Masons to Dedicate Celestial Lodge Marker and Interpretive Panel (Posted May 2017)
You are cordially invited to attend the installation ceremony of the Masonic Celestial Lodge marker and interpretive panel at Mt. Moriah Cemetery by the Grand Lodge of South Dakota and the Deadwood Historic Preservation Commission on Wednesday, June 7, 2017, at 5:00 PM at the Deadwood Masonic Temple, 715 Main Street.
We will take the Deadwood trolley up to the Celestial Lodge for the ceremony and return to the Masonic Temple for a reception afterward.
The Deadwood Masonic Lodge formed in 1877. In 1878, Lawrence County purchased land for the development of a cemetery, naming it Mt. Moriah Cemetery. The cemetery’s name and the street names — David, Darius, Boaz, Jachin, Solomon, Jabez and Hiram — have direct connections to Mount Moriah in Jerusalem and the history surrounding King Solomon’s Temple. The Deadwood Masons purchased 1.5 acres in 1887, which would become known as section 10. This section is indicative of a Masonic Lodge layout consisting of a large oval on an east/west axis.
In 1914, the Deadwood Masonic Lodge embarked on a beautification project including sidewalks, low walls, and a granite altar (right). Deadwood Granite and Marble Works, which designed and installed the original altar, is designing and installing the granite marker, the physical representation of a Masonic Celestial Lodge. Masons know of very few Masonic Celestial Lodges in existence today in the United States.
143rd Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge
The 143rd Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge A.F. & A.M. of South Dakota will be Thursday, June 15, through Saturday, June 17, at the Best Wester Ramkota Hotel and Convention Center in Rapid City.
This year’s annual communication has s great line-up of speakers and entertainment that you will not want to miss:
Here is the preliminary agenda:
Here is the registration form:
Masonic Lodge Centennial Rededication
by Del Bartels
The Mt. Moriah Lodge #155 building in Kadoka was the center of a cornerstone rededication ceremony, Saturday, March 25.
Representatives from the South Dakota Grand Lodge joined with local area Freemasons, local area Evergreen Chapter #97 Order of the Eastern Star members, and other members of the community. One special guest was Ted Spencer, director of the South Dakota State Historical Society.
Throughout European and American history, foundation stones, cornerstones and capstones were often celebrated in the construction of important buildings and other structures. George Washington, a Freemason, was part of the cornerstone ceremony of the United States Capitol in 1793.
The Kadoka rededication ceremony included a comparison of building a structure and building one’s life. Each step, especially with the first corner block, is tested with the square, level and plumb. Such should be the moral standards strived for by each Mason. Part of the ceremony involved cups of corn, wine and oil, representing nourishment, refreshment and joy.
After the ceremony, attendees toured the renovated building. Speakers praised the historical significance of Masons and of the history of the lodge in Kadoka. Spencer pointed out that the Kadoka building is an original structure; very few Mason lodges are constructed of wood (above the foundation and cornerstone).
“This building is part and partial of Kadoka. The past uses of the lodge are an integral part of this community,” said Spencer. “It has housed or been used by other social, professional and beneficial organizations.”
Spencer added that two renovation projects, in 2004 and in 2010, were assisted with state grants. Keeping such a structure up and in good condition helps the local community as well as the state. The state’s number two industry is tourism, which generates over $2 billion annually. Twenty-five percent of that is heritage tourism.
“Tourists want to get a feel of the Old West,” said Spencer. “We have a variety of different aspects that deal with that. We want to preserve some of that, of older buildings and of the communities. A strip mall is a strip mall. The D.C. Booth Fish Hatchery is original, as is this building.”
Spencer (right) said, not only is the 100-year-old Masons lodge in Kadoka a beautiful work of architecture, but such renovations are economically good for the state. He told of a Menard’s store in Pierre that was constructed by the company with out-of-state materials and labor. Historical renovation is mostly, if not completely, local. A renovated building is also green. That is, its timbers and other energies and resources are already in place, just needing maintenance rather than being built from scratch. “It’s a win/win activity for everyone,” said Spencer.
Kenny Ireland, the main coordinator of rejuvenating the building, said he understands grants and gifts for such projects. “When you don’t have funds, you do any little bit you can when you can,” said Ireland.
