December Meeting Giveaway

Brethren, greetings and well wishes to you all!

Here we stand at the threshold of the last meeting of the year. I tender to you warmth, well wishes, and Brotherly Love

Just like the all the meetings this year, a drawing of all the members present will take place at the end of the meeting and these prizes will be delivered as we wrap the evening up over coffee and desserts.

The first Brother drawn will have the pick of the three prizes, the second Brother will select of the remaining two, and the third brother will be presented the remaining prize.

Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote (includes TV controls) HD streaming device, Black
Mason Square & Compass Neck Tie in Blue and Gold
A Bronze Retro Masonic Pocket Watch With Chain

Here’s the rub: you have to be present to both win AND receive your prize. If you don’t fill out an attendance slip, if you leave early, or don’t attend the meeting you are ineligible to win.

November Meeting Giveaway

Brethren, greetings and well wishes to you all!

As described we will be having door prizes, raffles, and giveaways at most, if not all, stated meetings and November counts down the penultimate giveaway this year! To continue into the final months of the year there will be THREE prizes this month!

Just like the all the meetings this year, a drawing of all the members present will take place at the end of the meeting and these prizes will be delivered as we wrap the evening up over coffee and desserts.

The first Brother drawn will have the pick of the three prizes, the second Brother will select of the remaining two, and the third brother will be presented the remaining prize.

A pair of Masonic cuff links
Echo Dot (3rd Gen) – Smart Speaker with Alexa, Black
A Bronze Retro Masonic Pocket Watch With Chain

Here’s the rub: you have to be present to both win AND receive your prize. If you don’t fill out an attendance slip, if you leave early, or don’t attend the meeting you are ineligible to win.

November Message from the West

The soldier above all others prays for peace, for it is the soldier who must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war.” – Brother Douglas MacArthur

My Brothers,

Friday is Veterans Day. A day that will have parades, and celebration and equal mourning and reverence. Some will place flags at the resting places of those who served our country and have made the ultimate sacrifice. It is a day that reflects on the freedoms we enjoy. Freedoms that we have come to expect thanks to the brave men and women in our armed forces.

Masonry and the history of our country are deeply intertwined in loyalty, honor, and of course patriotism. As a Veteran of the US Army, I am very proud of the work our Masonic Veterans, our Military Outreach, our sister Lodges and District 40 are doing. You visit our Veterans at Elizabethtown or hospitals. You bring may them items from socks to games. You may not realize it but you bring them the best gift of all: Your time. There are few things more healing and special than sharing the warmth of your presence and the preciousness of being there for a fellow Brother.

Our Lodge is thick with Veterans. Look around, ask, share a story, and remember: not all weight is carried in ones hands.

May the Grand Architect of the Universe protect our men and women in uniform, first responders and bring them safely home.

Sincerely and Fraternally,

October Meeting Giveaway

Brethren, greetings and well wishes to you all!

As described we will be having door prizes, raffles, and giveaways at most, if not all, stated meetings and October remains no exception. To continue into the final quarter of the year there will be THREE prizes this month!

Just like the January meeting, a drawing of all the members present will take place at the end of the meeting and these prizes will be delivered as we wrap the evening up over coffee and desserts.

The first Brother drawn will have the pick of the three prizes, the second Brother will select of the remaining two, and the third brother will be presented the remaining prize.

A Fire HD 8 Tablet with Alexa, 8″ HD Display, 32 GB, Black
A horizontal striped Masonic tie
A pair of white gloves with a blue, embroidered Square & Compass

Here’s the rub: you have to be present to both win AND receive your prize. If you don’t fill out an attendance slip, if you leave early, or don’t attend the meeting you are ineligible to win.

September Message from the West

My Brothers,

Welcome back from the summer break, I hope everyone had a relaxing respite.

We get back into full swing on September 12th and I am genuinely looking forward to seeing everyone at the Lodge again!

Keep an eye out for my Next September Message where I spend some grey matter on a point in a circle and the significance of September.

It was a good summer, with a few events or notable non-events.

*The table at Upper Uwchlan Day was a great success, with cotton candy sales at 150% of the previous event!
*We had Book Club at the Lodge which reviewed The Alchemist and The Craft and it’s Symbols.
*The road clean in July up was cancelled both due to a lack of member participation and logistics issues.
*The Pig Roast in August was cancelled due to a lack of member participation

Coming up in the near future we have the culmination of the ‘Gun Raffle’ in October, GET YOUR TICKETS NOW!
Of course we have a Lodge favorite in October as well with Barnyard Night. Stay tuned as the committee gets the communications together!
Veterans Night & Past Master night are swiftly to follow which will lead us into December and St. Johns Day.

