As we begin our new Masonic year, I want to thank you for all that you have done – and will do – to make Richardson Masonic Lodge strong and meaningful to our fraternity, ourselves and our community.
I’m using this first newsletter of the new Masonic year to outline for you the programs that I intend to implement this coming year, all with the goal of making Richardson Lodge #1214 stronger; Stronger in membership, stronger financially, and stronger fraternally.
At the beginning of each new Grand Lodge Year, the new Grand Master uses three simple words to define his vision for the coming year. Subordinate Lodges should do that as well, and if I were to select three simple words that illustrate the goals for this year, they would be: Enthusiasm, Involvement and Dedication.
We have been blessed recently with new members that are already exhibiting a level of Enthusiasm that is both encouraging and refreshing. By Involving them in as many aspects of our lodge as possible, and encouraging their Dedication to do all that they do to their best ability, we cannot help but strengthen our Lodge and our Fraternity.
Here are the programs that I will endeavor to see implemented this year, with your support:
We are rejuvenating an idea that has been used by many lodges in the past, but still has a great deal of merit. A group of four volunteers will telephone each of our members that don’t, or can’t for a variety of reasons, attend lodge. The purpose is to check on the brother’s health and welfare, check the usual addresses and so forth, to advise the brother on upcoming events, and to encourage the brother to attend lodge if he is able. If you would like to help in this effort, please let me know.
Let’s face it – sometimes our “secret society” meetings can be a little mundane, so we will be inviting guest speakers to join us occasionally during or prior to our monthly stated communication. Our first guest will be Brother Larry Fitzpatrick, former Grand Orator of the Grand Lodge of Texas, who is scheduled to speak at our August stated meeting. If you have ever heard Brother Fitzpatrick speak, you know that you will walk out of there with a renewed enthusiasm and pride in being a Mason. Please join us on Tuesday, August 5th.
The 1214 Retreat:
This is something entirely new, and I’m really excited about it. I hope that it will give us the opportunity for both great fellowship and also an opportunity to work together to develop ideas to make 1214 stronger. This will take place on Lake Cypress Springs on Saturday, July 12th, starting at 10:00 AM. It is an easy 2-hour drive from Dallas. Those that want to stay for the night or weekend are welcome. The plan is to bring together a core group of past masters, current officers and new Masons to strategize how we make 1214 better. If you want to help make a difference and would like to participate, contact me at the address or phone number below. An email was recently sent out on this. Please RSVP to me personally at Papabri48@gmail.com
(I regret having to postpone the Retreat until another date yet to be decided, because of a recent injury. We will get this re-scheduled and back on the calendar as soon as possible.)
The Scholarship Fund:
As you probably know, our Lodge provides annual Lamar Awards to one graduating senior from each of the four high schools in Richardson. This program has continued since its inception by Past Master Jeff Davis, and we currently provide a $500 scholarship to each of those students, which we are committed to continuing. This year, W.: M.: Jeff Smith applied to the Masonic Services Bureau and our students will receive funds matching our scholarships, with total scholarships of $1,000 each! That is simply fantastic. Our own scholarship fund was coming close to being depleted were it not for a recent shot-in-the-arm from renting out our parking lot to the cell phone antenna folks while the water tower was being painted. Our goal this year is to start re-building that Scholarship Fund, which may take some time, so that in the (hopefully near) future, it will become financially self-sustaining. From that point forward, we can even consider increasing the individual scholarships and/or the number of scholarships above the modest $500 we now provide. We already have one very exciting fundraiser ready to be unveiled by SW Donnye Winship, so stay tuned to Channel 1214!
We are currently blessed in having adequate financial reserves. In order to assure that those assets are safe and secure, I will be proposing to Members the establishment of an investment committee to periodically review how and where those funds are placed to receive a decent financial return with minimal risk.
I am excited to let everyone know that this years’ approved budget includes using previously-accrued funds (read my lips: no new taxes!) to do some much needed renovations to our building. Right now, we have allocated funds to add much-needed gutters to the building and funds to improve our restrooms and fellowship areas. I am also pleased to announce that the Order of Eastern Star has pledged funds to help renovated the women’s restroom! Our Building Committee will be charged with pricing out the various options, setting priorities and implementing the construction.
We’ve had the newsletter/no newsletter conversations a number of times in recent years, and this year is no different. We recognize that some brothers are “digitally challenged” and don’t have a computer nor care to hammer on a keyboard to find out what’s happening in the lodge. On the other hand, we are headlong into the computer age, and with the internet, emails and social media, we’d be remiss not to direct our communications digitally as much as possible for ast and cost-effective communications. We don’t want to help put the USPS out of business, but I’d rather invest in scholarships. For those that would still prefer a good ole fashioned paper newsletter, ask and you shall receive……but only quarterly. Let me or SW Donnye Winship know, and we will put you on the mailing list. We hope to build up our website and make it more interesting with pictures and current events, so please check us out at http://richardsonmasoniclodge.org/. For the less-timid, get really bold and “friend” us on Facebook, where you can often find daily updates.
Remember that this is YOUR lodge, and YOU are needed to make all this happen. We have a very full plate this year, but all is achievable with your Enthusiasm, Involvement and Dedication!
Brian McGauley, WM