The Masonic Fraternity and all its wonderful bodies have long generated memento lapel pins to enable Masons to proudly display their affiliation with the Masonic Fraternity. The lapel pins reflect amazing creativity while conveying the message to all that might observe them. They help communicate the message of Freemasonry to both brothers of the craft as well as non-members of the Fraternity who may ask about the specific pin you are wearing.
These memento pins also prove to be valued collector items among the brethren. There is no doubt, every brother probably has a small masonic collection of many Masonic lapel pins that have been created and distributed over the years.
The Right Worshipful Grand Master’s mementos that are created every two years with their term in office are much appreciated when given to all members attending an event where the Right Worshipful Grand Master is in attendance.
The Lodge 43 Worshipful Masters have created a tradition of their own in recent years that has become a popular and meaningful reflection of their individual planning and commitment for their year in the East. They create a focus of what they want their year to signify and creatively design a lapel pin to coincide with their plans. The lapel pins are very unique and are handed out to all members and guests when they come to the lodge, or by the Worshipful Master in his travels. In addition to the satisfaction of wearing the pin, they become fine additions to your Masonic collectibles.
When preparing this article I was asked repeatedly “who created the first pin?”. I knew who initiated the first memento of this type. I withheld the answer until now as published in this article.
I’m pleased to reveal Brother Douglas M. Wiker P.D.D.G.M. and P.M., as Worshipful Master in 1997 provided his Masonic Wooden Nickel to all members and guests, or in his Masonic travels as a token of his friendship and appreciation of a brother.
Unfortunately in the following years, the popularity of this initiative took a hiatus until Drew Bullington P.M., as Worshipful Master in 2011, began the now popular tradition of the Worshipful Master Memento Pin.
The following reflects all the Lodge 43 Worshipful Master Memento Pins that have been created in recent times, the Worshipful Masters of those years, and the significance of the meaning the pin is to convey.
1997 – Worshipful Master Douglas M. Wiker
Past Master Douglas M. Wiker is credited with creating the first Worshipful Master Memento of the past 25 years, although it was not a pin. Brother Wiker’s memento choice was the age-old popular “wooden nickel” to convey his message of Freemasonry. The phrase “2B 1 Ask 1” was a very popular message at the time and was used widely on brochures and masonic messaging. The front of the wooden nickel reflected the Lodge name and Square and Compasses, while the back of the wooden nickel reflected Brother Doug’s name and the masonic message.
2011 – Worshipful Master Drue M. Bullington
Past Master Drue M. Bullington is credited with creating the first Worshipful Master Memento Pin of these modern times. This started the tradition that incoming Worshipful Masters have since designed a Masonic Worshipful Master Memento Pin or memento to commemorate their year in the East. The pin is given as a memento to members and guests as a gesture of brotherhood.
2012 – Worshipful Master Thomas E. Hopta
Past Master Thomas E. Hopta did not do a Masonic Pin in his year. Instead, he created a Lodge No. 43 car/refrigerator magnet. It had the Square and Compasses and the letter G emblem in white against a blue background.
It also included the www.lodge43.org reference. He created the magnets to serve as a Fund Raiser for the Lodge. He chose not to do a pin but rather to offer something uniquely different for the brethren. His goal was to raise the website awareness of Lodge 43 and Freemasonry and afford the brethren who drive around town to be noticed by both brother masons and the general public.
2013 – Worshipful Master Noel Wenrich
Past Master Noel Wenrich, now deceased, decided to return to the theme of creating a Worshipful Master Memento Pin. He created a very unique pin in the form of a White Masonic Apron with Blue Trim and the Lodge number “43” on the apron in blue. This was a very creative idea that enabled the brethren an opportunity to wear and display this most significant badge of a Freemason in their everyday travels.
2014 – Worshipful Master Alan R. Parker
Past Master Alan R. Parker created two pins to commemorate his year as Worshipful Master. The first pin was given to all members and visitors when they attended a Lodge meeting or event.
