April 2022 Newsletter

Blazing Star Logo

The Blazing Star Light

Latest News & Updates From Blazing Star Lodge #694 F&AM

April Meetings & Events:

Saturday, April 9, 2022 – Fellowcraft Dinner for HRAKTP
Tuesday, April 12, 2022 – Committee Reports Presentations
Saturday, April 16, 2022 – Fellowcraft Meeting
Tuesday, April 26, 2022 – Nominations for Officers


By: Bro. Frank W. Reed
(From Masonic Monthly, Philadelphia, Pa., May 1917)

When back we look upon the darksome way
From which we traveled with uncertain mind,
The selfsame mystic monsters do we find
Still making dolts their arrogance obey.
Confusing craftiness seeking to dismay
Each forward thought; their mental eyes to blind,
Enthroned deceit yells courses from behind,
And preaches hell to crutch its dying sway.
But when at last the will asserts it’s force,
And gains release from shackles long endured,
The phantom doubt dissolves in dawning light;
And from on high, where freedom gets its source,
A soul, new-born, of future life assured,
Finds God is love in each Masonic Rite.

Tuesday, March 8, 2022 – “Minutes”


As most of us enjoyed a delicious spaghetti and meat sauce dinner prepared by W:. Andruczyk, W:. Breth spent time with one of our Entered Apprentices, Bro. Phillips. His proficiency was impressive, according to W:. Breth, and he could be ready this year for his Second Degree. This, however, is tentative since we are already approaching our last five communications of the 2021 – 2022 Masonic year.  It is amazing how quickly time flies.  

We continued the evening with some outstanding conversations on ways to make Blazing Star more social.  Several ideas were brought up before the Lodge for consideration.  Some of the best were purchasing darts, foosball, and other such entertainment to keep Brothers at the Lodge after we close our meetings.  Additionally, there was talk about starting a Brotherhood Fellowship evening on non-meeting nights. 

We are one of the luckiest Lodges in the Erie District to still own our own Lodge building.  Some say this is a burden but it gives us flexibility and the ability to meet as Brothers whenever we want.  It also is a tribute to the Blazing Star Brothers of the past.  I am sure many of them put hammer to nail to build the building that they entrusted to us.  Another great idea presented was to have all Brothers write and present a short paper about themselves.  Anything they want to let us and generations of Brothers to come to know about themselves.  These would then be placed into an archive for Brothers to read many years from now.

Have ideas?  Bring them to Lodge!

Tuesday, March 22, 2022 – “Minutes”

The evening started with another Entered Apprentice stopping in before dinner for some instruction and guidance with his proficiency. W:. Breth as usual provided him with the necessary tools he needed to continue his study. We hope to see more of our Entered Apprentices in the coming weeks and over the summer at our fundraising and Fellowship events. 

As usual, dinner began at 6:30 pm.  The Brothers present enjoyed a delicious chili prepared by Bro. Paterek but it seems that the bread was the big hit of the meal.  If interested it is the Vienna from Tops.  The secret is to let it breathe outside of the package for at least 30 minutes before cutting so it gets a nice crisp to the crust. As always our meals are not only about the food but the discussion and connections made between Brothers as we share in a time-honored tradition of breaking bread with each other.  

Our main presentation for the evening came from Brother Ken JP Stuczynski, High Priest of East Aurora Chapter No. 282 of Royal Arch.  Bro. Ken spoke about the Royal Arch Masonic tradition of the York Rite.  His intention was not to recruit but to inform Brothers about what lies beyond The Third Degree. Continuing one’s journey in Masonry is a personal decision. A Mason should consider many factors before joining another Masonic Body. Family, work, religious and personal obligations are foremost. 

If you are interested in exploring the York Rite Degrees please contact Brother Ken JP Stuczynski at ken@kentropolis.com. East Aurora Chapter meets at the Blazing Star Lodge in East Aurora, NY.  While no Mason would ever persuade any other Mason to join any other Masonic body it is something to think about as a Blazing Star Mason.  Many are already Companions of the East Aurora Chapter.  Ultimately it is your decision but this might present some opportunities in Masonry for you in friendships, education, and most importantly Light in Masonry.  

After closing Lodge, many Brothers stayed for Fellowship. Strawberry and cherry cakes were available but because of Lenten sacrifices and/or diets, they went untouched.  This is probably for the best since summer is around the corner and we all need to look our best at the pool, at the beach, or on our yachts.

It is always good to see Brothers talking and exchanging ideas and experiences. 

Brothers Of The Bread Update

Lots of bread

Brothers of the Bread is the main charitable outreach of Blazing Star Lodge.  Each month, we supply between 5000 and 9000 loaves of bread, treats, and/or rolls to food pantries in Erie and Cattaraugus Counties alone.  In the photo you see one trip to the local bakery, we have between three and four pickups per week.  You will find Brother Egressy (The Bread Man) at the Lodge every Tuesday passing out bread, jelly, treats, and more to local food pantries.  

Each trip to the bakery gives us between 30 – 36 trays of assorted bread and sometimes pastries or donuts. 

