If having your daily rituals reshaped, whether by the long-running shelter-in-place orders, civil unrest, job loss or just the ever-present fear of contamination, has thrown your sense of time into chaos during this world pandemic, you are not alone. And so March begins...
To help give you a little perspective on how long this situation has been going on, it was roughly a year ago, on 03/18/2020, when our then Grand Master John Trauner issued a dictum stopping all Masonic in-person gatherings in California until further notice. Little did we know that a new piece of technology was going to be introduced into our lives, leading us to create a "waist-up video-ready" version of ourselves, the better to withstand many incumbent video calls. Zoom comes here?
There are plenty of things to look forward to this year, and not just the return of, uhem, everything - at some point, sports, culture, travel, in-person get-togethers with the people you love and care about, will hopefully all make a comeback. Either through our fraternal Mystic Tie or collective consciousness, we have all been eagerly anticipating those gregarious occasions. Open doors, no restrictions, no hesitation, no facemasks, and a big yes to hugs and handshakes.
But 2021 should have a lot more going for it than just the promise of a return to normalcy. Here is a sampling of all the other good stuff coming your way over soon. Get ready!
Without a doubt, the most celebrated event has been the arrival of the COVID vaccine in large enough numbers to finally help stem the tide of the pandemic. The timeline for the rollout is ambitious, especially given the daunting logistics of distributing vaccines that must be stored at extremely low temperatures. Bearing in mind that things will inevitably go wrong that could cause delays, like the anti-vaccine protesters trying to shut inoculation sites and also the extreme weather conditions in Texas and in many US states. Worshipful Dan Dailey, who now lives in Texas, and I were in close contact during those difficult weeks and, thank the Great Architect of the Universe, Dan and his lady Misty were able to keep their routines without much disruption.
Attending Masonic Assemblies, School, and Church
While it may take a little getting used to, it is going to be great to polish my shoes, put on my best tie, and head right over to the Masonic Temple to see my Brothers again: Dinners, Stated Meetings, Degrees, Fellowship Nights, Practice Sessions, Officers Schools of Instruction, anything Masonic! It is also going to be exciting to go to a school assembly, a church service, or to a family-friendly work function.
I am also really looking forward to attending the 172nd Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of California in October (from Friday, the 8th thru Sunday, the 10th)... In person! In the beautiful San Francisco! All Master Masons are welcome to attend. Being together in a crowded auditorium, even for a quick weekend, is going to be a great blessing this year.
Sending Our Kids to School
While some districts and private schools have figured out the magic system to allow kids return "safely" to the classroom last year, thousands of families experienced a very different (virtual) reality. It is fair to say that we will all - parents and kids, alike - cherish the first day of school in 2021.
While we were quite inventive during the pandemic with our quarantine-friendly birthday parties, it is fair to say that the idea of sending out an invitation card to every kid in your child’s class is really refreshing.
Visiting with Loved Ones Everywhere
One of the hardest things of 2020 was the separation we felt - from neighbors, friends, and especially family. We cannot wait to find ways to spend time together as multigenerational families in 2021.
Going to a Concert
Family-friendly music festivals, live music on patios, or even a bar with great live music is definitely on the radar this year. Remember the Golden 1 Center? Memorial Auditorium? Broadway Sacramento? The Eagle Theatre in Old Sac, the first permanent theater built in the state of California?
There are so many incredible live-performance options in Sacramento that there is no doubt we will be buying season tickets for many of them in 2021. My favorite event? Our Annual Ladies’ Night, of course!
Meeting Brethren, Coworkers, Family & Friends at a Restaurant for Brunch
While we may never feel comfortable sitting in a crowded atrium waiting to be called to a table for our party of 12 again (“fun!”), we are looking forward to a new year with possibilities for dining - even during the busiest part of the day - with our kids, somewhere nice.
Planning a Trip and Expecting It to Happen
This could be the year that we can book a trip with no concern over whether travel bans will be in place when it is time to get on a plane. We have loved our drivable destinations, long or short form, but sometimes we just want to fly.
