My Brothers,
I find myself writing this note in front of a warming fire on a cold and snowy MLK weekend in Vermont. While far from Temple 65 in Westport, my thoughts could not be closer.

To begin with, I want to thank all my Brothers for having the confidence in me to lead Temple 65 during the 2019 year. I promise I will do my best!

Temple Lodge #65, has a long and illustrious history that even predates Westport itself. Many of the names on our rolls read like so many streets and places throughout the State. We should be proud of our Lodge and take comfort in the fact that each of us represents a part of that history. Whether Worshipful Master, Officer, or Brother Master Mason, our names will all appear in the annals and records of Temple Lodge 65 for time immemorial. A fact none of us should take lightly.

It is indeed a privilege to lead such an esteemed organization, but it is also daunting task. My plan is to improve on, not to change all that has been done by my predecessors. The state of the Lodge is at an all-time high and I want to keep us going in that direction. We will be learning more about Masonry each month. Some from the East, some from special speakers and guests. Light is important but so is enjoying each other’s company and there will be amply opportunities to do just that.

We will tend to our work, maintain the level of excellence in our degree work, and increase our participation in all areas. All too often the “work of the Lodge” has been left to a select few. That needs to change. I am a firm believer in the fact that the “binds that unite us” are best reinforced by the work we do together. I have long felt that one of the best ways to develop a deep fraternal relationship is to spend time with a fellow Brother working towards a common goal. To this end, I have set an agenda for the year that may feel aggressive but is certain to encourage the maximum amount of participation. It is rife with projects that will require Brothers to work together. Nothing is beyond our reach and all is achievable if everyone steps up and pitches in.

I know there are Brothers out there who have a limited amount of spare time, even some who may be disenchanted. Some who may feel that the Lodge has passed them by. Others, who may just be shy or have had some hardships that they feel may make them a lesser Brother. I assure you nothing could be further from the truth and against everything we profess as Masons. Some of you have never participated in a degree or planned event. To all of you, regardless of what has passed, now is the time to step up. We (I) need your help. Apathy can be the death of even the strongest organization. Don’t let it happen to us. Volunteer! Attend! Reach out! Let me know that you care or better yet, what you would like to do. Whether it is a specific event, or a part in a Degree, let me or any of your Officers know.

We will be having a full set of degrees this year. There are plenty of parts available, many non-speaking that need to be filled. Even if you don’t want to be in a degree itself, there is always a need for help at practices which are often more helpful then participating in the degree itself. Just let us know.

If physical labor is a problem; help plan, organize, call, or write. I have put quite a bit on our Junior Warden’s shoulders and he is certain to need help. Let him know if you are interested. No offer of help is too small and no amount of time is too little. The next move is yours, make it something you can be proud, not for me, but for yourselves and because you are a Mason.

I will always try to give good and wholesome instructions, but if anything is unclear, certainly let me or any of your Officers know. I am privileged to lead an outstanding line of officers who are energized, knowledgeable, and hardworking. Show them you care.

Let me also turn to recruitment and new members. The life blood of any organization is members. It is up to you to recruit those men you feel comfortable in recommending and that represent the principles of Masonry. You know someone…. let us know. Be certain though, that we will investigate and satisfy ourselves that those whom we ask to join will be future members we can all be proud to call Brother and hold in high esteem. Each of us share the responsibility to bring in new members.

Finally, as I stated during my Installation; Harmony will be my utmost goal for the year and certainly my term of office. We all have our differences, but it is our similarities and common beliefs that bind us together. We should never lose sight of that fact. We are all on the level, none of us having a stronger right over another. I do not wish to be anyone’s judge or jury, but in the event, there is a situation that can affect the Harmony of our Lodge, be assured that…

I look forward to working with every one of you and I extend a special hand of Brotherly love to those Brothers who have not graced us with their presence for a long time, to join us in Lodge, or on one of our activities in the coming months. Always remember; Temple 65 is YOUR Lodge, you will always be part of its history and it is never too late to do more.

Yours in Harmony,
W.B. Richard Ruggiano