Metropolitan Lodge No. 11

A. F. and A. M. 150th Anniversary

December 11, 1860 – December 11, 2010

Brethren, Our Ladies and Friends:

On behalf of our Worshipful Master and the members of the 150th Anniversary Committee, I welcome each of you to this time of celebration and reflection. We are honored by your presence as we mark this milestone event in the life of our Lodge. Metropolitan No. 11 prides itself on being a warm and friendly Lodge and it is our desire that you experience that warm and easy spirit as we pull back the curtain on our rich history.

For those of you who are not Masons, we hope to offer just a taste of the depth and breath of our Fraternity, one that is built upon an absolute reverence for God, love of country and a standard of Brotherly love that has to first be experienced to be fully understood. For those of you who share ties to our Gentle Craft, we hope you will be inspired and renewed, not so much by anything we say or do, but instead by the level of commitment demonstrated by our Masonic forefathers, Brothers who no doubt everyday tried to live out their scared obligations so that this day might be possible.

We share our rich history with great pride and humility. We are forever grateful for the work and sacrifice of those who have gone before us. Moreover, we are grateful to the Great Architect of the Universe for His generous grace and provision. With history as our guide, and the Great Lights of Masonry illuminating our path, we will strive to model that which is right and time tested, we will be ever mindful of where we have faltered and do everything we can to maintain the correct course and always, always, build upon the solid, and sacred, foundation that has been so carefully laid and maintained over the last 150 years.

In closing, I extend my heartfelt thanks to the Anniversary Committee and to each of you for being here today.

Sincerely and Fraternally,

Douglas V. Jones, Past Master
150th Anniversary Chairman

"The Trowel is an instrument.......used symbolically for the far more noble and glorious purpose of spreading the cement of brotherly Love and Affection, which unites us into one sacred band or society of friends and Brothers - a Temple of living stones........"


150th Anniversary Celebration

Metropolitan Lodge No. 11 A.F. & A.M.

1860 - 2010

Saturday, December 11, 2010, 2:00 P.M.

Call To Order - Douglas V. Jones, Past Master

Pledge of Allegiance

Invocation - Barry Lane Absher, PDDGM

Welcoming Remarks - Worshipful J. Thomas Wadkins, III

Introduction of Distinguished Guests - Douglas V. Jones, Past Master

Program By Anniversary Committee

        Remarks by V. Stuart Cook, PDDGM

        Remarks by Brother Robert Edward Cook

Remarks And Presentation By District Deputy Grand Master

Presentation by Douglas V. Jones, Past Master and J. Thomas Wadkins, III, Worshipful Master

        of the 2010 Right Worshipful William Dee Ellen Award for Masonic Excellence

                Recipient - Wade Vestal Evans, Jr., PDDGM - Metropolitan Lodge #11 Treasurer 1993-2010

Closing Remarks - Douglas V. Jones, Past Master

Benediction - Barry Lane Absher, PDDGM

Reception In The Scottish Rite Dinning Room


Metropolitan Lodge #11

A. F. & A. M.

2011 Officers

Worshipful Master ............... J. Thomas Wadkins, III

Senior Warden ................... Christopher Everett Loftus

Junior Warden .................... Brother William Martin Myers

Treasurer ............................Douglas V. Jones, PM

Treasurer Emeritus.............. Wade V. Evans, Jr., PDDGM

Secretary ............................ Charles Simon Sarbaugh, PDDGM

Senior Deacon .................... Brother John W. Edelin

Junior Deacon ..................... Brother Mark J. Sykes

Chaplain ............................. Barrye Layne Absher, PDDGM

Senior Steward..................... Brother Kenneth R. Winebarger

Junior Steward .................... Brother Courtney Ashley Thomas, Jr.

