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From the East: SW Hackett February 2014

Brethren and Ladies,

I hope you all had a joyous holiday season with your friends, family and loved ones. I would like to thank Wor. Jim Achenbach, PM, for again coordinating the food drive on December 21st, which is a part of our partnership in education to assist families who are unable to celebrate the holiday season, due to financial hardship or other personal issues. I have participated in this event for the last couple of years and just seeing the joy on those family faces when we do our part in their time of need is very heartwarming and makes me proud to be a Mason and to be part of such a wonderful lodge.

As we start off the New Year, I would like to thank everyone who attended our annual Installation of Officers for 2014. I am very grateful and honored to be serving as your Master for the ensuing masonic year and my sincere thanks to the officers of our lodge for their continued support and commitment in wanting to make this year a success.

Our focus for 2014 as I stated at our installation will be working on improving our ritual. I strongly believe that the ritual is of great importance not only to us but to our visitors who attend either our degrees or stated meetings. Also, our candidates who have joined our lodge to see, firsthand, what Masonry has to offer them, should be exposed to strong, dedicated and professional ritual so that their experience is an awesome experience whether they are being initiated, passed, or raised. If there are no degrees during a month, we will practice one of the three degrees. As for Masonic education, we will have presentations in our Stated Meetings as well as during the months when we have no degrees. Also, I have reserved the month of August for Masonic Education since the lodge will be dark. Wor. Jim Achenbach, PM, will be the leader of this program since he has done such an excellent job with handling our Masonic education and it will be exciting to see what topics he will have for us.

On December 17, 2013, we raised Bro. Steve Cumming to the sublime degree of Master Mason and heard Bro. Jason Bockerman give his 3rd Degree proficiency. Bro. Bockerman did an excellent job on his proficiency and Bro. Cumming’s received an excellent degree from the brothers of our lodge. Congratulations to the both of you and my many thanks to the Brethren who participated in the degree.

January 7th, 2014, will be our first stated meeting of the New Year, so please join us since we will have a lot to discuss. As part of our monthly stated meetings, we will have presentations about the seven liberal arts and sciences as part of our masonic education which will be given by one of our new FellowCrafts. I am hoping, that by doing this, we can get our “new” Masons more involved in our stated meetings by showing them that they too are playing vital part with promoting our lodge, no matter what degree they are. This however will alternate every other month so that our Junior Warden can read some excerpts from the CMC which is required to be read in lodge. We will have our lodge picnic in June and are planning our table lodge in July. There will be a lot of other exciting events to look forward to this year.
Remember, Tuesday nights is lodge night and hope to see you all there!

Fraternally yours,

Wor. Ryan A. Bacaoco
Worshipful Master
SW Hackett Lodge# 574 F&AM

Masonic Education sessions in 2012

Freemasonry is rich in symbols.  Many of these are keys, inviting us to search our inner world for a door whose lock they fit.  Through these doors are experiences that can transform our lives.  You are invited to join us as we focus on specific aspects of Freemasonry, examine the symbolic information they hold, and then dive deeper into practices and techniques we can use to experience the reality behind the symbols.

We plan a series of sessions in 2012 that will explore various areas and associated practices that you can take with you and apply in your life if you so choose.  Our next session on 12/20/11 at 6PM will be an introductory session that will explore our basic premise and focus on an introduction to the practice of meditation.  We plan further sessions in 2012 that will explore a number of other practices including concentrations on specific symbols, breathing practices, walking practices and more.  Attending this introductory session before these others would be highly beneficial.  Given sufficient interest, we may repeat this introductory session from time to time as well.

We are looking forward to seeing you,

Worshipful Jim Achenbach (PM and current Chair of Masonic Ed SW Hackett      Lodge)
Brother Devin Breise (SW Hackett Lodge)

“Freemasonry within a temple of stone cannot be other than speculative, but Freemasonry within the living temple of the body is operative.”
-Manly P. Hall

Next Meeting:  Dec 20th 6pm SW Hackett Lodge, Scottish Rite Center, Mission Valley
Sent from Jim Achenbach's system

James J. Achenbach, MA-CCC, SLP
Speech-Language Pathologist
San Diego Unified School District

A Trip to the Principal’s Office

S.W. Hackett Lodge goes inside San Diego schools

Grand Lodge Spotlights SW Hackett Lodge Partnership in Education Program (Download Original Article)

As 2010 rolled to a close, Brother Jim Achenbach found himself back in the principal’s office. It was a familiar scene – and it would stay that way, thanks to his lodge.

