Commandery

Order of the Red Cross Shirt

We all have our Commandery uniforms showing our love for the Order of the Temple, and the Maltese Cross an integral part of our uniform shows our pride in the Order of Malta but what of the Illustrious Order of the Red Cross, what of the glory and power of truth?

Show your pride in the Order of the Red cross with a Red Cross shirt or hoodie inscribed with our motto, “Magna est Veritas, et prævalebit” which means “Great is Truth, and it will prevail.”

All profits will be donated to the Knights Templar Eye Foundation

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!

The first Order of the Temple ever to be held at the Belleville Masonic Temple in its 150+ years was a stunning success, and though some last minute cast changes were required Sir Knights from across Southeast Michigan were quick to fill in and Ann Arbor Commandery No. 13’s inspection was held without delay. Congratulations go out to Ronald Merritt II on his being created a knight among us.

The first Order of the Temple ever to be held at the Belleville Masonic Temple in its 150+ years was a stunning success, and though some last minute cast changes were required Sir Knights from across Southeast Michigan were quick to fill in and Ann Arbor Commandery No. 13’s inspection was held without delay. Congratulations go out to Ronald Merritt II on his being created a knight among us.

Despite having to replace two officers at the last minute due to illness Ypsilanti Commandery No. 54 had a fantastic inspection, and were happy to knight Thane Domrase of behalf of Ann Arbor Commandery No. 13.

In addition we had the pleasure of making Sir Knight Gary Leach, Commander of Ypsilanti, No 54 an honorary member of Ann Arbor Commandery No. 13 in recognition of his dedication to ensuring cooperation and harmony between our commanderies.

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 

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. 

Commander’s Comments | May 2012

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Sir Knights,

I’d first like to start out by thanking the you all for sticking with me for another year. I’d like to think our commandery has made some improvements over the past year, but we still have a long way to go. So I deeply appreciate your confidence in me, and hope to have another amazing year in templary. In addition I’d like to apologize of not writing enough of these letters. A busy life and last minute changes in plans have kept me from getting them out on time if ever, and while updates to our website, calendar and Facebook page are nice, the importance of a personal letter is not lost on me and I pledge to get them out with more regularity this year. 

It seems I’ve had no shortage of opportunities to don my uniform this spring. On Palm Sunday we took part in Ypsilanti Commandery No.54’s Easter Observance at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Ypsilanti. 

The Wednesday following Easter I was up in Toronto and visited Cyrene Preceptory No. 29, where by pure happenstance was I able to visit them on a night when they were conferring the Order of the Temple, and come to find out 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!

And on Friday, April 12th my Junior Warden and I were fortunate enough to attend Detroit Commandery No. 1’s installation of officers, where Reverend and Sir Knight Pat Thompson was installed as Eminent Commander. 

Now, you might think that attending all these events would give me my fill of commandery for a while, but if anything they compel me to take part in more. Funny how it works that way. Speaking of which we have a few important things coming up for commandery: For starters our Right Eminent Grand Commander, Cortland Rule has invited us, and the rest of the Southeastern Battalion to 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. This is a full uniformed event and your families are invited. So we hope to see every Sir Knight who can make it in attendance.

We also have some work of our own to do. We have two Knights of Malta in waiting to receive the Order of the Temple. Adrian Commandery has agreed to help us with one of the knightings and the way it’s looking we’ll save the other for our inspection. A scheduling conflict caused our original date to fall through so we’re currently looking to set up another, so please keep an eye on our website and calendar for the latest information. In addition, inspection season is right around the corner so dates for practices and the inspection itself will be popping up soon, so once again, be sure to keep an eye out for those. Speaking of our calendar we recently had to change calendar services so our new calendar is located here as well as our website, aayorkrite.org. 

April’s meeting was in fact a very busy one. In addition to elections, and annual reports we voted on two honorary statuses which will be officially announced later, and voted to at long last produce new commandery jewels for the members of our commandery. Because of that, for this letter I had hoped to provide you with a history of our jewel complete with who originally created it, and the timeline of production. Well, after digging through our records I’m sad to say most the details are probably lost to the ages. However I was able to put together a few images of our jewels evolution, and will give you a little insight into the meaning behind it. 

The earliest record of our jewel I could find was an article in the “Ann Arbor Argus” newspaper dated August 19, 1892 which was in fact a summary of a “Denver Times” article from August 8, 1892 which detailed Ann Arbor Commandery’s trip to Denver and gave information on the commandery as a whole.  In it they described the armorial crest which makes up the jewel and our legend upon it, Deo duce ferro comitante which signifies ‘God for my leader, my sword for my companion.’ The phrase itself is often credited as the official motto of the Earl of Charlemount, Ireland but it’s thought to be much older, and served as traditional motto for Sir Knights throughout Ireland and beyond. 

The jewel itself is known to have had at least two versions. One of which is a copper stamping, and the other cast in silver with portions plated in gold. I’ve yet to find a date on a copper version, and the only one known to be in masonic hands is on display at the Detroit Masonic Temple, but the silver and gold design dates back to at least the 1920s, and is believed to have been produced for far longer than any other. In heraldic tradition the use of silver and gold on an armorial crest signifies peace & sincerity along with generosity & elevation of the mind, and the swords in saltire behind it pointing upward signifies a readiness to fight evil. That along with the traditional Templar symbol of the red cross, and the crown above it makes for both a handsome and meaningful crest.  The colors of the ribbon are unsurprisingly said to represent the University of Michigan, which has obvious implications of education and support for our local community but given the definition of “maize and blue” has changed over the years, the blue on the ribbon was much lighter. 

When we began discussing which version to reproduce, the silver and gold design was the obvious choice, but we didn’t ignore the older versions entirely and took cues from them on some of the finer details and updated the colors of the ribbon to match contemporary University of Michigan colors. The jewel is currently being worked on Hattrick’s Merchandise and Service located in Arizona which also recently reproduced Northville Commandery’s jewel, so I have every confidence in their abilities, and they should be available for June’s stated conclave. 

Speaking of upcoming conclaves have decided to cancel May’s conclave due to it falling on the annual Grand Lodge session, but remember we still have the Ascension Service on May 5th, and Ann Arbor Council No. 86 will be taking a road trip up to Pontiac for their Council All Degree Day, so don’t think for a second that the Ann Arbor York Rite is taking the month off. We have plenty to do and plenty to plan for.

So, I’d like to thank you for taking the time to read this letter, and I’d just like to remind you to keep up with our website, keep up with our calendar, and keep reading the Ann Arbor Masonic News as we have a lot going on these days and we’d love to see you there.

Deo duce, ferro comitante,

Brandon Mullins, Commander

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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