Lodge No. 43 and 496 joint Table Lodge

Lodge No. 43 and Charles M. Howell Lodge No. 496 held a joint Table Lodge meeting on Wednesday October 11, 2018, which made possible by a dispensation from the Grand Lodge of Pa. This was a first for these Lodges who both meet on the same night for their Stated meetings. Each Lodge held a short business meeting using their own warrants, which lasted approximately 30 minutes. The Officers for the Table Lodge were the JWs, SWs, and WMs of both Lodges, in proper regalia, who sat together at the stations. Bro. Jeff Moyer PM, and the next Principal for the School of Instruction, gave instruction for the Table Lodge, to all in attendance. The speakers for the evening were Bro. Jason Lewis, who spoke on the Grand Lodge of Pa. and Charles M. Howell Lodge No. 496, Bro. Richard Ratliff, who spoke on Bro. George Washington, who was interrupted during his talk by non other than Bro. George, (Bro. Oliver Lewis) himself who helped Bro. Richard with his talk.. The last speaker was Bro. Isreal Pagan, who spoke on Masonry around the  world.

The event was attended by over 50 Brothers and enjoyed by all. There is talk of making this an annual event for both Lodges. When we as Masonic Members can think outside the box, and create something new, like this joint venture, Masonry takes a giant step forward. Thanks to all who made this night possible.


Larry A. Derr  DDGM 01


Lodge in the Woods” at Camp Mack Scout Reservation

Wednesday September 27, 2017, the 1st Masonic District of Pa. held their fifth biannual “Lodge in the Woods” event at Camp Mack Scout Reservation. This event features a full course steak dinner which is served from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m in the pavilion of the complex. At 7:00 p.m. a meeting is held at the outside amphitheatre under the stars around two firepits.  The Grand Lodge Officers have always been present for this event and this year was no exception. The meeting was turned over to the RWGM Bro. Raymond T. Dietz by the WM Bro. Jason Martin of Ephrata Lodge.  Nine of the of the 10 WMs of the 1st Masonic District served in Officers Chairs for the event. The District was very proud to present 9 Daniel Carter Beard Awards, 3 Grand Master’s Awards to Lodges, 14 Master Builder Awards, 3 Master Craftsman Awards, and 1 Master Pillar Award during the meeting. This is a true reflection of how hard this District works on achieving excellence in Freemasonry. There were approximately 300 Brothers in attendance with about 22 Grand Lodge Representatives. What a Great Night for Freemasonry. With this being a fundraising event, and given the hardships created by hurricanes this season the committee had decided to give all proceeds to the MSA Hurricane Relief Fund for victims in Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico. Through the ticket sales and the passing of the hat we were able to donate $ 4,400.00 dollars to MSA. Also presented at the meeting was a check for $ 5,000.00 dollars to the RWGM for the Blood Organ Donor Club by Bro. Mark Mattern from the Grotto Group. Masons caring and giving for great causes. Thanks to everyone who attended and gave of their time and resources to make this event possible. The next “Lodge in the Woods” event will be held on Wednesday September 18, 2019, at the same location. Mark your calendars.

Photographer Bro. Larry Hudson.


Larry A. Derr  DDGM 01

Lodge No. 551 24th Annual Ox Roast

Saturday August 5th, 2017 Ashara-Casiphia Lodge No. 551 held their 24th Annual Ox Roast at the Donegal Masonic Center in Mount Joy, Pa. This event is a two day event for those participating in the preparation for the event. 500 lbs of beef, 125 dozen ears of fresh sweet corn, 600 new potatoes, and all the sides (barbeque sauce, horseradish, butter, apple sauce, etc.) were prepared and packages for either take out or eat in meals. This year the Lodge was completely sold out of tickets for the event, which was a total  600 tickets. This event benefits the permanent Charity fund for the Lodge. To date Ashara-Casiphia Lodge No. 551 has raised over $ 78,000.00 dollars for their permanent charity fund by sponsoring this event. The event is well known by many who come to partake of the great food. Pictured below are some of the participants of the event and the pit where the Ox is prepared.


Larry A. Derr  DDGM 01

Lodge No. 476 & Lodge No. 496 Annual Golf Outing

Friday July 21st, 2017,  Lamberton Lodge No. 476 and Charles M. Howell Lodge No. 496 held their Annual Golf Outing at Fairview Golf Course. There were a total of 87 golfers who participated in four man scramble event.  Each golfer was presented a gift bag, a great round of golf, and a delicious Delmonico Steak dinner, served by Quentin Tavern Catering. The first place team was Mike Stephens, Ron Kubala, Bill Kunkle, and James Englert. The second place team was Paul Bowman, Ryan Kline, Tyler Kline, and Brian Bohenick. Each golfer on the first place team received $ 25.00 dollars, a gift card to Rumplebrewskin’s Bar, and a dozen Titleist Pro VI golf balls. Everyone enjoyed a great day of golf, great food, and most of all great fellowship. The Golf Outing raised $6,990.00 dollars, which each Lodge will donate a large portion to the Lancaster Dyslexia Learning Center, which is 100% funded by Masonic members and Free to students with Dyslexia. Pictured below are Bro. Ronald Carson PM and Principal of the School of Instruction, the winners and their score cards, and Bro. Frank Roschel with his Grandson.


