Erie County Masonic History Project

Words from the Leadership

First Erie Official Visits

Brothers, You are warmly invited to the Official Visits of our District Deputy Grand Master, the Right Worshipful Michael E. Storck, with Right Worshipful Gary Galbreath, Very Worshipful Daniel J. Di Natale, and the District Deputy’s First Erie District Team.

The team puts on a wonderful and informative presentation. Open to Masons of all Stations and Grades, we encourage you to attend and participate in these enjoyable evenings. Each Official Visit will have somewhat different content. Join the District Deputy Grand Master and District Team as we travel and visit other Lodges. Dinners and start times are set by the Master of the Lodge. Please contact them for details on the evening.


  • 26th – Harmonie Lodge No.699


  • 23rd – Ken-Ton Lodge No.1186


  • 1st-Transportation Lodge No.842
  • 6th-Eggertsville Grand Island Lodge No.1138
  • 7th-Perseverance-Suburban Lodge No.948
  • 17th-Hiram Lodge No.105
  • 20th-Akron Lodge No. 527
  • 22nd-Washington Lodge No. 240
  • 28th-Millennium Lodge No.1179


  • 4th- Amherst Lodge No. 981


  • 14th-Ancient Landmarks Lodge No.358

Deputy Grand Master’s Town Hall Meeting and Birthday Surprise! January 29, 2015

Town Hall Opens


RW Jeffery M. Williamson

RW Jeffery M. Williamson

Happy Birthday D.G.M

Happy Birthday D.G.M

Birthday Cake!

Birthday Cake!

On the 29th of January our Deputy Grand Master held his town hall meeting for the Erie Districts. These types of events are not uncommon but are quickly becoming the normal in recent years. It is a wonderful thing to have because one of the major issues you hear from Brothers is the detached feeling they have from leadership and Grand Lodge. This feeling is quickly becoming a thing of the past due to the efforts of our Grand Master and Deputy Grand Master. The town hall covered many topics, such as how our Grand Lodge is funded, how the Trustees of the Hall and Home interact with Grand Lodge, the Care Community and its impact on us, and many more topics. The D.G.M spoke at length on the need for mentoring and deeper resources to help struggling Lodges. Something that according to his communication to us will be a major effort while he is Grand Master. All in all this was a wonderful night. The Grand Lodge is fulfilling their promise to the brethren in being more transparent, nothing was off the table. Every question that was asked was answered honestly and in detail.

Making the night even more special it was the birthday of our Deputy Grand Master, Right Worshipful Jeffery M. Williamson. I know the article is a tad late but Happy Birthday from all of the Erie Districts Masonic family to out D.G.M!

Right Worshipful Michael E. Storck – D.D.G.M of the First Erie District – Winter Message


Right Worshipful Michael E. Storck

Each of Us Must Make Our New Members a Priority

My Brothers:

Winter is approaching and we have a busy slate of District and Lodge activities ahead. Our Lodges are now beginning their degree cycles and exercising that most significant of their rights and powers – the power to make Masons. I am pleased to report that several of our First Erie District Lodges which have not initiated new members in several years now have Candidates and are now holding or planning to hold degrees in the next few months.

Young men are beginning to join the Craft in large numbers again across this Grand Jurisdiction. This is evident at our Official Visits, at RW Richard J. Kessler’s Grand Lecturer Conventions and the countless events Grand Master William J. Thomas and Deputy Grand Master Jeffrey M. Williamson have attended. The time to talk about our Fraternity to young men who possess the moral character and frame of mind to become Masons has never been more right! Let these eligible young men know of your love for your Craft and affection for your Brothers. Tell them about the fun we have and the good we do. Do not be bashful about this for we do a great deal of good in our communities, not only in this Grand Jurisdiction but across this Great Country and the World at large.

Invite them to a Brother Bring a Friend Night, Table Lodge or other Lodge Social Activity. Ask them to join you and some of your Lodge Brothers in watching the Bills or the Sabres or some other sporting event. Get to know them and show true interest in them. Never miss an opportunity to express your admiration for what our Craft stands for. Let them know that not all men are cut out to be a Mason. If you are confident of their moral character and commitment to what they believe in, consider telling them they are the kind of man we accept into our midst. They will seek us out and ask for a petition – many are doing so right now!

Once we get new members, our next great duty is to educate them thoroughly. We must use our proficiency catechisms and related educational programs, as well as interesting Lodge Activities to cement their interest and teach that they have joined no ordinary social club or community organization. Rather, they have joined a Fraternity so old its origins continue to spark debate, a Fraternity so profound that no one has ever fully measured the breadth, width or depth of its philosophy and teachings. They also must be encouraged to travel and attend other Lodges and Districts-wide activities to enrich their experience and advance their knowledge.

In summary my Brothers, the time to re-energize our Craft is now…you can replenish your Lodge’s membership – it is happening before our eyes – but we must not forget that is only part of the battle. Making strong, competent, educated new Masons is how we win this battle! The time is now to activate, energize, engage, educate and succeed. Let this ever be at the forefront of all that we do. Make speaking about the Craft a conscious priority every day.

New Coordinating Leadership Structure

We will be holding an organizational meeting for a new coordinating leadership structure for the Erie Districts on Saturday, April 25, 2015, at the 32nd Degree Masonic Center beginning at 9:00 A.M. Right Wor. John Haslam and I believe strongly that coordination and planning are essential to the success of Lodge and Inter-District activities. Each Lodge in the First and Second Erie Districts will be a voting member of this organization and has been asked to provide a delegate. This meeting is open to all interested Master Masons. We heartily encourage you to review the other information in this edition of the Masonic News and attend the organizational meeting for this important new leadership structure.

Upcoming Activities

As we move into the Winter Season there are several important upcoming activities Erie County Masons should attend. Please make every effort to attend these events set forth below:

1. City of Light/Saint John’s Day
Erie District Table Lodge
Celebrating 200 Years of Erie County Masonry
Saturday, December 27, 2014
5:00 P.M.
Century Grill
318 Pearl Street
Buffalo, NY
$40 RSVP – Very Wor. Daniel J. DiNatale

2. Second Erie District Grand Lecturer’s Convention
Saturday, January 24, 2015
11:45 A.M. Lunch
1:00 P.M. Convention

Western Star Masonic Center

692 Ridge Road
Lackawanna, NY 14218

3. Deputy Grand Master Jeffrey M. Williamson
Town Hall Meeting
Thursday, January 29, 2015
7:00 P.M.
32º Masonic Community Center
2379 Union Road
Cheektowaga, NY 14227

4. New Area Leadership Structure
Organizational Meeting
Saturday, April 25, 2015
9:00 A.M.

32º Masonic Community Center
2379 Union Road
Cheektowaga, NY 14227

Oh behalf of your First Erie District Grand Lodge Officers and our entire Team, we wish you a warm, fun-filled 2014 Holiday Season. May God Bless you and Your Families with his Richest Blessings this Holiday Season.

Very Worshipful Daniel J. Di Natale – Assistant Grand Lecturer, Frist Erie – Winter Message


Worshipful Daniel J. Di Natale

Worshipful Daniel J. Di Natale

Dear Brothers, What a wonderful first half of our year as your First Erie District Team. It has been a pleasure to attend your Degrees and practices. Remember what I have said during our official visitations, please don’t keep these dates a secret. Our Masonic work binds us all together. What purpose does light have if none are around to share in it? Brothers, share your light!

Lets really reflect on what this whole ritual thing is. I see a lot of good things happening out in the district but I feel many Brothers look at great ritual as one’s ability to memorize words on a page and repeat them back. Our work is not memorizing the phonebook. It is real living thing. It has meaning deeper then the words on a page. The true master of the ritual not only knows what words to say but why and what they mean. This takes a lifetime but the quest is worth it. The is my challenge to all of you my Brothers, don’t just memorize the work – learn it, live it, and be it. Our Grand Lecturer – RW Richard J. Kessler – talks about what Most Wor. Calvin Bond said to say to him, that ritual is a symphony and when done well you can close your eyes and hear the beauty in its execution. The only way we can get to that level is by serious dedication to the work’s meaning, not just what the words are.

We have had a ton of activities centered around our Ritual this first half of the year. The Grand Lecturer’s Convention was the best attended in the state (until Second Erie’s in January, if you did not get the Potts – time for round two) and a wonderful homecoming for our Grand Lecturer. We had four Lodges that won the Potts award with three or four other Lodges only missing by a few officers. The School of Instruction was very well attended and the Ritual Renaissance Program Orientation was well supported even with everything else that was going on that day.

We have plenty of things coming up for your Ritual mastering needs –

– Second Erie Grand Lecturer’s Convention January 24th at Western Star Temple

– Year Three for The Ritual Renaissance Program is March 28th at 10.00 Am at the Sweet Home Temple – $15 a ticket -Covering the whole of the 3rd Degree

– Erie County School of Instruction “The Four Special Places – Our Work in the Preparation Room, Altar, Master’s Carpet, and Balloting” on February 24th at Western Star Temple

It has been a joy serving as A.G.L. I look forward to the next year and half. I will see you ll in the quarry! Bro. Daniel J. Di Natale

Right Worshipful Gary Galbreath – Grand Steward – Winter Message

Right Worship Gary Galbreath

Right Worship Gary Galbreath

We all now that there are many important things about Freemasonry such as Fellowship, Peace, Harmony, Brotherly Love, Relief, Truth, Fortitude, Prudence, Temperance, and Justice among others. At the Grand Lecturer’s Convention In October, R\W\Richard Kessler stated, among other things, that Ritual was the most important thing. I think we all agree that ritual is important and separates us from other organizations, but the most important thing? When he went on to explain that our ritual tells us how to behave and why, he had me. Our ritual instructs us about all the other important things of Masonry.

