High Priest’s Address | Jun 2013

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Greetings Companions, 

At our April Communication we held our election of officers for the 2013-14 Capitular Year. I am proud to say that Companion Thane Domrase, the current Worshipful Master of Olive Lodge in Chelsea has been elected to the start the officer line as our Royal Arch Captain.  His leadership skills and enthusiasm will be a fantastic addition to our dedicated line of Officers.  I would like to thank all of our officers for committing to another year of service. 

Our own, Excellent Companion Brandon Mullins, PHP has been elected to serve as President of the Southeastern Michigan York Rite Association. We know he will serve this regional service body well and bring many new ideas and energy to that organization as he did with our Chapter and other York Rite Bodies.  I wish him well on this new endeavor.  The next meeting of this body for all York Rite Masons is on the fifth Monday or July 29 at Milan Masonic Temple at 37 Tolan St in Milan.  

It’s an honor to be elected to a second term as High Priest of Washtenaw Chapter.  I am looking forward to another great year of Capitular Masonry with the finest group of Royal Arch Masons in Michigan.  Although we may be small at this moment, we have proved time and time again that we can do great things and we are on the long term path to growth. As a York Rite team we will be able to go far and restore our place as a premiere York Rite organization. 

On Monday, June 17 we will confer the Mark Master Mason degree, opening at 7 pm for brief business and then confer this thought provoking degree. I hope you can attend this night of fellowship and ritual work whether you come every month or if this will be your first time back in a while.  We meet at Calvary United Methodist Church, 1415 Miller Avenue, Ann Arbor, MI 48103-3758. For up to date information visit us on Facebook or at www.aayorkrite.org where EC Brandon Mullins maintains a fantastic website. 


Corey F. Curtiss, PHP 

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

Commander's Comments | Jun 2012

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Sir Knights,

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 

The Illustrious Order of the Red Cross & the Order of Malta | Jun 2011

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My Flock of Sir Knights,

Ypsilanti Commandery No. 54, Knights Templar has been so gracious as to host the conferring of the Illustrious Order of the Red Cross, and the Order of Malta this Wednesday, at 7:00pm at the Ypsilanti Masonic Temple. We open on the Red Cross at 7:00pm, and the attire for Sir Knights is black slacks, white shirt, black tie, and sword. Hope to see you there. 

Deo duce,

Brandon Mullins, EP

All Council Degree Day | Jun 2011

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Greetings Friends & Companions,

Pontiac Council No.3, Royal & Select Masters is hosting an All Council Degree Day this Satuday, June 4th at the Pontiac Masonic Temple. The Grand Council Officers will be pourtraying the degrees making this a very special evening made even more special by the fact that the Ann Arbor York Rite’s own, Adam Smith will be receiving  his Cryptic degrees there. They open at 1pm, the Royal Master degree begins at 1:30pm, and the Super Excellent Master at 4:00pm. So If you’re interested in taking part, showing your support or just seeing the impressive work of the grand degree team feel free to tag along. 

Brandon Mullins

Deputy Master

High Priest's Address | Jun 2011

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Greetings Friends & Companions,

Before we begin I’d like to congratulate Companion William Green on being made an honorary member of Washtenaw Chapter No. 6, Royal Arch Masons. His work with the chapter has been greatly appreciated and I hope he enjoys further adventures with us as he takes part in future degrees and continues his journey through the York Rite.

With June here and the warm weather it brings it seems that there is something going on every weekend keeping all the brethren as busy as possible. For me the most notable are Milan Lodge No. 323’s First Annual Feast of St. John the Baptist Featuring Worshipful Brother Andrew Hammer which takes place on June 11th at the Comfort Inn Chelsea; the Belleville National Strawberry Festival on June 17th-19th where my blue lodge, Myrtle Lodge No. 89 will be selling the best strawberries and strawberry shortcake in town; and the 4th Annual Detroit Windsor International Film Festival which is hosted at Wayne State University on June 22nd-26th. Throw Father’s Day in there on June 19th and it makes for a very busy month.

But with all these activities going on I hope you find the time to come visit us on June 20th at Calvary United Methodist Church for our monthly business meeting. We have a small meal at 6:30pm and we open at 7:00pm, and we have all sorts of events to plan out! Currently we have three petitioners for the capitular degrees, four for the cryptic degrees and 3 for the chivalric orders.  It’s a lot of work, and a lot to prepare for but with the help of our members and those from the other York Rite bodies in the area I’m sure we can give these brothers and companions a great experience in the York Rite!