Marshall ............................. Brother Paul Andrew Ziolkowski

Tiler .................................. Brother Ralph Edward Spring, III


150th Anniversary Committee

Chairman ...........................Douglas V. Jones, PM

Co-Chairman ............... Joseph P. Gardner, PM, PDDGM

Committee Members

Charles S. Sarbaugh, PM, PDDGM

Wade V. Evans, Jr., PM, PDDGM

V. Stuart Cook, PM, PDDGM

John. Q. Sheppard, PM, PDDGM

Walter L. Olpin, Jr., PM

J. Thomas Wadkins, III, WM

Brother William Martin Myers


Founding Members of Metropolitan No. 11

Chas. Camman

T. H. DeWitt

R. H. Dibrell

Wm. L. Maule

S. B. Jacobs

John H. Davies

Jas. K. Caskie

S. H. Boykin

B. J. Johnson

J. N. Sullivan

Geo. S. Lownes

James W. Archer

Alex. McRae

James A. Scott

Orlando Shay

R. B. Snead

Wm. E. Tanner

John T. Sizer

W. D. Colquitt

Ro. C. Stanard

Wm. R. Pugh

R. M. Nimmon

H. S. Williams

Richard G. Farley

Proclamation from Governor Robert F. McDonnell


Commendation by the Virginia House of Delegates



The History of

Metropolitan Lodge #11 A. F. and A. M.

December 11, 1860 - December 11, 2010

In the summer of 1860 a group of 24 Masons from Dove Lodge No. 51 met with the idea of forming a Lodge in a section of the city more convenient to their residences. The meeting was held at the Armory of the Richmond Light Infantry Blues and the Lodge would eventually be known as Metropolitan No. 11.

There are no records of this meeting other than an Application for a Dispensation to form a new Lodge. The application, addressed "To the Most Worshipful Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of the State of Virginia, " read as follows:

"We the undersigned, being Master Masons, of Good Standing, and having the prosperity of the Craft at heart, are anxious to exert our best endeavors to promote and diffuse the genuine principles of Free Masonry, and for the convenience of our respective dwellings, and other good reasons, we are desirous of forming a new Lodge at Richmond, in the county of Henrico, to be named Metropolitan Lodge. We, therefore, respectfully pray for a dispensation, empowering us to open and hold a regular Lodge at Richmond, and therein to discharge the duties of Ancient York Masonry, in a constitutional manner according to the forms of the order, and the laws of the Grand Lodge. And we have nominated and do recommend Worshipful Brother Wm. L. Maule, to be the first Master; Brother S. H. Boykin, to be first Senior Warden; Worshipful Brother W.

R. Pugh, to be the first Junior Warden, of said Lodge. Should the prayer of the petitioners be granted, we promise a strict conformity to all the regulations of Masonry and the laws, resolutions and edicts of the Grand Lodge."

On July 3, 1860, Richmond Lodge No. 10 recommended the petition for a new Lodge to the Grand Lodge.

The Grand Master granted the petition and a Dispensation was issued by the Grand Lodge on July 6, 1860 empowering the Lodge to work.

Metropolitan Lodge held the first meeting under the dispensation on July 12, 1860. At this inaugural event, the second Thursday of the month was adopted as the meeting time, four petitions for initiation were presented and the Worshipful Master made the following appointments until the Lodge could be empowered to elect its officers:

Brother Jas. E. Riddick, Secretary Brother Wm. E. Tanner, Treasurer Brother Jno. H. Davies, Senior Deacon Brother A. B. Archer, Junior Deacon Brother Jacob S. Semon, Steward and Tiler

The first meeting was held in the Lodge room of Capital Lodge No. 184 on Marshal Street between 6th and 7th Streets. The Lodge would meet in this location for more than eight years. In the early part of 1863, Metropolitan Lodge purchased the property of Capital Lodge which according to records had not met since August, 1861.

At its second meeting in August of 1860, the Lodge adopted By-Laws, the highlights of which were:

"The Stated Meeting shall be held on the second Thursday of every month and upon the days of St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist."

"Before the election of officers takes place, the list of dues shall be called and no member in arrears to the Lodge in the amount of six dollars may hold office."

"No person may be recommended as a candidate for initiation unless they have lived in the City of Richmond or the County of Henrico for at least 6 months."

"Every member who recommends a candidate for initiation shall deposit $5.00 to the Treasurer, the said $5.00 to be returned if the candidate is rejected."

"Every member, except the officers, shall pay 50 cents to the Treasurer at each Stated Meeting as a monthly contribution to the Lodge."

Degree fees were set at $15.00 for the First Degree and $8.00 each for the Second and Third Degrees. A very unusual section of the By-Laws required that the expenses for Called Meetings "shall be paid by the person or persons who called the meeting unless otherwise authorized by the Lodge." Officer's salaries allowed one dollar per meeting for the Secretary and no reimbursement for the Treasurer. In 1860, membership dues where assessed monthly, 50 cents per month or $6.00 per year.

