Note: Dinners will be held at 6:30pm
Due to some irregularities discovered in our financial records, a few weeks ago I put together an Internal Audit Committee (IAC) comprised of Brothers Chris West, David Griego and Mitch Hostmeyer. Although the audit is still ongoing, they have compiled a list of preliminary findings, the results of which are indeed rather saddening for the Lodge.
During their investigations the IAC has found sufficient evidence to file charges against Brother Mark Mancha, MWGPM of Masons in Nevada of year of 2016 for unmasonic conduct. The investigation is still ongoing due to a lack of records and paper trails. As such, it will likely take a while for the IAC to reconstruct the missing records and numerous transactions which, through accident or intent, have been misplaced.
Reluctantly, per the recommendation of our Cognizance Committee, and after a mediation meeting was held with Brother Mark on the morning of February 23rd, written charges were served to Brother Mark Mancha. The Grand Lodge was immediately notified of these charges.
With those charges being filed, per Nevada Masonic Code, we regret to inform you that Mark Mancha is no longer a Mason in good standing. As a result, that means Brothers are no longer allowed to discuss Masonic interactions with Brother Mark.
My Brothers, this news comes as a shock to most of us, and the Lodge will feel the effects of this dire situation for a long time to come. However, probably now more than ever, the Lodge needs your support more than ever. Focusing upon maintaining unity and continuing our work will help us to overcome this challenge. Brother Mark was the Secretary of Vegas 32 for 16 years. It will not be easy for myself and the Lodge officers to replace the level of knowledge and experience which Brother Mark brought to the Lodge.
I sincerly ask that you please come to Lodge and show your support. Invite all our Brothers and friends to the Family dinners. If you simply stop in for ten minutes at the morning coffee club, that would mean a lot to me.
Our Lodge is one of the oldest in Nevada. We cannot stop the work of our Grand Architect. We must rebuild andfinish the construction of the temple.
I hope God will give us the light and wisdom to continue His good work as our fraternity faces these challenging times. May Brotherly love prevail.
Like the Square and the Compasses, the Level and the Plumb are nearly always united in our Ritual.
They really belong together, as much in moral teaching as in practical building. The one is used to lay horizontals, the other to try perpendiculars, and their use suggests their symbolism. So let’s take a moment to ponder the level, my Brothers.
The Level, so we teach newly made Masons, is for the purpose of proving horizontals. From this use of the Level he is instructed to seek a peaceful, balanced poise of mind, undisturbed by the passions which upset and sway us one way or the other.
But it is in the free and friendly air of our Masonic Lodge, about an Altar, that the principle of equality finds its most perfect expression. There, upon the Level, the Symbol of Equality, rich and poor, prince and plain citizen-men of diverse backgrounds, parties, interests, and occupations-meet in mutual respect and real regard, forgetting all differences of any bestowed rank or station, and united for the highest good of all. “We Meet Upon the Level and Part Upon the Square;” titles, ranks within masonry or without do not pass the Inner Guard; and the humblest Brother is held in sacred regard, equally with the Brother who has attained the highest round of the wheel of fortune.
What, then, is the equality of which the Level is meant to Symbolize? It can be summed up thusly; “Equal Rights for all, Special Privileges to None!” that is to say, before the law every man has an equal right to equal justice, as before God, each receives equally and impartially the blessing of the Eternal Love, even as the sun shines and the rain falls on all with equal benediction.
Brothers, at Family Dinner this month you will see some very special guests; educators, administrators, students and their families from John S. Park Elementary School. For many years now (starting in 2013 during Dan Crowe’s year) Vegas 32 has had the pleasure of sponsoring the recognition assemblies and awards program for Park Elementary. As many of you know, John S. Park was the first Worshipful Master of our Lodge and most certainly a key player in the development of Las Vegas, having been a banker, civic leader and early president of what became Nevada Power (now NV Energy). The building we currently occupy as well as the surrounding neighborhood was developed on land that Brother Park and his family actually
owned and occupied during the early days of this city’s development. It was only natural that we developed a connection with the school bearing his name and located literally within blocks of our Lodge.
Park Elementary is a school that is economically challenged with close to 90% of its students qualifying for free or reduced priced lunch programs and it serves over 850 students daily. It occupies one of the older campuses in the city. In spite of these obstacles it has a remarkably motivated teaching staff and extremely engaged parents. What it doesn’t have is money for the small “extras” that many other schools obtain through fundraising and parental financial support. That’s where we come in: we became aware that a certain gaming company had dropped their financial support of this wonderful school and the long standing recognition program was in danger of ceasing due to lack of funds. The Lodge, after being made aware of the situation, decided to grant an annual allocation to the school so that they could continue to recognize the efforts of their students in the areas of academics, attendance, school spirit and citizenship. At quarterly assemblies, which many brothers have actually attended, the boys and girls receive “dog tags” and neck chains in recognition for their accomplishments. It is a small token, but if you could see the faces of the recipients and watch the children walk around with multiple awards around their necks, you can begin to understand the impact that they truly have on their young lives. In addition to that, we also provide a dozen bikes each year to recognize perfect attendance. Again, many of you have helped transport the bikes, helmets, locks and chains from the store to the school. At this point our financial contributions total over $15,000 and have helped to keep their entire campus motivated throughout the year.
The reason we invite them to our family dinner this month is because April is the time that we as Freemasons show our support for public education in this country. I am so proud to say that we do more than simply pay homage to the concept; we truly impact the lives, each and every day of the 850+ students at the school named after one of Vegas 32’s most prominent brothers. We are privileged to be able to do this and have truly made a direct impact on the community where we live. When you see all those little boys and girls here with their parents and teachers, wearing their awards, congratulate them on their accomplishments and take pride in the knowledge that you are having a direct impact on their lives.
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