Lyndy Ireland spoke of the local Order of the Eastern Star. Over the last few decades, other groups were losing membership, even the Kadoka one. Since then, the Philip and Martin groups merged with the Kadoka one.
Mike Rodman, Grand Master, thanked Spencer for his words. Rodman then recited a list of state historical figures who were and are Masons, and of places and activities that have and do benefit because of Masons. “We are this history,” said Rodman.
Mt. Moriah Masonic Lodge #155 “First 100 Years”
(supplied by Ireland)
The Mt. Moriah Masonic Lodge building in Kadoka was built by its members in 1916-1917. It is a landmark and the only Greek Revival structure in the community.
Mt. Moriah Lodge was constituted in 1908 and members were issued their charter June 9, 1909, three years after the city of Kadoka was chartered. Historic panoramic photographs of Kadoka show the Mt. Moriah Masonic Temple situated on Main Street along with the first school, churches and Jackson County courthouse.
The roll of Mt. Moriah's founding members include first attorney, judge, newspaper editors, bank presidents, hotel and general store proprietors, roads agent, restaurant owner, land office manager, druggist, mortician and numerous early ranchers, cowboys and native leaders.
Members from as far as 60 miles to the southwest would board a train heading to Rapid City and then to Kadoka for monthly meetings.
In 1916, the membership, having quadrupled in the first eight years, felt the need for a larger meeting place. Twenty-five dollar bonds were sold to fund the proposed $4,000 cost of the lots and building. During the summer of 1916, active construction commenced on the basement and foundation of the building. The cornerstone was laid Sept. 26, 1916.
In February 1917 a prominent member and area attorney, A.G. Granger, offered to furnish the birdseye maple flooring and cherry wood doors and moldings. These materials came from his family's sawmill in Michigan. When it became clear that construction costs were showing a $2,000 shortfall, local past master and rancher, Joseph Rooks, wrote the check for that amount.
With the volunteer labor of many members, the temple was completed and dedicated Oct. 29, 1917. According to reliable Masonic sources at that time, it was “the largest and finest edifice of its kind in the world for the size of its membership and community.”
This Jackson County, South Dakota, landmark has served as a business and social meeting place for Mt. Moriah Lodge and Evergreen Chapter members this past 100 years. During those years the lodge building has been utilized for community needs such as the Jackson County court sessions, banquets, school classes, proms, gymnastics, 4-H club meetings, weddings, showers, quilting bees, soup suppers and fundraisers. The Kadoka Lions Club met in the building for 15 years, holding their bingo fundraisers and blood drives in the basement. During the Great Depression, the local Works Progress Administration office was operated from the third floor and for some months it was home to a needy, unemployed brother mason and his family.
Mt. Moriah Lodge members historically have contributed funds and assistance for causes such as local and statewide scholarships and Masonic charities. Some of which are Shrine Crippled Children's Hospitals, Burn Centers and cleft palette research, Knights Templar Eye Foundation, the Scottish Rite program for Speech and Learning Disabled, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Masonic Model Student Assistance Program and more recently SD-CHIP (child identification program). Evergreen Chapter OES charities include ACTS (assisting children to smile), ESTARL (Eastern Star religious training), Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and recently the Shrine Transportation Fund.
Several members have served the Masonic Grand Lodge of South Dakota as officers. In 1998-99, Mt. Moriah Past Master Kenneth Ireland served as grand master of Masons in South Dakota, subsequently serving our Eastern Star Grand Chapter as worthy grand patron in 2012-13. Sister Ruby Sanftner served as worthy grand matron of the Grand Chapter in 2015-16
Now on its second century, Mt. Moriah Lodge is designated as an historic property by both the state of South Dakota and the National Register of Historic Places. Thereby it received partial funding for its nearly 10 year restoration. This recognition is not only for the amazing structure itself but because of the rich history and contribution of its membership.
With all the pomp and circumstance displayed since George Washington’s day, the South Dakota Grand Lodge and local Masonic lodges helped the Kadoka lodge celebrate its centennial with a rededication.
