Northville Commandery No. 39, Knight Templar’s Public Christmas Observance tonight! Come out and support the Southeastern Battalion!
Merry Christmas Sir Knights,
I have taken my time in getting this letter out in part because I knew I wanted a Christmas theme but I wasn’t really feeling the Christmas spirit. This is my 4th year celebrating Christmas as a father rather than a child, and while the blessings of such are countless, you find yourself easily caught in the “business” of Christmas. I take great joy in teaching my children about Christmas, and seeing their faces on Christmas day but putting up decorations, buying presents, and going to events can be positive or negative depending on your perspective at the time, and with work that doesn’t slow down for the holiday, overbearing commercialization, and the constant controversy over the very nature of the season, Christmas as a grownup tends to gravitate towards the latter.
I’ve come to find that simply enjoying Christmas in the 21st century is no easy task. It seems like every day we hear someone trying to guilt us out of it. Buying presents is supporting ramped consumerism, decorations are wasting electricity, and even wishing someone a Merry Christmas can be construed as a sign of ignorance or crassness followed with the regular reminder that Christmas includes numerous pre-Christian rituals, falls in or around Hanukkah, or other contemporary celebrated holidays and falls on countless other pre-Christmas holidays which also may have influenced his development, meaning obviously that guiltless enjoyment should be impossible. And it wouldn’t be the Christmas season if the ACLU didn’t sue someone. The Anti-Defamation League refers to the season as the “December Dilemma,” a fitting name for what we’ve made it.
On the other side you have those who brigade to “Keep Christ in Christmas,” a noble effort that even our Grand Encampment recommends we take part in as Suggestion 29 in the Guidelines for Religious Activities. But it too has its drawbacks, turning a joyous season into yet another battleground, and alienating those who do celebrate holidays near December’s end. So how do we weather the storm, and enjoy ourselves? The only thing I’ve learned to do is to focus on the fruits of Christmas. It is still a season that uniquely and internationally shifts our heart towards giving to others, encourages joy and good cheer, and gives us a profound focus on the gifts we have received as a result of the birth of our blessed Emmanuel, whatever time of the year he was born in. I have long loved the drive home on Christmas night. Businesses are closed, streets are empty, and the focus on goodness is alive in the air. It is a season of magic, excitement, and tradition that all the superficial criticism in the world cannot destroy.
It takes work sometimes, and there is much foolishness to cut through, but it is my charge to all Sir Knights to enjoy the Christmas season as best you can, and allow it to fill you with the joy and peace of the LORD.
We will still be having our regular meeting on December 17th but the focus will be on Ann Arbor Council No. 86’s Installation of Officers. We do however have two Knights of Malta in waiting, and plans for their Order of the Temple are forthcoming. In addition I would encourage all Sir Knights to support the Southeastern Battalion and attend Northville Commandery’s Christmas observance on Thursday, December 20th at 7pm on 106 E Main Street, Northville, MI. And upcoming in January we have Olive Lodge No. 156 & Stockbridge Lodge No. 130’s honor guard on Saturday, January 5th at 113 W Middle Street, Chelsea, MI to plan for. Our own Thane Domrase, a Knight of Malta is being installed as Worshipful Master of Olive Lodge, so I’m hoping to put on a good show. Speaking of putting on a good show as many of you have seen I’ve had our Drill Badge redrawn, and am currently taking quotes on getting it remade. If anyone has any suggestions on who to go to they would be greatly appreciated.
I thank you all for reading this month’s letter and wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Deo duce, ferro comitante,
Brandon Mullins, Commander
Earlier in October, Sir Knight Art and I were honored with the opportunity to welcome the heads of all of the York Rite Bodies including our Right Eminent Grand Commander, Cortland Rule at the Grand York Rite Reception out in Chelsea. It was a great time of fellowship and celebration and I once again look forward to the ensuing grand year.Ann Arbor Commandery No. 13 has been quite active as well and with the help of Detroit Commandery No. 1 and their fantastic ritual work we have two new Knights of Malta awaiting the Order of the Temple.
