Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Dear Brethren and Friends:

Okay so you're waking up and seeing a dusting of snow on your cars, sidewalks and streets. Well, guess what?

Tonight's 4th Degree Cast Prep meeting is STILL ON!! We've got a great meeting planned to assist this group of dedicated new Scottish Rite Masons with their next Scottish Rite adventure.

To our 'older and seasoned' members, we may need a few fill-ins and standbys. If you're able, come on out, no doubt we'll have a spot for you too....

Parking is in the Convention Center Parking Facility 1324 Arch Street. Coat and Tie is the dress code. Everything starts at 7PM in Gothic Hall. No, we're not serving dinner.

See you there!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Dear Brethren and Friends:

Good Morning, good Monday everyone!

Today and today only we're actually going to see temperatures ABOVE freezing! Perfect weather for Candidate hunting! What's that? You didn't know it was Candidate Season? Well, it is and as always there's no limit!

Petitions are always available. I can mail you some. I can leave them with the Temple guards, or you can download one or more at the Valley's website (

This Wednesday evening is the orientation meeting for our 4th Degree Cast. We're going to supply you with a script, a part in the Degree and of course, lots and LOTS of information!

Enjoy this one day respite of above freezing temps!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

4th Cast Prep Meeting Rescheduled

Dear Brethren and Friends:

YOUR ATTENTION PLEASE: For the Brethren involved in the 4th Degree Cast: Due to the cancellation of last evening's Prep Meeting, I have rescheduled the meeting to take place on Wednesday, 29 January 2014 at the Masonic Temple. I will be sending a letter out TODAY to all who originally volunteered. Standbys and Fill-ins again are welcome to attend. If you are not currently expected to be a part of the Cast, please give this some consideration, no doubt we will need you.

The meeting will begin at 7PM in Gothic Hall. Parking will in the Convention Center Parking Facility, 1324 Arch Street, Philadelphia. Dress for the meeting is Coat and Tie.

IF, Mother Nature should step in again and try to interfere in the proceedings with yet another bout of inclement weather, please check either the Valley's Facebook group, "Valley of Philadelphia, Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite-Members Only!" and my blog, "Across My Desk, the Web Edition ( for updates.

IF there is to be a cancellation, that information will posted on the Facebook group page and on the blog. Please do not just show up! We have these pages for information of this type. USE THEM!

Thank you for your continued interest and support of the Valley of Philadelphia and its activities!

Any questions, concerns or comments, please do not hesitate to contact me at 215-563-1814.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Friendly Reminder

Dear Brethren and Friends:

JUST A REMINDER: This evening's 4th Degree Cast Prep meeting is cancelled. If you know of a Brother who is not a part of this group who was planning to attend, please let him know.

The meeting will be rescheduled and a notice will be sent to all those who volunteered. It will also be posted here for anyone else who wishes to participate.

As of right now, tomorrow evening's Executive Committee meeting is still on. If that should change, I will send an email out to the members of the Committee and the Invited Guests.

Be safe out there. If you're shoveling, take your time, push the snow, don't lift, bend your knees, and take frequent breaks!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Dear Brethren and Friends:

YOUR ATTENTION PLEASE: To all those that were scheduled to participate in tomorrow evening's (Wednesday, 22 January) 4th Degree Cast Prep Meeting, the meeting is cancelled.

Due to the winter storm and the expectation of below zero temperatures and high winds, the City of Philadelphia is closed tomorrow with the exception of essential personnel only. To comply with that order from the Philadelphia Emergency Management Office and for your safety, we are cancelling this meeting.

It will be rescheduled and as soon as that date is known you will be notified.

Thank you for your continued interest and support of the Valley and its activities.

Monday, January 20, 2014

I Didn't Forget You.

Dear Brethren and Friends:

An alert reader has mentioned that the Web Edition has been quiet of late. He's right it has been a bit quiet here, it's not that I've forgotten about you, dear Web Edition reader, it's just with the Holiday Season and the conclusion of the Fall Reunion there hasn't been much to report on. That being said, I do try to include a daily post onto the Valley's Facebook group, "Valley of Philadelphia, Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite-Members Only!" Our group has 227 Valley Members and their Ladies in it and, yes, being the slave to technology that I am, I have to admit, I do enjoy the 'one click ability' I have there for communicating with our Membership.

