Lodge Dedications and Anniversaries; Celebrating the Past and Looking to the Future

This year, like so many other years, Lodges across the state will celebrate their 100, 125 or 150 Year Anniversaries. As the trend seems to follow, only about half of these lodges will actually conduct any kind of an event that recognizes their milestone.  Many wonder why more lodges don’t. Is it the amount of work involved in putting on a ceremony?  Or is it simply apathy?


R:. W:. Don Newman Jr., Grand Senior Warden 2010, assists with the rededication of Benevolent Lodge in Abilene.

The significance of your Lodges milestone is enormous when looked at from the right perspective.  Over the past 100-150 years, so much has changed in our world. So much so that our brethren from the era when our Grand Lodge began would not recognize the world as it is now, but they would Masonry. What seems to stand out is that no matter what problems have risen in the world the Tenants of our Order, Friendship, Morality and Brotherly Love,as well as a strict adherence to our traditions and ritual still apply.  Depending on how old your lodge is, it has survived the recovery from the Civil War and the settlement of Kansas, World War 1, the Great Depression and Dust Bowl days, World War 2, the Korean War, the Great Civil Rights Movement , the Vietnam War, the Economic Crisis of the late 70’s and early 80’s and so much more.  Even local controversies and changes to our communities have not seen the failure of our sacred tenants.

Short research also shows that 125 years ago Kansas Masons shared the same vision we have today. At the Annual Communication in 1887 the Grand Master, Silas Sheldon, addressed the craft sharing his vision for Kansas Masonry to be as strong as it could be and to be the premier Fraternal Organization in Kansas. This is essentially the same Vision we have today as shown in Vision 2020. The difference is that during that time, our infancy, their concern was that they would grow so fast that our sacred ritual would become skewed, altered or changed all together. This fear was so great that most lodges who applied for their charter were denied because their work was not yet proficient.  In his address Sheldon  states “The unprecedented growth of the western portion of this State has created a corresponding demand for new lodges” and further on “……they make application for a dispensation to organize a Masonic Lodge, with fifteen or twenty master masons from as many different lodges and perhaps as many different States, each with his own peculiar notion and idea of the work and government of a lodge.” Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of Kanas 1886-1887 

Silas Sheldon M.D., Grand Master of Kansas 1886-1887

Our shared Vision faces different challenges today. Instead of rapid growth we face the danger of a rapid collapse both in terms of lodges closing and apathy about our ritual and the order as a whole. Taking the time to remember where we came from and how we got here should impress on each and every Brother Mason the magnitude of the impact their lodge has had on so many Brothers and on their own town. Each and every lodge has its own footprint on their community both now and in the past. Those footprints across the state are what make the Grand Lodge of Kansas what it is. There isn’t a better way to publicly say to your community “We are here, we have been here and we will be here for generations to come making good men better.”

Re-Dedications are not difficult to conduct when coordinated in advance and as a lodge you are not left hanging out in the wind when trying to conduct such an event. Within a week after the Grand Lodge Annual Communication, the District and Area Deputies will have been trained and armed with the proper tools to perform their duties. Part of their duty is to support lodges celebrating an anniversary and assist them in the planning preparation and execution of that event. Reach out to your Deputies and put them to work. Grand Lodge Leadership also stands ready to help with anything that you need to get an event done.  Rededication Ceremonies and Anniversary Celebrations are an outstanding way to celebrate who we are, where we have been and more importantly, where we are going.


Click here for a list of Lodges with Anniversary Dates in 2012 and 2013

GL Online Store Stocked for the Holidays

By Tracy L. Bloom, Grand Master, Salina Lodge No. 60

With Christmas right around the corner you still have time to visit our online web store and pick out something for a Christmas gift.  Our staff at your Grand Lodge office will do our best to make sure it arrives in time to slip under the ole’ Christmas tree.  We have many great books on sale including The Better Angels Of Our Nature: Freemasonry in the American Civil War, written by your Grand Junior Warden, Michael A. Halleran, and I’m sure that he would love to personalize the book for you the next time you see him.  As you know, Bro. Halleran is an accomplished Masonic writer with many stories published in the Scottish Rite Journal.  His Bro. Brother articles were great reads and always a favorite of mine even before I met him.

If you took the opportunity to attend the Leadership Academy at the State Capitol building in October, you had the pleasure of listening to several great Masonic speakers, among them Bro. Cliff Porter from Colorado who gave a fantastic presentation. Bro. Cliff’s presentation was based on his book The Secret Psychology Of Freemasonry which is a featured item in our web store. While negotiating the best deal possible, Brother Cliff offered to personally sign each copy we purchased, so you can expect a signed copy when it arrives.

