Friday, July 31, 2009
You will see a photo of those attending: Front row, Verne Long (1972), Bill Tiffany (1968), Tom McCarthy (2009). Back row, Don Flood (1985), J.V. Christianson (1997), Lois Tiffany (baker of WONDERFUL pies!), John Peterson (1981), Sam Dickenson (1980) and Don Sether (1986).
I sat like a quiet mouse at the end of the table, and listened to all the wonderful stories of picky monitors, wrong answers given during the ritual, PGMs no longer with us. Thanks to Sam Dickenson who made the original phone calls to get these fine Masons together!
J.V. did a poll around the table and calculated that there were 418 years of Masonry in that room. Wow!
PGM Bill reminisced that he was in Shanghai, China after the war, and attended a lodge there as a Seaman First Class. The brothers initiated a candidate that night - a general in the Chinese army. Bill noted that we do, in fact, meet on the level!
Don Flood told of attending a Masonic function in Japan after the war and being invited to a room in the lower level of the building - a conference room with a long table. He was invited to sit in a certain chair, and when he had, was informed that was the chair used by Admiral Yamamoto when he planned the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
Verne told of being called by Grand Master Clyde Hegman, who asked if he'd be a District Representative. GM Clyde said he'd call back in a week, and then gave PGM Verne advice he recalls and lives by to this day: Never turn down the opportunity to serve, You'll be the loser.
PGM Bill won't be able to join us this coming Monday noon for a Past Grand Masters' lunch, but this afternoon has whet my appetite for more stories from the Masonic leaders that have set the table for Minnesota Masonry today.
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Tisha B'Av (the 9th day of Av) is the Jewish day commemorating the destruction of King Solomon's Temple in 70 B.C.E This year, it falls on July 30.
The First Temple was built by King Solomon and was the most important place in ancient Judaism. It was destroyed when the Babylonians sacked
The ninth of Av also happens to be the day that Jews were expelled from
Thanks to Worshipful Master Jay Weinblatt for reminding me of this day and blog topic.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Brothers Ron Campbell and Paul Matuschek were recognized as the 2008 and 2009 Hiram recipients. The photo shows District representative Don Nolly, Brother Campbell, yours truly, Brother Matuschek, 2009 W.M. Jay Weinblatt and 2008 W.M. Raul Valverde.
Rabbi Harold Kushner has written that rather than seeking to be the star of the show, we should aspire to be the Best Supporting Actor. Hiram, King of Tyre, was the best supporting actor in the building of King Solomon's Temple. While we have two Hirams in the ritual of the Master Mason degree, I would maintain that it is Hiram, King of Tyre that exemplifies the dedication and service, often out of the public eye and behind the scenes, that best explains the criteria for selecting a Hiram recipient - the highest honor a lodge can bestow on its members.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
The values of Minnesota Masonry include Freedom, Integrity and Tolerance. Each of these is represented in the quote above: The right to worship free from interference by the government is a central right granted by the First Amendment; Men of integrity can respect another man's beliefs without feeling that his own are threatened; Tolerance of other's belief is a vital part of Freemasonry in all its aspects.
We do well to protect that Precious Jewel, for our country and for our fraternity.
Monday, July 27, 2009
Masons accept into our fraternity only just and upright men who have a belief in a Supreme Being. Not only do we do an investigation and elect our candidates by unanimous ballot, we each take an obligation acknowledging that we are subject to Masonic discipline should we violate our vows.
Prior to becoming Grand Master, I served for several years as Chief Trial Commissioner for the Grand Lodge of Minnesota. The powers, duties and procedures of the Trial Commission are clearly set forth in the Minnesota Masonic Code, available to all to read.
There are several ways in which a Brother may be disciplined. The most streamlined method is when a Brother is convicted of a felony offense. Certified copies are delivered to the Chief Trial Commissioner, who then sends notice to the Brother offering an opportunity to respond to the facts. These situations almost always result in the expulsion of the offending Brother.
