Remembering Past Grand Masters
MARVIN A. CUNNINGHAM,
AUTUMN 2022 THE PENNSYLVANIA R.W. Grand Master 1982 - 1983 Dec. 22, 1926 - July 3, 2022
SR. R.W. Grand Master 2002 - 2003 Sept. 1, 1933 - July 25, 2022
THE PENNSYLVANIA FREEMASON
VOL. LXXX, AUTUMN 2022, No. 4
©2022 The R.W. Grand Lodge F.&A.M. of Pennsylvania
Jeffrey M. Wonderling, R.W.G.M.
Larry A. Derr, R.W.D.G.M.
Robert D. Brink, R.W.S.G.W.
P.J. Roup, R.W.J.G.W.
Adam C. Heese, R.W.G.T.
Mark A. Haines, R.W.G.S.
Tina L. Lutter - Production Coordinator
Megan L. Frame - Graphic Designer
Pennsylvania Masonic Youth Foundation Staff Masonic Library & Museum of Pennsylvania Staff
(Publication No. USPS 426-140) Autumn 2022 Issue of The Pennsylvania Freemason is published quarterly by the Masonic Villages, One Masonic Drive, Elizabethtown, PA 17022. Articles and photographs to be considered for publication should be sent with local Masonic authority to the address above, to the attention of The Pennsylvania Freemason or emailed to email@example.com.
Except by special arrangement, all articles, photographs and artwork become the property of the Grand Lodge.
Published by the Masonic Villages, owned and operated by the Grand Lodge of F.& A.M. of Pennsylvania, as a means of soliciting the physical and financial support of the members, their families and the public in general. Periodical postage is paid at Elizabethtown, PA, and additional mailing offices.
We appreciate the many submissions we receive for consideration. We apologize, but due to space constraints, we are not able to publish every submission we receive.
STATEMENT OF OWNERSHIP
(Act of Oct. 23, 1962; Section 4369; Title 39, United States Code) Autumn 2022, The Pennsylvania Freemason, published quarterly by the Masonic Villages, Elizabethtown, PA 17022. Publishers: The Right Worshipful Grand Lodge of the Most Ancient and Honorable Fraternity of Free and Accepted Masons of Pennsylvania. Editor: Jeffrey M. Wonderling. Owner: The Right Worshipful Grand Lodge of the Most Ancient and Honorable Fraternity of Free and Accepted Masons of Pennsylvania. Known bondholders: none. No advertising handled. Free distribution averages 87,000 each quarter. I certify that the statements made by me are correct and complete.
Jeffrey M. Wonderling, Editor
Mailing address changes
If your address on the back cover of this magazine is not exactly as you have provided it to us, please be aware that addresses are modified through the various mailing process requirements required by the U.S. Postal Service. If you have any questions or would like to inform us of a change in address, please contact the Office of Mission Advancement and Development at 1-800-599-6454 or giving@ masonicvillages.org.
Postmaster: Send address changes to: The Pennsylvania Freemason, c/o Masonic Village, One Masonic Drive, Elizabethtown, PA 17022-2199.
Inside This Issue
3 FREEMASONRY TODAY
Grand Master’s Message • Upcoming Events •
Scenes from the Final Meeting in the Hills • Riding for Masonic Charity • 5th Annual Sporting Clays Results • Embodying Masonic Values Art Contest Winners
New Operatives Assemblage • Lodge Helps Flood Victims
• A Permanent Place in History • Remembering Brother Samuel C. Williamson • Remembering Brother Marvin A. Cunningham, Sr. • Master of “The Lore Lodge”
Using Social Media to Grow and Retain Membership • Preserving Masonic History and its Lessons • Masonic Library & Museum Speaker Series
Lodges Provide a Touch of Tranquility • Where Are They Now?
• Make Dreams Come True This Holiday Season • Living the Best Life at Masonic Villages • Forging the Future: The Youth Perspective • Summer Youth Conferences Return
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Grand Master’s Message
Ah … Fall is here. My favorite time of the year. The beauty of the foliage. The end of the harvest. In our family, the tradition of shredding 250 lbs. of cabbage that will ferment into sauerkraut by April. Football, football and more football. And my third favorite holiday, Thanksgiving.
I reflect on what I’m thankful for: My GOD, family, career and fraternity. I am thankful for the opportunity to serve you, an opportunity that I take seriously. I am thankful our fraternity is blessed with great men who give of their time and talent to make a difference. I see it in the elected Grand Lodge Officers, the District Deputy Grand Masters, the support staff, the Lodge Officers and you. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the group of which I am most proud: the leadership and staff of our Masonic Villages. The sacrifices they made and the work ethic they demonstrated throughout the pandemic were nothing less than Herculean. I am aware and yet cannot fathom what they went through. I can’t even thank them without getting choked up.
So, what have we done so far this year? We held 12 town hall meetings across the jurisdiction to clarify the roles of the Grand Lodge, District Deputy Grand Masters and the individual lodges. In conjunction, we held 12 open house meetings to introduce Freemasonry to potential members. We offered a template for lodge success, which if followed, will not fail. At every opportunity, at every event, we held question and answer sessions to provoke thought and promote understanding.
We assisted other jurisdictions with laying a wreath at the tomb of Brother George Washington at Mount Vernon. The elected officers participated in the Conference of Grand Masters in Milwaukee to exchange ideas and improve the Masonic experience in Pennsylvania. We represented our jurisdiction by attending a number of Grand Lodges.
The June Quarterly Communication held in Johnstown was by all accounts a huge success, even though there was a power outage as Grand Lodge was opened. Who needs power? We refused to be deterred. Fortunately, the outage was short lived. We reduced
the cost of the Quarterly Communication by an average of 35% less than previous events. Know this: we are spending your money as if it is our money.
There were two Grand Master’s Sporting Clays events to support the operations of Grand Lodge, which netted $36,122.32.
On Sept. 9, I took advantage of the privilege of a Grand Master to make a “Mason at Sight” when Glen “GT” Thompson, U.S. Congressman, received the three symbolic degrees. I would like to personally congratulate him and welcome him to our fraternity. The truth be known, Brother Thompson has been living Masonic principles for years, and now it’s official.
I believe we have had successes, but we need to keep our foot on the gas. I hope each of you is working toward a successful Grand Master’s One Day Class to be held at a location near you on March 25, 2023. To be clear, I know there are pro and cons. This is not intended to be a membership grab. We are seeking only to invite and accept the highest quality men. In addition, every new member MUST complete the mentoring program; nobody will be excused. The data from our previous one-day events, as well as from other jurisdictions that conduct One Day Classes, proves that it doesn’t matter how members come in; it matters that the candidates are quality men who are properly mentored and educated to understand who we are, what we do and how our fraternity benefits them and our society. It is our responsibility to assure that the new member becomes successfully engaged in the lodge experience.
Brethren, this is your fraternity. It is up to each and every one of us to ensure its success.
Sincerely and Fraternally,
Jeffrey M. Wonderling, R.W. Grand Master
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December Quarterly Communication
TO THE MEMBERS OF THE GRAND LODGE:
You are hereby requested to attend the December Quarterly Communication of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania to be held on Wednesday, Dec. 7, at 7 p.m., at the Masonic Temple, One N. Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107
By Order of the R.W. Grand Master. Mark A. Haines, R.W. Grand Secretary
Pennsylvania Lodge of Research Stated Meeting
SATURDAY, DEC. 10, AT 1 P.M. | CARLISLE MASONIC CENTER, 1236 HOLLY PIKE, CARLISLE, PA 17013
All meetings of the Pennsylvania Lodge of Research are open to all Masons. Scholarly papers on Masonic topics will be presented. Attendees’ dress is coat and tie with member jewel.