A charter was granted by the Grand Lodge on December 11, 1860, and on Thursday, January 10, 1861, District Deputy Grand Master John R. Regnault constituted the Lodge and installed the officers of Metropolitan No. 190 in due form.

At a meeting of the Grand Lodge on December 10, 1861, the following resolution was passed:

"Resolved that Metropolitan Lodge No. 190 be hereafter know and designated as Metropolitan No. 11 and the Grand Secretary be authorized to alter the said number of said Lodge in their Charter."

The designation of No. 11 originally belonged to Northhampton Lodge, an Eastern Shore of Virginia Lodge declared extinct in December, 1856.

So the foundation was in place for what was to become one of the Commonwealth's most successful Masonic Lodges. Some of the brightest and best approached No. 11's West Gate and the Lodge soon became known as the "silk stocking" Lodge. The prospects were indeed bright but the times were perilous and the consequences of war, a Civil War that would pit Brother against Brother, were about to take an unfathomable toll on the land.

The Great American war called to arms every able bodied man in the Southland and the members of Metropolitan Lodge left the Lodge room for the field of battle. A necrology of the Lodge states, "With a few exceptions, for the first five years of the Lodge's existence, every member who died, lost his life in the Confederate service."

The Lodge, however, continued to hold regular Stated Communications, and records reflect that a large number of Masons were made during the years of bloody strife, yet they were soon called off in the service of their country, and their personal influence was of little avail to the Lodge.

At the February, 1862, Stated Communication a resolution was adopted remitting the dues of all members then serving as non-commissioned officers or privates in the Confederate Service, and directing that "no dues be charged against them while serving in such capacity." At the June, 1864, Stated Communication the Master informed the Lodge that the previous months meeting had not been held because all of the officers, and most of the members, "were called from the city in the military service of the country, to resist the advance of the enemy upon the city."

The material prosperity of the Lodge was no doubt affected by the flames of war. The ravages of conflict between the North and South tore at the very fabric of our Nation yet the strong and enduring fabric of our gentle Craft-the ties of Brotherly love and affection coupled with the strength and wisdom of like minded, Godly men-sustained the members of Metropolitan No. 11. The Lodge not only survived but went on to experience tremendous growth and great prosperity.

In the post war era, Metropolitan Lodge assumed a prominent role in many important functions of the city, to include laying cornerstones for public buildings. Most notably, No. 11 joined other Richmond Lodges in providing assistance to those who were suffering and whose pursuits and fortunes had fallen victim to the war. In fact, because the demand for charitable funds was so great, the Lodge suspended refreshments for a period of three months. Such charities were not confined to its Brethren or benefactors in its own jurisdiction. Liberal contributions were made for the relief of the yellow fever epidemic in Florida. This trend continued when catastrophic events occurred in other regions of the country to include, floods in Memphis, New Orleans, Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi, and the devastating San Francisco earthquake.

In May, 1866, Metropolitan Lodge again joined with other Lodges in the City to establish a school for the education of children of indigent Master Masons. This school continued to function until the public school system was organized.

On July 11, 1867, Metropolitan Lodge recommended to the Grand Master the Application for a Dispensation for 62 Brethren who wanted to establish a new Lodge to be known as City Lodge. The dispensation was granted under the name of Joppa Lodge and a charter was granted by the Grand Lodge with the No. 40.

On November 26, 1868, at a special called meeting, a decision was made to move Lodge meetings to Washington Hall on Broad Street between 9th and 10th Streets. The first meeting at the new location took place on December 10th and continued there until the dedication of St. Alban's Hall.

St. Alban's Hall, located at the corner of 3rd and Main Street, was dedicated jointly between Metropolitan No. 11 and Joppa 40 on March 22, 1869. This was a grand and glorious event. The elaborate celebration included a parade up Broad to 4th Street, down 4th up to Main and then up to 3rd Street. Right Worshipful Wm. L. Maule, Grand Senior Warden of the Grand Lodge of Virginia and a Past Master of No 11, presided at the ceremonies and dedicated the Hall in due Masonic form to Masonry, Virtue and Universal Benevolence. There were many dedication speeches and a choir composed of Masons sang several appropriate odes which added to the interesting dedication ceremonies.

