My Dear Brothers,
I’m writing, this month, from Tucson, Arizona – it’s my first time in Arizona and I’m enjoying the beauty of the mountains (which remind me of Sicily), the warmth of the sun (which I know, as a New Yorker, I will not feel much in the coming months), and the beauty of incredible sunrises (which I rarely take the time to see, but with the 3-hour time difference, for which I’m unintentionally awake). I’m here to teach a class for future ministers in my denomination during our annual Synod. Like many denominations, we are working through some profound divisions – divisions
that, in many ways, find their roots in the loss of personal connections – the failure to love.
When I first started attending these meetings, we were still “family.” Our love for one another overcame our divisions. As we’ve grown and the world around us has changed, that has become more difficult, and some have decided it isn’t worth the work.
Why do I tell you all of this? It isn’t because the inner workings of my denomination matter to Jephtha, they don’t! It’s because, as Jephtha continues to grow, we will increasingly be faced with the temptation to fall into the same trap. Our brotherly love is what holds us together. Our differences (and there are many) will become a source of division and dysfunction unless we – as brothers – continue to commit ourselves to the most basic of Masonic ideals: φιλία – philia – brotherly love.
Just as the W:. Bernzweig encouraged each at the most recent Communication to find an area (or two) to serve within the life and work of the lodge, let me offer my humble encouragement to look around the room every time we gather and notice both who is in the room and also who is not. Then, drop an email or a phone call or a message through OLP or Facebook to those you notice gone. Let them know they’ve been missed – not to induce guilt or shame – but to remind them that we are brothers – to live out φιλία.
Together – but only together – can we make sure that Jephtha is not torn apart by our growth and is increasingly living into our potential.
Grace and peace,
Tim TenClay, Secretary