Saturday, December 30, 2017

Two new Officers Minnesota Grand Chapter

Today Most Excellent Joe Anderson of the Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of Minnesota installed two new officers to his line. Jerry Zierdt and David Dumonceaux will be great additions to the leadership.

The line is now full, and the conference room will be buzzing

Thursday, December 28, 2017

The Greatest Gift of All

The Greatest Gift of All
Christmas Observance Speech 2017-Commandery

When I was a little boy, I remember asking my Mother why we received presents when it was Jesus’s Birthday. Mom said that, “giving presents was a gift of love and that God gave us the greatest gift of all. He gave us Jesus and that by believing in him, when we die we will go to heaven to be with him forever, and you will see your Great Grandmother again”.
I couldn’t have been but four or five years old at the time, but those words have stayed with me as I grew up and as developed into my manhood and even now in my maturing years, I remember them well.
My Mother was the world’s greatest gift giver. She and my Dad would listen to my sister and I as we talked about our likes and dislikes. They paid great attention to our activities and were always on the lookout, all year long, for the perfect gift.
Mom kept an ongoing list of presents and at Thanksgiving time she would sequester all the Aunts and Uncles off to another room and behind locked doors, and in hushed voices, shared the information with them. It was organized and looked like a planning session between Churchill and Eisenhower when they were planning for D Day, I imagine.
When Christmas came I would gaze at all of the packages under the tree. My parents had a formula for what was included and wrapped into those beautifully wrapped packages. Those packages contained what I needed and the things I most desired. Every year there was socks, underwear, handkerchiefs, a flannel shirt, a sweater, blue jeans and a few fishing lures from my uncles and the one perfect present that Mom and Dad spent all year planning.
It always seemed that the perfect present was given at the perfect time in my life when I could most understand and appreciate them. There was the Hop a Long Cassidy Gun set, the Butterfly net, and Magnifying glass, the red bicycle, the Cub Scout uniform, the down jacket when I went to Alaska, and the handmade quilts when I bought a home.
There was an extreme amount of planning, thought and consideration that went into the gift giving by my parents. There was nothing haphazard about the giving and I appreciated every gift. Sometimes my appreciation grew with the gift like for most of the clothes that were given one size larger so I could grow into them.
I didn’t actually figure it out until I was almost thirty that I came from a family of what you would call today, the working poor. I think many people in this world would be envious of my childhood and the family that I had for we were rich in many ways. During my Dad’s entire life he always said every few days how rich he was. So, one hot summer day, after we were working on a project, over a beer I asked him about what he meant. He explained that he was “rich” in Love.
I think some of us in this room tonight may have given gifts that haven’t always been so appreciated. We may have spent a lot of time and money, and with the very best intentions, but in the end we did not achieve the desired results with our gift. We may have been hoping for a Wow, when all that was received as an “OH ya sure…. Thanks”.
As the gift giver we may feel sad, frustrated, or irritated when you find the diamond earrings tossed to the side of the bathroom sink or the expensive cashmere sweater laying in a ball on the floor. And guys don’t worry I won’t repeat what you said when you gave your wives lingerie for Christmas last year.
And then there are some people who decide to push the limits of procrastination and do their shopping on Christmas Eve. There is nothing like a little Christmas shopping “frenzy” to get you in the Christmas Spirit, or out of it fast.
On one of my tours in the Uniformed Division of the police department, I had a sharp young partner named Larry who had about three years on with the department. We were working on December 23rd and we both had Christmas Eve off. We were walking into the Station at the end of our shift and I said, “Larry what are you going to tomorrow”?  Larry replied, “I’m going to do my Christmas shopping and then my fiancée and I are going to my parents’ house for dinner.  We will open presents and celebrate Christmas.” I said, “Larry you haven’t done any shopping yet? Are you crazy?”
Larry said, “Tom I love the concept of ‘The One Day Hunt’. Didn’t I shoot that eight point buck this year one hour into the Deer Opener?” I said, “Good Luck, Larry and Merry Christmas.”
On Christmas Day morning we both had to work again. After roll call, as we were walking out to the Squad car, I heard Larry say, “I’m so happy this Christmas is over” as he threw his ticket book at the dash board and I closed my door to the car. Now, when working in Law enforcement, that type of response is usually a sign that you need to drive to a coffee shop, get a donut or bagel, and talk with your partner. Now, Larry is a fit guy and he eats healthy, but this called for drastic action. So, I ordered him a triple expresso and a huge Bear Claw. Once he was about half way done with the claw and coffee I asked, “Well Larry, what went wrong?”