But, I have you as an audience as well and you are just as entitled to have information in a similar format, so, lets get you caught up:

Happy New Year! Welcome to 2014 in the Valley of Philadelphia! 2013 was a pretty good year for our Valley.  We celebrated Supreme Council's Bicentennial with 2 very nice size Classes. We had three of our Brethren coroneted as part of the Bicentennial Class, and I dare say we were the TOPS of all Valleys in the Pennsylvania Council of Deliberation in new members! And, one of our own, Ill. Robert J. Bateman, 33, is now the Right Worshipful Grand Master!

I'd say we had a pretty great year. What do you think?

Our Spring Reunion is just around the corner. We're hoping to have a large Class. Our Class Honoree is our very own Illustrious Valley Brother and Right Worshipful Grand Master of Pennsylvania, Ill. Robert J. Bateman, 33. 

During a recent visit to the Scottish Rite Office, our Grand Master shared with me how excited he is about our upcoming Class. He is so happy that his Valley, the Valley of Philadelphia will be the first in the State to have a Class in his honor.

While he was here he took two petitions for his two sons who are not yet Valley members! If our Right Worshipful Grand Master has time to get a Candidate or two, so do you!

Our Spring Reunion begins on Friday, March 21, 2014 and will conclude on Friday, April 11, 2014. Please be sure to put those dates on your calendar NOW!

I thought it was time to 'change the oil' over at I'm pretty happy with the new product. Give it a look-see if you get a minute. Thanks!

MEMBERSHIP, IN THE VALLEY OF PHILADELPHIA HAS ITS PRIVILEGES: Our Valley Treasurer, Ill. Spencer Butterwick, 33 and myself recently opened the Valley's new Almoner Fund at the Police and Fire Federal Credit Union, and as such, YOU, yes, YOU, Mr. Valley Member can become a member of the Credit Union!

They will ask you to show your Valley dues card to identify yourself as a member of the Valley of Philadelphia to open an account. Be sure to have your card with you, should you choose to take advantage of this EXCLUSIVE Valley of Philadelphia member benefit!

SPECIAL NOTE TO OUR MEMBERSHIP TEAM: Be sure to mention this exciting news when discussing our Valley with a potential candidate.

The Credit Union has several branches in the local region and they're opening one soon in South Jersey. Visit them on the web at for more information on locations, hours or whatever.

DON'T FORGET: It's that time of year again. What time of year you ask? Well, it's Abbott Scottish Rite Scholarship time.

Now, yes, now is the time to apply for the Abbott Scottish Rite Scholarship. This general scholarship is available to Scottish Rite Masons in Northern Masonic Jurisdiction, their children, their grandchildren (if the grandfather can claim the grandchild as a sole dependent), and the young men and women of our Masonic Youth Groups (DeMolay, Job's Daughters and Rainbow).

Individual Scholarships are limited to funds available from donations made through the Annual Blue Envelope Appeal.

NOW FOR THE LEGAL DISCLAIMER: Applications must be obtained by writing (emails count too) to the Scottish Rite Office, Masonic Temple, One North Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107-2520 and returned on or before the MONDAY, MARCH 17, 2014 deadline in order to be eligible for submission.

AND DON'T FORGET: The Ill. John K. Young, 33 Fund! What's that you ask?

Well, it is an educational grant named for the late Right Worshipful Past Grand Master, Active Emeritus Member of the Supreme Council, and member of the Valley of Philadelphia.

This grant is available to the financially deserving children and grandchildren of the members of the Valley of Philadelphia, who are currently enrolled into an acceptable law school of a college or university in the United States. Students may apply for the grant each year and, applications for this grant may be obtained by writing or by email to the Scottish Rite Office. There is no deadline to apply for the grant.

Congratulations and Thank You goes out to Valley Brother, Tim Curran, 32, who has agreed to join our ROTC/JROTC Representatives Committee! Bro. Tim will join as our Committee's second Marine to accompany our First Lt. Commander, Ill. Clay Melson, 33, MSA.

