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November 2003

From the East

Brethren,

January 1, 2004 to December 31, 2004 the operating expenses of this Lodge will exceed $24,000.00. This is the absolute lowest cost to operate. No further cuts can be made. We will collect no more than $8,000 in dues.

Do the math. Our dues cover 33.33% of our operating expenses. The balance of the expenses are covered by fees from rents collected from Eastern Star, yard sales and cookouts where a few Brothers are not turning in receipts for food and supplies. The football games are covering a big portion of the bill. Most of the people who work the ball games are not even members of the fraternity. That means we are dependent upon volunteers from outside the fraternity to raise a portion of the funds to operate.

I have noticed the turnout at fundraising events seems to be by the same pool of about 20 Brothers at every event. With a membership of 200 dues paying members, that means that 10 percent of our membership is working to raise the remaining 66% of our operating expenses. It is morally wrong to allow that to continue.

Grand Lodge will incrementally raise the assessments per member in Lodge starting next year and your next Worshipful Master will be spending more time raising money to keep the doors open instead of having fundraisers for the Masonic Home or some other worthy cause.

With that being said, on the last Stated Communication of November, an amendment to the by-laws of our Lodge will be proposed to increase the dues to $100 per year. Your comments and-or suggestions are welcome and I look forward to hearing from you. My home phone number is 727-521-9117.

If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got.

Let us remember those people in our prayers, who go in harms way, in defense of our Liberties and those ideals we hold sacred.

In Search of Further Light,

Jim Reedy

Worshipful Master


Calendar of Events November 2003

Nov 2nd E.O.S and O.E.S. Dinner Noon - 2:00 PM. “Roast Beef”

Nov 3rd Master Mason Degree Dinner 6:30 Degree 7:30

Nov 5th Eastern Star Meeting 7:30 PM.

Nov 7th Practice (Catechism Instruction Available) 7:30 PM DISTRICT SCHOOL OF INSTRUCTION

Nov 10th Stated Communication 7:30 PM “Masonic Etiquette” RR Liekefet

Nov 14th Practice (Catechism Instruction Available) 7:30 PM

Nov 17th Fellow Craft Degree 7:30 PM

Nov 19th Eastern Star Meeting 7:30 PM

Nov 21st Practice (Catechism Instruction Available) 7:30 PM DISTRICT SCHOOL OF INSTRUCTION

Nov 24th Stated Communication 7:30 PM (40 year pin & Certificate W:. Yoder)

Nov 27th THANKSGIVING IN LODGE NOON - ?

From the Secretary’s Desk

Brothers,

This Thanksgiving, November 27th, Brother Dale Thomas and his wife Ann will host the Lodge’s 2nd Annual Thanksgiving Dinner for the Brothers and Sisters of our Fraternity and Appendant Bodies whose families are no longer in the area. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO ATTEND OR IF YOU KNOW OF ANYONE WHO WOULD LIKE TO ATTEND (TRANSPORTATION CAN BE PROVIDED) PLEASE CONTACT: Worshipful Brother Jim Reedy 521-9117 Brother Dale Thomas 399-2828 Brother Art Markowitz 541-1365. IF YOU PLAN TO ATTEND PLEASE RSVP BY NOVEMBER 20, 2003

Remember Brothers, the Past Masters are still collecting for the Holiday Fund. We will use these funds and certificates to provide for several needy families for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Last we were very successful due to your outstanding generosity and eight families were helped for both holidays. I hope that we are as successful again this year, but it does depend on you

I would like to express my appreciation to those who have helped me fulfill my job as secretary this past month plus, as I was having some health problems. I have thoroughly enjoyed the past three years serving as your secretary but will not seek reelection next year. I am also resigning as editor of the Trestle Board. I plan to start traveling some and visiting family and friends during the next year or so and will not have the time needed to do these jobs. I will continue to be active in Lodge and maintain the Lodge’s website. Thanks for all the support you have given me during this period.

Fraternally,

Brother Art Markowitz


FROM THE WEST

Brethren,

Last week was an honor and a privilege to have sat in the East for the Master Mason degree for Brother Thomas Whitehouse. The Brothers did a great job in all the stations that they took, and especially to Brother Drew for a great job as Senior Deacon.

I think I speak for a lot of people when I say, that to see a Brother like Thomas raised by his son Drew is a unique occasion as it is usually the other way around (Father raising the son).

Then I went from a memorable high to the lowest of lows as I learned that Brother Tom passed away after his operation. My thoughts and prayers go out to Brother Drew and his family. Having only known Brother Thomas for such a short time one still got a good impression of him as a just and upright man and a true Mason. All will miss him.

