Saturday, June 25, 2016

Photos from Minnesota 2016 Royal Arch Grand Session-Day One

Here is our new Grand High Priest Clifford Isley and the new Grand Chaplain Tom Hendrickson (me)
Clifford is going to have a great year and will guide us to some new exciting areas. Im just honored to have been asked to join in and help.

This is our out going High Priest Greg Schultz. Greg had a good year, and had many various programs that he worked on that helped us get better organized, and set in the right direction.
The gavel he is holding was made by Hugh Swift our Brother with just about every title and talent as well.

This top hat is called "The Dusty Old Beaver" It came from The Star in the East #33 Lodge. Its well over 100 plus years. Its sat on all its Masters, a few Grand Masters, and a few Grand High Priests heads from Owatonna Minnesota

This was the box lunch served. It was a new attempt this wasnt as good as the bag lunch served at the Grand Lodge of Ohio, but it was ok

Monday, June 20, 2016

Red Wing Lodge “Bikes for Books” Captures Young Readers Attention

Bikes for Books Literacy Campaign
By Tom Hendrickson-PGM
About five years ago or so Red Wing Lodge #8 was looking for a project to help make their community a better place.  They approached Burnside elementary School in their hometown of Red Wing to partner for a program aimed at children’s literacy.
The Bikes for Books Literacy Campaign emphasizes the following.
It is essential to establish a love for reading early in a child’s life.
The program encourages students to read.
By encouraging reading, student’s comprehension skills improve.
The campaign recognizes student’s achievements in reading.

The program operates in this manner.  One boys bicycle and helmet along with one girls bicycle and helmet is given to one student per grade by random drawing.  To be eligible for the drawing a student must read eight books that have been approved by the teacher for that grade.  The teacher insures that the book is at the appropriate reading level (War and Peace is not at the third grade level. Ha) for the grade level.  The student receives one ticket for the drawing once the teacher has confirmed that the eight books have been read.  Reading eight books equals one change to win.  The more books the student reads the more chances they have to win.

In 2016 two bicycles were added to the program as prizes for the top readers within the entire elementary school.  This year 1152 books were read by the students and the top reader completed 120 books.
During the last week of school, at a school wide assembly, the drawings are held.  You can bet that there are a lot of kids with crossed fingers and a wish of “pick me, pick me”.

Red Wing Lodge and Burnside Elementary School Bikes for Books program has created a lot of excitement among the students and positive comments from parents and educators.  But the most important things are that the program encourages kids to read.

The Brothers of Red Wing Lodge would also like to thank MN Masonic Charities for assisting the Lodge in helping encouraging the kids at Burnside Elementary to read.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Mark Master Degree - The Operative to Speculative Connection

Mark Master Tracing Board
Mark Master Degree
The Operative to Speculative Connection
Tom Hendrickson P.G.M.

The Mark Master degree is the first degree in the Royal Arch Chapter.  It is an extension of the Fellowcraft degree.

The Fellowcraft degree contains a great amount of wisdom and knowledge.  Its symbols and lessons can take a lifetime to learn.  Though the degree itself may stand on its own merits, the candidate can be left with many unanswered questions.  The Mark Master degree compliments and illustrates, in a practical manner, many of those questions.

The Mark Master degree takes the candidate to a time immediately before the death of Hiram Abif at a setting within a working stone quarry near King Solomon’s Temple.  The candidate is now a workman as a Fellowcraft laboring in the quarries and presenting his work for inspection. 

The Mark Master degree is explicitly related to working and building with stone.  It takes its name from the medieval term Masons Mark. The Mark Master degree explains the moral and ethical lessons of life such as the values of integrity, honesty, charity, taking pride in your own work and individual responsibility.  The working tools of the mallet and chisel are introduced along with the wages being paid by coin. 

When the Operative Mason became a Fellowcraft, he selected a distinctive symbol known as the Masons “Mark”.  This mark would serve as his signature, logo or trademark.  This unique mark would be recorded and registered in the lodges “Book of Marks” and this mark would be used for his lifetime.  It was and remains common that a father would pass their mark onto their son.

In a historical context, the Masons Mark had many practical purposes.  The Mason’s employment was effectively piecework.  He was given credit for the work completed and paid based upon his marked stones.  He was also held accountable for the quality of this work as each Mason’s stones were marked
Without exception Freemasonry has always been associated with stone masons.  It has borrowed much from the medieval operative stone masons such as the symbolism of the working tools, gauges and the use of marks.

In the ancient records of operative masonry, dating back over three centuries, there is mention of the Masons Mark.  As early as 1598, the Lodge of St Mary’s Chapel Scotland speaks of a Masons Mark and of the Mark Degree.

By reviewing old Scottish records it is clear that the speculative masons selected their marks just as the operative masons chose marks.  In the Mark book of the Masonic Lodge of Aberdeen dated 1670 it shows forty nine marks and the members names opposite the marks.

And finally, the Mark Master degree uses symbols, scriptures, links to other degrees, lectures, rituals and some drama to communicate a very powerful message that the Brother experiencing the Capitular Degree is going to be transformed from a Master Builder to a Spiritual Builder.  The Mark Master degree is his first step towards the revelations of the Holy Royal Arch Degree.

The Mark Master degree is another valuable piece of the puzzle you need to become a complete Freemason.  You have already started your journey in the pure and ancient craft by joining your lodge and advancing through the degrees.
If you are interested in learning more, and completing you journey, you may want to consider talking to a member of the Royal Arch for more information.