Representing the local Evergreen Chapter #97 Order of the Eastern Star were, from left, Kenny Ireland, Lyndy Ireland, Linda Stilwell, Tiffany Brown and Nicki Nelson, with Ruby Sanftner in front.
South Dakota Masonic Grand Lodge guests, from left, Yancey Smith, Deputy Grand Master, Harold Ireland, Junior Grand Warden, Mike Rodman, Grand Master, and Jack Welker, Past Grand Master, with Kenny Ireland, Kadoka Worshipful Master, in front.
During the centennial rededication of the Kadoka lodge, South Dakota Grand Master Mike Rodman recited a list of state historical figures who were and are Masons, and of places and activities that have and do benefit because of Masons. “We are this history,” said Rodman.
Tin City Lodge #112 Serves 500
The Brothers of Tin City Lodge #112 fed participants of the School of Mines Youth Football Camp and the School of Mines practice team. They fed approximately 500 people. The meal was provided as a thank you to the School of Mines football team and the 68 players that helped with the Outdoor Expo SD Chip Event. School of Mines President, Heather Wilson, also joined us for lunch.
RWB Harold Ireland, Trustee Mikal Lewis, PGM Jack H. Welker, Pres. Heather Wilson, Hill City JW John Knapp, and SW Shane Alexander
Covey Honored for 60 Years
WB Walt Covey was presented his 60-Year Pin on Monday, April 10, during the Deadwood Valley Scottish Rite Remembrance and Renewal Dinner by RWB Yancey Smith, DGM/GME and RWB Harold Ireland, Junior Grand Warden. MWB Mike Rodman, Grand Master, presented the 60 year poem. WB Covey was raised in Oklahoma in 1957. He affiliated with Lemmon Lodge #151 in 1987 and served as the Grand Lodge Sword Bearer in 1990-1991.
Tin City Lodge #112’s Polar Bear Chili Cook-off
On February 18th, Tin City Lodge #112 held their annual Polar Bear Chili cook-off in Hill City. Over 300 people participated in this year’s successful event. The proceeds from this event are used by the lodge to fund various charitable events throughout the year. The three Masons in the photo who look like they had amply sampled the chili are MWB Jack Welker, PGM; WB Mikal Lewis, Chairman of the Grand Lodge Board of Trustees and WB Bob Tesch, Grand Sword Bearer.
Fanning Awarded 75-Year Pin
Minnesota Brother Don Fanning, 106, was congratulated by GM Mike Rodman and DGM Yancey Smith at the Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of Minnesota upon receiving his 75 Year Medal from the Grand Lodge of Manitoba in a special ceremony. Brother Fanning was raised at Flin Flon Lodge #153 in 1942, where he is still a member. He is also a member of Minneapolis Lodge #153, where he continues to serve as Tyler, a position he has held for 33 years
From the East (posted April 2017)
As I sit down to write this column for the Masonic Messenger, it is shocking to think that this is my last communication with you after four years of columns. This year as serving you as your Grand Master has been a whirlwind of travel, events, fellowship, philosophical discussions, new relationships and fun; coupled with plenty of great food.
Wherever I travel and whatever the event, I am always impressed by the profound sense of love of our Fraternity at every turn. While there are many different ideas on how best to approach the future of the Craft, there is never any doubt about the sincereness of your devotion to our future success. I feel so honored to just be a part of this great fraternity and being able to call such great people my friends.
Rather than use this column to look back over the year, I choose instead to look forward to the great opportunities before us. I am so amazed and encouraged by the young men seeking admission into our fraternity today. In most cases they have studied our fraternity and know what their commitment to membership entails. They certainly know far more than I did when I joined those many years ago. I am particularly encouraged when so many are asking to partake in the long form proficiency, something I hope every lodge encourages our candidates to do. So many lodges have young new members breathing new excitement and energy into their respective lodges. These young Masons will secure our future for another generation.
The Grand Lodge of South Dakota and what is happening in Masonry here has blossomed onto a national stage. The 75th Mt. Rushmore anniversary event was just the beginning. Our jurisdiction hosting the Midwest Conference of Masonic Education in 2018, the Conference of Grand Masters of North America in 2019 and the Midwest Conference of Grand Lodges in 2020 gives us so many opportunities to showcase the vibrancy of South Dakota Masonry and our contributions to the Craft. I have just learned that South Dakota has been tasked by the 2018 Conference of Grand Masters of North America to present a breakout session that exposes other jurisdictions to our approach to our Masonic future.
