On Friday, November 16, through Sunday, November 18, the Grand Lodge of AF&AM of Maryland's 221st Annual Communication was held.
This was my third attendance at Grand Lodge Communications, and I have always been impressed. Not just by the pomp and circumstance, but by the content, both concrete and spiritual that I have experienced there. This year was no exception.
Most Worshipful Grand Master John R. Biggs, Jr. sat in the East. The meeting was started by Right Worshipful Deputy Grand Master Thomas M. Velvin, Jr. I won't go into the whole list of Grand Line Officers present, but there's always a bunch. Six Past Grand Masters were present, along with a striking list of distinguished guests.
Among the guests were:
The Grand Line (except for M.W. Gr. Mstr., Shelton D. Reddon, who had another commitment) of the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Maryland, lead by RW Deputy Grand Master Thomas H. Wise, Jr.
The Grand Line F.A.A.M. of the District of Columbia, headed up by MW Grand Master Robert B. Heyat, P.G.M.
The Grand Line of AF & AM of Delaware, headed by MW Grand Master, Earl L. Emerson, Jr.
MW Grand Master Calvin K. Keylar of Virginia
RW Grand Master Ronald A Aungst., Sr., from Pennsylvania
RW Senior Grand Warden Dennis Breheny, From New York
RW Senior Grand Warden William H. Berman, New Jersey
MW Grand Secretary Larry S. Plasket, P.G.M.
MW Grand Secretary Emeritus Raymond P. Bellini
MW Past Grand Master Raymond Vanden Berghe
MW Grand Master William L. Greene, from Connecticut
MW Grand Master Calvin K. Keylar, Vermont
MW Grand Secretary, Cedric L. Smith, P.G.M.
MW Grand Master Gerald S. Leighton, Maine
MW Past Grand Master Gary L. Atkinson, Ontario, Canada
MW Grand Master Arthur D. Tunnell, New Mexico
In addition to these distinguished guests, there were invited guests from all of the collateral bodies in Maryland
I found the opening ceremonies moving and special when we all sang the Star Spangled Banner and Oh Canada (this has been the case in all the Grand Lodge Functions I've attended, since there have been Canadian visitors in each of them. The Canadian Flag shared a place in the East with the flag of our country.
Another striking thing, that given the average age of our membership, may indicate the continuing interest and involvement of younger men in our institution, was that it looked like (and this is completely by sight: totally unscientific) 30-50% of the men present were under 50 years old.
I haven't been a Mason for very long, but all of my contacts with the Grand Lodge of Maryland have impressed me with the quality and spirit of the people I have encountered. They have always been accessible and helpful, no matter what their position, up to and including the Grand Master. The harmony of the institution is shown by the ease of voting. Not that there aren't contests in the items brought up for vote; not that people don't have platforms to promote, but that the time spent in discussion and voting goes well and smoothly. Not without griping about defeats, but with acceptance.
The Grand Lodge of Maryland is working toward the brotherhood of Freemasons in the Free State, and all of us are benefiting by it.
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