Inspirational words from our Worshipful Master…
Fraternal greetings from the East, my brethren.
I am grateful and humbled by the call to serve as Master of Acalanes Fellowship Lodge #480 as we enter into our 99th year of Brotherhood under our charter. Looking ahead to the coming year and what I hope will be many centuries beyond, I see a vast expanse of opportunity before us, and I’m emboldened by the possibilities our future may bring.
Freemasonry in general, and Acalanes Fellowship in particular, is built upon a legacy of Faith, Hope, and Charity, and we are taught in our Masonic travels that the greatest of these is Charity. These are more than mere words, and in 2019, we will focus together on ensuring that these profound principles are solidified in our lodge to secure our legacy for future generations. With that in mind, I am pleased to declare our theme for 2019: Legacy & Service.
The legacy of Acalanes Fellowship is multifaceted and runs deep through the course of our long history. We are known as The Friendly Lodge, and while we might all feel that friendliness is not an anachronistic characteristic among Masons, I have come to feel through my own travels that the culture of our lodge earns its moniker, and not a single one of us should ever have to put a dollar in the box for saying so (though we all ought to pitch our money in for more noble reasons). Friendly as we are, there is more to our legacy.
Acalanes Fellowship Lodge #480, and the constituent lodges that have consolidated into our fold over the decades, has a substantial and honorable heritage of initiating, passing, and raising Masons for nearly a century, and those brothers have gone out into the world to perform great works in our society. We have strived for—and generally achieved—the goal of making these good men better. From among our ranks, men have risen to positions of prominence in our communities, to positions of political power, and even a couple of Grand Masters of Masons have called Acalanes Fellowship their home lodge.
Preserving this legacy of Acalanes Fellowship requires honor for our past, an eye to the future, and a diligent care for the concerns of the present. It also requires money. Our aging Masonic Hall has many issues, and will require substantial repairs and improvements over the coming years. Before long, we will need a new roof, as the current one already leaks, new pavement for the parking lot, new kitchen appliances, and electrical improvements. We have a committee assigned to the ongoing task of evaluating options for the renovation or relocation of our Hall. There are no options that do not require substantially more financial resources than we currently have at our disposal.
And then there is the greatest of our virtues: Charity. For all the charitable giving and service work our brethren do, both together and separately, Acalanes Fellowship can do a great deal more to make a meaningful, lasting, and visible impact on our community. All it takes is a bit more focus on high-impact programs and the will of the brethren to give of their time and treasure according to their ability. This year, I resolve to direct that focus appropriately, that Acalanes Fellowship might elevate its mission in our community and better fulfill its Masonic charitable aims.
In the service of these goals, we will hold four seasonal fundraising events in 2019: In addition to our annual Crab Feed, we will host social events in the Spring, Summer, and Fall. At these events, we will have programs to promote and secure our legacy and raise funds and volunteerism in service to our community.
I look forward to working with all our brethren in the coming months to realize this vision. The results will be rewarding to our community, our pride in our lodge, and future generations of Masons.
—Robert S. “Bob” Strohmeyer
Fraternal Greetings from the East!
I would like to take this opportunity to thank my fellow Brethren for giving me the honor and privilege of serving once again as Master of Acalanes Fellowship Lodge #480 in 2018.
The theme of my year as Master was “Why we Gather”. I choose this theme because I believe it is very important that my fellow brethren, friends and their loved ones will better understand why it is so important that we as men devote so much time and energy to our gentle craft.
We as Masons share a common bond in the experience we received in our initiation into the Fraternity. During our first degree, we are taught about the three great lights of Masonry which are the holy bible, the compass and the square. These tools are constant daily reminders to all Masons.
The holy bible is given to us by God as the rule and guide of our faith. The square and compass are Masonic tools that remind us to keep our actions and behaviors in check toward all mankind.
Each Mason is then presented with a lamb skin apron which is an emblem of innocence and the badge of a Mason. More ancient than the Golden Fleece or Roman Eagle and more honorable than the star or garter or anything of value or distinction we ever will receive in life.
We then receive instruction on the importance of time management using a twenty-four- inch gauge as a guide. You see Masonry teaches us the importance of keeping a healthy life balance. Whereby we must divide our time into three parts. One part for service to God and a distressed worthy brother, a part for work and a part for family and rest and family.
The next teaching is about the importance of the Common Gavel. Society views the Common Gavel as a symbol of authority. But we as Masons are taught that the Common Gavel is used for breaking apart our old ways and continually building a new and better self internally.
Masons gather together not to be seen by the outside world as a secret society whose only mission is to gain wealth and political power. Nothing could be more further from the truth!
We gather together to focus on the internal development of a brother’s heart and soul. To take good men and make them better through a series of three ritual degrees and ongoing mentoring and fellowship.
We gather together because our Masonic Community gives us the armor we need as we travel through life’s times of joy and times of sorrow. With the end goal that someday we will join God and our loved ones in his celestial lodge above (forever).