All other books and items are listed in the new and improved web store, which is much easier to navigate.  For ease of purchase you can now pay online with PayPal payment service, you don’t need a PayPal account to make a purchase, either. You can pay with your credit card and we usually get the order out the same day the transaction hits our desktops. So remember, if you’re looking for gifts for the Mason who has everything – be sure to stop by the Grand Lodge store.

Relighting The Torch: Did The Rule Change Snuff Out The Flame?

By Rick Reichert, Grand Senior Warden
Hancock Lodge No. 311

Previous winners of the Relighting the Torch awards are finding themselves struggling to accumulate acceptable hours. Grand Lodge is rigidly enforcing the rule change enacted at the 2009 Annual Communication. Has the rule change snuffed out the flame on the torch?
According to Don Newman, Deputy Grand Master, “I’m seriously considering doing away with the program altogether. It doesn’t seem right to reward lodges for doing what they should be doing anyway.” However, there is still time to turn the rule-change hurdle into a significant win, especially for lodges that have not been competitive for this award in the past. There are fifteen $1,000 awards for which few lodges has yet qualified for the 2011-2012 year.
Complete details are posted at KansasMason.org but here is the essence: Do something charitable as a lodge-led endeavor with enough hours to qualify for the award. To level the playing field, smaller lodges are required to perform less hours than larger ones. The reward, however, is the same regardless of lodge size. This can be a significant boon to the smaller lodges and they, likely being in less populated areas, are most likely to succeed.
The rule change is that the hours accumulated must be a lodge-led effort. Individual charitable volunteer hours and supporting another charitable organization, although encouraged and the right thing to do, are not counted for this award. The spirit of this award, and the reason for the rule change, is to build the image of your lodge and the fraternity as a whole.
Internally, we know we have been Herculean with our quiet philanthropy. Our religious teachings tell us that any boasting of our giving is its own reward and cannot serve as treasure in heaven. Promoting good works done by a group of men who display brotherly love, relief and truth is not boasting. By not making ourselves known by the good works we do deprives the community the knowledge of how to seek that charitable support when needed and most importantly, it denies potential brothers the knowledge of how to seek out like minded men and join them. Hiding our light under a bushel basket is helping drive our fraternity into obscurity.

The rule change was made to align our good works with the Image goal of Vision 2020, our strategic plan. Making our good works visible, accessible, and significant are required to meet our strategic goals and ensure the solid future of our Craft.
The litmus test for lodge-led is simple. If the lodge did not participate in the charitable effort, would it continue anyway? If the answer is yes, it is not lodge led. So what can a lodge do? First, look at your own membership. Whoever said charity begins at home was right. In any group of men, there must be some cause near to the heart of at least one of them. Once the need is identified, attaining the requisite hours is the next step.
The 300 member lodge must have 300 hours. That’s one hour per member or 10 hours for 30 members. Whether you do the effort all at once, like a toy-building workshop for the underprivileged children in your community at Christmas, or spread out by providing a pool of free on-call handyman for services made available to seniors that can’t otherwise afford to winterize their homes, meeting the time requirement is certainly achievable.
The response to a lodge-led effort like these would put your lodge in the forefront of your community’s mind when they are in need of a charitable service you perform. You’ll be building up the image of your lodge, bring unity to your charitable efforts, and put your lodge on the map for men who are looking for a way to give back. The community response will be, “That’s what the lodge guys do in our town – and it is great thing!”
Hook onto something like that and making the hours will be but a mere side benefit to the many other rewards your lodge will reap. Your torch flame will burn most brightly.

Live-Blogging From the Grand Lodge Leadership Academy

9:27 a.m.  The Leadership Academy has kicked off on-time with a huge crowd of 160 registered guests (and as yet uncounted unregistered Masons and their wives) in the very impressive House Chamber of the Kansas Statehouse.

9:35 a.m. W:. Cliff Porter, Master of Enlightenment Lodge No. 198 in Colorado and author of The Secret Psychology of Freemasonry begins the opening address.

Some Highlights:

“If Masonry can improve members of a lodge – can’t Masonry also improve upon Masonry?”

“In communications theory we most revere the senses of hearing, seeing and feeling,” which is very similar to Masonic thinking.

“In my work, I am an old crusty guy five years from retirement, but in Masonry, I am a punk.”

“I’ll trade a hundred guys with great ideas for one guy with a broom.”

“The idea that Masonry doesn’t grow, progress or change is radically, radically, false.”