While this last column should be bittersweet, I find myself even more excited about the possibilities for our future than I did four years ago when you elected me as your Junior Grand Warden. I have nothing but deep respect for the elected line officers that will lead this Craft in the future. They are the finest quality of men that we could possibly have to continue leading the Grand Lodge of South Dakota forward and they are ready to lead. It is my personal joy that they have become such close personal friends and I am so grateful that Masonry brought us together. I wish DGM Yancey Smith all the same blessings and joy for his year that I received from all of you this past year.
Thank you for allowing me to serve South Dakota Masonry; it has been such an incredible experience. It is my hope that I end my year having met the trust you gave me to serve the Craft. God bless all of you and Masonry in South Dakota.
Mike Rodman, Grand Master
Mt. Moriah Masonic Temple Centennial Celebration
On March 25, the Grand Lodge Officers joined the members of Mt. Moriah Lodge #155 and Evergreen Chapter OEA for a centennial ceremony and cornerstone rededication. The emcee was MWB Kenny Ireland, PGM, and the featured guest speaker was Ted Spencer, Director of Historic Preservation for South Dakota.
In 1916, the membership of Mt. Moriah Lodge, having quadrupled in eight years, started selling $25 bonds to fund the proposed $4,000 cost of a building and lots. Construction began that summer with members donating their labor. Excavation was done with horses, scrapers, picks and shovels. In 1917, lodge member and area attorney, A.G. Granger, agreed to furnish the Birdseye maple flooring, and cherry wood doors and moldings.
When it was clear that there was still a $2,000 shortfall, Past Master and area rancher, Joseph Rooks, wrote a check for that amount.
The building was dedicated on October 29, 1917. It was called, “The largest and finest edifice of its kind in the world for the size of its membership and community.” Besides serving as the home for the Mt. Moriah Lodge and Evergreen Chapter OES for the past 100 years, it has also been a community center for Kadoka area activities and groups. During the Great Depression, the local Works Progress Administration office operated from the 3rd floor. The building has undergone a nearly ten-year restoration, culminating in being designated a historic property by the State of South Dakota and being named to the National Register of Historic Places. The ceremony concluded with an outstanding lunch and great Masonic fellowship.
Tidings from the Grand Treasurer-Secretary (posted April 2017)
Among the most enjoyable Masonic activities I have had the pleasure of participating in are Table Lodges. Records of Table Lodges have been reported from as early as the late 17th Century. In the early days of Table Lodges the love Masons had for their Lodges was demonstrated by gifts of chairs, tables, altars, pedestals, tapestries, draperies, silver, candle sticks, oil paintings, libraries, etc. to their Lodges at those events.
During the 18th Century Brothers participating in the Lodge “Feast” often remained at their festive tables when the Lodge was opened and during the communication and when degrees were conferred. Following each section of the lectures, Lodge was called from Labor to Refreshment and particular toasts were given and songs often sung. Prior to the next section, Lodge was called from refreshment to labor and the process repeated until the end of the Degree.
In South Dakota I am aware of several Table Lodges held each year. Each can be modified somewhat to fit the occasion. We have also had Table Lodges for Commanderies and for the Scottish Rite. Some are tiled and some include the ladies. One of the largest Table Lodges I attended was put on by Washington Lodge No. 111 in White each year. While this has not been held for some years now, it was a big affair with Masons from around the State and surrounding states. Any Grand Masters in attendance were presented with a ceremonial pipe crafted at the Pipestone National Memorial in Pipestone, Minnesota. As I recall, the seated Grand Master of South Dakota and at least one from a neighboring jurisdiction normally attended.
If your Lodge is looking for an activity to enhance fraternal bonding and add a fun evening, I would suggest looking into holding a Table Lodge. Invitations to surrounding Lodges would add to the atmosphere and enhance the experience.