If you are interested in making a presentation at future meeting, contact one of the officers.
For information about membership, visit palodgeofresearch.org/membership. Questions regarding membership can be emailed to Lodge.of.Research@pagrandlodge.org.
FREEMASONRY TODAY UPCOMING EVENTS Pennsylvania Freemason
Join us for an exquisite Black Tie Gala in celebration of the Masonic Temple in Philadelphia’s 150 th Anniversary. Look for more events to be held throughout 2023 to commemorate this milestone! Save the date Saturday, March 18, 2023
The 25th and final Meeting in the Hills
The final Meeting in the Hills, held Aug. 20 at Christner’s Grove, may have been the largest Blue Lodge event in the USA in recent memory, with 810 Masons enjoying a NY strip steak meal prior to the Grand Master’s surprise program. In lieu of a meeting, a reenactment of the Battle of Gettysburg erupted. It depicted the event precipitating the “Friend to Friend” monument, the mortal wounding of General Armistead, complete with cannon fire.
Brother Paul “Sam” Truxel, III, was presented the Grand Master’s Service Award (pictured below) “not only for providing the meals over the last 25 years, but more importantly, the millions of dollars he has generated for various Western Pennsylvania charities over the past 40+ years,” R.W. Grand Master Wonderling said. “I cannot give District Deputy Grand Masters Darrin Catts and Josh Freeman their due in bringing the reenactment to a reality. I also would like to thank the members of the lodges of the Pleasant Valley Masonic Center for their incredible contribution. And lastly, I would like express my gratitude to Brothers Dustin Thompson, David Christner and the Christner family for their generosity in allowing us to ‘take over’ their property every summer during the last 25 years.”
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RIDING for Masonic Charity
More than 164 bikers motored through western Pennsylvania July 17 during the Grand Master’s Charity Ride. The largest fundraiser for the Pennsylvania Widows Sons, this year’s event raised $4,500 for the Masonic Children’s Home and other Masonic Charities, according to Brother Jonathan DeLuca, state Vice President.
Pennsylvania members, as well as members from out-ofstate chapters, participated in a large rally following the ride, which lasted about 1½ hours.
Riders are already looking forward to next year’s event on Aug. 5 in Pittsburgh.
“What a great group of Masons,” R.W. Grand Master Jeff Wonderling said. “It’s the first time I was on a motorcycle in 44 years, and they took good care of me. We rode from Bedford through the countryside to the Flight 93 Memorial. They made a nice donation to the Masonic Widows’ Guild, a charitable arm of the Masonic Outreach Program to ensure Masons’ widows are taken care of. I am truly impressed with the organization.”
To locate a chapter of the Pennsylvania Widows Sons Masonic Riders Association, visit pawidowssons.org.
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5th Annual Grand Lodge Sporting Clays Results
Thanks to our generous sponsors, these events netted over $36,122 to support Grand Lodge Operations
Shoot Sponsor: Mill Creek Capital Investments
Lunch Sponsor: Bernzott Capital
RBC Wealth Management
Christenson Investment Partners
USI Insurance Brokers
David Hegeman and Neil Brown
5-Stand Sponsors: Aristotle Capital Management Catering by Design King Solomon’s Lodge No. 346 Lincoln Financial Group
National Investment Service
Station Sponsors: 5th Masonic District
8th Masonic District
10th Masonic District
30th Masonic District John T. Brobst, Jr., D.D.G.M.-58 Brooks Development Group Charles A. Cagle, CPA Robert F. Dunkle, P.D.D.G.M.-38 Fox’s Glass Co., LLC
Green Leaf Lodge No. 561
Informed Systems, Inc.
James Cochran Lodge No. 614
Stephen Long MMC Land Management
Murray Insurance Oakdale Lodge No. 669 Packard Environmental Service
Smith Elliott & Kearns CPAs & Advisors
Thank you to Brother Alan R. Beidel, P.M., Cumblerland Valley Lodge No. 315, Shippensburg, for organizing the Lehigh Valley shoot, and to Brother Edward A. Aiello, Legonier Lodge No. 331, for organizing the Seven Springs shoot.
Save the dates for next year’s events
Seven Springs: Sunday, Aug. 20, 2023
Lehigh Valley: Sunday, Sept. 10, 2023
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Embodying Masonic Values Art Contest WINNERS ANNOUNCED
Congratulations to the winners of the 2022 “Embodying Masonic Values” art competition sponsored by The Masonic Library and Museum of Pennsylvania!
Both amateur and professional artists, ages 18 and older, were invited to submit original entries displaying a visual interpretation of Freemasonry in Pennsylvania. Thirty-four entries were submitted this year. Jurors included Brother Travis Simpkins, artist; John McDaniel, artist; and Elaine Erne, artist/teacher.
The Grand Exhibition Gala was held at the Masonic Temple in Philadelphia on Friday, Oct. 7, featuring a cocktail and hors d’oeuvres reception, live music, announcement of winners and a silent auction of selected artwork. The annual Grand Exhibition is open to the public to view from Oct. 11 - Nov. 12 and also can be viewed online at Pamasonictemple.org/open-art-competition.
Some Grand Exhibition artists have chosen to offer their works for sale, with 80% of the sale value going to them and 20% to The Masonic Library and Museum of Pennsylvania. All pieces are subject to prior sale. Prices do not include shipping, handling and insurance. Buyers may choose to pick up their purchases at the Masonic Temple, One North Broad Street, Philadelphia. Please contact the Gift Shop at 215-988-1977, Tuesday - Saturday, 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., to make a purchase and arrangements.
BEST IN CATEGORY $200 Award
Oil: “A Pair of Compasses” by PJ Mills 1
Three-dimensional: “Portrait of Franklin” by Morgan Dummitt 2
Drawing and Print-making: “Unlocking Independence” by Juan Sepulveda 3
Water-Based Medium (a tie): “Discoveries” by Jeannine Dabb 4 & “The Union League of Philadelphia” by Mark Schreiber 5
Digital Imagery: “New Ideals” by Valeria Lang 6
GRAND MASTER’S PRIZE $500 Award
“Balance” by Dennis RedMoon Darkeem 7
BEST IN SHOW $1,000 Award
“Renovatio Ritus” by Madeline Davis 8
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NEW Operatives Assemblage
Commonwealth, the others being Bryn Aythn Quarry Assemblage in Allentown and Ashcom Quarry Assemblage in Everett.
Grand Master Masons must come to the United States from England to constitute an Assemblage (pictured to the left).
The Constitution of Donegal Church Assemblage of The Worshipful Society of Free Masons, Rough Masons, Wallers, Slaters, Paviors, Plaisterers and Bricklayers (The Operatives) was constituted on July 13. The Assemblage will hold its regular meetings at the Lancaster Masonic Center.
The Operatives are an invitational Masonic body dedicated to the preservation of the history and workings of operative guild masonry that existed prior to modern speculative Freemasonry. Membership is restricted to Master Masons and Holy Royal Arch Companions in good standing. This marks the third Assemblage in the
Brother Bryan L. Hill, a resident of the Masonic Village at Elizabethtown, was installed as the first Deputy Master Mason of the group. His extensive experience and understanding of English Masonic customs were critical in getting the group started. Additionally, Bryan coordinated with the Rooster’s Corner wood shop at the Masonic Village to have all the necessary furniture and ritual paraphernalia made by hand, to exacting specifications.
Following the Constitution ceremony, the new members and guests retired to the Lancaster Country Club for an excellent Festive Board to celebrate.
The Masonic Library & Museum of Pennsylvania Gift Shop offers apparel, books, ties, jewelry, glassware, wallets, auto emblems, holiday ornaments and many other meaningful gifts.
