Ubar Grotto is an organization for members of the Masonic fraternity. It is a constituent body operating under the Supreme Council of the Mystic Order of the Veiled Prophets of the Enchanted Realm, having been constituted on July 23, 2011. The Grotto is officially located in Elizabethtown, PA, and meets on the fourth Sunday of each month, at the Spring Garden Conference Center in Middletown, PA. Meetings start at 6 pm. Questions and comments can be sent using the Contact page.
On Saturday, April 11, 2015, six Prophets and one son of a Prophet did their civic duty by cleaing a stretch of Route 283, beginning at the Rheems exit and extending to the Snyder Road overpass – a bridge which always seemed a little too far away.
The Prophets met for breakfast prior to the ordeal. With full bellies, they began working off their meals at 8:30 AM, trudging the two miles of highway (on each side) collecting trash. All told, the group filled 53 trash bags. This is trash that has accumulated since last September, when the Grotto last did a highway cleanup. Special finds include a womens pocketbook (which Pro. Shaffner is attempting to return to its owner), a half a dozen license plates, one dear caracass, lots of styrofoam, plenty of bottles and cans. We estimate that, to date, Ubar Grotto has picked up more than 250 bags of trash along this section of 283 in the last three years!
The highway cleanup is a thankless job, but we very much appreciate Pro. Abe Shaffner continuing to head this group. We’d also like to thank Prophets Allen Moyer, George Grove, Harry Smith, Seth Anthony, Tom Dice, and Pro. Dice’s son for assisting today. The Commonwealth is a little bit prettier because of these men.
March 22nd, 2014 marked a great start to the membership year for Ubar. On it’s first Ceremonial of 3 this year, half of our membership goal was attained! Marking a feat just as impressive, over 50 non-neophytes joined in the fellowship that evening — no easy task for Sunday night.
Before the meeting, Prophet Spooner decided to bribe the delegation with $5 cigars. The bribe was successful, as all heckling was directed at Prophet Il Duche. Prophet (and soon to be Fryar) Richards provided a tobacco locker to be auctioned for charity that Prophet Loughin couldn’t figure out how to operate. All told, the Grotto collected $286 for children to receive dental work. Awesome job prophets!
Our Pants-fearing Monarch then called the meeting to order. Discussed was the possibility of a “floating” meeting, one where the Grotto could meet closer to a group of Prophets that could not always make the meetings due to the long drive. The Prophet that made this suggestion did not provide a location, and he was heckled mercilessly.
After another long-winded report from the Fund Raising chair (who promoted that guy?), along with much shorter reports from the Sheiks, Prophet Tim “The Tyrant” Settlemeyer, PM, donated the flag of the Whiskey Rebellion to the Grotto, which we shall fly with pride.
After the meeting, 11 new prophets were brought into the Realm. As a final treat before he leaves on his Friary Journey, Prophet Richards provided one last performance as His Majesty. We shall miss him dearly.
As the Ceremonial drew to a close, Prophet Anthony, PM, promptly kicked everyone out, the fuddy-duddy that he is.
Our next meeting is on April 26th. We hope to see all of you there!
After the disappointing cancellation of the January 2015 meeting of Ubar Grotto (thanks to Mother Nature), the Prophets of the Realm were itching to get some real Grotting in, regardless of how much snow lay on the ground. Cabin fever had truly set in and Ubarians from far and wide trekked across the tundra of South Central PA for the February meeting of Ubar. The Monarch planned quite a night for them, including some good old fashioned learning.
Wait, what!?! Verily, I say – Grotto and learning make strange bedfellows, but, alas, our most Potent Monarch, in all his glory, sprung a trap on the Prophets by forcing them to get a bit of edumacation. For this feat, he called upon the most educated Prophet in the Realm, the Reverend Doctor and Prophet Christopher D. Rodkey, Chaplain of Ubar Grotto, Chaplain of the Pennsylvania Grotto Association, Chaplain of York Forest of the Tall Cedars of Lebanon, and Chaplain of our hearts (well, mostly.) The good Doctor / Reverend spoke about his trip to the Holy Land in 2014, funded by the Grand Encampment of Knights Templar. While Pro. Rodkey droned on, showing slide upon slide of the desert, the Prophets paid close attention (at least that’s what they said.) Chris shared lots of photos and stories of his trip and answered questions following his presentation.
Following this, Pro. David Labagh, the pantless ruler of the Realm of Ubar, called to order the first meeting of his term. While he wasn’t surprised as with the respect he received, it did appear that being on the Throne of Ubar was a bit more difficult than he expected. He persevered, however, and managed to run a decent meeting, which included the reading of more than a dozen petitions for the March Ceremonial! Huzzah!
If you didn’t make out to the February meeting, you really missed a quality night of Grotto. However, we look forward to seeing everyone at the March meeting when we welcome several new Prophets into the Realm!
Until then, Grotto on Prophets!
- The February meeting is also when petitions are due for the March Ceremonial, so please plan on having your new members complete the forms and have them in on time.
- We received a letter from the Supreme Council regarding our Enchanted Lantern donations during the past year. We did very well and Pro. Laser is looking forwarding to besting the numbers!