A more complicated and involved process is when a Mason is accused of unmasonic conduct, not amounting to a felony criminal offense. The Code provides for a trial in front of three past masters, who render a verdict (that is, whether or not unmasonic conduct was committed) and also set the penalty – reprimand, suspension or expulsion.
The accused has the right to appeal the decision of the Trial Commission, which first goes before the Committee on Grievances and Appeals, which makes a recommendation to the Grand Lodge. I do not recall ever having a trial at the Grand Lodge annual communication, but that is where the appeal would lie.
As Grand Master, I have the power to arrest the jewel of an officer (effectively, removing the brother from office) and to suspend a brother until the next annual communication. I have not had to do either of these duties, and sincerely hope I never will.
Over the years, I have found that cases of Masonic discipline are very rare. You could look at the reports I made to the Annual Communication for the past several years to confirm this. By and large, we come close to our goal of being a society of just and upright men.
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Patty and I had a great time reminiscing and catching up on what has been happening in the lives of people we used to see every day. (Patty and I were high school sweethearts - though she is MUCH younger - so she knew as many people there as I did.)
I'm reminded of a little song my girls did when they were in Girl Scouts:
Make new friends, and keep the old -
One is silver and the other gold.
Friday, July 24, 2009
If the eye is unobstructed, it results in sight;
if the ear is unobstructed, the result is hearing;
if the nose is unobstructed, the result is a sense of smell;
if the mouth is unobstructed, the result is a sense of taste;
if the mind is unobstructed, the result is wisdom.
When I read that, I was reminded of the Middle Chamber lecture in the Fellowcraft Degree, where the five senses are described and explained, and that section ends with "on the mind, all knowledge must depend. What, therefore, can be a more proper subject for examination by a Mason?"
DeMello adds one more sentence to the ancient proverb:
If the heart is unobstructed, the result is love.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Brother Edwin Scheller (middle in photo) was recognized as a 50-year member of Minnesota Masonry, and Gerald Schoberg (second from right) received his 25-year pin. Congratulations to these two great Masons!
Also shown in the photo, from the left, are District Representative Dean Dorholt and Worshipful Master Steven Maslonka.
Attending these events where Masons are honored is one of the true privileges of being the Grand Master. Thanks to all who have invited me, and especially to the brothers at Excelsior Lodge.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Monday, July 20, 2009
Brother Aldrin was one of ten United States astronauts who are Freemasons.
Sunday, July 19, 2009
On Friday, I was invited to attend the annual Masonic Motorcycle Club picnic at the Masonic Home. I met 50-year Mason and Zuhrah Shriner Dr. Sheldon Lagaard and his wife, Marguerite, as well as Ken Sulem, member of the Dan Patch Masonic Club at the Masonic Home. The residents were just thrilled to see and talk to the motorcycle riders!
To top off a great night, the Club made me an honorary member! The footlong hotdogs and hamburgers after were just a treat.
Thank you, members of the Minnesota Masonic Motorcycle Club, for another memorable evening! And many thanks to Bernie White of the Minnesota Masonic Home for these terrific photos and all she does for the residents at the Home.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
It is also a sad day because in a few hours, I will be leaving for Duluth and the Masonic Memorial Service for Worshipful Brother Anthony Keane. Those of you who knew Tony know that he was about the kindest man and Mason one could imagine. A most talented man, former Grand Lodge Education Officer and current Custodian of the Work in Northeast Minnesota. He was very active in the Scottish Rite, and especially so in the York Rite. He will be sorely missed.
The title of this entry is the title to a book that attempts to explain death to young children. The water bug turns into a dragonfly, but can't go back to explain he's OK to the other waterbugs. So it is when a loved one dies.
Masons consider death and life in the Celestial Lodge above. The assurance that we will meet again is some comfort, but cannot heal the empty place we have when a loved one dies.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Making these visits to lodges has been a real highlight of my year so far. Renewing old friendships and making new friends is just a treat.