Larry replied, “I got up at 11:00, ate breakfast and reviewed the things I intended to buy everyone. Traffic was crazy, and I couldn’t even get into Southdale, so I decided to try Ridgedale and then I couldn’t find a place to park. So, then I drove to the Mall of America. Once I finally got into the Mall it was packed and it was shoulder to shoulder with people. Finally, I found one of the things on my list, and then I stood in line forever to pay. I looked at my watch and I was overcome with anxiety. It was two o’clock and I had to pick up my fiancée at three to be at my parents’ house at four.”
So I asked, Larry did you get any presents at all?”’ Larry, who was visibly upset relating his story, responded “You know, I have a good paying job, unlike my shiftless future brother-in-law. So yes, everybody got a present.  But Tom, I was in a panic, so I went to Walgreens and got some real nice Hallmark cards and then I went to Super America.” I said, “Larry, I bet your family is just happy to have you there to celebrate and any present from you is nice.” Larry replied, “TOM, I gave my MOM A GAS CARD from Super America for Christmas! My Dad and brother got $50.00 worth of Lottery tickets. I gave my Fiancée cash. It was mindless shopping, I’ve never been so irritated and frustrated in my life. I just hope that they are all talking to me by New Year’s.”
So, I later learned, that Larry’s Dad took him to lunch after the holidays. They had one of those talks that only a loving Dad can have with his Son. Larry’s Dad pointed out that Larry has missed what was right in front of him the whole time. The first clue was that his Mother, for 30 years, arranges a Manger Scene on a table by the front door every Christmas. It’s to remind everyone that enters the home that Christ is the center of Christmas. Larry was so consumed by the empty promise of presents and materialism that he didn’t really see his loving and supportive family around him, who really did not care what he gave for presents.
And in the end, the presents that Larry gave were useful and well received.  Although Larry’s Father and Brother didn’t have a winning Lottery ticket, his Mother and Father were planning to a trip to Arizona and could use the gas card for the trip.  Larry’s Fiancée has just started a job working in an office and used the money to buy many nice clothes to wear to work.  It really is the thought that counts.
Besides shopping, we may have other Christmas traditions or rituals in our families that enrich or add some excitement to our lives.
There are the outdoor lights, decorations and displays that dazzle our homes and neighborhoods. I truly enjoy taking a walk or drive, after dinner, so enjoy the neighborhood lights and displays.  Or perhaps, there is the sending and receiving Christmas cards, and family newsletters. I think I got one this year…..
One things I remember best is walking into the house and smelling freshly baked Christmas cookies. My Mother would start her baking the morning after Thanksgiving and would finish the week before Christmas.  She would bake what seemed to about 50 different varieties in every shape and color you could imagine.
My Father would eat Christmas cookies until his birthday-which was the 4th of July and then complain when they were gone.
Or, we have our favorite Christmas Tv shows and movies that we love to watch each year such as; A Christmas Carol; It’s a Wonderful Life; Frosty the Snowman; or How the Grinch stole Christmas.  And of course, who can forget the classic Charlie Brown Christmas show that many of us and our children have watched for over the last 50 years.
Do you remember Good Old Charlie Brown? Our favorite Blockhead who couldn’t muster up the courage to talk to the cute little Red-haired girl?
Do you remember when Charlie Brown finds that forlorn little Christmas Tree? The image of that poor tattered tree makes me laugh and cry to this day. 
But, Charlie Brown, discovered that our family traditions or rituals of shopping, gift giving, lights and decorations, Christmas cards, and cookies were only symbols but not the true meaning of Christmas. Charlie Brown asks the most profound question in that shows when in an exasperated voice he asks, “Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about”?
Linus, Charlie Browns best friend, who is always seen with his blue security blanket, says in a calm voice, “Sure Charlie Brown, I can tell you what Christmas is all about”.
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. 12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. (King James Luke 2:8-14)
“That’s what’s Christmas is all about Charlie Brown”…Linus concludes.
That’s what’s Christmas is all about….
God gave us the greatest gift. There is a package from him with your name on it.
The gift was extremely thought out and planned, and it is a gift of his true love. This gift is more precious than any money can buy.
God’s gift doesn’t wear out, never goes out of fashion, doesn’t need batteries, and doesn’t need an internet connection. No assembly is required.
Our gift was not wrapped in beautiful paper with big fancy bows looking like it was professionally wrapped by one of those nice ladies at Nordstrom’s.
Our gift was born in a stable. He was wrapped in rags and laid in an animals feeding trough, in very humbling surroundings.
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16

