Happy Mother's Day!
This special celebration is annually held on the second Sunday of May. It honors motherhood and it is a time to appreciate mothers and mother figures. As good husbands and sons, we Masons love to give presents, cards, flowers, candy, a meal in a restaurant, or other treats to our mother, wife, and mother figures, including grandmothers, great-grandmothers, stepmothers, foster mothers, and even pet moms.
Our Lodge had planned a special Stated Meeting Dinner to celebrate Mother's Day on May 6th, but due to recent developments, we had to make adjustments.
As you are aware, on April 2nd, the California Department of Public Health issued new guidance on social gatherings. As part of these updates, indoor private events and meetings are now allowed at the Masonic Temple, with limitations based on tiers.
Grand Master Arthur Weiss issued a Reopening Directive on April 13th.
At press time, Sacramento County remains on the red tier - per the State's COVID-19 Blueprint for a Safer Economy.
Therefore, lodge events at the Sacramento Masonic Temple have the following limitations:
1. We must have a Guest List and a Seating Chart for any event: Stated and Special Meetings, Dinners, Practice, Officers School of Instruction, etc.
2. Brothers and Guests must show proof of full COVID-19 vaccination or proof of a negative COVID test no older than 72 hours. (Have you been fully vaccinated?)
3. The Masonic Temple must have a COVID-19 Site-Specific Prevention Plan (SPP).
4. Attendees must wear a face mask unless they are specifically exempted under the mandate.
In talking to the Board of Directors of the Masonic Temple, it was unanimously agreed upon that, as a place of business, our building has no option but to comply with the guidelines - even if we didn't have a Directive from Grand Master Arthur Weiss. The same precepts apply to all private events hosted at the Masonic Temple, including but not limited to Wedding Receptions, Quinceañeras, Corporate Meetings and Seminars, Law Enforcement Training, etc.
By the same token, all ten (10) Masonic Organizations renting spaces at the Temple must conform to and abide by these rules. There are no workarounds or exemptions.
I asked everyone what would be the ideal date for our first in-person Stated Meeting. I have received 33 responses to date. Six brothers would like to meet in the building on May 6th - meaning, as soon as possible. Twenty-seven, however, think May 6th is not an ideal date - for various reasons.
Now is the time to be creative and carve out the best plan to go forward.
On May 6th, we will once again be online.
06:30 PM Virtual Fellowship & Education Night followed by the Virtual Stated Meeting.
On May 13th, we will have an Officers' Meeting offsite to fine-tune our plans.
On May 20th, the Lodge will be having an informal gathering at Tony's Deli from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM. Tony's is about to reopen after almost one year of struggle and rebuilding since the riots of May 31st last year.
Elias Silhi, the owner of Tony's, is a great man and has been a business partner of the Masonic Temple for 30 years. He deserves our support. Food and drinks will be free of cost if you RSVP. Outdoor sitting available.
FREE parking at 1117 J Street (Premier Parking). Please RSVP to get your parking validation code.
On May 29th, we will be hosting our Annual Family BBQ Picnic at the Ben Ali Shrine picnic grounds with tons of food, drinks, and fun activities for the whole family starting at 10 o'clock in the morning. Restrictions for indoor events will NOT apply here. If you would like to arrive early and help set up, I will be there at 0800 sharp.
There are many great things to come... Bowling with Brothers (who's ready to join Worshipful Dave Cameron at the Hall of Fame?), Independence Day Celebration, Multi-Lodge Charity Drive at the Park, Constitutional Observance Night, Outdoor Degree... and much more!
Our Masonic Odyssey is about to get a lot better... The time for celebration is near!
Speaking of Odyssey, I was recently flipping through Greek poetry (thank you, Brother Nick!) and came across Homer's Odyssey. I had read this classic many years ago but had never seen it through the lenses of a pandemic mindset.
When Odysseus finally reunites with his wife, Penelope, after 20 years of an incredible journey through suffering and pain, they spend the night in deep conversation. Stories are shared. They found solace in the moments of sharing.
In the last fourteen months, I have daydreamed about moments of reunion with my Brothers. When I observed that moment shared by Odysseus and Penelope, I realized why their conversation was so important and what purpose it served.
Through the poetry of Homer, I saw the power of being able to tell the story of our journey today - in a world of uncertainty, struggles, and imposed shutdowns and restrictions. The power of conversation.
By telling each other our stories, we frame (or sometimes reframe) who we were in the past, the decisions we made, the paths we took, the flags we waived, how many people we helped, how many we hurt. This is relevant for us to see how events may have changed us in the past, so we can better chart our course in the future, how we can better serve our family, our community, and the Craft.
And I reflect...
Away for so long from the lodge room and from our beautiful Ritual, what kind of Mason am I today?
