Brandon Mullins

Ann Arbor Commandery No. 13 History 1965-1990

For some time we’ve had an in-depth history of the first hundred years of Ann Arbor Commandery, compiled by the late Sir Knight Harrison Caswell, PC posted on the website, but today we’re adding a latter compilation which picks up where SK, Caswell left off covering the years of 1965-1990. While admittedly a less detailed account, it none the less includes important historical gems from our proud organization.

Congratulations to Brandon Mullins, PC for being installed as Southeastern Michigan Battalion Commander after his election to the prestigious post earlier this year. Thanks for your dedicated service to Templary. Companion Brandon, Ann Arbor Council’s Thrice Illustrious Master was also honored with the Grand Master’s Service Award and Grand Master’s Meritorious award at the Grand Council session, which due to circumstances he was unable to control with his babysitter he was sadly not in attendance to receive these special honors. Thanks for your great efforts in York Rite Masonry Brandon!

Please join us Saturday, November 9th at the Belleville Masonic Temple for our annual inspection. The Chamber of Reflection is set for 8:30am with the opening to follow at 9am. There will be a luncheon that follows that is open to Sir Knights, any Master Mason interested in attending and their families.

Deo duce, ferro comitante,
Brandon Mullins, Commander

The Belleville Masonic Temple can be found at:
515 Main Street
Belleville, MI 48111-2649

Click here for the Google calendar event.

If you would like a copy of the flyer for printing purposes you can find that here.

Commander's Comments | Jun 2013

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Sir Knights,

Well spring is behind us and another summer is on the horizon. Lodges by and lodge take the summers off and we reap the benefits of brothers across the country being free from their Lodge duties and able to participate in the various York Rite activities that take place.

Speaking of activities, despite canceling our regular conclave we’ve had a number of them since my last letter, and I have no shortage of news to share with you. Firstly, we had the pleasure of taking part in this year’s Southeastern Battalion Ascension observance, organized by Adrian Commandery No. 4, and hosted by Raisin Presbyterian Church, the home church of our Right Eminent Grand Commander, Sir Knight Cortland Rule.

And while on the subject of Southeast Michigan York Rite Masonry I would personally like to thank the Companions of the Southeast Michigan York Rite Association for electing me as president at our recent meeting, and look forward to serving the York Rite bodies in the region for the ensuing year. And as my first act as President I’ve begun work on a new Southeast Michigan York Rite Association & Southeastern Battalion website which when completed will be hosted at semyra.org.  

In addition to our Ascension Service and Southeastern Battalion Meeting we also had a Commandery school of instruction where our Past Grand Commander, Sir Knight Jim Hawn helped us to work out some of the kinks in our ritual work, and plan for our upcoming inspection. We’ve set a date of November 9th for our inspection which will allow us far more time to plan than in year’s past and allow a week off for the Sir Knights who will also be participating in Ypsilanti’s Inspection on October 26th. More details on dates for practices and locations will follow.

In other news our long awaited commandery jewels have arrived and can be purchased by Sir Knights for thirty dollars. I’m exceptionally pleased with the way they turned out, and serve as a fitting fusion of historical and the more contemporary design from Ann Arbor Commander’s past. And of course I would like to thank Brother Dave and his company, Hattrick’s Merchandise for producing these fantastic jewels. 

The first Sir Knights who will be receiving this jewel are our current Knights of Malta, Thane Domrase, and Ronald Merritt II who are awaiting the Order of the Temple which with the help of Adrian Commandery will be conferred on them in the coming months.

Also I’ll mention that for me, and my fellow brothers of Myrtle Lodge No. 89, June means the Belleville National Strawberry Festival every Father’s Day weekend of June where we’ll be selling fresh strawberries right in front of the lodge and our famous Strawberry Shortcake in our cool air conditioned dining room. I’ll be there and I’ll hope to see many of you as well. 