Freemasons of East Aurora

The Lodges and concordant bodies that meet at Blazing Star Lodge started a Facebook page. This page will promote the activities of each Lodge and Concordant body that meet in the East Aurora Lodge building. Please like and share as appropriate.


Robert R Livingston Masonic Library

Are you interested in learning more about Freemasonry?  Do you love reading? Then you need to join The Reading Course Program of The Robert R Livingston Masonic Library. As a Mason in good standing in the State of New York, you are privileged with the ability to check out books from the Library. Each Reading Course is a set of books on a Masonic study and interest. This opportunity is presented to New York Freemasons free of charge, Brothers are only responsible for the return postage which is under $5.00. Speaking from experience this is a great way to increase your knowledge in Masonic study.

The Masonic Minute

By: Steven L. Harrison, 33, PM, FMLR

One evening, in 1948, the President of the United States abided the press, his entourage, and some of the agents of the secret service to sneak off and attend a Master Mason Degree at Beech Grove Lodge #694.  Donald Earl Bauermeister and President Harry S. Truman.

The 2021 – 2022 Trestle Board

Meetings are on the second & fourth Tuesdays from September to June
(Unless otherwise specified)

April Meetings & Events:

April 9, 2022 – Fellowcraft Dinner for HRAKTP
April 12, 2022 – Committee Reports Presentations
April 16, 2022 – Fellowcraft Meeting
April 26, 2022 – Nominations for Officers

Upcoming Meetings & Events:

May 10, 2022 – Voting for Officers
May 25, 2022 – Installation of Officers
June 14, 2022 – Old Timers’ Night / Recognitions

Past Meetings & Events:

September 14, 2021 – Welcome Back!
September 28, 2021 – First Degree Prep 1
October 12, 2021 – First Degree Prep 2
October 23, 2021 – Ghost Hunt
October 26, 2021 – Stated Meeting
November 9, 2021 – Rememberance
November 23, 2021 – Thanksgiving Week
December 11, 2021 – Fellowcraft Dinner for HRAKTP
December 11, 2021 – First Degree Rehearsal
December 14, 2021 – The First Degree
December 18, 2021 – Fellowcraft Meeting
January 11, 2022 – Welcome back from Winter Break!
January 25, 2022 – Stated Meeting
February 8, 2022 – Stated Communication
February 19, 2022 – Fellowcraft Meeting
February 22, 2022 – Stated Communication
March 8, 2022 – A Night of Proficiency and Planning
March 19, 2022 – Fellowcraft Meeting
March 22, 2022 – Ken JP Stuczynski on Royal Arch

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Masonic Poll Results

Masonic Poll Results

By: Todd M. Paterek ~ Senior Deacon of Blazing Star Lodge #694 F&AM

We posted a quick survey on our Newsletter and our website asking some specific questions about your experiences in Masonry at Blazing Star Lodge #694 F&AM.  The results are in and I want to address a couple comments directly.  I do not want you to think that these are rebuttals, nor will I try to defend the Lodge, I will not even take a side.  I want to give my view of the comments.  I am happy the comments were posted (anonymously) because we need to know where we have to improve.  We need to talk to each other and listen to each other if we want to be successful in our Masonic journey.  For those who answered you are anonymous but I personally think it is best to voice your opinions in person.  We spend about an hour having dinner and general Fellowship before we open Lodge, we then have at least another hour after we close Lodge.  These are perfect informal times to voice your opinions, ask questions, and get involved.  If you want fell free to pull me aside and talk one on one.  I am no authority in the Lodge, none of us are, but I am one that is pushing for change so if the boat is rocking, they expect it is me.

What did you expect of Masonry before you “knocked on the door”?

I knew nothing about masonry, except I knew my dad’s friends who were masons, and that they were quality gentlemen whom I had grown up knowing and thinking highly of. I wanted to be among those type of men.

This is common in quality men seeking Masonry.  Quality men want to be gentlemen and they understand that to become better they need the influence of other quality men.  I like to think that each of us who knock on the door are already good men.  We are looking for another good man to answer the door and welcome us into a group who will teach us, learn from us, so that what is gained is equal to that which is given.  In reality the good man knocking on the door becomes a better man, the good man answering the door and the group of men welcoming in the new man also becomes a better men.  We all gain and become better with each new Brother.  Sadly we also suffer when a Brother walks way.

Fellowship in a lodge that did something more then just open pay bills close and everyone departs. Learning, presentations guest speakers. Brotherhood which included time after a meeting for cards or some entertainment.

YES!  Well that is just the opinion of these two Masons.  Business must be addressed, we have to pay the bills but who joined Masonry so they could pay the bills?  We can do that at home where we can fully enjoy the act of paying bills…   Hmm?  We are a social organization, we bond during dinner, we joke over cookies and coffee.  But when was the last time we actually had Masonic education?  What about an esoteric conversation?  What do we use the two foot ruler for?  Yes but why?  There is so much to learn about Freemasonry and we choose to spend our time on bills.  Now let me also say that we are trying new things.  We started the Cinco de Tuesday’s on every fifth Tuesday.  Starting this year, each Movember we will grow mustaches and raise money for men’s health.  We are trying to get some good Masonic education presentations together to enlighten.  Things are starting to happen and we need your enthusiasms, knowledge, and wisdom to help contribute to the betterment of everyone at the Lodge.

