Sunday, February 28, 2010
The meeting provided an opportunity for the Job's Daughters to see how their officer roster matches up (quite closely, in fact) with the officers of Eastern Star and Masonic Lodge.
I had a great time with the girls. I was invited to share a few words about the history of Freemasonry, and you don't have to ask me twice to do that! Three new petitions for Job's Daughters were read during the meeting! Looks like great things are happening in our youth program in Southeast Minnesota!
Thank you, girls, for the warm welcome and photo ops! Thank you, adults, Sisters and Brothers, who attended to make the afternoon especially meaningful for the girls.
Friday, February 26, 2010
Part of the reason for the success is the vibrant Double Eagle program in Minneapolis. New members of the Double Eagles were installed prior to the degree work Thursday night.
Another part of the reason is the tireless promotion by Ed Perlman, 33rd Degree Honorary.
I wish I could have stayed for supper, the installation and more conversation with these most interesting brothers, but duty called me in a different direction ...
Shown in the photo are Sovereign Grand Inspector General for Minnesota, Jerry Oliver; Ed Perlman, Dean Alban, Stan Dodd and yours truly.
a Commissioned Officer or Warrant Officer of the uniformed services of the United States,
a Senior Non-Commissioned Officer of the uniformed services of the United States, have served in time of war as a Commissioned Officer or Warrant Officer or the equivalent in an armed service of a nation allied with the United States,
The first photo shows a wall of children who have been recovered with the assistance of NCMEC.
Monday, February 22, 2010
Monday, George Washington's birthday, I found the stone in a display at the Memorial (third from the left on the bottom row). In the display case next to the Minnesota stone, was the Mark Book (ca. 1790) and Minute Book (ca. 1794) of Lodge of Journeyman Masons No. 8, Edinburgh Scotland, and Member Account Book of Federal Lodge No. 15 (ca. 1794). The books from Scotland just arrived last week. The historian at the Memorial will be comparing the marks on the Minnesota stone, as well as the others in the display, to see if they can put a name to the mark on the stone. That's a message I'm looking forward to receiving!
The display is a part of the Memorials 100th anniversary celebration.
This program, partnering with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, is a terrific child identification and safety education program. It is also a proven method for rejuvenating local lodges and building bridges between the lodge and the community.
Shown in the photo are some of the board members: William Rorer, Jr., Grand Master of Virginia; Peter Dunlop, Senior Grand Warden of Alberta; yours truly; Denny Robinson, Past Grand Master of South Dakota and current president of the Masonichip board of directors; and Clifford Stamm, II, Past Grand Master of Connecticut and past president of Masonichip.
I look forward to serving on this board for the next three years, as our KidsID program in Minnesota gets off the ground and this great program expands throughout more jurisdictions.
Due to the good offices of National Sojourners national President, Minnesota's Fred Vihovde, I was invited to the breakfast Monday morning where the continuing programs of Service to the Craft, Patriotic Programs, Educational and Youth Leadership Programs were presented.
I had the privilege of meeting Brother Rear Admiral William "Gene" Sizemore, shown with Brother Fred and me. Brother Sizemore serves as Chairman of the Fraternal Liaison Committee, as well as the Grand Executive Director of the Southern Jurisdiction, Scottish Rite of Freemasonry.
Tomorrow afternoon, I will be received as a member of the National Sojourners. It is a step too long in the coming.
As an aside, the National Sojourners national convention will be held in Bloomington Minnesota this coming June. We're looking forward to welcoming these veterans and Masons to our great jurisdictiron!
In 1947, the Grand Lodge adopted the Grand Lodge of Minnesota adopted the following Standing Resolution (Section S1.06):
The Grand Lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of Minnesota designate Washington's Birthday, February twenty-second (22nd) of each year, as a special Masonic holiday and recommend the observance thereof by the Lodges within this Jurisdiction through appropriate open or closed communications.
While most scholarly surveys rank Washington either number one or number two (the other being Abraham Lincoln) as the most admired U.S. President, an ABC poll in 2000 ranked Washington number six, behind John Kennedy, Ronald Regan and No Opinion. One can only wonder who these people were!
Freedom. First I look on George Washington, considering his life as exemplifying Political Freedom. In his first Inaugural address
Heard in light of the sacrifices that this man made in defense of his country, these words are certainly poignant. Recall that from the time he assumed command of the revolutionary forces in June of 1775 until he resigned his commission and returned to
Having had only two years to enjoy Mt Vernon, Washington died December 14, 1799.
Many men, and many Masons have sacrificed to establish and preserve the freedoms we all enjoy. Washington, the man and the Mason, is second to none in his dedication and commitment to our country.
Integrity. It is said that by his own personal character and integrity,
Other examples of personal integrity are numerous, including the fictitious cherry tree incident. One further real example example may be sufficient.
The story is told in Christopher Hodapp’s new book, Solomon’s Builders. Congress had no funds, and no way to compel the States to contribute money so that the officers who had served with
On March 15, 1783, the officers met in a church in
Many men began to weep as they listened to the general whom they followed, and respected, and loved read the letter. After finishing the letter,
“Happily, the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection, should demean themselves as good citizens.”