And we said good bye to Worshipful Brother James Smail, who is returning to his native Australia later this month. (You can pick him out in the photo - first row, last one on the right. The only brother in a suit!) Jim has been Master of Cataract Lodge, Grand Orator for the Minnesota Grand Lodge and quite active in Scottish Rite during the past eight or so years. Good luck and Godspeed, Brother Jim!
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Let the great light of toleration shine in our lodge. Toleration that fears to usurp God's prerogative, and holds that every man has an estate in fee in his opinions, and the absolute, ample right of free enjoyment. Let there be light!
When the Zuhrah unit lined up for the parade at the Imperial Session in San Antonio, I discovered we were at the San Antonio Scottish Rite Cathedral. The cornerstone of this edifice struck me as profound. I include a photo of it with this entry.
The Craft's emphasis on tolerance and respect is a key reason why I joined and remain an active member in the fraternity. I hope it is for you, too.
Monday, July 13, 2009
Senior Grand Steward John Gann and I were guests at the Mora Lodge No. 223 Fish Boil at the home of Dennis "Doc" Moss in Isle. After a wonderful dinner, at which there were three prospective members and their families, the brothers retired to a secluded spot outside of town for a stated communication.
The Grand Architect of the Universe supplied us with terrific weather. Brother John Hanson was a great chef (with some very small assistance from yours truly - see the photo!). The fellowship was fantastic.
And I learned the flaming truth about preparing fish in a fish boil!
PGM Jerry Rhoads was present and observed that this kind of event is where Masonry happens. I could not agree more.
Sunday, July 12, 2009
The photo shows the unit saluting Patty along the parade route.
Earlier this week, I ran into a mom at the local convenience store who overheard that I'm a Shriner. "Shriners are miracle workers!" she said. "You saved my daughter!"
Celebrating the completion of the Partners for Life program and encountering a family who have been touched by the Shriners. It's been a pretty good couple of days!
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Patty and I have returned from the Shrine Imperial Session in
Tuesday I marched along with Zuhrah 1.5 miles in 95 degree heat. The Drum Corps was fantastic! The reception from Shriners and San Antonians alike along the parade route was phenomenal. It was such a thrill.
Back at the hospitality room, there was a temporary shortage of glasses, so a magic marker was employed to put names on the plastic cups. I said, just put my initials: TGM. “Ah,” said one of the wags present, “The Grand Master!”
Patty and I had a great time. Thanks,
Friday, July 10, 2009
Last night, Patty and I attended an event at the Minnesota Masonic Home celebrating the successful conclusion of the Masonic Charities/Cancer Center Fund Campaign for Life campaign. The campaign goal of $10 million dollars has been reached to finance the construction of a new Cancer Center Pavilion on the campus of the
This contribution, together with the pledge of $65 million over the next 15 years and the approximately $25 million that has been given over the past 50+ years puts Minnesota Masons in the proud position of claiming partnership with the Masonic Cancer Center at the University of Minnesota in the fight against this dread disease.
I have commented often that I dream of the time when my grandsons are my age and they can reminisce about how concerned their parents and grandparents were about cancer, and how proud they are that their Grandpa and their Dads were Masons and part of the effort that wiped that disease from the face of the earth.
Dreams can come true, especially if they are placed in the hands of dedicated, talented and skilled doctors and researchers. People like those at the
Thursday, July 9, 2009
Patty and I ended up sitting in different rows - she directly in front of me. My row mate was a young man with some significant burn scars. His right ear was pretty much just a small mass of scar tissue. His face was more purple than any other color. His arms showed signs of burns, as did his right leg.
I found that he was heading home to Eden Prairie. I mentioned that I was coming from the Shrine session, and told him about the Shrine burn hospitals. He was impressed.
I then found he was heading home on leave from his base near San Antonio. He was a proud Marine of five years, and the injuries were sustained in the service of our country in Afghanistan. I must say I choked up pretty bad when I tried to say "Thank you".
