Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Apollo 11 Mool Landing

On July 20, Americans celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing. Commander Neil Alden Armstrong and Lunar Module Pilot Edwin Eugene 'Buzz' Aldrin, Jr. became the first humans to land on the Moon. Buzz Aldrin is a Master Mason and member of Monclair Lodge No. 144, Monclair, NJ. Although, not a Mason himself, Neil Armstrong’s father was a Master Mason.

I missed the opportunity to extend my congratulations on the anniversary of this historic event. However, I recently received an email from a brother Mason with a the customs declaration form (below) attached, and I thought it was worthy of sharing. Click on this image to see a larger view.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Contrary to my normal practice of only posting original content on this blog, I have copied the following from Chris Hodapp’s Blog ,“Freemasons For Dummies”. I do this for the sole purpose of encouraging interest and participation in The Masonic Society.

Issue No. 5, Summer 2009, of The Journal of the Masonic Society will arrive in our members' mailboxes in the next two weeks.The Journal is a quarterly magazine containing Masonic information written by authors from all over the world. Speculative papers, news stories, fiction, poetry, great photography, insightful opinion and other editorial elements reviving the golden age of Masonic publishing.Features in the new issue include:

• 'The Two Confessions of John Whitney: an examination of the conflicting theories as to the fate of William Morgan' by Stephen Dafoe.
• 'Brother Bloom, The Most Influential Mason Who Never Lived' by Kenneth W. Davis.
• 'Debunking Reality: Solomon's Temple and the Power of Allegory' by Randy Williams.
• 'Multiple Dimensions of Silence in Freemasonry' by Shawn Eyer.• 'The Orders of the Secret Monitor and the Scarlet Cord' By Richard L. Gan.
• 'International Conference on the History of Freemasonry 2009' by Christopher Hodapp.• 'Masonic Treasures: The Washingtons of Donald De Lue' by Marc Conrad.
• 'The Dan Brown Effect' by Christopher Hodapp.

Plus news of current events, info on upcoming Masonic events, and other news from around the Masonic world. And the Journal accepts advertising from businesses of interest to Masons. It is a high quality, full color publication that is unlike any other magazine in the marketplace for Freemasons.

Since beginning in May 2008, membership in the Masonic Society has grown to nearly 850 members. A subscription to the Journal is only one of the benefits of membership. Our members-only on-line discussion forum has 541 members discussing 2,496 topics. And we're getting ready for our "First Circle Semi-Annual Gathering and Banquet," in Indianapolis on October 24th. The Masonic Society also provides special members-only offers discounts and premiums on books, and even gentlemen's clothing: we have just added a discount card for members at Brooks Brothers.

In addition to a lapel pin and membership card, each member receives an 11x14 patent, on parchment, with a hand-stamped wax seal. It is easily one of the most impressive membership documents in Masonry.

Membership in the Society is just $39, and is open to regular Master Masons in good standing of regular, recognized grand lodges in good standing with the Conference of Grand Masters of Masons in North America (CGMMNA), or a grand lodge in amity with a member grand lodge of CGMMNA.

Non-Masons, libraries, lodges, and members of other obediences may also subscribe to the Journal at the $39 annual rate.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Membership Training Seminar

The Al Aska Shrine is sponsoring a membership development seminar in Anchorage, August 14-15, 2009. The seminar is open to all Masonic Bodies within the jurisdiction of Alaska. Its purpose is to share with the Masonic Organization the most current information available about Lodge relations, recruitment, retention, delinquent dues, suspensions and restorations.

This initiative is the dream child of David Worel, Chief Rabban of the Al Aska Shrine. Typically only the leadership of Shrine Temples participates in this training, which is provided at the Imperial Shrine headquarters in Tampa, FL. Dave has coordinated with the leaders of the seminar and encouraged them to take their show on the road to Alaska. This Alaskan seminar provides an excellent training opportunity for our constituent lodges, and will enable them to develop their own membership recruitment and retention programs.

The seminar will be held at the Al Aska Temple the evening of August 14th and all day of August 15th and will be provided at no cost. Lunch will also be donated.

The following is the schedule of activities for this two day event:

August 14, Friday
4:00 – 8:00 Hospitality at the Al Aska Temple
August 15,Saturday
8:00 AM, Meeting with Divan
9:00 AM,Overview of presentation,Lodge Relations
10:30 AM, Break
11:00 AM, Recruitment
12:00 PM, Lunch
1:00 PM, Retention
3:00 PM, Delinquent dues, Restorations

For further information contact Dave Worel at dw@nlhc.com or the Al Aska Shrine at (907) 274-4344.