On the Level,

Steve Morris

FROM THE SOUTH

Brothers,

The year is coming to a close, and it is great to see the lodge had such a productive year full of numerous accomplishments. Elections are coming soon and I look forward to seeing our new leadership in place, as they will have very big shoes to fill. Congrats to our new Brothers, and to those who recommended them for membership. My work schedule will be slowing down very soon so I plan to attend Lodge on a much more regular basis.

On the Plumb,

Tyler Sheff

The Chaplain's Corner

First I was dying to finish high school and start college. And then I was dying to finish college and start working. And then I was dying to marry and have children. And then I was dying for my children to grow old enough so I could return to work. And then I was dying to retire. And now I am dying and suddenly realize I forgot to live.

"Unknown"

Terry D Farnsworth

Chaplain

NOTICE

Monday, December 8, 2003, is the first Stated Communication of December. As such, it is the designated date for the election of Lodge Officers for the Year 2004.

Please plan to attend and cast your vote.


FROM THE SHORT TALK BULLETIN VOL 81 OCTOBER, 2003 N0. 10

Paying Our Bills

By: Michael A. Botelho

Michael A. Botelho is a Past Master of Basin Spring Lodge No. 386 in Eureka Springs, Arkansas; Past Grand Tyler, Grand Lodge of Arkansas; and a member of King Hiram's Lodge, Provincetown, Massachusetts.

This Short Talk Bulletin was taken from an article published in The Scottish Rite Journal, S.J. July 2003 issue.

Editor

Bills! Bills! Bills! Every one of us faces the tiresome, never-ending parade of bills - utility bills, telephone bills, repair bills, tax bills, the list goes on. This is true in our private home, and it is true in our Masonic home.

As Masons, we are obligated to come to the relief of our distressed Brethren, yet we seldom consider the financial distress of the institution of Masonry itself. Right now we have Lodges, Appendant Bodies, and even Grand Lodges facing severe cost-cutting measures just to survive on their limited incomes.

Many local Lodges are being forced to operate in a virtual financial vacuum. The costs of keeping the Lodge open are forever rising, yet members are reluctant to meet the challenge out of their own pockets. As a result, Masonic Bodies resort to holding pancake breakfasts, yard sales, and spaghetti dinners to raise money, not for the purpose of funding our charitable works but rather just to provide for the cost of operation. There was even a story recently about a Lodge that was planning to place big mayonnaise donation jars around town, hoping to raise the money it needed to pay its own utility bills. Thankfully, the Grand Master of that jurisdiction vetoed the proposal. Imagine Masons asking the public to underwrite the cost of keeping our own Masonic doors open!

The answer to these financial problems is to be found within Lodge walls, not outside them. Masons must be willing to make the financial commitment to keep the Craft strong! Recently a Lodge in Arkansas has done just that. In a Grand Jurisdiction where the average Lodge dues are $30 per year, the Brethren of Basin Spring Lodge No. 386, Eureka Springs, Arkansas, recently voted to raise their dues from the average to $ 100, the highest of any Lodge in the state!

With just over 110 members, this Lodge is housed in a building whose 40 years of deferred maintenance is beginning to show. Unfortunately, the Lodge is located in both a state and a county that assess a real estate property tax to all buildings except actual houses of worship. Basin Spring Lodge was facing a serious cash crunch.

Historically a Lodge with a very active membership, the Brethren of Basin Spring Lodge No. 386 had held all the usual fund-raisers, collecting nearly $20,000 last year alone. However, there has been a long-standing Masonic promise to the community that all money raised in this way would go to fund only the charitable activities of the Lodge. The membership was unanimously unwilling to break that commitment, but what to do?

Finally, the Worshipful Master decided to call an emergency meeting of his principal officers and those Past Masters of the Lodge who had served in the recent past to consider the situation. The discussion went far into the night and was adjourned to the next evening as well. The answer was obvious to all attending-raise the dues. But how?

The burning question was how much of an increase would the Brethren accept. Older members on fixed incomes could not afford an increase, it was said. Nor could younger Brothers with families. The Lodge was warned that Brethren would relocate their member- ships to other area Lodges that had yet to face their own financial realities.

As previous attempts to raise the dues had met with a great deal of resistance, a decision was made to design a program to "sell" the membership on the idea of a meaningful dues increase.