From the Virginia Historic Landmarks Commission: 300-302 East Main Street was built as St. Alban's Hall, a Masonic meeting place, in 1869. The building entirely occupies its urban site. The three-story rectangular mass of the Hall is covered in stucco over brick. The building is articulated by stucco quoins and by a metal cornice and window caps. The ornamental features of the building are simply yet boldly treated. The major spaces of the interior, a concert hall and the Masonic rooms, were on the upper floors of the structure; the first floor was occupied by ashop. The shop had a glazed storefront which was removed in 1948. According to early newspaper accounts, the upper level rooms were spectacularly decorated.

As time went on, it was clear Metropolitan No. 11 was going to be a pacesetter among Masonic Lodges. The Lodge wanted to do something to encourage Masonic study. In August, 1877, it initiated a movement to establish a Masonic Library, and with the cooperation of other Lodges in the city, organized a society know as the Virginia Masonic Historical and Library Association. Today, The Allen E. Roberts Masonic Library, Inc., is operated as a program of the Grand Lodge, A.F.&A.M., of Virginia Library, Museum & Historical Foundation. The mission of the library and museum is to preserve, collect and restore the Masonic records and artifacts of Virginia and Masonic history in general and to disperse correct Masonic information.

There were peaks and valleys though. According to one written account, in the winter and spring of 1890, "dissentions unfortunately found their way into the lodge, and harmony, which is the strength and support of all institutions, more especially this ours, came very near being banished from its sacred precincts." The exact nature of the conflict is unknown.

The situation was serious enough to lead certain prominent members of the Lodge, to include Most Worshipful Beverly R. Welford, a Past Master of the Lodge, to consult with the Grand Master. As a result, in May, 1890, the Grand Master, Most Worshipful J. Howard Wayt, called together several Grand Lodge Officers, Past Grand Masters, and the group from No. 11 who had initially approached him, for a meeting that was held in the City of Richmond Circuit Court Room. The outcome of the meeting was indeed grim with the conclusion being there was no other option than surrender of the charter and the establishment of a new Lodge.

At the June, 1890, Stated Meeting, a time when officers were to be elected, the membership was informed of their pending demise. A devoted member of the Lodge, Brother Herman J. Myers, begged that this course not be pursued. Another Brother, James Alston Cabell, who had served the Lodge as Master (1886 - 1887) and having worked well with the different elements therein, was persuaded to again preside in the East and "undertake the adjustment of the difficulties and elimination of the discord which had well nigh destroyed the Lodge." According to Brother

J. Alston Cabell who wrote an earlier history of the Lodge, "A good result was finally accomplished, harmony restored, and new life infused into the Lodge."

On June 9, 1892, No. 11 held its first meeting at the Masonic Temple at Adams and Broad. The Lodge continued to meet in this location until 1969 when it moved to the Scottish Rite Temple at 4204 Hermitage Road where it continues to meet today.

Temple at Adams and Broad

Scottish Rite Temple Richmond Virginia

With respect to Metropolitan Lodge members who served the Grand Lodge in elected Grand Line positions, the following is known:

Brother Wm. L. Maule, a member and Past Master of No. 11, served as Grand Senior Warden; however, he never presided in the Grand East.

Brother Beverly R. Welford, Jr., a member and Past Master of No. 11 (1882 - 1883), served for two consecutive years as Grand Master of Masons in Virginia from December, 1877 - December, 1879. It is interesting to note, that while historically speaking a very rare occurrence, Brother Welford did serve as Grand Master prior to serving as Master of his Lodge.

Brother James Alston Cabell, a member and Past Master of No. 11 (1886 - 1887, 1890 - 1891), served as Grand Master of Masons in Virginia from February, 1916 - February, 1917.

Two honorary members of No. 11 served as Grand Master, Brother A. Douglas Smith, Jr., from February, 1949 - February, 1950, and Brother James Bernard Wilkinson, from November, 1995 November, 1996.

In 1922, Metropolitan No. 11 raised 93 Masons to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason, affiliated 13 and restored 1 to membership. This is the largest number ever raised in one year, as well as the largest number received into the Lodge in a single year.

