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 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.
Tin City #112: Ladies Appreciation Luncheon
Tin City Lodge #112 in Hill City held its annual Ladies Appreciation Luncheon November 5, 2017. Several Brothers and Ladies enjoyed a great meal and fellowship. As part of the event, Colleen Lewis was recognized by the Lodge for her volunteer service to the Hill City community and the surrounding area.
Colleen Lewis honored with a plaque presented by Past Grand Master Welker on behalf of the Lodge.
Unity Lodge #130: ”Chance-to-Advance”
On October 21, nine new Master Masons from four Lodges were raised by Unity Lodge #130 in Sioux Falls. Unity Lodge held a ”Chance-to-Advance” class, in which the Fellowcraft and Master Mason Degrees were conferred. Eight Brothers received both the FC and MM Degrees and one additional Brother joined for the Masters Degree.
The new Master Masons raised at the ”Chance-to-Advance”, with Unity Lodge Master Dan Nace and Grand Master Smith