The first step in this program was to identify and prioritize all the expenses that had brought about the crisis. These primarily fell into three categories: a) ongoing major expenses that were not easily controlled such as insurance and real estate taxes b) necessary, but non-emergency, deferred maintenance to the building which could be scheduled over a fixed period of years, and c) the immediate replacement of failing major systems.

The next step was to draft a letter to the membership frankly outlining the problems and recommending the hard solution, a major increase in dues. The Worshipful Master and both Wardens then signed this lengthy letter. Importantly, six Past Masters also signed the communication to the Brethren, a clear indication of the severity of the matter at hand. In the message, members were invited to attend a special meeting of the Lodge to discuss the problem or to contact any of the signatories who would explain the matter in greater detail.

There was an enormous amount of interest, and attendance at the informational meeting was very high. Numerous phone calls were made to the signatories. An important result of these conversations was the creation of a Dues Review Board. Composed of three Past Masters appointed by the Worshipful Master, this board would consider appeals made by individual Brethren relating to the level of hardship the new dues imposed upon them. The board was authorized to decide each case in the best interest of the Lodge and to report its actions by summary only, never naming the Brethren who had appealed. The board was given authority to waive dues altogether; to set the dues at the old rate of $30 or at half the new fee; and to allow periodic payments to be made - all as determined by the circumstances of each appeal.

The vote to adopt the new $ 100 dues was set for the next Stated Meeting. The air was electric as nearly 75% of the total membership packed into the Lodge Hall. For several older, infirm Brothers, it was the first time they had sat in Lodge in years! At the appointed time in the meeting, the Worshipful Master asked for a motion, which was made and seconded.

When the floor was opened to discussion, one of the long-absent elderly Brethren slowly struggled to his feet. "There are way too many 'ring bearers' in Masonry," he said in his slow, earthy style. "These are Brethren who are always ready to flash their fancy Masonic rings, but never available to do anything helpful." "Tonight:' he continued, "we can remind everyone of his obligation to serve and preserve our glorious Fraternity in a most meaningful way!" Not another voice was raised, and the motion was passed unanimously!

Predictions that many Brothers would relocate their membership if this increase were adopted were wrong. Not a single Brother has asked for a demit. Only five appeals were heard, and all the Brethren were accommodated to their satisfaction.

All Masons can learn a valuable lesson in the efforts of this Lodge. It is that our Brethren are willing to share the financial burdens of our Fraternity. As this story demonstrates, it is only necessary to explain the need in detail, holding nothing back, answering all questions forthrightly, and having a sensible plan in place to assist those Brothers who are truly in need.

THE SHORT TALK BULLETIN

Published monthly by the Masonic Service Association of North America, 8120 Fenton Street, Silver Spring, Maryland 20910-4785. Tel: (301) 588-4010, under the auspices of its member Grand Jurisdictions. Masonic publications are invited to reproduce, extract, copy or reprint the contents of this Bulletin, providing that the source be indicated and that M.S.A. be provided with courtesy copies of the reprinted materials.


Worshipful Brothers Ed Street , Bill Garrett Sr. and Bill Garrett Jr. (not pictured) prepare the catfish with their “special secret coating”.They do such a good job, they get “volunteered” for every Fish Fry.

THANKS BROTHERS!

Brother Lloyd Booth and 3 year old grandson Shayne Spencer resting and making space for more of that delicious catfish.


In Memoriam

Brother Thomas Joseph Whitehouse

Initiated June 16, 2003

Passed October 7, 2003

Raised October 10, 2003

PASSED TO THE GRAND LODGE ON HIGH OCTOBER 17, 2003

In Celebration of Life

Happy Birthday - November

Thomas R. Cobb
William P. Pysnack
Jack Van Winkle
Thomas F. Disney
James B. Reedy WM
Robert L. Werle
Phillip C. Henry
De Forest Rhinehart III
Frank R. Westberry
Carl W. Lewis PM
Dale L. Stillwagon
Kendall G. Yoder PM
Graham G. Parsons
Gilbert E. Thivener

SON RAISES FATHER TO MASTER MASON.

L to R: Bro. Drew White-house, Bro. Steve Morris, WB Gerald Grant from Birmingham Old Edwardian Lodge No. 7115, Birmingham, England and Bro. Tom White-house

CONGRATULATIONS

BROTHER CLAYTON BROWN – Presented his 50 Year Veteran’s Medal from Deering Lodge No. 183 F. &. A. M. of Maine

BROTHER KENNETH PLUNKETT – Presented his Forty-Year Certificate and Pin

Both presentations were made by D.D.G.M. R:. W:. Richard G. Hoover during his Official Visit.


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