And speaking of Myrtle Lodge it’s important to mention that given the small space of our current location they, at their most recent temple board meeting have agreed to allow the Ann Arbor York Rite to use their location for some of our larger degrees and orders as well as store the required regalia there. So while we are eternally grateful to all the Chapters Councils and Commanderies that have allowed us to bring candidates for further light in masonry we’ll be happy to have this home away from home where we can begin organizing work ourselves. 

Our next stated is on June 17th where in addition to our business Chapter will be conferring the Mark Master Mason degree on a brother from Olive Lodge so come out and support your Chapter on starting this brother on journey that will in time lead him to being knighted by our order.

Thanks for reading this month’s letter and I hope to see you at our meeting in June and at the Strawberry Fest!

Deo duce, ferro comitante,

Brandon Mullins, Commander 

Mark Master Mason Degree | June 2013

Greetings Friends & Companions,

On June 17th at Calvary United Methodist Church, at 6:30pm, join us for our upcoming Mark Master Mason degree. We will hold a short business meeting, and then go straight into the degree.

As always the more the merrier so we’d love to see companions from across the area out for this great evening of ritual and fellowship

The Ann Arbor York Rite bodies have been meeting at Calvary United Methodist Church in Ann Arbor since the loss of the most recent Ann Arbor Masonic Temple several years ago. We currently meet in a chapel located behind the church’s main sanctuary, which while small has the advantages of its own entrance on the side of the church, convenient storage for regalia, and décor highlighted by walls of stained glass and beautiful Christian imagery. These features make for a fantastic Commandery Asylum while effectively serving our entire family of York Rite bodies. However, due to its size much of our degreework often takes place off site, so if you’d like to visit our humble asylum we’d love to have you but if you’re coming for a degree pay close attention, as you never know where we might be. 

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Please join us as we, along with the rest of the Southeastern Battalion commemorate the ascension of Jesus Christ at Holloway Raisin Presbyterian Church for Adrian Commandery No. 4’s Ascension Observance, Sunday, May 5th. We will assemble at 9:15am, and the church service will begin at 9:30am.

Holloway Raisin Presbyterian Church is located at 5598 Holloway Rd., Britton, Michigan 49229. All Sir Knights are to attend in full uniform, but all are welcome so I hope to see you all and your ladies out for what is sure to be a great morning.

Deo duce, ferro comitante,
Brandon Mullins, Commander

What a pleasure it was to visit Cyrene Preceptory No. 29, Knights Templar this evening. Not only by pure happenstance was I able to visit them on a night when they were conferring the Order of the Temple, but this was the first time they had conferred the order in over two years. On top of that I had the honor of filling in as Sword Bearer! I would like to thank the members of Cyrene Preceptory allowing me to visit and participate, and I congratulate their three new Sir Knights!

Deo duce, ferro comitante,
Brandon Mullins, Commander 

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Come along with us as we take companions to the crypt at this amazing all degree day up in Pontiac.

While I usually try to avoid putting a candidate through more than one degree at a time, this is a rare opportunity to see one of the best council degree teams in the country, and meet companions from across the state.

So if you have yet to join council, or just want to come along, mark your calendar, RSVP, and we’ll carpool up to Pontiac together.

Hope to see you there!

Brandon Mullins
Thrice Illustrious Master

It was a lot of gold in the room for our humble chapter, but it was great to be in company of such wonderful companions and we hope to see them again soon! We send our special thanks to Most Excellent High Priest, David Dossette of the Grand Chapter Royal Arch Masons of Michigan, and Most Illustrious Grand Master, Robert Troutman of the  Grand Council, Royal and Select Masons of Michigan for visiting us this evening.  Brandon Mullins Thrice Illustrious Master 

It was a lot of gold in the room for our humble chapter, but it was great to be in company of such wonderful companions and we hope to see them again soon! We send our special thanks to Most Excellent High Priest, David Dossette of the Grand Chapter Royal Arch Masons of Michigan, and Most Illustrious Grand Master, Robert Troutman of the Grand Council, Royal and Select Masons of Michigan for visiting us this evening.

Brandon Mullins
Thrice Illustrious Master 

Commander's Comments | Dec 2012

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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 

Commander's Comments | Nov 2012

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Sir Knights,

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