I hope everyone has seen the invitation to the Grand Lodge Quarterly Communication on December 7th at the Temple in Philadelphia.  If you’ve missed it, check the Trestleboard!  It would be great for the District if we had representation for the Grand Lodge.  If you are in need of transportation, please let me know, as we are working on a transportation pool to keep parking to a minimum at the request of the Temple.

We have an exemplification of the Fellowcraft Degree at the School of Instruction on September 21st.  I would be really great to have representation from out Lodge to fill the sideline seats in support of the Worshipful Master and Officer Line performing the Work.

For those members who are finishing off their Master Builder/Craftsman/Pillar program and have not attended a Lodge of Research or Academy of Masonic Knowledge meeting, there is one coming in October which will provide enough time to be presented the award at the Grand Lodge Communication in December.

Please remember that each award requires a discrete set of achievements.  If you attended a meeting to earn your Master Builder, you must attend AGAIN for each Master Craftsman and Master Pillar award.

Oct 2022 Symposium of the Academy of Masonic Knowledge

The next symposium will occur on Saturday, October 22, 2022, at the Masonic Village at Elizabethtown, Freemasons Cultural Center, located at One Masonic Drive, Elizabethtown, PA 17022.

September Meeting Giveaway

Brethren, greetings and well wishes to you all!

As described we will be having door prizes, raffles, and giveaways at most, if not all, stated meetings and September is no exception. To get us back in the swing of things there will be THREE prizes this month!

Just like the January meeting, a drawing of all the members present will take place at the end of the meeting and these prizes will be delivered as we wrap the evening up over coffee and desserts.

The first Brother drawn will have the pick of the three prizes, the second Brother will select of the remaining two, and the third brother will be presented the remaining prize.

What are the September gifts, you ask?

Mason Square & Compass Neck Tie in Blue and Gold
A Bronze Retro Masonic Pocket Watch With Chain
Masonic Coin – 250th Anniversary of George Washington – minted in 1982




Join us at Mt Pickering Lodge on Saturday, August 20th for a pig roast

Brethren,
Please mark your calendars and join us at Mt Pickering Lodge on Saturday, August 20th for a pig roast from 5-9 PM.
We will have a pig, roasted, seasoned, and pulled or cut with a variety of sides and drinks.

All you can eat, $25 per person, $10 for under 10, and free for under 5 years old. 
There will be take away dinners for $15 each at the lodge.

Mt Pickering Lodge, 218 Byers Rd, Chester Springs PA 19425

RSVPs are appreciated via GrandView (The Grand Lodge Website)

August Message from the West

Brothers,

As summer winds down and we head towards fall, I pray that everyone got their well deserved rest and respite. I was thinking about my last message, being called off from Labor for the summer and going dark. It immediately galvanized a train of though around being called back on to labor and work (in the sends that vacation season is ending), school, and lodge all starting up again after Labor Day; is that Masonically connected? In our country, founded by Masons, so many things are, what about this? This is what I have turned up. I hope you learn something as I did. For those of you who had parents who lived through it, it way be a good story to share as you may find parallels in those story that sound familiar to today’s’ news in a variety of ways. You know the saying from philosopher George Santayana “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Let this not be us.

Equality, Fraternity, Justice and Labor. This sounds a lot like Masonry.

Can America celebrate Labor Day without celebrating the Laborer?

Could there be a connection between Labor Day and Freemasonry through which they share an intersection in the forgotten halls of history and why we celebrate this national American holiday?

The U.S. Department of Labor defines the Labor Day holiday as a day

“…dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.”

As a day to recognize the common laborer in America, Labor Day can be traced to 1882 when it was first proposed as a holiday by machinist Matthew Maguire who proposed the idea while serving as the secretary of the Central Labor Union of New York.  In just a short time the momentum to make the day a National Holiday grew to a crescendo on the heels of the violent conflict between rail workers and the US military in 1894.

Stemming from, essentially, an unfair control of labor and housing, the Pullman Strike began as the result of a refusal to include reductions in housing costs for the laid-off workers forced to live in the company town of Pullman, today a suburb of Chicago in Illinois.

The town, George Pullman envisioned, would be

“a model community, a total environment, superior to that available to the working class elsewhere…[from which] he hoped to avoid strikes, attract the most skilled workers and attain greater productivity as a result of the better health, environment and spirit of his employees.”

