Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Happy Birthday Prince Hall

photo St Johns Lodge #5 Baltimore MD

 

Sunday, August 8, 2021

Grand Lodge of Minnesota Past Grand Masters Luncheon 2021

 

Front row: left to right Sr. Grand Deacon Robert S. Davis, Jr. Grand Stewart Bruce A. Carson, MWB David E. Olson-2013, MWB Jack Benson-1995, MWB John R. Gann-2015, MW Grand Master Rolf M. Widstrand, MWB Eric J. Neetenbeck-1996, MWB Steven R. Johnson 2006, MWB Roger M. Taylor 2001, Junior Grand Warden Foster D. Solem, MWB Jeffrey N. Lewis 1999

Back row; left to right Grand Treasurer Frank Spevak, Deputy Grand Master Tony R. Kroll, Junior Grand Deacon Shawn R. Carrick, MWB Thomas Jackson-2008, MWB Thomas E. Hendrickson-2011, MWB Andrew Rice-2005, Senior Grand Warden Dayton L. Berg, MWB Eathan A. Seaberg-2019-2020, MWB Robert L. Darling-2016


 The Twelfth Annual Past Grand Masters luncheon was held on August 6, 2021, at the Minnesota Masonic Home in Bloomington, Minnesota (Covid prevented us from meeting in 2020). 

It is an occasion for all the Past Grand Masters along with the current Grand Master and his Officers to celebrate our heritage and honor our traditions, embracing the present while looking to the future.  

We have gathered since 2009 in the mid to late Summer when things are more relaxed, and it’s easier to travel. It’s also a more convenient time for the Grand Master and his officers to attend before their calendars become filled with Lodge events. 

It’s a wonderful opportunity for all of us to escape our daily activities for a time and to gather together in one place for just a couple of hours to share past memories and discuss the future with the newest officers. 

There were many who could not attend due to health issues, work and family commitments and we missed them, we were able to receive updates from those familiar with their circumstances.

There were three deaths in our Masonic Family this year:

Past Grand Master George W. Christie 1952

Past Grand Master Charles Baltos 1991

Past Grand Master Charles J. Luman 1998

This year was an especially satisfying year to meet after being isolated from our Masonic Brotherhood this past year due to Covid. It was good to be able to give each other a hearty handshake, and look into each other’s eyes, and share with each other what’s happening in our lives. It was also a good reminder to appreciate and remember those who served before us, celebrate their lives, and enjoy the time that we have together.

 

 

Saturday, June 26, 2021

Sibley Lodge #209 Dedication Ceremony

 St. John the Baptist Day June 24, 2021

On June 24, 20201, St John the Baptist Day, just a few hours before a full moon, Sibley Lodge #209 held a Dedication Ceremony and Open House at their new Masonic Temple in Arlington, Minnesota.

Sibley Lodge #209 has been in continuous service in Winthrop, Minnesota for 127 years and they had owned and occupied the same two-story brick building for 100 years. The lodge had occupied the second floor but there were 25 steep steps to walk up to attend lodge meetings.

Several years ago, the lodge members conducted a needs assessment of the lodge building.  The members carefully examined the needs and repairs of the building to continue its functionality. The costs of rewiring the entire building, up grading the electrical system, and potentially installing air conditioning they found the costs were staggering.

The members determined a better solution would be sell the building and locate a new building or space that was structurally sound, modernized and on one floor for easy access for all members. 

Approximately a year and a half ago they learned that a building at 105 4th Ave NW in Arlington, Minnesota was going up for sale. Many of the members of the lodge were very familiar with the building and the most recent tenant has been light technology manufacturing company. Past Grand Master Tom McCarthy used to walk past the building on his walk to his high school when it was a Dry Cleaners. The building size, condition, and location was a great fit for the lodge. The members considered the layout a blank canvas and they have created a wonderful and purposeful Masonic Temple.


While a move is not easy, much credit should be given to the membership themselves for a successful sale and relocation. The entire project was only made possible by the generosity of the donation of time and financial pledges. Many members pitched in did a lot of painting, cleaning, and moving furniture.


Grand Master Rolf M. Winstrand

The Dedication Ceremony began with a two-block parade by the Brothers of Sibley Lodge down Main Street. They were followed by six Past Grandmasters, and the current Grand Master of Minnesota Masons, Rolf M. Winstrand and his Officers. 

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Once assembled in the Lodge the ceremony was begun by the Honorable Mayor of the City of Arlington Richard Nagel, as he welcomed everyone and made the opening comments.

The Grand Master and Officers moved to the center of the lodge room near the alter. The Grand Master then employed the ancient application of the square, level and plumb to demonstrate that the cornerstone of the physical building was well suited to promote good men to strive for knowledge and truth, to learn and be involved in universal benevolence. 

The Grand Officers poured Corn, Wine and oil on the cornerstone. Each of them has a special significance. Corn is the emblem of plenty, Wine is the emblem of joy and gladness, Oil is the emblem of peace. 

At the conclusion of the ceremony, all attendees were free to tour the building while enjoying lemonade and cookies. 

I hadn’t been to Sibley Lodge for a few years, and it was a great time to catch up with many Brothers and after the pandemic isolation is was great to be able to socialize, see so many and take pictures. 


I have seen lodges that are struggling, lodges merging, lodges surrendering their charters. I see our Masonic edifices being torn down, sold or turned into event centers for weddings. From my corner of the world, attending the Sibley Lodge Dedication for a new Masonic Temple was very uplifting and encouraging.  It is a testament to the members that they found a winning solution to continue to prosper.   
   
Past Grand Master-Grand Lodge of Minnesota at Sibley Lodge for Dedication 


Tuesday, June 8, 2021

What you Should Know about the Masonic Service Association Short Talks Bulletin


Graphic by the MSA


What you should know about:

The Masonic Service Association Short Talk Bulletin

By Tom Hendrickson P.G.M. Grand Lodge of Minnesota

 Lodge Education

 

Tonight, I’d like to talk about the Masonic Service Association and the Short Talk Bulletin.

How many of you know what the Masonic Service Association is?

 

Did you know…

It was during World War I that various Grand Lodges, and influential Masons approached the federal government and offered their support to the American Troops. It was determined that the Masons would be able to serve a very useful purpose in helping the armed forces, however the government did not want generals and other officials “pulling their hair out” in dealing with 48 separate Grand Lodges (the United States only had 48 states then).  So, in 1919, at the Conference of Grand Masters in Cedar Falls, Iowa, the Masonic Service Association was created to coordinate the U.S. Masonic efforts to provide aid to the American servicemen.

The mission of the MSA, was and is, to provide services to the Grand Lodges that they would find difficult to provide for themselves. In 1919, the association developed four functions that are still in effect today.

Disaster Relief

When a natural disaster or terrorist attack occurs the MSA will make an appeal to all the Grand Lodges and act as the central collection point for funds. All the money received by the MSA is sent to the Grand Lodge in the affected state.  No portion of the money is kept by the MSA but is passed thru at 100% of the amount collected. I have personally seen the MSA efforts after the 2008 Iowa Flood and again after the 2011 North Dakota Flood. 

VA Hospital Visitation Program

I could talk an entire hour about the good work and services that this program provides, including visitation and personal services for disabled or lonely veterans. Last year, in 2020, this program provided 500,000 volunteer hours provided by Masons to 150 VA Hospitals and state veteran homes across the United States.

Masonic Information Center

The MSA has created a wide variety of pamphlets, booklets, and brochures that tell the public about Freemasonry. These materials have been sent to more than three million people in the past twenty years.

Education

The MSA also publishes the Short Talk Bulletins, and Short Talk Podcasts.

 

How many of you know what a Short Talk Bulletin is? Raise your hand-ok

Tom Hendrickson-Collection
 Did you know…

Every month the MSA sends via the US Mail the Short Talk Bulletin to every Grand Lodge as well as every Lodge in the United States and Canada? They even have subscribers in New Zealand, Australia, Germany, Japan, Mexico, England, Ireland, and Scotland.  A whopping 16,000 are sent every month, making the Short Talk Bulletins the most widely distributed masonic publication in the world.

When was the last time you read one?

Did you know…

The Short Talk Bulletin covers sixteen different subjects or categories? The subjects range from the workings of the lodge, leadership, Esoteric Symbolism, philosophy, charity and famous Masons, just to name a few.

Did you know…

The Short Talk are written by some of the most noteworthy Masonic Scholars of the 20th and 21st Century.  Influential thinkers as well as ordinary masons who have valuable insights to share. The very well-known and admired Masonic Author, Carl H. Claudy, wrote 350 Short Talk Bulletins and has been referred to as the “Father of the Short Talks”.

When was the last time that a Short Talk was read, and discussed in a Lodge Meeting?

Did you know…

They are designed to be read in Lodge during a meeting. Each Short Talk is designed to be a maximum five-minute read. A short discussion is encouraged following the reading. This method will produce a fifteen-to-twenty-minute Lodge Education Session at every lodge meeting for twelve months.  

Do you know…

Where the Lodge stores them?

As Grand Master and in the Grand Lodge I had the opportunity to travel and visit all the Lodges. I still do. One of my favorite questions I would ask the Lodge Master and Secretary is, “where do you keep your Short Talk Bulletins”? 

One Lodge Secretary proudly said, “I have every Short Talk Bulletin since I’ve been the Secretary here for the last seven years. I asked, where are they? He said, “in the safe”. He walked over to the lodge safe and opened it.  Inside I saw a neat stack of the Short Talk Bulletins kept together with red and yellow rubber bands. I asked him why he kept them in the safe. He replied, “I don’t want the Masonic secrets just laying around for anyone to see”.

Another Lodge Secretary said, “oh, I have them right here”. He then opened a drawer of his desk. I peered into the drawer and saw this mass of unopened envelopes containing the Short Talk Bulletins. The secretary said, “I thought they were junk mail; we get a lot of junk mail you know”.

One Worshipful Master replied, “well our Junior Warden was interested in them, so we had them mailed to him”. The Lodge Secretary replied that the Junior Warden wasn’t the Junior Warden any longer because he demitted two years ago.

For my last story, the Lodge Secretary said that every meeting he announced that he has received the new Short Talk Bulletin and places it on the corner of his desk for anyone who wants to read it. He said that “it just disappears, and I never see it again, so I know at least one person reads it”.  

 Did you know…

The MSA has published The Short Talk Bulletin continuously every month since January 1923. Let’s see 12 issues a year for 98 years equals a total of 1176 bulletins.

I think it’s easy to see why most, if any, Lodges don’t have a complete set of the Short Talks. I know that there are many Grand Lodges that possess a complete or near complete collection of The Short Talk Bulletins. Most of those are under lock and key which greatly restricts accessibility.

Did you know…

The leadership at the MSA displayed the advance vision to ensure the entire collection would be available. They embarked on a daunting task to collect all of the Short Talk Bulletins and they had the wisdom to select S. Brent Morris, Editor of the Scottish Rite Journal, to get the job done.

In 2013 the MSA began the colossal undertaking of collecting all the Short Talk Bulletins and placing them in chronological order and editing the typeface to give or more modern font. Then the bulletins were bound into a volume that includes an index in the back of the book for easy reference. The complete set is six volumes covering the years from 1923 to 2017. Each volume averages 700 pages.

Initially there was a choice of two different bindings. The Master Mason Edition sold for $98.00 and the Grand Master Edition for $158.00. In reviewing the MSA website, the price has dramatically decreased and there is an extremely limited availability.

How many here know what a Podcast is?

Listening to a podcast is like listening to a radio program, but the podcast has many advantages. The radio program is usually live, and you need to tune in at a specific time. The Podcast is a prerecorded digital audio recording that is made available on the internet. You can download it to your computer or your phone, and listen to it, anytime, anyplace, anywhere you wish.

Did you know…

That the MSA has a Short Talk Bulletin Podcast?

The Short Talk Podcast was the brainchild of Brother Michael A. Smith of Freeport Lodge #23 Grand Lodge of Maine. His inspiration came to him one night as he was serving as Tyler of his Lodge. As he was out in the ante room, performing his Tyler duties he discovered a dusty bookshelf containing many old Masonic books. The book that caught his eye was “Short Talks on Masonry” by Joseph Fort Newton. He found that the” book was made up of short, deep yet digestible, independent chunks, disseminating the history, allegories and meanings to be found within Masonry”

The discovery of the old book took Michael on a new Masonic adventure for two reasons. Michael was a new Mason and he found the information contained in the book meaningful in his Masonic Journey.

After some conversations with Brothers, he also discovered the MSA Short Talk Bulletins. He saw that the almost of a hundred years’ worth of Short Talk Bulletins had been placed in six massive books. He said that “all that wonderful information is not accessible to the average smartphone savvy Brother on the go, and that the majority of the Craft today had little exposure to its excellent content”.

The second factor that prompted Michael was his day job is a Producer and Publisher of Audio Books.  He felt the material in the Short Talk Bulletins would be perfectly suited for a Podcast. He could get those “thousand-plus-faceted jewels of Masonic light” out to a broader audience from those forgotten lost leaflets and he could professionally produce them as a spoken audio file. His vision of the Short Talk Bulletin Online Audio Library was born.

Michael approached the Masonic Service Association and discovered that “Apparently, no one had seriously considered producing audio from the publications, so I composed a contract that brought profits back to the Masonic Service Association of North America to directly support their worthy campaigns”. 

Michael Smith has also engaged many other Masons to help narrate. You will hear the voices of various Grand Masters, Grand Lodge Officers, and even notable Masons such as Chris Hodapp Author of Freemasons for Dummies. Another interesting dimension is that Michael has ask authors who had written a Short Talk to narrate it for the podcast. Many times, when an author who reads their work, it can make it more of a personal experience.  

The podcast is just another way to help those that are searching for a pathway to help them towards self-improvement.

Did you know…

In January 2020, the Grand Lodge of Minnesota presented a donation of $12,000 from the Col. James B. Ladd Fund to the MSA to continue the production and improvement of its Podcast program. The MSA greatly appreciated the generosity of the Grand Lodge of Minnesota.

Did you know…

The Short Talk Bulletin Online Audio Library currently has 282 podcasts that have been produced and are available to download and listen to. There are another 100 episodes that have been recorded and are being prepared to be released. There are approx. two to three new releases every week. Its easy to see that it’s getting a lot of use, for there have been 207,000 downloads. The first podcast was released on November 30, 2018.

You can subscribe to the podcasts for $20.00 and remember that all profits directly help the MSA. You can subscribe at the following link.

https://shorttalkbulletin.com/subscribe-to-podcast/

 

Did you know… 

Once you subscribed you can get those timeless lessons of masonic light and it can be as easy as shouting, “Hey Alexa” or asking Siri, “find me the Short Talk Bulletin”.

 

  

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

St. Paul Masonic Lodge #3 Building for another One Hundred Years

Past Grand Master of Minnesota Prince Hall Masons and Lodge Secretery Joe Gonzalez

 With the Covid Restrictions just being released by our Minnesota Governor it was my pure pleasure to  get back to Lodge. Tonight I went to St. Paul #3 one of my very favorite Lodges to visit. This smiling Brother who met me is Past Grand Master of Minnesota Prince Hall Masons Joe Gonzalez. Joe is also the Lodge Secretery. 

St. Paul #3 celebrates its Freemasonry in the Traditional Observance style. You will often just see the initials T.O. after the Lodge name. St. Paul #3 resides in Triune Masonic Temple built in 1911. It was built as a Masonic Building, so when you walk in; you walk into a real tradition.  

They had the front worked on in 2017-2018, and now they are under going a major restoration for the rest of the building. 


The building is undergoing a tuck point, and replacement of parts of the wall. The steam heat boiler system was 105 years old. The exterior windows and doors will be replaced as well. 

The Lodge is planning a major fund raising to help pay for it. The cost is just alittle over $400,000 to restore this Masonic Treasure. 

We live in a time, when every month we see in the news that another Masonic Lodge is demolished by the wrecking ball, or a Lodge is sold to a event planning company to hire out for weddings, and bachelor parties. It is heart warming that a Lodge under 80 members are under going fundraising to make an investment in their Lodge, so Freemasonry may be practiced for another 100 years. That's Love and Dedication for the Craft 

I hope you have a chance to visit the Lodge, and if you have an opportunity to help with their fund raising in the future I hope you will. 



Saturday, May 15, 2021

Red Wing Lodge #8 Table Lodge

On May 14th, 2021 Red Wing Lodge # 8 hosted its annual Table Lodge under Minnesota Covid Precautions at the St. James Hotel. The attendance was confined to just 36 people when the normal attendance is 72. The program was shortened, where normally we would honor our Scholarship Winners, remember our departed Brothers and a few other things, but a great time was experienced by all.

The evening begun with the Grand Master of Minnesota Masons Rolf W. Windstrand himself provided the delightful music that filled the room as we gathered and talked. Everyone commented on how nice it was to "see people again" this being most of our first social gathering in over a year.

I must apologize that these are the only photos that I took of the evening. I was too busy chatting, and getting caught up with Brothers and people that I haven't seen in a long time. I even snuck in a few handshakes and hugs.