If theme parks are your thing, the biggest event for 2021 is Disney World's 50th anniversary celebration, expected to kick-off around October 1st and lasting fifteen months! Here in California, Lucasfilm, creator of the Star Wars franchise and a subsidiary of Disney is, coincidentally, also turning 50 next year, which will bring a year-long slew of new merchandise for our Senior Warden, I mean, for all fans around the world, and I do hope we will be allowed to celebrate Star Wars Day at Disneyland in Anaheim this year. The Avengers Campus is also expected to open soon at the Disney Adventure Park.
Going to the Movies
Buttery popcorn. Toxically refreshing soft drinks. Reclining seats. Darkness. The chewing noises and mustard breath emanating from the guy behind your seat. The movies! Can we all just take a moment to imagine how great it will be to pay an arm and a leg in the movie theatre for a new release?
Regal Natomas Marketplace and Century DOCO are my favorite spots and I can't wait to see on the silver screen No Time to Die (Daniel Craig), the 25th James Bond film, and also some of the highly anticipated releases: Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), The Matrix 4 (Keanu Reeves), Mission: Impossible 7 (Tom Cruise), Eternals (Angelina Jolie), Dune (Josh Brolin), BIOS (Tom Hanks), Free Guy (Ryan Reynolds), A Quiet Place Part II (Emily Blunt), and Death on the Nile (Gal Gadot).
This is all fine and dandy, but when are we going to be able to meet at the Masonic Temple again? Just give me the date already, kind sir!
Well, the number of confirmed new COVID cases seems to be shrinking in California. 47,995,576 tests have been performed, while 8,243,711 vaccines have been administered as of February 26th.
Things may be finally looking up and I want to use this opportunity to urge you to keep practicing the Masonic teachings of Faith, Hope and Charity (Love). Through our Faith in God and Love toward all mankind, we shall find ourselves naturally leaning into Hope, our well-grounded Anchor.
As you know, the Anchor is an ancient Masonic symbol of hope. Hope has a positive effect on both our mental and physical health as men, fathers, sons, brothers, and husbands. A good anchor protects a boat in a storm, by keeping it from drifting. It gives stability and security, even in wild weather - an unseen but vital connection to the ocean floor that cuts through the volatile, changeable, and hostile waters above it. “The wicked will cease from troubling and the weary shall find rest.”
In closing, Brethren, I would like to invite you to our upcoming Virtual Fellowship & Education Night at 6:30 PM on Thursday, 03/04.
Our very own Brother Dave Minke (Junior Steward) will be presenting the topic “GRAMMAR - The First of the Seven of Liberal Arts & Sciences,” followed by the monthly Virtual Stated Meeting.
As we continue to push through life as a Lodge, there seems to be a small light at the end of the tunnel. Although it appears that we are moving toward a place past our current situation, it is important to realize we must not rest on our laurels. Masonic work must continue.
Worshipful Francisco Marques is dutifully moving our Lodge forward both on the public side and the internal “nuts and bolts.” The Officers under the direction of our Worshipful Master are working to update our Lodge roster. This update is vital and every effort is being made to confirm the information. Its completion will benefit our Lodge and make it easier for future Officers to conduct Lodge business.
Events and rituals will continue to be planned despite our ongoing situation. Events that are “waist-up video conference” suitable like Masonic education and social hours are on the calendar and will take place. Some may scoff at the planning of ritual work but doing so is a sign of good faith that on our return we will be ready.
There has been an influx of interest in Freemasonry leading men to inquire about joining the Brotherhood. Even though we are currently not allowed to perform ritual, we should continue to get to know those who are interested and prepare them to be candidates if found worthy. We also have quite a few candidates patiently waiting for over a year for an opportunity to be initiated.
Even though we have been separated, these candidates continue to demonstrate their interest by keeping in constant contact and attending events. We owe it to them to reciprocate such dedication by preparing for their initiations when we are finally able to physically return to the Temple.