We are a support network of friends and brothers who strive to live out the three principal tenets of Masonry which are Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth. To share words of encouragement and council whether we want to hear it or not. Whether it is a phone call or hospital room visit to a brother, spouse, widow or orphan in need, the Brethren of Acalanes Fellowship Lodge are always there when you need them.
Knowledge of temperance, fortitude, prudence and justice are key elements of our teachings. The reason this is so important is that what we do as Masons in our daily lives at work, at home and at play are a reflection on our lodge and our Fraternity so we must always strive to continually improve ourselves.
I ask again, so why do we gather? Masons gather because we as human beings have an internal need for community. The bond we share in Masonry makes us not only friends but Fraternal brothers.
Have you not seen or witnessed two complete strangers meet and find that they share the Masonic bond and become instant friends?
A man he can trust to be on the level and share common values and ethics. I have personally experienced this on many occasions and it’s a wonderful thing to know that no matter where I go I will ALWAYS have a friend and brother who will be there for me when I need him.
Another reason why we gather is that God who is all seeing and all- knowing desires it to be so. I have been placed in this lodge for a reason and have been called to do so.
While Masonry is not a religion, and should never be seen as one, we as Masons are implored to supplement the teachings of the holy bible with the Masonic Ritual we teach our candidates and implement the lessons through life.
I cannot tell you how many times I have been sitting in a church and heard a non-Mason Pastor present a sermon on portions of our Masonic ritual and had that aha moment! So that’s where that came from. It is a beautiful thing when a Mason receives new light supported by biblical scripture written well over 2,000 years ago.
Finally, why we gather is because Masonry is as relevant to us today as it was to our three founding Grand Masters Solomon, King of Israel, Hiram, King of Tyre and Hiram Abiff, a Widows son from the tribe of Naphtali.
I am very excited about the incoming officer corps for the upcoming Masonic year, which will be under the leadership of our incoming Master, Bob Strohmeyer. I wish you all very happy and prosperous 2019!
—Michael E. Roberts, Master
Brethren and friends, it simply amazes me how fast 2018 has flown by! It has been both an honor and a privilege to serve you again as Master of Acalanes Fellowship Lodge #480. At our Stated Meeting on November 6th, the Brethren elected the Officers who will lead the lodge in the ensuing 2019 Masonic Year and beyond. We are truly blessed to have such an excellent corps of dedicated Officers who love our gentle craft and the lodge members and extended families they serve.
In November Acalanes Fellowship Lodge conducted two 3rd Degrees. Congratulations to Brothers Reynold Dandan, and Andre Sternang! I was extremely pleased with the work our excellent ritualists performed.
At our Stated Meeting on Tuesday December 4th, we will again have a United States Marine representing the Contra Costa Country Toys for Tots Program in attendance. He will be in dress blues to meet with you and accept any new unwrapped toys or cash donations we bring. The toys and cash donations will benefit children in need in Contra Costa County who might otherwise not have any toys during the holidays. Any new (unwrapped) toy from infant to teenager would be greatly appreciated. Please plan on attending our upcoming December Stated Meeting Dinner and donate generously to this very important cause.
Our annual installation of officers is scheduled for Saturday December 8th at 5 PM with dinner following at 7 PM catered by Zimm’s Catering. Please be sure to RSVP so we can plan accordingly.
The 2018 Masonic year will conclude with our annual end-of-year Sweethearts luncheon scheduled for Saturday December 15th at Acalanes Fellowship lodge with a reception starting at 11:30 AM and lunch served at noon.
I look forward to seeing you all again soon!
Greetings from the East:
It’s hard to believe that we are already in the fourth quarter of 2018! Acalanes Fellowship Lodge is continuing to roll full steam ahead for the month of September with a traveling Past Master double second degree at Benicia Lodge on Saturday September 15th for Brothers Jason Harding and Noah Meier. Lodge will open at 6:15pm and all Master Masons and Fellowcraft Masons are invited and encouraged to attend. For those of you who are not aware this degree will be held in the first Masonic Hall built in California and dedicated on December 27, 1850.
On the following Saturday September 22nd we will then present the Hiram Award to Brother Bob Smith at 5pm. The Hiram Award, it is presented to a Master Mason who has served the Lodge and the Masonic Fraternity with devotion over and above the ordinary. It is the highest honor other than being Master of the Lodge that can be bestowed on a member of a Masonic Lodge. Please join me in congratulating this amazing brother.
