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?
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
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.