In 1927, Metropolitan No. 11 was the largest Lodge in Richmond with 808 members.

In 1951 there were 60,258 Masons in 334 Virginia Lodges. During this period, Metropolitan No. 11 was among the 10 largest Lodges in Virginia, with 835 members on the roles. The membership of No. 11 peaked in 1956 with 879 members.

Moving forward, an examination of membership records for the period from November 1994 through November 1995 again reveals that Metropolitan No. 11 was among the 10 largest Lodges in Virginia, with 457 members on the roles. In 2010, No. 11 has 440 members. Of that number, 220 are Life Members In Perpetuity.

Throughout its history, Metropolitan No. 11 has taken particular care to guard the West Gate, and as a result, over the 150 year period less than one percent of its very substantial collective membership has been subject to charges for un-Masonic conduct.

Metropolitan No. 11 laid the corner-stone to Hatcher Memorial Baptist Church at stop 45, Lakeside car line, on July 11, 1925.

In 1958, Ernest B. Redford, a Past Master of Metropolitan, installed his son, Ernest B. Redford, Jr., as Master of the Lodge. This was only the second time a father had installed his son as Master. The first was in 1921.

Records show that in order to raise funds for its own building, Metropolitan No. 11 adopted the following resolution at the September 7, 1977, Stated Communication, "To begin a building fund with the goal of raising $100,000 in the next five years for the specific purpose of building or buying a lodge hall for Metropolitan No. 11. The funds so contributed to be placed in a savings and loan account separate from any other funds in the hands of the trustees and an accurate record kept of all contributions. At the end of five years, if no positive action is taken to use the money for the purpose intended, it will be returned to the donor or his survivors with interest."

The drive only lasted 16 months and the total funds contributed amounted to slightly more than $17,000. The Chairman of the building committee, Worshipful Stanley J. Wood, Jr., reported little hope of attaining the goal and presented the following resolution, "Resolved that the building fund raising drive be abandoned. That with the approval of the donors, the money be turned over to the Masonic Home of Virginia Construction Fund in their name for credit to them or returned to the donors."

Over the years, Metropolitan No. 11 has become known as the "COP Lodge." Where this all began is hard to say. The foundation for this very proud distinction likely goes back to the early 1950's when the Lodge met at the Masonic Temple at Adams and Broad. Uniformed Richmond Police Officers would take their dinner break at the Lodge during Stated and Called work. Another catalyst no doubt was the leadership of Brother Frank S. Duling who rose through the ranks to become Chief for the Richmond Bureau of Police. Regardless of its origins, No. 11 can claim 111 (25.5%) representatives from local, state and federal law enforcement agencies among their most active and productive members.

In one of its Trestle Boards in 1965, Metropolitan highlighted "Police Officers Among our Membership." The short article reads as follows, "Metropolitan is very proud of the caliber of Police Officers numbered among our members. For those who are not aware of these good brothers among our number it will not be amiss to name a few. We have Brother (Major) Frank

S. Duling, Brother Kenneth S. Marcuson, Brother A.C. Lindsey, Brother Tom Daisey, Brother Gordon J. Morrow and now we are proud to recognize our newest officer Brother Vernon Stuart Cook, and congratulate him on being named the rookie of the year for outstanding devotion to duty. All of these brethren have distinguished themselves on the force, and we feel are a credit to this Lodge and to Richmond…………."

Sadly, one of Metropolitan No. 11's own, Brother Vernon Leigh Jarrelle, Jr., a Richmond Police Officer, gave his life in the line of duty on August 1, 1973. Brother Jarrelle was born on May 29, 1951 and Raised to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason on February 15, 1973. A Masonic Memorial Service was held for our departed Brother.

At the May, 1977, Stated Communication, on the occasion of Law Enforcement Appreciation Night, when Brother Frank S. Duling was Master of No. 11 (and also Chief of Police for the City of Richmond), all the chairs were filled by Lodge members who were uniformed members of the Richmond Bureau of Police. The speaker for this meeting was Brother William E. Spain, Judge of the Circuit Court, Richmond, Manchester Division and a member of Fraternal Lodge No. 53. There were 62 local, state and federal law enforcement officers present at this meeting.