Larry A. Derr  DDGM 01

1st Masonic District of Pa. Second Annual Car Show

On Saturday July 8th, 2017 the 1st Masonic District of Pa. held their second Annual Car Show and Fund Raiser at the Masonic Villages in Elizabethtown, Pa. The weather was perfect for a Car Show and both participants and spectators enjoyed the ideal conditions  for the event. There were approximately 130 entries, with each of the ten Lodges picking their winner for the show. Each Lodge winner was presented a trophy with that Lodge’s name and number of the trophy. There was plenty of food for everyone, with oldies music being played during the entire event. New this year were excursions  by the Masonic Villages buses to the new Rooster’s Woodshop and the Train Station display, which many participants  took advantage of. Also new this year was the Central Pa. Blood Bank Mobile for donating blood. During the event 32 people donated blood which will help save approximately  84 lives in are area. All  ten Lodges participated in the event, which makes it easy to achieve success. The event planners, Bro. Barry Rissmiller and Bro. Ron Bair did a terrific job at organizing the event. The District raised approximately $ 2,500.00 dollars which all will be donated to the Masonic Youth Groups, the Lancaster Dyslexia Learning Center, and the Masonic Villages. The District is looking forward to this event in 2018 same place and time. Pictured below are numerous cars, trophies, organizers, and the 50-50 winner.

Lodge No. 682 presents 70 Year Service Emblem – Certificate

During the 1st Masonic District Car Show the Officers of Abraham C Treichler Lodge No 682, Bro James Seibert WM, Bro Evo Andretti JW, and Bro Robert Blackwood Sec. walked up to the Health Care Center accompanied by the District Deputy Grand Master Bro Larry A Derr and presented a Seventy Year Service Emblem and Certificate to Bro Julian Richter. Bro Richter and his Son recently transferred their membership to ACT Lodge No 682.  Bro Richter was very appreciative of the presentation and the visit.

Ephrata Lodge No. 665 Indian Echo Caverns

Ephrata Lodge No. 665 opened a lodge of Master Masons in due form at 7 pm on June 24th, 2017, St. John the Baptist Day at Indian Echo Caverns, located at Hummelstown, Pennsylvania, one mile west of Hershey, with about 60 brethren in attendance to confer a Master Mason’s degree upon Brother Donald Eugene Reisinger in celebration of Freemasonry’s 300th anniversary.

Normally the Cave, which is privately owned, closes daily at 5 pm, so we had it to ourselves that evening. Prior to the meeting, the caterer, Buddy’s Log Cabin of Pine Grove delivered delicious broasted chicken and baked sausage, accompanied by an assortment of sides and topped off with a blueberry cobbler made by the Master’s wife, (owner of Yellowroses Bakery.) With our hunger satisfied we adjourned to the cave where, assisted by three sentinels, the Master, Jason Martin, opened a lodge of Master Masons in ancient form, delivered the opening charge, and performed the flag ceremony.  Once opened, Brother Martin conferred the third degree and incorporated a beautiful Masonic Bible presentation at the end of the degree.

The location of the lodge was situated at the entrance to the cave and directly in front of the Swatara Creek. The shade provided by the trees along the creek bed and 75 feet above made it comfortable for all, and the peaceful breeze rustling through the leaves gave the whole occasion closeness to nature that never happens in an enclosed lodge room.  Crickets were chirping, birds of all kinds were sending their call signs, toads and bullfrogs croaking, water flowing along the bank of the creek, and an occasional airplane in the distance provided a truly unique ambiance for all present.  Our newly raised brother remarked that it was amazing to stare at the stars and be immersed in the sounds of nature.

As the degree concluded, we were graced by a beautiful sunset and as darkness fell, tiki torches set around the perimeter and as the three lesser lights, provided a special setting to the conclusion of the evening.

The officers of Ephrata Lodge clearly had prepared to do their best for the degree, and they did not disappoint.  As brethren departed, the pleasure was palpable, and many commented their desire to visit again the next time a degree would be held at the cave. In fact, Ephrata Lodge plans to rotate degrees each time the event is held in order to mix it up for the attending brethren.

