Greetings Friends & Companions,
On Monday, February 24th The Mark Master Mason Degree was conferred on Brother Thane Domrase, of Olive Lodge No. 158 catching him up with Worshipful Brother Robert Blackburn who also now awaits the Past Master Degree. We plan to confer the Past Master Degree with Allegory on March 19th at our home, Calvary United Methodist Church in Ann Arbor at the usual time of 7:00pm but we’re going to skip the pre degree dinner to make time for a Council school of instruction starting at 6:30pm. For the upcoming Most Excellent Master and Royal Arch Degrees we may mix things up. The scale of the Most Excellent Master Degree has us looking for other possible locations to host it and for the Royal Arch Degree I’m working on something really special, an outdoor degree. But nothing is set in stone yet but I just wanted to give you a little taste of some of the exciting things we’re planning for Washtenaw Chapter.
The subject I wanted to talk about in this article is one that has affected me directly and given the vast variety of duties I’ve taken on in life will certainly continue to. With the various activities in life that vie for our time, and the poor state many of our Lodges are in, how can one justify their involvement in an appendant body? I suppose the obvious and most common answer is to receive and confer additional light in Masonry. While this is a noble pursuit indeed if we truly believe the Lodges are the core of our institution it seems to reason that with so many in such a poor state if a brother is strapped for time he should focus his efforts on them, rather than appendant bodies to make sure the foundation of our fraternity doesn’t crumble. Some men may have the time for both and that is certainly fine, but in the 21st century where wages are low, and both parents in the household must work to pay the bills a family man rarely finds himself in that position. I struggled with this for a long time. In my lodge I tried to stay active, and began my journey down the officer line but my busy schedule insured that I missed far more than my fair share of meetings, and while I know I was doing my best to serve the fraternity I constantly felt like I was failing, and felt as much shame as I did pride in my involvement. In the Royal Arch on the other hand I where the meetings where monthly rather than weekly, though time was still an issue I felt like I could greatly concentrate my efforts into providing a good program for candidates, and though in that capacity I have certainly run into problems, the ability to make it to every meeting and give each one my all gave me greater confidence and greater passion for Masonry. After years of trying to stay involved in Lodge, my work schedule finally changed this January making further attendance impossible, and I had to drop out of line. And though I’m sad I’ll no longer be able to take part in their meetings and degrees I think I can be comfortable in saying that perhaps it has been for the best. Right now I know I have enough time for the York Rite. I can attend our monthly meetings and not feel over extended or overwhelmed. This is a good niche for me today. Tomorrow may change and I’ll once again have more time for Masonic activities, but for now a part time job in the quarries fits me quite well, and I think others may be able to benefit in the same way. So many brothers get the feeling that because they cannot attend every meeting, four to eight times a month that Masonic involvement is beyond their reach, but I say send them our way, let them know that there are institutions in Masonry where they can still be involved, still take part. And in all honesty that’s how I justify my involvement in the York Rite, despite the limits on my time. I like it, and I can dedicate the time I need to be active in it.
I hope you have enjoyed this article and I hope to see you at our next meeting that in spite of several challenges in organizing it will be our first Past Master Degree with Allegory in a very long time.
Brandon Mullins, HP