Do I still pray to the Almighty Father of the Universe and invoke His blessing with the same humility?
Do I remember the Wisdom in the words of the Worshipful Master when I was first made a Mason and discovered the purity and spotlessness of my Masonic Apron and its most profound meaning?
I yearn for the moment when I can finally sit down and break bread with you in harmony and Brotherly Love.
I want to hear your stories - but not through a computer screen.
I want to listen closely, my dear Odysseus...
What can I do to help Sacramento fully reopen?
Stay home except for essential needs.
Limit mixing with people you don’t live with.
April was Public Schools Month for the Freemasons of California. In his proclamation for Public Schools Month, Grand Master Arthur Weiss acknowledged that “California public schools are facing the unprecedented challenge of remote instruction, hybrid classrooms, and the related health concerns of in-person learning.”
In addition to that, parents like myself are also facing unprecedented times. My oldest son had the good fortune of starting his school career in online Zoom Kindergarten and hoo-boy is it a challenge!
Sifting through my memories of kindergarten from many, many, many years ago, I don’t recall it being this difficult. I fondly remember the arts and crafts, naptime, and recess. My son has class presentations and extracurricular projects in addition to the different methods of learning math, reading, and writing.
There was a commercial early on in the pandemic where a mom was asking, “Is this even math?” I’m not at that point, but I am close.
One benefit of school on Zoom is I get to watch my son grow mentally and emotionally. I get to see his triumphs and his struggles. I continually ask him if he likes school. His response: “I love it.” He doesn’t get everything right and when I hear it (because he is my desk mate when I’m working from home) I mentally cringe. Before I can intervene, I hear the caring voice of his teacher reminding the class that not everyone gets everything right including her. It’s about practice because “practice makes… progress.”
We always hear “practice makes perfect.” Thankfully, we eventually learn that is not the case. The progress in our Masonic journey is filled with so many things to discover and learn. From our growth through degrees to moving through the officer line, we prepare to be better for the next step.
After many years of observing Worshipful Masters and brothers perform rituals, I realized that we cannot be perfect. All we can do is practice and get better. Pushing for absolute perfection can sometimes be detrimental to our studies. It can lead us to just memorize words instead of learning and understanding their meaning.
I can honestly say I have never seen a perfectly performed ritual (although some have been really close). People make mistakes. It’s how we overcome those mistakes that matters. Good preparation allows you to overcome those challenges.
When I am studying, I continually remind myself that memorization is only part of the battle. The other part is actually performing the ritual to the best of my ability (and reducing the amount of help I need from our brother the Treasurer).
One of my favorite books, The Warrior Elite: The Forging of SEAL Class 228 by Dick Couch, has an excellent quote:
“Set the highest example. Remember, no one ever did anything absolutely right. Perfection is impossible, but striving for perfection is not. You have the power to do that.”
Perfection can never be attained. Practice is striving for perfection and that’s all we can do.
So now you’re probably wondering, “Did Russell just connect a kindergarten class lesson, progression in Freemasonry, and the training of Navy SEALS?” Why yes, I did. They are connected because no matter where we are in life or what we are doing, all we can do is to keep practicing and progressing.
In the next few months, Worshipful Marques will have us start to practice for our eventual return to in-person meetings and rituals. It’s important for us to remember that all we are doing is making ourselves better for the next time we meet. In the meantime, my son is now in hybrid learning… wish me luck!
Welcome to May.
Twenty years ago this month, Brother Ko Chang was raised to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason.
May features the transition from Taurus to Gemini. Gemini is well known as the constellation of the twins, but who are these twins?
The Romans knew them as Castor and Pollux, for the Greeks they were Castor and Polydeukes. For those of you who are seafarers, there is an interesting connection between the twins and the seas. If the Greeks saw two instances of St. Elmo’s fire, they would refer to them as Castor and Polydeukes.
St. Elmo’s fire is more than an 80s movie. Not exactly lighting, and certainly not an actual fire, it is a coronal discharge of plasma that centers around masts or spires. When sailors of antiquity would see this discharge, they would take it as a good sign or omen. After Christianization, the phenomenon became named after St. Elmo, the patron saint of sailors.
St. Elmo’s fire was documented by several notable people through the ages, including Caesar, Pliny the Elder, Columbus, and interestingly Shakespeare, from whom we draw meaning for one of our working tools: ...by remembering that we are traveling upon the level of time, to that undiscovered country, from whose bourne no traveler returns.
That line is an homage to Hamlet.
In The Tempest, the character Ariel speaks of St. Elmo’s Fire thusly:
To every article.