PGM Douglas C. McFarland, Grand Treasurer-Secretary
From the West (posted April 2017)
Another Grand Lodge session is nearly upon us, and we as Grand Lodge officers have worked hard to make your attendance an interesting and worthwhile experience. I’d like to take a moment and briefly cover a few of the many offerings this year. Worshipful Brother Mark Menard, founder and CEO of Enable Labs (MORI and Our Lodge Page) will be present and giving multiple presentations on Thursday. He will host a session exclusively on MORI which is geared towards Lodge Secretaries and those officers with access to their Lodge database. However, anyone is welcome to attend and all are encouraged to do so. Bring your compliments, complaints, and questions! His second session will cover the new Our Lodge Page (OLP) website and mobile application. Each Lodge has been provided with this service. Those Lodges who don’t assign a Brother as webmaster will have an OLP that pulls data from the MORI record and auto-populates the home page. Having a webmaster allows you to customize your page(s) and is highly encouraged. The OLP mobile app, for both Android and iOS devices, can be downloaded free from the respective app store. You will see a news feed, calendar events, have the ability to RSVP, check on membership standing, and phone/text/email a Brother of your Lodge directly from the app.
OLP is the future of Masonic communications in South Dakota and as more functionality becomes available, its importance will only increase. I strongly encourage your attendance at the OLP presentation to learn about this fantastic tool and how it benefits every Lodge and every Mason. For anyone who misses out on the MORI or OLP sessions, Worshipful Brother Menard will be present for most of the session at or near the registration table area. We’re all Brothers, and as always, I look forward to seeing each and every one of you.
DaNiel Wood, Senior Grand Warden
On April 7, 2017, Cedar Branch Lodge #179 in Buffalo, hosted a Child Identification Event for students of Harding Elementary School, Buffalo, and Camp Crook, Ludlow. A total of 55 students received identification packets. The event was a great community effort. Donors to the event are listed on the wall. Brothers assisting with the event are on the left Tom Wilson, Mark Millett, John Helms. On the right side, Brian Teller, Gordy Helms, Jack Welker, PGM. Thank you to Cedar Brand Lodge #179 and all the donors and volunteers.
Dinner & Silent Auction
There will be a dinner and silent auction to benefit the West River South Dakota Child Identification Program (SDCHIP) from 5:00 until 8:00 PM, on Saturday April 22, at the Hilton Garden Inn, 815 E Mall Drive, Rapid City.
To reserve your seat, call (605) 381-1293 for tickets by April 17. The cost will be $40 for an excellent smoked roast beef dinner with sides.
On March 21, 2017, at the Masonic Center in Rapid City, three Lodges worked together to perform Degree work to raise four new Master Masons. Rapid City Lodge #25 had two candidates, Mount Rushmore Lodge #220 and Custer City Lodge #66 each had one candidate. It is always good to do Degree work with a packed house on the sidelines. The Degree work was superbly done, and the Lectures were impressive. Grand Master Mike Rodman, Deputy Grand Master Yancey Smith, various Grand Lodge Officers, and two Past Grand Masters, Lowell Holmgren and Jack Welker, were in attendance. The meal of homemade beef stew and turkey noodle soup warmed everyone on a freezing, foggy night.
New Brothers raised: Brother Scott Marshovs from Custer City #66, Brother Dustin Willet from Mt Rushmore #220, Brothers Brett Jarmen and Ethan Smith from Rapid City #25
DeMolay Legion of Honor Recipients
On Saturday March 18th, 2017, the South Dakota Chapter of DeMolay International presented their highest honor to Brother George Parmeter and MWB Don Gray in an impressive ceremony at Huron Lodge #26. The ceremony was followed by a banquet full of fellowship and admiration for the accomplishments of the distinguished award recipients.
RWB Harold Ireland, Junior Grand Warden; Bro. George Parmeter, DeMolay Legion of Honor Recipient; MWB Don Gray, PGM and DeMolay Legion of Honor Recipient; MWB Mike Rodman, Grand Master
SDCHIP in Spearfish
On March 4th and 5th, 2017, Spearfish Masonic Lodge Number 18, AF&AM, conducted a Child Identification Program (SDCHIP) as part of the Spearfish Optimists Club’s Home Show and Health Fair, held at the Donald E. Young Center, located on the Black Hills State University campus. During this event members and volunteers processed over 100 children for their child ID kit.
