In my first letter addressing you as Commander of Ann Arbor Commandery No. 13, Knights Templar I’d first like to thank our installing staff, Eminent Grand Junior Warden, Don Trumbull serving as installing officer, and Eminent Commander of Adrian Commandery No. 4, Wes Tapp, who made our installation a fantastic success, the Sir Knights of Ann Arbor Commandery No. 13 who’s confidence in me has allowed me to take on this role, my loving wife and family that have supported me in all my masonic endeavors and the LORD who through all things are possible.
In addition to the Sir Knights being installed that evening Sir Knight Arthur Davidge elevated to the rank of Honorary Past Commander via unanimous vote following a written motion from Paul Howell, PC, KYCH. Sir Art’s years of service within the Commandery as its Recorder, organizer, facilitator and as a ritualist certainly merit admiration and are worthy of imitation. He was presented with his Honorary Past Commander shoulder boards and jewel at the installation and we look forward to his continued support.
In my speech following my installation I took a moment and talked about the history and chivalry that draw men to the commandery. I can speak for myself, but I also see in others this desire to embrace values and ideas that have been forgotten in much of the modern world, to look at the traditions of the past to build a better future, to not only appreciate men of character but to consider yourself among them. It is for these reasons that we become Knights Templar and do what we can to embrace their ideas of faith and chivalry in our every day, very modern lives.
It was because of this strong historical connection that I began to research the history of Ann Arbor Commandery in preparation for becoming its commander. While we trace our traditions back to an order founded in the 12th century, we found a glory of our own in the 19th here in America, and while I have been a student of the original Templars for much of my life, I wanted to learn of our direct forbearers as well. Truly they found a prosperity of their own that dwarfs us today. Over the past few months I have been posting some of our findings on our web page, whether it’s news articles that prove our impact on the community, or pictures that fail to capture our vast numbers, you can see a history that carries a distinction of its own, where man took up the banner of the Templar and with their vast numbers and singing regalia declared their faith in Christ and dedication to the defense of innocent maidens, destitute widows, helpless orphans, and the Christian Religion. So alien a concept considering the world I grew up in, but perhaps that’s why I am so driven to see it revived.
In this research I found many things, some trivial, some profound, but always interesting. Traditions long forgotten, territorial disputes long made irrelevant, but a passion for Templary that stands to this day. This week I will be posting the full “Historical Sketch of Ann Arbor Commandery No. 13 Knights Templar Ann Arbor, Michigan” compiled by Sir Knight Harrison H. Caswell, PC. This book served as an invaluable guide when searching through the archives and gave me more than a few interesting bits of information. For example, the founding members of Ann Arbor Commandery were all Knighted in Detroit Commandery and as such the Detroit Commandery regulation sword has traditionally been used as our own I also learned as one might expect we have long been an integral part of Ann Arbor history raising funds for the WWI war effort and serving as beloved fraternity to majors, judges professors at the recently moved University of Michigan, but what I didn’t expect was to learn that we spear headed the effort to build Ann Arbor Masonry’s second meeting place, and that this second temple is still completely intact.
On the third floor above Urban Jewelers on Main in Ann Arbor with Templar symbols still adorning it sits a Masonic meeting place unused for over a century. The first meeting location for the Ann Arbor Masonic bodies was without running water or rest rooms, and its cramped conditions compelled Ann Arbor Commandery gather the Masonic bodies together to build this third floor on a building that was already in the process of being constructed at the time. It served not only as home to many of the Ann Arbor Masonic bodies in existence today but in fact was where Fraternity Lodge No. 262 was founded.
Inside is a vast lodge room with high ceilings and the common markings that would tell any Mason who met here. Untouched by the owners, but weathered by time, the third floor has gone unused outside of the occasional use for storage and still stands as a testament to our history. It represents a time where Masonry was on the move, and Commandery helped to lead the charge. How many men were made masons, companions and sir knights in that room, what ideas ran through the minds of men when 262 was formed there, what do we carry with us due to this linage? I don’t know for sure, but it excites me. I long for a time where the Ann Arbor Masonic bodies meet together again, where we have the resources and manpower to move stone, and build buildings, and where time honored traditions guide our future. Will we reach this level again? I don’t know but with my sword as my companion and God as my leader I hope to move towards a future of stronger Masonry, through greater unity.
I hope you have found my discoveries as interesting as I have, and I would like to thank my immediate predecessor Sir Knight Corey Curtiss, PC for accompanying me in the adventures that led to them. As usual our stated conclave will be on the third Monday which is 18th this month, and while we have no orders to confer, we do have a candidate in waiting who will be receiving his Royal Arch degrees over the next few months, and if all goes well he’ll be able to serve as our inspection candidate. Inspection practice schedules are forthcoming so keep an eye on the website, and I’ll be sure to keep you informed.
Deo duce, ferro comitante,
Brandon Mullins, Commander