"Tidings from the East"

So far this year I have been blessed to be the WM for so many pleasurable events and meetings. We attended Lafayette's Lodge 492's Rusty Nail night which was unbelievably fun, helped host the Freemasonry booth at the Tippecanoe Co. 4h fair, hosted a full lodge of brothers and guests at a Triple 50-year ceremony, and had another successfully planned chicken dinner fundraising event. (I am sure I am leaving out several other items too !)

But undoubtedly the most rare and invigorating was the pleasant news delivered at our first meeting in June. I am pleased to welcome WM Perry R. Schnarr, the officers, and all of  members of Greenhill Lodge 455 to our lodge. In many ways Otterbein Lodge now becomes a new lodge for both its' pre-existing members and our newest brothers. Our membership has almost doubled with so many well qualified brothers. This is a blessing and I am thrilled.

This was a hard decision for many of the brothers of Greenhill lodge to make. Some of our newest lodge brothers have told me of the anguish involved in making the decision to close such an old and venerable lodge and then decide where to go. I hope that ALL of the members of Otterbein Lodge, both new and old, will respect these feelings and that we all can sit together in friendship and brotherly love with renewed hope for OUR lodge.

In respect for Greenhill lodge's momentous decision,  I am inviting WM Perry R. Schnaar to share the east with me for the remainder of the year. It is my hope that the elected and appointed officers of Otterbein lodge will also extend this courtesy to the officers of Greenhill lodge.

I also want to thank both Bro. Secretaries Fred Feigel (455) and Ron Shoup (561) along with Most Worshipful Brother and Grand Secretary Max L. Carpenter, and the Most Worshipful Grand Masters James L. Chesney (immediate P.G.M.) and Richard J. Elman for preparing all of the extensive paperwork and making this lodge consolidation possible. In particular I would like to thank  Brother Jerry Jones of the Grand Lodge for making this an exceptionally smooth transition. I can honestly tell you that all of these Brothers, along with WM Perry R. Schnaar, made this an event I just watched as it happened.

For our newest members we hold meetings twice each month on the first and third Thursdays and are tyled promptly at 7:30 pm. A social hour with a meal is served one hour earlier at the second meeting of the month. We are dark in July and August.
We have many programs and events planned for the remainder of 2004. We will be finalizing the plans for the by-laws changes already approved by the trustees, officers, and members in open meeting. We will be having a final vote on any additional changes at the second meeting in September. The lodge trustees are also considering how to implement a widows and orphans night, a fall fundraiser, visits to shut-ins, building improvements and repairs as well as finalizing plans for the phone survey mentioned in the last newsletter. Including officer elections for the coming year in November, a special presentation meeting for WM Schnaar and our new lodge brothers from Greenhill, and a hilarious rendition of the Rusty Nail degree, we have a full schedule with plenty of fun and fulfilling meetings this year.

When you attend lodge be prepared to see some innovations in the business part of our meetings. This spring we eliminated the reading of the minutes at the start of each meeting and vote on approval of pre-published minutes. This has already been met with enthusiastic approval. With your approval and support I hope to continue these innovations towards a less "tedious" business section at each meeting. I have already asked for more planning and help from our lodge's trustees on other improvements.

But we NEED your guidance too. We are including a questionnaire and return envelope with this newsletter. The first four questions are for you to let the lodge know how you feel about us and how we and Freemasonry are doing. Your answers and information are crucial to planning the events for the next several years. Please take a moment and fill this out, but at the very least please answer questions 5 through 11 along with giving us your contact information.

Finally one meeting you should make plans to attend will be our "Rusty Nail" meeting. This meeting will help you remember all of the secrets, and will be quite unlike ANY masonic meeting you likely have attended.

Parting on the Square,

Bob Finch, W.M.