One of the highlights of every Masonic year is Law Enforcement Recognition Night when it is not at all unusual to see 30 or more law enforcement personnel gather "West of the Alter" for recognition. Our "…..sacred retreat of friendship and virtue….." is stronger because of our law enforcement Brothers and we are grateful for the strong spirit of fun and fellowship they bring to our midst.

One of the most anticipated events of each Masonic year is the annual Christmas Party at the Masonic Home. Since 1949, on the second Friday in December, Metropolitan No. 11 members have hosted a party for the residents that includes entertainment, gifts of fresh fruit and homemade baked goods, and most importantly, an evening rich in fellowship. Along with the party, the Lodge also makes a donation toward something that will enrich everyday life for the residents. In 2009 and again in 2010, for example, large screen TV's were purchased for the home's TV room and Memory Care Unit. The Masonic Home is often referred to as "The Crown Jewel" of Virginia Masonry and No.11 is very proud of this annual tradition that celebrates all the "real reasons for the season."

In response to a proposal made by Worshipful Walter L. Olphin, Jr., Metropolitan No. 11 established the Office of Almoner for the Lodge. It was further adopted that the initial almoner funds would come from the surplus in the Treasury from 1984 and the money donated for meals from January to October, 1985. The funds purpose, of course, was to assist Brethren, their families and widows who had fallen on hard times. The Lodge Almoners Fund continues to be available for members of our Masonic family who may need emergency assistance.

In 1985, the Worshipful Master, Brother Charlie Sarbaugh, held a Table Lodge, the first for the Lodge in some time. Most Worshipful John Boyd Obenchain, the Grand Master at the time, served as the guest speaker. Since that time, two other Masters, Brother B. Kevin McLaughlin and Brother Vernon Stuart Cook, have also held Table Lodges, in 2006 and 2009, respectively.

Over the years, two Lodges, Dove Lodge No. 51 and Hellenic Lodge No. 249, have merged with Metropolitan No. 11, on March 14, 1996 and November 14, 2002, respectively. The driving force behind both mergers was declining membership. While no Lodge ever wants to have to merge with another, it is No. 11's distinct honor and privilege to have, as part of our own history, these two historic Lodges. The Brethren of No. 51 and No. 249 have certainly enriched our fellowship.

Beginning in 2002, Brother Tom Wadkins (the 2010-2011 Master), built what has become a state-of-the-art Lodge Web Site, an example other Lodges have followed. Under his leadership record keeping has been largely automated and Trestle Boards and other urgent notifications are transmitted electronically to most members.

During the 2007 Masonic year, the Worshipful Master, Brother Douglas V. Jones, established quarterly lunch meetings at the Masonic Home between Lodge members and home residents--Brothers, wives and widows--affiliated with No. 11. The idea behind the lunch meetings was simple, an opportunity to break bread together, share good fellowship, reminisce and celebrate the things that bind. The lunch meetings proved to be very successful and have been expanded to every other month.

Under the leadership of two Masters, Brother Frank S. Duling, Jr. and Brother Vernon Stuart Cook, Metropolitan No. 11 has twice received the Hillman Award, in 1977 and 2009, respectively.

The John Blair Award was established in 1968 in honor of its namesake, the first Grand Master of Masons in Virginia. Since that time, seven members of Metropolitan No. 11 have received this prestigious award: Brother James B. Wilkinson, 1981; Brother E. Milton Skelton, 1983; Brother Frank S. Duling, Jr., 1990; Brother Charles S. Sarbaugh, 1996; Brother Clifford C. Grotz, Jr., 1999; Brother Michael E. Williams, 2010; and Brother Barrye L. Absher, 2010.

A tradition practiced for many years between Dove Lodge No. 51 (now merged with No.11) and Manchester Lodge No. 14 was rekindled in 2005 by the Masters of No. 11 (Barrye L. Absher) and No. 14 (William

H. Cox). According to tradition, to celebrate St. John the Evangelist's Day on December 27th, Dove Lodge would travel across the James River to visit Manchester Lodge where they would present a gift of freshly prepared doves for a feast that all would enjoy. There was much merriment and storytelling associated with these celebrations. To reciprocate, Manchester Lodge would make a return visit in January with a gift of freshly prepared possum for a feast that all would enjoy. Why possum, well today we can only speculate, maybe times were hard or maybe you just had to be there to understand but they don't call No. 14 "The Possum Lodge" for nothing. At any rate, Brother Barrye L. Absher, during his year as Master, along with his delegation from No. 11, traveled to No. 14 on St. John the Evangelist's Day to offer a gift of freshly prepared doves (actually it was grocery store chicken) and in January a delegation from No. 14 reciprocated with a gift of freshly prepared possum (yes, on at least some of the modern day visits it has been the real thing!). Again, much merriment and storytelling went along with these celebrations. The tradition has continued since 2005 and if you go over to No. 14 on St. John's Day you might actually see a live possum in the Lodge room.