It is most appropriate that Masons honor this Country’s founding father, and American Freemasonry’s most eminent member. The Masonic virtues of Freedom, Integrity and Tolerance are seen in their majesty when viewed in the life and character of this most famous Freemason.
Sunday, February 21, 2010
Soldiers. Charioteers. Archers. Musicians. Generals. Acrobats. Nearly 2,000 years ago, thousands of life-size clay figures were buried in massive underground pits to accompany China's first emperor, Qin Shihuangdi, into the afterlife. Their discovery outside the city of Xi'an in 1974 is one of the greatest archaeological finds of the 20th century.
Now, you can stand face-to-face with these terra cotta warriors. In November 2009, National Geographic Museum will host Terra Cotta Warriors: Guardians of China’s First Emperor, an exhibition featuring treasures from the tomb complex including 15 life-size figures, weapons, armor, coins, and more. Don't miss this chance to see the largest collection of significant artifacts from China ever to travel to the United States.The exhibit was a real treat. There is so much to see and do in our Nation's Capitol, and this is one of the treasures we were able to take in during this trip.
The nomination and election came as a complete surprise to the entire Minnesota delegation, including the nominee!
We are all very proud of RWB John, and know that he will represent the Grand Lodge of Minnesota, and Freemasonry, admirably in his new position.
I am proud to be your brother, John!
The photo shows SGW Tom Hendrickson congratulating DGM John upon his election.
While construction was begun in 1907 and the Cathedral has been dedicated and consecrated, the work is far from complete. (By the way, the Gothic structure is intentionally off-kilter. There is only one right angle in the structure - the cornerstone laid in the northeast corner.)
Andy Serferlis told us the difference between gargoyles and grotesques. We saw the final resting place of the only U.S. President buried in the District of Columbia, Woodrow Wilson. The several chapels in the cathedral, the stained glass windows, the tapestry, the other works of art all serve to bring together a place for all Americans to worship and to celebrate the nation's heritage.
Many of the gargoyles and grotesques were specially commissed and display attributes of the donors. The tour was terrific and most informative! Thank you, Andy.
Shown standing in front of the Cathedral is Grand Secretary Doug Campbell, SGW Tom Hendrickson, PGM Tom Jackson, yours truly, and DGM John Cook.
Saturday, February 20, 2010
One of the exhibits told the story of the laying of the cornerstone of the Capitol by George Washington in a Masonic ceremony. The trowel used was in the exhibit, but where the gavel was displayed was a note that it was "Temporarily removed from the exhibit."
On Monday or Tuesday, I expect I'll be able to report here where the gavel went...
Friday, February 19, 2010
Patty and I are in Washington D.C. a couple days ahead of the North American Conference of Grand Masters. We were waiting for our bags at Ronald Regan Airport when Patty spotted a fez! Turns out it was Noble Jason Williams, and he was looking for us! We f0llowed him to a shuttle that delivered us to our hotel. Thanks, brother Jason and the Grand Lodge of Virginia for such great courtesy! (I only regret that I neglected to pull out my camera for a photo...)
Today (Friday), Patty and I took a tour of the U.S. Capitol and the Library of Congress. It was a great tour!
The first photo is of me across the street from the Supreme Court building. The second was inspired by the Middle Chamber lecture I gave last Tuesday in Sibley Lodge. I had talked about the five Orders of Architecture, but I'm quite sure that did not include the "Corn Cob Column"!
Tomorrow, the rest of the Minnesota delegation arrives and we get set to kick of the conference Sunday morning. I'll try to give an update or two while we're here.
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
I had the honor of walking four brothers up a flight of winding stairs last night, during the Fellowcraft Degree at Sibley Lodge in Winthrop.
I am shown in the photo with brothers Ken Reynolds of Sibley Lodge; Don Martinez of Temple Lodge in Hutchinson; Joe Gordon, Sibley Lodge and John Bourne, Charity Lodge, New Ulm.
In addition to the visiting candidates, nine brothers from their two lodges attended to make this a terrific evening.
It is just so much fun, and so much Masonry, when we do ritual!
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Monday, February 15, 2010
The Minnesota Masonic Historical Society hosted its second annual George Washington Day Dinner at the Minnesota Masonic Home Saturday night. Featured speaker was ... George Washington!
Actually, it was Carl Closs, living biographer, portraying General Washington. As you can see, as he greets WB Marvin Johnson of Garnet Lodge, he looked and dressed the part! He was most interesting. (By the way, WB Marv shares the birth date of our most famous Mason!)
Carl Closs resides near Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. He has become a leading authority on founder George Washington. He also dresses in a custom-made authentic reproduction of the 18th Century military regalia, including the leather boots worn by General Washington.
About 90 Masons and friends participated in the dinner.
Friday, February 12, 2010
Patty and I traveled to St Cloud Friday morning for a program at the Veterans Administration Hospital there. After a brief orientation, we broke into smaller groups to visit some of the patients there, delivering valentines, long distance calling cards and vouchers to be used at the commissary. It was very nice to shake hands with true American heroes, who have given so much in the defense of our country.
