Congratulations to our newest Master Mason

Oakland Lodge #140 is proud to announce the raising of their latest Master Mason – Mitchel R. Martin. The degree was held on March 22nd with 28 brothers from Oakland and surrounding lodges present. The event was made even more special as both his grandfather and his father-in-law were present to assist with the ceremony. A special thanks to all the Brothers that assisted with the conferring of the degree!

2022 Lodge Officers

The officers of Oakland Lodge #140 were installed on December 17, 2021…

Front row (L-R) Ancle Jones, PM (Treasurer), Steve Friend (Chaplain), Skip Donnell (WM), Richard Hix (SS), Brian Hooten, PM (Secretary)
Back Row (L-R) Aaron Lauber (JS), Rob Hons, PM (JW), W. Russell Taylor III (JD), Joey Cline, PM (SW), Derek Cheek (SD)

Here are a few photos from the installation. Much thanks to the Ladies of Oakland OES 150 for the refreshments after the ceremony!

2021 – The First Annual Oakland Lodge Open House

This past weekend we had our first open house in the new Lodge building. Though attendance from the community was less than we had hoped, we still had several folks stop by to say “Hi” and check out the building. The thing that I am most proud about is the number of Brothers and Sisters from the lodge that either worked, or stopped by to support the event. It was incredible to see so many turn out for the event. We did learn a lot, and hope to make this an annual event with even more local vendors showing up and participating. A huge THANK YOU to everybody for your support and encouragement!!

We also want to thank the local vendors who came out and supported our efforts…

Entertainment was provided by Abracadabra! – who did some absolutely adorable and fascinating balloon twisting.

A huge round of thanks goes to Derek Cheek for all of his hard work in putting this event together. His hard work and commitment is so very much appreciated by the Lodge. But, I was a bit concerned at one point. I really thought the stress of the event was getting to him. Take a look at the photo below and make your own decision about that….

Brother Derek Cheek

Or maybe that was how he was able to see what all of us were doing at the same time. We may never know!!

At the end of our event, we drew the winner of our Ammo Raffle – CONGRATULATIONS goes out to Joe Davenport for winning!!

Anyway – Thanks again to all who participated or stopped by. We really appreciated it and loved talking with everybody. We are already in the planning stages for next year – so hopefully it will be even bigger and better!! Stay tuned for information – hope to see you there!!

BBQ Photos

A few photos from the Lodges BBQ dinner on May 1, 2021. The menu this time was a half rack of ribs, a chicken quarter, mac & cheese, green beans, rolls, and choice of dessert. Our pitmasters were Derek Cheek and Frank Jackson. Thanks to all the brothers that help make this meal a success. Also, a big thank you for our OES chapter for providing the sweets!!

The only regret – I wish we had thought to take a picture of the MOUNTAINS of mac & cheese that we had.

We will be hosting an Open House on May 29th – details will be posted. Also, make sure you keep an eye out for our next BBQ event!

The Silent Summons

A friend sent me this – I thought it appropriate to share…

A member of a certain Lodge, who previously attended meetings regularly, stopped going. After a few months, the Worshipful Master decided to visit him. It was a chilly evening, and the Worshipful Master found his brother at home alone, sitting before a blazing fire.

Guessing the reason for the Worshipful Master’s visit, the brother welcomed him, led him to a comfortable chair near the fireplace and waited. The Worshipful Master made himself comfortable, but said nothing.

In the grave silence, he contemplated the dance of the flames around the burning logs. After several minutes, the Worshipful Master took the fire tongs, carefully picked up a brightly burning ember and placed it to one side of the hearth, all alone. Then he sat back in his chair, still silent.

His host watched all of this in quiet contemplation. As the one, lone ember’s flame flickered and diminished, there was a momentary glow, and its fire was no more. Soon, it was cold and dead. Not a word had been spoken since the initial greeting.

The Worshipful Master glanced at his watch and chose this time to leave. He slowly stood up, picked up the cold, dead ember, and placed it back in the middle of the fire. Immediately, it began to glow once more, with all the light and warmth of the burning coals around it.

As the Worshipful Master reached the door to leave, his host said, with a tear running down his cheek, “Thank you so much for your fiery summons, my brother. I’ll be back in our Lodge next meeting.”