We have yet to plan dates for the Order of the Temple but Detroit Commandery has once again opened their home to us and offered their assistance in the Knighting of these Brothers and at our stated conclave on the 19th I’m sure we’ll be discussing the details. In addition given all the degree work that has been going on over the past few months we now have 4 new members of the Ann Arbor York Rite as a whole, and our next stated will also be a fantastic opportunity to introduce yourself to these new Companions and show them the hospitality and brotherly love that comes with fellowship among us.
Another attribute you’d hope to find amongst us is chivalry, and that’s the very subject I’d like to discuss in this letter. Chivalry has always been a subject near and dear to my heart. It never ceases to spark my interest or influence my actions, without it I wouldn’t be the man I am today, and it’s my interest in it that first caught the attention of the woman who would become my wife dramatically improving my life and changing my fate forever.
Chivalry in its most basic sense began as the rules of conduct seen suitable for mounted combat and eventually knighthood. As time went on it grew more complex with countless manuals detailing the responsibilities of the chivalrous, and while no one particular set of guidelines ever became the standard certain duties were always inculcated: Duty to others, duty, to God, and duty to women. These duties quickly become the core knightly virtues and with the popularization of the concept of decidedly Christian Knighthood they became the ultimate way a Knight could serve his LORD and Savior.
So why the continued interest in the antiquated ideals of long dead warriors? Because they’re still needed. Rev. Charles Kingsley said “Some say that the age of chivalry is past, that the spirit of romance is dead. The age of chivalry is never past, so long as there is a wrong left unredressed on earth.” And I can certainly say I agree with it. I still try to practice chivalry because just as all swords have not yet been beat into ploughshares man does not yet by default serve his neighbor, his God, or women as he should and chivalry is a standard still to be strived for, and still broadly unmet.
But on the other side of the coin we cannot take the subject too literally or thoughtlessly. Chivalry may have been the code of the Knights of old but the world has changed and we must change with it. If we even look back to the roots of our magnanimous order, the definition of Knight was quick to change from a man actively engaged in combat to a man who who served the order valorously in any capacity, allowing for both operative and, say speculative knights. As they changed what made a man a knight so have we and so must we continue in order to best serve the LORD in our ever changing world. As Kenelm Henry Digby put it so poetically, “Chivalry is only a name for that general spirit or state of mind which disposes men to heroic actions, and keeps them conversant with all that is beautiful and sublime in the intellectual and moral world.” So should we all be filled with that spirit and never shy from heroic actions or being an active part in the sublimity of the intellectual and moral world.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this short discussion on chivalry and stand willing to help welcome our new members with open arms at our home at Calvary United Methodist Church at 6:30pm on Monday the 19th. We have much to discuss much to plan, hope to see you all there, and if we don’t have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
Deo duce, ferro comitante,
Brandon Mullins, Commander
With great anticipation I write you this letter as I have much to report and exciting things to announce. First I would like to start out by thanking Ypsilanti Commandery No. 54, for working with us, and making this year’s joint inspection possible, and in my opinion a great success. In addition I would like to thank Sir Knight Paul Roggow, Eminent Grand Generalissimo, and Sir Knight Don Trumbull, Eminent Grand Senior Warden for serving as our inspecting officers for Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti respectively and all Sir Knights present who came to support us in our endeavors including our Right Eminent Grand Commander, Sir Knight Courtland Rule. I had a lot of fun this year, and am already looking forward to next year’s inspection.
This year we had the honor of knighting Sir Knight Michael Peirce into Ypsilanti Commandery No. 54 during our inspection and it is my belief that will serve his commandery well and his zeal and enthusiasm will be as asset to the order at large.
In addition to the usual festivities that come with inspection, Sir Knight Gary Leach, Eminent Commander of Ypsilanti Commandery, and I were shocked to each be presented with the Grand Commander’s Service Award by our Grand Commander during our inspection luncheon. I think I can speak for both Sir Knight Gary and I when I say that we are humbled to receive such an honor and will proudly wear the award on our uniforms as we continue to serve this illustrious order.
