 32nd. But I'm sure our Degree Masters will bring out the very best in their respective Casts.

Have a great day everyone!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Dear Brethren and Friends:

Good Morning and Happy Dinner Reservation Deadline Day!

Yes today is the day. If you plan to have dinner with the Valley on Friday, November 15th, you MUST have your reservation into the Scottish Rite Office today! Call 215-563-1814, email it to, or click "Going" (Sorry Web Edition!) on the event page, Today!

I still have a number of Candidates that I have not heard from. Hopefully we'll get them in today too.

Today is election day in the region too. If your registered, make the time and go vote.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Dear Brethren and Friends:

Good Morning and welcome to the start of a new week! See what I did there? I avoided the whole, "It's Monday, yuck!" thing.

Today is Monday (yuck!) November 4th, the day before Tuesday, November 5th, which is. . .? Come on shout it out. Don't be shy. Yes, you got it, the November Dinner Reservation Deadline!

That's right if you're planning to attend the Special Assembly & Rendezvous on Friday, November 15th, and plan to have dinner with the Valley, you MUST have your dinner reservation made by tomorrow. If that doesn't happen, your reasonable $20 dinner becomes, $30! Yes, $30! Per person! Don't let this happen to you. Call 215-563-1814, email to, or (Sorry Web Edition Followers) click, "Going" on the event page, TODAY!

Our 18th and 32nd Degree Casts have their first rehearsal this coming Wednesday. The ball is rolling. The wheels are turning and all those other forward sounding metaphors are happening as we come upon our Special Assembly and Rendezvous.

This will officially end our Fall Reunion. For those that are still in pre-Bookend Concept mode, this means there is no meeting in December. I know a few folks are still confused and that is understandable as this is only our second run in the Bookend.

So, why am I mentioning that? Because it's time to start working on possible Candidates for the Spring 2014 Reunion! This Reunion will be special because we will honor our Valley Brother and the next Right Worshipful Grand Master of Pennsylvania, Illustrious Robert J. Bateman, 33! Lets show Bro. Bob our support by working towards a BIG Class in his honor now!

Have a great week everyone. Get your dinner reservation in, if haven't. If you have, THANK YOU. Check with your Candidate. Did he call in yet?

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Dear Brethren and Friends:

I've been debating with myself as to whether or not to post this. Partly because it's been somewhat of an emotional issue for me. But, I feel you should know.

Our Valley Treasurer, Illustrious John H. Platt, Jr., 33, has been facing some health issues of late. This past week, he called and tendered his resignation as our Treasurer.

Bro. John served our Valley in an exemplary manner for a number of years. He served as our Soloist for our Annual Memorial Service too. Anyone who has attended that can attest to John's beautiful singing voice....

I've known John for 26 years, and he has been a great Brother and friend. I will miss working with him and wish him well going forward.

There will be cards at our Stewards tables on Friday, November 15th. Please take the time to sign one of them to wish our Illustrious Brother, good health and thank him for his many years of Service to Freemasonry and the Scottish Rite.

Folks, I noticed that I am beginning to receive orders for the Valley's Family Life event, "Christmas in Hershey." This is a good thing and I'm glad to see that our Valley membership is interested in the programs our Family Life Chairman puts together.

 Our ticket allotment has been paid for and ordered. Once I receive them in the office I will begin sending them out to those that have paid and ordered them.

One note however, you do not need to let me know what date you are planning to go to the Park. These tickets can be used on any date the Park is open during the "Christmas Candy Lane" promotion. I only provided you with the dates in The Double Eagle and on the flyer, so that you could check your calendars as to whether or not you and your family would be able to participate.

Speaking from personal experience, if you're still on the fence about going, yes, it can be cold, and yes, the rides at the Park are limited if you compare to the rides open throughout the summer season, but the Park is beautifully decorated, they have their "Sweet Lights" attraction which you can drive through after dark, and the shops all have some beautiful holiday items for decorating your home. My family and I have gone every year, we really enjoy it, and of course, THE CHOCOLATE!