From the West

we are brothers

Happy New Year from The West!

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Happy New Year, brethren! I hope your holidays have been pleasant, and filled with family and fun.

I look back on 2017 and my time as Junior Warden, and I am filled with pride for the things that we have accomplished. To echo the words of Worshipful Brother Lee at the installation, Friendship Masonic Lodge #160 knows what it wants to do, and we are getting better at it every year. We are working on bigger and better charitable work and involvement in our community, greater education and discussion at our gatherings, and fellowship befitting our name. Read More


From the West – August 2017

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As we approach our coming Fellowcraft degrees this summer I find myself musing on some recurring lessons in our degrees. Most especially of finding balance in all things. The point within a circle admonishes us that our duties will require touching upon both the extremes of left and right, summer and winter, John the Baptist and John the Evangelist; as well as the ideal, middle path of the Volume of Sacred Law. How hard it can be to do just that thing, weigh all sides equally, know the ideal, and still pursue what we think best. A nautical rhyme comes to mind, meant to admonish the sailor to be prudent whenever at sea and in dispute over right of way:

“Here lies the body of Michael O’Day Who died defending his right of way.
He was right, dead right, as he sailed along But just as dead as if he’d been wrong.”

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masonic mentorship

From the West – July 2017

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This past month has offered a wealth of Masonic education for me, but I have also been pulled in many directions; in meditating on how to proceed with MWB Art Borland’s order to rescind our recent bylaws change, to mentoring Bro EA Quinn, and most importantly, caring for my 9- weeks-old twins; I have found myself without much time to organize my thoughts. But I would like to share something our beloved Brother Junior Deacon wrote on our Facebook page in June: Read More

rudyard kipling

From the West – May 2017

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Greetings from The West, Brethren;
My mind has been pulled in many directions this past month. Consequently, I’ve struggled to find the right words to convey all the lessons I’ve encountered since we last met and worked together. But one thing that has stood out to me is the triumphant return of our Brother Junior Deacon, Kent from his journeys in Europe with his wife. Among his adventures abroad was an evening spent at a Lodge in Antwerp and in commemoration of his Masonic education I’d like to offer a poem from Brother Rudyard Kipling. Read More

from the west

Trowel & Mortar

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Greetings from The West, Brethren;

I’ve got my mind on mortar and mortar on my mind right now. We are all taught the proper application of the trowel as speculative Masons, and are informed of its utility to our ancient operative Brothers; but today (and regrettably too often) I find illustrations depicting the operative use incorrectly; as a tool used to spread cement over the face of the work. To be clear: if your work needs to be smoothed over on its face – your work is slipshod and the weaknesses you’ve hidden will show in time. Indeed, there were times when our ancient Brethren did find it necessary to veneer their work, but Masonic tradition informs us that that most sublime Masonic edifice did not use tricks or shortcuts – the builders we study and revere took the longer, harder path of carefully selecting and preparing their stones; cementing them together by spreading their mortar between each and every one. Read More

Hand Shake

From the West – February 2017

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“Meeting on the Level” was a recurring them in February. It took center stage in our meeting as we were reminded of the landmarks of Freemasonry, following Lodge it turned out to be prevalent throughout our conversations, and my own life for many days more. Last month’s discussion of the teachability of virtue brought several interesting questions out of the library. From Bro. Blake Presswood’s incisive reconstruction of Aquinas’ Principle of Double Effect to the Worshipful Master’s recounting of the story of Moses and Al- Khadir; the evening ultimately focused everyone on the problem of intent and its paradoxical alliance with effect. I’d like to take a moment to thank everyone who participated – this second effort to drill down and unpack the notion of virtue expanded all our experience of the mysteries of our fraternity. And I am personally grateful that it gave me greater knowledge of the Level – knowledge which turned out to be quite useful this past week. Read More

Grand Lodge approves by-laws amendment

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I have the distinction of sharing some good news with you from Friendship 160. At our January Stated Communication we learned that the Grand Master had signed and the Grand Lodge had approved of an amendment to our bylaws. No hooting, clapping, cheers or jeers were heard in the Lodge that night. Some smiles broke out and a few heads nodded, some Brothers sighed relief. This was but one of many points of business we had on a busy agenda. No comment was made about this news even after the Lodge closed and we rejoined our guests for some light refreshments and conversation about the night’s education. We’d had those conversations throughout the latter half of 2016, following the Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge. Following the example set by Most Worshipful Brother Don Stapleton, we chose to address the issue of sexual orientation in our Lodge and have amended our bylaws to include the following; “No individual is to be excluded or expelled from membership in our Lodge, on the basis of sexual orientation. Our Lodge regards it as unmasonic to take any such action against a candidate or member.” This language is clear and unequivocating, as is our belief that this issue is a test of our skill with the proper application of the Level. Read More

From the West – January 2017

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Greetings from The West,

As 2016 is in its final days I find myself with high hopes and aspirations for 2017. Perhaps it will be quieter or marked with less hardship, but my greatest hope is to transcend the recent air of conflict that seems to have distinctly marked this year – most tragically in the cases I learned of Brothers in our Craft getting caught up in piques and feuds.

In the hopes that we can all grow either ourselves or those we love in 2017 I’d like to share the following poem with you. Read More