At 1:00PM on April 10, 2021, The Grand Lodge of Minnesota held its 169th Public Installation of Officers at the Minnesota Masonic Heritage Center in Bloomington, Minnesota.
In this COVID environment, that we are still living in, there have been many safety measures instituted to ensure a safe gathering for everyone attending. These safety procedures ranged from assigned social distanced seating to limit the number of attendees (95), simulcasting of the Annual Communications and Installation of Officers to various locations, mandatory masks, and a selection of scented and unscented hand sanitizer strategically placed around the building.
The secure live video feed was sent to ten Lodges and Masonic Centers across Minnesota, (Minneapolis, St. Paul, Rochester, Mankato, Windom, Litchfield, Detroit Lakes, Bemidji, Hibbing and Duluth). This way all Minnesota Masons across the state had the opportunity to view the Grand Lodge activities. This video feed took a lot of work by many dedicated Brothers, and my hat is off to you...Thank you!
This year the newly installed Most Worshipful Grand Master of Minnesota Masons is Rolf M. Widstrand. MWB Rolf has a special kind of history. First he is a Lewis (a Son of a Master Mason), but Rolf also follows in his Father’s footsteps for Rolf's father, William W. Widstrand, was the Minnesota Most Worshipful Grand Master of Minnesota Masons in 1971. To think that MWB Rolf was installed fifty years to the day that his father was installed is very special.
Here is an unfair photo of my Grandmaster just moments after his installation. I will dutifully post his official portrait when I receive it.
As a duty-bound permanent member of the Grand Lodge I sat in my assigned seat at the installation. As I was waiting for the installation to be begin, I began looking around. I noticed that the seat directly in front of me had a brass name tag which meant that one of the Brothers donated money to Minnesota Masonic Charities to sponsor a seat in the beauitful auditorium. When I read the name on the plate I had to chuckle. Here is the photo.
Our Minnesota Annual Communication is a special time for me, though, over the decades, I have been to most. The format each year is the same, but it's hard to describe how they are all different, and special in their individual way. Last year when the pandemic was at its height, we were unable to gather, and I felt that something was missing from my life. This year even with the restrictions, and not having the opportunity to spend time with my Bothers, it feels fulfilling to be able to attend in person.
I will admit, even with the restrictions, I still snuck in a few handshakes, and managed a hug or two when no one was looking.