Past Grand Exalted Ruler and current brothers State President, Walter Butler sounded the gavel to open the 87th Annual Convention of the Florida State Association of Improved Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks of the World.
The joint opening session of the brothers and daughters was held Saturday, May 19, at 8 a.m., at the Orlando Marriott Hotel-Lake Mary. State President Butler and Lou Alyce W. Dean, State President of Florida Temples, state and national officers led the opening procession with posting of the colors by the Florida State Brigade Antlered Guard Unit.
The Pledge of Allegiance was recited and the Elks Ode was sung. Welcome to the officers and delegates was extended by Roosevelt Cummings, Jr., Exalted Ruler of Celery City Lodge #542, Sanford, and Adrianne Washington, Daughter Ruler of Evergreen Temple #321, Sanford, the host lodge and temple.
Florida State Association of Lodges and Temples Education Department held their 2012 State Oratorical Contest at 2 p.m. Daughter Marva Wingfield-McWhite presided as mistress of ceremony; the Pledge of Allegiance was recited and the Elks Ode was sung. Invocation by Bro. Keith Boyd.
Following singing of the Negro National Anthem, welcome was extended by Dgt. Shonnie Boyd. Bro. Joseph McFadden was contest manager; contestants in the order of winners are as follows: 1st place, Kenya Moore, Sanford; 2nd place, Christine Saint-Pierre, Lantana; 3rd place, Debra Perry, St. Petersburg; and 4th place, Gary Menefee, Tampa.
Kenya Moore will represent Celery City Lodge #542 and Evergreen Temple #321 and the Florida State Association of Lodges and Temples Education Department at the Regional Oratorical Contest to be held in Clearwater in June.
The 2012 Education Committee members are Nathan Hayes, P.S.P., State Director of Education; Sylvia Riley, P.S.P., State Directress of Education; Daughters Retha Baker, Nell Feacher, Roslyn Jones; Kimberly Lawson; Bertha Smith; Hattie Davis and others who participated on the program. Theme for this year, “Keep the Lamp of Learning Burning for Education.”
Sunday morning, May 20 at 10 a.m. the Chaplains Department Memorial Worship Service was held, with Brother Kevin Blackmon presiding. After the grand march of officers of the departments, the Elks’ Ode was sung.
Invocation by Brother Henry Ely; scripture by Brother Keith Boyd. Selections of spiritual joy were rendered by the Elks State Choir, under the direction of Daughter Michelle Lamb. The Youth Queens sang, “We Bless Your Name;” afterwards, Arthur Tyson, III, performed a praise dance to the song, “A Sinner’s Prayer;” the selection “What About the Children,” was signed by members of the Youth Department.
Daughter Gloria Butler, wife of President Walter Butler, introduced the speaker, Rev. Ruben J. Mack, Pastor, Friendship M.B. Church; Sharpes Florida. The message was taken from St. John Chapter 3: “Look up Towards Jesus”. Rev. Mack reminded us that with God we are able to do all things, even when it seems impossible.
We must have love in our heart and we must always do things from our heart to glorify God. The choir continued to contribute to the spiritual uplifting of the service with musical selections as First Vice President J. Alford Williams presided over the Lodge of Sorrow Ritualistic Ceremony in memory of deceased members of the lodges and temples.
Retiring President Walter Butler was honored for his 30 years of service as President of the Florida State Association of Lodges. Best wishes were extended to him and his family for a great retirement; we say to President Butler, may God bless and keep you in His care.