For those of you who joined us as we passed three candidates to the degree of Fellow Craft, I thank you for your support of Redwood Lodge and for your support of our candidates. There is nothing better for a candidate when he comes to light than to see that there are Brothers on the sidelines rooting him on. By the way, I think those of you who attended our degree will agree with me that we have three outstanding candidates. Our new Brothers showed how hard that they have been working during their proficiency examination. I was very proud of both the candidates and their instructor, Brother Senior Deacon Matt Yaffe for all of their efforts.
Speaking of hard work, I would like to recognize our officers who once again displayed their high level of ritual work during our Fellow Craft degree last month. In particular, I would like to single out, first, Brother Junior Deacon Jason Riffkin who gave the first part of the Middle Chamber lecture. Brother Riffkin is a gifted public speaker and I appreciate his effort in mastering his lecture. Second, I want to congratulate Brother Senior Deacon Matt Yaffe who conducted the candidates during their degree and gave a flawless second section of the Middle Chamber lecture as he conducted the candidates into the Middle Chamber, up the flight of winding stairs and beautifully explained the symbolic three, five and seven steps. In addition to providing caring instruction to our candidates, learning his lecture and performing his duties as Senior Deacon, Brother Yaffe has had to balance the addition of a new son to his household. With all the responsibility that he has had this year, Brother Yaffe has performed with extraordinary skill and commitment. I have been so fortunate to have such an amazing group of officers and, in particular, I am grateful for Brother Yaffe's dedication during my year as Master.
I also want to recognize our Chaplain, Brother Bob Stahl, who now in two degrees has delivered the charges to the candidates in a very caring and moving manner. The charge of both the Entered Apprentice and the Fellow Craft degree is often overlooked in importance. My Brothers, the "Charge" is important as it imposes a duty, responsibility or obligation on the candidates. It comes at the end of each degree because it is a summation of the lesson that the candidate is to take away from what he just experienced. Not only the words but how they are delivered is a very important part of each degree. Brother Stahl has continued the Redwood tradition of providing dignity and class in the Chaplain's chair and both of his charges have been delivered in such a beautiful manner that they provided the capstone to the important lessons of each of these degrees.
In March, we will be having a very interesting program which I hope you will join us for. Our Senior Warden, Brother Javier Alfonzo, is an amazingly talented artist and stone carver. He is also a practicing Buddhist. At our March meeting, Brother Alfonzo will give us a talk on the "Fundamentals of Zen and Meditation Practice". I, for one, have always been fascinated with the mysteries of Eastern religions and have never been able to fully understand the concept of "Zen Buddhism" as opposed to Buddhism in general. This promises to take us into an area that few of us have ever ventured. I am proud of the ecumenical traditions of Redwood Lodge and excited to be part of a Lodge that truly exemplifies the principles of inclusion which are so fundamental to Masonry.Additionally in March, we will be presenting the 50 and 25 year medals to those Masons who have dedicated such a big part of their lives to the Craft. I do hope you will join us as we celebrate with these Brothers their achievement and show them how much their commitment to Redwood Lodge means to us.
As I write this message, it is President's Day and I am reminded of something I learned about George Washington. Did you know that Brother Washington never went into battle without first asking for help from the Supreme Architect? Is this not a lesson we learn from the first day we are a Mason? To never to embark upon any great or important undertaking without first invoking the blessing of Deity? My Brothers, our Masonic lessons are not just words. They are and should be a part of our daily life. Be proud to be a Mason. Be proud of Redwood Lodge. See you all in March.
Robert T. Goff