In addition to the regular members of Ephrata Lodge, there were visitors from lodges in New Jersey, Delaware, Virginia, and from many Districts in Pennsylvania – coming from as far away as Pittsburgh.

Ephrata Lodge is already looking at holding the event during September in the years to come when the First Masonic District does not hold the Lodge in the Woods event.  This means that next year another Cave Degree will be held.  Therefore 2017 was the exception and truly a special year, because it is had both the 300th anniversary of Freemasonry with the Cave Degree in June and a Lodge in the Woods in September.  Beginning next year 2018, the Degree at the Caves will become a biennial event for Ephrata Lodge No. 665.  Having it in September will also provide better scheduling for brethren that have a conflict with a Grand Lodge quarterly communication.  Cooler weather in September also offers us to take advantage of the fire pit and add to the experience while outdoors.

The manager at the caves informed us that approximately 16 brethren enjoyed taking tours of the caves prior to the meeting and although more could have enjoyed the tour, it provided an excellent way to walk off dinner and enjoy an inner beauty of the earth prior to the meeting.  All the brethren who enjoyed the tour commented that there were several masonic writings on the walls, something the manager was unaware of and plans to research more of and report back to Ephrata Lodge with her findings.

The event went as smoothly as could be expected, with no serious problems.  In addition to the catered food being delicious, the pavilion for the dinner was well arranged for all to come and go during the meal time.  The adjoining conference room next to the pavilion worked great as a changing area for officers, and the pathway to the caves worked great for the Tyler to setup a table and have brethren sign the register, prior to the picturesque walk down to the cave. The double door entrance to the cave worked perfectly for the candidate as the preparing room, in addition to the Tyler for his station at the outer door. The area outside the cave where the degree was held worked flawlessly as there was plenty of room to setup an 8×16 square for the officers and still have room for carpeted pathways for the candidate to walk upon during the degree. The area was spacious enough to comfortably seat 100, if needed. The tiki torches looked amazing for additional lighting. The three sentinels stationed around the area had no issues and were able to enjoy the meeting at their posts as well.  At the end of the meeting most brethren helped return lodge items back to our vehicles thereby making clean up a swift process. Parking was plentiful and convenient.

Indian Echo Caverns has already informed us that many other masonic affiliations have indicated a desire to hold similar events at their venue.

For anyone who missed the 2017 Cave Degree, next year an Entered Apprentice degree is scheduled on September 15, 2018 and after that will not be held again until September 2020.  Make it a point to enjoy something that is truly unique.


Jason A. Martin, Worshipful Master

Ephrata Lodge No. 665



Raymond A. Krome Scholarship from Pennsylvania Masonic Youth Foundation




(717) 367-1536

(800) 266-8424 in PA only

Fax (717) 367-0616

Online at www.pmyf.org

District Deputy Grand Master of the First Masonic District Larry A. Derr has recently presented Miss Alexandra E. Agesen, Manheim, PA with a $1,500.00 Raymond A. Krome Scholarship from the Pennsylvania Masonic Youth Foundation.  The Foundation, which is a charitable extension of the Grand Lodge of Masons in Pennsylvania, presented 61 scholarships totaling $171,200 this year to young people with a Masonic relative, or who are members of a Masonic-sponsored youth group. 

Alexandra is eligible as a member of Bethel No. 7 Manheim, International Order of Job’s Daughters and a granddaughter of William Agesen, a member of Mount Zion Lodge No. 774 in McConnelsburg.  She was selected from 130 applicants for this scholarship.   

Alexandra will be attending Gettysburg College, as a Senior with a major in Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and a minor in Writing.  She graduated from Manheim Central High School in 2014. 

Photo Included: Miss Alexandra Ageson (r) is presented with a $1,500.00 Raymond E. Krome Scholarship from the Pennsylvania Masonic Youth Foundation by District Deputy Grand Master Larry A. Derr of the First Masonic District.



DDGM of the 1st Masonic District presented 3 Scholarships

On Tuesday evening June 27th, at the regular stated meeting of Ashara Casiphia Lodge No 551, Larry A Derr District Deputy Grand Master of the 1st Masonic District presented 3 Scholarships totaling $ 1,500.00 dollars to two Donegal H.S. seniors, Michael Maag and Shawn Maag and one Hempfield senior, William Swiernik. The 1st Masonic District 10 Lodges gave Scholarships of more than $ 35,000.00 dollars to deserving seniors for the 2017 year.

Pictured from L to R are Bro. Larry A Derr DDGM 01, Shawn Maag, Michael Maag, William Swiernik, and Bro Ron Bair WM of Ashara Casiphia Lodge No 551. All three Scholarship winners will attend Rochester Institute of Technology in the fall.

Larry A Derr DDGM 01