Back in the lunchroom, we had an opportunity to see some remarkable artwork done by the veterans at the hospital. The winners go on to the national contest. Good luck to our local veterans!
We also had the chance to spend much of the morning with Peter Kloslowski, the Masonic Service Association liaison to the St Cloud VA for about 18 years. Peter and the other dedicated MSA volunteers at the VA hospitals in Minnesota and throughout the nation. Thank you!
Last night, I attended the stated communication at Ancient Landmark Lodge No. 5 at the Masonic Center in St. Paul. There was a very nice crowd on hand for dinner, including five candidates who will begin their Masonic journey in just a few weeks. I'm shown with candidate Lt. Mickey Crulick, an Iraq veteran who was wounded in the service of our country.
Worshipful Master, Allan Floyd, was kind enough to allow me to make a few remarks after dinner, instead of during the communication, so I could talk to the candidates as well as the brothers.
I was received in form, along with Area Deputy Ken White, District Representatives Dayton Berg and Todd Henderson, and Custodian of the Ritual, Don Olsen. The meeting was quite interesting.
Congratulations to Brother (and Junior Warden) Keith Reierson, who last Saturday passed his Monitor's exam on the First Degree. That is an accomplishment that I truly admire and respect.
Thanks to all the brothers of Ancient Landmark No. 5 for a very warm reception!
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Patty and I enjoyed a wonderful evening with Minnesota Masons in Phoenix, including a full table from my home lodge! (Photo on the left.) I hadn't see Brother Rodney Hansen and his wife, Sue, since they moved to Iowa in 1991!
The photo on the right shows PGM Phil Soderberg and his wife, Bobbie; PGM John Peterson and his wife, LaDonna; Arizona Grand Secretary Bill Robertson; Past Senior Grand Deacon (MN) Ben Holt and his wife Sylvia; and Patty and me.
I'm finishing this blog in the Phoenix Airport, waiting for a flight to Minnesota and snow, blowing snow and school closings. I keep asking myself, "What is wrong with this picture??"
Monday, February 8, 2010
In the meantime, Patty and I just returned to the hotel from a fieldtrip to the Desert Botanical Garden, just a few miles away. It was a wonderful time! Lots of different cacti, wildflowers and hummingbirds! (Makes us really ready for summer at Rice Lake!) We picked up an Arizona Christmas tree ornament (try to do that when we travel) and a cactus, which I'm sure I'll kill before the snow leaves Minnesota...
Which, I understand from the weather reports, may be an even longer time ...
Anyway, now we can kick back and relax a bit before heading over to the El Zariba Shrine Center for tonight's festivities! Check back tomorrow for a report and photos from the event.
Sunday, February 7, 2010
Patty and I attended the 30th annual Minnesota Mason Texas Reunion dinner Saturday night. A wonderful crowd of Masons from Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, New Jersey - even Manitoba were there! I was most surprised to see Past Grand Master Ken Butchart of Manitoba and his wife, Mary in attendance. Apparently, they had spotted a little article about the dinner (with my photo) in the local paper and contacted PGM Alyn Dull for tickets.
I was privileged to present widows pins to Mary Lou Learmont and Dottie Martin. That is such a moving presentation. We want our ladies to remember that, even though we are gone, they have assistance in the fraternity.
After a wonderful dinner of chicken and beef, PGM Chuck Baltos favored us with a couple of songs and PGM Alyn Dull introduced me for a few words.
Shown in the group photo are Past District Deputy Grand Master of Texas Mark Schlieper and his wife, Diane; PGM Alyn Dull and his wife, Anna; PGM Chuck Baltos and his wife Ginny; yours truly and Patty; PGM Warren Sonsteby and his wife, Carol; PGM (MB) Ken Butchart and his wife, Mary; and PGM Don Flood.
The warm Texas weather was topped only by the warm hospitality of the brothers and guests at the Rio Grande Valley Shrine Club. Thanks to all!
Friday, February 5, 2010
Patty and I are in South Texas for the annual Grand Master's Reunion with the Minnesota Masons who winter here. We are looking forward to the dinner and good fellowship Saturday night.
Watch for a report Sunday!
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Listening to the third section of the lecture of the First Degree (not only perhaps the most beautiful lecture in Masonry, but great literature by any standard), I was struck by the following:
By the exercise of BROTHERLY LOVE, we are taught to regard the whole human species as one family, the high and low, the rich and poor; who, as created by one Almighty Parent, and inhabitants of the same planet, are to
aid, support and protect each other. On this principle Masonry unites men of every country, sect and opinion, and conciliates true friendship among those who might otherwise have remained at a perpetual distance.
If Masons, in fact, ALL peoples, would abide by this admonition, what a beautiful, wonderful, respectful and peaceful world we could live in.
We don't have any control over ALL peoples, but we do over ourselves. Why don't WE attempt to do better to live up to this Masonic principal? If we do, the World will truly be a better place.