But just because our inspection has passed doesn’t mean you can put your sword away because we have candidates in waiting, and work is coming up soon, very soon. Detroit Commandery No. 1 has agreed to host the Illustrious Order of the Red Cross, on Monday October 15th at 7pm, and the Order of Malta on Tuesday the 23rd, both at the Detroit Masonic Temple and both in full form. In addition it has been offered to put on a special knighting at the Detroit Masonic Temple specifically for our candidates at a future date using an Order Team that will be made up primarily of our members. We will have candidates at both the Illustrious Order of the Red Cross and Order of Malta dates set, and will have to plan for the Order of the Temple in the future, but as the date for the Red Cross conflicts with our stated conclave it has been decided between I, and our Thrice Illustrious Master & High Priest that we cancel our stated conclave for October and resume in November. In addition to this letter we will be sending out notices of this cancelation via e-mail and it will be posted on the web. Also take note that this month there is a Southeastern Battalion meeting on the 29th at 6:30pm in Samaria, and we’d love to see as many of our Sir Knights possible there.
It is my custom in these letters to include a piece of education, and in this one I will be answering a specific question, “What the heck do the shoulder boards mean?” One could easily write a book about commandery uniforming and I very well may address other aspects in the future but I’ve been asked this specific question a few times recently, and thought I might as well answer it.
The Commandery Uniform can be easily described as a military dress uniform. It has some features that are common amongst all military uniforms, some that are unique to it alone and others that by design specifically duplicate the features of other military uniforms. The shoulder boards or shoulder straps are among of those features. Their basic design comes from the US Army Dress Blue uniform, and they serve the same purpose, to signify rank. All dais officers within a Commandery wear shoulder boards as well as all officers of the Grand Commandery and Grand Encampment. The background of a constituent commandery’s shoulder board is green in color, and the insignia on it is the same as their jewel of office. The green represents as we have learned through our various travels through Masonry, the immortality of the soul, a most basic and fundamental belief that all Knights Templar must adhere to. In addition it can represent the green pastures of creation of which the LORD we trust will guide is through and allow us to safely lie upon, and as it is color of the first shoulder board any officer receives the honor of wearing it also represents new growth, as these men will be the future of the Commandery.
The Eminent Commander’s insignia is the Latin, or Passion Cross emanating rays of light. The cross itself, as one might expect represents the crucifixion of our Blessed Emanuel whose sacrifice allowed us the gift of eternal bliss with our Father in Heaven, but in addition, the rays of light remind us that humility, love and pure benevolence should always be found emanating from our belief in that great gift. While we may have been saved through faith, without works that faith is clearly dead. The further allusion of a cross placed on the shoulders of a Sir Knight is to that of Simon of Cyrene who was compelled to bear our Savior’s cross as well as the cross we must all bear so we can in time wear the crown.
After you serve your term as Eminent Commander and see your replacement is duly installed you have reached the status of Past Commander and wear a similar shoulder board to the one you wore while commander, except in this case the background is red which as we have been previously taught in our journeys through Masonry represents the fervency and zeal which a leader must espouse to assure success, and represents our acceptance of the precious blood of the Lamb of God, which was slain for our benefit. This shoulder board continues to be worn even if you cycle back through the line. Once you become a Past Commander you never go back to an officer’s green shoulder board. It also serves to represent a Past Commander’s connection with the Grand Commandery which also wears Red shoulder boards as a Past Commander is obligated to continually support his Grand Commandery long after his term as Eminent Commander is over.
The Generalissimo’s insignia is the Square surmounted by the Paschal Lamb, a representation of Jesus Christ and his sacrifice for us. Masonic tradition tells us the Square is a symbol of leadership and a guide for our actions. The Paschal Lamb’s place upon it is to remind us that Christ is our eternal leader and it is by his teachings that we should square our actions.
