From our 2017 Worshipful Master, Rick Hallwood
2017 in Review


Hello again! The year end is rapidly approaching, and this is my final letter for 2017. I am deeply honored and privileged to work with the Nelms Officers and Members throughout the year as well as interfacing with Masons across the state.

The 132nd ANNUAL COMMUNICATION (Elections) of NELMS LODGE #323 will be on December 11*.

This year had a challenging start with losing two of our top five officers before the first meeting, but we became a much stronger Lodge as a result. Activities at Nelms are ongoing. We received an award from Keep Smyrna Beautiful, Adopt-A-Mile Program, for our community involvement. We had over 100 attendees for our Flag Retirement Ceremony honoring Veterans and the Grand Master presented RW Brother Sam R. Whitfield his 65th year apron and two 50 year Masons

were also honored. Special thanks to Boy Scout Troop 11 and veterans for participating in our flag ceremony. We will have held five Family Nights this year. We attended Grand Lodge, County and District Conventions, the Grand Masters Forum, all four Cobb County Lodge Officers meetings, attendance at Pre-School and the School of Instruction where the Nelms Degree Team performed the Masters Degree; held Officer's practice two times or more each month; held three Adopt-A-Mile/ Work Day events; expanded the Past Masters portrait display thanks to Brothers Fernando Melo and Russell Cook; revised our by-laws; re-instituted the penny box during regular communications; quarterly recited the Masters Obligation in Lodge; reached out to our widows; Nelms Lodge served the food and refreshments for the 300th Anniversary (1717-2017) Celebration Parade and Ceremonies at Marietta Square on June 24th; presented a Teacher of the Year and a Civil Servant of the Year award; held a GA CHIP event; hold our 4th Annual Table Lodge on Dec 2nd; as well as visited numerous other Lodges regular communications. We have had five excellent speakers at regular communications; the Nelms Degree Team and Officers conferred Degrees; participated in three blood drives; attended MELD classes; attended Church services as Masons; held three fundraisers with a portion of the profits donated to Masonic Charities; purchased a $500 brick to benefit the Children's Masonic Home on behalf of the Brothers of Nelms Lodge #323 F&AM Smyrna, etc. More activities are planned for the remainder of the year. All the above events have been posted via our website under Upcoming Events. 

I would especially like to thank our Junior Past Worshipful Master, Brother Jim Cook, who accepted the job of Secretary after the position was vacated just before our first meeting. He has done a fantastic job updating our computer records, organizational skills and his sound advice given throughout the year. WB Jim was also elected Master Mason of the Year at Nelms Lodge #323 for 2017. Also, I would like to thank Brother Mike Pappafotis, our Junior Deacon, webmaster and communications guru. Brother Mike has refined our website to be the most comprehensive in the State with constant updates of our upcoming events. In addition, he has been an invaluable asset in getting the word out to our membership. My sincere gratitude and respect to both.

One of my goals was to reach out to inactive Brothers and some have responded by using our website to register their email, mailing address and current phone #'s. We need all Brothers to register and update our records.

The following is our updated membership information:

Regular-127   Perpetual-4    Paid Life-14   Emeritus-53    TOTAL = 198

Master Masons-175    Past Masters-22    Entered Apprentice-1    TOTAL = 198

We only have 46 emails registered out of 198 members.

Our website is an excellent medium to verify the accuracy and update the records of ALL Brothers. This is a one (1) time process, please log onto the website and go to the top row of icons next to the HOME page icon and click on the eMail Signup box OR left side near top below Home (orange section), then enter all of your contact information. For Brothers without internet access, please ask your child, grandchild or a friend to enter your phone #'s and current mailing information on the website. This will enable us to maintain better and more frequent contact with our Brothers.

Dear Emeritus, Perpetual & Life Members:

Your status reflects your foresight in pre-paying years ago so as to be paid up for the future. Asa result, you are no longer liable for dues, which is a fitting way to recognize your achievement. However, it is an unfortunate fact of life that your lodge is responsible to various bodies for per capita charges, even though no dues are paid by some members. Of course, those charges have been increasing over the years. The 2018 per capita charge from the Grand Lodge is $30.00 plus $0.70 for convention fees for each Master Mason on the Lodge books. While this may not sound like a great deal, it must be viewed against the fact of declining membership and the increasing age of the members. What this means is fewer dues-paying members and more non-paying members. We currently have at Nelms 127 paying members and 67 Emeritus & Life members. Simply put, we collect $12,700.00 from the dues-paying members and remit $5,955.80 to Grand Lodge for the per capita charges for all members, leaving $6,744.20 for running the Lodge. 

The purpose of this letter is simple: If within the length of your cable-tow, we are asking that you remit the Grand Lodge per capita charge each year, so this becomes a zero-sum amount; any additional amount you can add will go a long way towards ensuring the financial health and future of your lodge. Currently the total dues in arrears are $2,300.

Obviously, we are sensitive to the fact that each Emeritus & Life member has earned the right to forego dues and further, that some may not feel able to pay the per capita charge. Whichever option you elect, please know that we value your membership and hope you will be able to attend meetings on a regular basis.

Also Regular Members, if within the length of your cable tow, any donation over the $100 annual membership dues
would be gratefully appreciated.

For your convenience, you can now pay your dues and/or make a donation on our website OR mail your check to:
Nelms Lodge #323 F&AM, P.O. Box 446, Smyrna 30081.


Richard John Hallwood WM