— Author Unknown

Though you may not be at the meeting – know that you are my Brother – and you are missed.

Congratulations Dan Gates – 75-years!

R-L – Scott Gates, Dan Gates, Pam Gates

On February 24th, Oakland Lodge #140 had the honor of presenting Brother Dan Gates, PM with his 75-year Masonic pin.  Though we could not be together to make the presentation, several brothers gathered at the Lodge and through the coordination of Dan’s children, we were able to make the presentation virtually.

Brother Gates was born in 1925, initiated as an Entered Apprentice on 11/8/1946, passed to the degree of a Fellowcraft 12/9/1946, and raised to the sublime degree of a Master Mason 12/20,1946.   Of the brothers who were present at the presentation, none of them had been born when Dan was raised as a Master Mason.  His life exemplifies what it means to be a Mason.  Throughout his life, Dan gave back to his community.  He served for many years as the official photographer for the City of Lawrence Fire Department.  He served in the same capacity for the City of Indianapolis Fire Department.  Both of his sons – Greg and Scott are also Master Masons.

To say this is a tremendous milestone in an individual’s Masonic history is an understatement.  The number of lives that Dan has touched over the course of his Masonic career is countless.  But, from talking and hearing from those that know him – he has made a profound impression and remained true to his Masonic teachings.

The highlight of the evening was the presence of Kenneth Roy, Jr. – Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Indiana.  Though unable to be there in person, our Grand Master joined in the celebration virtually, and congratulated and praised Dan on his momentous achievement.

Presentation of Dan’s 75-year pin and certificate was completed by his son Scott and his daughter Pam.  Also present was Marcia Greene, past matron of the OES, who assisted in the coordination of the virtual call.

Thank you, Dan, for your dedication and commitment to your family, your community, and our fraternity.  You serve as an inspiration to us all.  CONGRATULATIONS for achieving 75-years as a Mason.          

2021 Lodge Officers

The installation of the 2021 officers for Oakland Lodge #140 occured yesterday, January 2nd. Though the ceremony was abbreviated due to COVID precautions, it was still a very special moment shared with Brothers and family.

Front Row (L-R)
Junior Deacon – Derek Cheek, Senior Warden – Joey Cline, Worshipful Master – Skip Donnell, Junior Warden – Ken Whitcomb, Senior Deacon – Douglas Bondy, Tyler – Wayne Moody
Back Row (L-R)
Treasurer – Ancle Jones, Secretary – Brian Hooten, Chaplain – Wilber Russell Taylor III

2021 Election of Officers

Election of offices for the 2021 year were held on Wednesday, December 2nd. The officers elect are:

Worshipful Master – Skip Donnell
Senior Warden – Joey Cline PM
Junior Warden – Ken Whitcomb
Senior Deacon – Doug Bondy
Junior Deacon – Derek Cheek
Senior Steward – Wayne McCullough PM
Junior Steward –
Chaplain – W Russell Taylor III
Treasurer – Ancle Jones PM
Secretary – Brian Hooten PM
Tyler – Wayne Moody PM

Installation of officers will be held on Saturday, January 2nd at noon. Light refreshments will be provided.

But We Survived, and Became Stronger…

Brothers, you cannot turn on the television or radio any more and not hear about pandemic that is going on all around us. First and foremost, I ask that you take a moment to say a prayer for all of those who are directly impacted by this terrible virus – also remembering their friends and family – this will be an event that will live forever in their memories.

Please, also say a prayer for those who are continuing to work to provide for the rest of us – the doctors, nurses, first responders, truck drivers, factory workers, restaurant operators, store employees – the list is too long to include everybody – but we all know who these people are. The folks without whose dedication this world would quickly grind to a stop. This includes all of the doctors and researchers who are spending tireless hours attempting to find an approach to combat this invisible enemy.

For so many years we have been so involved in our day to day activities, we rarely if ever have stopped to ask the question – what if… What if we were forced to stay in our homes for weeks in due to an unseen threat? What if there were shortages of food? What if I could not find toilet paper? Two months ago these were foreign concepts to the majority of people. But you do not have to go back in history very far to realize that these were all too common concepts to our ancestors.

