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May 17, 2021Liked by Cameron M. Bailey

I think my lodge does Bikes for Books very well. We work with 8 schools and the local library. We provide bikes at the schools twice a year, fall and spring and for the library’s summer reading program. This past fall we didn’t need to provide bikes because the spring bikes hadn’t been awarded so we provided school supplies and “occupational” toys/equipment to a special needs class. The head of our program is WB Gary Key. He has worked with the community to receive donations, making our program self-sufficient. We’ve also developed a great relationship with our local Pipefitters Union who supply bikes to several local lodges and the community as well. I’m very proud of our program.

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I really like the Bikes For Books program too, including the local variations of it. We have one Lodge in my area that does Kindles for Books, and another that does scooters. I think it is a great opportunity for us to get out in the community, and to encourage literacy, which in my view has long been an important cause for American Freemasonry.

Given how much education has changed due to the pandemic, I think that Lodges looking to do something other than bikes should consider Chromebooks. It seems that just about every kid needs one now days for school, and I imagine that it is hard for some families to afford them. Plus they are easy. I had an old one I used when traveling, my four year old granddaughter has taken it over, and she's getting pretty good at it!

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May 17, 2021Liked by Cameron M. Bailey

You already have a vehicle for telling good stories and sharing best practices; the Masonic Tribune and Grand Lodge Messenger. In addition to the usual proclamations and messages from the grand line, you can do a roundup of best practices.

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I agree, and I think that is actually the reason sections like the DDGM and Lodge Reports were created within the Tribune. But getting people to actually write articles for it is difficult.

But, I believe that Emeth's reach is now far greater than either of those publications. We have very active participants here from outside of Washington, and at least one Brother who occasionally comments from India. This to me is important, because Lodges within other GL's have unique things that they do too.

For example, when I was WM of my Lodge, I visited a Foreign Jurisdiction. Not just Foreign because it was outside Washington, but Foreign to the United States. That Lodge did something to encourage Masonic discussion that I'd never seen before, that I thought was really cool. So, I came home and started doing it in my Lodge. Everyone loved it and thought I was brilliant for thinking of it. Until I broke the news to them that alas, someone else had thought of it long before me, just not in Washington.

Those neat things from outside of Washington are what we can't get in our Tribune, unless someone from here happens to see them, but there is a chance, if they will share with us, that our Emeth readers from Jurisdictions outside of Washington can enlighten us here.

I would also argue that Emeth's greater reach allows more people, and Lodges, to benefit from whatever is posted here. In the first 24 hours of its existence, yesterday's post was read by 1,232 people, and that number will continue climbing at a good rate for at least a week. I don't know for certain, but I don't imagine that any of our Grand Lodge publications are actually read by that many Masons.

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Port Orchard - John Paul Jones #98 - We do a few of the normal things other lodges do, like bikes for books. We march in the annual "Fathoms O' Fun" parade here in town, although I am highly disappointed in the last time we marched, there was just myself and another brother, I felt like a fool. We do the annual Pirate degree, although I don't know, due to Covid, if we're going to hold one this year, it takes a lot of work to practice and put on and a month or two won't cut it.

There is one thing I think we do that is unique and impacts the community quite a bit. We hold a scholarship awards night, that also features a "teacher(s) of the year award". The entire school district participates, probably something like 20+ K-12 schools. Each school picks a teacher to get awarded, and we host the event at the lodge. We also on that same night award a number of scholarships to deserving Juniors at three local High Schools (our eastern star chapter awards one for a Sr at one HS). Our scholarship program usually gives out over $5,000+ dollars, depending on how our investments do each year.

The nice thing about the teacher of the year award is that it is basically self running, we do very little other than work with the district to pick a date, host it at our lodge, and have a little cake and punch afterwards. It's well attended, we'll have around 200 people there celebrating, and it's probably the single thing I really look forward to each year.

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The teacher of the year awards sound great! Certainly an event with that many people from the community is a huge impact.

It also sounds like something that could be easily replicated by other Lodges. Minimal cost, big attendance, it seems like a perfect form of community outreach. Thank you for sharing it here!

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At Peninsular 95, we do many of the usual things such as Bikes for Book and we walk in the Everett 4th of July Parade. But one thing we have been doing over the past few years is the "Chilly Cook Off" with Rainbow Assembly 9. The young ladies made the play on the spelling to grab some attention bit we've completed 4 years of fun competition and has attracted more people than just outside our 2 groups. We hold this on our Special Communication night in January, anyone can come to eat or enter a chili. The SLOC passes out flyers to the District so they know about the event.. It is a great fund raiser for the Assembly to help support trips or for Worthy Advisor's charity. We get more people each year and are considering moving to a Saturday to aid in allowing more attendance. In 2019, we ate, voted for the winner, tossed in a small fortune for the dessert auction then went upstairs for an EA degree.

Our current DDGM does make a good chili, but the WM's wife makes a better one.

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Maybe one day the GM will stop by for Chili.

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I bet he would if he gets an invite! I think he is always up for eating!

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I do love me some Chilli, even if it is called Chilly, and it sounds like a fun and easy way to help financially support our youth groups! A win win all around!

I like the idea of following it with a Degree too, having the extra men in the Lodge due to the earlier event would result in a great reception for the new Mason.

As for the DDGM, he hasn't poisoned me yet, but I learned a couple of years back, over in the Tri-Cities, that I just can't trust him when it comes to food. For years and years I heard him harp about how wonderful Wendy's Baconator is. Baconator this, Baconator that, to hear him talk, he seemingly eats a dozen of em a day. Well, we are over there in Pasco, we decide to go to Wendy's, and what does he order? A Junior Baconator. Not a Man Sized Baconator, a child's Baconator. I was ashamed. How does he expect to keep his belly growing eating things like that?

