Fraternal greetings my Brothers!
I hope this message finds you well. It has been awhile. To say that this has been a difficult six months I think would be an understatement.
I hope to accomplish several goals with this message, I’ve thought about everything that I wanted to say and the emotions that I’ve wanted to convey. A mind buzzing with a thousand thoughts yearning for direction and clarity.
Instead of this letter that you are reading now, my original letter was one of dimit. I was ready to quit Masonry.
It took a conversation with an old friend for me to see what I had failed to. In truth, he’s probably the only one that could have reached me. He is his Brother’s keeper. I write this now because I hope to share my thoughts to possibly help a Brother in similar circumstances.
I can no longer be silent while the acrid interactions eat away at our foundation and fraternal ideals. 2020 has been a trying year, and promises to continue to drag us through the muck before we rediscover the light many of us have had nearly extinguished. I cannot in good faith, ignore this any longer.
The events of the last few months have shaken my faith in…everything. I questioned my ability to withstand the overwhelming events that have shaken our society. I questioned how Brothers can treat each other the way that I’ve seen on social media. Whether an Entered Apprentice, or a Past Master, we’ve been told ad nauseam about how Masons should treat one another. We should know better. And we should be better.
It’s suffocating. Unyielding.
I questioned the value of Freemasonry, and its ability to withstand the caustic climate which saturates our interactions. I questioned what value I can add to Masonry, and the value that Masonry could continue to provide to me.
A mirror hangs at the entrance of the Lodge room. On it, a simple phrase reminding us as we enter Lodge that we are someone’s representation of Freemasonry. We have forgotten that. These are perilous times my Brethren. The cement bonding us has cracked. It’s easy to lose oneself in these unprecedented times, to fall into one of the most human of instincts…self-preservation.
My hope is that when the dust settles, the builders will still be standing to pick up the fractured pieces of what we held dear. As we learn in the lessons of our predecessors, those men who persisted in the pursuit of ideals inherent to our fraternity, the lapse of time, the ruthless hand of ignorance, and the devastations of war have laid waste and destroyed the foundations which the most brilliant and skilled minds worked to build.
Freemasonry, notwithstanding still survives.
This my Brothers, is our moment to stand. Despite our ideological differences, the chasm of our beliefs, and the distance with which we must adhere to keep ourselves and each other safe, we are still connected by our fraternal bonds in Truth, Relief, and Brotherly Love.
I can’t control how you will interpret my admission on this page. If you feel like I do, know that you are not alone. If you think me a fool, you’re likely not alone either. If it means that I am no longer in a position to serve the Lodge, I accept that. But these thoughts need to be said.
My Brothers, I do not want to be one of the masses that has fallen victim to the societal and political forces pulling us apart. In these times, Masonry is needed now more than ever.
Society needs us. And I need you.
Our community needs us. And so, I implore you to pick up your tools and enter the quarries with me. We have work to do. In years past, we have come together as a Lodge to support a cause near to my heart. Fall is typically our Food Drive time, and in years past we’ve come together to deliver over 8,000 pounds of goods to our neighbors and friends in need of the services offered by the Newington Food Bank. Our hands have been idle for too long. My hands have been idle for too long.
And so we begin again. We can finish 2020 with a sense of purpose and fulfill the duties that we swore to in front of our Brothers, ourselves, and the Grand Architect.
There are over 400 households on a normal year filled with people who need someone to help stand by their side in difficult times. 2020 has not been a normal year, and the need has only increased. As we head into the end of the year, I beg you to join me in putting our energy and efforts to a good cause. Together, we can make a difference. I have renewed faith, even just a small amount of light will change the darkness enveloping us. Our faith being in the Grand Architect, our trust is well founded. We will rise, follow our guides, and fear no danger.
There will be more information to come, but if you want to be a part of something more, to fight against the tsunami that has been 2020, we can fight together. We can be more. We are someone’s representation of Masonry.
I will serve faithfully as Junior Warden. For as long as I continue to be able. As long as you allow me the honor to serve the Lodge, I will do it to the best of my ability.
It is our choice as to how we chart the course of our future, and the future of Sequin-Level Lodge #140. We do so together.
– Brother Chris Woodward, Junior Warden 2020