I boarded the king's ship; now on the beak,
Now in the waist, the deck, in every cabin,
I flamed amazement: sometime I'ld divide,
And burn in many places; on the topmast,
The yards and bowsprit,
would I flame distinctly,
Then meet and join.
Today in Masonry we have two symbols in the monitorial that have to do with sailing, the Anchor and the Ark, emblems of a well-grounded hope, and a well-spent life. They are emblematical of that divine ark which safely wafts us over this tempestuous sea of troubles, and that anchor which shall safely moor us in a peaceful harbor, where the wicked cease from troubling, and the weary shall find rest.
It would be difficult not to relate to this symbolism at present. We are all weary from the last 14 months. I don’t know about you, but I know I could find some rest soon. Try to spend the time we have well, and keep your hope well-grounded. See you next month.
Third on a series of articles on the Seven Liberal Arts and Sciences.
Logic, that which brings chaos of information into a plausible truth.
The word Logic derives from the Greek word Logos, but what is the definition of Logic.
Logic is defined as a science that deals with the principles and criteria of validity of inference and demonstration.
There are four types of logical reasoning, Inductive, Deductive, Abductive, and Metaphoric.
Inductive logic is a construct of evidential support and factual statements that lead to a conclusion.
Deductive logic is evaluating one or more statements to lead to a conclusion.
Abductive logic is evaluating the larger idea of a subject where some of the supporting arguments or details are not known.
Metaphoric is evaluating an idea in which comparisons are made between the qualities of separate ideas.
Examples of the types of Logic listed above will be covered in the presentation during our next Fellowship and Education Meeting on May 6th.
Emergency Contacts and Awards Profile Update
Brethren, for the month of May, we hope you are enjoying this beautiful weather and plan on doing so many exciting activities with family and friends. We have accomplished so much this past year and look forward to many more experiences with you all. We would also like to commend those who continue to support others or assist others in times of need. Every effort, no matter how small, makes a huge difference.
As we move closer to the third quarter of the year, I would like to remind members of the many exciting features that iMember 2.0 has to offer. As this system continues to improve and evolve, we would like to encourage our members to update their profile accounts when necessary. Please take time to log in to your account at your leisure and contact the Secretary or Assistant Secretary and let us know what sections or information you need updating. There are some items that members can update on their own, however, other sections require verification review from the Secretary prior to updating.
Two important examples are your emergency contacts and any masonic awards you have honorably achieved. If you would like to include these updates in your profile, please let us know.
In case of an emergency during a Masonic event or social activity, it would be helpful to expediate the status of your well-being to your family and friends. This is an optional courtesy, of course, and can be changed at any time.
There are many types of Awards presented within Freemasonry to honor well-deserved accomplishments.
Some examples include the Lodge's Membership Anniversaries, Hiram, Mason of the Year, Cornerstone Society Member Awards, and the Grand Master’s Youth Support, Lifetime Achievement, and Mason of the Year Awards, to name a few.
For those who have received any of these recognitions, we thank you all again for your service, support, and desire to sustain your exemplary example for us all.
Please contact us if you need assistance with updating your profile.
In closing, Brethren, we strive to better serve you every day and one of the important duties we have is record-keeping and continued pursuit of safeguarding your Masonic career. Thank you all again for the privilege to serve such an honorable fraternity.
As always, we highly encourage you to stay safe, stay hydrated and contact us if you have any questions or concerns.
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.
How the Freemasons Made the Modern World
by John Dickie
Founded in London in 1717 as a way of binding men in fellowship, Freemasonry proved so addictive that within two decades it had spread across the globe. Masonic influence became pervasive. Under George Washington, the Craft became a creed for the new American nation. Masonic networks held the British empire together. Under Napoleon, the Craft became a tool of authoritarianism and then a cover for revolutionary conspiracy. Both the Mormon Church and the Sicilian mafia owe their origins to Freemasonry.
Yet the Masons were as feared as they were influential. In the eyes of the Catholic Church, Freemasonry has always been a den of devil-worshippers. For Hitler, Mussolini, and Franco, the Lodges spread the diseases of pacifism, socialism, and Jewish influence, so had to be crushed.
Freemasonry's story yokes together Winston Churchill and Walt Disney; Wolfgang Mozart and Shaquille O'Neal; Benjamin Franklin and Buzz Aldrin; Rudyard Kipling and 'Buffalo Bill' Cody; Duke Ellington and the Duke of Wellington.
John Dickie's The Craft is an enthralling exploration of the world's most famous and misunderstood secret brotherhood, a movement that not only helped to forge modern society, but has substantial contemporary influence, with 400,000 members in Britain, over a million in the USA, and around six million across the world.
TIME, PATIENCE AND PERSEVERANCE
WILL ACCOMPLISH ALL THINGS
Since July 2020, thousands 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 email@example.com
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