|The 2016-17 installation of officers of Williams E. Eddins Memorial Lodge|
#377. (Photo by Michael Floyd, Esq.)
Thursday, October 6, 2016
Newly installed officers at masonic temple testify to the benefits of freemasonry
There are dozens of masonic temples in the city of Memphis. Unbeknownst to the general public, membership in this private fraternity continues to creep upward. The William E. Eddins Memorial Lodge #377 (Prince Hall Affiliated), for example, recently installed five officers.
In an unprecedented move, the “brothers” bestowed upon Tony M. Jackson, a young businessman and one of their latest recruits, the title of Lodge Secretary. Jackson “was initiated, passed, and raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason” in April.
“I believe the family of brothers elected me to the secretary position because they saw that drive in me and my willingness to work as a part of the team to better the lodge and hold to the theme of building on a strong foundation,” said Jackson, owner of Arlington Computers in Arlington, Tenn. He also is the author of “Pulling Customers Back To Small Business,” a business guide.
On Sept. 4, Jackson was officially installed at Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church along with Michael Richardson, Lodge Treasurer and Past Master; Eric Williams, Senior Warden; Timothy Jones, Junior Warden; and Everett Burks, Worshipful Master.
Richardson said there were three keys that inspired him to become a mason: 1) His grandfather, Deartis Barber Sr., a Freemason; 2) “…the historical impact that the fraternity has had throughout this country and the world”; and 3) “I believe that in unity there is strength. And as farfetched as it my seem, I believe that some day we all will be unified by the common bond of peace and love.”
Richardson was initiated in November 2004. Freemasonry has been an integral part of his pedigree dating back to his grandparents, who raised him, his mother and father, and several aunts and uncles. He has held several positions at the lodge.
“Freemasonry teaches us that as brothers we are all ‘On the Level.’ We meet each other on the same ground,” Jackson explains. “I felt the true brotherly love and was even blown away that the Past Masters, Masters and Wardens welcomed me with open arms.”
Although Freemasonry is shrouded in secrecy, there are characteristics that are common among the brothers, said Jones, a corporate security officer for Memphis Light Gas and Water. He was initiated, passed and raised in William Eddins #377 in 2015.
“What a mason does is very simple, but not limited to being an upright [and] honest man of great character who sets a positive example in his community by his charitable works and deeds,” said Jones. “Things such as feeding families in need, mentoring the youth and community clean up efforts.”
There are benefits, too, added Williams, such as establishing a closer connection with God, camaraderie with the brothers, and drawing closer to one’s family. “Men are naturally providers and problem solvers. So Masonry is embedded in you,” he said.
Williams also noted the importance of having “someone to talk to when there is no one there and not judging you, just there to lend an ear and a helping hand.”
“Continuing to Build on a Strong Foundation” was the theme of the installation ceremony, which drew more than a handful of supporters.
“We are here to develop the character and shape the minds of any qualified and vouched-for brother that knocks at our door,” said Burks, who was raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason on May 3, 2008. “We will build, we must build, and we are building on that strong foundation.”
Burks is employed at Smith and Nephew and has held several positions within the lodge.
Jackson said Freemasonry will take him as far as he wants to go. “It’s just like anything else: You get out of it what you put into it,” he said. “We are a working lodge. That means we earn our titles and degrees through hard work and perseverance.”
“The wisdom, youth and passion that these men possess will surely benefit not only the lodge, but the community of South Memphis, the city of Memphis, and hopefully the state of Tennessee, if not further,” said Richardson.