Visit the online store today (or pass the link along to a loved one with a “subtle” hint): MasonicMuseumGifts.com
Call 215-988-1977 with any questions.
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The Founders of Donegal Church Assemblage with the Constitution Team
Lodge Helps Flood Victims
On Friday, Aug. 5, the Greater Latrobe area of Westmoreland County was affected by unprecedented rainfall and subsequent flooding of many areas, particularly a small coal mining town affectionately known as “Dorothy Patch.” Thirtyfive homes were affected, many of which were condemned or left otherwise uninhabitable.
A member of Loyalhanna Lodge No. 275, Latrobe, lives in this community, and several brothers mobilized efforts to provide support to him and the Dorothy community.
On Sunday, Aug. 7, brothers distributed lunches for the community (sandwiches, chips, cookies, water, Gatorade, etc.) and helped residents move debris. That afternoon, the lodge provided a dinner to all the residents of grilled hamburgers and hot dogs, pierogies, macaroni salad, chips, cookies and beverages.
Many members returned over the next few days to help the brother in distress by cleaning debris and providing emotional support. One brother even brought his excavator to help reset heating oil tanks that were upheaved in the flooding. It was a tremendous group effort of manpower and donations from the membership.
A Permanent Place in History
Honoring veterans is a sacred practice for many Masonic lodges, and for one lodge, it has become a permanent custom.
In 2021, Brother Gerald I. Fretwell, then-Worshipful Master of Abraham C. Treichler Lodge No. 682, Elizabethtown, formed a Veterans Committee, which includes Brothers Fred R. Kaylor, P.M.; John Sracic; and Jason Baughman. The group took on the arduous task of tracking down a list of all past and present members who are veterans. They scoured records from the National Sojourners, Grand Lodge and Ancestry.com and sent a questionnaire to current members.
To date, over 300 records of living and deceased veterans have been located and documented. This research will continue as the committee further explores older records. In addition, a check box in the lodge application process will help identify future veterans joining Treichler Lodge.
“Our lodge holds a rich history of regular men providing extraordinary service in the defense of our country,” Fred said.
An eight-foot Veterans Wall listing the names of all member veterans was installed and dedicated in June. The inscription “Honoring those who have served in the Armed Forces of our Country” was copied from an earlier World War II plaque that hung in the lodge. The display also includes a quote from Brother General Douglas MacArthur: “No man is entitled to the blessings of freedom unless he be vigilant in its preservation.”
In addition, an online booklet with more veteran information, stories and facts is available on the lodge’s website: Etownmasons.org/veterans-wall.
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Brothers John Sracic; Bruce Merkel, W.M.; and Fred Kaylor, P.M.
Samuel C. Williamson
Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania
Born and educated in Pitcairn, Brother Samuel C. Williamson earned a Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering in 1950 from the University of Pittsburgh. After serving in the U.S. Army Chemical Corps in 1952, he was employed by the U.S. Steel Corporation (now USX) and retired as Superintendent of the chemicals department at the Clairton works.
Brother Williamson often said that his life changed forever on Sept. 28, 1945, when he was initiated into McKinley Chapter of the Order of DeMolay, in Turtle Creek, PA, where he served as the chapter’s secretary. This is what led him to the Masonic fraternity in 1951, where he served as Worshipful Master of Tyrian Lodge No. 612, Level Green. (He was last a member of Plum Creek Lodge No. 799.) He served as District Deputy Grand Master of District 54 from 1962 - 1971.
During his term as Grand Master, the craft boasted 214,000 Pennsylvania Masons in 582 lodges. Brother Williamson urged lodges to become more active in community affairs, “to let our friends and neighbors know that we are Masons and what we stand for.” He also declared a moratorium on all physical requirements for membership in the fraternity, allowing lodges to accept petitions from men with disabilities.
Portraying Pennsylvania’s youth organizations as “the lifeblood of our fraternity and the country” and noting their desperate need of aid and support, he led the Grand Lodge to establish the Pennsylvania Youth Foundation, a charitable outreach to promote leadership training for youth and support Masonic-related youth groups such as DeMolay, Rainbow Girls and Job’s Daughters. He served on its board of directors as an officer of the corporation from its inception and served as Chairman until retiring in 2020. One of his most satisfying accomplishments was the conversion of the Patton Masonic School in Elizabethtown into a Masonic Conference Center for youth. Another was bringing the Order of DeMolay
and the Knights of Pythagoras together for annual brotherhood retreats and establishing, through the youth, an informal dialogue with Prince Hall Freemasonry.
The soundest investment we can make is an investment in the youth of our land, for they are the leaders of the future. From their ranks will come the statesmen, educators, politicians, ministers, scientists and future presidents of this great country; and Freemasonry must make quite sure that it provides a generous portion of that leadership. For if we fail, if we permit others to capture the minds and loyalties of our young people, we have only ourselves to blame.
Brother Williamson served on the Board of Governors of the Philadelphia Unit of the Shriners Hospitals for Children; the Committee on Masonic Homes for 21 years; and on the Grand Lodge Committees on Finance, Youth Activities and Matching Charity Grants, which he chaired. He served as Executive Officer for the Order of DeMolay in Pennsylvania, 1987-2000, and as DeMolay International’s Grand Treasurer, 1996-2002.
A recipient of many fraternal honors, Brother Williamson was coroneted a 33° Honorary Member of the Supreme Council, Scottish Rite, N.M.J., in 1977. He also received: the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania’s Benjamin Franklin Award in 1984 for outstanding service, the Daniel Coxe Medal from the Grand Lodge of New Jersey in 2005, the DeMolay Grand Cross in 2006, membership in the Prince Hall Scottish Rite Council of Deliberation in 2013, induction into the DeMolay International Hall of Fame in 2016 and the Scottish Rite Supreme Council Medal of Honor in 2019. He was the first recipient of the Grand Lodge of PA’s HODEGOS Award for Distinguished Adult Service.
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104th Grand Master of the
Dec. 22, 1926 - July 3, 2022 MEMBERSHIP “
In addition to membership and leadership roles in many professional societies, Brother Williamson served as a Director of the Pittsburgh Athletic Association and was a member of the Center Avenue United Methodist Church of Pitcairn, where he chaired the Administration Board and the Finance Committee, served as Superintendent of the Sunday School and was also a Trustee. More recently, he was a member of the Monroeville United Methodist Church and a leader on the Finance Committee. He served the Western Pennsylvania Conference of the United Methodist Church as a Director of the Jumonville Christian Retreat Center and on its Jumonville Foundation.
Brother Williamson enjoyed a good crime novel, dining with friends, attending Masonic and DeMolay meetings and activities and traveling.
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“I have been blessed by my faith, my family and my fraternity,” he said.
Marvin A. Cunningham, Sr.
Brother Marvin A. Cunningham, Sr., was born in Batavia, Iowa, and graduated from United Township High School in East Moline, IL, in 1952. After graduation, he worked for International Harvester and was active in the Boy Scouts and as a Sunday school teacher.
He served 25 years in the U.S. Navy, in both the Korea and Vietnam conflicts, retiring in 1977 as a Chief Dental Technician. Afterward, he began working for the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, managing a 34-bench dental laboratory at the prison in Graterford. He retired in 1995 as the Manager of Correction Industries, which included operating a 1,500-acre farm and dairy.
Brother Cunningham’s Masonic travels began in 1961 in Silvis Lodge No. 898, A.F. & A.M., in Illinois. In 1980, after relocating for his job, he transferred to Warren Lodge No. 310, Collegeville, PA, where he served as Worshipful Master in 1985. He was a Senior Instructor in the 6th Masonic District’s School of Instruction in 1986 and 1987, also serving as its President in 1987. He served as District Deputy Grand Master, 1988-1995, before being elected R.W. Grand Junior Warden in 1996.
