School of Mines Football Recognized

On Friday, December 1, the players of the South Dakota School of Mines football team gathered at the Masonic Center in Rapid City for a goulash supper. The team was recognized for its help at the SDCHIP event every year at the Black Hills Sports Show. Eighty-nine players and coaches and fourteen Masons attended. The Rapid City Masonic Building Association donated the use of the building, and the event was sponsored by Rapid City Lodge #25, Mt. Rushmore Lodge #220, and Tin City Lodge #112. WB John McKnight, PM of Mt. Rushmore Lodge, was chief cook and bottle washer.

Players from the South Dakota School of Mines football team at the SDChIP appreciation dinner in Rapid City

MWB Jack Welker and WB John McKnight thanking the football team for their help.


Masonic Civility in South Dakota

By Jason D Swindler, Junior Grand Deacon  

I think we can all agree that we are living in troubled times. It is disheartening to turn on the news and hear about current events. But can we, as Freemasons, do anything to change our current course? I believe the answer is a resounding “YES!” We are taught in our Degrees the lessons of the Square, the Level and the Plumb. We learn how to conduct ourselves, and, perhaps even more importantly, how to treat our Brothers (and all human beings for that matter). In my humble opinion, meeting upon the Level should be the first thing we think about when we enter the Lodge. We all have different opinions and ideas, and come from a variety of backgrounds. This is a GOOD thing! My idea of what is right or wrong might differ greatly from the Brother sitting in the chair next to me. The challenge, however, lies in being able to have a civil conversation in spite of our differences.
We first have to humbly admit just because we hold a certain opinion, doesn’t mean it is a fact, or even correct. I personally think diversity is essential in our Lodges and our lives. We don’t have to agree with what another Brother thinks but we must validate that their beliefs have come from their own unique journey. Life in general, and our Masonic life in particular, is going to be experienced differently for each one of us. It’s easy to unfriend someone on social media when we don’t want to hear or read their thoughts on controversial subjects. Instead of clinking that button, it might be better to hear what they have to say. It might provide insight or another way to look at a situation. We don’t have to agree, and we certainly don’t have to try and change their mind; because chances are that is not going to happen.
I believe that even with our differences we can all come together as Masons and get things done for the good of our Craft and mankind because it’s in our Work. The same Work that our Brother George Washington and many of our Founding Fathers were taught and lived by. We can be ambassadors of civility in our Lodges and in our communities. We must lead by example, and remember when people see the Square and Compass on a ring or on a car, they are watching and wondering what Freemasons are all about.
In South Dakota we have an opportunity to make Masonic Civility another great project to hang our hats on. WB David Meltz and I, as state Civility Ambassadors, will be working with our Grand Master and the elected line to define our path moving forward. Last year Grand Lodge recognized two high schools with civility awards. We are looking at a few other possibilities. So if you see something that might deserve our attention or if you have ideas on how to promote this project, please let one of us know. Thank you for all you do for Freemasonry in South Dakota! I look forward to moving this project forward with each and every one of you.


Brother Chestnut Presented 60-Year Pin

Brother Graham Chesnut was presented his 60-Year Pin at his home in Spearfish on January 2, 2018. The pin was presented by District Master Harold Walker and Graham’s wife Alma placed the pin on his lapel. Also present were PGM Mike Rodman, GM Yancey Smith, SGW Harold Ireland, WBs Gene Kinney, Herb Cook, Bob Tesch and Clare Armstrong.

The Brethren gathered for Brother Graham Chesnut’s 60-Year Pin. Also pictured is Graham’s wife Alma.


Civility Champions Honored

The Grand Lodge of South Dakota presented a Civility Champion award to the Brandon Valley High School senior class and to Brandon Valley Senior Josh Donahoe.  Josh lobbied the senior class to elect his Best Buddy Carson Rowbatham as Prom King.  When Josh was elected in spite of many of the Seniors voting for Carson, he gave the title to Carson.  These acts of caring are exactly what Civility is all about, and are especially encouraging when done by the youth of our State.

Josh Donahoe and Carson Rowbatham with Grand Lodge Officers DaNiel Wood, Richard Hagler and Harold Ireland


Brother Bobby Lewis Honored

Brother Bobby Lewis received his 50-Year Pin in his home in Rapid City on November 16. The award was presented by Past Grand Master Maurice Peterson, Most Worshipful Grand Master Yancey Smith, and Right Worshipful Senior Grand Warden Harold Ireland. Brother Lewis’s wife Judy and several friends were present.



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