Jesus Christ came to earth for one specific purpose, to make it possible for us to be forgiven of our sins and go to heaven when we die.

Jesus said, “For the Son of man came to seek and save the lost”.
Luke 19:10

When Jesus was nailed to the cross our sins were nailed with him. He paid the price for us, a slow agonizing death for our salvation.

What God asked for in return for this great gift, is to love him….. to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and all your strength”.
Deuteronomy 6:5

Christmas is a time for us Sir Knights and Christians to rediscover the wonders of that gift.
From Manger to the Cross………………

Merry Christmas



Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Masonic Christmas Pudding Tradition

Red Wing Lodge #8 for the past ten  years has a tradition of a Christmas Pudding at the December Stated Meeting and Officer Installation . Its a tradition that has certainly grown over they years, and certainly one of my favorite masonic events of the year...anywhere!

Now you just don't go down to the local bakery ( if you have one) and pick one up to take home.
Past Master Gary Thomas and Chef by occupation makes it every year for us. Gary says that its a labor of love for him, and that he loves to make it. When I asked how long it takes to make he replied about all day. "All Day I asked" Gary said "Ya about an hour and a half to cut, chop and mix all the ingredients and seven hours to steam it, oh shopping for all the stuff, ya pretty much all day."

I asked what was in it, and Gary said Raisins,Plums,two and a half pounds of butter, three cups of sugar, a little suet and some other things.There are thirteen ingredients and there is a ritual to making it. I said Gary there's a Masonic Ritual to making Christmas Pudding? Being a Past Grand Master I know the Masonic work I wondered how I missed this one? Gary replied that there is a traditional  ritual that he uses with recipe that's not masonic.

Here is a summary of the process and its symbolism:

The Christmas pudding is a custom that goes back to medieval England.

The pudding has thirteen ingredients to represent Christ and the twelve disciples.

Each family member of the household takes turns stirring the mixture. They stir in the direction of East to West honoring the Magi who traveled in that direction.

There was a prayer that was said during the stirring, but Gary couldn't remember that part.

Brandy is warmed and then placed on the pudding, and lite. For a little flavor and a very nice dramatic effect.

It is served with a dollop of  icing that Gary wont talk about. (maybe in ten more years Ill get that out of him)

Its the perfect dessert after an excellent hearty meal on a cold December night. The room is filled with Masonic Brotherhood, a few candles its the perfect night.

I should also mention that Past Master Jeff Seaberg prepares an excellent dinner.

Sunday, November 5, 2017


I have gone on vacation to Israel to see the places where Abraham,Moses and Jesus had hung out in.
I will be walking the streets of Jerusalem in the city of David and stand on the Mount of Olives. The city that defined the events of the birthplace of my Christian faith. 



