November

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 | Nov 2012

Brandon Mullins - Ann Arbor No 13 Avatar.png

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

High Priest’s Address | Nov 2011

Brandon Mullins - Washtenaw No 6 Avatar 2.gif

Greetings Friends & Companions,

Welcome to the busiest time of the year! There’s Veterans Day, Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Lodge & Council elections, the kickoff of the Christmas season, and all the while it’s getting colder every step along the way. I have personally been very busy starting a new job while my wife peruses her Master’s Degree at the University of Michigan, and the chapter has been busy as well, having just welcomed Companion, Jason Bryce over the summer we now start Worshipful Brother, Robert Blackburn on his path through the capitular degrees with his Mark Master Mason degree in taking place on October 17th and his Past Master degree with allegory taking place on November 15th. 

With all that’s been going on personally I’ve hardly had the time to write a proper article but given we’ve just held a Mark Master Mason degree I’d like to take some time and talk about the concept of one’s mark. The idea of having an individual mark to distinguish your labors dates back millennia and continues to this day. Societies have long seen the benefit of making sure a person’s work could be identified in order to praise or admonish the person responsible. Such practices resulted in the trademarks of today’s modern marketplace, and we still give our signature to mark our intentions. But before there were signatures there were marks. An older friend of mine still tells the story that when he started at Ford if you were illiterate in lieu of your signature you were asked to make your mark. We, in a lodge of Mark Master Masons request all incoming brothers to make their mark before they receive their Royal Arch Degree. We ask them to make this mark in our Book of Marks that will identify them as a Mark Master Mason. So what’s in a mark? Looking over Washtenaw Chapter’s Book of Marks I’ve seen no shortage of variety. Symbols of faith, working tools, and any number of designs that could have meaning to a man grace its pages. Some are as simple as a set of initials while others are so complex they can hardly be etched on a coin. Knowing many of the companions, I often smile after realizing how fitting many of the marks are. This is true of even one of our most famous Mark Masters, George Washington. 

Companion, George Washington's Apron

Companion, George Washington's Apron

As you can see by looking at #42 on the diagram, Companion, Washington’s chosen mark was the beehive, a long held Masonic emblem of industry. How fitting a mark for the father of our nation? But whether your mark has a strong symbolic meaning or not isn’t actually what’s important. The important part of your mark is found in making it. Our operative brethren may have been forced to mark their work but in modern society it’s easy to hide poor workmanship. You may be just one man in a company of thousands, in a community of millions, but I think should be the goal of every Mark Master Mason to happily mark all of their deeds and when asked if it is indeed their work, answer with pride. When I was young I was a member of AWANA which is an acronym that references 2 Timothy 2:15, Approved Workmen Are Not Ashamed. I find this particularly appropriate for the Mark Master Mason as well. Work diligently and skillfully, marking it without shame, so when it comes for approval, you can present it joyfully. 

As I stated before we’ll be conferring the Past Master degree on Worshipful Brother, Robert Blackburn on the 15th with allegory, so if you know a part in the degree, or are simply interested in attending please feel free to drop by. Dinner will be at 6:30pm, Council elections are at 7:00pm and we’ll be starting the degree at 7:30pm. Our next degree will probably not be until February so this should be a great time of fellowship for all. Also our Ann Arbor York Rite shirts are in. They are $25 and have two designs. One design featuring, Lodge, Chapter, and Council, and the other featuring Lodge, Chapter, Council and Commandery. You can order them at the meeting or just send me an e-mail to highpriest@aayorkrite.org specifying how many you want, which design you want and your size. They will also be available soon at http://aayorkrite.org. And remember on November 5th at 7:30pm the Corner Brewery in Ypsilanti Ann Arbor-Fraternity No. 262 is hosting the Freemason Party for Food Gatherers, so you should come and show your support! Thanks for reading and happy Thanksgiving!

Dominus Vobiscum,

Brandon Mullins, HP 

From the Crypt | Nov 2011

George Lucero - Ann Arbor No. 86 Avatar.gif

As you all know by now George Lucero was transferred to New Mexico earlier this year. It was his original intention to serve as Thrice Illustrious Master for a period of two years to give us, hopefully, a smooth transition into the future for the Council. 

Corey Curtis has volunteered to step forward and assume the reigns in upcoming year, if you the Companions of Ann Arbor are in agreement. It will be necessary for him to have some assistance if the Council is to continue to flourish. Hope you are able and willing to step forward and assist him in his planned goals.

Contact him to let him know that you will be there for him. This makes the job of planning and preparing so much easier. 

They have a nice core of Companions in attendance at the meetings, but, they do need assistance. Especially since we know that they have some degrees that need to be performed on new candidates, with the assistance and support of Ypsilanti’s Union Council.