In 2009, the Master, Brother V. Stuart Cook, his Line Officers and the Lodge Trustees, took bold steps to secure the Lodge's financial future. No. 11 had to squarely face tough economic times, both in the Lodge and the country. Even though the membership numbers were large, expenses outpaced income. Dramatic downshifts in the market negatively impacted investment earnings, interest income heretofore being a sustaining income source. The Lodge Trustees strongly warned against the use of investment principal and urged the Lodge to carefully evaluate its financial status with an eye directed toward absolute fiscal responsibility. A decision was made to increase dues from $76.00 to $128.00 per member, to increase degree fees and to reevaluate the impact of all spending, to include the cost of meals and charitable donations. To secure the Lodge's financial future, tough decisions were made but the net result thus far has been positive income flow and a secure investment base.

As Metropolitan No. 11 marks its 150th anniversary, it stands as a strong and vibrant Lodge, one that prides itself on being a warm and friendly place, a place filled with fun and laugher, yet a Lodge where the work is taken seriously and where the members work hard to perpetuate the ritual and the many traditions of the Craft. In recent times, No. 11, like most Lodges, has struggled with a decline in membership and with attendance at Stated and Called meetings. While this has by no means broken the Lodge or reduced its overall strength, it does bring an awareness that the path forward will have challenges.

Despite the natural ebb and flow of world events, monetary resources or membership participation, the Lodge has, and will no doubt continue to, thrive because of a depth of talent and dedication that is unquestionably second to none, and moreover, it will endure because of the generous gift of time and effort from those Brothers who daily live out their sacred obligations. The future is filled with promise but much work remains to be done.

In closing, we share our rich history with great pride and humility. We are forever grateful for the work and sacrifice of those who have gone before us. Above all, we are grateful to the Great Architect of the Universe for His generous grace and provision. With history as our guide, and the Great Lights of Masonry illuminating our path, we will strive to model that which is right and time tested, we will be ever mindful of where we have faltered and do everything we can to maintain the correct course and always, always, build upon the solid, and sacred, foundation that has been so carefully laid and maintained over the last 150 years.

"…..Finally, Brethren, be ye all of one mind, live in peace; and may the God of peace and love delight to dwell with and bless you."

Information Sources: Most Worshipful James Alston Cabell Text from remarks of Most Worshipful William Earle Rorer, Jr. Right Worshipful Joseph Payne Gardner The History of Freemasonry in Virginia by Richard A. Rutyna and Peter C. Stewart The Grand Lodge of Ancient, Free & Accepted Masons of Virginia Web-Site The Grand Lodge Library and Museum


Affiliated Past Masters From Other Lodges

Anaya, Samuel Crawford Black Heath Daylight #1982 2007

Bernhard, Lothar Arthur Richmond Randolph #19 1988

Carter, Daulton L. Lewis Ginter #317 1984

Grotz, Clifford C. Jr (PDDGM) Blandford #3 1970

Holmes, Ray W. Lewis Ginter #317 1988

Malbone, Theodore Irving Lewis Ginter #317 1978

O'Hara, John D. Lewis Ginter #317 1967

Owens, Edward Nelson Meridian #284 1982

Richardson, Jr, Chester Meredith Meridian #284 1986

Rose, Daniel Lee (PDDGM) Chesterfield #161 1997

Sanford, Steven Weldon (PDDGM) Fredericksburg #4 2005

Skelton, Edward Milton (PDDGM) Joppa #40 1975

Taylor, Jr, Norwood (Zeke) Marshall Lewis Ginter #317 1954

Taylor, Robert Wright Lewis Ginter #317 1987

Williams, Michael Earl (PDDGM) Lewis Ginter #317 1986

Wilkinson, James Bernard (PGM) Lodge of Strict Observance #207 1959

Our Closing Charge

Friends and Brethren,

The following is the “Closing Charge” used to close all Master Masons’ Lodges in the Commonwealth of Virginia. It has a very special meaning for us as Masons and I hope you will find it meaningful also.

