Erie County Masonic History Project

Words from the Leadership

AGL’s Message

As I look back at the months since I received the position of Assistant Grand Lecturer for the 2nd Erie District, I find it hard to believe the year has progressed so fast. The District Deputy Grand Master’s official visits are all completed. The Lodges are continuing with the work on their trestle boards.

It’s now time for the Junior and Senior Wardens to get busy planning for the upcoming year. As they gain proficiency of their work they also need to learn the ritual for the next Station. Keeping in mind that at any time they may be called to advance stations in the event of an absence. This is one of the responsibilities given to you at the installation of your Lodge.

I have sent letters to every Master in the Second Erie District, letting them know the status of their Lodges Edict Degree. Several lodges have completed this requirement. For those who have not, please contact me. Let’s set a date. If you do not have any candidates, you may use an exemplar. The spring season tends to get congested with programs that seem to have been rescheduled for one reason or another.

I also wish to announce that R:.W:. Richard J. Kessler’s Grand Lecturers Convention for the Second Erie District. will be held on January 24, 2015 at Western Star Lodge, Ridge Road, Lackawanna. This is a SATURDAY meeting. Lunch will be available starting at 11:30. We will begin the meeting at 1:00 pm. Coffee and dessert will follow. Details and cost for lunch, will be sent to your lodges when the information becomes available.

Let us remember that our Ritual is a thing of beauty when performed accurately. Take pride in your work.

Call me for assistance or questions.
Working in the quarries with the craft
V:. W:. Joel T. Burkley 716-534-9999.

Grand Sword Bearer’s Fall Message

As the leaves change color and fall to the ground, the leadership in our Lodges is kicking it into the next gear and turning what were once plans into fruitful results.  Brothers are rising to their challenges and exceeding expectations set forth in front of them through hard work and forward planning.

Communication continues to be critical when working to keep our Craft moving in the proper direction.  Our leaders are trained to utilize all forms of communication.  We need to do our part to respond to these messages.  It means a lot to get feedback when communicating so please do your part and respond to summonses, requests and updates you receive.  Communication is only successful when it is a two way street.

A big part of being a Mason is learning to subdue our passions and improve ourselves.  Through the Compasses we are also taught to circumscribe our desires and keep our passions within due bounds with ALL mankind.   This means we need to work on restraint, be disciplined and not only focus on easy accomplishments.  Step outside your comfort zone and try new challenging tasks.  Do not sit back and talk about what should be done but go out and make the changes needed solve challenging problems.  What we do for others is multitudes more rewarding than what we may do for ourselves.

As Masons we all share common principles and beliefs which enable us to travel outside our familiar homes and comfortable is foreign lands.  Take advantage of this unique opportunity and sojourn.  More and more Brothers are traveling and knocking down those perceived boundaries of our own lodges, districts and jurisdictions.  The friends you make and the lessons you learn are last forever.

My Brothers, keep working hard to learn the proper way to conduct your actions and do not be afraid to make mistakes.  As long as you continue to put in the time and effort, the results will come with experience and learning from your mistakes.  We are all here as a team striving to do our best and improve.  We cannot achieve our ultimate goals without first stumbling along the way.  Remember anything worth doing is worth doing right and it will come with frustrations, heartache and sometimes disappointment, but do not let these stop you from achieving your goals.

The next opportunity to take part in the Road to the East classes is quickly approaching in early November.  Please see the details in this Masonic News and at eriecountymasons.org.   If you have taken the class already please consider sitting in on the sessions to pick up more light in Masonry.  If you have not taken these courses please consider taking this opportunity.  You will learn the tools to be better Men, Masons and Leaders.

Happy Holiday Days from myself and Family.  May your Holiday Season be full of joy, safe travels.

Fraternally,

Robert Drzewucki

Grand Sword Bearer

Second Erie’s AGL’s Fall Message

As I look back at the months since I received the position of Assistant Grand Lecturer for the 2nd Erie District, I find it hard to believe the year has progressed so fast. The District Deputy Grand Master’s official visits are all completed. The Lodges are continuing  with the work on their trestle boards.

It’s now time for the Junior and Senior Wardens to get busy planning for the upcoming year. As they gain proficiency of their work they also need to learn the ritual for the next Station. Keeping in mind that at any time they may be called to advance stations in the event of an absence. This is one of the responsibilities given to you at the installation of your Lodge.

I have sent letters to every Master in the Second Erie District, letting them know the status of their Lodges Edict Degree.  Several lodges have completed this requirement.  For those who have not, please contact me.  Let’s set a date. If you do not have any candidates, you may use an exemplar. The spring season tends to get  congested with programs that seem to have been rescheduled for one reason or another.

I also wish to announce that R:.W:. Richard J. Kessler’s Grand Lecturers Convention for the Second Erie District. will be held on January 24, 2015  at Western Star Lodge, Ridge Road, Lackawanna.  This is a SATURDAY meeting. Lunch will be available starting at 11:30. We will begin the meeting at 1:00 pm.  Coffee and dessert will follow. Details and cost for lunch, will be sent to your lodges when the information becomes available.