“I modeled my year pin after the Grand Lodge of New York’s pin. I added the date on the pin to signify my year as WM. My roots in Freemasonry started in New York. Somewhere between 1947-1950 my grandfather was raised in an all German-speaking lodge in NYC. In 2013, I visited the GL of NY building and was fortunate enough to have a tour. This building is as impressive as the GL of PA”, Alan Parker.
Past Master Parker’s second pin was given to Past Masters at a Past Masters recognition Stated Meeting.
“I found the Grumpy pin while doing some research online. Warranted or not, PM’s have a reputation for being grumpy towards the current WM by correcting any and all dialogue, stating that isn’t the way they did it in their year when something different happens. I did not experience, nor did I expect any grumpiness from anyone but, decided to have some fun by presenting the Grumpy pin to all PMs.
I also presented a pin to all veterans and one to first responders when we honored each during a Stated Meeting”, Alan Parker
2015 – Worshipful Master Joshua D. Parmer
Past Master Joshua D. Parmer invested considerable research in creating his pin and the significance of the Palm Tree in the center of the Square and Compasses.
“In Mackey’s I had read a lot of entries about the palm symbol. There is an entry entitled “palmer” as well as others that state:
“At the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles, at the autumnal harvest, Jews are ordered to hang boughs of trees, laden with fruit, round the borders of their booths also boughs of barren trees. The worshipers go to the Synagogue carrying in their right hand one palm branch, three myrtles, and two willows, all tied together; and in the left hand a citron branch with fruit on it. These they make touch each other and wave to the East, then South, then West, and then North. this is termed Hosanna, an exclamation of praise to God, the Hebrew word meaning ‘Save, I pray.’ On the seventh day of the Feast, all save the willow bough must be laid asides.
The Palm, as a tree, yields more to man than any other class of trees. Nineveh shows the Palm surrounded by winged deities holding the pine cone— symbol of life, which there takes the place of the Crux Ansata, or Cross with a circle. The Phoenix resting on the Palm signifies Resurrection to eternal life. The four Evangelists are depicted in “an evangelum,” in the library of the British Museum, as all looking up to the Palm-tree. Christians, for a similar ideal, erected a cross-bar and placed an Alpha and an Omega on it.
At Najran, in Yemen, Arabia, Sir William Ouseley describes the most perfect tree-worship as still existing close to the city. The tree is the Palm or Sacred Date. The Palm has always borne a most important part in all the faiths of the world down to the present day. The Jews gave the Palm a distinguished place in architecture. The tree and its lotus top, says Kitto, took the place of the Egyptian column on Solomon’s famous phalli, the Jachim and Boaz.”
Furthermore, the palm has a personal connection beyond Masonry for me. The family name Parmer is a derivative of Palmer. I would encourage anyone to further research this symbol online as there are many layers of symbolism to the palm as well as the square and compasses”, Joshua D. Parmer.
2016 – Worshipful Master Brett A. Cook
Past Master Brett Cook chose a very unique design when he captured the middle cloud image from the old Lodge 43 lodge ceiling painting on King Street. The ceiling in its entirety represents “Masonry Triumphant”, guided by the Eagle to higher ideals, with Justice and Perseverance following, while Old Father Time acknowledges the achievement and progress of the same.”
A beautiful memento of one of Lodge 43’s most beautiful and historical landmarks as it appears to this day in the old Lodge 43 meeting place on King Street.
2017 – Worshipful Master Thomas J. Quinn
Past Master T.J. Quinn’s pin was made to mimic the “updated Grand lodge branding at the time. The pin is unique as there is no G in the middle. The purpose of that was to symbolize a few things.”
“The purpose of freemasonry is different for many of our brethren”.
“The void in the square and compasses places the brother in the middle reminding us of speculative uses of those tools present as in the first degree.” tj quinn
2018 – Worshipful Master L. Kenneth Bray III
Past Master Kenneth Bray III chose to honor Brother James Buchanan, 15th President of the United States, and Lodge 43’s most distinguished brother. He highlights the pin with a sprig of an acacia wreath in honor of James Buchanan’s Masonic affiliation and brotherhood.
2019 – Worshipful Master Todd A. Bennicas
Past Master Todd Bennicas is a proud veteran who served his country faithfully. He chose to incorporate a patriotic theme to his pin in honor of all who serve. He also included the year of 1785 to reflect the year Lodge 43 was constituted.