During his term as Grand Master, he emphasized HOPE: Helping Others Pursue Excellence. He amended the Digest of Decisions to lower the age for membership petitioners from 21 to 18 to interest young men, particularly the leaders of DeMolay, students heading into college, or those starting out in the workforce or entering the armed forces.
As Chairman of the board of directors, Brother Cunningham was most proud of implementing the union of the Masonic Homes of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania (now the Masonic Villages) with the Masonic Home of Pennsylvania (now the Masonic Village at Lafayette Hill), which came into effect Jan. 1, 2004. This also marked a rebranding of the then-four Masonic Villages across the Commonwealth.
Under his leadership, the board approved a 20-year master plan for the Masonic Village at Elizabethtown, the first residents moved into the retirement living apartments at the Masonic Village at Sewickley and the Masonic Village at Warminster was remodeled.
We are a premier organization as far as I’m concerned,” he said. “Our villages do things right; they’re just amazing. [Other jurisdictions] can hardly believe what we do.
Brother Cunningham also served as Chairman of the board of directors for the Masonic Library and Museum of Pennsylvania and was a member of the Grand Lodge Committees on Finance, Landmarks, Temple, and Membership and Retention.
Brother Cunningham was a member of the York Rite bodies in Norristown and of the four bodies of the Scottish Rite Valley of Allentown. He was Coroneted a 33° Mason in Pittsburgh in 2000 and was a member of Lulu Shrine, Plymouth Meeting; Hutchinson Commandery No. 32, Knights Templar; and numerous affiliated Masonic bodies. He was Charter President of Perkiomen Valley High Twelve Club, President of the Hat and Gavel Club of the 6th Masonic District and a charter member of the Pennsylvania Lodge of Research. Brother Cunningham has been recognized with the Honorary Legion of Honor, Order of DeMolay; as an Honorary Member of the Grand Lodge of Nevada; an Honorary Oklahoma Mason of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Oklahoma; and a was member of the Grand Lodge of Wisconsin Skunk Patrol.
Brother Cunningham remained committed to honoring veterans and encouraged visitations to the Veterans Administration Medical Centers.
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114th Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania Sept. 1, 1933 - July 25, 2022 MEMBERSHIP “
He was a member of the Fleet Reserve Association, National Chief Petty Officers’ Association and American Legion Post No. 203, Schwenksvllle.
In January 2007, he and his wife, Rosalie, were among the first residents to move into the Masonic Village at Dallas villa homes, where they enjoyed biking, walking and reading, and where Brother Cunningham played golf. They were members of the United Methodist Church, where he served as a lay leader. In July 2020, the couple moved to the Masonic Village at Elizabethtown.
The Cunninghams have two sons, Marvin, Jr., deceased, and Robert; a daughter, Lori, married to Brother Kevin Shumpert, Warren Lodge No. 310, Collegeville; two grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
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MASTER of “The Lore Lodge”
When Brother Aidan Mattis, Thomson Lodge No. 340, Paoli, talks about Freemasonry in a TikTok or YouTube video or podcast episode, over a million people are there to listen.
Aidan is the content creator behind “The Lore Lodge,” a multimedia entertainment company producing content related to “history, religion, folklore, paranormal activity and the supernatural.” He started his time on the social media video platform TikTok by responding to a video about conspiracy theories. After that, it was a quick rise to social media stardom, going from 600 followers in July 2021 to 100,000 the following month. Now, he has over a million followers. Aidan and his Lore Lodge colleague and co-host, technical producer Aidan Thornbury (aka “Director Aidan”), celebrated the project’s first year in June 2022. In July, another milestone occurred: their first documentary-length feature, which focused on the still-unsolved disappearance of Tom Messick, last seen on a hunting trip in 2015.
This diversity of content sets him apart from other popular creators producing Freemasonry-related content. Aidan never intended to be a purely Masonic presence. It was because of another creator’s anti-Masonic video and community-specific hashtags that he discovered #masonictok and its community of brethren.
TikTok, a short-form, video-focused social media channel, was founded by Chinese technology startup ByteDance in 2016. ByteDance acquired the music video creation app Musical.ly in 2017 and incorporated it into the existing TikTok platform. TikTok launched in the United States in 2018 and has been on an upward trajectory in terms of popularity and cultural relevance ever since. Its popularity increased significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic, as physical isolation during lockdowns drove new and current users to the app. In 2022, TikTok currently has over a billion users and gains eight new users every second, according to research from ICUC Social, a social media community management and
digital customer care provider.
“It’s an easy platform to use and gives everybody the opportunity to have a massively viral video,” Aidan said.
All that’s required to make a video is a device with a front-facing camera, like a phone or tablet. Videos uploaded through the mobile app or website can be as short as three seconds or as long as 10 minutes. Aidan recommends posting at least one video per day and using trending sounds to get videos picked up by the TikTok algorithm and potentially served to users’ “For You Page” or FYP, the front page, of sorts, of an individual’s TikTok profile.
The Grand Lodge of Indiana’s official TikTok account (@indianafreemason) has over 1,000 followers, with many individual lodges and members posting as well. Some of Aidan’s favorite accounts are Texas Freemason “Krashdog” (@krashdog2) and Brother Paxton Dickerson (@paxtondickerson) of California – the latter for his more esoteric-focused videos.
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“He’s a big personality and a really cool guy,” Aidan said. Aidan’s own videos vary – everything from folklore to missing persons cases – but those of a Masonic nature are often answering questions from users about the fraternity or educating on Masonic topics. A favorite piece of Masonic content was a series on the William Morgan affair and debunking the misconceptions around it – “taking one of the biggest conspiracies there is about Freemasonry and laying it bare for the lie that it is” –inspired by a stated meeting presentation on the topic.
A Penn State graduate with a degree in Medieval Studies, Aidan credits the 2004 film “National Treasure” and a paper he had to write on the Knights Templar (which utilized a book on the Templars written by a Masonic author as one of its sources) as sparking his interest in Freemasonry. When a college friend who was also a Delaware Freemason suggested that he join, he emailed Thomson Lodge No. 340 in Paoli and started on his Masonic journey. He became a Master Mason in June 2021. Over a year into his membership, he appreciates the friendships that have developed with his lodge brethren and the guidance he’s received from members a generation or two removed from his own.
“The internet and its ubiquitousness created some sort of cultural divide between Gen X and younger
millennials/older Gen Z members that they can’t quite bridge. Since everything is taking place online, Masonry is an opportunity to ground us back in the community,” he said. “I’m learning how to be a better man and a more responsible adult.”
Creating content for the Lore Lodge is currently a part-time endeavor for Aidan on top of his full-time job as a marketing director for a local business. He hopes to return to full-time content creation in the future, once it’s properly monetized. Currently, viewer contributions through Patreon, YouTube superchats and the video message platform Cameo offset some of the Lore Lodge’s expenses. High follower counts on TikTok and YouTube also open up opportunities for sponsored content, as well as increased influence.
“I believe in what I’m doing, and I’ve seen what social media did to my generation. So my goal is, ‘What can I use my platform for and how can I use it for good?’ ” he said.
Masonically, he has his eye on the Scottish Rite, and, of course, the Knights Templar.
Follow him on TikTok and Instagram (@theaidanmattis) and Facebook, Patreon and Cameo (The Lore Lodge) or visit the Lore Lodge website: LoreLodge.com
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Using Social Media to Grow and Retain Membership
Seven out of 10 Americans use social media, according to the Pew Research Center, and leveraging its reach can open up Freemasonry to those who are curious about the fraternity’s mission and membership, while also keeping communications flowing with current members.
Several lodges have found the benefits of using social media outweigh any negatives, and with a plan in place, they’re reaching new and current members with the swipe of a finger.
