Friday, April 22, 2011
I was gazing out the window the other day watching the snowflakes falling upon the first new flowers of Spring. It reminded of a poem I learned from grade school.”Spring is a time of rebirth and renewal. The snows of winter melt away, flowers bloom, and the world seems new again.
What I appreciate about Spring is that explosion of new growth. The trees and plants and the air is filled with new energy. With the display of beauty that is better than I can remember.
So what does Spring have to do with Freemasonry? I think that we can learn from Mother Nature and use the time to give birth to new and better ways of doing things. Much like in the fall when trees drop their leaves and then are re-born in the spring.
And just like the Spring. Minnesota Freemasonry is experiencing new growth in new leadership, and many new programs that will be rolling out. While renewing many existing established one .
Just two weeks have passed since I took the obligation to serve as your Grand Master. I would like to give you an outline here of what you may expect to see in the next few week. The below is a part of my acceptance speech.
At this time I’m going to give you an outline -- in a nutshell -- of what I envision for the Craft for the upcoming year.
I believe that the Grand Master and Grand Lodge must lead by example…. to demonstrate its relevancy to our lodges and thereby inspire the lodges to be even more relevant to their members and community.
Some have remarked, with the best of intentions, that I’m a shadow of my former self…
Last year on April 8th, 2010 I applied my Masonic teachings and started my diet-Today I stand in front of you 100 pounds lighter.
I wanted to be prepared for the race ahead of me. I want to show you, that you up and coming leaders must prepare for the race ahead of you, as you plan for your coming year, or you masters, as you race to complete yours.
Many changes are ahead:
This year we will be breaking new ground in Minnesota by establishing pilot projects that will bring greater visibility to the Masonic lodges in their communities all across the state of Minnesota.
We are going to address some of our old problems using new ideas while holding on to our valued traditions.
These projects are based on other programs that have had great success in other Grand Lodges and by a small number of successful Minnesota Lodges.
2011 will be a pilot year for the Lodge Open House Program where at least twenty specifically selected lodges will be asked to participate in holding events spanning three months. This will include Lodge Re-union, Open Houses, and New Member Nights. Lessons of learned successes and challenges experienced this first year will be collected for program improvement going forward.
This three part plan will help the local lodge become more relevant to its members, gain positive exposure in their community and provide new opportunities to obtain new members.
It is the solemn duty of the Grand Master to promote the image of Minnesota Freemasonry, and part of that job is to support Minnesota Masonic Charities. Therefore, I will be leading a team called “Masons in Motion” in running the Twin Cities Marathon while using that race to raise money for Masonic Charities. Supporting me in this venture and highly visible around here this weekend are the brethren of one of my lodges, Sir Winston Churchill #351.
This event supports those who support us, in order to give back, and make Minnesota Masonic Charities even stronger for future generations. The goal for the Masons In Motion project is to encourage pledges as individuals or lodges. A letter was mailed to all lodges several weeks ago, encouraging participation, and to attempt to gain a pledge from every lodge in the state. We also hope to earn pledges from as many individuals as possible. This pledge can be large or small.
Training like this is…, well…, I thought losing weight was tough. Let’s just say that marathon runners are a breed apart. Already, the team has added five other runners.
I need your help… I’ll be 57 years old just days after the Marathon. This time last year I couldn't’t run across the street not to mention 26 miles. Now, I come home from work and put my shoes on and out the door I go. I run for three to five miles to train for the day… its exhausting work.
Run with me. By that, I mean, step up for your lodges, and pitch in. Sure, you can run the race. But, in a larger sense, step up and accept my challenge to take your game up a notch, and make this a great year for your lodge and your community. And brothers, dig deep and consider a donation to Charities as part of our Masons in Motion project.
It is important for you to know that 100 % of the funds you pledge goes directly to Charities. Neither my race team, nor Sir Winston Churchill retains any of the funds in this effort.
I hope to see you all at the finish line.
Now if that’s not enough pain and suffering how about this?
I have always encouraged lodges to support those charities that help their local communities. One such charity is Special Olympics. Special Olympics Minnesota is founded on the belief that people with intellectual disabilities can, with proper instruction and encouragement, learn, enjoy and benefit from participation in individual and team sports.
The Minnesota Special Olympics is one of those organizations who can help make a difference in people’s lives.
I will lead teams of Local Lodges across the state to participate in the annual Polar Bear Plunge, benefit ting the Special Olympics.
For some reason it was chillier this year than it had been in previous years…
Again, we will jump into frozen lakes in the middle of a Minnesota Winter to gain positive awareness of Minnesota Freemasonry while raising money for children with disabilities. Those of you that have jumped with me before will be able to attest to that this is one of those experiences that is filled with Brotherly Love.
These are just a few of the events that are going to be going on in the next few months. If you want to hear a lot more stick around for the installation.
Let’s briefly talk about appointments:
Worshipful Brother Ed Halpaus, will you please rise?
My plan is to appoint Worshipful Brother Ed Halpaus as the Junior Grand Warden to the progressive line. If tradition prevails he will be Minnesota’s Grand Master in 2018. As you know, Brother Ed is a tireless worker of the Craft. He works four to eight hours a day to provide Masonic Enlightenment as the Grand Lodge LEO. His work is published and read worldwide. He brings much credit to Minnesota Freemasonry.
Ed will never say that a project is too big or will take too much time.
Ed’s Masonic resume and credentials provided him with the tool box of knowledge to get the job done.
He is driven for his love and passion for the Craft.
Ed is ready for the challenge of guiding the Grand Lodge into the future.
I am proud to call him my friend and Brother.
There are a number of other important and strategic appointments that I am planning to make. I will reveal those latter this afternoon.
My theme for this year will be “Freemasonry A Way of Life.” I will be talking about this theme throughout the year, and celebrating the ideals and teaching that sets Freemasons apart from the rest.
The blueprints are now complete and will be placed upon the trestle board. Now is the time for us to work together and overcome some of the challenges that we face to ensure the future of Freemasonry in Minnesota.
It is my wish that you be blessed with good health and accomplishments now and in the days to come.
I pray that our Great Architect will watch over us but more especially our men and women in our Armed Forces. May he bless them and keep them safe.
Together, we can fight the good fight. Together, we will win the race.
See all at the finish line !
Saturday, April 16, 2011
The Worlds oldest man Walter Breuning of Great Falls Montana has layed down his working tool and walked out the West gate at 114 years.
He passed away of natural causes in a Great Falls hospital. He has not been feeling good most of April.
Walter was born in Melrose Minnesota on September 21 1886.
Walter has requested no funeral service. He asked that donations be made to the Shriner's Hospital and to the Scottish Rite Language Disorder Center.
I know Walter will be missed by his Brothers. I was at a few Masonic gatherings and heard stories about Walter from a few Past Grand Masters that knew him.
Alas My Brother
Monday, April 4, 2011
The Long and the Short of It – Shrine Sporting Clays Association Going on its fifth year, the Yaarab Shriners out of Georgia has taken their skill and passion and made it into a local and national event to support and raise monies for The Shrine Hospitals for Children. Clay shooting has become a popular sport and past time, so it was an easy decision to tap into their interests to raise monies for the Shriners Children Hospitals and reach out to potential members for Yaarab Shrine to bring greater awareness of the organization and the Shrine Hospitals for Children. The success of Shrine Sporting Clay Association has attracted national attention and others look to their organization for ways of making their own events successful. To learn more about Shrine Sporting Clays Association and ways they have made this event and others successful; please visit their website, www.shrinesportingclays.org/about-us/get-involved/.