Brats, Beans, and Beer

Yesterday evening, Beth and I hosted the Junior Warden’s picnic for District No. 5. District No. 5 includes Matanuska Lodge No. 7, Eagle River Lodge No. 13, and Iditarod Lodge No. 20. The picnic was intended to be an early thank you to the members of those lodges for all of their help and support for Grand Lodge’s Annual Communication next February. We had a very good turnout, and threatening rain and a road closure did not dampen the spirits of those who attended. The only weather we had to contend with was a stiff breeze which, although a little cool, kept the mosquitoes away. In addition to members of District No. 5 lodges, their families, and friends, RW Jim Grubbs (Grand Treasurer), RW Jerry Wasson (Grand Secretary), W Clarence Keto (Grand Orator), and W John Bishop (Grand Lecturer) joined in the festivities and enjoyed one or more of my latest home brew offerings (Black Porter).

I have been perfecting my bratwurst recipe for awhile now, and this time it turned out just right. The brats were braised is beer and onions, grilled, then returned to a fresh batch of beer and onions to keep warm. Along with the brats and Porter, a big hit of the evening was Beth’s baked beans. Several of those in attendance asked for the recipe, therefore I have included it at the end of this post.

I would like to express my special thanks to Beth’s parents, Don (Matanuska Lodge No. 7) and Leeann Dodds. They stayed after to clean up while I hob knobbed with the departing guests. It was a great time with good fellowship and good friends.

Beth’s Baked Beans

• 1 lg. tall can Pork & Beans (Van Camps makes it too soupy)
• 1 can kidney beans – drained
• 1 can butter beans
• 1 # hamburger
• 1 med. Onion – chopped
• 5 – 6 pieces bacon – chopped
• 1 c. catsup
• 1 c. brown sugar
• 2 lg. dollops of prepared mustard

Brown hamburger and onion. Brown bacon pieces. Put beans and meats together. Add remaining ingredients. Sprinkle with oregano. Bake at 350° for 2 – 3 hours.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Shrine Imperial Session

The 135th Session of the Imperial Council, Nobles of the Mystic Shrine is meeting in San Antonio this week. The official opening occurred today in the Lila Cockrell Theater of the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, along the banks of San Antonio’s famous ‘River Walk’.

During today’s session, Nobles debated the proposal of the board of directors to close six of the 22 Shrine Hospitals nationwide. The reasons expressed for closing the six hospitals was to help stem the hemorrhaging of Shrine resources which has been going on unabated since 2001 and prevent the speculated bankruptcy of the Shrine. The plan was to consolidate the functions of these hospitals into the remaining 18 hospitals and hopefully improve on the low 27% occupancy of North America’s full service Shrine Hospitals. Emotions and passions ran high and in the end the delegates voted to withdraw the proposal to close the six hospitals and give their directors more time to continue on their cost cutting initiatives.

In another resolution, the delegates voted to approve an amendment to the by-laws of the Colorado Corporation to redefine what is meant by the term “Shriners Hospitals”. In the language of the resolution the concept of Hospital was changed from a full-service brick and mortar facility to become a level of service concept. Such levels of service include ambulatory care facilities used for day surgery and out-patient care. Under the approved resolution, the board of directors, after consultation with hospital directors and staff, will have the authority to change the level of service being provided by hospitals, while such hospitals will remain clearly identified to the public as a Shrine Hospital.

During the afternoon session, the election of the 2009-2010 Imperial Divan Officers was conducted. Jack H. Jones (Imperial Recorder) was elected Imperial Potentate for the term which would have been filled by Terry McGuire who passed away last year. Jeffrey L. Sowder (PGM Kansas) was elected to the office of Imperial Outer Guard. All other Imperial Divan officers were advanced one position.

Beth and I have thoroughly enjoyed our visit to this Imperial Session and San Antonio’s River Walk. Our thanks to Imperial Potentate, Douglas E. Maxwell and his lady Patricia for all of the courtesies extended to us.

One final note: yesterday afternoon, at the Public Opening of the Imperial Session, I had the occasion to meet and visit with MW Tom McCarthy, Grand Master of Masons in Minnesota and fellow blogger (mngrandmaster09.blogspot.com).

Friday, July 3, 2009

Happy Independence Day

To all Alaska Masons.

I just received the following from WB Richard Grand, Master of Iditarod Lodge No. 20:

This coming Saturday is the Wasilla 4th of July Parade.
Masonic participants who wish to ride on the Shrine trailer need to be at the Performing Arts Center parking lot in Wasilla between 9:30 am and 10:45 am.
(Hint: the earlier you arrive, the closer you can park!)

The parade starts at 11 am.

If you have any 4th of July decorations please bring them.
Also bring your organizations banner(s) or signs (don't forget the adhesive tape!)

The Grandmaster has authorized the wearing of the Masonic regalia of your Order for this event.

Please forward this to your groups, as I have only a few e-mail addresses beyond Mat 7.

We cannot throw candy, but if you walk, you can hand it out to the kids.

Beth and I are heading to San Antonio this evening so will miss this event. However, our thoughts will be with you as we wish you a happy and safe Fourth of July.