APPlying a New Technique
Brother Ronald Carson, D.D.G.M.-1, knows communication is one of the biggest hurdles for all lodges. He asked Brother Barry Theal, P.M., Mt. Lebanon Lodge No. 226 and Manheim Lodge No. 587, for some help, and in two weeks, the 1st Masonic District app was born.
Developed thanks to a member who has an app developer account, it can be downloaded on any Google or Apple device and includes events, a virtual lodge network, lodge directory and a link to the Masonic Lite Podcast (shown right). Lodge notices will be added in the future.
“We just started to build, understanding that communications needed to progress into something faster and more direct,” Barry said. “We started with a few core basics but now have plans to really grow this into something more significant for our district. It will take some time to listen to our brothers and build the app around what they want.”
The cost to run the app is $75 a month, but the district plans to offset the costs by adding a section listing businesses owned by brethren and requesting a sponsorship fee.
“The app so far has nothing but positive feedback,” Barry said. “We started to spread the word quietly at first, but then we used some social media channels. It’s our goal to travel to each lodge and demonstrate the app. We feel it will take time for members to adjust, but this is something new that we plan to rely on for future endeavors.”
Near and Far
Brother Richard Saxberg, P.M., Doric Lodge No. 630, Sewickley, is on a mission to spread the word about Freemasonry, and he’s found social media is the perfect tool.
hi to your
“I want to put Freemasonry in the light in our community,” he said. “I want to promote the truth and the positive of what we do. This is a way for people to see what we do and change how they perceive us.”
His Facebook posts include group photos, special degrees or presentations, education about Freemasonry and updates on charitable activities. He requests permission from members before sharing their photos.
Richard knows the audience includes those who may not know what happens in the lodge, as well as retired members who reside in Florida. He also feels it’s the best way to reach younger generations and share information about the lodge’s scholarship opportunities and the Pennsylvania Masonic Youth Foundation’s activities and scholarship program, in addition to other ways the lodge is active in the local community, such as holding an annual raffle to provide gifts for the Sewickley YMCA.
“It gets our name out there,” he said. “Kids will remember our generosity.”
Richard makes a point of avoiding any political or religious discussions on the page. He had to block a member who “aired dirty laundry,” but otherwise, his efforts have been worthwhile.
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“I’ve had a number of inquiries from people asking to become members,” Richard said. “We’ve had people request to visit, and set up meetings with those interested.”
Brother Glenn Quinn, W.M., Fritz Lodge, No. 308, posts most of the content to the lodge’s public Facebook page, as well as its members-only group page, although he encourages any member to post if they wish.
“I have found that using Facebook is the best way to communicate with the younger group, using their language,” he said.
Glenn posts upcoming events open to the community, shares meeting photos and promotes the lodge’s public Fellowship Night and free BBQ, held every Tuesday except when they have a stated meeting.
“This is a great chance for prospective members to meet the brothers and learn of Freemasonry,” he said.
“We have added several new brothers who have seen the lodge on social media and reached out to us for more information.”
Something to Write About
Brother Nat Gilchrist, P.M., Lodge No. 43, Lancaster, has served as his lodge’s library/museum curator for 20 years, and he recently added historian to his title. His search through the lodge’s archives led to the discovery of documents more than 200 years old. To share these valuable findings with others, he publishes a monthly blog on the lodge’s website, which is posted on social media.
“I feel these events were important, and if not refocused on, will easily be forgotten, so my blogs are an effort to keep the history remembered and appreciated,” he said.
Nat has three main objectives with his writing: to reach those who are no longer able to attend lodge but have access to a computer, to provide a historical account of his lodge to educate members
(especially new ones) and to promote the lodge’s library and museum “as a resource for all members to utilize in their personal Masonic growth and education,” he said.
Nat also advises that “once a lodge initiates a website or social media presence, it is important to maintain it. Keep it current and be sure to delete outdated communications.”
Connection and education are two key reasons to develop a plan for using social media and other forms of electronic media to reach members, current and future. Meet them wherever they are, whenever it is convenient for them, in an easy and cost-effective way.
JOIN IN THE FUN!
THE GRAND LODGE OF PENNSYLVANIA
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York Lodge No. 266 members at the 42nd Masonic District blood drive
Preserving Masonic History and Its Lessons
The Masonic Library and Museum of Pennsylvania restores, preserves and maintains monuments representing the heritage of Freemasonry throughout Pennsylvania, including Benjamin Franklin at the Press in Philadelphia, the Friend to Friend Masonic Memorial in Gettysburg, the Masonic Monument in Valley Forge, the “Ben Franklin at Work” statue in Philadelphia and the Washington at Prayer statue at Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge (FFVF).
More than 20,000 Masons and their families witnessed the dedication of the [Brother George] Washington at Prayer statue in “ancient Masonic custom and tradition” at FFVF in September 1967. Not only was it one of the largest gatherings of Masons in the history of the Grand Lodge, it was also one of the largest crowds ever to witness the unveiling and dedication of a statue in the United States.
The nine-foot bronze statue, by sculptor Donald DeLue, was a gift to FFVF from Pennsylvania Freemasons. FFVF was established to create and build an understanding of the spirit and philosophy of the Constitution and Bill of Rights. To that end, FFVF provides immersive programs for students and graduate-level professional development courses for teachers.
“When the statue was donated, we were in the height of building our campus to serve as a place for teachers and students to learn about American history and civic responsibility,” said Jason L.S. Raia, Chief Operating Officer at FFVF.
“Everything we do today is about exploring how we are free, why we are free and what we need to do to remain free.”
The statue overlooks FFVF’s 42acre Medal of Honor Grove, the oldest living memorial honoring all 3,500+ Medal of Honor recipients. (The Medal of Honor is the highest award for valor in action against an enemy force.)
The statue depicts Washington kneeling in prayer in the early morning hours at Valley Forge. It refers to the story told by Isaac Potts that he once came upon General Washington praying in Valley Forge during the winter encampment.
“At that crucial moment during the American revolution and the forming of our country … we didn’t know whether the U.S. was going to survive and become this nation,” Jason said. “Now, it’s almost 250 years later, and we’re still telling these stories.”
The statue had restoration work done to it from August - October 2022 by a crew from Kreilick Conservation LLC, in Oreland, PA. Brother Michael Comfort, Director, Masonic Library and Museum of Pennsylvania, invited the company to assist with the project. Portions of the statue had been discolored (pictured above) due to age, wear and tear and runoff from acid rain,
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said Scott Kreilick, President and CEO of Kreilick Conservation.
Crews cleaned the statue and reintegrated color where necessary. They applied a wax coating to protect the bronze surface and cleared small weepholes in the statue so rainwater could drain properly. The masonry pedestal and the terrace that surrounds the statue were also restored. The entire base was disassembled, the old mortar cleaned off the stones and concrete core, and reassembled in the same configuration using all new mortar. New signage was installed at the site.
“I’ve been bragging about how smart the Masons are as an organization because as far as I know, of all the people who have made donations of monuments, the Masons are the only ones who have put in funds for restoration work. We are thrilled that they had the foresight to say, ‘We’re going to help these organizations when it comes time to do restoration work.’”
Michael echoed that sentiment. “It’s nice to see a majestic piece of art like that being taken care of for the future.”
“We are thrilled that the Masons wanted to do this project,” Jason said.
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Stay tuned for photos on the finished product on social media.
Masonic Library & Museum SPEAKER SERIES
Monthly guest speakers present free programs open to the public. Reservations are required: call 215-988-1917 or email email@example.com. The programs are live-streamed as well; for more information, visit PaMasonicTemple.org/events. If you have an idea for a speaker series program, contact Brother Mike Comfort at 215-988-1977.