Your Grand Lodge cordially invites you to attend the Centennial Anniversary Celebration of Mt. Moriah Lodge #155, on Main Street in Kadoka, at 10:00 am on March 25, 2017. Following the Rededication Ceremony, lunch will be served by Evergreen Chapter 97, Order of the Eastern Star. Historical information on the construction and membership that enabled this Lodge to be chartered will be available to view. The guest speaker for the event is from the South Dakota Historic Preservation Office and will provide information on what efforts placed this Lodge building on the historical register, and the process to do the same for your historical Lodge buildings. Everyone is welcome to attend this historic event and tour the historic Masonic Lodge building. We hope that you are able to attend.
Wesley “Wes” Sorensen (December 31, 1922 — February 22, 2017)
Wesley D. Sorensen, 94, died on Feb. 22, 2017, in Greenwood Village. He was born Dec. 31, 1922, in Ames, Nebraska.
At an early age the family moved from Ames to central Nebraska, first to Dannebrog and then to Boelus where Wesley graduated from Boelus High School, Class of 1941.
Following graduation, he attended St. Paul, Nebraska Business College for a short time before going to work for the Civil Service in Washington, DC, and North Newark, New Jersey. He served in the U.S. Army during World War II with the 26th Infantry Division in Europe. When the war was over, he joined his family in Grand Island, NE, where they had relocated during the war. He and Gene F. Plambeck were married Sept. 17, 1946. To this union were born three children: Larry, Nancy and Sally.
He was employed by Nash Finch Wholesale Grocery Company his entire career of 42 years, January 1946 until 1988 in Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota and South Dakota. The last 18 years before he retired he was the branch manager of the Rapid City (SD) Distribution Center.
Wes was an active Mason for over 50 years. He was a Past Grand Master, Grand Trustee Emeritus of the Grand Lodge A.F. and A.M. of South Dakota, Past Grand Patron and Grand Treasurer Emeritus of the Grand Chapter of South Dakota Order of Eastern Star, Past Potentate of Naja Shriners, Emeritus Representative to the Imperial Council of the Shrine of North America, Past President of the Rapid City Shrine Club, and Past Director of the Royal Order of Jestors.
Wes lived a rich and full life. He enjoyed his family and loved to spend time with them playing dominoes with the kids and grandkids. He liked the outdoors — camping with family and friends, fishing and pheasant hunting. He liked to cut firewood and he really enjoyed a fire at home. For years, he fed hundreds of ducks and would drive to eastern South Dakota to buy a pickup load of corn. He always looked forward to Masonic gatherings to socialize and after retirement enjoyed coffee and breakfast with his Nash Finch coworkers.
In October 2015, he and Gene moved to Colorado to be close to family. It was a hard decision to make since they had lived in South Dakota most of their working lives.
He is survived by his wife, Gene; his son, Larry (Nancy) of Littleton; daughter, Nancy (Paul) Fixen of Brookings, SD; daughter, Sally (Jeff) Tichota of Centennial; a brother, Lazern of Brownsville, TX; seven grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren. Preceding him in death were his parents and a brother, Leo (Lyle) Sorensen.
Visitation will be from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Sunday, February 26, at Osheim & Schmidt Funeral Home, with a Masonic Service at 7:00 p.m.
Services will be at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, February 27, at First United Methodist Church, with Reverend Greg Kroger officiating. Interment will follow at Black Hills National Cemetery near Sturgis, with military honors rendered by the Rushmore VFW Post 1273 and the South Dakota Army National Guard.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to Naja Shrine Travel Fund or First United Methodist Church.
Master Builder and Revised Lodge of the Year Award Program (Posted February 2017)
After several years of varying success with the Lodge of the Year and Mason of the Year programs, Most Worshipful Grand Master Rodman and the Elected line have developed two new programs to encourage better participation from the Lodges and individual Brothers.
Both programs require earning a minimum number of points in mandatory and optional categories, and are designed to allow every Lodge and every Master Mason to earn the award.
The awards are not intended to simply be a checklist of requirements to mark off; they require some effort, but every involved, active Brother, or every healthy, active and functioning Lodge should be able to complete the requirements.