“When you look at old grand lodge photos from the 1920s – the men we in their twenties.” The best thing we can do in Masonry, Porter stressed was to prepare the way for our successors.

Following Porter’s address, the attendees attended various breakout sessions.  Here in the House Chamber, R:.W:. Cole Presley, DDGM #35 addressed the responsibilities of Wardens in Kansas Masonry.

Schedule for Oct 1 Leadership Academy

Schedule for 2011 Leadership Academy

8:00 Grand Lodge building open with coffee and donuts

9:00 Statehouse opens

9:15 Welcoming, introductions, comments. All, House Chamber

9:30 Plenary;

  • Typological Leadership Cliff Porter, House Chamber

10:30 The Wardens;

  • Strength and Establishment of the Lodge; Cole Presley,House Chamber
  • The Changing Face of the Average American Male; Statistics and Trends; Tim Hamilton, Senate Chamber
  • Wives Section Block 1; Wives team; First floor committee room
  • Secretary’s Block 1; General Introduction to the Role of the Secretary, Grand Secretariat, Old Supreme Court chamber

11:30 Strategic Planning;

  • Strategic Planning for Lodges – Jumpstart; Rick Reichert, House Chamber
  • Rethinking the nature of investigations in the lodge; Cliff Porter, Senate Chamber
  • Wives Section Block 2; Wives team, First floor committee room
  • Membership policies, forms and paperwork, and records/minutes; Joey Stiles, Old Supreme Court chamber

LUNCH in blocks. Secretaries and Wives offsetting Warden’s attendees.


1:00 Questions, answers and case studies; Don Newman, House Chamber

  • Wives Section Block 3; Wives team, First floor committee room
  • Secretary’s Block 3; TBD Grand Secretariat, Old Supreme Court chamber

1:30 Lodge Finance Course; Vernon Butt, House Chamber

  • Defining the Culture of a Lodge and it’s Experience; Cliff Porter, Senate Chamber
  • Wives Section Block 4; Wives team; First floor committee room
  • Secretary’s Block 4; TBD Grand Secretariat, Old Supreme Court chamber

2:30 Lodge and the Law; Michael Halleran House Chamber

  • The Effect of Recessions and the Business Cycle on Future Planning; Tim Hamilton, Senate Chamber
  • Wives Section Block 5; Tour of GL Building/Explanation of Lodge room Wives team, Grand Lodge building, Grand Lodge’s Lodge room
  • Secretary’s Block 5; Database Overview Bob Pfuetze, Old Supreme Court chamber

3:30 Final comments, questions, answers, thanks, etc. All, House chamber

  • Wives Section Block 6; Explanation of Lodge room Wives team, Grand Lodge — Lodge Room
  • Secretary’s Block 6; Q & A from database users,
  • Time permitting Qs and As; in general from Secretaries Grand Secretariat, Old Supreme Court chamber

4:00 Policing of materials/debris & Departure from statehouse; complete Grand Lodge building open for tours, store open, available for questions or concerns.

Grand Lodge Phones Up and Running

In an email message today, Joesphe Stiles, Assistant Grand Secretary, reports that phone service to the Grand Lodge has been restored.

Grand Lodge Phone System Down

Due to last week’s storm, the phone system at the Grand Lodge remains down, although the Grand Lodge building is open.

Fall Kansas Mason plus Online Survey

Well in advance of the September 15 deadline, the Fall 2011 issue of the Kansas Mason is now online.

This issue features information and a registration form on the new Grand Lodge Leadership Academy along with details of that event which will be held in the Kansas Statehouse on October 1.

In addition, the issue also features insightful commentary by Grand Senior Warden Rick Reichert on Masonic unity which should not be missed.

Also in this issue,  J. Howard Duncan reviews Andrew Hammer’s Observing the Craft, and Nolan Sump provides answers to the burning questions of the Craft.

Our regularly featured departments, including columns by the Grand Secretary and the Grand Master, as well as Masonic news and events from around the state round out our Fall offering.

A lot has changed since we redesigned the Kansas Mason at the end of 2009—including our readership.

Our on-going commitment to the Craft in Kansas is to provide fresh and relevant content, add new content through our digital platforms, and build our visibility in Kansas Masonry and beyond. We are energized to continue our engagement with you—our readers—but we need your feedback.

So that we might better understand how to serve you, please complete this short reader’s survey.

We will publish the results in the next issue of the Kansas Mason.

Grand Lodge Offices Closed Due to Power Outage

A fast-moving thunderstorm that rolled through Topeka last night has knocked out power to the Grand Lodge offices.  The office will be closed on Friday, August 19, but will reopen on Monday, August 22.