Let’s Have a New Masonic Temple: A Case Study in Courage and Stewardship Nov. 19, 3:30 – 4:30 p.m
The presentation will examine the vision, courage and perseverance of the Grand Lodge in constructing our “New Masonic Temple” (18651873) in the face of daunting financial risks, inclement weather and unforeseen impediments on the site. It will also explore the covenant of trust placed in future generations of Pennsylvania Freemasons to improve, maintain and preserve the Masonic Temple in Philadelphia and the remarkable stewardship of the fraternity in honoring this commitment over the past 150 years.
Presenter: William L. Kingsbury, CEO, Masonic Villages, is responsible for the management of the Masonic Charities of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, including the Masonic Villages, the Masonic Library and Museum of
Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Masonic Youth Foundation.
Brother Bill earned his Bachelor of Science degree in business administration and finance from Villanova University and his juris doctorate from the university’s School of Law. He joined the law firm of Peck, Young & VanSant, Philadelphia, in 1995 and was promoted to partner in 1997. In 2001, the firm merged into the national law firm of Montgomery, McCracken, Walker & Rhoads, LLP, where Bill served in various leadership positions, including on the Management Committee and as the Chair of the Business Department. Bill served as outside general counsel to the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania and its charitable affiliates from 1995 – May 2019. Bill has served on various Grand Lodge committees, including as Chair of the Consolidated Fund and the Pension Plan from 2009 – 2019.
A Past Master of Melita Lodge No. 295, Philadelphia, and P.D.D.G.M.-C, Bill is a recipient of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania Benjamin Franklin Medal and the DeMolay Legion of Honor. He received his 33° in Freemasonry in August 2012.
Researching & Writing
Doneraile Court: The Story of The Lady Freemason
Dec. 17, 3:30 – 4:30 p.m.
During this presentation, Kathleen will detail what is known and not known about the life and times of The Lady Freemason, Elizabeth St Leger Aldworth. Her journey in Freemasonry began in the pre-grand lodge era and ended when she
died in 1775 at the dawning of the American Revolution. During this time, Mrs. Aldworth went from her emergency initiation to being an active lifelong member. She made public appearances in full regalia and received a full Masonic funeral. Kathleen explains the process of her 15 years of writing and research; her personal genealogical quest; the Aldworth family connections in England, Ireland and the U.S.; and overcoming the immense self-doubt that can stop so many writers of both fiction and nonfiction from completing their work.
Presenter: Kathleen Aldworth Foster is the author of Doneraile Court: The Story of The Lady Freemason
Although classified as historical fiction, the author went to great lengths to uncover the true story of Elizabeth St Leger Aldworth, who was known as The Lady Freemason in 18th century Ireland. As a young woman in 1712, St Leger was caught spying on Freemasons in the middle of an initiation ritual in her family’s home. Legend has it the men, including her own father, were forced to make a life or death decision. They chose life, and to this day Elizabeth St Leger is the only female member of regular Freemasons recognized in Ireland, where her portrait hangs in the Grand Lodge in Dublin. Her childhood home, Doneraile Court, is in what’s now County Cork. It’s owned by the state of Ireland and open to the public.
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Lodges Provide a Touch of Tranquility
For residents of the Masonic Village at Warminster, the outdoor courtyard is a favorite spot to enjoy some sunshine, visit with family and friends and relax.
Thanks to a donation from Masonic Lodge No. 9, Philadelphia, combined with significant support from Concordia Lodge No. 67, Jenkintown, and Newtown Lodge No. 427, Woodside, a brand new koi pond and waterfall is bringing a splash of excitement for residents, staff and visitors.
“This is the perfect touch to enhance the courtyard, where residents sit in the garden and enjoy fresh air and friendly conversations every day,” Kelly Shrum, Executive Director, said. “The sounds of the waterfall make for a relaxing environment, and residents can feed the fish.”
The community also recently completed renovations to the building’s exterior and front foyer.
Farm Fresh for the Holidays!
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Give the perfect gift! When ordering a gift box: • Choose delicious fruit butters & preserves from catalog listings. • We will select the best apple varieties available, unless otherwise specified. • Jarred goods may be replaced with many of our other products. Prices may vary; please call for details. • Gift certificates are also available. Customized gift boxes are available year ‘round. However, those containing fruit are only available Sept. - March. Shipping costs vary. For details, please call 717-367-4520, or order online. | MVFarmMarket.com
WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
Masonic Children’s Home Graduates Have Grown into Successful Adults
Masonic Children’s Home alumni have long expressed their gratitude for the guidance and care that helped to shape them into the successful men and women they are today. Here are some of their stories:
focus on either criminal defense, civil or business law this fall.
While proud to be represented in Penn State’s magazine, Aba credits much of her success to her years spent at the children’s home and the lessons she learned there.
“I would say that I had the initial brightness in me before [coming to] the children’s home, but it was cultivated there with the tutoring we had and the diverse learning experience,” she said. “It teaches you a lot about life, from the girls we lived with to the house parents we were raised by. They all pushed me to achieve.”
Aba’s experience at the home changed her life and shaped her into the woman she’s becoming. The structure it provided, along with learning from the different experiences of the people she met – it all made a difference.
“Plus … I was able to go to college and come out of school with no debt,” she added.
Aba Aggrey was recently featured on the cover of Sovereign, Penn State University’s first magazine for students of color, as one of four students “breaking away from the crowd and placing themselves at the forefront of success.”
Success is nothing new for Aba, who graduated from Penn State this past spring with dual degrees in criminology and psychology. Since leaving the children’s home, she has served as Vice President of Penn State’s Multicultural Undergraduate Law Association and was accepted to Fordham University School of Law, where she plans to
Aba was born in Massachusetts but moved to Philadelphia at age 6 with her mother and two of her siblings. She attended school in the city until the fourth grade, when she came to the Masonic Children’s Home. She became close to her house parents and staff members and still stays in touch with many of them, including Education Coordinator Donna Shaffer.
“She [and the others] were definitely influential and offered great advice,” she said. “It feels like home base when I connect with them because that’s where I grew up. I still text them and ask for advice today.”
Melinda Tkacs has taught seventh and eighth grade social studies for the past 18 years at a public school outside of Philadelphia. She was inspired to go into teaching because of the support she received from her house parents and the teachers at Elizabethtown Area High School.
“I’ve always had great teachers, and living at the children’s home, you have a unique life,” she said. “You don’t have parental support like a typical kid, so your teachers and house parents become that
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support system for you. They encourage you to be the best you can be. They are your cheerleaders. I felt like I could make a difference in other kids’ lives, so I decided to teach kids who live in low-income areas surrounding Philadelphia.”
Melinda helped one of her former students with the process of applying to the Masonic Children’s Home. That experience was gratifying for her. “The guidance counselor remembered my story,” she said. “It was almost like a pay-it-forward situation.”
Melinda spent three years at the home, describing herself at that time as strong-willed, passionate and goal-oriented, which helped her to succeed.
“I had that internal motivation that I wanted to be someone,” she said. “I surrounded myself with people I wanted to emulate. I’d ask questions. I knew I could do it and be somebody one day.”
With the help of the Masonic Children’s Home, Melinda was able to attend Indiana University of Pennsylvania, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in secondary education. She earned a master’s degree in education, with a special education certification, from Saint Joseph’s University. She hopes one day to start a non-profit organization that helps disadvantaged children.
For now, she is honored to serve on the Masonic Children’s Home Alumni Scholarship Board, which meets on an annual basis and reviews applications from current children’s home seniors and children of alumni.
“If it wasn’t for the children’s home, I wouldn’t have gone to college,” she said. “The ability to go changed the trajectory of my life. The [children’s home] gave me the structure and discipline to be successful in college. So, if I can help someone else, that’s what I want to do.”
home in 2013. Living there provided her with a physical “foundation,” a sound education and the stability that she so desperately needed.
