Category Archives: Members

Peter Calkins receives Daniel Carter Beard Masonic Scouter Award

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On behalf of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania and Right Worshipful Grand Master Robert J. Bateman, George M. Dallas Lodge No. 531 presented Bro. Peter Calkins with the Daniel Carter Beard Masonic Scouter Award. The award was presented to Bro. Peter Calkins by Bro. Donald Weaver, Acting District Deputy Grand Master of the 12th Masonic District for his outstanding service to youth and Freemasonry by serving as a dedicated member of George M. Dallas Lodge No. 531, and a devoted Scout Leader of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Council No. 501 and Dallas Troop 281 of the Boy Scouts of America. Bro. Peter Calkins was nominated for the award by Bro. Barry Wagner, past master.

Bro. Peter Calkins is currently serving as Senior Warden of George M. Dallas Lodge No. 531 and will serve as Worshipful Master in 2016. Calkins has been a devoted scouting leader serving as a Den Leader for Cub Scout Pack 281 and currently serving as Scoutmaster for Troop 281 in Dallas.

Shown in photo above, from left are: Donald Weaver, Acting District Deputy Grand Master, Peter Calkins, Senior Warden and Donald Holdredge Sr., Worshipful Master.

Highlights from our June Meeting

food-pantry-gardenFamily and friends joined us at our our Lodge for Family Night as part of our June meeting. We shared dishes and conversation before and after the meeting which featured our famous Strawberry desserts prepared by Brother Frank Wagner and a presentation on Back Mountain history by Brother Harrison Wick.

During our regular meeting, a $250 donation was made to the Back Mountain Food Pantry’s Community Garden. Brother Robert McGuire Jr. is the Garden Director coordinating the plowing, seeding, and maintaining of the garden which benefits local families in the Back Mountain area. The donation will be used to purchase seeds and gardening equipment needed to make the garden’s harvest plentiful.

June’s meeting is the last before our Lodge’s summer break. The Lodge will reconvene on Tuesday, September 3.

Highlights from our May Meeting

Our Brethren were treated to a presentation by members of the Caldwell Consistory during our May Meeting.

Brother Robert Thomas and his entourage explained the function of the Consistory and how Freemasons can join the organization. Caldwell Consistory is the Scottish Rite, which is next step in Freemasonry and was originally organized in Bloomsburg, PA, May 19, 1865.

The Caldwell Consistory building was built in 1906, and was named after prominent Philadelphia Mason John Caldwell.



Highlights from our April Meeting

sq_compBro. Leon F. Brokenshire Jr., PM, reviewed the process of the Examination of a Visitor during our April Stated meeting.

The demonstration explained how Lodges accept visitors and how visitors must present themselves in order to gain entry into another Lodge. Some of the Brethren also shared their experiences with examinations and visiting other Lodges in PA and neighboring states.

Bro. Brokenshire was Worshipful Master at our Lodge in 1973 and served as a Trustee for many years. He also instructs Brothers is Masonic ceremonies and volunteers during our annual charity golf tournament.

Highlights from our March Meeting

candleThe Lodge’s Warden’s were recognized by the Brethren for their service at March’s Stated Meeting. This year’s Wardens are a son and father – Bro. Donald Holdredge Jr, Sr. Warden, and Bro. Donald Holdredge Sr., Jr. Warden. Bro. Robert Wagner, WM, presented pins to the Wardens and thanked them for their service. Wardens assist the Worshipful Master with Lodge meetings, degrees, and organizing Lodge events, and – if qualified – preside over meetings and degrees in the Master’s absence.

Following the meeting, the Susquehanna Chapter of the DeMolay demonstrated the Ceremony of Lights which is part of the youth fraternity’s activities. One of the Chapter’s leaders, Bro. Martin Braen, closed the presentation with a brief explanation of the youth fraternity and thanked the Lodge for a recent donation.