Every Lodge and Master Mason completing the requirements will be recognized at Grand Lodge and there will be a Lodge of the Year and a Mason of the Year chosen from among those completing the awards.
Criteria for each can be found at:
There is no specific form for either award; please use the list of criteria as a guide and award form and each Lodge and Master Mason will utilize the Honor System in completing the award.
Please turn in to the Grand Lodge Office no later than May 15, 2016.
Grand Master attends NAJA Shrine Potentate Installation (Posted February 2017)
Grand Master Mike Rodman congratulates NAJA Potentate Tim Rensch on his installation on January 11th in Deadwood. Ill. Sir Rensch will serve the Nobles of NAJA Shrine through 2017.
News from the Grand Lodge (Posted February 2017)
Grand Master Rodman will host a Grand Master’s Table Lodge on Saturday, February 25, 2017 at the Ramkota in Rapid City. The event will be a fundraiser for South Dakota Masonic Charities. Cost is $60.00 per plate, registration can be found here:
The Grand Lodge of Nebraska will be held in Kearney, February 2-4, 2017. Contact the Grand Lodge office for further information and registration information.
The Grand Lodge quarterly business meeting will be held at the Ramkota Hotel & Conference Center in Pierre on February 10 and 11.
There will be a One-Day Conferral of the Three Degrees of Masonry in Mitchell on Saturday, February 18, at 8:00 am. Contact: Ryan Brech (605) 254-8490; email@example.com
The Conference of Grand Masters of North America will meet in Omaha on February 18-21. This is a great chance to meet Masonic Leaders from around the world and get some great information. It’s also a great way to see what will be happening in February 2019 in Rapid City when the Grand Lodge of South Dakota hosts the Conference. Contact the Grand Lodge for further information if you are interested in attending.
Mark your calendars now: The Oklahoma Indian Masonic Degree Team is coming to South Dakota! Saturday, July 22, 2017, Mitchell Masonic Temple. More details to follow.
Updates to OLP - Our Lodge Page (Posted February 2017)
Good news — after speaking with the folks at Enable Labs (developers of MORI & OLP) they are working on an update to the date/time feature in OLP. Currently when a webmaster creates an event, there has been some difficulty in getting the correct time to display. The developer has been made aware of this issue, has a fix in place that is being tested internally and should go live in roughly the next week.
More good news — the Grand Lodge has a small team of Masons going through every Lodge in the state and updating their addresses, and when needed, GPS coordinates in MORI. As OLP uses the information in MORI to drive much of its data, this will provide for a correct location map in OLP for all of our Lodges. Thank you to Aaron Zahn and Lennie Tucker for working on this.
Membership (Posted February 2017)
Having attended meetings with many organizations, the one thing that stands out most is a decrease in number of active participants at meetings and events. The Masonic Fraternity does not stand alone in this regard. The message is “how do we change” to gain more active members? We must assess what we are doing at our meetings. Do your meetings consist of only business without any fun or education? Do you have something at each meeting that leaves your members longing for more education and light? Take time to accomplish a consent agenda so the business portion of your meetings can be shortened leaving more time for fellowship, fun and knowledge.
We must present more light and knowledge whenever possible to improve our new Brothers and rejuvenate our older members. The Lodge Leadership Planning Guide provided through the last two Leadership Seminars is an excellent place to get ideas to incorporate into your Lodge.
Utilize the webpage (OurLodgePage) that Grand Lodge provides for each Lodge to advertise your upcoming events and tell your Masonic story. Is your Lodge active in community events providing an opportunity to display what Masonry is about and show our support to the community? Does your Lodge have special events for the spouse and family such as Table Lodges, picnics, Open Installation of Officers, etc? Brothers want to have an enjoyable experience when they attend Lodge which keeps them coming back for more. Ensure your Lodge meetings include fellowship, knowledge and fun.
- RWB Harold Ireland, Junior Grand Warden
From the East (posted February 2017)
As many of you may know, on November 2, 2016, I sent an edict to 27 lodges in our Jurisdiction summoning them to the next annual communication to discuss missing at least the last two annual communications, currently a violation of our Masonic code. As expected, this has caused some controversy, particularly amongst those affected lodges. My intention is not to see ANY lodge close, but to have these lodges start a frank dialog with their members on their current status, their future and their obligations to their members and the rest of the Grand Lodge membership.
