On Saturday June 23rd, the Grand Chapter met for its Annual Convocation. This year was the 150th Annual Convocation. Our Grand Chapter had some business that it hadn’t had in more than sixty years. Our Grand Chapter chartered not one but two new Chapters, Overseers Chapter No. 103 and Anoka-Shekinah Chapter No. 104. I have now seen two lodges and two chapters receive charters in the state of Minnesota. This should end all the doubtful talk out there that Masonry is dead. There is fervency and zeal in Minnesota Masonry. What a proud day.
|Companions of Anoka-Shekinah Chapter No. 103|
|Companions of Oveseers Chapter No. 103|
Oh, oh, oh, and there was that little thing about Corinthian Chapter No. 33, the Chapter that I happen to be the High Priest of, was just award the membership award for last year for the highest net increase in membership. Hughie and I were completely without words... for about a minute. It’s because of the dedication of the companions in Corinthian Chapter and many great friends of the Chapter (James, thank you) that we are thriving. I know we will continue to serve as a beacon for Capitular Masonry with many petitions signed and petitioners ready and willing to jump into this major undertaking.
Okay, now that I’m done talking about Chapter, let me talk about my Saint John the Baptist’s Day. My wife and I woke up and got ready early on Sunday. Our son woke up just a little later. We were getting ready to go to church. But this wasn’t just a normal Sunday, this was June 24th, the Feast Day of Saint John the Baptist, one of two patron saints of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons. We hopped into the car and drove to Faribault.
I entered the Faribault Masonic Temple not really knowing what to expect. I’m a member of two lodges and Faribault No. 9 happens to be one of them. We had been throwing out an idea of reviving an old tradition of Masonry. There is documented evidence that Masons would, on the Feast Day of Saint John, process to a house of worship. We finally felt that we should and could do something like this. We received special dispensation to open our lodge, call to refreshment and process to Our Merciful Savior Episcopal Cathedral.
I’m not an Episcopalian. However, I do know about Our Merciful Savior because of its connection to a very prominent Minnesotan. Our Merciful Savior served as the cathedral for Bishop Henry Whipple. Bishop Whipple is best known for pleas of clemency to President Lincoln for 303 Eastern Dakota men who had been put on trial and sentenced to die as a result of the Dakota Wars that raged through the state of Minnesota. President Lincoln commuted 264 sentences but allowed 38 prisoners to be hung in the largest mass executions in American history. The memory of that sad day remains in Minnesota even now. Here is a copy of his letter to President Lincoln. This was a man holding to his principles against the hostile winds of Manifest Destiny.
Here's a video about Bishop Whipple and the Cathedral:
Going back to the Procession, I found it amazing that a mere twelve brothers could do something as historic as this. With our piper at the head of the line, our Master next to the Chaplain holding the Holy Bible, we began marching down the street. The walk was beautiful and the downtown quite empty. As we crossed Central and saw the Cathedral’s bell tower in view, I finally felt the historic nature of this event.
We entered the Church to the sounds of of a bagpipe echoing off the vaulted ceiling. Again, I had never seen an Episcopalian service before so it was a very new and richly rewarding experience to see how others worship G-d. The Worshipful Master was introduced and invited to give a few words. Worshipful Master Jimmy gave a short and respectful address explaining who we were and why we were there.
After the Church service ended, we assembled and processed back to the Masonic Temple. Of course, now the sleepy town had awoken and it was fun to see the confused faces as we walked back to the door. We closed the lodge, changed cloths, and had a picnic at the park across the street from the church.
|Assembling Outside of the Church Before Processing in|
We are starting to plan our next year’s Saint John’s Day procession. My hope is that we make this an annual event. Thanks to Our Merciful Savior Cathedral for allowing us to join you, thanks to all the brothers who attended and as always, a special thanks to the families that came, especially my wife, the love of my life.