The Grand Lodge Officer Training Manual states that the “Staff Officer’s main responsibility is education, both for individual Masons and their Lodges.” Here, then, are some thoughts about Masonic ritual, education, and our beloved fraternity:

In the EA Degree, our ritual states that “Masonry unites men of every country, sect, and opinion and promotes true friendship among those who might otherwise have remained perpetually at a distance.” Also, our aims are to relieve the distressed, to soothe the unhappy, to sympathize with them in their misfortunes, to compassionate their miseries, and restore peace to their troubled minds. How? How does Masonry do those things?

The Lodge System of Masonic Education describes Freemasonry as an educational institution that makes good men better through immersion in Masonic principals and morality and our ritual instructs us in that regard. EAs are to acquire useful knowledge. Working tools of each Degree reshape our character and promote brotherhood. We go from the rough ashlar to the perfect ashlar – reshape our character – by EDUCATION, our own endeavors, and the blessing of Deity. One EA Charge says we are to improve in Masonic knowledge and converse with well-informed brethren.

In the FC Degree, we hear that “here on the broad platform of brotherly love [i.e. the Masonic Lodge Room], the high the low, the rich, the poor may meet together with one common purpose, the perpetuation of each other’s friendship and each other’s love.” FCs are to apply the useful knowledge acquired as EAs.

We learn in two ways: from direct experience with reality through the five human senses and from others – thus references to the 7 liberal arts and sciences (in addition to architecture, geography, navigation, and the arts dependent upon them) in the Middle Chamber lecture. Why? Why did/do Masons need to know about music, grammar, rhetoric, astronomy, geography, and navigation?

According to LSOME, in order to recognize frailties of human existence, arouse the conscience to action, and to stimulate the noble and generous impulses of the human heart so that we can truly help, aid, assist, and connect/bond with one another.

How important is knowledge through education? In the MM Degree lecture it clearly states, “He that will so demean himself as not to endeavor to add to the common stock of knowledge and understanding, may be deemed a useless member of society, unworthy of our protection as Masons.” Wow! Read that again. We each have a duty not only to learn, but to add to the common stock of knowledge and understanding (not only the Masonic stock of knowledge).

Education enables us, to become wiser, to understand one another so we can tolerate one another, to accept and appreciate our differences, to use better judgment in our interactions so, ultimately, we can love one another. That is why we not only offer Masonic educational programs such as LSOME, MDC, RTTE and Master’s Chair, but also promote non-masonic education of all manner and types, have locally stationed Grand Lodge Staff Officers; and stress ritual. We shouldn’t have ringers continually reciting the longer more difficult passages of ritual. Each of us loses a little bit because we can’t fully know/understand the work someone else recites. Each of us needs to become intimately familiar with The Standard Works and Lectures (our code book) in order to really learn, understand, and implement the lessons of Freemasonry throughout our lives.

Masons don’t want to control the world – we want to change the world. Education, especially education our ritual enjoins, is how we attain the peace and harmony necessary to do that. Let’s get better educated and work as teams of Masons and Lodges to change our world so that life without (i.e. outside) our Lodge Rooms reflects the peace, harmony, morality, and brotherhood within.

Masonic Development Course to be Offered

Masons seek different things from Masonry at different points/stages in their lives. Each looks for wisdom in the allegory, symbols, and ritual for knowledge, truth, guidance, and wisdom. The Masonic Development Course, although developed originally for newly raised Master Masons, offers something for everyone, even the most senior Right Worshipfuls and DSAs, and will be presented for both Erie Districts on three different days (2-3 hours each, max) at the Sweet Home Masonic Hall at 641 Sweet Home Rd in Amherst. Dates, times, and locations were designed for minimal conflict with other Masonic events, to control costs (not to exceed $25), and enable brothers to enjoy meals with family.

March 7, 2015 (Saturday morning) 9:00-12:00 (registration at 8:30). The Entered Apprentice Degree will be discussed, including the Ritual, Tradition, and History of Masonry (origin, purposes, and famous Masons.

March 31 2015 (the 5th Tuesday evening) 6:30-9:30. The focus will be on the Fellowcraft Degree, especially an explanation of symbolism in the Middle Chamber lecture.

April 29 2015 (the 5th Wednesday evening) 6:30-9:30. The topic will be the meaning of the Master Mason Degree and the Hiramic Legend.

Classes will be 2-3 hours in length (none will exceed 3 hrs). Dress is slacks and sports coat. Brothers who complete the course will learn a lot about Masonry and receive a framed Diploma. Masons who have already completed the MDC are invited to retake it for new material, new insights on lessons already learned, and lively debate. Attendees should bring a (current) code book – The Standard Works and Lectures. Registrants will receive a MDC booklet.

DSAs and Worshipfuls or higher who are interested in helping to present topics or anyone with questions should please contact either Right Wor. Gary M. Galbreath, Grand Steward, at hiram105 [dot] gg [at] gmail [dot] com or Right Wor. Robert Drzewucki, Grand Sword Bearer, at rdrzewu [at] yahoo [dot] com.

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