I am also looking forward to spending the evening with Jerusalem Lodge #4 and their Festive Board.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Put the Thanks Back into Thanksgiving

Put the Thanks Back into Thanksgiving 
By  Tom Hendrickson P.G.M.
To me Thanksgiving has been lost between Halloween and Christmas and has become a forgotten holiday. I went into a store just before Labor Day and all the Halloween decorations, candy and costumes were out on display. Then a few weeks later when I went back to purchase Halloween candy, the Christmas decorations, lights, and artificial trees were on sale!
I know that it is hard to believe, but from the time the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock and for three and half centuries, friends and families gathered together sharing the bounty of their efforts and spending time together strengthening our spiritual bonds. Together they took time to recognize and thank God for the blessings in their lives. Then somewhere in time Thanksgiving was hijacked and turned into just a day of football and shopping.
Thanksgiving has been reduced to just become a spring board for the Christmas shopping season. November 23rd is a day spent looking thru the store advertising and preparing for that strategic shopping adventure, with many of the stores opening on Thanksgiving evening for the pre-Black Friday shopping. Of course, before the shopping there is the big meal and plenty of football to be consumed.
To me Thanksgiving should celebrate the ideals which makes our country flourish, religious and personal freedom, family values, shared prosperity, stability, bounty, safe harbor and most important 
is gratitude to God for all our blessings.
Thanksgiving should be a day when we share a meal with our loved ones that nourishes our bodies. We spend time together strengthening our spiritual bonds and together we are thankful for God’s presence and blessing in our daily lives
Now, not every Thanksgiving has been over the river and thru the woods to Grandma’s house. Some of us ate Thanksgiving dinner from a Mermite food container dropped out of a chopper at a Firebase overseas. Some of us ate crackers at a hospital while a loved one was in Intensive Care, or we ate at a Police Station, at a Truck Stop or at the Salvation Army.
Sometimes we must look beyond our daily struggles and examine our lives to count and focus on our blessings. This lesson was driven home hard for me one day just recently. I was at a local restaurant and at the table next to mine was a young man in a wheel chair. He had lost both legs and his right arm as a Marine in Iraq. We had a nice talk then he said something that moves me to this day. He said that he was really thankful that he still had his eyesight and he thanks God every day he is still alive.
We look to the Bible and King David wrote in Psalms 100:4(NIV) Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. And Paul wrote in Ephesians 5:20 (NIV) Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
As men of faith and as Sir Knights we should remember that the spirit of Thanksgiving should be present with us each and every day. Let us all remember the spirit of Thanksgiving and make our prayers and thanks be heartfelt every day.  

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Musee de l”Armee  Paris France
Tom Hendrickson
I had the great opportunity to visit the French Army Museum in Paris France this past January. Its Medieval Armour collection is the best in the world. Its collections contains hundreds upon hundreds of complete suits of Armour, beautiful ornate craftmanship that are works of art. You can see how small the Knights actually were. I am standing next to the typical suit of Armour.
After about four hours we needed a break and had a wonderful lunch in the museum cafeteria as only the French can do. Then it was on to the Artillery collection, the Napoleons Crypt that was most impressive as well. 
When we exited the Museum directly outside we found the Order of Malta setting up for a charity fundraiser. The Order is a lay religious Order of the Catholic Church and was established in 1113 A.D.  After we had past them at a safe distanced I whispered “Remember Jacques DeMolay”!

