“It is a gift to be able to learn from my Brothers. I hope I am able to give as much as I take. But along the way we are able to help others outside the four walls of our meeting space, whether it be during our Brotherhood Night or through our ability to leverage other events.” – Brother Timothy Cline of Forest City Lodge #388
Tell us about Forest City Lodge.
Forest City Lodge has enjoyed over 150 years of Masonic fellowship. We were chartered in 1867 and originally met in Ohio City. Since that time, we have slowly migrated eastward to our present location in Lyndhurst, Ohio. Although our membership draws from multiple faiths and denominations, our membership is historically Jewish. Forest City Lodge is also well-known for its charity. Whether it be offering relief to distressed brethren during financial crises to our annual Brotherhood Night: a Night with the Clergy and Candle Lighting Ceremony, the Brethren of Forest City Lodge place special importance on relief and charity within our community.
What is the community of Lyndhurst like? What is your Lodge’s interaction in the community?
Forest City Lodge is always looking for ways to get involved and work with the community. Given its migratory history and its location within the Greater Cleveland area, it strives to promote and foster relationships not just in Lyndhurst but throughout the Greater Cleveland area. During our Brotherhood Night, which is open to members of the fraternity and the community at large, Forest City makes donations to many local charities that focus on immediate relief to those in need of shelter, food, and clothing. More recently, Forest City Lodge has leveraged its Annual Sports Night to raise funds to support local athletes competing in the Special Olympics of Ohio.
Tell us about your Lodge’s Clergy & Candle Lighting Ceremony.
Forest City’s Brotherhood Night: a Night with the Clergy and Candle Lighting Ceremony began in 1972 when Right Worshipful Brother Morris Alton, Past Grand Chaplain of the Grand Lodge of Ohio, and the late Rabbi Rudolph M. Rosenthal of the Temple on the Heights, spoke at Forest City Lodge’s, “A Night with the Clergy” on the topic of “Brotherhood.” After both men addressed the lodge, Reverend Alton presented the brethren of Forest City Lodge a special candle, consisting of three wicks, and requested it be lit during the Christmas and Chanukah season as a symbol of Brotherhood. A version of this candle has been lit during the ceremony ever since, and is accompanied by dialogue recited by the three principal officers of the lodge. In December 1985, the final piece of the event was put into place with the establishment of the Brotherhood Fund, through which members of Forest City raise the funds to be distributed to various charities.
Today, our Brotherhood Night: a Night with the Clergy and Candle Lighting Ceremony is the premiere event for our lodge. For me, it is very thought provoking and serves a great reminder for what we as Masons stand for, which is especially important in today’s social environment. It includes four to five speakers who discuss the topic of Brotherhood, which is perhaps better described as the concept of humanity tied together as one family. The speakers, who change from year-to-year, are clergy members from different faiths and denominations—e.g., rabbis, priests, pastors, and imams; we even had the Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus of Catholic Diocese of Cleveland one year. But it always includes the Grand Chaplain and Grand Master of Ohio. This is followed by the candle lighting ceremony and charitable distributions.
Tell us about the Brotherhood Night and Night with the Clergy. What did it mean to have Grand Master Timothy S. Wheeland speak at your Lodge?
It is always a big deal having the Grand Master visit your lodge. It allows the lodge to see and interact with the Grand Master on a more personal level. Forest City is fortunate to have an event in which the Grand Master of Ohio comes on an annual basis. The theme is always “Brotherhood,” but every year the Grand Master puts his own spin on the topic, and never disappoints.
What does events like these mean to the Brothers of the lodge?
As the premiere event of the year for the lodge, Brotherhood Night is something the brethren take great pride in. I think this is in part because the charitable funds are raised directly from the membership. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, numbers at the event dipped and we actually had to cancel the December 2020 event. But this allowed us to double our efforts for the 2021 event, during which we had a very large turnout and were able to host both the Grand Master, Timothy S. Wheeland, and the Past Grand Master, Richard A. Dickersheid.
Are there any upcoming events you’d like to share?
Forest City has many exciting events planned. All of our upcoming events are posted on our website (https://forestcitylodge.com/upcoming-events), which is updated frequently.
What about this Lodge made you want to be part of it? What type of Mason does it attract?
I joined Freemasonry in 2005 as a member of Thrall Lodge No. 170, located in Fredericktown, Ohio. After becoming a member, my wife and I moved a lot for school and work. When we moved to northeast Ohio in 2012, I started looking for a lodge that I could call home. The first thing that drew me to Forest City was its convenient location on my drive home from work. But the thing that sealed it for me was the fellowship at the lodge. On the first night I visited I was welcomed with open arms. RWB Mitch Alperin, the LEO, gave an education program on the Lights of Masonry. I remember sitting in the corner listening to the discussion when then WM Chester Wiley called on me to give my opinion. I was impressed. Not only did Forest City welcome me into their meeting as a true Brother, but they cared enough about me to ask my thoughts and opinions on the education program. It was only later that I learned about the important role charity plays at the lodge.
Forest City attracts multiple types of Masons. For me, I was attracted to the promise of a constructive escape from the stresses of life, where men can work together to not only improve themselves, but to improve their community and the world as a whole. It is a gift to be able to learn from my Brothers. I hope I am able to give as much as I take. But along the way we are able to help others outside the four walls of our meeting space, whether it be during our Brotherhood Night or through our ability to leverage other events, such as our Sports Night.
Interested to learn what other Ohio Masonic Lodges are up to? Read our blog spotlights on Rubicon Lodge #237, Alpha Lodge #729, and Middleport Lodge #363!