My Unusual Usual Reflections on my first five years in Freemasonry by Worshipful Patrick C. Murphrey.


My name is Patrick Murphrey; I’m twenty-eight years old and a Past Master of Bremond Lodge No. 241 in Newport News, Virginia. This past February 2011, I celebrated my five-year anniversary of being raised to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason.

In this short span, I’ve had a lot of amazing and unexpected experiences. Some of which I’d like to share with you. Let’s start at the beginning:

My Masonic journey began in the summer of 2005. I had just graduated with my Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Christopher Newport University (“CNU”). At CNU, I had been a charter member of the Virginia Pi Chapter of Sigma Phi Epsilon (“SigEp”); a national Greek-Letter Fraternity. As an alumnus of SigEp, my involvement was now limited to being an advisor and mentor to the undergraduates. An important role, no doubt, but I desired to continue my own personal fraternal experience. When I found out that many of SigEp’s founders were Freemasons and that SigEp’s ritual was influenced by Freemasonry, my interest in the Craft was peaked.

With my interest in Freemasonry at a fever pitch, I was determined to find out what I needed to do to apply for membership in this ancient and honorable society. Not knowing any Freemasons, I did what any child of the 1980’s would do; I Googled It! This took me to the Grand Lodge of Virginia website where I completed an interest form. A few days later, I was contacted by Right Worshipful Donald M. Coffey, Jr., then the District Deputy Grand Master of District 14B (Newport News). He suggested I make contact with Bremond Lodge No. 241 in Newport News. Fast forward to February 4, 2006, when I was raised to Sublime Degree of Master Mason.

With December 2006 approaching, the incoming Worshipful Master, Worshipful William “Kenny” Kilgore asked me to serve as his Junior Steward. I gladly accepted, excited at being given this opportunity to give back to the Lodge, which had invested so much in me. Over the next several years, I was excited to be able to learn more about Masonry, participating in the degree work, meeting more Brothers, and visiting Lodges across the region. So much happened in the next several years that I’ve delineated the highlights below:

In May 2007, I graduated from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia with my Masters in Public Administration.
In August 2007, I began law school at Regent University in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
December 2007, I was elected and installed as Junior Deacon of Bremond Lodge No. 241.

Due to unforeseen circumstances, I was elected and installed as Junior Warden in December 2008 and was elected and installed as Worshipful Master in December 2009. At age 26, I found myself to be the youngest Worshipful Master in the history of Bremond Lodge No. 241 (chartered in 1883). As Master of such a historic Lodge, I felt an immense responsibility to do the best job I possibly could. Prior to elections, I had met several times with the presumed elected officers for 2010. At these meetings, we got to know each other better, brainstormed, and developed our calendar for 2010. I was determined that 2010 would not be “my year” but “the Lodge’s year.” With my law school graduation and bar examination looming in 2010, I knew anything less than a team effort would spell disaster.

Thanks to the efforts of the Lodge officers and the participation of our members, we had an amazing year in 2010. Some of the highlights include: We contributed over $1,300 to the Masonic Home of Virginia (www.mahova.com), earning the Morlock Award with over 15% of Lodge Brethren contributing $5 or more.

We supported our troops, by hosting Honor and Remember Founder, George Lutz, as a guest speaker. Mr. Lutz developed the Honor and Remember Flag to pay tribute to America’s fallen soldiers.

We recognized and paid tribute to those Brethren of Peninsula Lodge, which consolidated with Bremond Lodge in 1992 at a special “Peninsula Lodge Night” in August. We had articles published about our Lodge in “The Scottish Rite Journal”, “The Northern Light”, “The Virginia Masonic Herald,” and “The Daily Press.” We’ve been featured on the “Inside Newport News” program on the City television channel. We made Masons, raising over ten new Master Masons. We had the Master Mason catechism recited in Lodge several times.

We increased our focus on those newest Master Masons, getting them involved in Lodge affairs from Day 1. It became a regular occurrence to see Entered Apprentices and Fellowcrafts enjoying the fellowship at Lodge. 

