We’d usually wait to the end of the month to give an update on our activities, but May has turned out to be a very busy time for Friendship Lodge. I’d hate to have to edit out any details, so we’re gonna tackle May in a couple (big) bites.
It all begins with our May Stated Meeting, which also happened to be the official visit of the Grand Master of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of Oregon. The Most Worshipful Grand Master came in company too! Traveling with MWB Myles was his wife, Sue; The Deputy Grand Master, The Grand Treasurer, and RW Brother Ron Eggers – Deputy of District 6. Other noteworthy visitors include WB Mike Shebora (sitting Master of Enlightenment Lodge No.228), WB Jim Munson (sitting Master of Sunnyside Lodge No.163), and WB Rick Okita (sitting Master of East Gate Lodge No.155). These honorable brothers were accompanied by several members of their respective Lodges. Although all sitting Masters were invited to the East, all declined. Said WB Okita “No thank you. He scares me” (pointing to the Grand Master), WB Lee replied, “Me too!”, to everyone’s amusement.
Being such a rarified and splendid occasion, the Brethren of Friendship wanted to pull out all the stops for our beloved Grand Master. In addition to coordinating another exquisite meal with Brother Eric Pease, Our Junior Warden arranged for the Quadraphonnes to play for the hour or so before opening Lodge. The Quads played a range of jazz and funk which set a bright and lively tone for the supper and social hour before our meeting, and timed it so well that their last piece closed and they struck the scene just as we were about to open.
The meeting’s agenda was packed to the gills, prompting some business to be layed aside until June. But we’re particularly proud to announce that Mr. Gustavo Ramirez received an unanimously favorable ballot, electing him to become a member of Friendship Lodge by initiation. A powerful debate was held concerning several amendments to our lodge bylaws, with three arguments in favor and three in opposition as well as a couple questions asked of and answered by the Grand Master. Everyone was heartily impressed that every brother arguing was articulate, direct, and above all respectful and harmonious throughout the process. One of our attendees was so impressed he told the Worshipful Master, “there’s a number of lodges that would have benefitted being here to see how you guys work”.
Worshipful Brother Okita stood and announced that since there were five members of East Gate Lodge present they would like to seize a gavel from Friendship Lodge, as per the rules of a timeless intramural game in Oregon Masonry. Conveniently our newest Entered Apprentice Mason had just that afternoon given a Masonic Family gavel he had recovered from Goodwill of all places to WB Lee – in case it was needed.
The Brethren of Friendship Masonic Lodge were blessed with a talk on Masonic friendship and brotherly love by Worshipful Brother Ken Hall (Past Master of Sunnyside Lodge) earning him one of Friendship’s education challenge coins. Following WB Hall’s talk the Grand Master spoke about the wide and wondrous journey of being Grand Master and noted with some emotion that in a mere 38 days this chapter of his Masonic Journey would come to a close. The assembled Brothers all gave our Grand Master a heartfelt round of applause after which our Worshipful Master presented MWB McMillan with a gift – the “complete Friendship package”; consisting of the 2018 officer’s uniform, officer’s pin, and (of course) one of our education challenge coins.
MWB McMillan expressed his gratitude for the gift and presented the WB Lee with a token of his esteem – one of the desk knives the Grand Master had engraved with his motto for the year, “Tools That Work”. The Grand Master then proceeded to close the Lodge on the Master Mason degree. Though it was a longer meeting than usual a majority of the Brethren stayed on to enjoy the warmth of brotherhood and fellowship until the next morning.
Hot on the heels of that illustrious night, the Worshipful Master traveled to Enlightenment Lodge No.228 that Friday, to express his gratitude for the support and affection given by Enlightenment this year. A crisp and effective meeting was followed by sincere brotherhood with old friends and the greeting of three new petitioners.
The following Wednesday, Several Brothers of Friendship Lodge traveled to Columbia Lodge No.114 for their May Stated Meeting. The plan had been to bring five brothers in tow to retrieve the gavel Columbia Lodge seized back in March, but our Junior Warden had to stay home for family business. The brethren of Columbia rolled out the red carpet, even offering WB Lee a ride to the lodge room in the “chariot” to everyone’s amusement. WB Lee was honored with a seat in the East for the duration of the meeting and the use of one of Columbia’s dedicated Past Masters’ aprons. The meeting included a discussion of key parts of the Fellowcraft Degree ritual, during which Bro. Chris Chase (Senior Warden of Friendship) gave a word-perfect performance of the section being discussed.
After closing the meeting, WB Lee presented WB Rob Coomer (sitting Master of 114) with one of Friendship Lodge’s centennial challenge coins. And though having only four members present, WB Coomer offered to let Friendship reclaim their gavel anyways. WB Lee and Bro. Chase looked at each other for a moment and said in unison, “no thank you. That’s not the rules”, and with a smile concluded, “We’ll just have to come back with more brothers next time”.