Let us remember that our Ritual is a thing of beauty when performed accurately. Take pride in your work.

Call me for assistance or questions.

Working in the quarries with the craft

V:. W:. Joel T. Burkley   716-534-9999.

Frist Erie D.D.G.M Summer Message

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Brothers of the First Erie District:

What a wonderful summer we have shared. It has been warm but not too hot, sunny but with enough rain for a bountiful harvest. Our Lodges have been busy with Stags, Picnics, Golf, Pig Roasts and other Social Events. The Brotherhood has been tremendous. It is a great time to be a Mason in the Erie Districts and in the Grand Jurisdiction of New York!

The late spring and summer has seen some tremendously successful activities such as the very-well attended Erie Districts Interfaith Worship Service and Breakfast, an excellent Testimonial Dinner for outgoing Grand Lodge Officers, a huge showing by the Erie Districts at Saint John’s Day in Utica and a tremendous Reception and Apron Presentation for our new Grand Lodge Officers at the Districts level. These were smashing successes and much thanks to those who planned and executed these gala events.

Petitions are coming into Lodges at a brisk rate, some Lodges are even holding Special Communications this Summer to read these petitions and accelerate their degree schedules, and let there be no doubt that this is what we are meant to do – make Masons. Still this is only the beginning of the process, for without proper education, engagement, mentoring and study of the catechisms by these new Brothers, we have not completed their instruction and failed in our most sacred duty – the communication of Masonic Light to our new Brothers.

We are developing an educational program drawing in very large measure upon the Harmonie Lodge Concordia Collegium Education System as well as the well-known Grand Lodge LSOME Program. We have also reviewed similar programs of other Grand Lodges including California, Florida and Pennsylvania. Our thanks go out to the Brothers of Harmonie Lodge for their assistance!

This Membership Development and Mentoring Program is complete in itself. There will be no references to books or other external sources for its content. While there may be references to additional materials, these are purely supplementary. It is an excellent way to assure that our new Brothers are given the tools to maximize their experience in the Craft. We will release this program at a Master’s and Wardens’ Council Meeting at Sweet Home Masonic Hall on August 28, 2014 at 6:30 p.m. where we will also discuss matters pertinent to our District and our Grand Lodge. All Master and Wardens of the First Erie District have been invited and are strongly encouraged to attend.

It takes time to and great effort to properly educate and mentor candidates and new Brothers. Some may question whether their Lodges have the resources, time and manpower to execute this new program. While we understand it presents a significant investment of time and effort, we also believe unreservedly that to stem the tide of new Brothers dropping from our rolls a few short years after joining and to provide the best Masonic experience to our new members, we must do something dramatically different. We owe this to those who have gone this way before us….We owe this to ourselves…and We owe this to the new Brothers craving above all…Masonic Light. Worshipful Masters and Wardens of the First Erie District, implement this program and your Lodge will be significantly stronger, no matter what its size, activity and strength.

I want to spend some time talking about Masonic Youth. Of all the investments we can make in our Lodges, there are none that require less time and less effort than encouraging young people to join our Masonic youth organizations. These are tremendous programs of moral, social and intellectual improvement with proven success in making young men and women more responsible, successful adults. All we need to do is provide the names of prospective members to the leaders of these organizations, who will take it from there. Grand Master Jim Sullivan observed in 2013 that each Mason knows a young person or two and asked that Brothers tell them about our Masonic Youth. Grand Master William J. Thomas is also a great supporter of Masonic Youth who has encouraged the adult leaders of our Masonic Youth in New York to open new local Chapters, Assemblies and Triangles, and they are doing this – even as I write these words. Let’s heed the Call of our Grand Master and get behind our Masonic Youth.

Brother Chris Siegel of First Erie and Worshipful Ed Draves of Second Erie will be contacting the Masters of each Lodge very soon for the names of parents and prospective members for our Youth Programs. Their parents will be notified by mail that their young man or young lady has been nominated for membership in one of our New York Masonic youth organizations, DeMolay, Triangle or Rainbow. Thereafter there will be a well-organized informational meeting where the purposes and activities of the organizations will be explained to the parents and the young people in detail.

This is part of a new membership program known as the WAVE which has been tremendously successful in other States. The leads of names of eligible youth and their parents is where this all begins, however, and its success depends upon you helping us get these organizations these leads my Brothers. Brother Siegel and Worshipful Draves will shortly be providing each Lodge with Prospect Information Sheets for providing this information. Thank you for your assistance in keeping Erie Districts Youth Programs among the strongest in New York State.

The Masters and Secretaries of the First Erie District Lodges have been informed of the dates for our Official Visits in 2014. They have also been published on the First Erie and Second Erie Facebook pages and the new Erie Districts website www.eriecountymasons.org.

I and my team are looking forward to making these interesting and useful to the Lodges. We are here to help in any and as many ways as possible. I will be encouraging all First Erie District Masters to call on our Team for Programs and to help our Lodges meaningfully participate in Grand Lodge’s Programs.