Monday, September 25, 2017

2017 Minnesota Masonic Retreat

     Minnesota Royal Arch Chapter #1 just concluded its 2017 Masonic Retreat.It was held at the YMCA Camp St. Croix in Hudson Wisconsin. The camp is beautifully set in a North woods setting, on the banks of the St. Croix River only minutes from St. Paul Minnesota. It was two and a half days of good food, great conversations, and many opportunities to learn, and explore new ideas. There was even some great poetry read by Terry Christianson.
     The day began at 8AM with breakfast, classes until noon, lunch, classes until 5:30 dinner,class until 7:00 followed by a Campfire until 2 or 3 in the morning. It was a full day and no opportunity for kickball, volleyball or horse back riding like the other kids did.
     Here are just a short list of the various distinguished  Speakers: Terry Christianson, Rob Jones,Scott Wolter,Aaron French,Timothy Hogan,Ray Hayward.Their topics ranged from The Lost Word,Symbology,Verbal Communication,Nazis,Masonry and the Occult, Five Points of Fellowship, and many more.
     It was just a great week end and Ill be sure to attend next year. Thank you my Brothers, my teachers, my Students.


Friday, August 25, 2017

The Handwriting on the Wall

The Handwriting on the Wall
By Tom Hendrickson-P.G.M.

The saying comes from Belshazzar’s Feast which is mentioned in the Royal Arch Degree. It is a story that has many important lessons for all of us to consider. To understand the rest of the story I will explore the source which is in the Old Testament Book of Daniel Chapters Four and Five.
The scene is in Babylon about the Sixth Century before our era (or B.C.) and King Nebuchadnezzar’s Armies had conquered Jerusalem. A sizable portion of the Jewish population of Judah including all the Nobel’s and scholars had been captured and deported back to Babylon. The Temple was sacked of all of its sacred treasures and taken to Babylon as well. Among the stolen plunder were many sacred cups made of gold and silver.
King Nebuchadnezzar ordered his officials to conduct a talent search among the prisoners to find the best and the brightest to learn the local language and literature to serve within the Kings Palace. The most impressive among the group of talented young Jews was Daniel. Daniel had a very special gift as he could interpret the Kings dreams and reveal their mysteries.
In time Daniel became a trusted servant to the King, and Nebuchadnezzar did relinquish his pagan gods and acknowledged Daniel’s God, the God of the people of Israel.  Nebuchadnezzar’s son Belshazzar eventually become King and he is a different story all together.
Now before we move on to the main thrust of the story. I highly recommend you go on line and Google a painting by Rembrandt called Belshazzar’s Feast. The painting depicts beautifully the story you are about to read.
Daniel 5 Living Bible (TLB)
Belshazzar the king invited a thousand of his officers to a great feast where the wine flowed freely. 2-4 While Belshazzar was drinking, he was reminded of the gold and silver cups taken long before from the Temple in Jerusalem during Nebuchadnezzar’s reign and brought to Babylon. Belshazzar ordered that these sacred cups be brought in to the feast, and when they arrived, he and his princes, wives, and concubines drank toasts from them to their idols made of gold and silver, brass and iron, wood and stone.
Suddenly, as they were drinking from these cups, they saw the fingers of a man’s hand writing on the plaster of the wall opposite the lampstand. The king himself saw the fingers as they wrote. His face blanched with fear, and such terror gripped him that his knees knocked together and his legs gave way beneath him.
“Bring the magicians and astrologers!” he screamed. “Bring the Chaldeans! Whoever reads that writing on the wall and tells me what it means will be dressed in purple robes of royal honor, with a gold chain around his neck, and he will become the third ruler in the kingdom!”[a]
But when they came, none of them could understand the writing or tell him what it meant.
The king grew more and more hysterical; his face reflected the terror he felt, and his officers too were shaken. 
So the Queen-Mother heard the ruckus and ran into the banquet hall and told the King to calm down. She told him to call Daniel for he could interpret dreams, explain riddles and solve difficult problems and he would know what the writing on the wall means.
So Daniel is summoned and rushes in…..
22 “And you, his successor, O Belshazzar—you knew all this, yet you have not been humble. 23 For you have defied the Lord of Heaven and brought here these cups from his Temple; and you and your officers and wives and concubines have been drinking wine from them while praising gods of silver, gold, brass, iron, wood, and stone—gods that neither see nor hear nor know anything at all. But you have not praised the God who gives you the breath of life and controls your destiny! 24-25 And so God sent those fingers to write this message: ‘Mene,’ ‘Mene,’ ‘Tekel,’ ‘Parsin.’
26 “This is what it means:
“Mene means ‘numbered’—God has numbered the days of your reign, and they are ended.
27 “Tekel means ‘weighed’—you have been weighed in God’s balances and have failed the test.
28 “Parsin means ‘divided’—your kingdom will be divided and given to the Medes and Persians.”
29 Then at Belshazzar’s command, Daniel was robed in purple, a gold chain was hung around his neck, and he was proclaimed third ruler in the kingdom.
And that very night King Belshazzar was killed, and Babylon was conquered.
Quite a story.  If you googled the picture as suggested, the story comes to life within the painting.  The morale of the story is clear: remember that our days on this earth are numbered and the time we spend here will be weighed and judged. So, live each day to the fullest, do good works and appreciate every day for it may be your last.
Remember -”The Hand Writing is on the wall”.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Peace Garden Lodge Annual Meeting

