Sunday, May 25, 2008

A Sad Duty to Do

Yesterday my lodge lost one of our Past Masters. Worshipful Bro. Paul Peck was called to the Grand Lodge Above. Bro. Paul served as the Worshipful Master of Newton Lodge #59 in 1968. He was only about 9 months away from receiving hs 50 year certificate.

The Peck family was one of the pioneer families of Newton. Bro. Paul's dad, C.A. Peck served as W.M. back in 1921, Paul followed him 47 years later in that same office. The secretary's desk in our lodge room belonged to Pauls' dad. It is a beautiful handcarved desk. C.A. used it in his office at the Newton Manufacturing Company (where he served as President). When he died in 1968, his family gave it to the lodge.

Paul was quite a guy, always friendly to everyone. Last September, we hosted the football team at our lodge for a breakfast. Paul's grandson Ed is the head coach. Pauls' family brought him up so he could eat with the football teams, he had a great time that morning being with the guys. I took a picture of him, his son-in-law, and grandson. He was also able to come up last fall for our Past Masters' Night. Even though the infirmities of age had caught up with him in the loss of his hearing and sight, he still enjoyed being in lodge.

Yesterday morning I learned that he was in hospice. I went up to see him after lunch, but unfortunately I was too late. I felt bad that he had passed before I was able to see him for the last time, but I know that he is now back in the hands of the Great Architect of the Universe.

Visiting our sick brethren and burying our departed dead are two duties as a Mason that I have come to take very seriously. We don't stress those duties enough to our new brothers. What we do in the lodge room is very akin to what we do when we are in a classroom...we learn the lessons that are being taught to us. Our real classroom is outside the lodge room...what we do there is the application of the lessons.

I will conduct Masonic rites for Bro. Paul on Wednesday evening. Last night I called all of our Past Masters and informed them of Bro. Pauls' passing.

Farewell my friend until we set together in the Grand Lodge Above.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Lenexa Lodge #135

I'm in Overland Park, Kansas right now taking an CRM class (for you non insurance folks, CRM stands for "Certified Risk Manager"). I have a test in a couple hours and then I can come home. Looks like it will be in the rain. I'm ready to come home. Sitting in class listening about insurance topics for 20 hours does get to be a bit much after awhile.

Monday evening was a really great night. I visited Lenexa Lodge #135 in Lenexa, KS. It was a short drive over from the hotel. It was a very fun and enjoyable evening and I'm glad I went. I had never set in lodge in Kansas before (I have set in lodge in Hawaii, Missouri, and Florida). Lenexa was having a third degree that night, they raised Bro. Rod Pittman. It was fun to see the floor work and the ritual and make notes in my mind on how it compared to Iowa's.

The one thing that really struck me in the obligation was when they got to that part about not violating the chasisty of a Master Masons wife, mother, sister, or daughter...they don't mess around with niceties in Kansas on that is plainly said "illicit sex"!

They had a series of questions and answers (like we do in the first degree). The brother doing the "catching" was a younger brother...only been a Mason for 9 months. He did a good job. The brother who served as Jr. Steward had a been a Master Mason for less than a month.

The third section lecture was conferred using a video tape. One of the brothers sitting next to me said he really liked seeing it on a video tape...he could hear and understand it and it was well presented. I think that is maybe something that Iowa should consider. We don't see those third sections done very often (which is too bad, because they do a lot of explaining of what the new brother has seen). Maybe we should consider having the video option for those lodges which do not have someone to actually do the ritual.

The thing that most impressed me and has always impressed me when I have visited a lodge out of state is how warmly I'm received. The spirit of Masonry really comes alive during that experience. I told the candidate on Monday evening that he and I would probably never see each other again, but to always remember wherever he goes in life, he will run into brothers who will warmly receive him as a brother. I really truly believe that in my heart.

The W.M. of Lenexa Lodge #135 was W. Bro. Angelo Mino. He was a great guy. He is originally from Ecuador and was raised there. I was escorted to the alter after the degree and Bro. Angelo welcomed me to Lenexa Lodge. They gave me a "forget-me-not" pin and related it's story. I had heard the story before so that part was not new, but I was really glad to receive the pin. I do not have one (despite my jewelry box being full of Masonic pins). I will be something that I will wear proudly and remember my visit to Lenexa Lodge.

One brother that met there was Bro. and Illustrious Sir Jim White 33rd. Bro. Jim served as potenatate of the Shrine down here. He was such a great guy and so friendly. He knew Jerry Sellers from Za-Ga-Zig. We really hit it off.

Lenexa Lodge is a really great lodge. They are very active and are brining in lots of new guys (besides already having them). They had a nice display in their dining room of pictures from their various activities. They had received a proclamation from Gov. Kathleeen Subulius (Kansas Governor) for all of their community activities. I could tell there was a lot of Masonic pride in that lodge. It showed...why can't every lodge have that Masonic pride and be proud of themselves???

Anyhow, it was a great evening...check them out at Wish me luck on my exam in a couple hours. I'll be glad to get in done and on the way home!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Lodge Milestones

Yesterday I attended the 150th anniversary celebration of Capitol Lodge #110 in Des Moines. Although I have seen the rededication ceremony many times and have participated in a few, I still always enjoy them. It is really amazing to me that any institution has survived for that number of years.

I think of all of the things that have happened to that individual lodge and all of the events that have occurred in our country's history over that time period. I also think of all of the brothers who have crossed the doorway of the lodge over that time. It is really astoninishing if one only thinks about it. The impact that Freemasonry has made in those lives.

I particularly enjoyed Capitols' celebration. All of the officers were in long tail tuxes. The Past Masters had beautiful gold Past Masters jewels really added so much class to the evening. The Grand Lodge Officers were also in their tuxes and jewels. There has been less formality in our Grand Lodge Officers the past few years (which I guess to a point is okay), but I still like to see them in tuxes on occassion. It is an honor to represent our gentle craft as a Grand Lodge Officer. That pride should show through.

I enjoyed seeing the sterling silver set of working tools that had been donated to Captitol back in 1907. What a treasure. It reminded me our our silver square and compass that we lay on our bible in Newton Lodge #59 each time we open the lodge. It was donated to our lodge in 1887. The history of those items and what they represent, is what Freemasonry is all about. Brotherly love and friendship throughout time immemorial.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

What is Masonry Really All About?

Tonight while doing some "surfing" I ran across a very good article on The article was written by Bro. Patrick O'Neill from Greeley, Colorado. The article is titled "Have we got our priorities right"?

In the article, Bro. O'Neil gives this quote from Charles Clyde Hunt:

"Freemasonry is an organized society of men symbolically applying the principles of operative masonry and architecture to the science and art of character building."

I think this is one of the best quotes that I have ever seen as to what Masonry is really all about. We often forget what Masonry is really supposed to be all is to make ourselves better as human beings and how we relate to our brothers and society in general.

We get so busy studying our ritual books, working on good deeds for our communities, and keeping our buildings up that we often forget to practice what Freemasonry is all about. I have tried to be more conscious of this the past few months, reaching out to my fellow brothers and their families in times of need. I feel that is really something that a lot of brothers of this gentle craft don't practice as earnest as we should.

I encourage each of you who read this to go out and read Bro. O'Neill's article. What he says in his article is really what our brothers who are coming into our fraternity are in search of today.