Category Archives for Announcements

Pittsburgh Shrine Center to Remain Closed Through at Least June 1st -R.W. Grand Master

Thomas Gamon, IV, R.W. Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania has issued the following order today. He is extending the cessation of Masonic activities at all Pennsylvania Masonic facilities - including the Pittsburgh Shrine Center - in response to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic.

April 2, 2020

Dear Brethren,

While I know our brethren look forward to returning to their respective lodges and fellowship, I have seen first-hand the severity of this virus, and as it continues to spread, my concern for the health of our brethren and their families remains paramount. Therefore, I have made the difficult decision to extend the suspension of all Masonic events across the state until June 1, 2020.

Believe me, I’m just as disappointed as everyone else. However, as challenging as this time is, it is also an opportunity to shine our Masonic light by looking out for our fellow brethren, their families and widows, while taking all precautions for safety. Remember, many people are isolated and lonely, so please reach out via phone, text, social media, video chat or other means to simply let them know you’re thinking about them. Please remember to share your acts of kindness with Tina Lutter at   so she can promote them to inspire others.

Some lodges have found creative ways to hold informal meetings and schools by using Zoom. I encourage you to share this as one of many options for providing education, information and meaningful connections while we cannot meet in person.

There are incredible things happening during this national healthcare crisis. For example, Brother David Stein, owner of Hidden Still Spirits in Lebanon, has converted his operations to making hand sanitizer and spray – and he’s donating all the product he is able to make to first responders. I was just able to pick up 10 gallons of sanitizer for my fire department from this dedicated and caring Brother! If you know of other brethren contributing efforts to fight COVID-19, we would love to hear about it.

Our Masonic Villages continue to exemplify our Masonic principles of love and benevolence. Employees from all parts of our operation are pitching in to help care for our residents by delivering meals to residents’ accommodations to promote safety and social distancing. Staff are finding creative ways to help residents stay in touch with their families and enjoy modified recreational and spiritual opportunities. To recognize their hard work, sacrifice and commitment, the Grand Lodge officers and I made emergency relief funds available to provide resources to benefit our front-line caregivers, as well as to supplement other resources to procure elevated levels of personal protective equipment. If you, your lodge or your family would like to brighten our residents’ days, please visit  to learn the best ways to do so.

I can’t express how proud I am of being the Grand Master of such an awesome organization. It’s about the people serving in trenches day-to-day who make us so important in this world. I thank the Lord every day that He has allowed me to play a small part in what we do!

Sincerely and Fraternally,
Thomas Gamon, IV
R.W. Grand Master

March 22nd Update on Syria Temple’s COVID 19 (Coronavirus) Response

At Syria Shriners, we are doing our best to keep you informed as circumstances quickly change, events are canceled, rescheduled, and our Grand Lodge and Shriners International reach decisions and issue statements that affect all of us.

We feel an absolute responsibility to maintain the flow of information. Watch for additional communication, check our website at, and follow our Facebook page for ongoing information as developments unfold.

You can view our earlier COVID 19 (Coronavirus) Response communications below:

We'll all get through this together, and if we take proper public health precautions, most of us will not become seriously ill.

Meanwhile, stay well, and stay home. We look forward to being together again soon.

If you don't regularly receive our communications,
 click the "JOIN OUR EMAIL LIST" link at our home page here,
to sign up for our email list.

Pittsburgh Shrine Center Closure

The Pittsburgh Shrine Center remains closed until further notice. Please keep our office and facilities staff, and our entire Syria Shriners family in your prayers. We all need to remember each other during this trying period. Call your fellow Shriners, and look after their well-being. Run errands to the grocery or drug store if your situation allows, and theirs does not.

Forward this article to your friends who don't receive it directly, and encourage them to sign up for our email list on our home page here.

Rescheduled Events

The Potentate's Stag Testimonial Dinner, originally scheduled for March 21, has been rescheduled for Saturday, November 21. Rocky Bleier will join us that day. Hospitality Suite reservations have been shifted to November, and all tickets issued will be honored in November.

The Potentate's Ball, originally scheduled for April 18, has been rescheduled for Saturday, October 24. The same menu, entertainment, and other festivities will be offered in the fall. All reservations have been shifted to the new date.

If you need a refund for either event, contact the Shrine Center office, 724-274-7000, after we reopen.

Canceled & Postponed Events not yet rescheduled

The Bunny Bash, scheduled for April 4, has been canceled. we will try to schedule another party for our kids sometime this spring.

The Quarterly Meeting,and First Ceremonial, scheduled for April 6, has been postponed to a date to be determined. Shriners International bylaws require Temples to meet at least once a quarter, and we will reschedule when we can safely do so.

The Caravan 14 Seafood Stag, scheduled for April 17, has been postponed. The new date has yet to be determined.

The Swing Time dance, featuring the Syria Stage Band, scheduled for April 24, has been canceled. The dances are scheduled to resume on the third Friday in May, and continue on the third Friday of every month through November.

The Directors Staff Spaghetti Dinner, scheduled for April 26 has been canceled. No further information is available at this time.

At this time (mid March), we are scheduled to resume activities in May.
We will keep you informed as developments unfold.

As we learn to cope with the "new normal," and hope that is only a temporary state of normalcy for us all, this hymn, penned by Jeremiah Eames Rankin in 1880, and set to a tune by Ralph Vaughn Williams, brings to mind my sincere hopes and prayers for all of the Syria Shriners family.

View the video below to hear the tune, and see the lyrics below.

May the Great Architect of the Universe continue to be the tracer of designs upon your trestle board, and keep you in his loving arms until we are able to come together once again as Brother Nobles.

God Be With You Till We Meet Again

God be with you till we meet again,
By his counsels guide, uphold you,
With his sheep securely fold you,
God be with you till we meet again.

God be with you till we meet again,
’Neath his wings protecting hide you,
Daily manna still provide you,
God be with you till we meet again.

God be with you till we meet again,
When life’s perils thick confound you,
Put his arms unfailing round you,
God be with you till we meet again

God be with you till we meet again,
Keep love’s banner floating o’er you,
Smite death’s threatening wave before you,
God be with you till we meet again..

Imperial Potentate Defers to Grand Masters on Temple Activities

Nobles -  Please click here to see the March 18 memorandum from Noble John C. Piland, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Shriners International, regarding decisions of Grand Masters of Masons in jurisdictions where Shriners International subordinate Temples operate.

The Imperial Potentate is essentially deferring to Grand Masters in terms of Temple activities, under the umbrella of Masonic activities, placing his trust in local authorities to do what is right in and for their respective areas.

You can view the letter of March 12 from the R.W. Grand Master of Masons in Pennsylvania by clicking here.

If you had activity scheduled of which we were unaware, you should immediately take action to cancel or postpone. If you need help communicating that information, send it to me at, and I will disseminate it for you.

I apologize for the volume of emails we are sending you. We are simply doing our best to keep you informed, and that is requiring frequent communication at the moment on behalf of our various constituencies.

Yours in the faith,


Robert T. Addleman, Jr., P.P.

3/16 Update: Syria Shriners Facility Closures and Event Rescheduling


Effective immediately, and until further notice (at least for the remainder of this month), all Temple, Unit, Club, Caravan and other sub-group meetings, rehearsals and other activities scheduled for the Pittsburgh Shrine Center are canceled. This includes the meeting of the Board of Directors and Executive Committee scheduled for March 24.

We are frustrated, and share your frustration, but given the current public health concern, the demographics of our membership, and the response from Masonic, governmental, and public health authorities, we have chosen to act with an abundance of caution.

We apologize for the inconvenience this causes you. Please use email, telephone conference calls, virtual meeting software, and any other technology that may aid in conducting your business and communicating with your members.

Yours in the faith,
Donald J. Taylor, Sr.
Illustrious Potentate

Rescheduled Major Events for 2020

SYRIA SHRINERS announces the following rescheduled events, after recent postponements due to public health concerns.

Potentate's Ball rescheduled for Sat. Oct. 24

An Enchanted Evening, the 2020 Potentate's Ball, honoring Illustrious Sir Donald J. Taylor, Sr., and First Lady Eleanor, will enchant you at the Pittsburgh Shrine Center Ballroom, Saturday, October 24.

The same menu, entertainment, and enchantment will light up your evening, Saturday, October 24.

Potentate's Testimonial Banquet rescheduled for Sat. Nov. 21

The Potentate's Testimonial Banquet, honoring Illustrious Sir Donald J. Taylor, Sr., affectionately known as, "The Stag," will invade the Comfort Inn & MainStay Suites at RIDC Park, Saturday, November 21.

Four-time Super Bowl Champion, decorated Vietnam veteran and internationally-acclaimed speaker Rocky Bleier will be on hand to accept "The Gunner," the Noble Robert F. Prince, Jr. Award for Lifetime Achievement.

It's the same great day, with all the same great fun, and the same great speaker, just eight months (to the day) after the originally scheduled date. Your tickets for the March 21 event will be used in November, so don't throw them away!

Pittsburgh Shrine Center Office Policy for the remainder of March, 2020

Pittsburgh Shrine Center Office Policy for the remainder of March, 2020

Your Shrine Center office will be open to answer phone calls, receive mail, pay our obligations, allow our auditors access to our files, and carry on other essential business, but we ask that you not make personal visits to the office until further notice, at least for the remainder of this month.

Our staff will be taking proper precautions, following the guidelines established by the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in practicing social distancing and preparing our workplace for this public health concern.

We appreciate your understanding and cooperation in this matter.

Robert T. Addleman, Jr., P.P.

Statement on 69th Pittsburgh Shrine Circus camel incident

Statement from the Pittsburgh Syria Shriners:

On Sunday, September 16, 2018 at approximately 3:38pm, during the final intermission of the 69th Annual Shrine Circus, a domesticated camel, which had been giving rides to patrons during each of the five performances of the circus, was startled while returning to the ride platform. This caused the animal to rear and attempt to dislodge the three persons (one adult, two children) who were riding.

At this time, we are unable to confirm initial reports that an audience member threw a nearby shovel at the camel’s feet during the ride, which allegedly startled the animal.

At the time of the incident, the camel was being led by a trained and licensed handler. The animal had not displayed any abnormal behavior prior to the incident.

The incident lasted at total of approximately eleven seconds before the camel was brought under control by the handler; all other animals remained under control during the incident.

The three persons who were riding the camel were transported to the hospital for injuries sustained when the animal reared, as were three or four other audience members who were injured in the commotion of the crowd while the incident was occurring. Several people were released after being treated for minor injuries.

This is first incident impacting patron safety in the 69 years of the Shrine Circus in Pittsburgh and is now being investigated by the proper authorities.

The Shrine Circus expresses its deepest regrets for the incident and extends its sympathies to all those who were injured or impacted by the event.