The Captain General’s insignia is that of a level surmounted by a rooster. As with the square we are informed of its meaning by Masonic tradition but the rooster itself has three unique places in Christian symbolism. He marks time as to give order to man, crowing in the morning and at night, he has also served to announce transgressions such as in Peter’s denial of Christ but most notably he is a relentless fighter, always zealous and always to conquer or be conquered however the LORD may will. As so should the Captain General give order to the commandery, keep them mindful of their transgressions have zeal for his duties.
The Excellent Prelate’s insignia is called the Triple Triangle, and is considered to be a beautiful emblem of the LORD. It consists of three triangles, each with a Latin Cross resting inside. This is to represent the three aspects of deity, omniscience, omnipotence, and omnipresence, as well as the three figures of the Godhead, The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit. In addition, the three triangles positioned as they are make a shape with 9 sides referencing the ninth hour in which Jesus Christ expired, the nine times he presented himself to the apostles after his resurrection, and the nine fruits of the spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, truthfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Given the office of Prelate is often held by a Past Commander this set of shoulder boards is rarely seen, but on rare occasions folks like myself have the honor of wearing them for a time
Just as a Past Commander, and for the same symbolic reasons, members of the Grand Commandery wear shoulder boards with a red background, but instead of the Latin Cross, or a cross of their office, they wear the Cross Pattée, or Templar Cross, a long held symbol of royal power within Christendom. It serves as the cross of kings, bishops and many others in authority throughout the world and has often been considered a de facto official symbol of the Knights Templar in general. It is believed that this Cross was given to the Knights Templars by Pope Eugeniu, but that has been contentious point of debate. None the less its regal linage dates back centuries if not melena and has always been connected to authority.
Much as a sitting commander’s shoulder board transitions from green to red when he becomes a past commander, placing him alongside the ranks of the Grand Commandery, when a Grand Commander becomes a Past Grand Commander his shoulder board transitions from red to purple, placing him alongside the ranks of the Grand Encampment of the United States of America. Purple is worn by the top leaders within our institution because it represents royalty, authority, and leadership. This status is affirmed in Masonry and is found all throughout western civilization, very possibly dating back to the purple vestments worn by Aaron. In addition purple was the color of the robe placed on Jesus Christ during the Passion and represents to us the close personal relationship possible between the Son of Man and those who accept him into their hearts and purse it. In that way the colors of the shoulder boards are emblematic of the Christian experience, with green representing growing faith, red representing accepting the gift of Christ, and purple representing the close personal relationship found within.
The emblem worn by members of the Grand Encampment is the Cross of Lorraine. First used in Ancient Samaria, the Cross of Lorraine is has long been used as an ideogram for rulership. It is the historical heraldic arms of an arch bishop and the Patriarch of Jerusalem and is named for the Duke of Lorraine, Godfrey of Bouillon who knowing this history used it as his standard when he took the holy city. A humble man at heart, Godfrey was quick to bestow the holy symbol to a group of Sir Knights with the high aims of defending pilgrims traveling to the holy land, a group that would later become the Knights Templar. This cross carried through the ages served as the first recognition of our noble deeds and continues to be worn on the shoulders of Grand Encampment officers to this day.
The emblem worn by the Most Excellent Grand Master is the Cross of Salem. The Cross of Salem is a symbol both ancient and shrouded in mystery. Today it is most commonly associated with the Pope of the Catholic Church but this triple barred cross may date back well before the days of Popes. It’s three arms are said to represent The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit, and as such it serves as a beautiful Trinitarian statement that though the Son was Crucified it was the will of The Father and The Holy Spirit. In addition it has been said such a symbol was once used to represent Salem, the Royal City of Melchizedek, and future place of Jerusalem, and even that it serves as a representation of the Tree of Life. Facts are rare when it comes to this symbol of our faith, and stories are conflicting, but what we know for certain is that this cross has been long used in conjunction with ultimate mortal leadership within Christendom and is a fitting emblem of the leader of all Knights Templar.
As a close relationship with Christ is the most we can hope for while still walking this earth, the color of the Grand Master’s shoulder board remains purple even as a Past Grand Master, but he forever carries the Cross of Salem with him as a testament to his dedication to and leadership within our glorious and magnanimous order.
