Thursday, July 23, 2015

A Test a Masonic Story

The Test

Author Unknown

Several years ago, the story is told of a Mason who always wore his Masonic ring and lapel pin when in public.
On some occasions, he rode the bus from his home to the downtown area.
On one such trip, when he sat down, he discovered the driver had accidentally given him a quarter too much change.
As he considered what to do, he thought to himself, "You'd better give the quarter back. It would be wrong to keep it."
Then he thought, "Oh, forget it, it's only a quarter; who would worry about this little amount.
Anyway, the transit company gets too much fare; they will never miss it.
Accept it as a 'gift from God' and keep quiet."
When his stop came, he paused momentarily at the door, then he handed the quarter to the driver and said, "Here, you gave me too much change."
The driver with a smile replied, " I noticed your Masonic ring and lapel pin.
I have been thinking lately about asking a Mason how to join. I just wanted to see what you would do if I gave you too much change.
You passed the test.
Can you tell me how to become a Mason?"
When the Mason stepped off the bus, he said a silent prayer, "Oh God, Great Architect of the Universe, I almost sold you and my beloved Masons out for a mere quarter."
Our actions are the only Masonic creed some will ever see.
This is a really almost scary example of how people watch us as Masons and may put us to the test even without us realizing it!
Always be diligent, whether it be at the theater, restaurant, grocery, service station or just driving in traffic.
Remember, whether it be a lapel pin, a ring, or an emblem on the car, you carry the name of our great fraternity on your shoulders whenever you call yourself a Mason.
You never can tell who might be watching!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

First Impressions are Important


     While on a shopping trip to purchase a gift I came to understand that first appearances can have a lasting effect on a person.
     Not so long ago I wanted to purchase a very special gift for someone in my family. The store was in the Mall of America. I drove to the Mall and parked my car in the parking ramp just outside of the Nordstrom’s department store. I walked into the store where I was very warmly greeted by one of the store employees. I heard the comforting homey sounds of a piano being played. I saw the piano by the escalators. The pianist was wearing an emerald green formal dress and had a beautiful smile on her face and she played a lite classical piece.

As I walked past the perfume counters. I could feel the scents wrap around me and crept into my nose have a very warm and pleasing effect. As I looked around I realized that the Nordstrom company worked very hard using colors and tasteful d├ęcor, carpeting and highly

Polished floors, sounds and salespeople to create a sense of well being. Nordstrom’s wants their customers to feel good so they may linger and spend more time in the store and spend more money and feel that their visit was a satisfying experience and will want to return.

      I had a similar experience the first time I walked into a small Bait and Tackle store near Birchwood WI. I was greeted by the owner; the shop was as neat as a pin. The merchandise was professionally arranged in a manner that it was very easy to find things. Even the fat head minnows looked happy. I knew that this was my kind of place. My first impression was that I would get good service and advice. The cost of the purchases was what I expected and my time will not be wasted. I had become a good customer over the years.

    I think that we can take the principals from my two stories that “First impressions are important” and apply them towards our Masonic lodges and meeting places.
Ask your newest members what their first impressions are. When they stood in front of the building did they find the building neatly maintained with an attractive sign? What is their impression when they walk inside? Is the building well lite, and neat and clean and tastefully decorated? I suggest you develop a list of these first impressions and determine what some of the changes would be a benefit and develop a plan for achieving them and set a time for when they will be accomplished.

We want our lodges to be places where the members feel comfortable, and satisfied with the time they spend there. We want members to take pride in their lodge and think of their lodge as a special where they will return often and be an active member.
Good first impressions are tough to beat!
If you are interested in a check list to analyze your lodge Id be more than happy to send you one. Just e mail me or give me a call.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Brother Steals a Million Dollars from the Scottish Rite

Brother Fredrick McWilliams was hired as the Building Manager and IT specialist as a $32,000 a year salaried employee for the United Supreme Council 33rd degree Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite (for those unfamiliar with the name it is our Brothers Prince Hall Scottish Rite) in Memphis, Tennessee.

He has been accused in a criminal complaint issued by the Shelby County Attorney's office that during November of 2014 McWilliams gained unauthorized access to the United Supreme Council's checking account. He began writing checks to himself totaling $264,000. He then made unauthorized transactions on the Rites Pay Pal account for this personal use.  McWilliams' criminal spree continued after he obtained the Rites debit card and purchased NBA Memphis Grizzle tickets for $240,000.  He also made numerous withdrawals at gambling casinos.

An Audit was conducted in April of 2015 and the amount missing totaled over $1 million dollars.

McWilliams employment with the Scottish Rite had been terminated prior to the audit but it is believed that McWilliams destroyed evidence by deleting files from the server prior to the audit.

It should also be noted that McWilliams was removed as Grand Secretary of the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Tennessee.