We are now about to quit this sacred retreat of friendship and virtue to mix again with the world. Amidst its concerns and employments, forget not the duties which you have heard so frequently inculcated and so forcibly recommended in this Lodge. Remember that around this sacred Altar you have solemnly bound yourselves to befriend and relieve every Brother who shall need your assistance. You have promised, in the most friendly manner, to remind him of his error and aid a reformation. These generous principles are to extend further; every human being has a claim upon your kind offices; do good unto all; recommend it more especially “to the household of the faithful”. Finally, Brethren, be ye all of one mind; live in peace; and may the God of peace and love delight to dwell with, and bless you.


Assistance obtaining Governor McDonnell’s Proclamation
The House of Delegates Commendation - Right Worshipful V. Stuart Cook
                                                             The Honorable (Brother) Christopher K. Peace

Refreshments and Reception - Worshipful Larry “Hunky” Williams

Historical Transcription by Worshipful Douglas Vernon Jones

Electronic Transmission Assistance by Lady Frances Jones

Formatting & Camera Ready Production by Worshipful J. Thomas Wadkins, III

Research, Editing and Layout Assistance by Brother William Martin Myers

Supervision of the “Sponsor” Page - Right Worshipful John Q. Sheppard


Dedications and Congratulations

In Memory of William D. Ellen, Beloved Husband of Lady Betty Ellen and

        Past Master No. 11, 1992, PDDGM 1997

In Memory of Margie Sarbaugh,

        Beloved Wife of Right Worshipful Charles S. Sarbaugh

In Memory of Catherine Evans,

        Beloved Wife of Right Worshipful Wade V. Evans, Jr.

In Honor of Norwood (Zeke) Marshall Taylor, Jr.,

        Past Master No. 317, 1954

Billy Bernard and Lady Joyce McLaughlin,

        Past Master No. 11, 1975, PDDGM 1985

Charles S. Sarbaugh,

        Past Master No. 11, 1985, PDDGM 1989

Johnnie Larry Dixon and Lady Carol,

        Past Master No. 51, 1986, PDDGM 2005

Wade V. Evans, Jr.,

        Past Master No. 11, 1989, PDDGM 1993-1994

Lambros G. and Lady Anita Deligan,

        Past Master No. 249, 1992, PDDGM 2001

Worshipful Donnie R. and Lady Harriette Carter,

        Past Master No.11, 1996

Claude A. 'Buddy' and Lady Donnie Bass,

        Past Master No. 11, 1999, DDGM 2011

John Q. and Lady Arlene Sheppard,

        Past Master No. 11, 2003, PDDGM 2005

Bernard Kevin and Lady Pattie McLaughlin,

        Past Master No. 11, 2006

Douglas V. and Lady Frances Jones,

        Past Master No. 11, 2007

C. Thomas and Lady Sherry Sykes,

        Past Master, No. 11, 2008

V. Stuart and Lady Barbara Cook,

        Past Master No. 11, 2009, PDDGM 2010

J. Thomas and Lady Robin Wadkins,

        Worshipful Master No. 11, 2010-2011

Brethren of Manchester Lodge #14, A.F. & A.M.

Brethren of Fraternal Lodge No. 53, A.F. & A.M.

Brethren of Sandston Lodge No. 216, A.F. & A.M.

Richmond Assembly No. 10, The International Order of the Rainbow for Girls



Recent “Lapel Pins” and Challenge Coins of Metropolitan Lodge #11


                                                                                         Wor. Barrye Absher’s Posse 2005                           R W Absher’s 2010 Child Program Support Pin




                                                                    Wor. Kevin McLaughlin 2006                                          Wor. Doug Jones 2007

                                                                       “First Made A Mason”                                          “Keep Masonic Light Shinning"




                                                                Wor. Stuart Cook’s 2009-2010                                    Wor. Stuart Cook’s 2009-2010

                                                                     Challenge Coin - Side A                                                Challenge Coin - Side B