Well Sir Knights, what started as a simple question went on for pages so I thank you for staying with me. Remember to join us at 7pm on Monday the 15th at the Detroit Masonic Temple for the Illustrious Order of the Red Cross, and Tuesday the 23rd for the Order of Malta, as well as for the Southeastern Battalion meeting on the 29th at 6:30pm at Samaria. Also be sure to remember our Cub Scouts, Pack 405 in Ann Arbor and if you see them around selling popcorn show your support and buy some.
Deo duce, ferro comitante,
Brandon Mullins, Commander
Ypsilanti Commandery No. 54, and Ann Arbor Commandery No. 13, Knights Templar of Michigan would like to invite all Sir Knights to attend our Joint Inspection on Saturday morning, the 15th of September 2012 at the Ypsilanti Masonic Temple, 5752 Whittaker Road, Ypsilanti MI. Sir Knight Paul Raggow, Grand Generalisimo and Sir Knight Donald L. Trumbull, Grand Senior Warden of the Grand Commandery of Michigan will be the Inspecting Officers. The Commanderies will open at 9:00 a.m. Coffee and rolls will be available at 8:15. A buffet luncheon will follow closing at a cost of $10.00 a person payable at the door or by check to Ann Arbor Commandery No. 13. Suggested dress is Templar uniform or business suit, dark tie.
I write this looking forward to the upcoming Grand York Rite Session. I wasn’t able to attend last year, but this year will be particularly exciting as I’ll be able to see two men who have been a part of my Masonic life from nearly the beginning take roles as the heads of their respective grand bodies, and get to experience their vision for the York Rite in the ensuing year.
In addition I’m looking forward to our upcoming inspection with Ypsilanti Commandery No. 54. It took some time but we worked things out, and I think we have a solid team that will make this year’s joint inspection a fantastic success. To make that success possible we have scheduled weekly practices every Thursday at 7pm at the Ypsilanti Masonic Temple, 5752 Whittaker Road, Ypsilanti MI leading up to our inspection.
The inspection itself will take place on Saturday morning, the 15th of September at the Ypsilanti Masonic Temple. Sir Knight Paul Raggow, Grand Generalisimo and Sir Knight Donald L. Trumbull, Grand Senior Warden of the Grand Commandery of Michigan will be the Inspecting Officers. The Commanderies will open at 9:00 am. Coffee and rolls will be available at 8:15. A buffet luncheon will follow closing at a cost of $10.00 a person payable at the door or by check to Ann Arbor Commandery No. 13.
For reservations, no later than 8 September, please contact:
Arthur W. Davidge, HPC, Recorder
Ann Arbor Commandery No. 13,K.T. of MI
4551 N. Maple Road, Ann Arbor MI 48105-9614
Voice/FAX: +1 734 769 6982
Inspections serve as the high point of activity for many Commanderies not only requiring us to put on our most complex and illustrious order, candidate or none, but also allowing those of us who have a variety of Masonic duties the excuse to put emphasis on Commandery. So of course all of us preparing for an inspection are thinking about Commandery, talking about Commandery, and inevitably will get questions about Commandery. And likely the most prevalent question I’ve received is really, “What is this distinctly Christian body doing in predominantly nonsectarian Freemasonry?” Well it is indeed a Christian body. There is no doubt of that. Admittance to Commandery enjoins Sir Knights to defend the Christian religion, and express their preference to it above all others. This in effect makes the Knights Templar Christian body. But why have a Masonic body that serves a specific faith? I would break it down into three reasons.
First is history and tradition. Wherever you stand on a practical historical Templar connection it can still be said that first and foremost the Knights Templar is an institution founded upon the Christian Religion. To attempt to remove that from the body would contradict its very nature. And once again regardless of history, Christian Templarisim has been a long held part of Freemasonry and while a variety of other Masonic bodies deal with Templar legend, some requiring Christian faith while others not doing so I would say that the Knights Templar most specifically speaks to the Christian experience, and most directly takes on the Christian aspects of Templarisim which leads me to my next point.