World War I – “The war to end all wars” was 1914-1918. Thought the fighting never reached our lands, the impacts were felt by all persons around the world. Immediately following in 1918 there was the Spanish Flu pandemic. These events directly impacted my grandparents and great-grandparents. But we as a country survived and became stronger.

The great depression – spanning 1929 through the late 1930’s – impacted both my parents and grandparents. Every day necessities were virtually impossible to find. Food of any kind was a precious commodity. There were bread lines and many people suffered suffered hunger and malnutrition. But we as a country survived and became stronger.

World War II again saw shortages in both every day commodities and employees to produce products. Factories were converted to produce materials to support the war effort. “Rosie the Riveter” became the heroine in the recruiting effort for female workers in the workplace. There were Civil Defense organizations and drills, paper drives, scrap drives, food rationing, etc. But as a country survived, and became stronger.

But enough about history – suffice it to say that we need to make sure we study the past – we need to learn from those lessons that our forefathers experienced. Armed with that knowledge, we can make better, well informed decisions on what we do to day.

Now – back to the present day. I find it so ironic that when you listen to a radio station we hear about how “hectic” life has become. Before the pandemic – to me, hectic was the new normal. It meant attempting to balance work, meals, groceries, laundry, and getting the kids to 20 different school / sport events in a single week.

Today – that has all changed. Work from home is the norm for a vast majority of the population. Adding to the stress of that – we are now in a position of homeschooling our children. Social distancing is becoming a way of life. Play dates are on hold and we are being asked to stay at home with the exception of essential travel.

Today was one of those “essential travel” days for me – I went out to get groceries. I was pleasantly surprised by the selection, the but thing that stood out to me the most was the people. More specifically, the expression on peoples faces. In many you saw fear, others loneliness, and some sheer exhaustion.

With everything going on in the world around us – there is one thing that I ask you all to remember – a smile is free! It is the original social distancing tool. You can be six feet or fifty feet apart, and the message sent by the simple act of smiling is received.

You may be asking yourself – what difference does a smile make? To the person that is in fear – it means hope. To a person who is alone – it means friendship. To a person who is exhausted – it means inspiration. To the country – it means that we are not giving up! It means that we will rally around each other no matter how dark things may be, and that humanity and compassion will prevail.

It means that as a country, we will survive and become stronger!

Stay SAFE Brothers!!

A Call to Arms….

Brothers – we have all heard the news and are aware of the tremendous strife and turmoil that our country, even word, are experiencing at this time. The coronavirus (COVID 19) has had a profound impact on virtually every aspect of our daily lives. In an effort to do our part to help combat this virus, the grand lodge of Indiana issued a statement on Friday, March 13, 2020, suspending all Masonic activities – further stating that the Lodge building should only be entered by essential personnel such as maintenance workers, contractors, and any officers of the lodge or other bodies who need to tend to business related to items.

To many people this action, and the actions seen taken throughout the country are extreme, but reports indicate that persons over the age of 60 are the most vulnerable to the virus. Brothers, if you look around the the Lodge room, you will see that the majority of us are in that demographic.

As we receive further guidance from the Grand Lodge we will make sure we update the site to keep you up to date.

That being said – regardless of whether we are able to meet or not, we are all still Masons and brothers. It is at times such as this our heritage and pride should come shining through. We should be setting the example for others to follow. We all took an obligation to help a fellow distressed brother mason – and to the best of our abilities, we should be living that – now more than ever.

Take the time to ask a neighbor if they need assistance. If you are going to a store, ask a neighbor if there is something that they need. Provide a word of comfort to a scared child or family. Reach out to a friend / brother that you have not talked to in years and ask them how they are doing.

As humans, we are social creatures. We crave interaction with each other. Now, for a short term, we are being isolated from what many hold dear – direct interaction with friends and family. However, there are many who do not have families to reach out to them. Feelings of isolation can build very rapidly, and we must work to stay ahead of this.

I challenge each of you to make a difference in the life of others. Pick up the phone and reach out. A friendly, reassuring voice can mean so much to people at this time. There is no ulterior motive – it is brothers doing what we do best – being there to support each other – through the worst times of life.

Consider this a “call to arms” – be more than a man – be a MASON!