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May 18, 2021Liked by Cameron M. Bailey

I believe I know this DDGM and he has lost weight NOT eating yummy baconators. Don't recall him every preaching baconators.....I believe that was our current DGM "bragging" about eating baconators for mo Ning, noon & night oh....and for a late night snack .... A triple baconator and a baconator shake to wash it all down.

I also hear that DDGM has some "specialness" for some "special" brother if he is duley elected so vote.other & vote often.....

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May 18, 2021Liked by Cameron M. Bailey

That WM's is a sadist & has no clue to what good chili is......

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The WM is wise enough not to rate anyone's cooking above his spouse. Even the DDGM, whose chili is very tasty and I look forward to having some at the 5th Annual Chilly Cook-Off.

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I'm a member of three Lodges, so I guess that means that I get to go three times:

Sultan-Monroe 160.

The Fellowship of the Brothers is a huge standout to me. Camping, parties, excellent and involved mentoring, every bit of it is geared towards Brothers enjoying each other. That in my view is just superb.

Skykomish 259.

The funny 'rail road' shirts that all of us wear. Influential Masons like Andrew Hammer have tried to convince us for years that doing things like all dressing the same way builds Brotherhood. Skykomish proves that. Their shirts are not the white tie that some advocate for, indeed they are the opposite of that, but it builds an esprit de corps just the same.

Centralia 63.

This Lodge honors those Masons who have come before us like no other. I'm going to let VW Lavigne jump in on this thread with the details, but I'm going to say that if you were a Freemason, and if you died somewhere around Centralia, last year, or when the first settlers arrived, it doesn't matter, Centralia Lodge will honor you in a tangible and visible way.

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May 18, 2021Liked by Cameron M. Bailey

A cool distinction of Centralia Lodge No. 63 is their annual tradition of placing Masonic Grave Markers at each of the 3 cemeteries in the Centralia area. We place Markers at the headstones of the Brothers who are interred in those Cemeteries on the Friday before Memorial Day, and pick them back up the Tuesday following. I hadn’t counted the total number of Markers, but I think it might be over 400.

This tradition was started by WB John Benedict, Sr., who presided over Centralia Lodge in 1910, 20 years after the Lodge was chartered. I am uncertain when he actually started it, as he passed away in 1972. WB Francis Newman updated the maps for the Grave Markers in 1970, which held up well for about 35 years until technology enabled us to update the locations of the graves, and also gave us an opportunity to re-number the graves to accommodate those Brothers who had passed away and were interred in the Cemeteries since 1970.

I had been participating in this annual event since the late 1990’s, and I almost have a couple of the Cemetery sections memorized as a result. I knew some of those Past Masters and members who have been interred in the newer sections, and I like to take a newer member of the Lodge with me in those sections, so I can share some stories about these Brothers. It is also really nice when the families stop by to pay their respects and give their appreciation of us giving them recognition of their membership in Freemasonry.

It’s also not restricted to members of Centralia Lodge, either. Members of other Lodges have assisted, as well as members of the local DeMolay and Rainbow Girls.

It’s hard work, but it’s worth it! Check Centralia Lodge’s website for pictures. If you have any questions, let me know!

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Thank you for coming here and posting this VW. It is your project, and I didn't want to steal your thunder.

What I will say is that when I moved to Centralia I guess about ten years back now, this was just about the most impressive thing I'd ever seen in my life. You drive by any cemetery in this City and it is filled, literally filled with these large markers, honoring the grave of every Mason who is buried here. It is truly amazing.

It is also a superb way for a Lodge to continually honor its members who have passed away. In my experience, Freemasonry does an excellent job paying respect to its members who have been lost to us, but this takes a huge step beyond that.

This is also a solid community improvement project, for some of the oldest Masonic graves are in areas that no longer receive any maintenance. The Lodge takes care of that as a part of the process, ensuring that the pioneers of this area remain in a place of honor.

Photo:

https://centraliamasons63.weebly.com/memorial-day.html

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My new lodge is a young lodge. We stand on a preface. Looking back Monroe 244 brought innovation and great change in the 30s to US Masonry. Likely its influencers brought the greatest since Pike joined the Southern Jurisdiction of the Scottish rite. Over the last 20 years it waned, members got old, apathy set in and attrition took its toll. Its influence in the community waned as well, which compounded attrition. Right now through that attrition we have found that it freed us to reinvent our selves and look for ways in include our selves in the community activities. No one is left to tell us we're doing it wrong, that's not the way we did it, etc. We're in the process for transforming our selves back to a functional fraternity with activity in the community and I think that, to me is exciting and part of the good.

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I think that how you see your Lodge is a good reflection on how I see Freemasonry as a whole. I think that we have sunk so low from where we were that people are finally seeing the need for change, and becoming open to that change.

Ironically, I don't think that the changes being pushed, largely by the younger Masons, are actually new things, I think that the changes being pushed by the new guys are embracing the older ways of Freemasonry.

I believe that it is all to the good, and I firmly believe that Freemasonry is putting itself back on a very solid path into a vibrant future.

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Agree. It will take time and like i tell every one nothing voluntary and democratic moves quickly.

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Agreed. It took decades of neglect for our failing Lodges to be in the shape they are now in, it will certainly take a good deal of time to turn them around. But, if we can keep at it, they will turn around!

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