As someone who has been active in Commandery for several years and currently serves as Commander I can say that the orders themselves are written with the Christian initiate in mind and while I have known many Commanderies to knight non-Christians I have found that these companions tend to get significantly less out of the Orders. The only Order that isn’t specifically tailored to Christianity is the Illustrious Order of the Red Cross which while near and dear to my heart carries with it a legend that makes its appearance in Christian and Nonsectarian Masonic bodies alike including the Scottish Rite, Knight Masons, and Red Cross of Constantine. It is broadly shared and not unique to the otherwise Christianity centric Commandery. When speaking about Commandery and advising non-Christians about their potential admittance I’ve often said “it is what it is” and what it is, is a body focused Christianity, and the Christian experience.
But the third, most practical, and I believe most important part is that the world needs more rational chivalrous Christians. Christianity is the world’s largest religion and arguably the most divided. With a myriad of denominations and conflicts that have lasted centuries, the world needs an organization where men can unite and support the faith as a whole. Now Commandery is not a church just as Freemasonry is not a religion, but Commandery’s duty to support the Christian faith cannot be understated. The Knights Templar of old may have been Catholic warriors who in the minds of the profane have become synonymous with crusaders but primarily they were defenders, researchers, historians, archeologists, and theologians who researched their faith in a way the west never thought possible and ended up seeing their open-mindedness become a charge of heresy that doomed them to the stake. We live in an era where the majority of churches make little effort to attract rational minds and chivalry is dead. Joining Freemasonry means you have expressed a willingness to embrace men of other faiths as brothers and have taken a look at your faith through the eyes of naturalism. In the Royal Arch you are imbedded in Jewish thought which is the basis of all Abrahamic faiths, and in joining Commandery you have been so vetted by your previous experiences that we know you are willing to look at your Christian faith with wisdom and rationality. These men of course are a rare commodity in a world full of extremism, and lukewarm attitudes but Commandery serves as a resource for those who are willing to practice their faith shamelessly and rationally as well as defend it from extremists who would serve to steal it from us rational men whether they come from outside the faith or from within. In addition Commandery seeks to revive the concept of chivalry within the hearts of these modern Christian men, bringing back traditions long forgotten in our materialistic secular world that lead men to charity and pure beneficence making our fame known far and wide.
But our fame has weaned. The Knights Templar, a thinking man’s Christian Chivalric Order found deep within the recesses of Freemasonry has atrophied in recent history, leading it to be a shadow of its former glory. But I think that can be repaired, I think we can achieve greatness once again, not only because we can but because the world needs us to. We need more rational chivalrous men as pillars of the Christian world building bridges and making the faith of our fathers respected and honored as it should be. For that we need Christian Masons to read about the Knights Templar learn about our history, and learn about the work we wish to do in our communities. But most importantly talk to a Sir Knight about why he joined and why he feels Commandery is important to his Masonic and Christian life. You’ve just read the opinion of one man, but throughout the local Commanderies you can find countless experiences, views, and beliefs about the subject and I hope you take the time to listen to them.
As for the non-Christian in York Rite as a whole, I can assure you that you will never be pressured into to joining Commandery by me or any of my Sir Knights, and assuming you join both Council and as well as Chapter your York Rite experience will never be seen as incomplete and your views will always be respected. But should you chose to join Commandery I have used the following quote as a guiding principle:
Symbolic masonry teaches the observances of the cardinal virtues admonishes to walk uprightly before God and man. In the asylum, a purely Christian institution, founded on the Christian religion, the Sir Knight, impressed with the spirit of chivalry, grounds his faith in the teachings of the Divine Master. If templarism has no “sectarian system of belief or worship,” if it proposes no creed, it does teach the necessity of a firm belief in the fundamental religious truths of Christianity. A frater, therefore-, may be a good templar, without being a member of a church of CHRIST; but he cannot be a devout, consistent Christian, and abjure the perceptive and comprehensive teachings of symbolic or templar masonry.