As some of you may know my wife’s family is up in Toronto and as such I take several trips up there a year. This last trip I took in May was particularly special because it allowed me to visit King Solomon’s Chapter No. 8, Royal Arch Masons of Canada in the Province of Ontario. It happened to be election night that evening and I was able to witness Excellent Companion Obafemi Adiete elected as First Principal, the equivalent of High Priest. It was a great experience and I was able to learn a little bit about how Royal Arch Masonry operates in Canada. One specific thing I paid particular attention to was the Companion’s Jewel worn by all Royal Arch Masons in Canada. 

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The jewel itself is wrought with symbolism, some of which your average American Companion would be well aware of, but some of which they would not and it’s best explained in a video the Royal Arch Masons of Canada produced which can be found at http://jointheroyalarch.com/?page_id=72. While I have a great appreciation for Masonic symbolism and feel it should never be overlooked, the jewel’s intrinsic symbolism isn’t what I’d like to talk about today. What really interested me is the symbolism of how and when it’s worn. See when you receive this jewel not only is it to be worn at all convocations of your Chapter but it is also permitted and expected to be worn in Blue Lodge as well. This was very surprising to me given the fact that in Michigan while from the standpoint of ritual Royal Arch Chapters and Craft Lodges are irrevocably intertwined there is a firm disconnect in administration separating the Royal Arch as if it was any other appendant body. The Royal Arch degree in fact is the completion of the 3rd Degree and I think through a subtle use of regalia the Canadian system better represents that truth. The Companion’s Jewel serves as a badge of honor for those who continued seeking light not satisfied with a substitution and traveled the rough road to find the right. It begs the new brother to question, and motivates them to wonder leading them on a journey to find answers.

But as we are in Michigan and have no such jewel to wear and show our connection to Capitular Masonry so can we do? Well we can talk about it. Talk to your brothers about the Royal Arch, and the process of completing their 3rd Degree. Let them know that the story is not yet over and they still have much to learn. Spark their curiosity and try to deeper build the connection between us and the Craft Lodges leading our brethren to further experiences, and greater light. 

Well I hope I’ve been able to pass on a bit of light I picked up from a foreign jurisdiction, and hope a little insight on their unique ways have motivated you the way it has motivated me. Once again keep in mind we do have a number of candidates ready to continue their journey and could use all the help we can get, and as always we’ll be at Calvary United Methodist Church in Ann Arbor every third Monday, and would love to have you. 

Dominus Vobiscum,

Brandon Mullins, HP  

From the Crypt | Jun 2011

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Greetings Companions and Friends,


Council work throughout the State is keeping busy.

June 4th – All Degree Day in Pontiac.

June 18th – All Degree Day in Kingsford.

September 10th – All Degree Day in Howell.

We have several candidates in waiting, now, but hope and expect to be doing the work ourselves. It was great to have the Most Illustrious Grand Master, Steve Striggow, in Ann Arbor for our last meeting. He is very gracious and kept us all relaxed and at ease. We hope to be seeing each of you at our next Stated Assembly on June 20th while we begin to make plans for the immediate future.

George Lucero

Thrice Illustrious Master

Commander's Comments | Jun 2011

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Sir Knights and Friends:

How great it is to be able to write and tell you of the many upcoming activities of your Commandery. On May 26th it was our intent to be in Ypsilanti to assist them in putting on the Orders of Red Cross and Malta. This will be of great value and assistance to us as it is a pleasure to be able to have to put on those Orders for petitioners that we currently have for Ann Arbor.

Northville will be having a parade on July 4th. Stepping off at 10 am. Wouldn’t you enjoy marching with the Commandery portion of the parade? Summer uniform, if you have it. If not then black slacks, white shirt, chapeau and sword. Go early and enjoy a breakfast at the Temple which begins at 8 am. The Grand Conclave will be on Friday and Saturday, Aug. 19th & 20th. The pass in review will be on the afternoon of the 20th. Our Annual Inspection will be a joint Inspection with Ypsilanti Commandery, again this year, as it was last year. We will begin at 9 am, therefore, everyone participating should be there not later than 8:30. A luncheon will follow the formal Inspection. Ladies and guests are encouraged to be in attendance for the Luncheon. We will be holding joint rehearsals in preparing for this very Special event. Please watch for more details and then be in attendance, even if you do not have a major part we need people to march and otherwise be of assistance We need YOU! 

Congratulations to our Recorder, SK Arthur W. Davidge on his well-deserved honor of being named 2011 Michigan Mason of the Year.

God Bless each of you.

Paul Howell, KYCH, PC