We want to start by expressing our gratitude for all of those who attended our Grand Lodge Annual Communication last weekend. It was so great to have new and familiar Masons gather together in celebration of our shared values and brotherhood of Freemasonry. Freemasonry in Ohio is alive and well Brethren, thanks to you.
Congratulations to Most Worshipful Brother Keith Newton, the 164th Grand Master of Ohio
For those of you who could not attend last week’s event, Most Worshipful Brother Keith W. Newton was elected as the next Grand Master of the Grand Lodge Free and Accepted Masons of Ohio A Mason in the making from a young age, he belonged to the McKeesport Chapter of the Order of DeMolay and held several offices before serving as Master Councilor.
A member of Wilmington Lodge #52, MWB Newton was raised a Master Mason in 1996, served as Worshipful Master in 2001 and 2007, and went on to serve as District Deputy Grand Master from 2008 until 2011. He was then appointed Junior Grand Deacon by Most Worshipful Brother James F. Easterling, Jr., in 2012. MWB Newton lives in Wilmington, Ohio where he is the Director of Engine Services for Cargo Aircraft Management, Inc. He is a loving husband to Sharon, father of three, and grandfather of six.
From darkness to light
This new year brings with it an opportunity to continue the great work of past Grand Masters, and enhance Freemasonry throughout the state for the modern age. Grand Master Newton believes that while the values of Freemasonry never change, our ways of embodying and sharing it are constantly being adapted and shaped for the world and time in which we live.
If Freemasonry is the movement from darkness to Light, MWB Newton encourages us all to Step into the Light in the year ahead. In his plans for 2020, the new Grand Master calls upon every Freemason in Ohio to expand their Masonic knowledge and experiences, and be proactive in their Masonic Journey. He challenges Brothers to get involved and be an active participant in their Lodge, their District, and show the state what it means to be an Ohio Freemason.
Live your charter
Meeting Grand Master Newton’s challenge to Step into the Light in 2020 requires a willingness and eagerness to put our Masonic values into practice. Here are three areas in which each of us should aspire to succeed:
Make Masons – A quality lodge program coupled with educational opportunities helps promote membership, and the authority to make Masons is the first right granted to lodges in their charters. The strongest lodges share two common factors: they are involved in their community and they break bread together. Every Mason contributes to the strength of the brotherhood by living their charter in and out of the lodge room. Is your Lodge what you want it to be?
Care for Brethren, Widows, and Orphans – Reaching out every member every year and implementing a care program for our widows and orphans should be a lodge standard of excellence. Something as simple as sending a fruit basket or inviting a widow in your lodge to an awards dinner can remind them that they are and will always be a valued part of our community.
Support the Grand Lodge – Did you know that approximately 7% of our membership has an updated Grandview account? The first step towards building an effective membership communication system is to have current information on our members available in the Grand Lodge of Ohio membership database.
Grand Lodge charities
During Grand Lodge, Most Worshipful Brother Newton reminded us of our basic responsibilities as Brothers to care for each other, our spouses, families and our communities. One of his primary focuses in 2020 is to keep building momentum for our Grand Lodge charities. Two charities the Grand Lodge will be supporting in particular in the year ahead include:
Masonic Model Student Assistance Programs – 2019 saw a strong increase in awareness and activity throughout Ohio for Masonic Model Student Assistance Program thanks to Most Worshipful Brother Jess Raines and Lady Kelly. For several years, Freemasons of Ohio provided an intensive three-day training seminar to local schools which enables core teams of faculty and staff to effectively identify and refer at-risk youth. During the last two years, the MMSAP expanded its offerings to include a series of focused one day workshops that fit well with a school district’s continuing education program. These workshops are taught by staff from the National Masonic Foundation for Children. There are six sessions already scheduled for the remainder of the year and into 2020.
Sleep in Heavenly Peace – In 2020, Grand Master Keith and First Lady Sharon are encouraging Ohio Masons to help children in need through Sleep in Heavenly Peace. This nonprofit organization builds and delivers beds to children who don’t have one. Founded in 2012, the organization has ballooned to 150 chapters throughout the United States with eight in Ohio. To date, sleep in Heavenly Peace has built over 4000 beds for those who need them most. There are local chapters in Akron, Butler, Clinton, Lake/Geauga, Lorain, Maumee Valley, Warren and Youngstown.
Helping those in need should be a duty for all people, but for Masons, helping people in need is a core principle. As our brethren across the state of Ohio continue to answer the call to provide relief for those who need it most, our great fraternity will remain a vital source of Light in 2020.
As we all look to live simply, love generously, care deeply, and speak kindly, we look forward to Brother Keith Newton lighting the way for all of us to Step into the Light. To meet the new Grand Master in person, we encourage your attendance at the following upcoming events through the remainder of 2019 and into 2020.
November 23, 2019 Tri State Degree day – Grand Rapids, MI
January 20 – 22, 2020 Grand Master’s Receptions in Florida
April 5 – 12, 2020 Holy Week
May 9, 2020 Grand Masters One Day Class
June 7, 2020 Ohio Masonic Home Day at Springfield
June 20, 2020 DeMolay Grand Master’s Class
June 26, 2020 Special Olympics Opening Ceremony in Columbus
August 29, 2020 Grand Master’s Motorcycle Ride for Charity
September 2020 400th Anniversary of the sailing of the Mayflower
September 18 – 20, 2020 GLO Masonic Fellowship – Fun – Family RetreatOctober 23 – 24, 2020 Grand Lodge 2020 at Roberts Center, Wilmington, OH