The Annual John Wood Baker Night was held on the above date in Lancaster, NH. Over 50 of the brethren were present for the occasion. A delicious Pot Roast Dinner was prepared by the lovely ladies of the Olive Branch Chapter OES and most enjoyed by yours truly.
At 7:30 p.m. sharp the gavel was sounded, and Officers from the six District 5 Lodges assembled to form a special Officer Team for the Opening & Closing Ceremonies. I had the privilege of being chosen to preside in the East. The Lodge was opened in the Entered Apprentice Degree as two young masons of that level had come to enjoy the work and fellowship.
Playing delightfully at the not nearly played enough full tracker pipe organ was Brother Raymond Burton, well known Mason from Grafton-Kane Lodge No. 46 of North Haverhill. We were privileged that he was able to be with us for the event.
After the Lodge was opened, all the Lodges of the Fifth Masonic District were declared open by their respective Worshipful Masters. All six were present to perform that ceremony personally. The side lines were filled down both sides, a pleasing sight indeed.
RW Brother David S. Collins our RW DDGM, assumed control of the program and called on the Lodge Representatives to give their presentations. Up first for his first time as a speaker for this event was Brother Richard Crane of North Star Lodge who spoke on “What does it take to change the essence of a man? What Masonry has taught me?” The Lad did a good job at his work and his Worshipful Master was pleased indeed.
Worshipful Brother Ralph Lynch of Evening Star spoke next on a paper written by the Rev. and Brother Granyvl G. Hulse, Jr. about some history of the original Colebrook Lodge and the area. Another young Master Mason Brother Kerry McCall of Grafton-Kane Lodge spoke of “The Story of the Blacksmith” in relations to the scriptures and King Solomon’s Temple era. Brother Robert Steel spoke for Burns Lodge of “The Mirror” and spoke of reflections of personal aspirations. Worshipful Brother Rod Davies of Gorham-Sabatis gave a humorous and interesting tale of what the young Mason goes through joining the Lodge and learning his lessons. Lastly Worshipful Brother David Howe of Gilkey Lodge spoke of the History of that Lodge and why it has decided to close its doors and make him the last Worshipful Master of that Lodge.
After the presentations were concluded, three brethren from Parker Lodge No. 97 of North Woodstock from District 8 were excused to consider who might be the choice selection for this year’s John Baker Award Plaque. They were excused and Brother Collins called for a Roll Call of Lodges within and without the District.
The DDGM gave several comments and asked for announcements while waiting for the Judges. They had taken what seemed an awful long time before asking for permission to reenter the Lodge Room. Their choice was the presentation of W. Bro. Rod Davies “You Gotta Laugh” with Gilkey’s a close second.
The brethren from Gorham-Sabatis Lodge had also brought the most members with them and won the attendance plaque as well as the winning program plaque. The DDGM announced that the last plate had been filled and the plaque would remain as a permanent part of Gorham-Sabatis Lodge.
They were assembled in the East and the attached picture was taken of them with the DDGM. Following that and closing comments from the DDGM about John Baker, the Lodge was closed in due form and the individual Lodges were also closed by their respective Worshipful Masters. We had finished a long nights of entertainment and were closed by 9:05 p.m. which was probably a record.
What is John Baker Night? To the Fifth District it is a symbol of brotherhood, it is our program and we are proud of it. It has been going on for some 30 years off and on and never lets me down for its refreshing approach to Masonic Education of the Brotherhood inside the Lodge Room and not just inside the members personal self-educated understanding from years of book reading and internet article surfing. Next year will be the 4th Wednesday of April in Lancaster and I hope you can join us.
Dennis A. Sheridan, RW PDDGM District Five of NH
Worshipful Master of North Star Lodge No. 8, F & AM of Lancaster, NH