“Not a lot of people have gone through what I have in the past and been able to come out the other side,” she said.
“It allowed me to have a safe enough space to be myself without feeling like a ball was going to drop somewhere. I have happy memories from my childhood, but I attended seven different schools. I never knew where I would end up until I came to the children’s home.”
One of the benefits of the program was the higher education she was able to attain because of the funding she received.
“It was a huge burden off my shoulders,” she said. “It allowed me to explore the things that fascinate and excite me and have not just a ‘job,’ but a career that I enjoy.”
Dr. Thea Bert Stevens and her three siblings lived in foster care and then with their grandparents. Once their grandparents retired, they moved to Masonic Village at Elizabethtown, and Thea and her siblings were placed at the Masonic Children’s Home. Thea graduated from the
Thea began her education at Bloomsburg University for speech pathology and audiology, with a minor in psychology. She transferred to the University of Natural Medicine, completing most of her courses online and earning a bachelor’s degree in natural sciences. She went on to earn a doctorate
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degree in naturopathic (herbal) medicine, eventually becoming a licensed massage therapist.
Today, Thea lives in Lancaster County and is the Chief Financial Officer for Keta MD, which was recently acquired by Braxia Scientific, a Canadian company. “I’m in charge of customer experience for treatment,” she said. “We use ketamine to help reorganize brain matter and help treat trauma, PTSD, depression and anxiety. It’s amazing to see the positive changes people can make when they are motivated to change their lives.”
Since her full-time job is mainly remote, Thea and her husband, who also works remotely, live and travel throughout the United States in a school bus they converted into a van.
“The coaching aspect of my business keeps me fairly busy,” she said. “We also do [massage therapy] events and festivals.”
life. He was struggling to enjoy just being a kid. He said the children’s home gave him purpose and helped shape the person he is today.
“They gave me the space to explore who I am and what I needed, he said. “I’m incredibly grateful for the guidance the house parents and staff provided. I can’t say enough good things about them. They charted me on the course for the rest of my life. I wouldn’t be anywhere near where I am today without the foundation they built for me.”
Jesse earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology with a minor in theater, then a master’s degree in community psychology and social change from Penn State Harrisburg. He works part-time as a production assistant in Penn State’s theater program and hopes to be hired full-time next year. He also plans to eventually become a professor. He’s even considering becoming a Freemason.
“The Masons were very generous with the children’s home, and I’ve met a lot of good citizens who are Freemasons,” he said. “I’ve been invited to join in the past, and I’m considering it. It’s a really good way to develop your character and a strong spirit.”
For over a century, the Masonic Children’s Home in Elizabethtown has given youth in need of stability and support a healthy environment in which to thrive. Generous contributions fund the Masonic Children’s Home, so parents/ guardians do not have to pay for their children to live here. The children’s home does not receive government funding; all costs are paid through selfless donors.
If you know of a child or family who you think may be in need of our children’s home, please provide them with the contact information below. You can also call the children’s home to discover whether the child or family may qualify.
For more information, call 717-367-1121, ext. 33301, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit MasonicChildrensHome.org.
When he arrived at the Masonic Children’s Home, Jesse Goranson didn’t know what he wanted out of
JOIN THE CORNERSTONE CIRCLE PROGRAM – Authorize a specified amount of money to be electronically transferred directly from your checking account or credit card monthly. This is the easiest form of giving, and a year-end statement makes tax preparation easy. Call 1-800-599-6454 or visit MasonicChartiesPa.org to join.
QCD – If you are 70½ or older, you can use your IRA to support the mission of a Masonic charity. Call 1-800-599-6454 and ask for our QCD planning kit or to speak with a gift planner. Visit MasonicChartiesLegacy.org for more information.
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Living the Best Life at Masonic Villages
Masonic Villages provides various opportunities for residents recovering from injuries and illness to receive therapy, which helps them return to doing what they love with those they love. Elizabethtown offers inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation (physical, speech and occupation therapy), while Lafayette Hill, Sewickley and Warminster all provide inpatient services.
Getting Back to Life and Each Other
Brother Gerald “Jerry” Francis, and his wife, Denise, were not planning to move to Masonic Village at Lafayette Hill. They were enjoying life in their five-bedroom home in Bala Cynwyd, PA. But sometimes, things don’t go as planned.
In early May 2021, Jerry became critically ill, and after multiple surgeries, he was given little hope of survival. After a long hospitalization, Jerry was sent to nursing facilities in both the Bryn Mawr and Philadelphia areas for recovery and rehabilitation.
“Because of my wounds, I didn’t get much therapy,” Jerry said. “These facilities looked at me as a ‘longterm invalid.’ I felt hopeless. I thought I would spend the rest of my life confined to my bed.
“As life partners, our plan was to live somewhere where we could visit each other. We wanted to live on the same campus, and not all facilities could accommodate us.”
In August 2021, Jerry, St. Alban Lodge No. 529, Philadelphia, was accepted into the health care area at Masonic Village. He stayed there while Denise packed up their house and got it ready to sell.
“Upon my arrival at Masonic Village, the staff, including the doctors, nurses and therapists, viewed me differently … they saw that I had the potential for rehabilitation,” Jerry said. “As my wounds healed, I was able to exercise and become stronger.”
In October 2021, Denise moved to the retirement living area at Masonic Village. The therapy department fit Jerry for a prosthetic leg and worked with him for months on his goal of eventually joining Denise.
Recently, he moved into the apartment with Denise, his wife of 51 years. They could not be happier being together again. Jerry was transferred out of occupational therapy and now utilizes the wellness center to further increase his mobility.
“The staff at Masonic Village trusted me and believed in me and wanted me out and about,” he said. “Life will never be normal again, but I’m living a more mobile life. I’m getting more independent and busy, which means that Denise’s ‘honey do’ list is getting longer. I can now get into Denise’s car and take day trips, and we also participate in Masonic Village excursions, such as to Shady Maple Smorgasbord, which is one of our favorite destination places.”
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Along with his general health, Jerry’s mental state has also dramatically improved. A favorite activity is sitting out on their patio enjoying their small garden and watching the birds scamper around their two bird houses. They also enjoy being outside and breathing the fresh air.
“All the residents here are friendly and helpful,” Jerry said. “For example, one of our neighbors, without prompting, built a ramp for me in the Village woodshop so I could more easily move my wheelchair in and out of the door to the patio area.”
As a “young” 79-year-old and an award-winning historian, Jerry said his next goal is to “get back to my work, and I thank Masonic Village for caring for me and for getting me healthy again.
“I am comfortable and cared for here at Masonic Village.”
“A Mason for 27 years, I was always hoping I’d end up [at Masonic Village]. I haven’t been disappointed. There’s so much to do and so many nice people.”
Another new treatment approach comes from Masonic Village at Elizabethtown’s music therapy department. Music therapist Liz Eargle recently completed training in neurological music therapy. It is a research-based approach focused on using music as the stimulus for behaviors, based upon understanding how music impacts the brain. Specific techniques have been developed to address cognitive, sensorimotor and speech and language skills.
Creative Approaches to Those with Parkinson’s Disease
Brother Barry Zimmerman, Abraham C. Treichler Lodge No. 682, Elizabethtown, received occupational therapy services in his home at Masonic Village at Elizabethtown to help simplify his life with Parkinson’s disease. Use of products such as Velcro pants, ramps and a raised table enable him to comfortably continue tinkering in his garage. Exercises have helped improve his posture, and home care staff assist him on days his occupational therapist doesn’t visit. He will eventually transition to visiting the Baird Wellness Center to continue his exercises.