When laid off workers, who had been forced to live in company housing, were let go the company who owned the town (and the housing therein) refused to lower their rents on company owned properties. The result of the layoff and unaltered rents created undue hardships for the laid off workers and their families who had few options because of the sudden loss of income. Company owner George Pullman refused to address the issue, or go into arbitration over it, prompting a wildcat strike with the local Pullman Palace Car Company.

Drawing from Machinists’ monthly journal, Volume 27, By International Association of Machinists, page 413, 1915, from Wikipedia.

Gradually the work stoppage grew into a national strike organized by the American Railway Union reaching its height when it became a national boycott that included train stoppages through the efforts of close to 250,000 workers in 27 states disrupting national transportation lines, and consequently mail delivery.

With a growing strike, the Federal Government under President Grover Cleveland, procured a court injunction and moved in with the Army to end the boycott and alleviate the obstruction of trains which (carrying mail) ultimately cost $80,000,000 in damage due to riots and sabotage. In the end 13 strikers lay dead and another 57 wounded.

At its conclusion the U.S. Army, with its court injunction, broke the blockade of trains in Lockwood, Montana, precipitating the end of the strike.

In the end the union was dissolved, the trains were moving, mail began to flow, the American Railway Union leader was imprisoned and American workers were given Labor Day as a national holiday six days following the collapse of the strike. 

Interesting to note, President Grover Cleveland, with the full support of Congress, unanimously voted to create the Labor Day holiday we celebrate today in a conciliatory gesture towards American Labor.

In its foundation, the national celebration of the holiday was to exhibit “the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations, with the Sunday before the Holiday a Labor Sunday, dedicated to the spiritual and educational aspects of the labor movement.”

So how does Freemasonry factor into the complex composition of the creation of this national Holiday?

The Masonic Connection

George Mortimer Pullman

As it turns out, the city of Pullman,and its parent company, the Pullman Palace Car Company, were founded by Freemason George Pullman, a member of Renovation Lodge No. 97, in Albion, New York.

Pullman established Pullman Palace Car Company in 1862 with the goal of building luxury train cars with all the amenities of the day. 

In support of his early factory, the Pullman Company constructed a company town, uniquely named Pullman, within which some 4,000 acres housed 6,000 company employees and their dependents, many of whom were at the center of the Pullman Strike and the creation of Labor Day. 

In one entry about the town, it is suggested that employees were required to live in the town even when cheaper housing was nearby.  Reading the Wikipedia entry on the Pullman Company, its easy to see today how the conflict of corporate and worker interest would conflict. It reads:

The company built a company town, Pullman, Illinois on 4,000 acres (16 km²), 14 mi (23 km) south of Chicago in 1880. The town, entirely company-owned, provided housing, markets, a library, churches and entertainment for the 6,000 company employees and an equal number of dependents. Employees were required to live in Pullman, despite the fact that cheaper rentals could be found in nearby communities. One employee is quoted as saying “We are born in a Pullman house, fed from the Pullman shops, taught in the Pullman school, catechized in the Pullman Church, and when we die we shall go to the Pullman Hell”. Alcohol was prohibited in the town, as George Pullman found it a distasteful habit for his workers; though it was available in the company’s Hotel Florence, primarily for the benefit of the hotel guests as it was generally too expensive for laborers.

Pullman, a member of Renovation Lodge No. 97, Albion, New York, in his construction of the city of Pullman converted the swampy southern Chicago landscape into a planned industrial town complete with facilities for a Masonic Temple. The temple housed Palace Lodge No. 765, A.F. & A.M., Pullman R.A.M. Chapter, and Woodlawn-Imperial R. & S.M. Council.

Such was Pullman’s association with Freemasonry that in 1894 he was given a Masonic Cornerstone laying ceremony in honor of his father, Lewis Pullman (also a Freemason), which hosted two hundred Masons from Albion, Medina, Holley, and Lockport who processed along the Main Street for the cornerstone ceremony at Pullman Memorial Universalist Church of Albion, New York, today part of the Unitarian Universalist tradition.

Eugene V. Debs

On the other side of the labor dispute was labor leader Eugene V. Debs.  Also a man of great passion, Debs was a man possessed with the welfare and well being of the worker who was greatly involved in the developing American labor movements making five runs for the White House under the Socialist Party, his 1912 run receiving 5.99% of the popular vote on a working man political ticket.  While not a Freemason, Debs was an interesting luminary becoming, the most well known socialist living in America.  As the organizer behind the Pullman Strike and boycott, Debs served a six month jail sentence for violating the federal injunction.

