Thursday, September 25, 2014

Brethren and Friends:

Good Morning and Happy Thursday everyone!
I received a petition yesterday and an email came in informing me that another one is in the mail. Small steps, but steps just the same.
How about you? Do you have a Candidate yet? It's the end of the month which means you've probably been to Lodge. Did you talk to a Brother about our Valley? If you did, did you follow up? He may have another question or two. Maybe he won't petition this Class but the Spring might be in his sights. Diligence gets it done.
Have a great day everyone and stay dry. If you're a member or an invited guest of the Executive Committee, our meeting is this evening. Travel safe!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Dear Brethren and Friends:

Good Morning Everyone and Welcome to Fall, well, almost.
That's right we are on the cusp (whatever a cusp is) of Autumn and that means that our Fall Reunion is ever so closer to its beginning.
It all begins on Friday, 24 October. Yes, that's right, October 24th, we had to move it back a week due to a conflict rental with the Grand Lodge.
Did you know that although this date change might have created some difficulty for some of you, hopefully not our Cast members, but, it has done ONE good thing! What's that you ask? Well, it will now EXTEND our petition deadline by one week! Yes, that's right. You now have until Friday, 17 October to get petitions in for this Class!
Did I mention how bad we need those? Well we do. As of right now, we are way behind our normal Candidate sign up. I know we've had some heavy classes of late, so maybe the 'orchards' are bit bare, but there are those guys that have been Masons for years, decades even, who've never gone beyond the Blue Lodge. Those are the guys that you want to approach. Tell them about they've missed so much already and hey, didn't you always want to be a 32nd Degree Mason anyway? Or my personal favorite, that guy who isn't a Scottish Rite Mason, but yet complains whenever the 33rd Candidate lists comes out. He's not even a Scottish Rite Mason, but yet every year, you'll hear him grumble about "How did he get it? He don't deserve it." Unbelievable! You probably know one of those guys yourself.
Enough of that rant. We need Candidates. Lets get them!
Okay where was I? Getting back to the 24th; we will present the 4th, 6th and 23rd Degrees that evening. Bro. Brian Skoff returns as Degree Master for the 4th Degree. Ill. John Wagner takes on his first duty assignment as Degree Master for the 6th, and a Cast made up of members of Jerusalem Lodge No. 506 will present the 23rd.
Get a Candidate!

Just a little observation that I thought I'd share from Saturday's Autumn Day event;
During the ceremony for the new Eternal Flame at the Veteran's Grove at our Masonic Village in Elizabethtown, our Right Worshipful Grand Treasurer in his remarks, commented that Freemasons are Patriots. No truer words were ever uttered. As the band played the anthems of the branches, our Veteran Brethren rose to stand while their song played. You saw uniforms, hats, shirts and jackets sprinkled through the crowd representing the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard.
Illustrious Brother Coy also provided a history of members of the Craft that served in all the wars and conflicts. When he discussed World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, and the current War on Terror, he asked Veterans who served in those conflicts to arise, which they did to the applause of everyone present.
I'm also so glad I had my sunglasses on to shade the tears in my eyes as I sang along with the crowd to "God Bless America."
And when our very own Valley Brother and Right Worshipful Grand Master, Ill. Robert Bateman put the torch to cauldron to light the Eternal Flame, you could feel the pride throughout the crowd, and then came the flyover by the World War II era bomber. Wow.
Each Veteran was provided with a lanyard to wear with his service branch seal on it to identify him as a particular service member. Wearing my Navy seal, I was approached several times throughout the day, by extended hands thanking me for my service. That, I have to tell you is something you never get tired of.
I wore my ship's ball cap to the outing and while looking at wood crafts for sale at the Freemason's Cultural Center, an elderly Brother asked me what the "DDG" on my cap stood for. When I told him, "Guided Missile Destroyer," he said to me, "You were a long time after me." and then showed me his old and weathered cap for the ship he served on. I immediately stuck out my hand and said, "Thank You for your Service, Shipmate." It took him a minute to rise up from the chair to shake my hand, but if you could have seen the pride and gratitude in his eyes, for being recognized that way, it would have stole your heart, much like it did mine.
I don't think I have to remind anyone of how proud I am of having been allowed the privilege to serve our country, or to be a member of our beloved Fraternity. I am prouder today to see our Veteran Masonic Brethren forever remembered by that Eternal Flame.