Brother Braen is a member of Lodge No. 442, Wilkes-Barre, and has been at speaker at our Lodge on a few occasions. At his last appearance in November 2012, he spoke on the subject of Freemasonry during the American Civil War.

On a historical note, March signifies the Lodge’s 138th Anniversary. To learn about the Lodge’s history, go to Lodge 531.

Highlights from our February Meeting

During our February Stated Meeting, Brother Mark Stavish from Wyoming Lodge No. 468 spoke on the subject of Freemasonry with “The Chamber of Reflection“. Brother Stavish is a frequent visitor of Lodge 531 and an accomplished author and historian who has been used as a consultant for programs on the History Channel, Animal Planet, and appeared on the nationally-syndicated late night radio show Coast to Coast AM with George Norry. He has also published several books related to Freemasonry.

The meeting also featured the presentation of 50 Year pins and visitations from Brethren of neighboring District 12 lodges.

Highlights from our January Meeting

The Stated Meeting of Monday, January 7, was the premiere of our 2013 Worshipful Master Bro. Robert Wagner, PM. Brother Wagner previously served as WM in 2004. Bro. Barry Wagner, PM, took the reigns as the new Secretary following the retirement of Bro. Severn Newberry after 28 years of service. This meeting also welcomed new Officers Brothers Bill Slabinski, Junior Master of Ceremonies; Jeff O’Donnell, Pursuivant; and Jim Byers, Junior Deacon. And with 2 Holdredges holding 2 offices, Donald Jr. as Senior Warden and Donald Sr. as Junior Warden, they will surely keep our Master on his toes.

A presentation on The Mystery of the Cable Tow was given by one of the Lodge’s favorite orators, Bro. Rev. Dr. Wm. Lewis, Chaplain. The poignant speech discussed the meaning of this Masonic symbol and how it relates to Brothers’ lives inside and outside of the Lodge.

Highlights from our December Meeting

Our Stated Meeting held on Monday, December 3, was a fine finish for the Masonic year and the tenure of Worshipful Master Jonathan Sinclair.

Following a brief Meeting and Officer Elections, family and friends were invited into the Lodge to witness the Open Installation of Officers for 2013. Brothers and visitors looked on as Bro. Robert Wagner was guided from the West to the East to become our Lodge’s 126th Worshipful Master. This will be Brother Wagner’s second term as WM, having previously served in 2004. Bro. Donald Holdredge Jr., was installed as Senior Warden and Bro. Donald Holdredge, Sr., became the new Junior Warden.

Bro. Severn Newberry concluded his 28 years of service as the Secretary. WM John Sinclair presented a plaque to Bro. Newberry who received a round roaring of applause from the Brethren.

Sinclair announced that the annual Testimonial Dinner will be held Saturday evening on April 27, 2013, at the Apple Tree Terrence at Newberry Estates in Dallas. More details to follow.

Everyone enjoyed dishes prepared by our ladies Mrs. Tara Sinclair, Mrs. Becky Matus, Mrs. Fiorello, Mrs. Holdredge, and a few desserts by Bro. Noel Kline.

The list of the 2013 Officers will be posted after St. John’s Day on the Officers page.

Masons March in Veterans Day Parade

Members from George M. Dallas Lodge No. 531 joined Brothers from neighboring Lodges to march in the 67th annual Wyoming Valley Veterans Day Parade on Sunday, November 11. The 12thMasonic District walked ahead of the Irem Shriners, some of whom are also members of 531. Altogether, there were more than 1,000 people from military units and community organizations who marched to honor veterans. The Parade traveled along Market Street in Kingston and ended at the Square in Wilkes-Barre.

Highlights from our November Meeting

Worshipful Master John Sinclair honored the Lodge’s Past Masters as part of Past Masters’ Night during the Stated Meeting held on Monday, November 5, presenting them with a Masonic tie clip as a token of appreciation. The Lodge also agreed to make a $150 donation to the Blue Chip Farms Animal Refuge, Dallas.