While Debs has no Masonic connection, what is interesting to note are his many associations that were grounded in the foundation of fraternal brotherhood namely in the trade unions which you can see carry the earmarks of that mystical chain of union in his  own motto of “Equality, fraternity and justice.” 

Personal ideals aside, Debs held memberships in several national unions including the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen, Brotherhood of Railway Firemen, the Industrial Workers of the World, and, of course, the American Railway Union.  Through those affiliations, you can get a sense of his passion for epitomizing what it means to be in fellowship with those you are in union with.

Ultimately, Debs passion was the betterment of the working class based on fairness, the basis for which he found in his saying “Those who produce should have, but we know that those who produce the most – that is, those who work hardest, and at the most difficult and most menial tasks, have the least.”  This could, perhaps, summarize his involvement with the labor movements.  Today, Debs work is remembered through a Terre Haute Indiana foundation founded in his name, The Eugene V. Debs Foundation, whose mission is to “keep alive the spirit of progressivism, humanitarianism and social criticism epitomized by Debs.

From these two, Pullman and Debs, we can see parallels in passion for brotherhood and, while at odds with the promulgation of those passions, both at the nexus of recognizing the importance of Labor in America.  Pullman, a Freemason, saw at some level the importance of the spiritual need to belong to a fraternal chain of union and Debs the physical political manifestation of that ideal in the real life condition of workers in brotherhood raising the common lot of those whose blood and sweat continue to serve the growth of American prosperity.

From their intersection of history, the Pullman and Debs conflict gave us the Labor Day holiday so that while we take a much appreciated rest at the end of summer we can celebrate the esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations whose efforts have given us this day to be celebrated.

July Message from the West

Brothers,

As we celebrate the Independence of our great nation, it is hard not to see the turbulence and divisiveness about our Great Nation.

In these concerning times I encourage us all to embrace our ritual to set the examples we follow.  Let me share a few short examples.

“Masonry accepts men of every country, sect and opinion.” While we may believe in a different Supreme Being than another Brother, or not necessarily agree with a Brothers’ perspective, we still love each other as Brothers. We will continue to treat each other as such, not because writ dictates but because we are better men. It also means that we are welcoming of all men of good moral character regardless of race, religion, class, creed, background, social standing, or pedigree. We are Brothers, regardless of these qualities and will continue to treat each other as such.

Here’s an important and appropriate message we are reminded of often.

“Every human being has a claim upon your kind offices. Do good unto all.” Brethren, we are honored to hold the title of “Mason”. Honored. We are fortunate that there are other good men in our community who will replace us when it’s time for us to lay down our working tools. “Do good unto all.”  doesn’t just mean the people you like, or the people in your neighborhood, or just the Lodge. It doesn’t refer to those who share likeminded views, or those from your generation. All means All – everyone! Regardless of their background, standing in the world, or their position in the Lodge. Don’t only do good for some – do good unto all.

So, as we come together this month to celebrate our Nation’s Independence, I share these closing words with you. Now more than ever, the world, our nation and our Jurisdiction need Freemasonry. They need men of strong moral character. They need men who stand true to their obligations. They need men who are good husbands, fathers, grandfathers and community members.

Brethren, we are Masons both within and without the walls of our Lodge. Please remember to use social media in a positive and informative way. Abide by the laws of your city, state and nation. Wear your Masonic ring with honor and integrity. Always practice Brotherly Love, Hope, and Truth. Wave the flag of our country with pride, be the change you wish to see. Be the Brother you wish to see. Influence the change we know is right.

Brethren, I wish you a safe and happy 4th of July Holiday weekend. I look forward to seeing you in Lodge soon.

Upper Uwchlan Day 2020

On Saturday, 18th of June, Mt. Pickering hosted a tent at the Upper Uwchlan Day Block Party.

Great participation from the Brethren, and a few offspring and spouses thereof.

A fairly aggressive selling schedule this year was greatly thwarted by the weather. In addition to the cotton candy, which is the annual staple, we also had planned sales of water and popcorn in the first tent, and candy, water, hand forged knives, cigar box guitars, hand made dog leashes, survival bracelets, obsidian jewelry, hand made pottery, and a spray paint art painting station in the second tent. Unfortunately, with the wind strong enough to blow the tents away, which almost happened a few times, some items were put away so they were no blown away.

As we are taught, we went hand in hand with unamimity and success crowned our efforts. We persevered with cotton candy and water in the first tent and had a record setting year; great job Brothers!