- Sir Albert G. Brice, Grand Commander of Louisiana, 1889
I hope you’ve enjoyed this rather lengthy article and if you’re coming to the Grand York Rite Session I will see you there, and I hope to see as many Sir Knights as possible at our annual inspection.
Deo duce, ferro comitante,
Brandon Mullins, Commander
After a series of discussions between the officers of Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti Commanderies, and consulting with members of Grand Commandery we have decided to continue our tradition of a joint inspection of Ann Arbor Commandery No. 13, and Ypsilanti Commandery No. 54. We hope this will be to the benefit of all Sir Knights in Washtenaw County, and make for a stronger inspection team.
In preparation for this inspection we have decided to hold an inspection practice at 7:00pm every Thursday at the Ypsilanti Masonic Temple until the inspection with a dress rehearsal with a live knighting taking part the week of. The only exception to this schedule will be when we take a week off to attend the Grand York Rite Session.
Sir Knights are expected to bring their sword and a head covering of some kind to all practices, though dress will be otherwise casual.
Our first practice begins tonight so I hope to see all who have been assigned parts there every week, and know we will give a stupendous performance to all those in attendance.
Deo duce, ferro comitante,
Brandon Mullins, Commander
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
Brothers, Companions, Sir Knights and Friends,
Please join the Washtenaw Chapter No. 6, Royal Arch Masons and Ann Arbor Commandery No. 13, Knights Templar as we install our officers for the 2012-2013 year. This event is open to the public and very well may be your last chance to attend an Ann Arbor York Rite installat
ion so please feel free to come out and join in the festivities. We’ll have snacks and fellowship starting at 6:30pm, the Chapter Installation will begin at 7:00pm, and the Commandery Installation will follow at 8:00pm. We hope to see you there!
I’ll also make mention that the installation team is still in need of members so if you’re familiar with the ceremony your help would be greatly appreciated!
Greeting’s Companions, Ladies, and Family:
I hope you had a wonderful April and holiday celebration with your families. We had a very eventful April meeting, primarily revolving around discussion of our consolidation efforts with the other York Rite Bodies in Washtenaw County. The main course of which was our resolution to put the consolidation of Ann Arbor #86 into Union #11 in Ypsilanti. Shortly letters will be sent out to all members inviting them to an official vote and discussion at our next stated meeting on May 21st. The proposal will consolidate our resources and membership into one great Council that will work under the banner and charter of Union Council #11.
A group of representatives from Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, and Milan have been working to determine the terms of our Consolidation. One aesthetic and historical concern is maintaining the lowest number as possible in the effort and all members of the consolidation committee agreed that it was important to maintain the lowest number and Oldest Charter (hence our consolidation into #11). Other concerns are being addressed such as meeting day, location, and line of officers. Please come to or send communication to our next stated meeting to help hash out details.
The executive leadership and active membership sees this as a positive move so that we may form a York Rite group focused on membership development and providing an added value experience to that membership instead of simply focusing on getting enough people to fill the chairs or even worse, finding enough people to open. We want our members to focus on their favorite parts of the York Rite and not just on the tedious process of keeping everybody going all the time. It’s this TIM’s hope that our current plan will put us on the path to growth and revitalization so the Washtenaw York Rite bodies united can thrive.
I hope to see you soon!
Corey F. Curtiss
Thrice Illustrious Master
Ann Arbor Council #86
It seems we put on quite the dinner for the Lenawee York Rite.
Join Washtenaw Chapter No. 6, and the Grand Chapter, Royal Arch Masons of Michigan as we honor 2011 Michigan - Region 3 Meritorious Service Award Recipient, Companion, Arthur W. Davidge.
The event will be held on Saturday, May 12th, 2012 at the Clarion Hotel and Conferen
ce Center at 2900 Jackson Ave, Ann Arbor, MI 48103
Buffet (Roast Beef & Turkey) 25.00 per person
Send reservations no later than May 1st to:
or the Washtenaw Chapter No. 6 office using the flyer found below:
4551 N. Maple Rd.
Ann Arbpr, MI 48105