In preparation for our return and future progress, I have been reminded to prepare for the next chair (the CHAIR). I also want to remind you, my brother Entered Apprentice and Fellowcraft Masons, to continue to work. I was recently asked by a brother to help a brother Entered Apprentice in their study for their proficiency. At first, I was hesitant due to the great distance we both lived from each other, but I was reminded of the “waist up video conference” tool. One benefit of our current situation has been the increased popularity of video conference apps. Knowing this, I encourage the brothers and their coaches to take advantage of these tools to progress in their Masonic journeys.
I know what you're now wondering. What does “Nothing is true, everything is permitted” mean? For those of you just joining us (or don't remember the quote from my February article), it is from a video game. I used it as a reflection of the current state of our society. As cynical as it might sound, one of the main characters explained it the best:
“…it is merely an observation of the nature of reality.
To say that nothing is true is to realize that the foundations of society are fragile and that we must be the shepherds of our own civilization.
To say that everything is permitted is to understand that we are the architects of our actions and that we must live with their consequences whether glorious or tragic.”
Recent history has shown us how fragile democracy and our society are. It is up to us to ensure the continuation of both. In doing so, we must live with the consequences with whichever method we choose.
I'd like to believe that we, as Masons, choose the path of wisdom. That despite external pressures, we will always look toward the betterment of humanity. It's what I said when asked why I wanted to become a Freemason so many years ago.
As we just celebrated Black History Month in February, March also serves as a milestone for Black history.
On March 6, 1775, for the first time, Black men were made Masons in America. Prince Hall and 14 men of color became masons in Lodge #441 of the Irish Registry attached to the 38th British Foot Infantry in Massachusetts.
The Revolutionary War changed the lodge, but remaining undeterred, African Lodge was organized on July 3, 1776, with Prince Hall as the Worshipful Master. On March 2, 1784, African Lodge #1 petitioned the Grand Lodge of England for a charter to organize a regular Masonic lodge and on September 29, 1784, the charter was issued to African Lodge #459 in Boston.
Worshipful Master Prince Hall organized additional lodges in Pennsylvania and Rhode Island that were designated to work under the charter of African Lodge #459. In December 1808, a year after the death of Worshipful Hall, the three lodges from Boston, Philadelphia, and Providence met and organized the African Grand Lodge.
In 1847, the African Grand Lodge changed their name to The Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge as it is known today. There are now about 5,000 lodges and 47 grand lodges that can trace their lineage to Prince Hall Grand Lodge.
For more information, visit www.princehall.org.
Once we reopen our Masonic Temple building, Worshipful Master Francisco Marques will be inviting us all to visit Philomathean Lodge No. 2, a subordinate lodge of The Most Worshipful Price Hall Grand Lodge of California.
Worshipful Master Pharaoh Amun will be leading the Stated Meetings in lodge room 3 on the third Thursdays of the month.
It is also in our plans to host a special dinner on September 2nd (before our Stated Meeting) in celebration of Prince Hall Freemasonry. Members of Philomathean Lodge No. 2 will be our special guests and a presentation will be given.
Stay tuned for the calendar and invitation.
I am pleased to recognize some important dates in March. This month, Brother Charles Byrd turns 60, Worshipful Victor Sanchez, PM, turns 70 and Brother Michael McGlone turns 80. In addition, Brother Robert Cole was raised to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason in 1951, some 70 years ago. Ten years ago in 2011, Brother Alan Peay was also raised to this same degree. Congratulations to all the Brethren on these wonderful milestones.
March is a delightful month astronomically. It starts out in Pisces, which is a Latin plural word for fish. We see modern derivatives: the Italian word pesce, the French word poisson, and the Portuguese word peixe.
In Greek the word is ΙΧΘΥΣ .
This Greek word had quite a bit of significance to early Christianity. The picture below is from Ephesus. The word ΙΧΘΥΣ and the symbol of the fish were used as modes of recognition among the early Church followers to escape persecution.