This Committee performs a vital role of representing the Scottish Rite by presenting the Supreme Council's Scottish Rite ROTC/JROTC Award at local high school and college ROTC/JROTC awards ceremonies.

The Committee is made up of Valley Brethren who are also Armed Forces Veterans. We have a number of Navy members, including your humble narrator, a few Army and Air Force members and one lone Coast Guardsman, Ill. Len Bezar, 33. Any Veteran Valley member is welcome to volunteer to join our Committee.

It is always exciting news when a new member steps up to get involved. Which brings to mind the really exciting news coming forth this Spring!

We will return to the live conferral of the 4th Degree, "Master Traveler," during the Spring Reunion. Our Cast is going to be made mostly of new Valley members, many of whom were members of our 2013 Fall Class!

The Degree Master for this Degree is Bro. Brian Skoff, 32. This will be his first time in that role.

To prepare these new members for this first time responsibility we are having a 4th Degree Prep Meeting this Wednesday night, January 22, 2014 in Gothic Hall at the Masonic Temple. 

The meeting begins at 7PM  and parking will be provided by the Convention Center Parking Facility, 1324 Arch Street, Philadelphia.

We will hand out scripts and assign parts for the Degree. Our Stage Director, Ill. William Brown, 33 MSA, our Make up Director, Bro. Norman Greene, 32 and our Wardrobe Director, Bro. Russell Combs, 32 will offer short presentations on their areas of responsibility as they relate to the members of the Cast. It is our plan to make this Cast the best prepared Casts we've ever had.

We had hoped to fill this Cast completely with new members but there are some openings still available. If you're able to come out Wednesday night as a standby for a fill-in role, please do. We need you!

As this is a new Masonic year, we want to offer our sincere congratulations to any of our Valley Brethren that are now serving in Masonic office. Have a great year! If you're a Worshipful Master of a Lodge in our local area or you're a Senior Warden, who will be taking the East for a "Senior Warden's Night," Bro. Dan Scheetz, 32, Associate Membership Coordinator wants to talk to you! He has a program idea for you that is so great, you'll be the envy of the District and you'll even astonish that grumpy Past Master faction. I know how they can be, I am one. Call the Scottish Rite Office at 215-563-1814 and I'll get you and Bro. Dan in touch.

Well, there you have it. A bit of New Year noise. Don't forget dear reader to get a Candidate or two for the Class. We have a title to defend. 

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

Sincere fraternal regards, 

Friday, January 3, 2014

Calling All Scottish Rite Talent!


Supreme Council has been in the processing of video producing the Degrees of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite to assist the Valleys in presenting these Degrees. We've used the 4th Degree video for the past few years.

They are now looking to produce a copy of the 26th Degree "Friend and Brother Eternal." I received the following from Dave Griffith, Casting Director for the 26th Degree Film and have been asked to pass it on to you:...


Auditions will be held on Sunday, January 26th from 2 PM to 5 PM at the Canton Masonic Temple, located at 836 Market Avenue No. Canton, OH AND on Saturday, February 1st from 10 AM to 2 PM at the Tadmor Shrine located at 3000 Krebs Drive, Akron, OH.

The story of the 26th Degree is set during the Civil War with the majority of the action taking place during the Battle of Gettysburg. Having appropriate facial hair (Beard, Mutton Chops, Mustache, etc) is a plus, but not required. Filming will be scheduled for the late Spring and early Summer of 2014.

Civil War re-enactors are encouraged and welcome!

All parts are up for casting. There are 20 speaking roles and many nonspeaking roles that range through all ages.
If you have a teenage son or grandson who would like to audition please feel free to bring him, if under the age of 18, he must be accompanied by a parent or guardian who will be required to sign for him.

There are parts for teenage males who play the guitar, mandolin, violin, viola, or other such instrument. Please bring your instrument and be prepared to play the first two stanzas of the Civil War era song "Lorena." We are also looking for a singer.

If you have any question, please feel free to contact Dave Griffith through the Facebook page "Cast & Crew, Friends & Brothers (26th Degree Film), or email at or at 330-464-3300. Thank You.