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From the East – December 2012

December is as always a busy month. We have dues notices going out (please remember
to pay), Grand Lodge (I think we have one of largest contingents of men going in recent
years), a Fellow Craft Degree, our Christmas Party, a Golden Trowel Award ceremony, and
we will be donating toys to the Dallas Children’s Hospital in Plano. Finally, this month our
Stated Meeting will be conducted in conjunction with Love Field Masonic Lodge’s state meeting.

Grand Lodge of Texas Stained Glass

While preparing for this year’s Grand Annual Communication, I took a moment to see
what other Grand Lodges had to say at their Grand Lodge meetings. In researching, I ran
across the latest Grand Master’s Address from the United Grand Lodge of England. In
his remarks, the Grand Master noted the forthcoming 300-year anniversary of Masonry
and that he believes “these times demand innovation, and imaginative thinking, whilst
retaining our principles” to ensure our fraternity continues to spread brotherly love for
another 300 years. His statement underscores an interesting dichotomy that seemingly
Masons worldwide are attempting to address. How do we retain our principles while
being innovative and imaginative? I think part of the answer is found in the wise
words printed in The Farmer’s Almanac in 1823, in a section titled “The Character of a
Mason.” In part, it reads, “A Freemason would be just if there were no laws, human or
divine, except those written in his heart by the finger of his Creator. In every climate,
under every system of religion, he is the same. He kneels before the Universal Throne
of God in gratitude for the blessings he has received and humble solicitation for his
future protection. He venerates the good men of all religions. He disturbs not the
religion of others. He restrains his passions, because they cannot be indulged without
injuring his neighbor or himself. He gives no offense, because he does not choose to be
offended. He contracts no debts which he is certain he cannot discharge, because he is
honest upon principal.” These words from The Farmer’s Almanac remind me of Plato’s
concept of forms, that for something to exist in the real world it must first exist in the
intangible world. Similarly, a Mason is a Mason, often before he knows it himself. Others
easily recognize his uprightness of character and desire to be a good man as those
characteristics, which make a man a Mason.

As the New Year approaches and the newly installed officers of Grand Lodge take the
helm, what can we do to think imaginatively and find areas in which to innovate, not only
in Masonic Lodge but also for our Fraternity in general? After 6 months of having the honor to
sit in the East, I am more convinced than ever that I do not have the answers. I believe
the “form” of a Mason, whether tangible or intangible, is the principle that will guide us
as we look to the future. We need to rely on and trust in each other, be open to frank
conversations, and listen with attentive ears to help inform and guide our future.

Merry Christmas and I hope to see you at one of our many events this month.

Sincerely and Fraternally,
Ken Knotts
Worshipful Master
HIllcrest Masonic Lodge 1318

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