Going forward in 2014 there will be a number of interesting, fun activities that the Erie Districts will engage in. We hope our Brothers of the Erie Districts will participate in these activities and enjoy the Brotherhood they offer. In particular, we have the following District or Grand Lodge events coming up:

August 31, 3:00 p.m. – $10 -Grand Master’s Family

Day at the Ball Park

3:00 p.m. – Tailgating

6:30 p.m. – Game, Syracuse, New York

October 18, 5:30 p.m. – $45- Deputy Grand Master Jeffrey Williamson and Grand Lecturer Richard J. Kessler Apron Reception and Presentation.

Michael’s Banquet Facility, Hamburg, NY

October 25, 5:30 p.m. – $125 – Grand Master’s Ball

Russo’s on the Bay

Howard Beach, New York

October 27, 6:00 p.m. –Dinner and First Erie District Convention Grand Lecturer’s Convention

Sweet Home Masonic Hall

6:00 p.m. – Dinner -$15

7:00 p.m. – Convention

November 1, 10:00 a.m. – Ritual Renaissance Program,

Sweet Home Masonic Hall

6:00 p.m. – MW James E. Sullivan Homecoming Reception,

Buffalo Marriott

November 15, 5:00 p.m. – Western New York Masonic Ball

December 27, 5:00 p.m. – Erie Districts Table Lodge

Feast of Saint John the Evangelist

$40 –Century Grill, 318 Pearl St.,

Buffalo, New York

There are a few administrative details I should like to call to the Brethren’s attention relative to Grand Lodge. The Grand Master has advised all District Deputy Grand Masters that going forward in 2014, the program for 50 year aprons will be administered by Grand Lodge the same as other service-based awards i.e. pins and certificates. District Deputy Grand Masters will no longer have an inventory of 50 year aprons. In addition there will also be 60 and 70 year aprons available through Grand Lodge for Brethren attaining such long tenure of membership.

The Grand Master encourages, but is not requiring, Veterans of the United States to use the Military hand salute when coming to attention before the Flag of the United States of America. The Grand Master, as a Veteran of the Navy, has been using the hand salute. Again this is not a requirement but he wants all brethren to know he has authorized them to do so if they wish.

Grand Master new recognizes the Lewis Jewel to honor sons of Masons who join our Fraternity. The Jewel may be purchased through the Grand Lodge website and may be worn by Brothers whose father, step-father or father-in-law is a Mason. It is a great way to demonstrate how Masonic love can be shared with our sons. The Grand Master now encourages the wearing of this Jewel in the Grand Jurisdiction of New York.

Looking forward I see a bright future for our Fraternity and particularly our Erie Districts. May we always work with zeal to make our Lodges and our Districts the best they can be. May we always remember our obligations and strive to be the best men we can be. On behalf of my Lady Stephanie and myself I wish you joy and success in all your endeavors Masonic and otherwise for the balance of 2014. God Bless you and your families as we return to Labor in our Quarries.

Michael E. Storck

District Deputy Grand Master

First Erie Masonic District

Grand Sword Bearer’s Message

With the end of summer comes a renewed level of activity in our Lodge Rooms. Discussions are occurring to identify ways to increase involvement, keep Brothers engaged and keep Brothers and our families excited about the craft. Being properly informed about what it means to be a Mason is a critical starting point to build upon. Grand Lodge has a long running Lodge System of Masonic Education (LSOME) program instituted to educate our Candidates and Brothers on Masonic meaning, ritual, symbolism, the structure of our lodges and Masonic responsibilities. The Lodge System of Masonic Education was originally published in September 1987 by the Committee on Masonic Education, reprinted in 1990, then revised and edited August 2007 by the Leadership & Educational Service Committee. Today we commonly recognize the LSOME DVD when it is shown to our new candidates prior to their Entered Apprentice Degree then subsequently following the Entered Apprentice and Fellowcraft degrees. There is a fourth part to be shown to the newly raised Master Masons which I rarely see or hear being presented. Our lodges should be showing the DVD to every Candidate and Brother being brought into our craft. If the fourth part of the DVD is not being shown, the Brother(s) are missing out on receiving important Masonic information which is intended to familiarize them to our fraternity. Many Brothers have questions concerning our Masonic practices and they covered in the fourth part of the DVD. Do you know there are LSOME Books published in addition to the LSOME DVD? There is a four part booklet and a five part instructor’s booklet (includes the Walk-about the Lodge). The LSOME DVD was intended to compliment the books, not be a substitute for the book. The parts in the book stress Masonic meaning, ritual, symbolism and aspects of the craft as a candidate advances through the degrees. LSOME DVDs and books can be obtained through your Lodge Secretary, District Deputy Grand Master and Staff Officer. The cost if very minimal and I highly recommend each one of us reads the book, views the DVD and revisit them. This November 8th and 15th will be your next opportunity to be a part of the Road to the East class. This class is intended to prepare the future leader of the craft. More details will be available through your lodge secretary, social media and the new Masonic News. Keep up to date on the happening in the Erie Districts through the district Facebook pages; ‘Second Erie District F&AM NY’ and ‘First Erie Masonic District – Free and Accepted Masons of New York’. Feel free to contact me with any question and concerns you may have. Fraternally, Robert Drzewucki (716) 982-1538 rdrzewu [at] yahoo [dot] com

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