We recognized the efforts and contributions of our Brethren through the implementation of a Lodge awards program. We hosted a unique “100 Master Mason Night” in June where we welcomed Most Worshipful William E. Rorer, Jr., the then Grand Master of Masons in Virginia, along with 146 Brethren to our Lodge.

In September, we presented Community Builders Awards to Newport News Police Chief James Fox and former Fire Chief Kenneth Jones. They have over eighty years of public safety experience combined. In attendance, was the Mayor of Newport News, Dr. McKinley Price, Newport News Commonwealth’s Attorney Howard Gwynn,
Delegate Robin Abbott, Delegate Glenn Oder, State Senator John Miller and Most William E. Rorer, Jr., the then Grand Master of Masons in Virginia.

In October, we partnered with Emera Chapter No. 31, Order of the Eastern Star, to host the 2nd Annual Youth Organization Day. This event was attended by representatives from DeMolay, Job’s Daughters and Rainbow for Girls. Most Worshipful William E. Rorer, Jr., the then Grand Master of Masons in Virginia, also attended. 

Midway during my year in the East, I graduated from law school. About two months later, I traveled to Roanoke, Virginia to take the two-day Virginia Bar Examination. This was a grueling rite of passage that was preceded by months of studying and prayer. The results came in late October 2010, and I learned that I had passed the exam. I was sworn in as an attorney at a special session of the Virginia Supreme Court in Richmond prior to the Grand Annual Communication. I was honored to attend the 2010 Grand Annual Communication (affectionately known as “Grand Lodge”) in Richmond as my Lodge’s voting delegate. I had attended my first Grand Annual Communication the previous year and felt like I didn’t know anyone.  This year, however, I felt like I knew everyone. The fellowship was excellent, and I was pleased that eighteen members of Bremond Lodge attended the Communication. When I arrived in Richmond, I was surprised to learn that the Grand Master had selected me to open the Grand Lodge session on Saturday morning. This is an immense honor as the Grand Master only gets to select two Brothers (one for Friday and one for Saturday). My role was to sit in the Grand Master’s chair in the Grand East, and “call-up” the Brethren asking them to stand as the Grand Lodge Officers processed into the chamber. I then greeted the Grand Master in the Grand East relinquishing it to him to preside. Let me say that it was a bit intimidating to sit in the Grand Master’s chair with all of the Past Grand Masters of Virginia and distinguished guests sitting behind me. I am thankful to Most Worshipful James D. Cole and Most Worshipful Alan W. Adkins for setting me at ease and explaining the process to me.

Also, at that Grand Annual Communication, I was honored to be recognized as one of the Outstanding Worshipful Masters in 2010. I also was honored to receive the Grand Master’s Award of Merit, by which the Grand Master recognized those individuals that had especially assisted him during his term.

In December 2010, I proudly looked on as my successor was installed. I was happy with what we had accomplished as a Lodge over the past year. I felt that a strong foundation was laid which should make for continued success in the future. While I was proud to pass the baton, it was a little bittersweet. I cherished every moment I had as Worshipful Master. What a great honor it was to serve my Brethren. 2010 was a great year. I graduated law school, studied for and passed the Virginia Bar Exam, and served as Worshipful Master of Bremond Lodge No. 241. To cap it off, I proposed to my girlfriend of four years, Katie, on Christmas Day, and she said “Yes!”.  Throughout all of my activities, both educational and fraternal, she has always been there to support me. What a perfect ending to a great year.

Since leaving the East, I’ve tried to stay active as the newest Past Master of my Lodge. I also serve on the Grand Lodge Committee on Membership as the Vice Chairman for Member Development. I have also taken on more responsibilities in other Masonic organizations.

Well, I hope you enjoyed this brief journey through my first five years in Freemasonry, where the unusual became usual, and the unexpected became expected. The best part of it all has been the friendships and memories I’ve developed with the Brethren I’ve encountered along the way. Masonry is so much more than symbols and ritual, at its core, Masonry is defined by the people that are in it. Based on that, Freemasonry has a lot of reasons to be proud. Take it to the bank.

I can’t wait to see what’s next!

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