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From the East

By J. E. C. Rafisura — Master

Brethren, please see an excerpt from my acceptance speech during our 100th Installation of Officers on 12/17/22:

“It is a great honor and privilege to be installed as Master of the Lodge for Masonic Year 2023. My journey to this Oriental Chair had been an adventure – moving from one station to the next and navigating through all the challenges that we had, especially during the past two years with the pandemic.

As most of you may already know, 2023 is a special year, being the 100th Anniversary of Crow Canyon Lodge No. 551. Chartered on March 27, 1923, our lodge is a result of a combination of 8 masonic lodges here in the Bay Area. Our lodge historian, Wor. Bill Ferrell, had been doing his research about each lodge’s history and how each came into being. During our Centennial Anniversary Celebration scheduled in October 2023, Wor. Ferrell will read to us the entire history of our lodge. We will also have Crow Canyon’s history forever recorded in a booklet that will also serve as a memento of this historic event .

To commemorate the start of our Centennial Anniversary Celebration, it is my honor to present and explain to you the elements of our Centennial Logo!

The golden outer ring and fonts, denote that we are a lodge under the Grand Lodge of California, which is known as the golden state.

The blue background of the outer circle refers to the universal color of a typical blue lodge like Crow Canyon.

The symbols located at the left and right sides of the logo are said to be the working tools known to every Freemason.

The multi-colored “100” signify the diversity of our lodge - its members coming from all ethnic backgrounds, color , race, religion, profession, age groups and even political affiliations, yet for 100 years, we remain in harmony in the spirit of brotherhood under the Fatherhood of God.

The diamond cut texture of the “100” alludes to the gemstone of the 100th Anniversary, which is a 10K diamond.

And finally, the 8 stars pay homage and honor to the 8 lodges that compose of what is now known as Crow Canyon Lodge 551:

Bay View 401

Fremont 497

Lakeshore 551

Chateau Thierry 569

Dimond 603

Castro Valley 713

Lake Chabot 770

Ashland 798

To the members, Past Masters and officers of our parent lodges, we all tip our hats.

All through-out the year, we will celebrate and continue to have out-of-the-lodge activities such as fishing, shooting, hiking, lodge visitations, etc. We will also have our usual Crab Feed in February (25) and of course our Annual Picnic. I have also appointed some members to be our Lodge Ambassadors to foster inter-lodge relations and strengthen our ties with our brothers outside of Crow Canyon. We will also strive to promote Masonry in our community. Hopefully, we can join the Fall Festival next year and other community affairs.

For the non-masonic guests, Freemasonry is not a secret organization. We have been around for more than 300 years and the masonic emblem has always been displayed prominently in our buildings. We are instead, a fraternity with secrets. Secrets that promote mystery and security. Secrets that promote and induce masonic virtues such as fidelity, respect, tolerance, along with the principal tenets of Freemasonry that is founded based on love. To my brothers, let us not be hesitant to discuss what masonry is all about to our friends and family. Gone are the days the we stay in the dark to avoid persecution from certain groups whose interests are not aligned with ours. Let’s instead step into the light, by showing them who we are and what we do, and convince the world by our actions that on becoming Masons we have become better men. All this we do, so that at the end of our days, when we finally lay down our working tools and meet our Maker, we can proudly and lovingly say to Him: “Great Architect of the Universe, I have done my best for your greater glory. Thank you for your gifts. Thank you for you graces!”

I cannot end this speech without acknowledging those who helped me ascend into this Oriental chair.

  • First, I would like to thank my first and second line signers, Mark Parinas (his lady, my first cousin Isobel) and; Dr. Richard Ramos (with his wife Ricci);

  • To those who supported me when I was still a candidate and even until now – Wor. Ed Matraia, who always sat beside me in my station during meetings to make sure that I do my job perfectly.

  • To Ill. Kay Dunn, Past Potentate of AAMES Shrine, who has been encouraging me to always move forward and that everything will be alright;

  • To my coach and adviser, my masonic father, Wor. Bill Ferrell, who labored with me from the very beginning and until now as I continue to be a student of the craft;

  • To the one who raised me to the sublime degree of a Master Mason, Wor. Mike Ramos;

  • To Wor. Robert Eckstein, who slowly but surely reeled me into becoming an officer until I was in too deep that I had no choice but to continue this journey;

  • To my fellow officers, who inspired me to work harder for the good of the brotherhood. When you labor with the people that you love, the job becomes easier and fun;

  • To my immediate predecessor, who has given me all due notice of approaching dangers that come along when seated in this chair, Wor. Brian Kelly Ross;

  • To my family and friends, who never get bored listening to my masonic stories and;

  • To my lovely wife, Eloisa, who supported me since day one of this journey.

My sincere gratitude to all of you. With all your support, together with the masonic family organization and youth orders, we will take Crow Canyon Lodge to 100 years and beyond!


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