The 2016 Twin Peaks Masonic Lodge installation. (File photo by Rhea-Frances Tetley)
By RHEA-FRANCES TETLEY
For 73 years the Masonic Lodge in Twin Peaks has been active in the local mountain communities. The Freemasons support many local activities, including allowing their property to be the site for the year-round, weekly Twin Peaks farmers market on Thursday nights. They have sponsored scholarships, the community barbecue and much more over the decades.
On Dec. 27, Twin Peaks Lodge #711 will hold an installation of new officers at the Masonic Center at 26012 Highway 189, next door to the Twin Peaks Sheriff’s Station. Along with the installation of officers, they will be celebrating the feast of St. John the Evangelist and they invite members of the community who are interested in learning more about the Masonic Order and other Freemasons to join with them.
Being installed as Master for 2023 is 57-year-old Richard Pumerantz, PM. Richard is a relatively new full-time resident to the mountain communities, arriving in 2019, although he’s already a seasoned member of the Masonic Order. He joined the Claremont Lodge 34 years ago and served as Master of the Lodge in 1995. He was appointed to the position of Grand Orator in the Grand Lodge of California in 2001. In that position, he was involved in the laying and dedication of cornerstones for new buildings such as libraries, schools and other private and public buildings.
“Before COVID, we’d do about 34 cornerstone layings a year. Last year, we only did three,” said Pumerantz. He hopes more are scheduled in the next year. When he moved to the mountains, he found the Twin Peaks lodge to be very welcoming and involved in the community and is proud to have been chosen their leader for this next year.
Pumerantz’s vision for the lodge is to focus on the mountaintop and join with the Big Bear Lodge to coordinate events and be involved. Big Bear Lodge is supporting the chartering of a Job’s Daughter Bethel and DeMolay Chapter for the youth of the community. “The mountain lodges have a distinct culture and I hope to support them and help them grow,” said Pumerantz.
“I hope to encourage members who are not currently active to come back to lodge so we can join together in lodge. I know many Freemasons may have recently relocated to the mountains and we welcome them to come to lodge. I want to reinvigorate Freemasonry in the mountains. We meet every Wednesday at 7 p.m. with the stated dinner meeting the first Wednesday of the month, with a delicious dinner, prepared by Paula, at 6 p.m. It is all about fellowship. It used to be when we traveled, we’d visit the lodges in the area, I hope we can encourage lodge members. when vacationing in the mountains, to come to lodge.”
This year, every office in lodge is filled. Officers being installed that evening are Johnny Royal as Senior Warder; Chester Olsen as Junior Warder; Dale Newton as Treasurer; Ken Witte, PM as Secretary; Aaron Creighton, PM as Chaplain; Cliff Beacham as Senior Deacon; Gary Bothman as Junior Deacon; Johnny Wells, PM, as Marshall; Kurt Huddleston as Senior Steward; Allex Vallejos as Junior Steward; and Manuel Martinez as Tiler.
For those familiar with the Masonic Order, they will know that those who are being installed will be wearing tuxedoes and those attending usually wear business attire, as the installation ceremony is filled with ritual and symbolic meaning. During the 45-minute installation ceremony, much of the symbolism and tools of the order are explained. Those who are not members will learn a lot about Freemasonry during the installation. Afterward, the ceremony will feature the Feast of St. John, with ham, turkey, chicken, and sides.
Historically, dating back to the Revolutionary War and the formation of the United States, Freemasons have been involved and at the forefront of growth and doing what is correct. They can point back to Freemasons, such as Paul Revere and George Washington, as leaders of their lodges. Those who continue on the Masonic life these days, may choose to become a member of the Shriners, who created and support the Shriner’s Crippled Children’s Hospital.
The lodge intends on continuing its local community outreach to the schools, support of the Meals on Wheels meal delivery during the Thanksgiving community dinner, and having the farmers market year-round at their site.
To RSVP for the dinner, call (909) 999-7112 or send an email with the number of people attending to [email protected].
“I welcome anyone who is interested in learning about the Twin Peaks Lodge of Free-Masons to please attend,” added Pumerantz.