Sunday, October 25, 2009

Cornerstone Laying at Amplatz Children's Hospital

Today, the Grand Lodge of Minnesota, A.F. & A.M., performed a cornerstone laying at the University of Minnesota Amplatz Children's Hospital. Amplatz Children's Hospital will be a state-of-the-art facility replacing a much less satisfactory situation. The original setup involved the Children's Hospital being located within the adult hospital. This new building will have over 200 beds to provide top care for children and mothers. The hospital will be eco-friendly and will provide many ways for families to stay comfortable while their children are there including overnight rooms. The children will even have control over the lighting and color in their rooms, which has been shown to improve healing.

The purpose of the hospital is to help children and their families overcome extremely challenging times. We were told by the administrator of the hospital that the staff at Amplatz won't just deliver innovations in pediatric care but create them. To understand more about, you can fan them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter. It is a blessing that this state continues to push ahead medical research with the number of teaching hospitals, medical device producers and world class health systems based here. A wonderful video has been produced and can be viewed below:

This is a very proud day in University of Minnesota history. The ceremony was well attended by the brethren of Minnesota and the ceremony was well done,

including a very moving speech delivered by the Grand Orator and a great friend, Bill Callister.

It is no surprise that the Grand Lodge of Minnesota laid the cornerstone for this great work as Minnesota Masonry and the University of Minnesota has a great tradition of cooperation.

The Masonic Cancer Center Fund was originally founded in 1955 to help raise $1 million dollars for a center for terminally ill patients. The goal of the Masonic Cancer Center has changed dramatically from helping terminal patients at the end of life to finding a cure for cancer. The Masons of Minnesota, in 2008, gave the single largest gift to the University of Minnesota with $65 million.

The University of Minnesota is an important center for research and intellectual growth in the state of Minnesota. I'm very proud that our brothers have dedicated their time and money to continue advances in life changing medical research. Masons are pillars of our communities, supporting all those around.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Paying for Friendship?!

I am proud to be a Mason, a member of this ancient Fraternity. I was never in a Fraternity in college and I am fairly certain that I would not have joined one even if I had had the opportunity. The reason I bring up this topic is that I heard a very interesting statement about College Fraternities and Sororities. I was listening to old shows of the "In the Stream" with T.D. Mischke. The reporter that Mischke calls in the middle of show said something rather profound. The statement paraphrased was, “No, I didn’t join a Sorority because I didn’t think that I needed to pay to make friends; I can do that on my own.”

I had never heard fraternities or sororities explained this way. When we join Freemasonry, are we really just paying dues to make friends? What are we offering to our brethren except a chance to wear a square and compass ring?

In college, I never joined a fraternity for two reasons. One, there were no fraternities on campus but also, two, I never wanted to join one in the first place. I enjoyed dorm life in all my years in college. I’m not trying to insult college Fraternities as I think they serve a need on campus but they were never for me.

When I first joined Freemasonry, I really knew nothing of the Fraternity. Frankly, all that I knew was that I had Masonic roots extending from both my grandfathers. I already had my group of friends that was not connected to Masonry in any way, shape, or form. I was looking for something different, a new experience to help me grow as a person.

Masonry is a lifelong study in self-improvement, a place to meet men of different points of view or belief systems, and a time for reflection on the duty to serve. If we are to be a great society, we must understand that we are not buying into friendship. Sure, we make new friends while in Lodge but that is only one aspect of Masonry, we also learn to improve ourselves and our world around us. I would say that Masonry is one part college fraternity and one part college course.

In terms of making friends, Freemasonry is very good at bring men of very different views together to do great works. Frankly, I would have never met many of the brothers of my Lodge because I do not share a particular political belief or a certain religious faith. Yet, we can all come together, put all of those differences aside, and be friends, nay more, brothers, dedicated to helping each others’ families. This transformation from unknown person to related brother is beautiful. Masonry is not just about one’s self but it is also not only about making friends and living a communal existence; it is about forming each one of us into a better man through the lessons imparted in our ritual and teachings.

Sadly, I think some Lodges have begun to view their members as merely dues payers, like a hungry cartoon character on a deserted island imagining his friend’s head is a hamburger. Instead, we should be asking members why they’re not coming to meeting and what we need to do for them. Only then can we be more than just a group of guys paying to be friends.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

WB Ed Halpaus' "Qualifications to Be a Freemason"

Worshipful Brother Ed Halpaus, the Grand Lodge Education Officer for the Grand Lodge of Minnesota, A.F. & A.M., has recently posted a very thought-provoking video on Youtube on the qualifications of a candidate for the degrees of Freemasonry. This video doesn't merely focus on the simple qualifications such as being a man of good moral character and of a lawful age. He uses talking points from Mackey to focus on both the internal and external qualifications of a man who should consider Masonry as a way of life. Please share this video among your brothers and friends.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Corinthian Lodge #67 Rededicates Lodge Building

On Saturday, October 10th, my Lodge, Corinthian Lodge #67 of Farmington Minnesota, will be rededicating our Lodge building. The local paper, the Farmington Independent, has published an article about this event. Worshipful Brother Paul Hardt, the current Master of the Lodge, is quoted in the article:

We want to invite the entire community to attend this wonderful celebration. With all the interest people have shown in Masons and Freemasonry, through Dan Brown’s books, and the ‘National Treasure’ movies, we wanted everyone to see just what Masons do and what we are all about.
Corinthian Lodge is one of the oldest Lodges in the state of Minnesota. It was originally founded by returning Civil War soldiers in 1867. It initially met in various locations including the Odd Fellows Lodge building until Corinthian could afford our own building. Sadly, that building burned down in the Great Fire of Farmington (thankfully, the charter survived). The Lodge would not have a building of its own until 1914, the same building that we continue to meet in to this day.

Some of the invited guests include the Grand Master of Masons in Minnesota as well as the rest of the Grand Line. If you are in the area and would like to see the new refurbished Lodge hall as well as to see just what we do, come out to downtown Farmington. The event will begin at 4 pm. I will also post a map below to find Farmington Masonic Temple. We hope to see you there!

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