As another Masonic year to draws to a close, it is a time of reflection and renewal.
When I first knocked at the digital door to the lodge, I never would have thought that I’d be sitting in the East after just a few years, let alone twice.
Indeed, it has been an honor and privilege to sit in the East these past 24 months. I appreciate the confidence that you have shown in me through this honor and the support you provided to operate the lodge with the dignity and tradition it deserves.
The “work” done by us, whether here in lodge or privately, carries us each on a journey, as we travel the level of time. It is my belief that the world is a better place for our efforts. Even as we’re often focused just on day-to-day life, doing so in an upright manner can inspire those around us.
In the past year, we accomplished much through our efforts, including:
-Quality degree work, with several brothers stepping up to new roles and challenges among the degree team, while portraying the degrees to a high standard.
-Traveling to local lodges, observing their work and strengthening fraternal ties.
-Attending Grand Lodge seminars, for officer training and Masonic education.
-Fellowship, as seen with informal dinners and an increase in non-lodge, social interaction.
-Public awareness, through our successful Open House and Halloween Walk programs, as well as the July 4th ad and officers photo in the local newspaper. Open House brought us in contact with four fellows this fall who expressed interest in joining lodge, and three of the men have already filed petitions ensuring work in the year ahead.
The Halloween Walk was once again a fun-filled event that saw several brothers greeting our Ridgefield neighbors and giving out pencils, candy, and toys to over a thousand children.
-This year, we held a joint Table Lodge with Harmony 67 in New Canaan. It was wonderful event, with great food, libations, and friendship. A good time was definitely had by all.
-We increased the amount of educational materials handed out in lodge, mailed to out-of-town members, and provided to newly admitted brethren proceeding through the degrees.
-We had a couple guest speakers:
-Worshipful Brother Tom Burke provided guidance on the topic of investigations.
-Brother Richard Cassaro shared a presentation on his book “Written in Stone.”
-We celebrated David Wooster Day, with the Grand Lodge officer line meeting at Jerusalem 49 for lunch and performing a road-side service off Route 116. We then traveled to Danbury for ceremony at their lodge and service at the local cemetery. It was a memorable event, and may rekindle a continuing tradition. As an added bonus, we were featured on the cover of CT Freemasons newspaper.
-Scholarships were again awarded to assist Masonic students in their academic pursuits.
-Monies were also granted to Masonic charities.
-Solemn duties were performed in funeral services, honoring fallen brothers locally and at other lodges.
-The Website remained vibrant through the year, and several Trestle Boards were distributed, keeping brothers and prospects informed.
-Through the annual member survey, I again took the pulse of what the brothers seek from membership. The candid responses were valuable in shaping the Trestle Board and understanding our membership.
Education remains a primary motivation, and much credit is due to Worshipful Brother Steve Hudson for providing the educational backbone for the lodge. Steve led numerous thought-provoking programs that enlightened and inspired, bringing much light to the lodge.
Much credit is due, again, to Right Worshipful Brother Bill Deickler for his counsel, guidance, and secretarial duties, plus his labors on behalf of the Temple Association. While Steve brought the light, Bill brought the heat, by managing the installation of a new, energy-efficient furnace, to which we are all grateful.
Our Junior Warden, Brother Don Leavy deserves our collective thanks for tending to our needs during refreshment throughout the year, and always being among the first to volunteer for any duty.
My right-hand man, Bro Ben Morehead has repeatedly demonstrated cunning workmanship in wood – including a gavel, flag pole, bottle stoppers, and numerous pens, and he continues to wield the trowel with great skill.
Truly, thank you all for the contributions big and small that make the lodge so special.
Looking back on this past year, I’m proud of the progression we have seen on our officer line, with each man noticeably improving in Masonry. I know the officers are ready to advance, and I look forward to seeing Masonry continue to thrive here in Ridgefield. I wish the 2014 officers the best and pledge my support as needed.
Thanks again, my brothers.
Jeff S. Bartlett
Worshipful Master 2012 & 2013
Jerusalem Lodge #49