Sunday, April 27, 2008

A Busy Saturday

Yesterday was a busy day. I started it off by going to the York Rite Festival hosted by the Des Moines York Rite Bodies. There were 18 candidates in attendance. I was only able to stay for the Chapter degrees in the morning, but everything well very well.

It is always great to see some of our Past Grand Masters working in the Past Master degree. We enjoy having them and I think they enjoy doing it. At lunch time, I shared the table with Greg Anderson and a brother (Jeremiah) from Bedford. He is a younger Mason and really had some very interesting comments to listen to. He is serving as W.M. of his lodge this year. He was telling about the guys down there playing pool and "foozball" (spelling???) after their meetings. He said a couple ladies that lived close by stopped in one night to see why there were lights on late in the evening and lots of laughter and comaderie...said they hadn't heard that much noise from the Masonic Temple building in Bedford for years! That is great...guys having fun and fellowship with one another.

In the afternoon I came back to Newton and went to the 60th Annivesary celbration for Bro. Paul Myers and his wife Arlene. That is quite an accompishment...60 years together. Just think what all you see in those 60 years together.

Back to Des Moines in the evening for the annual meeting of Iowa Research Lodge #2. At the conlusion of the business meeting, I was "installed" as Worshipful Master (if that is what you call walking from the west to the east). It would be nice to have a real installation and have a full corps of officers, maybe some day.

Our presenter for the evening was Bro. Jack Buta from Phoenix. He gave an interesting presenation on Sir Robert Moray (which I have to admit I really didn't know much about). Moray was the founder of the Royal Society in England in the mid 1600s. Bro. Jack was a real live wire type of with lots of energy.

IRL used to be really well respected around the country. At one time there membership was up over 1000. We have some work to do, but hopefully we can have some good programs and give our members some good Masonic education.

This is a busy week upcoming. I have to drive up to Sioux Falls on Tuesday to do an agents school and then on up to Millbank/Watertown for a presenation on Tuesday night. I will come back home on Thursday. I should have some time to stop in Sioux City, will check in with George and Jeff at the Sioux City Consistory.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Scottish Rite Leadership Conference

This past weekend I was privileged to attend the Scottish Rite Leadership Conference in Minneapolis. It was a great weekend of idea sharing and fellowship.

I would say the thing that most impressed me was how the Scottish Rite is "remodling" itself to reach out to the brothers of our Rite. Emphasis is being placed on listening to our new brothers, reaching out to our current membership and those who may have left the Rite, and education.

I have come to the conclusion that we Masons have not done a very good job of mentoring, rather it be our new brothers or those who have been members of our fraternity for a period of time. Mentoring is a process not just for the new guys, it is a process for "all the guys" never ends. Freemasonry is all about a brotherhood and being there for each other. That is what we are all about, we need to get back to that.

I am really impressed with the Master Craftsman program that the Scottish Rite has come out with. It is an education program that brothers can take to learn more about Freemasonry and the Scottish Rite. There is a course of readings and multiple choice quizes (5 or 6 in total). At the conclusion of the process you will definately be more knowledgeable about the fraternity, plus you get a nice certificate recognizing your efforts. A lot of discussion was held on using this as a part of training for our individual valley leaders.

It was a great weekend. I always come away from these meetings with a lot of enthusisam and ideas. We have to use the ideas that come from meetings such as this to continue to "chip" away at some of the shortcomings and get our fraternity back to what he is all about...brothers caring about brothers!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Hectic Life

Well it has been awhile since I have done any blogging. Life has kind of been busy for me the last couple of weeks. The week of March 30th my wife and I were in Orlando Florida. The first couple of days were vacation and the rest of the week I was occupied in meetings with the CPCU (Chartered Property Casualty Underwriters) Society. I am a national governor and so we had two days of board meetings and also a lot of meetings for our chapters. I spoke at two of the chapter meetings...How to Market Your Chapter Meetings.

It is always fun interacting and meeting folks from your industry around the country. We came home on April 6th, left the hotel at 3:00 a.m. (what an hour to be getting ready to go to the airport to get on an airport). While we were waiting for the ticket agent to come on duty, Danene and I had a nice visit with a lady from Indiana. She was on her way to Haiti to work in a mission. She said it was around her 30th trip.

I also got to meet a brother Mason from Pennsylvania in one of the elevators at the hotel. I noticed his Past Masters' pin and commented on it (their pin is unique from that of the other states). It was nice to visit with him for a few minutes.

On the 11th and 12th we had the second week of the spring Scottish Rite Reunion. I thought it was a really great reunion. We ended up with a class of 17. The ritual work was very well done. On Saturday evening, the banquet honored the new members and M.W. Bro. Harold D. "Pete" Paschal PGM, 33rd. Danene and I sat at the table with Pete's daughters and they shared some good memories about their dad. It was an enjoyable evening as we shared our memories.

Last week I had my first agents school for 2008 down in Riverside at the Casino. Getting the first one started is always the hardest. You never know what "off the wall" questions they are going to ask. This week, I have been in Decorah and Rochester. Next week I have to go back to Minnesota to do a couple industry related speaking engagements. I will have been in Minnesota three times within a week...I'm almost a citizen!

Tonight we have our stated meeting at lodge. Bro. Jeremy Davis (W.M. of Arcadia is going to be our speaker). I am looking forward to it. I think he will have a good message. Hopefully we will have a decent crowd. Tomorrow it is off to Minneapolis to the Scottish Rite Leadership Conference. I am looking forward to that. I'm sure there will be some good presenations. Danene, Andrea, and Ashleigh are going along. Ashleigh is all excited about going to "Dora Land" at the Mega Mall. I'm sure she will have a great time.