The distinguished men in military uniforms marched quietly in two columns down the lighted hallway. Their highly polished shoes were barely making a sound on the soft carpet. A chorus of “Joy to the World” being sung in the background gave them an un-noticed entry. They came into the back of a larger room containing a crowd of people singing a Christmas carol. They were moving from the Christmas season and into the New Year. The distinguished men were maneuvering into seats on the back row that had been reserved just for them. The carol came to a stop and before the distinguished men could be seated, the man behind the podium spoke up and announced the presence of his friends and brothers on the back row of the room and asked that they approach the podium. The heads of the congregation turned, and the look of curiosity was clearly seen in their faces. Their eyes followed the men in their sharp looking uniforms as they moved to the front of the room.
The man behind the microphone was Sir Knight Robby Stokes, Music Director of Coastal Baptist Church, and a member of Damascus Commandery No. 2. He was introducing the Grand Commander and his entourage. Sir Knight Robby invited Pastor Paul Steinbach to the podium for a presentation. The crowd was still wondering what was happening when the Imminent Grand Commander spoke. He let the crowd know that we were all members of the Masonic Fraternity and that the Commandery was the Christian portion of the York Rite Bodies. He explained that one of the main charities was the “Holy Land Pilgrimage”. The Pastor of Coastal Baptist Church had been awarded an educational trip to the Holy Land to assist him in his bible studies. He was being given a unique opportunity to walk where Jesus walked. To see landmarks that Christ saw and to visually see with his own eyes, what he had only seen in the written word or in pictures. This would be an asset to his future teachings and Coastal Baptist Church would reap the benefits of this experience.
Suddenly, the expression on the faces of the congregation changed to understanding of what a marvelous gift was presented this Christmas Season and what a wonderful way to start out a new and prosperous year. The congregation came to their feet with a hearty round of applause. This was indeed a great gift, not only for Pastor Paul, but for all of us.
I would personally like to thank Right Eminent Grand Commander Henry Adams and his entourage Very Eminent Deputy Grand Commander Paul Friend and Eminent District Deputy Grand Commander Kurt Moraurer Sr. Present from Damascus Commandery No. 2 were Eminent Commander Jimmy Dorsey, Eminent Commander Elect Of Corey D. Kosciuszko, Junior Warden Gilbert Porter. Attending from Port St Lucie No 17 were James Green Past Commander, and Robert Eisenhardt for taking the time to travel to Jacksonville and make this very special presentation.
One of our goals as Masons is to grow the fraternity. I am sure the vision of these fine men will be implanted in their memories forever. As Christians we are to spread the word. This charity will not only help us to spread the word, but improve how it will be delivered. This charity, more than any other, will reach more people, Masons and Non-Masons, than any other charity we have. I thank you for all your contributions in the past, present, and in the future I encourage you to double your efforts for a better tomorrow.
Sir Knight Robby Stokes
Damascus Commandery No. 2