Now that you are a Mason, what is Masonry offering you?

The primary thing was instant friends. Immediately upon entering the building, found a group of instant friends, and it didn’t take long to discover that those friends are all over the place.

This is absolutely true and it makes me feel good that this Brother feels this way and that we made him feel this way.  We are friends.  Sometimes we throw the word Brother around too much and sometimes what we need is a friend.  This is important to me, to know that I have a friend and that I am a friend to another.

A chance to come to lodge to try to make a difference. Ascending through the chairs with the hope of someday leading a successful lodge of such.

Allow me to break this one into pieces.  First I want to reword it if I may.  A chance to come to Lodge, ascend through the chairs, and one day lead a successful Lodge of better men, thereby making a difference in their lives, who will then make a difference in their communities and ultimately by the actions of my Brothers we will make the World a better place for everyone.  This Brother’s statement is so profound, so full of the true meaning of Freemasonry everyone needs to read that again.

Remember when you are Master and beyond, that day you walked through the inner door a good man full of expectations.  Hopefully, you will see them coming though that same door just as good and full of expectations as you were.

What are you looking for from Masonry that you are not receiving?

Masonry is something you can get as involved with as you do or don’t wish, which is nice, because it accommodates the interest level of any man. But I do wish we had more members. Not just quantity, we always want the kind of man who fits in well and enjoys it, but it sure would be nice to be in a situation where we didn’t have to sweat it out every year to fill officer chairs, or rely so heavily on a handful of members to carry the load. As it is today, basically everybody who regularly attends will be asked to take an officer position, which isn’t unreasonable, but there is a place, a real place, for brothers who just want to visit, enjoy masonry, enjoy friendships, but not feel obligated to take a position of responsibility in the lodge. There’s nothing wrong with brothers wanting to be a sideliner, and I wish we had the numbers in the craft to support that.

I am going to take sides on this one.  I completely agree with this Brother.  If one of us does not want to take an officer’s chair, then they should not be made to feel obligated to do so.  It is certainly possible that we lost some of our new Brothers because we immediately pushed them into an Officer’s chair.  We essentially robbed them of the learning experience that comes with sitting on the sidelines.  What if that Brother is not comfortable with public speaking, had a bad experience, or just wants to take it all in?  Now we throw him into the chairs with the added pressures of learning lines and being “on stage”.  For some that is enough to make them walk.  I want to take this opportunity to invite any Brother who took an Officer’s chair against their wishes to come back to the Lodge and relax on the sidelines.  I will take the heat from our Worshipful Master.  No pressure Brothers, just come and enjoy the brotherhood.

Coming to Lodge means you are participating.  We have plenty of Officer chairs available.  However, even if you sit on the side you are just as much a part of that Lodge as the Worshipful Master.  You have just as much to contribute to the Lodge and Brothers in the Lodge as anyone there.  Ascending through the chairs is admirable, necessary, and a bit of an obligation to your Lodge.

I don’t see our lodge as successful in getting or retaining membership. It isn’t a very active lodge and new members are few and the ones that have become don’t return.

This is obviously a concern of everyone.  Membership is down, those who are active are not very active.  We need some ideas, we need our member to come to the Lodge and talk about their ideas.  We have over 100 paying members, and out of those 100 members about 10 show up for a stated communication.  A good percentage are out of town, or cannot physically make it to the Lodge and we understand the many other obligations that come up that prevent us from making it to the Lodge.  However, you also made an promise to the Brothers in the Lodge.  You can read a little on my Quality Vs. Quantity post about that.  As we implement ideas, get new ideas, and Brothers start to return to the Lodge to see what we are doing they will attract new members and more activities will result with more participation.

What is keeping you from coming to the Lodge?

Difficulty sitting in lodge, use a walker to get around.  Might have to leave before the meeting is over with.  Have been a good attendance previous years and miss it very much, this news letter is great , keep up the good work.

I am truly humbled by this response.  I know it is difficult when age takes away the things we love most in life.  I know that if any Brother needs to leave the Lodge before we officially close or needs special seating we can and will accommodate.  We have our ritual and such but NOBODY will raise a brow if a Brother stands up and walks out.  I am sure one will follow to make sure you are okay and need help, but we understand.  I wonder if we could make an abbreviated Lodge communication once or twice a year, maybe cut out reading of the minutes, so we can welcome some of our seasoned and experienced Brethren back.  We miss you too and I am sure there are some who never met you Brother yet hold you with as much respect and admiration was each Brother we see every week.  Your encouragement about the newsletter truly makes me happy to be able to bring a small part of the Lodge to you and others who legitimately cannot make it to Lodge.  This makes me want to do even better.  Thank you Brother.

There were a few more questions but these are the answers I felt needed attention.  I think what I learned is that we are a good bunch of Brothers, there are improvements needed, and we need the help of each of our Brothers.