On Tuesday, September 25th we will not be having our monthly potluck as we have many Brethren heading to San Francisco to participate in the annual Masons for Mitts program. This year the Giants will be host the Padres with game start time of 7:15pm. If you have not already done so, please visit the Masons for Mitts website to purchase tickets for the games and donate a Mitt for only $20. Please be sure to use the “East Bay Aces” link when purchasing a Mitt so our district gets the credit. This really is a fun and inexpensive night for you and your whole family and all for a great cause. Every baseball season, the Masons of California partner with Angels Baseball, Los Angeles Dodgers, San Diego Padres, and San Francisco Giants Major League Baseball (MLB) teams to bring the fun and teambuilding skills of baseball to more California kids. MLB foundations in each region are committed to serving the community and providing a positive outlet for children. Throughout the season, teams of Masonic lodges in each region face off in friendly competition to help the most kids they can, by purchasing baseball mitts for children who participate in programs through the MLB foundations. The Masons4Mitts team from each region that funds the greatest number of baseball mitts will publicly present their check, along with the grand master, at Masons Night at the ballpark in Angels Stadium in Anaheim, AT&T Park in San Francisco, Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, and Petco Park in San Diego.
I look forward to seeing you all at our upcoming Stated Meeting & dinner on Tuesday September 4th!
At our Stated Meeting dinner during the month of June we had a guest speaker, Past Honored Queen Jesse DeMercurio of Job’s Daughters Bethel #247 provided us with an informational presentation about this youth order and invited us to attend their upcoming installation ceremony to be held at Acalanes Fellowship Lodge on Tuesday June 12, 2018. The emphasis of her presentation was the importance of Masons engaging and supporting all Masonic Youth Orders by attending their meetings, becoming mentors and of course financially. Without Masons engaging, Masonic Youth Orders such as Job’s Daughters, Rainbow Girls and DeMolay simply cannot survive.
On Saturday June 9th, Acalanes Fellowship lodge returned to the Masonic Homes outdoor lodge room to confer a double 2nd degree for brothers Reynold Dandan and Andre Sternang. The degree went very well, and our excellent cast of ritualists put on a fabulous degree for these two brothers. Afterward we enjoyed a picnic buffet and a handful of us went on tours of the facilities conducted by actual residents of the Masonic homes. If you have yet to visit the Masonic Homes in either Union City or Covina I highly encourage you to do so.
On Tuesday June 12th the Job’s Daughters Bethel held an initiation at Acalanes Fellowship Lodge and a handful of Brethren from our lodge joined me in attending this very important occasion. As you may not be aware, the Jobs Daughters Bethel #247 has been struggling for over 2 years to boost its membership. This initiation was extra special as they had guest ritualists from three different Bethels to fill the stations. Without the assistance of these other Bethels this initiation would not have been possible. They had three initiates that night and for the first time ever had a full house (sideliners) and a choir. The initiation was very informative to me and I now have a much better understanding of what the Job’s Daughters are about, and I highly encourage you all to attend their next meeting. If you would like more information about the Job’s Daughters or any other youth order, please contact me and I’ll be happy to direct you to the local contact.
It is hard to believe that the month of July is already here! We will have our monthly stated meeting on July 3rd and as with lodge tradition go dark for the rest of the month. I wish everyone a happy and safe 4th of July holiday and look forward to seeing everyone during the month of August.
The month of May has been another busy month for the lodge officers! We had a very successful 1st Degree on Tuesday May 22nd for Dale Satre with the assistance of the Senior Warden Sean Mergy of Orinda Lodge. Welcome to the craft, Brother Satre!
I am also very pleased to announce that our Hiram Award nomination committee has met and selected our 2018 recipient! Please join me in congratulating Brother Bob Smith, who has diligently served our lodge both as our Tiler and behind the scenes as our past Temple Board President & member. Bob’s Hiram Award Ceremony is slated for the evening of Saturday, September 22nd and more details will follow in the coming months.
We will wrap up the month of May on Tuesday May 29th with our monthly lodge potluck from 5:30 PM to 7:00 PM. The lodge officers will then head up to the Lodge Room to rehearse for our upcoming 2nd Degree on Saturday June 9th. All Fellowcrafts & Master Masons are welcomed to attend this rehearsal. As a reminder, If you are interested in serving our lodge as an officer or volunteer in any capacity please do let myself or any of the lodge officers know.
In June our Stated Meeting & Dinner will take place on Tuesday, June 5th, followed by a traveling 2nd degree on Saturday, June 9th at the outdoor lodge room at the Masonic Homes in Union City for Brother Reynold Dandan. The degree will start promptly at 9 AM and conclude around 11:45 AM. We will then head back down the hill for a prepared Picnic Buffet including hamburgers, hotdogs and all the fixin’s. Please be sure to RSVP via Eventbrite in advance so we can get an accurate headcount for the caterers. Volunteer guided tours of the Masonic Homes grounds have also been arranged in the 1 PM hour.
Finally, on Tuesday June 26th we will have our monthly lodge potluck from 5:30 PM to 7:00 PM. There is no cost to attend, all are always welcome and we just ask that you bring either a salad, entrée or dessert to share. It’s an excellent time to break bread and get to know each other better! Thanks all, and I look forward to seeing you all around the lodge soon!