Author Archives: Junior Warden

A Call to Charity: Preparing the Lodge for February 2023 and Beyond

By Wor. Nikola N. Nikolov, PM, Foundation Board Chairman

In this blog, our Senior Warden Bro. David Bella, has presented a strong argument for your participation in Lodge and supporting our efforts for 2023. I echo his sentiment. Alexandria – Washington Lodge has a storied past, which presents us with a unique platform to represent Craft Freemasonry to the world. To adequately execute the plans laid forth for the Memorial’s Cornerstone Centennial Celebration and update our educational/museum exhibits in the Lodge Room and Replica Lodge Room, funds are required. The Foundation was established specifically to support the Lodge in telling the story of Freemasonry and the story of Washington as a Freemason. We are in the process of working with the Archives Committee and Officers to determine how much updates to the Lodge and Replica Lodge will cost. Initial estimates are about $60,000. This is a great deal of money, but it is not insurmountable. You can assist in raising these funds through the support of the Foundation.

Since launching the Foundation, nearly $50,000 have been raised. Thank you to everyone who has already demonstrated their support for the Lodge and Foundation thus far. To ensure the financial health of the Foundation, and to support 2023 activities and beyond, we need to double this amount through our Cornerstone Campaign. I challenge each of you to consider how much you might be able to invest in the Lodge’s future. Consider becoming a Charter Member of the Foundation with a $1,000 contribution. Some brothers question why we need to raise this money, especially when the Lodge accounts are not insignificant. The answer is twofold. First, to continue to offer strong programming and high-quality meals at each of our Stated Communications, support Lodge participation in the District Masters and Wardens Association, attendance at Grand Lodge, and participation in the Committee on Work’s Reid J. Simmons Masonic Ritual Academy – among other activities – we need to leave the Lodge accounts as intact as possible. Annually, the Lodge withdraws about three percent of its invested funds to support these activities. Taking a significant chunk from those funds will reduce our annual draw and diminish our capacity for regular activities. Continue reading

Call to Service: Preparing the Lodge for February 2023 and Beyond

By Bro. David Bella, Senior Warden

Two hundred and forty years ago, six Alexandrians – Robert Adam, Michael Ryan, William Hunter Sr., John Allison, Peter Dow, and Dr. Elisha Cullen Dick – submitted a petition to the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania requesting a warrant to operate a Masonic Lodge in Alexandria. The combined imaginative talent of those six men could never foretell what lay in store for their town’s first lodge.

The lodge they founded has hosted Presidents, dignitaries, and Grand Masters from countless jurisdictions. It has laid nationally significant cornerstones such as the United States Capitol Building, the Smithsonian Institution, and Library of Congress to name a few. It has led important funeral services. It has practiced incalculable charity in the community which has positively impacted generations of Alexandrians. It has been a leader in the international masonic community. And perhaps, most importantly, it has created life-long friendships among its members. There is no denying the lodge they created has blossomed into a truly unique and special institution. Looking around the lodge and at our historical records, I am always struck by the astonishing quality of our members. I believe that the “specialness” of the lodge is in direct parallel to the greatness of our members. Over one hundred years ago, one of the most exceptional generations of our membership banded together to set in motion the construction of the most architecturally impressive masonic structure ever conceived: an august monument to our lodge’s most august member. Continue reading

AW22 Past Master Series: Daniel Froggett, PM

Wor. Daniel E. Froggett, Master in 2020, is featured in the latest installment of the AW22 Past Master Series. This documentary project highlights and preserves the sage wisdom and fond memories of the men chosen as servant leaders to their brothers at Alexandria-Washington Lodge No. 22.

Wor. Froggett currently serves as our Lodge secretary. Thank you for your tireless efforts and the countless hours of hard work you put in for our Lodge!

 

AW22 Past Master Series: Jim Stone, PM

Worshipful Jim Stone, our Worshipful Master in 1976, is featured in the latest installment of the AW22 Past Master series. This documentary project highlights and preserves the sage wisdom and fond memories of the men chosen as servant leaders to their brothers at Alexandria-Washington Lodge No. 22. We hope you enjoy hearing his stories as much as we do!

The Brethren of AW22 are always inspired by the leadership he exemplifies and the love and dedication he has for our Lodge. Thank you, Wor. Stone, for demonstrating to us what it means to be a good Mason.

Mental Health: Fulfilling Our Obligation by Aiding a Distressed Brother

By Nelo A. Hamilton, Jr., Junior Warden

As Freemasons, we are taught to aide those in distress, more especially a brother Mason. When imaging someone in distress, we often think of someone with a broken-down car or an individual approaching us on the street to ask for money. It is important, however, to recognize that the signs of distress aren’t always so obvious. As a fraternity, Masonry should cultivate an environment and foster relationships where the Brethren feel that they can be honest and open with one another about their mental health without stigmas or judgement being attached. It should also equip our members with the knowledge and skills to aide a Brother who confides in them.

A study by the Boston School for Mental Health found that 32.8% of adults in the US experienced elevated symptoms of depression in 2021. Additionally, 27.8% of adults in the US reported elevated symptoms of depression in 2020, compared to 8.5% before the COVID-19 pandemic, indicating that depression rates are poised to remain high. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the overall percentage of adults with recent symptoms of anxiety or a depressive disorder increased from 36.4% to 41.5% from August 2020 to February 2021.Considering the challenges we’ve faced as a country and society over the last couple years, including the COVID-19 Pandemic, civil unrest, a contentious election, social isolation, the fact our lives have changed so drastically for such a long period of time and ongoing economic uncertainties, there is little surprise that we would feel some drastic effects on our mental health.

The Worshipful Master’s mission this year is a significant first step in creating an environment where mental health is both normalized and prioritized, especially among men. Speaking openly and honestly about our mental

health is a critical step towards removing the stigma surrounding it. It is incumbent upon our leadership and members to hold honest conversations about depression and anxiety in order to create an environment where a struggling Brother feels comfortable seeking support. Although it may be outside the primary theme of their year, moving forward it is crucial that future Masters of AW22 continue to highlight mental health and establish the Lodge as a support system.

When a Brother reaches out, our first priority should be to listen. This does not mean offering advice or opinions, but instead actively listening to what is being said and offering understanding. According to the Mayo Clinic, listening and understanding can be a powerful healing tool. After that initial conversation, keep an open line of communication and check in often to see how they are doing. Encourage further help and point them towards organizations such as the National Alliance on Mental Illness (www.nami.org). Familiarize yourself with the resources available. As individuals, we must be aware of our own wellbeing while also educating ourselves on how to be there for our Brethren. When we recognize a Brother is exhibiting symptoms of depression or anxiety, be proactive by genuinely asking how they are and lending a listening ear. Remember your obligation.

The harsh reality is that, according to the American Society for Suicide Prevention, suicide is the 12th leading cause of death in the United States, with 45,979 Americans dying by suicide in 2020 and a staggering 1.2 million attempts. Of these, men died by suicide 3.88 times more than women. Let those numbers sink in for a moment. For some men, the Lodge is their primary – or only – support system; we must be there for one another.

In addition to further promotion of mental health, AW22 will be working to compile a list of helpful resources to be made available for the Brethren on the Lodge’s website. Let’s challenge ourselves to continue having these conversations and equip our Lodge with the working tools necessary to go out of our way to aide our distressed Brethren before it too late.

At the time of writing, Nelo Hamilton serves as the Junior Warden of Alexandria-Washington Lodge No. 22 . The views outlined in this article are those of the author and do not represent those of Alexandria-Washington Lodge No. 22 or the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge,  A.F. &A.M. of the Commonwealth of Virginia.