 

Saturday, May 8, 2021

Celebrating the Life of Dexter C. Pehle

 



Dexter C. Pehle, a great Minnesota Mason, who I looked up to and respected for decades passed away on February 16, 2021. He was a Minnesota Mason for fifty-five and a half years.

Dexter was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota on May 19, 1935. He was a south side kid who graduated from Roosevelt High School with the class of 1953. Just a couple of weeks following graduation Dexter entered the U.S. Airforce and honorably served until 1959. After his military service Dexter had a long career at Sperry Univac as a Systems Engineer.

Dexter was a devoted and loving husband and father. He was married to his loving wife Muriel for over sixty years. Muriel would always attend all the Masonic dinners and events at Dexter’s side.

Dexter enjoyed singing and had a very nice singing voice. I recall someone ask Dexter if he ever sang professionally one evening and Dexter said that he sang in the Keesler AFB male choir. He said he enjoyed it very much, and that he was proud and fortunate to have had that experience.

Dexter joined Minnehaha Lodge #165 when it was a powerhouse of excellent Masonic activity. He was Initiated-Entered Apprentice May 4, 1965, Passed-Fellow Craft June 1, 1965, Raised Master Mason June 29, 1965. He also affiliated with Biwabik Lodge #293 the same day he was raised a Master Mason.

Dexter was asked to join the Line of Officers within Minnehaha Lodge, and he worked his way thru all the chairs and became the Master of Minnehaha Lodge in 1997. Dexter was an active member holding various officer positions until 2014.

Dexter was also an active member of both the York and Scottish Rite. 

Dexter was not just an accomplished ritualist, but he understood the ritual, and enjoyed talking about it. His performance of King Solomon is one of the best that I had ever seem. Dexter drove 200 miles to help perform the Royal Arch Degree in which I was the principal candidate which touched me deeply.

Dexter was a passionate student of every aspect of Freemasonry. He loved to share his knowledge with his Brothers. He was always cheerfully providing Masonic Education in his lodge or any lodge that asked him. I enjoyed lively discussions with Dexter over coffee. The Grand Lodge of Minnesota recognized Dexter’s contribution and awarded him the Minnesota Duane E. Anderson Excellence in Masonic Education Award for the 2003-2004 term.

Dexter was always a welcome sight at any event. When you saw him, he always had a smile, a firm handshake, a kind word, and a genuine interest in you.

One of my favorite stories about Dexter, that I will always remember, was the evening that I asked Dexter if he would join me in the Special Olympics Polar Bear Plunge at White Bear Lake in January. After I asked him, his face was frozen in shock. Now this is a rare occurrence for Dexter was always poised, and relaxed. I knew I had an opportunity for some fun, so I said “Come on Dexter, a jump in a frozen Minnesota lake in January will be refreshing and fun. Come on let’s do it for the kids!”  With the look of shock still on Dexter’s face, and not wanting to lose the opportunity I said, “well if you can’t jump with me, would you like to make a donation?”  

I have never seen a man reach for his wallet so fast in my life. Dexter reached in and pulled out a twenty-dollar bill. Dexter gave a sigh of relief and a smile appeared on his face. As he handed me the money, he said, “Tom, I would love to make a contribution” and we laughed. At the next few masonic events Dexter would bring a Brother over to me and said “Tom, here is a Brother who would like to join your team or make a donation”. Dexter became my straight man, and we had a lot of fun with that project.

Dexter and Muriel moved to California to be near their daughter some years ago. Dexter was an active visitor to Blue Lodges, Royal Arch Chapters, and proudly wore his Minneapolis Mounted Commandery uniform to Commandery meetings. Dexter told me he enjoyed the California weather, and didn’t miss his snow blower.

Dexter last gift on this earth demonstrates how thoughtful, and compassionate he was about people. Dexter donated his body to the University of Minnesota Bequest Program for Medical Research. Even in death Dexter is providing opportunities for future doctors to gain in depth knowledge of the human anatomy, and medical researchers in developing new surgical procedures.

Dexter walked with us on this journey during his life. He celebrated the craft’s success and happiness and provided a steady hand of support when the trail was rough. He shared his light, when our light was dim, to illuminate the path.

Though my Brother Dexter has now taken a different path and has gone home. His light continues to shine in our hearts. We enjoyed each other’s company while laughing and sharing along the way.  I shed no tears, for I have smiles of joy for that time that we shared on this earth.

Until we meet again…Alas My Brother