This Marine is to be honorably discharged within the next several months. He hopes to attend college for a degree in law enforcement. I gave him my card, and encouraged him to drop me an e-mail so that I can forward to him an application for the next round of General Waldron Scholarships, which I expect the Grand Lodge corporate board will approve this Saturday.
I hope he writes me - I never did get his name. It was a privilege to share the row with this brave young man. Thank you, whoever you are.
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
There are many hospitals, including the Twin Cities Shrine Hospital, that are in negotiations with universities or medical centers to share facilities to better serve the patients of both. The
Let us each do what we can to support this effort, which will be a new and exciting way for Shriners to continue our long-standing efforts to bring orthopedic, burn and cleft-pallet relief to deserving children.
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Harry S Truman lived the Masonic values in every aspect of his life. I'm writing this in San Antonio Texas where there are many races and religions. What a great place to show off our Masonic values!
An even better place: Wherever we are at the time.
Monday, July 6, 2009
Patty and I are at the Shrine Imperial Session in San Antonio Texas. We toured the Alamo yesterday. This is the sight of the famous battle between “Texicans” (mainly immigrants from the United States) and the Mexican army. Less than 200 Alamo defenders held off a Mexican force of ten times that number for 13 days before falling on March 6, 1836.
There were but few survivors.
Masons played an important role in the defense of the Alamo. Commanders William Barrett Travis and James Bowie were Masons, as was David Crocket and Almaron Dickinson (whose wife and infant daughter were among the survivors within the fortress).
Visiting an historic site involving many Masons (including Mexican general Santa Anna) on the one hand, and participating in what could very well be an historic Shrine session is a most humbling experience.
For more information on Masons at the Alamo, check out any of the links below:
Sunday, July 5, 2009
Freedom – Freemasons champion the liberties and values outlined in the founding documents of the
Freedom is one of the core values that guide our Mission Statement. Along with (Personal) Integrity and (Religious) Tolerance, Freedom encapsulates the essence of Freemasonry in
It has been legitimately claimed that the foundations of a republican form of government, the secret ballot and nascent democracy itself had its origins in the lodge halls of speculative Freemasonry.
Whether that is based in fact, or merely wishful history on the part of the brotherhood, it is and must be clear today that Freemasonry stands for Freedom, and it is the Duty of the brothers to protect and promote this fundamental Right of Man.
Friday, July 3, 2009
On this holiday before Independence Day, I quote MWB Harry Truman. On July 29, 1951, Truman stated
"Now listen to this one. This malicious propaganda has gone so far that on the Fourth
of July, over in
, people were afraid to say that they believed in the Madison, Wisconsin
Declaration of Independence. A hundred and twelve people were asked to sign a petition
that contained nothing except quotations from the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights.
One hundred and eleven of those people refused to sign that paper-- many of them because they were
afraid that it was some kind of subversive document and that they would lose their jobs or be called
Communist. Can you imagine finding 111 people in the capital of
that didn't know what the Wisconsin
and Bill of Rights provided? I can't imagine it." Independence
I wonder how many today would refuse to sign… Not because they would necessarily be afraid of being called a communist, but simply would not recognize language from our Country’s founding documents.
Masons were at the forefront of our fight for
Thursday, July 2, 2009
Who is the PGM who came out on the short end of a collision with metal bleachers? The one who is now known as "Humpty Dumpty" to many of his brothers? (Except that they couldn't put Humpty together, but this PGM has healed nicely, thank you.)
I am not permitted to tell you his name, but his initials are Steve Johnson.
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
On Monday, I was pleased to attend the Metro East Masters and Wardens Association meeting at Newport Lodge. These are great opportunities to share ideas from lodge to lodge and discover new ways to collaborate.
There was a great report on the Metro East outdoor Master Mason degree. Nine new Masons were raised in a most impressive ritual. I’m looking forward to the next Metro East Third Degree on December 12, where I’ll have the privilege of taking the part of King Solomon!