Sources state that McWilliams was arrested while attending the Memphis Grizzle's game at the Fed-Ex Forum while he was seated in box seat sky box.

I wonder how jail food compares to the sky box food? I bet he is not smiling now.

He is currently being held at the Shelby County Jail on $100,000 bail. His next court appearance is scheduled for 07/10/2015.

Photo courtesy of the Shelby County Sheriffs Department.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Minnesota Masonic Charties Begins Construction

 Minnesota Masonic Charities has begun construction on Heritage Center.

Minnesota Masonic Charities has begun construction on a 50,000 square foot facility names Heritage Center.President of Minnesota Masonic Charities Eric Neetenbeek stated that by"Establishing a Masonic Heritage Center...provides an opportunity to honor the work and values of Masons in Minnesota.
When its completed it will include a 425 seat auditorium,catering kitchen and dining facility, museum space, library and conference space.
The exterior will match the exiting beautiful Masonic Home. Made with stone and brickwork that represent the golden age of architecture.
Personally I cant wait.....

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Minnesota Masonic Charities 2015 Scholarships Announced

Leading Scholarship Provider in Minnesota Announces 2015 Recipients

73 Students Receive Scholarship Funds from Minnesota Masonic Charities

MINNEAPOLIS--()--Minnesota Masonic Charities (MMC) proudly announces the recipients of its 2015 Scholarships Program. As part of its continuing commitment to building a better future for Minnesota, the nonprofit organization provides annual awards to some of the state’s most promising scholars.
“We have seen an increase in recipients for our newer award categories, Undergraduate, Vocational and Fraternal”
Since 2008, the organization has provided more than $1.5 million for the continued education of more than 208 Minnesota students. In 2015 alone, MMC will distribute nearly $500,000 to 73 new and 103 renewal scholarship recipients.
“Our scholarship recipients reflect the values and character that are important to Masons,” said Eric Neetenbeek, Minnesota Masonic Charities president and CEO. “They demonstrate integrity and dedication – two traits we believe exemplify leadership. We have great faith in the individuals we select for these awards each year.”
MMC offers up to 95 scholarship awards annually. The Signature, Legacy, Heritage and Vocational scholarships are made available to high school seniors on an equal opportunity basis, with no discrimination for age, gender, religion, national origin or Masonic affiliation; an Undergraduate scholarship for up to twenty current college undergraduates is available to allow for continued education. In addition, up to twenty Fraternal awards are available to students with some fraternal affiliation to the Masons.
“We have seen an increase in recipients for our newer award categories, Undergraduate, Vocational and Fraternal,” said Neetenbeek. “This means qualified students are taking advantage of every opportunity for financial support made available to them through the Masonic Family.”
All awards range from $1,000 to $5,000 per year, and students may renew their scholarship awards annually, provided they maintain scholastic performance. Neetenbeek hopes to expand the MMC Scholarships Program further, with the goal of reaching $1 million in scholarship funds distributed annually by 2018.
The 2015 new scholarship recipients hail from within the Twin Cities; Duluth, Rochester, Stillwater; and smaller communities statewide. For more information about the Minnesota Masonic Charities, MMC Scholarship programs or recipients, please contact Kelly Johns at or 952.948.6202.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Good Times

Friday, May 22, 2015

Memorial Day Beginnings

Legion Family flower of remembrance

The poppy as the memorial flower for the American war dead is a tradition which began in the years following the first World War. Veterans returning to their homes in this country remembered the wild poppies which lined the devastated battlefields of France and Flanders, and the soldiers of all nations came to look upon the flowers as a living symbol of their dead comrades' sacrifice.

A Canadian officer, Colonel John McCrae who was killed during the war, immortalized the flowers in his famous poem, "In Flanders' Field." Its opening lines are familiar to millions of people around the world, 

"In Flanders' field the poppies blow,
Between the crosses row on row---"
Returning servicemen brought with them memories of the battlefield poppies, and the flower soon took on a sacred significance. The red blossoms became the flower of remembrance for the men whose lives had been lost in the defense of freedom. As a memorial emblem of the war dead, it underlined the plight of those men who did not die, but returned permanently disabled. The poppy soon became a symbol of honoring the dead and assisting the living victims of the war.

In 1924, a poppy factory was built in Pittsburgh, Pa., providing a reliable source of poppies and a practical means of assistance to veterans. Today, veterans at VA medical facilities and veterans homes help assemble the poppies, which are distributed by veterans service organizations throughout the country. Donations received in return for these artificial poppies have helped countless veterans and their widows, widowers and orphans over the years. The poppy itself continues to serve as a perpetual tribute to those who have given their lives for the nation's freedom.

Donations received in return for these artificial poppies have helped countless veterans and their widows, widowers and orphans over the years. The poppy itself continues to serve as a perpetual tribute to those who have given their lives for the nation's freedom.

Thank you to the American Legion and the Veterans Administration for photo and information.