On August 12, 2017  The Annual Meeting for the Peace Garden Lodge will be held. I have been there twice, Its in beautiful surroundings and the only building in the Shape of a Square and Compass in the world Im told. I have taken information from my blog post from a few years ago to provide much more information. Life Membership is only $50.00 you may want to consider it. Its the only Lodge I know that has an American Lodge Treasure  and a Canadian Lodge Treasure. 

The International Peace Garden is 2,339 acres situated on the border between Manitoba and North Dakota, on the longest north-south road in the world and almost at the geographic centre of North America. It was dedicated on July 14, 1932 and has become a living monument symbolizing the two nations living in harmony along the longest unfortified boundary in the world. The Garden is a non-profit organization which is supported by, among others, several fraternal organizations: Freemasons; Order of Eastern Star; Oddfellows; Rebekahs; Daughters of the British Empire (IODE), and Knights of Columbus.

The International Peace Garden Lodge of Freemasons was formed in 1993 with Warrants granted by the Grand Lodges of Manitoba, North Dakota and Minnesota. The Grand Lodge of Saskatchewan became a chartering Grand Lodge in 2000 by motion of the members. Its purpose is "to promote and enhance fraternal relations among Freemasons of North America and to assist in the expansion and maintenance of the International Peace Garden."

Membership in the International Peace Garden Lodge of Freemasons is open to any Master Mason for a once-in-a-lifetime fee of $50.00, providing the Mason is, and remains, in good standing in any jurisdiction in the world which is recognized by the chartering grand jurisdictions. At the time of this writing, total membership is over 835 with members from Canada, the United States, Great Britain, Norway, Australia and the Bahamas.

Membership fees are placed in trust and may not be used for any purpose other than to generate interest which is used to defer operating expenses of the Lodge and other such expenditures as may be approved at the annual communication.

An annual meeting is held at the Peace Garden, usually in the Burdick Center for the Performing Arts, on the Saturday before the second Sunday in August, with arrangements in charge of the Chartering Grand Lodges on a rotating basis. Officers' titles and positions as well as the customs correspond to those of the Chartering Grand Lodge in charge of the arrangements in any given year.

The meeting deals with regular business and includes an inspirational speaker. Following the meeting, Masons and their ladies, usually enjoy some entertainment and a lunch in the Masonic Auditorium. If the meeting is tyled (for Masons only) there is a program arranged for the ladies.

The $775,000.00 Masonic Auditorium was dedicated in 1981 as a centennial project of the 20,000 Masons of Manitoba and North Dakota. It is built in the shape of the Square and Compasses and has seating for 2,000. It is the only building of its kind in the world.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Be Decisive

I saw this today and I chuckled to myself. I was remembering all the lodge meeting that no one could or would make a decision on the simplist of things. Like should we serve Orange juice at the next pancake breakfast, Or should we have Chicken or Beef Stew at the next Third Degree.