“There’s a lot of benefit,” Barry said. “I’m able to concentrate more and do things I enjoy. My upper body is stronger.
Barry and Liz (shown together in photo) meet weekly. Liz helps cue specific movements through the placement of a drum or tambourine in front of Barry and uses the sound feedback to show how his movements to reach the drum or tambourine were coordinated. She also directs him to do a forward and back lean to isolate a specific movement that helps build core control.
“I feel better after she comes,” Barry said. “When she tells me it’s our last song, I get sad.”
Barry, a fan of country and western music, especially enjoys when they sing his favorite song together, “I Walk the Line,” by Johnny Cash.
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Forging the Future: The Youth Perspective
Being a mentor means making an impact on the lives of others. Our Masonic youth group members rely on mentors and advisors to help motivate them to reach the success that we know they are capable of. Adult volunteers dedicate their time to support our Masonic youth in reaching these goals.
While adult advisors help guide and encourage the young men and women in the Masonic youth organizations, the youth must plan and create their path for success. They determine the events they participate in, the best way to promote their organization and the form of charity and service they get involved with.
How have you benefited from membership in the Masonic youth group you belong to?
“Job’s Daughters has given me the confidence to talk in front of anyone who will listen, to stand up for what I think is right, and the only way I can be successful is to work with those around me.”
- Victoria Lichtenwalner, Job’s Daughters Bethel 19, Mechanicsburg
“Masonic youth groups have given me so many unique experiences and helped me pass them along to others in a safe, nurturing and fun way. I learned how to speak publicly, give a good interview, plan events, get out and help my community, be a good leader and so much more.”
- Benjamin Bell, Order of DeMolay, Reading Chapter
Benjamin Bell, Past Master Councilor of Reading Chapter, Order of DeMolay, with one of his advisors during KeyMan University.
How have adult volunteers impacted your experience?
“They have helped me gain new knowledge and skills, especially skills I needed to apply for my first job.”
- Vivienne Nolt, Job’s Daughters Bethel 15, Elizabethtown
“Although we are a youth-run organization, we are still kids in need of some good advice. My advisors have helped me grow, see what’s possible and motivate me. I would not be anywhere close to the young man I am today if it weren’t for this amazing Masonic youth group.”
- Benjamin Bell, Order of DeMolay, Reading Chapter
Have you considered becoming an adult volunteer and impacting the lives of our Masonic youth group members? Do you know a young man or woman who would benefit from being part of one of these groups?
Contact the PMYF office at 717-367-1536 or Brother
Joseph Pullin, Masonic Youth Program Coordinator, directly at JAPullin@pmyf.org.
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Summer Youth Conferences Return!
The Lifeskills Conference challenges attendees to develop leadership, respect, relational skills and personal responsibility through a variety of creative approaches and various media. The program also includes active discussions on tough issues facing students today: drugs and alcohol, violence and conflict resolution, teen sexuality and others. Held at the Masonic Conference Center – Patton Campus in Elizabethtown, the conference is open to youth ages 12-17 who are sponsored by a Masonic youth group, a Masonic lodge or Masonic relative.
Held on the same campus, KeyMan University is focused on preparing DeMolay members to be better leaders, brothers and community members. Through high intensity learning and fun, lifelong friendships and leadership skills emerge.
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Sample Guaranteed Lifetime
Gift annuities can be created to pay you, or you and a loved one, for life.
TAX BENEFITS: When you call us to find out your rate, we will also let you know about your income tax deduction and possible capital gains benefits. There is no guesswork. What you start today gives back to you for life.
PAYMENTS FOR TWO: When you fund a gift annuity for two people, such as you and your spouse, payments will continue at the same rate, in the same amount, for as long as either of you live. Rates are different than for one-life annuities, but are still attractive.
BIG IMPACT: You receive the fixed payments and tax benefits, but you also do something more. After a lifetime of payments to you (and your spouse), all funds remaining in your gift annuity support your favorite Masonic charity.
what your exact rate and tax savings will be: call 1-800-599-6454, visit MasonicCharitiesLegacy.org, or cut out and return the attached card.
COMPLETE AND MAIL TO:
Financial information about Masonic Charities can be obtained by contacting us at 1-800-599-6454. In addition, Masonic Charities is required to file financial information with several states. Colorado: Colorado residents may obtain copies of registration and financial documents from the office of the Secretary of State, (303) 894-2680, http://www.sos.state.co.us/. Florida: SC No. 00774, A COPY OF THE OFFICIAL REGISTRATION AND FINANCIAL INFORMATION MAY BE OBTAINED FROM THE DIVISION OF CONSUMER SERVICES BY CALLING TOLL-FREE, WITHIN THE STATE, 1-800-HELP-FLA. Georgia: full and fair description of the programs and activities of Masonic Charities and its financial statement are available upon request at the address indicated above. Illinois: Contracts and reports regarding Masonic Charities are on file with the Illinois Attorney General. Maryland: For the cost of postage and copying, documents and information filed under the Maryland charitable organizations laws can be obtained from the Secretary of State, Charitable Division, State House, Annapolis, MD 21401, (800) 825-4510. Michigan: MICS No. 11796 Mississippi: The official registration and financial information of Masonic Charities may be obtained from the Mississippi Secretary of State’s office by calling 1-888-236-6167. New Jersey: INFORMATION FILED WITH THE ATTORNEY GENERAL CONCERNING THIS CHARITABLE SOLICITATION AND THE PERCENTAGE OF CONTRIBUTIONS RECEIVED BY THE CHARITY DURING THE LAST REPORTING PERIOD THAT WERE DEDICATED TO THE CHARITABLE PURPOSE MAY BE OBTAINED FROM THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY CALLING (973) 504-6215 AND IS AVAILABLE ON THE INTERNET AT www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/ocp.htm#charity. REGISTRATION WITH THE ATTORNEY GENERAL DOES NOT IMPLY ENDORSEMENT. New York: A copy of the latest annual report can be obtained from the organization or from the Office of the Attorney General by writing the Charities Bureau, 120 Broadway, New York, NY 10271. North Carolina: Financial information about this organization and a copy of its license are available from the State Solicitation Licensing Branch at 1-888-830-4989. Pennsylvania: The official registration and financial information of Masonic Charities may be obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of State by calling toll-free, within Pennsylvania, 1-800-732-0999. Virginia: Financial statements are available from the State Office of Consumer Affairs, P.O. Box 1163, Richmond, VA 23218. Washington: The notice of solicitation required by the Charitable Solicitation Act is on file with the Washington Secretary of State, and information relating to financial affairs of Masonic Charities is available from the Secretary of State, and the toll-free number for Washington residents: 1-800-332-4483. West Virginia: West Virginia residents may obtain a summary of the registration and financial documents from the Secretary of State, State Capitol, Charleston, WV 25305. REGISTRATION IN THE ABOVE STATES DOES NOT IMPLY ENDORSEMENT, APPROVAL OR RECOMMENDATION OF MASONIC CHARITIES BY THE STATE.MasonicCharitiesLegacy.org
Office of Mission Advancement and Development, One Masonic Dr., Elizabethtown, PA 17022 • 1-800-599-6454 I would like more information, with no obligation. Please: Send me a Charitable Gift Annuity illustration. Name(s) Address Telephone: ( ) Email: My birth date Spouse’s birth date (if two lives) Dollar amount(s) to be illustrated (up to three amounts) If using appreciated stock, estimate cost basis Call me about using my credit card to purchase my annuity. Phone ( )
Rates Age Rate Before Increase Rate After Increase 65 4.2% 4.8% 70 4.7% 5.3% 75 5.4% 6% 80 6.5% 7% 85 7.6% 8.1% 90+ 8.6% 9.1% Note: This is a partial listing. Rates exist for any combination of ages.