It is with a heavy heart that we write this letter to you all. As we hope many of you are, we are saddened by the events going on in our community and in communities across the US. We have decided that it is better to address these issues head on than to sit silently and allow them to happen without a call to action and a reminder of our obligations. We as Freemasons are charged to hold ourselves and our Brothers to a higher standard of conduct and moral rectitude than that of the community at large. Each one us knelt among our Brothers at the same sacred altar and pledged to live our lives by the volume of sacred law, which should always serve as the rule and guide to our conduct.
Now, more than ever, our local communities need us to be a force for positive change and to stand proudly as pillars of morality. We are called upon to respect and uphold the rights of the individual above institutions, above religious creeds, and above partisan politics and party loyalty. I believe that we can all agree, regardless of where we stand politically, that the deaths of innocent men and women due to wanton acts of violence should always be mourned, and justice should always be sought. The deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmed Aubrey, and so many others like them, happened due to an absence of morality and of the respect for life that we should all extol. We must never forget that justice, and the commitment to uphold its just due to every man without distinction, is tasked to us as one of our cardinal virtues. That through brotherly love, we are taught to regard the whole human species, high and low, as one family, to aid, support, and protect each other. It is under this foundational principle of masonry that men of every country, every sect, and every opinion should be united.
Within any positive and well-intentioned movement, there will always be opportunists and agitators who seek to turn the tide to their own devices. It is disheartening to see some of these opportunists and agitators turn to violence and destructive measures to undermine the noble cause of those individuals who are peacefully exercising our First Amendment rights. Greed, violence, and a want for power are all a part of the vices and superfluities that tangle up our path to becoming better men. Yet we must remember that we are called to rise above these, to supplant our anger with compassion, our ignorance with education, and our prejudices with impartiality and brotherly affection.
Here at Excelsior Lodge, we were denoted as such by our charter members due to Excelsior’s meaning of “higher, always upward”. As Freemasons, we are called to be lovers of knowledge, to challenge our own perceptions and expand our horizon so that we may be better suited to carry the fraternity’s name out into our community in a positive manner. We should be educating ourselves on the issues that have led us to this situation we are in, examining all information we receive and subsequently communicating with a fervent allegiance to finding the truths buried under opinions and the noise of the world. Finally, be mindful of your conduct to Brothers and the profane alike, as we are all someone’s first introduction to the character of Freemasonry.
We are incredibly lucky to be known as “The Friendly Lodge” and an example of diversity within the Masonic community. This is a title that rests very near and dear to our hearts. The doors of Excelsior will always be open and welcoming to men of good character, regardless of race, creed, or orientation, and we hope that through our example, that light will spread where it is most needed. Our diversity and inclusive nature have garnered us some amazing members over the years and permitted us to form lasting bonds with like-minded men from all walks of life. To ALL members of Excelsior- past, present, and future, you are what make us great. Your labors in the quarries of life and masonry have and will continue to pave the way for positive change in our world, united under the tenets of friendship, morality, and brotherly love.
In closing, above all else, please be kind to each other. Remember your obligations to your creator, yourselves, your families, and your communities in the coming days. We must never allow ourselves to lose sight of the fact that we are all the brotherhood of man, under the fatherhood of God. Be safe,
Brethren. We look forward to seeing you all again soon.
Clay Pettit, Master
Joshua Barnett, Senior Warden
Patrick Tobin, Junior Warden