Im putting this on a card to keep in my wallet and read at the next lodge meeting.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

The First Three of the Thirty Three Degrees of the Ancient and Accepted ...

You may know that I am an active member of both the Scottish and the York Rites. I also study both hours most days.  Above you will find a video on the First Three Degrees of the Scottish Rite.I think that it does an excellent job explaining the system and how it came to us.

It is written by Michael R. Poll.he is a very respected Masonic Scholar in my eyes and many others.
Michael is a Fellow  and Past President of the Masonic Society and many other Masonic Research organizations. He is the Editor and Owner of Cornerstone books, and lives in New Orleans LA.

I encourage you to take the time to watch the video,and you will have a much clearer picture of how it all comes together.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

A Riddle

A Riddle……
P.G.M. Tom Hendrickson

I am the Masonic Word. Can you tell what Masonic Bodies tell my story?

I wear the Color Blue, but I was lost.

I wear the Color Red, where I was Recovered.

I wear the Color Purple, where I was preserved.

I have a family name that I’m known by.


Masonic Lodge-Blue Lodge
Royal Arch Chapter- Red Lodge
Cryptic Council-Purple

The York Rite

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

The Knife and Fork Degree

                                                                    Author Unknown

The Knife & Fork Degree

 I do not attend the meetings,

 For I've not the time to spare,

 But every time they have a feast,

You will surely find me there.

 I cannot help with the degrees,

 For I do not know the work,

 But I can applaud the speakers,

 And handle a knife and fork
 I'm so rusty in the ritual,

 That it seems like Greek to me,

 But practice has made me perfect,

 In the Knife and Fork degree.

I do say in fun and jest. For I do enjoy a good meal at lodge and I do cook a few of those means as well. But I do the work after.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

What's It All About? – what it means to be a Freemason

From our Brothers at the United Grand Lodge of England

Saturday, April 8, 2017

2017-2018 Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Minnesota

GrandMaster John B.H. Studell

Past Grand Masters and Current Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Minnesota

Saturday, April 1, 2017

My...How Times Have Changed

MY… How Times Have Changed
Tom Hendrickson P.G.M.
Arch Chapter Minneapolis

Many years ago I wanted to discuss the meanings and messages hidden within the symbols used in our ritual.  My request for more information was often met by a blank stare.  I was informed, that the point of ritual was to memorize it, regurgitate it for the degree work, and then hope to become a monitor or a custodian someday.  I was highly encouraged to follow that path when I began and I started with the lectures.  I would often ask my partner what a certain item or phrase meant and they usually responded to me with “Tom, I don’t know, I just memorize the stuff”.

I knew though that there was much more to Freemasonry than chicken dinners after a Third Degree, the once a year barbeque, the debates over whether or not to put ceiling fans in the dining room and should we offer orange juice at the next annual pancake breakfast.

Today, times have changed and we must change with them.  We now find many young men standing at our doorstep, knocking at our door, that are seeking education, enlightenment, spiritual growth and meaningful experiences.  These new men come to us better informed about the craft than some of our current members.  They have accessed the World Wide Web and mined the vast information available there.  They have watched the History Channel and seen the countless television shows about Freemasonry.  They have read the books written by Dan Brown and “Freemasons for Dummies”.  These men come to us well versed in information, some of it accurate, some not so accurate.

Never the less, they come with a hunger to seek further light.  We must be ready for the challenge to help lead them to what they are seeking.  If we wish to attract and retain these men we must have more to offer them than a once a year weenie roast, poorly read ritual work, a boring business meeting and another dues card to put in their wallet. But the Royal Arch – Our Craft and our ritual are the perfect means to satisfy their hunger.

Our ritual is important.  It offers lessons so a companion can lead a life that is rich and fulfilling.  The ritual is the vehicle that our principles can ride into the hearts of men.  However, the words of the ritual are not enough.  It is the meaning of those words that will lead men to live our teachings.  Studying the rich history and symbolism of the ritual is essential to the understanding behind the words.

