Brethren , ladies, and friends, we received a formal reply from our Eastern Star chapter that this year will be their last for preparing the stated meeting dinners. I want to thank them for their many years of service. Our Stated Meeting Dinners are an important part of our Lodge life. To our new visitors and applicants they are a window to our lodge and often form their first impression. For me they provided an elegant touch to our lodge dinners that I haven’t seen in other lodges. Results from the Stated Meeting Dinner Survey are in: I received 9 replies to the Stated Meeting Dinner survey. Five liked the dinners especially the salad bar. 2 requested a wider variety of beverages such as sodas. 3 recommended alternate fare. We will have ample opportunity to discuss how we want to conduct these dinners and I encourage you to be part of the process.
I have just returned from an epic ten-day trip to Israel, touring with the Masons of California and visiting Christian, Jewish, and Muslim sites of the Holy Land. We had 2 masonic events; one a meeting of the Lodge of the Holy Land, where a special meeting was convened in honor of our tour and for a first degree. Both meetings allowed us to witness the English ceremonies of the Israel Grand Lodge jurisdiction. The First Degree was extra special in that it was performed in King Solomon’s mines beneath the Temple Mount under the walls of Jerusalem, with the candidate being a Christian Arab. Three holy books were present at the degree and it was attended by over 125 masons from 6 different countries representing over 20 different lodges. After the degree, all retired to a special dinner at the Dan Jerusalem hotel, where the wife of one of the brothers commented: “ I have never experienced such cordial conduct by such a diverse collection of men and women. I didn’t realize such courtesy actually existed.” It was a strong unsolicited testament to Most Worshipful Charvonia’s theme of civility and healing the world one person at a time. A striking awareness was made when we had a religious service atop the ruins of the Western Wall. The “conflagration and inundation” that laid waste to such a magnificent structure by the ruthless hands of ignorance was actually there under my feet. At these ruins I felt that if that the civil conduct to which we aspire were to have prevailed, it all could have been avoided. Wandering through the Jewish quarter I also realized that the different religious factions are in desperate need of civil accord. It is sad that men of the same religion can pass by without a smile or good day. I had better smiles and pleasant good mornings in the hotel elevators from the visitors from Africa. That was a very nice feeling indeed.
Remember, “A smile is a little curve that can set everything straight!”