The motif of the fish surfaces quite a bit in the Gospels. It is a fun exercise to read through all four books and look for fish references. You will not be short for examples.
On March 21st, we experience the vernal equinox, which is Latin for equal-night (aequi-nox) in Spring (ver). The etymology comes from the fact that the length of the day is equal to the night.
This celestial event also marks the beginning of Spring and we also enter the sign of Aries, the symbol of which is a ram. A ram, in turn, is an adult male sheep, and a young sheep is termed a lamb.
The lamb is significant because, in all ages, it has been deemed an emblem of innocence, and we wear the lambskin apron today as the badge of a Mason. This badge is understood to be more ancient than the Golden Fleece, or the Roman Eagle. More honorable than the Star or Garter, or any distinction that could be conferred by any imaginable sovereign.
The Golden Fleece did you say? How about that: Classical Greece shows up in this column for the third month in a row. In Greek mythology, specifically the story of Jason and the Argonauts, it was a Ram named Chrysomallos from whom the Golden Fleece was sheared.
The fleece is understood to be a symbol of authority and kingship. So, when we reflect upon the meaning of the lambskin apron, by being more ancient than the golden fleece, I like to think that it predates and transcends the most potent earthly power wielded by man.
I would like to close with a final observation. The day's length changes the fastest around the equinoxes.
Around the solstices, the day-over-day change is imperceptible, while at the equinoxes, it is counted in minutes.
Our Worshipful Master outlined a lot of positive changes he envisions coming over the next several months.
First of a series of articles on the Seven Liberal Arts and Sciences.
“Your grammar is a reflection of your image. Good or bad, you have made an impression. And like all impressions, you are in total control.” - Jeffrey Gitomer, American author, professional speaker, and business trainer.
Grammar – One of the seven liberal arts and sciences, which forms, with Logic and Rhetoric, a triad dedicated to the cultivation of language. “God, says Sanctius, “created man the participant of reason: and as He willed him to be a social being, He bestowed upon him the gift of language, in the perfecting of which there are three aids. The first is Grammar, which rejects from language all solecisms and barbarous expressions: the second is Logic, which is occupied with the truthfulness of language; and the third is Rhetoric, which seeks only the adornment of language.”
I hesitated to include that Mackey’s entry. It raised questions my Google search could not answer. Do you know who Sanctius was? Even with the power of the internet, I couldn’t find him. I also had to look up “solecism”. Did you know that word means, “a nonstandard usage or grammatical construction”? I didn’t.
Many of us submitted our application for membership with a goal of self-improvement. Our ritual and the repetition of it is a form of communication training.
In the Fellow Craft degree, the seven liberal arts and sciences are mentioned. Grammar is a great place to start. Though I must confess, until I began researching for this article, I had little interest in grammar.
For me, it seems like our judicial system – it is full of rules and laws that, at times seem arbitrary.
Fortunately, despite its complexity, most of us are fluent in the language of our land. We were raised speaking English and can understand most of what we hear and read. When we speak and write, we can be understood. But how many of us are lulled into a false sense of grammatical prowess? A quick tour of social media might give you an indication. In that realm, errors abound. “Your” is written instead of “You’re”. You may have noticed some of us are challenged by “there”, “their” and “they’re”, or “two”, “too” and “to”.
I will be the first to admit I am no scholar when it comes to writing. My 1978 junior college admissions test (ACT) placed me in “bone head” English. I could barely pass that class, receiving a D - twice! I just knew I could do better the second time. I was wrong. As a result, I was very hesitant to take any academic courses in my recent attempt to obtain an Associate of Science degree in Electronics.
I dreaded my English assessment exam. I was incredulous when it found me qualified to take “honors” classes. That could not be correct. They must have lowered the standard or the test must have a low accuracy rating or both. But when I saw what students out of high school were writing, I was shocked. Many young students wrote very much as one might in a text message. No capitalization, punctuation, or sentence structure were used. Grammar is important. So, where do you start?