Friday, September 12, 2014

ATTENTION EVERYONE: I received a call from the Superintendent of the Masonic Temple, our current Most Wise Master, Ill. Daniel Hinds, 33, this morning asking me if we could move our October meeting. They have a movie company coming into the Temple for a few days of filming and one of those days happens to be on our October meeting date, Friday, 17 October. Which would cause a lot of issues for both them and us.
After speaking with our Commander-in-Chief, Ill. Arthur Becker, 33 MSA, we have agreed to move our Fall Reunion Opening Night to, FRIDAY, OCTOBER 24, 2014.
I will be sending out letters to all our Fall Cast Members and the Candidates to this effect. Hopefully none of our Cast Members have a conflict that evening (he said prayerfully). If anyone serving in a Cast does have a conflict, PLEASE CONTACT ME OR YOUR DEGREE MASTER IMMEDIATELY!
Now I have a favor to ask each of you, I will be sending out those letters, and posting the change here and Twitter, and THANKFULLY the October DOUBLE EAGLE doesn't go to print until Monday, but if you can help me by spreading the word, I would really appreciate it.
Thank you all for your anticipated cooperation and understanding of this unexpected change.

Monday, September 8, 2014

 I ordered our 2nd Notice Dues Billing today. There are currently 526 members of the Valley that have not paid their dues yet. Which isn't too bad actually.
If you've yet to pay your dues, you will be receiving a Second Notice in the mail shortly When you receive your second notice, or before that, please pay your dues and REMEMBER to return your dues bill with your check! Please be sure to make your check payable to 'Scottish Rite Bodies.'
If you haven't paid your dues yet because you were the First Line Signer of three INITIATED candidates last year, I still need you to send in your dues bill. Just write, "Membership Builder" on the bill and once I confirm that, your dues will be remitted. Remember 3 or more INITIATED Candidates in the same year gets you FREE dues the following year and 25 INITIATED Candidates over the course of your Scottish Rite career, gets you LIFE membership!
Your bill should say that your dues are $87. This represents the $60 which stays here in the Valley and the $27 assessment, or dues to the Supreme Council. PLEASE NOTE THAT IF YOU DO NOT PAY YOUR SUPREME COUNCIL DUES YOU WILL BE SUSPENDED, EVEN IF YOU PAY YOUR VALLEY DUES!
Just as your Lodge must pay dues for you to the Grand Lodge, we must pay dues for you to the Supreme Council.
If your dues bill has an amount higher than $87, you are in danger of being suspended and losing your Scottish Rite Membership. Suspensions generally occur following the Valley's Annual Meeting in May (15 May 2015). If you're having trouble paying your dues and want to remain a member, please contact me in the Scottish Rite Office. We can work out a payment plan to keep you in the Valley. Please understand that the Valley can no longer afford to just remit the dues for those that are unable to pay. We can work out a plan though. Lets talk!
For those that have already paid, Thank You. For those that have yet to pay, I hope to hear from you soon.
To everyone, Thank You for your continued interest and support of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite and the Valley of Philadelphia.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Dear Brethren and Friends:

Welcome to September. I hope everyone had a great Summer and are now enjoying this Holiday weekend with your families and friends.
The young folks will be returning to school is coming week. Please bear that thought in mind when you're out behind the wheel. Sometimes they forget to look both ways. For all our Valley of Philadelphia kids returning to reading, writing and arithmetic, we wish you a successful year and for my fellow Valley parents out there, don't worry, I forgot all the rules of algebra too. . .
September for the Brethren also means the return to the labors of our Lodges, York Rite Bodies and others, please remember our Valley in your discussions especially with your non-Scottish Rite Brethren, Companions, Illustrious Companions, Fraters, etc. We have a Fall Class to fill and you are their REPRESENTATIVE for Scottish Rite!
Speaking of our Fall Reunion, tomorrow evening is our 4th Degree Cast Kick-off meeting. It begins at 7PM in Gothic Hall. The dress code is business suit or coat and tie. Parking is in the Convention Center garage, 1324 Arch Street. This is the ONLY garage that we will pay for your parking in!
At the meeting we will hand out parts and go over everything we need to guarantee a successful conferral.
I want to personally thank everyone of you who responded to our call for help last week. We couldn't present this Degree by a Valley Cast if not for you. Your dedication to our Valley and the Candidates of our Fall Class is very much appreciated.
Our Associate Membership Coordinator, Bro. Dan Scheetz, 32 1/2 has a few "Scottish Rite Nights" coming up at local Lodges this month, and if you're able and available, I'm sure Bro. Dan would love to see you at; Hermann-Humboldt Lodge No. 125 at the Masonic Temple in Warminster on Wednesday, September 10th, at Jerusalem Lodge No. 506 at the Tacony Masonic Temple on Thursday, September 11th, or at Concordia Lodge No. 67 at the Masonic Temple in Jenkintown on Thursday, September 18th. Bro. Dan and his associate, Bro. Yasser Al-Khatib have done great work in presenting our Valley to local Brethren. If you can make it out to one of these evenings, be there!
Speaking of Dan and Yasser, they will represent our Valley at the Supreme Council's Membership Conference this month in Chicago. Safe travels guys and Thank You for agreeing to be there!
Our Fall Reunion begins on Friday, October 17th, that evening we will present the 4th, 6th, and 23rd Degrees. The 6th Degree, 'Master of the Brazen Serpent,' has a great story to tell. Also this Degree will mark the directorial debut of Ill. John 'Doc' Wagner, 33! Doc, having just completed his term as Most Wise Master was looking for a new challenge and I believe he's found it. Good luck Ill. Bro. John and all the Cast members. The 23 Degree, 'Knight of Valor' also has an exciting as well as true historic story to tell. And this will be an historic conferral as for only the second time in our Valley's recent history will we have a Cast made up of Valley Brethren who are also members of the same Lodge! The Brethren comprising this Cast are all from Jerusalem Lodge No. 506. As we wish them well, let each of us look to our own Lodges and see if we can't do this with more Casts. Imagine the possibilities! Congratulations go out to Ill.Cliff Hutchens, 33 MSA on making this happen with the Jerusalem Brethren.
Our Fall Reunion will conclude on Friday, November 21st. That evening we will present the new 32nd Degree for the very first time in the Valley of Philadelphia. For our Passporters this Degree will count for the both the 31st and 32nd Degree. But, that being said, quite possibly the next time we put it on it will count for the 32nd only. The Supreme Council is working on a new 31st Degree to be known as, "My Brother's Keeper." I'm sure once that ritual becomes available, it will find its way on to our Degree schedule.
Remember, once our Reunion ends that doesn't mean our Fall activities have ended.
Our Family Life Chairman, Ill. Jim Rae, 33 MSA has booked two opportunities for you and your family to enjoy the musical, "Les Miserables" at the Media Theater! The shows are scheduled for Saturday, December 6 at 7PM and Saturday, December 13th at 2PM. Tickets are only $20 per person and available by sending your check made payable to 'Scottish Rite Bodies' to the Scottish Rite Office, Masonic Temple, One North Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107-2520. Tickets must be purchased in advance!
Our Fall activities come to end on Friday, December 19th at the Lazaretto Ballroom in Essington, when we celebrate the season at our Valley's Holiday Party! Plan now to join us for an enjoyable evening of fellowship, food and fun! Leave your checkbook home, there won't be any auctions or fund raisers happening. This evening is just for you! Tickets are $35 per person. Beat the Holiday rush by sending your check made payable to 'Scottish Rite Bodies' now to the Scottish Rite Office, Masonic Temple, One North Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107-2520. Tickets will not be available at the door for this event, so be sure to act now!
Before I sign off, if you're not currently involved in the Valley, but would like to be, give me a call in the Office (215-563-1814) tomorrow and lets see where we can get you started. I GUARANTEE, you'll love it!
Have a great Labor Day everyone!