May 2000

Honolulu Lodge's Long Term Strategies

    The first quarter of the year 2000 for Honolulu Lodge has been a marked departure from previous years. Ruled and governed by Worshipful George Theofanis, the lodge has embarked on a strategy of high profile community service projects, with the objectives of i.) Emphasizing Masonry's role in public service as a means of enhancing recruitment; ii.) Effecting a higher motivation and bonding amongst our brethren by drawing them into working together toward defined short, term and intermediate term goals. iii). Propagating fraternal ties with other lodges. The feasibility of this somewhat experimental approach must be measured not only with regard to whether these objectives are being met, but also whether so at the neglect of degree work and more traditional obligations. The community service projects have undoubtedly brought the brethren closer together, with a spirit of striving and sometimes straining together for the common goal of benefiting someone else. Veteran members who previously tended to be sideliners seemed to bloom forth with hitherto unnoticed zeal. Brother Terrence Derby, took lead roles in lining up yo-yo ranked amateurs for the January 14th Shriners Hospital performance by Hawaiian music group, Hapa. On the same date, newly obligated brother Fred Chang arranged food.  Junior Steward Mark Bleakney, quiet and unassuming ('except on his Harley) bounced young Children on his knee, and Scott Shimamura, not yet a Mason, served food, stacked chairs and generally acted like he had a natural calling to Masonry.   The Kaelepulu Bird Sanctuary cleanup project of March 26th, brought  Randy "Baba" Chang, and Brothers Horst Solfrank and Jeff Dexter from Hawaiian Lodge, and Worshipful Gary Camp and Senior Warden Charlie Wegner from Koolau Lodge to join the Honolulu brethren in clearing nesting areas in the waterfowl refuge.   Out of the sore shoulders, cramped hands, and scraped knees, working side by side, down-'n-dirty in the swamp, came many unspoken yet heartfelt bonds between lodges, as well as individuals.  The April 11th project, preparing and serving tuna casserole to some 350  homeless people at the Institute for Human Services Shelter, Brothers showed up to man the serving lines. This wasn't just about ducks without habitats or people without food; through these projects, the Brothers were learning about each other and perhaps finding more about them selves.

Traditional ritual work and the outside projects seemed to mutually reinvigorate each other. Solidly anchored by Junior Warden Randy Sua, who conferred then candidate Tom Ogden's First Degree on January 25th, gave a laudable demonstration of that degree from the East in the Grand Lodge School of instruction", January 29th, then conferred Ogden's Second Degree on February 29th, Honolulu Lodge then proceeded to initiate Tim Grant on April 18th, and Alan Lewis and Paul Perris 11 on April 25th, with Senior Deacon Jeff Tomoyasu sitting in the East for his qualification.  Senior Warden Frank Condello, offline at the beginning of this year with a newborn son, revived with a vengeance, running the floor from the Northeast for the April degrees. Stewards Mark Bleakney and Terrence Derby practiced movements of precision clockwork at the altar.  Brothers Jon Haig and Terrance Derby, not previously active in the officer line, elected to try learning the Middle Chamber, along with Junior Deacon Ray Tanaka. Koolau's Brothers boosted our line, Charlie Wegner sitting in as Junior Warden and Hartwell Kaneakua, as Marshal and Junior Deacon for the April 25th initiations. Officers from sister lodges working together with such harmony and synchronization that we were indistinguishable and rightly so, since all Masons are really one and the same!  The toilsome efforts of Past Masters David Kaohelaulii and Warren Stremming in schooling the officers must've shown. Grand Lodge Officers Don Wilson, James Malczon and Wilson Camagan in attendance, applauded the degree work as impeccable, Guests from Canada, England, Australia and some early East Coast lodges were duly impressed. The revitalized camaraderie thru outside projects carried over into closer coordination in degree work, between our officers as well as those of sister lodges.

Another bold endeavor of Theofanis' year was accomplished almost single handedly  by  the virtual skills of newcomer Junior Steward Mark Bleakney, who succeeded in setting up Honolulu's website ( in mid-February.  Foreign Brothers who used to muse forlornly, ".I don't know when I'll ever be back again." or say ".we'll write." can now get on the net when back home and see pictures of themselves in Makiki Temple and exchange e-mail. Honolulu's virtual lodge is as essential as our "brick 'n mortar" location on Makiki street.  Whether the outside projects will, in fact, bring more applicants into Honolulu Lodge, cannot be determined until our next Laymen's Night activity.   But the secondary and tertiary objectives having been met so successfully,  Theofanis is proceeding with the same strategy applied to a most colorful theme. Many Masons of the Age of Exploration, like Prince Henry, were operatively navigators and seafarers, as well as speculatively "navigating" the mysteries of life thru the Craft.  Nainoa Thompson of the Polynesian Voyaging Society, teaches navigation by the stars and currents, and like Masons, is a peacemaker, emphasizing the similarities not differences between men of all races. He will be the guest speaker at Honolulu Lodge's return to Shriners Hospital in later May, complete with little souvenir Hokule'a canoes made by Lanakila Crafts, if all goes as planned. The appearance of a known personality, the Shriners children's happy smiles, Thompson's affinity to the landmarks of the Craft, all make for the elements to put the brotherly love and good works of Masonry in Hawaii before the public; show good men what we believe in, what we do, and why they should join us.

Respectfully submitted,

Jeff Tomoyasu

Senior Deacon