Last week, we shared Part I of our Q&A with our new Grand Master Keith Newton. Continue reading on for Part II of our conversation with MWB Newton where we delve into his first time attending Lodge, how he lives out Masonic values on a daily basis, and his plans for Ohio Freemasonry in the year ahead.
Which Lodge do you belong to?
I’m a member of Wilmington Lodge #52 and have been fortunate enough to receive honorary memberships from other lodges. Additionally, I’m a member of the Shriners and was just coronated a 33° Scottish Rite Mason of the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction. As a Scottish Rite Mason, I belong to Valleys of Dayton and Cincinnati. I’m also a York Rite Mason but am most active as Blue Lodge Mason.
What was your first experience in Lodge like? Do you remember how you felt the day you became an Entered Apprentice? When was that?
Well, I became an Entered Apprentice in 1995 and was raised a Master Mason in the next year. I’ll never forget that my father came from Pennsylvania when I received each degree. I remember it left a strong impression on my fellow lodge members as well.
I think my experience when I first joined was similar to many Brothers. It was overwhelming; you are taking in a lot at that time. There were meetings I was a part of that I didn’t realize I was supposed to be early for. One thing I remember clearly is the district deputy grand master sitting with me and I was inspired by how he spoke about Masonry and explained that he was excited about traveling with me on this journey.
How do you live out Masonic values throughout your day to day life? Do you have thoughts on how our Brothers can do the same?
Like many of our brethren, the lessons I’ve learned from Masonry have helped form who I am today. I try to live a life of integrity and character so I can lead by example for myself as well as my grandchildren and children. This means making the right decisions and choosing the right thing to do even when nobody’s looking.
Masonry has helped me to surround myself with men who share my ideals. That’s what I love about the Craft: I can find and learn from these men with the same values and priorities who, like me, are trying to live a life that is true and honest.
We have a vibrant community of Freemason across Ohio. What makes Ohio such a great place for the fraternity to thrive?
Much of that is attributable to the state that is Ohio. Ohio is filled with agricultural and rural communities which are comprised of the same kind of men who made Masonry into what it is today. These are the guys who sit around the coffee shop in the morning and share stories. The guys who value being a part of and serving their community. They are the type of guys Freemasonry was built on.
What is your plan for Ohio Freemasonry during the next Grand Lodge year?
My hope is for Masons across Ohio to want to be a part of Step into the Light. We have a special bond in Ohio Masonry and my goal in the year ahead is to strengthen it. We can do this by committing to creating new Masons and growing our fraternity, caring for our brethren, widows and orphans, and supporting the Grand Lodge.
Another key to our future success is communication. As Masons, we need to listen to each other more than we talk. We need to share the good news coming out of our lodges. We need to let the public know about all the good work we do in our local communities. We need to tell our stories as Masons. Communicate – Communicate – Communicate!
How did “Step into the Light” come to be?
This journey began seven years ago when Most Worshipful Brother Easterling asked me and Sharon to serve the Grand Lodge of Ohio. You never expect this, it’s an overwhelming honor so I took some time to think about it and mulled over what the duties and expectations are.
The following Sunday, I went to church and during the pastor’s sermon that day, I felt like he was speaking right to me. His message that morning was to “step into the light.” He seemed to be saying, “Keith, it’s okay to get into an uncomfortable area and stretch yourself.” On our drive home, I told Sharon that seemed to be a good fit for me and so it came to be.