Thursday, December 31, 2009

Jeez, It's Been That Long

Well, my faithful readers, I have been very lax at writing on my site. I've discovered that the top hat really does not create the time to write an in depth piece on Masonic programs, etc. However, I can tell you that I've been having a great time with my brethren. We have a lot of stuff planned including a first for our Lodge, a Table Lodge/First Degree on the 20th of January.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Grand Lodge of Minnesota on Youtube

The Grand Lodge of Minnesota has now created a channel on YouTube. The channel includes videos of the Cornerstone Lying at Amplatz Childrens' Hospital and WB Ed Halpaus' excellent videos on Masonic subjects. You can check out an example below:

Thursday, December 10, 2009

My Grandpa in the Minnesota Mason

In the November-December 2009 Minnesota Mason, a photo of my grandpa Dick (circled above) was featured which was taken by my dad, Rick. My grandpa was receiving his sixty year pin from Fidelity Lodge #39 in Austin, MN. He became a Mason when he was 22. I hope, one day, to be as lucky as him to reach my 60th year. (Just gotta live 83 years). Congrtulations Grandpa Dick.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Master, now a Past Master?!

As I noted in my last post, I have been installed as the Master of Corinthian Lodge #67 in Farmington, MN. However, as of this Monday, I am now a Past Master. I know what you're thinking, "Say what?!" (I guess he thinks we're from 1995.) That's right, I was installed on Sunday afternoon, and then I received my Virtual Past Master degree from Corinthian Chapter #33.

The Virtual Past Master degree is an oddity. Originally, in England, only a brother that had served as a Master of a Lodge could be honored as a Royal Arch Mason. Royal Arch, or Holy Royal Arch as it is known in England, originally was under the auspices of the Grand Lodge. When the Chapters eventually became independent, so many brothers wanted to take part in the Royal Arch degree that they needed a way around the Past Master's requirement. Hence, the Virtual Past Master's degree was born to avoid the no innovation problem.

I'm continually amazed by the great degree work performed by the companions at Corinthian Chapter. I love being a candidate learning new lessons and continually rounding out my Masonic education. Whether brothers realize it or not, Chapter is a fascinating place to grow as a Mason. The lesson of the Past Master's degree is focused on the idea of leadership and good governance. In fact I was reminded as I went through the degree of Spider-man, "With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility."

As I take the actual Oriental Chair of my Lodge, I have found these lessons important, a great reminder of what I need to do to help my Lodge. As I start this new year, I am ever more excited to guide my Lodge to better success in the south Metro.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Installation 2009, Wow!

The Master and Wardens

My Lodge, Corinthian #67, had our Annual Installation of Officers for 2009-2010 on December 6th. My Lodge brothers elected me as Worshipful Master. I am truly honored and blessed that the brothers of my Lodge have faith in my abilities especially as I am still a pup of 27 years. I am excited for the upcoming year as I wish to continue the past few years successes in membership, temple restoration and programming.

This year, I am focusing my efforts on three guiding principles: experimentation, excellence, and excitement. I truly believe these three thoughts are the key to getting a more worthwhile lodge experience. As I said in my remarks to the brethren, families and guests, we, at Corinthian Lodge, are going to try lots of new things that we have never done before. We are going to hold more Table Lodges, more schools of instruction, more fundraising activities, more educational programs; in short, we're going to give to our brethren what I believe they deserve, a more meaningful Lodge experience.

Quantity and quality need not be competitors of each other. It is about finding the right balance. As President and Brother Theodore Roosevelt said, "In any moment of decision the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing." We must do more to find out what works or what doesn't work. I want to treat my Lodge as a laboritory, testing new ideas in an effort to make good on our promise as a progressive science.

Masonry stands upon a precipice. Unfortunately, as a Craft, many brothers look down the cliffface instead of seeing that there is another side, across the gorge. We need only bridge to the other side to save the Fraternity that we love. I believe my brothers and I have the tools and the talent in to continue building and strengthening our Lodge.

Finally, I want to thank those people that have always helped me. I first want to thank my wife who has allowed me to take part in something I have found I truly love doing. Without her support, I would not be half the Freemason I am today. I would also like to thank my parents for giving me their support as well as my dad for being willing to serve as sky pilot (chaplain) for next year. I also want to thank my Grandpa, a 60 year member for getting me into Masonry, and my Grandmas (maternal and paternal) as well as my brother and his fiancee for attending and giving their support to me. I would also like to thank Karen, my organist, for doing a great job. She has known me since before I was born and has always been there to help me if I needed it.

Of the brothers, I want to thank all of them for giving me the strength to work at making our Lodge a great place to be. I want to thank the officers for their willingness to serve the Lodge and lead it with me. A special thanks goes out to WBro. Paul who's year was filled with success which I will endeavor to match. I want to thank our Secretary Joe for all the painstaking work he goes through without complaint. I would also like to thank Bro. Steve for being when of the best cornermen ever. I would also like to thank my Mentor, WBro. Don, for serving as my installing Marshall. He was the first brother to really push me into focusing on Masonry, and having it become a part of my life. If it wasn't for his willingness to spend the time on learning my catechisms, I probably would have been far less active. I would also like to thank my good friend, WBro. James McNeely, our Area Deputy as my Installing Master. He has been a great friend. A man who always has thoughtful and thought-provoking insights into Masonic good governance. We, in the Southeast, are lucky to have him as our Deputy. There are many more I should thank but I am running long and they know who they are. ;)

I want to thank the brothers of Corinthian Lodge for giving me this opportunity to try new things. We have a great year ahead of us. Brothers, let's get to work.

Here are some photos from the event taken by my wife: