“KEEPERS OF OUR CULTURE”
by Patricia Hamilton (January 23, 2015)
We often hear about a lack of affordable, convenient meeting space for groups in downtown Pacific Grove. That’s why I was so excited to discover a lovely facility just off Lighthouse Avenue with a cost of – well, let’s just say that the monthly rental fee is roughly equivalent to what many similar venues are charging by the hour.
The space? The Masonic Lodge. That’s right, the Masons. You might think that the building is strictly members-only, that you have to know the secret hand-shake just to pass through the doors. But, as I was thrilled to discover, that’s absolutely not the case in 21st century Masonry in the United States.
This very week, 13 women and two men began the process of remembering, writing, and sharing their lives as part of a Guided Autobiography class meeting at the Pacific Grove Masonic Lodge over the next ten weeks.
Joyce and I, group facilitators, want to thank Herschel Amos and Mark Burger for working with us to secure the space and to accommodate our needs for privacy and comfort in an intimate setting. Herschel Amos, a member of the Masonic Lodge since 1976, is a Past Master of Pacific Grove Masonic Lodge, and is currently the Chaplin and handles the office work and rental agreements. Mark Burger, a member since 2011, is the Senior Warden (1st Vice President), and takes care of technical and other issues associated with the premises. Kind men who took care of every detail.
We are grateful for the space and want to shine a light on the Pacific Grove Masonic Lodge, as few seem to know much about the organization—or that there is rental space available in the downtown area for dinners, meetings, and groups of all kinds.
Contrary to popular opinion, the Masonic Lodge is not a secret organization. Mark says, “People often ask us what it takes to be a Mason. I myself was mistakenly under the impression that one has to have a relative in Masonry and that it was a Christian organization, both of which are incorrect. All faiths are welcome. We don’t discuss religion or politics in the lodge when it is in session.”
The Masons don’t recruit individuals; however, this is a personal journey one must initiate. And all it takes to become a member is to be a man over 18 years of age, have a belief in a supreme being, be a good citizen, and be recommended by a current member. In short, as they say, “To Be a Mason, Ask a Mason.” If you’re interested, you might ask your councilman, Ken Cuneo, about being a member.
Herschel says, “Masonry is a fraternal organization that takes good men and makes them better. It provides an opportunity to interface with other men of the community, the nation and around the world, support the community though philanthropy and civic works, and examines through metaphor of history, building and architecture the great mysteries of life. In addition to scholarships to students and donations to schools, the lodge sponsored a Pony League baseball team.”
Facilities at The Pacific Grove Masonic Lodge for rental: 75 seat dining room with a kitchen, 12 seat library/conference room, 680 Central Avenue, Pacific Grove, (831) 649-1834, www.PacificGroveMasonicLodge.org, Email: Secretary@PacificGroveMasonicLodge.org
Just remember that our Guided Autobiography (GAB) classes are filled to capacity for at least the next ten weeks. We weren’t able to accommodate all who wanted to attend these first classes, so we will no doubt be continuing on. We will also be offering more in depth GAB II classes, GAB weekend retreats, and GAB private classes. If you’d like more information, visit our website, keepersofourculture.com or call Patricia at 831-649-6640. For writers’ services and self-publishing services and coaching, visit parkplacepublications.com.