2020 – Worshipful Master Paul M. Allen
Paul Allen designed a pin in the shape of the Masonic Beehive. He wrote a beautiful presentation of the significance of the beehive which he had intended on presenting in Lodge. Unfortunately, the Covid pandemic prevented him from being able to do that. An excerpt from his presentation is as follows.
“The Beehive is a symbol of Industry and Community. A community working together for the good of all. We all take pride in this community and enjoy the temporary escape from our lives outside of this Lodge. We should not take for granted the success of this Lodge, nor should we be complacent by its long history. Each of us should contribute something for the good of this Lodge, so this community can be successful and enjoyed by our future generations”, Paul Allen.
2021- Edward C. McGrath Jr.
“The blue background is symbolic of Blue Lodge. The tools are emblematic of the work performed in Lodge. These jewels are represented and explained in all of our Masonic Rituals and are the most prominent symbols of our craft.
When you wear the pin, the Square (Master’s jewel) is on the top left and the trowel is on the top right symbolic of the Master’s job to spread Brotherly love in his Lodge.
Below these symbols are the jewels of the Junior and Senior Wardens who support the WM in this and other important tasks in the Lodge.
The gavel symbolic of the WM’s authority to rule the Lodge with justice and equity supports the Square and Compass the center and symbols of Freemasonry”, Ed McGrath.
2022 – Worshipful Master James M. Stephens
Past Master James Stephens’s memento pin reflects a phoenix rising out of the flames within the Square and Compasses. Brother Stephens’s theme was to emphasize that as a society we had risen from the flames of Covid and as a lodge, we were endeavored to re-emerge. Following 2020 when the Covid pandemic had closed all fraternal functions the pin was designed to recognize that as a fraternity in 2021- 2022, we were initiating efforts to re-open our lodge and renew our fraternal brotherhood
2023- Worshipful Master Douglas A. Scheid
Worshipful Master Douglas A. Scheid has selected the theme of “Rebuilding the Foundation of Freemasonry” for his year. His program will focus on the basic foundation principles that bond us as a band of brotherhood and reinforce the tenets of the Masonic fraternity. His pin design reflects the tools of Freemasonry that make for a strong foundation and “the letter “G” signifies we are doing the work through God”.
Worshipful Master Scheid has also created a second pin which is inclusively handed out to Past Masters who attend his events, or those he will meet in his travels.
This pin is similar to the pin Edward McGrath P.M. gave out in his year 2021. The blue background is lighter on this pin with more of a greenish tint.
“The Mystery Pin”
There is one pin that came to my attention in this project that I have termed “The Mystery Pin”. It appears to be a fairly recent pin and was in the possession of Worshipful Master Douglas Scheid. He doesn’t remember who gave it to him but feels it was given to him as he progressed in the chairs. None of the current Past Masters have identified it as theirs, or know who may have generated it. It is possible that it could be a second pin that our deceased Brother Noel Weinrich may have given out in addition to his Apron Pin. What is interesting about this pin’s style is that it was similarly duplicated in 2011 by Past Master Drue Bullington, and once again in 2014 in a smaller version by Past Master Alan Parker. You will notice that “The Mystery Pin” has no date appearing on the pin while the two aforementioned have their years included on them respectively.
In summary, the Lodge 43 Worshipful Master Pin Memento continues to be a very favorable and interesting tradition that I hope will continue for years to come. It demonstrates the thought and attention each incoming Worshipful Master dedicates in his overall planning for his year in the East. It represents another small detail in the overall planning each Worshipful Master considers in endeavoring to make the Masonic experience in Freemasonry more meaningful and enjoyable for the brethren.
Hopefully many of you have been a recipient of these Worshipful Master Mementos over the years and have built your own Masonic collection. If not, or if you might be missing a few from your collection, I might suggest you ask one of the above Past Masters about their memento pin. I’m told there just might be a few very limited quantities available, and I’m sure any of the Past Masters identified in this article would be proud to present you with their memento pin. So Mote It Be!
Nathaniel Gilchrist P.M.