That day Achenbach and Principal Ryan Kissel were reviewing the annual partnership agreement between Sequoia Elementary School and S.W. Hackett Lodge No. 574, both located in San Diego. For the fifth year in a row, the lodge signed on to help.

Precedent for partnerships
San Diego Unified School District strives for meetings like the one in Principal Kissel’s office. The district's Partnerships in Education Program, established in 1982, arranges partnerships between the district’s 225 schools and local organizations.

As public schools suffer increasing resource cuts from the public sector, such private partnerships are becoming more and more important. In San Diego, about 1,500 businesses and community organizations are established as school partners. The partnerships focus on service, not funds (although sometimes, those come in handy, too). Organizations work directly with their partner schools to determine how they can help – hence Achenbach’s frequent trips to the principal’s office.

S.W. Hackett Lodge got involved in 1997, shortly after Achenbach joined the lodge. At the time, Achenbach was employed as a speech and language pathologist for San Diego Unified School District. He recognized a need at the elementary school where he worked, and learned about the Partnerships in Education Program from a fellow educator. He pitched the idea to his lodge.

His suggestion was largely motivated by a desire to be more involved in Masonry. At the time, as a new Master Mason – and expecting his first child – Achenbach was hesitant to commit to the officer line. (Today, he’s the current lodge treasurer and a past master.) Public schools liaison was a role he could embrace. “It was my way of being active and useful,” he says. He’s still the liaison today.

“I’m in a unique position, having a foot in both camps,” says Achenbach. “I can walk into the principal’s office that day, and that evening, walk into lodge.”

On the wish list: flutes to flagpoles
It was the start of a lodge program that’s helped hundreds of students. In fact, in 2006 the San Diego Unified School District Board formally recognized S.W. Hackett Lodge for outstanding service to the schools and community.

In 13 years the lodge has been a partner to three district schools. The first was an elementary school, the second a charter school for the arts.
“The art school couldn’t afford reeds for the flutes or rosin for the bows. The music teacher would give me a wish list and I’d take that to the lodge musician,” Achenbach recalls. The lodge donated instruments and parts, and coordinated community drives for musical instruments.

When that school outgrew the partnership, the door was opened for Sequoia Elementary, a struggling school with a personal tie: the lodge secretary’s granddaughter was a student there.

S.W. Hackett Lodge has established some meaningful traditions with Sequoia Elementary. During the holidays, the school identifies six needy families in the community; the lodge buys gifts and holiday meal supplies, then delivers presents and meal fixings right to the families’ homes. Every June, the lodge hosts a Teacher of the Year dinner. And members and families show up en force to the school’s annual spelling bee, where the lodge presents checks to the winners.

That’s just the beginning. Achenbach says that members’ favorite activities are often hands-on, like renovating classrooms, or the time they erected a flagpole in the school yard for the morning assembly. “We literally had to put our backs into that one,” he laughs.

One thing’s certain: The lodge helps in the ways Sequoia Elementary needs most. Achenbach’s visits to the principal are a direct conduit between the school and the lodge.

Living Masonry
S.W. Hackett Lodge members have gravitated to the school activities: At least 50 of the lodge’s 134 members have participated in some way, plus ladies and kids.

The partnership has another notable side effect: membership applications. Achenbach explains that friends and prospects often lend a hand at school projects. “They’ve told me that the thing that really impressed them about our lodge and made them want to become a Mason was going out and painting that classroom,” he says.

That sense of identity is part of the partnership’s bigger picture.

“[The partnership] has really served as a rallying point for lodge members, wives, even children. It gives brethren a way to say to other people, this is one of the things that we do,” Achenbach says.

“It’s all well and good to say George Washington was a Mason and tell the history,” he adds, “but this provides a real tangible way for us to demonstrate to friends and neighbors that we’re an active, vibrant lodge.”

San Diego’s Many Masonic Partners

S.W. Hackett Lodge isn’t the only lodge teaming up with San Diego Unified School District. In fact, a number of San Diego lodges are involved in the Partnerships in Education program, including Point Loma Lodge No. 620, John D. Spreckles Lodge No. 657 and Silver Gate-Three Stars Lodge No. 296

At Point Loma Lodge, for example, members head to the local high school every spring to help with an important rite of passage for graduating seniors. They spend a full day hearing students present their high school portfolios – a summary of their achievements over the past four years.

“Being part of a local high school benefits the students, and it gets our name out to a younger group,” says Michael Paine, 35. “We want people in the community to know that we’re out there and we want to help.”

(Re-published by permission of California Grand Lodge)