- Ubar apparel orders are in and will be handed out at the next meeting.
Now, on to some upcoming events!
Merry Christmas, Prophets!
I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season, spending time with your families, avoiding awkward conversation with distant relatives at the yearly get-together, and partaking in some festive beverages (with the occasional toast, of course.)
While the end of the year is near, it’s appropriate that we reflect on the past year as a Grotto and realize what great work we’ve done from highway cleanups and raising money for our charity, to initiating 21 new members and much more. Think of it this way – we survived another year with George Hindson so we at least deserve a pat on the back and a celebratory adult beverage, right?
A toast to each and every prophet of Ubar Grotto for spreading sympathy and good fellowship throughout the realm and may you have yourselves a happy and safe holiday season!
Your Often-Pantsless Monarch,
Pro. David Labagh
All good things must come to an end. Thankfully, all bad things generally do as well. That was the case on Saturday, December 13, 2014, as the reign of Pro. Tim “The Tyrant” Settlemyer came to a screeching halt, as Pro. David Andrew Labagh was installed as the fourth Monarch of Ubar Grotto.
The event was held at the Lucky Ducks Restaurant in Elizabethtown, PA. This location is significant, as it was in the same building that Ubar held its first meeting more than three years ago. Ubar took over a good chunk of the second floor, sharing space with unsuspecting diners, who learned what it was to Grotto while enjoying their chicken fingers. The Prophets gathered at 6 PM for dinner and beverages. After several toasts, and good bit of well intentioned verbal jabbing, Pro. Settlemyer took his station to peform his last duty as Monarch – the presentation of the coveted title of “Sheik of Ubar.”
The Sheik of Ubar is given only once a year and is chosen by the elected officers of the Grotto, at the direction of the Monarch. Pro. Settlemyer was pleased to honor Pro. Jay M. Laser. Upon hearing of this selection, most of the crowd exclaimed “Who’s Jay Laser?” But, lo and behold, sitting quietly in the corner, covered in his dining bib, was Pro. Jay. The Monarch then led the officers in the conferral of the honor, including the title, plaque, and jewel. As usual, Pro. Laser was at a loss for words (he was also at a loss for a fez later in the evening, but a generous Past Monarch had his back on that one!)
Following the Sheik presentation, Pro. Seth Anthony, PM, was called upon to perform the Installation Ceremony, with assistance from Pro. George Hindson, PM, acting as Marshal, and Pro. Kimber Smith, PM, performing the part of Chaplain. While several officers were unable to attend, due to holiday commitements, Pro. Anthony installed those present, including Pro. David Andrew Labagh as the fourth Monarch of Ubar Grotto.
Pro. Labagh’s first act was to present Pro. Settlemyer with his Past Monarch’s Patent and Jewel, promptly telling him that he could stay on as Monarch if he wished. Tim declined and the show was all David’s. With not much left to do, David spoke about his plans for the year and then adjourned the gathering, enabling the Prophets to return to their sympathy and good fellowship, which had been interrupted by all of the official hullabaloo.
It was a great night for Ubar Grotto and we’re pleased to take direction from our new Monarch. A toast!
On November 23rd, Ubar Grotto held its final stated meeting of 2014 with an excellent Convivial to wrap up a great year of sympathy and good fellowship. For one last night, Pro. Tim “the Tyrant” Settlemyer was at the helm, yelling at the Prophets, receiving the same respect he found on his first day in office (hint: it’s little to none.) The Prophets, for their part, really couldn’t be bothered with Tim anyways, as they were far too busy shoveling massive chunks of prime rib down their gullets. While the meal was an all-you-can-eat feast, very few members were able to go back for seconds, thanks to the prehistoric portions they were served on their first trip through the food line.
While they were gorging, Pro. Andrew Sterling worked his auctioneer magic, selling several items and raising more than $400 for the Grotto. We’d like to attribute this income to his perky demeanor and charming wit, but we’re pretty sure that folks just wanted him to sit down faster.
As usual, after a meal of this size, the Prophets dozed off, leaving Tim to run a relatively quiet meeting. The bills were paid, George took a beating, and Pro. Tom Labagh, Sheik of Ubar, listend to the Dolphins lose. This is all in a typical night for Ubar. However, there was one highlight to the evening – the election of officers. With the grace of a railroad locomotive, officers were elected to serve Ubar for 2015. They are:
- 4th Monarch of Ubar Grotto – Pro. David Andrew Labagh
- Chief Justice – “Evil” Peter J. Ruggieri
- Master of Ceremonies – Pro. Mark G. Mattern
- Venerable Prophet (winning a 4 way race!) – Pro. Shaun “Spooner” Sponagle
- Treasurer – Pro. Doug “Greasy Thumbs” Harms
- Secretary – Pro. Seth “doesn’t know how to say no” Anthony
- Trustee – Pro. Teddy Sizemore
The Monarch-Elect annonced several of his officers, but the crowd was mostly too bored to care.
Congratulations to all and we hope to see you on December 13, 2014, at the Lucky Duck Restaurant in Elizabethtown, PA, for our Installation, which starts at 6 PM!