When I am attempting to learn how to do something or fix something, I frequently turn to YouTube. The first video I watched, “What are the Seven Liberal Arts?” by Classical Academic Press (available in this edition) mentioned something I did not know: the eight parts of speech.
Do you know what they are?
On the website English-grammar-revolution.com/learning-grammar five steps are recommended:
1. Learn the parts of speech
2. Contemplate sentences
3. Learn phrases
4. Learn clauses
5. Use sentence diagrams.
Those steps sound reasonable. I bet even I can follow those. Care to join me? Come on!
Let’s learn some grammar, improve our speaking and writing and in the process improve ourselves and our image!
Washington Lodge No. 20
To practice and promote a way of life that binds like-minded men in a worldwide
brotherhood that transcends all religious, ethnic, cultural, social and educational differences.
Through Masonic principles and tradition, and by the outward expression of these
through its fellowship and compassion, Washington Lodge No.20 Free & Accepted Masons provides ways in which to serve God, family, country, neighbors, and self in an environment that contributes to the enrichment and betterment of its members, mankind, and its communities.
Bible Study for Freemasons
by Dr. Robert J. F. Elsner
Masonry is a beautiful system of morality, veiled in allegory, illustrated by signs and symbols, and embodying ideals that transcend most human barriers.
The work of masonry is based upon and filled with scripture, with beauty, and with God’s love, irrespective of any one individual’s relationship with God. The one requirement of a man who would like to join masonry is that he believes in God.
As an evangelist, I want to hear the blessed name of Jesus on people’s lips, but as a Mason, my duty is to help men make those decisions for themselves. This volume is designed to help masons and their families to seek light from scripture, whether they have a church or not, whether they are Christian or not.
If I have written these scripture studies well, the readers should walk away from this book being better informed and challenged to read more and more scripture, seeking more about God within their traditions, and be more confident believers.
People who are more confident in what they believe can have discussions that do not turn to bad arguments, and are not easily offended. Those who can discuss any topic can best work together and best agree. In most instances of this book, I have used the lines from the ritual in full context, as too often Masons do not follow through and see where lines come from.
At other times, the same Chapter of scripture might contain two or three different passages that are of special import to the Craft, thus are better served to integrate them. There are many times when an entire chapter is important to read in order to get one short line that is used in a lecture or prayer or degree.
Since not all masonic traditions use the same scriptures, I have endeavored to select scriptures from various masonic jurisdictions around the world, both in the “Blue Lodges” of the first three degrees and those of the Appendant Bodies.
I do not identify which degree or source that each scripture reading comes from, as that is for each mason to learn if they do not immediately recognize the verses. All scripture used throughout this book is from the King James Version of the Bible unless otherwise noted. There are times when other translations give a better sense of the intentions of why we use the lines in Lodges.
I often used these two sites to assist in my studies during the construction of this book. If you are interested in Biblical languages, I recommend using the BibleHub.com resources, clicking on Hebrew or Greek to take you to the original languages and helping you see where else each particular word is used as per Englishman’s Concordance, Strong’s, and several other major reference works.
Where I have translated from Hebrew or Greek, it should be stated that the translations are mine, and any errors made are mine and not those of any source from which I sought assistance. I have tried to be faithful to scripture and modern English (American) language.
While I had several brilliant Hebrew professors in both Seminaries I graduated from, my abilities do not show their great skill teaching, only my poor abilities learning.
Several other works informed the discussions here, including The Anchor Bible Series of Commentaries, the Exegetical Guide to the Greek New Testament, the Story of God Bible Commentary, and many others.
I have attempted to bring the benefit of scholarship without the burdens thereof so that this book might be easier to read and use.