Our ritual contains beautiful poetry along with words of wisdom to live by.  It is filled with history and religion.  It is a treasure trove of symbols and analogies that are worthy of introspection and meditation.  Finally, the words contain profound truths and a unique perspective on life for those who are willing to make the conscious effort to uncover them.

Over the next several months I will be offering various articles or papers on various subjects in our ritual.  Don’t worry, I am not revealing the secrets.  The information I will be sharing is already in print or may be found by doing a Google search on the internet.  Feel free to use these articles in your Chapter Convocation or for Chapter education.  Feel free to make copies of them and talk about them.  Use parts of them in your newsletters or if you wish, use them to start a campfire.

The information that will be shared is just an example of what can be done by any willing companion who is willing to take some time to read and re-read the ritual.  I encourage all of you to try your hand at it.

Every man becomes a Mason for their own reasons.  Some seek light while others seek friendships.  Some may seek wisdom or direction. Others may seek all of these. The Royal Arch – Our Craft and our ritual can meet all of these needs if we step up and gain a better understanding or our rituals.  In order to teach our craft, and pass that knowledge on to the next generation, we need to understand its lesson ourselves.

Lastly, there are secrets hidden in plain sight awaiting your discovery.  My wish for you is that you discover them all.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

This is the life

I took a few days in the Caribbean to escape the Minnesota Winter. I had the wonderful experience to
just sit, and reflect on the work, and study some of the parts I wasn't so sure about.

I also would go at night and sit on the Promenade Deck  of the ship. Listening to the ship cut thru the water and watching the Sunset with my Bible also was a very pleasant experience as well.

Now its back to work with a refreshed mind. Oh and to start a diet from the weight I gained from the fabulous food.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Its Brother Georges Birthday

February 22, 1732

 Our Brother George Washington was an honored and respected Mason. At the age of 20, Washington was initiated as Apprentice on November 4, 1752 in Fredericksburg, VA. It was with his compassionate nature, appreciation and understanding of the Masonic system that he flourished, and on August 4, 1754 George Washington was raised to Master Mason. As his character suggests he was a ‘Just and Upright Mason’.
In his Presidential and Masonic career he presided in the cornerstone ceremony for the US Capitol in 1793.

George Washington was noted as a noble opponent, as well as a Brother. This was witnessed while a British traveling Lodge fell into the hands of American forces after being defeated; chests belonging to the British Lodge with contents of jewels and other treasures were ultimately surrounded to the American forces. Upon learning this, George Washington with his elegance and honor demanded the contents to be returned to the Lodge and regiment. With this noble act he gained much respect from the opponents.

On December 18, 1799 George Washington was laid to rest and buried at Mt. Vernon with Masonic rites.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Royal Arch Quiz #3

Royal Arch Quiz Night
Past Master’s Degree-Virtual
P.G.M. Tom Hendrickson

1.    Where did the Past Master’s degree originate?
a)    The Ancients
b)    The Moderns
c)    The Scottish
d)    Lost in the fog of time

2.    What group originally required that a Past Master only would be allowed to receive the Royal Arch Degree?
a)    The Scottish
b)    The French
c)    The Ancients
d)    The Moderns

3.    What are the three fundamental masonic symbols of the Past Master’s Degree?
a)    Square, gavel, By laws
b)    Masters Hat, White gloves, Cane
c)    Square, gavel, Volume of Sacred Law (holy Bible)
d)    Chicken, Green Beans, Mashed potatoes

4.    The qualities a Past Master should exhibit are:
a)    Responsible Leadership
b)    Moderation
c)    Decorum
d)    Justice
e)    All the Above

5.    To whom is the Lodge of Past Master erected and dedicated to?
a)    God and Hiram Abiff
b)    God and the Holy St John
c)    God and King Solomon

d)    God and Zerubbabel