Afterward, there was a presentation on Masons and the American Civil War by Bro. Martin Braen. Brother Braen is the Secretary for the Susquehanna DeMolay in Wilkes-Barre and a member of Lodge No. 442 Wilkes-Barre. Braen spoke about the lives of soldiers who fought in the War as well as Freemasonry in the North and the South.

Braen also told the story of “A Friend of a Friend” which is memorialized by a statue in the National Cemetery in Gettysburg, PA. Union General Winfield Scott Hancock and Confederate General Lewis Addison Armistead were friends and Freemasons. They had served and fought side by side in the U.S. Army prior to the Civil War, but Armistead refused to raise his sword against his fellow Southerners so he joined the Confederate Army in 1861. Hancock and Armistead fought for 27 months never meeting until the Battle of Gettysburg in July of 1863.

During Pickett’s Charge on July 3, Armistead led his men who penetrated Hancock’s line. Ironically, when Armistead was mortally wounded, Hancock was also wounded. Depicted in the sculpture is Union Captain Henry Bingham, a Freemason and staff assistant to Hancock – who was himself wounded – rendering aid to the fallen Confederate General. Armistead is shown handing his watch and personal effects to be taken to his friend, Union General Hancock. Armistead died days later on July 5.

The monument was presented by the Right Worshipful of the Grand Lodge of Free & Accepted Masons of Pennsylvania and dedicated as a memorial to the Freemasons of the Union and the Confederacy in 1993.

New Lodge Bulletins

Our Lodge introduced the new Stated Meeting Bulletin this month! This new version was a combined effort between Worshipful Master John Sinclair; Acting Secretary Barry Wagner, PM; and Brother Jim Byers; but was originally initiated by the late Robert Lewis, … Continue reading

531 Hosts 1-Day Masonic Journey

New Brethren were welcomed into the Fraternity during the 1-Day Masonic Journey hosted by George M. Dallas Lodge No. 531 on Saturday, October 13. The First Degree was conferred by Brother Peter Calkins of Lodge 531; the Second Degree by … Continue reading

Highlights from our October Meeting

During our October Stated Meeting on Monday, October 1, 25 Year Pins were awarded to Brothers in attendance and the Lodge agreed to make a $150 donation to Back Mountain Youth Basketball. Members were also informed that George M. Dallas … Continue reading

Masons & Matrimony

Brothers from Lodge 531 recently participated in the wedding ceremony of Brother James Byers. The wedding was held on Sunday, September 2, 2012, at Firwood United Methodist Church in Wilkes-Barre.

Brothers Christopher Matus, PM 2011, Jonathan Sinclair, WM 2012, David Evans Jr., and Robert McGuire Jr. served as ushers welcoming and directing guests. They later opened the ceremony by leading the wedding party to the altar where they stood until the Father of the Bride was seated. After the Pastor’s final remarks, the Brothers rose from their pew then walked halfway down the aisle where they formed a sword arch for the Groom and Bride to pass under. Once the entire wedding party had passed under and exited, the Masons sheathed their swords and closed the ceremony by being the last members to walk down the aisle.

Usually, Masons gather for ceremonies to celebrate the life of a Brother, but on that day four Brothers led the celebration of another’s nuptials. The incorporation of Freemasons in weddings is rarely done (if at all) and required the approval of District Deputy Grand Master Barry Littleford.

The special ceremony was well received by the audience and pleasantly surprised a Past Master from a neighboring district Lodge who was a guest of the Bride.

The event was noted in several local newspapers as well as the March 2013 issue of Freemasonry magazine.

Highlights from our September Meeting

Worshipful Master Jonathan Sinclair welcomed back the Brethren to the Lodge following this year’s summer break during September’s Stated Meeting held on September 2. The Lodge agreed to make donations to Community Cares For Kids for $200 and Dallas Fire … Continue reading