The ceremony itself saw the lodge room pleasantly packed. Wor. Merrick Hammer kindly stepped in to perform on the piano at the last minute, serenading our proceedings. Wor. Dago Rodriguez acted as Master of Ceremonies, with Most Wor. John Heisner as the Installing Officer.
The Grand Master showed a natural and commanding flare for ritual, greatly supported by Wor. Rodriguez’s attention to detail. Following the installation itself, Most Wor. Heisner gave a rousing speech on the positive contributions Masonry has made over its 300 year public history. He had the impressive ability to convey a message simultaneously on mundane, Masonic and esoteric levels. This appears to me to be the craft of Masonry well summarized, being able to operate as Man, Mason and Mystic. He further presented our now Lodge Master Erik Strom with a globe statue and copy of his own book on Hiram Abiff.
The Lodge then in turn presented the Grand Master with a donation for his charity and a handmade Masonic wallet, made by our own Bro. Pascal Davayat, which he seemed genuinely touched by. Wor. Erik spoke passionately of his theme, “the next three hundred” which was emblazoned on banners and pin badges. This was followed by his wife Jennifer presenting him with a personalized gavel on behalf of his family who whole-heartedly supported his Masonic labors.

Following the ceremony we moved towards the refreshment of dinner. Wor. Rodriguez had shown his renounced finesse with wall projections, subtle toned lighting and impeccably laid tables. The four course menu was chosen by the new Master himself and prepared by Bro Eusebio Sanchez. Several grand lodge officers mentioned to me how impressed they were with the dinner we had put on. While eating we were lucky to be serenaded by our new Master’s own father, Randall Strom, on an intricate 12 string bass guitar and backing band.
After seeing the outpouring of fraternity and decency, holding in mind this year’s anniversary we have good reason to remain optimistic that the craft at South Pasadena Masonic Lodge No. 290 will remain a force for good in a changing world.