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SAVE THESE DATES
Saturday, February 20 POSTPONED
Annual Ladies’ Luncheon - Wine Tasting
Thursday, March 25 POSTPONED
Past Masters’ Night
Third Degree: Brother Dave Stallberg
Thursday, April 01
101st Anniversary of First Stated Meeting
at the new Masonic Temple
Saturday, May 22
Annual Family BBQ Picnic
Thursday, June 24
Saint John’s Festive Board
Thursday, September 30
Annual Constitutional Observance Night
Thursday, October 28
First Responders Day Celebration
Saturday, November 06
Annual Ladies’ Night
* All event dates are subject to change
For more information, please visit WLN20.org/2021
Freemasonry offers everyone a pathway to self-improvement, fellowship, and community. For the committed few, it holds the promise of even more.
For more than 300 years, Masonic teachings and symbolism have attracted those in search of deeper, secret meanings about the natural and even supernatural world.
These esoteric pursuits, shrouded in mystery and mysticism, have endured through the centuries and even today continue to fascinate seekers around the world.
On April 10, experts and scholars on Freemasonry will meet online to discuss the eternal quest for esoteric knowledge and its broader relationship to the craft. The ninth annual International Conference on Freemasonry is a rare chance for Masons and non-Masons to dive deep on metaphysics, antiquity, and the occult.
9:30 AM – Welcome and Introduction | Susan Mitchell Sommers
9:40 AM – Introductory Remarks | Arthur H. Weiss, Grand Master
10:00 AM – Hidden Meanings Overview: The Golden Thread | Susan Mitchell Sommers
10:30 AM – Freemasonry and the Esoteric: Elitism, Insecurity, and Unenlightened Self-Interest | Ric Berman
11:15 AM – Freemasonry and Neoplatonism | Jan Snoek
12:15 PM – Lunch
1:30 PM – Stephen Freeman of Antigua and London: A Respectable Rosicrucian | Susan Mitchell Sommers
2:15 PM – Hidden and Visible: Mormon Garments in Community | Nancy Ross
3:00 PM – The Esotericism of the Esoteric School of Masonic Research | Henrik Bogdan
3:45 PM – Concluding roundtable: The Seen and the Unseen: Discussing the Undiscussable | John L. Cooper III, Past Grand Master, Susan Mitchell Sommers, Nancy Ross, Adam Kendall, William Moore and Shawn Eyre
The UCLA International Conference is sponsored by the California Masonic Foundation and the Grand Lodge of California.
Since July 2020, nearly 3,880 of California Freemasons have already begun to access their portals in iMember 2.0, the new membership platform—one of the highest adoption rates of any grand lodge jurisdiction on the system. Yet with so many new features just a finger-swipe away—and many more being prepped for launch this fall—there are still lots of questions left to be answered, starting with some of the most basic.
How to Get to iMember 2.0
iMember 2.0 is designed to work on any mobile phone, tablet, or desktop or laptop computer with an internet connection. Simply visit member.freemason.org/lodges/20 or freemason.org and click the FOR MEMBERS button in the upper-right-hand corner of the screen. If you haven’t logged on yet, you’ll need to create an account, so have your email address, membership number, and a unique password ready to go.
You Can Download iMember 2.0 on Your Phone
Whether you have an iPhone or an Android phone, you can add a home screen shortcut to access iMember 2.0 quickly and easily. To install, use your web browser to visit the site, and select “Add to home screen.”
The exact placement of the button will depend on your web browser (Safari, Chrome, or Firefox).
More Features in the Works
• Digital Dues, Reminders and Payment Plans
• Expanded Social Networks with App Notifications
• New Ways to Share Resources
• One-Stop Shop for Hall Associations
• Keeping Track of Attendance
iMember 2.0 is available to all Masons in California!
For questions on iMember 2.0, contact Member Services at (415) 292-9180 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Eric Hixson (PM)
Jesse Solis-Jacques (PM)
Jared Yoshiki (PM)
Junior Past Master
D. Edward Entrican (PM)
Luis Montero (PM)
Dave Cameron (PM)
Head Candidates Coach
Michael Woo (PM)
Inspector 414th District