March Masters Message

Brethren, 

I hope that, in all that is going on in the world, this update finds you well. The ongoing concerns in Eastern Europe are doubtlessly going to have consequences that impact us here. Already we are seeing food prices continuing to rise, and not just as a result of ongoing inflation issues. Ukraine’s top exports are cereals, iron/steel, animal/vegetable fats (and other products), ores (and slag and ash), and electrical machinery and components. Source: https://www.visualcapitalist.com/visualizing-ukraines-top-trading-partners-and-products/ 

We’re also expecting to see fuel prices continuing to increase as a result of the conflict, which (as of writing) are somewhere in the $3.50/gallon range BEFORE taxes and fees are applied. On gasoline, in Washington, we pay another $0.678/gallon in combined state and federal, and that’s before we’ve accounted for delivery fees and paying the wages of the station staff. Source: https://dor.wa.gov/find-taxes-rates/tax-incentives/deductions/motor-vehicle-fuel-tax-rates 

“This is a Master’s message for Freemasons; where is all this going?” 

I’m glad you asked. 

In our community, we are looking at having many people affected who are already on a limited income. The additional strain that these supply shortages and increased gas prices make it more difficult for people to keep going, and more expensive to get around. 

If any people – particularly brother Masons – find themselves in crisis situations, please encourage them to reach out to local lodges. This is a crucial time for our fraternity to offer a helping hand and grant some relief and charity. 

One of our major public groups that is doing everything it can to help the community is Lower Columbia CAP (Community Action Program) : https://lowercolumbiacap.org/ . We have several Masons who have volunteered hundreds of hours providing assistance in distributing food to those in need. If you are able to dedicate a few hours to assist the distribution effort, head over to them on 1526 Commerce Ave, Longview on the third Tuesday of the month, 9am – 3pm. This months will be on March 15th

As we push forwards into the coming year and ever-changing events, let us as Masons bear in mind the needs of others in addition to our own. Let us not forget the tenets of Faith, Hope, and Charity. 

It is my sincerest hope that things settle and everyone is able to find some peace and relief. 

Fraternally, 

Craig Smith 

Worshipful Master, Longview #263

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