The Grand Lodge code is a series of rules developed, monitored and updated by you, the members of the Grand Lodge. You set the rules and you vote in the Grand Master each year, in part, to govern the rules you have put in place. I take this responsibility very seriously.
We also have the Landmarks that can never be modified or changed. I believe Landmark 12 is also germane to this conversation. It reads: The right of every Mason to be represented in all general meetings of the Craft and to instruct his representatives. Is your lodge giving your members the representation at the Annual Communications (and other meetings) they deserve?
As Master of your lodge, you take the following oath: You promise a regular attendance on the committees and communications of the Grand Lodge, on receiving proper notice, and to pay attention to all the duties of masonry on convenient occasions. The code allows the Master the ability to assign his proxy to another Past Master if, for some reason, he is unable to attend the annual communication.
It is my hope that struggling lodges put their energy and attention into reaching out to their members to gather the minimum seven members necessary to open their lodges and conduct their business; then have the necessary conversations and planning to insure their future success. It is often said that an organization is only as strong as its weakest link, and I, and your Grand Lodge officers, pledge to provide the assistance necessary to strengthen each lodge, when requested. What a positive impact on the Grand Lodge when every lodge is meeting their minimum obligations.
It is my desire that all of the lodges named in the summons have representation at the annual communication and in so doing; the issue of attendance is resolved so we can all move forward together. As Brothers practicing the tenets of our fraternity, please reach out and give these lodges your support.
God bless each of you and our fraternity,
Mike Rodman, Grand Master
Olsen Brothers Receive 60-Year Pins (Posted February 2017)
On December 17th 2016, at a special dinner celebration, Zenith Lodge #202 and Yelduz Shrine presented 60-Year Pins for Brothers Art and Nels Olsen. Brother Art received his 60-Year Masonic Pin and Brother Nels received his 60-Year Shrine Pin. Approximately 40 Masons and their wives attended the dinner and celebration.
Civility Champion Award (Posted February 2017)
On December 13, 2016, the Grand Lodge of South Dakota presented the first Civility Champion Award to the Sturgis Brown High School football team, coaches, and their families at an award ceremony and chili feed at Olive Branch Lodge #47 in Sturgis. The Sturgis team was selected for their display of outstanding sportsmanship during the Class 11AA state playoffs against Mitchell on October 27, 2016.
Significantly behind in the game, the Mitchell team brought in senior Tayler Reichelt, a player with Down syndrome. According to head coach Chris Koletzky, the team was all in. They made the Mitchell team aware of their plan.
As Tayler ran downfield with the ball, the Sturgis team “dove” at him, as he broke through and scored a touchdown. Tayler, whose nickname is “T-Man”, was mobbed by his teammates as the crowd went wild. Tayler’s mom, Ann, said the Sturgis deed was “beautiful and a class act”.
In accepting the award on behalf of his team, Coach Koletzky said he was so proud of his team and the great job they’ve done on building character and learning positive life lessons. This will be a lifelong memory for the team, something more important than wins and losses.
Civility Champion Award presented to Sturgis Brown High School Scoopers 2016 Football Team
To our Fraternity:
I wanted to share this letter
written in 1890 to the craft from our first Grand Master, MWB George Ayres as he created the Grand Lodge Charity Fund and the Widows and Orphans Fund. It was his incredible vision that now, 127 years later, with these two funds combined into one, his initial investment of fifty dollars has now grown to around 4 million dollars. More importantly, it has helped hundreds of Masons and their families in times of financial need. His vision and passion on carrying out the tenents of our fraternity still inspire today.
Mike Rodman, Grand Master
Pierre One-Day Conferral (Posted February 2017)
On Saturday, January 21, the Pierre Lodges hosted a Masonic 1-Day Festival. The candidates, along with a number of Master Masons met for coffee and socializing prior to the work beginning The Entered Apprentice and Fellow Craft degrees were completed in the morning session. The entire group broke for a fantastic lunch and conversation with our new Fellow Craft Brothers. The Master Mason degree followed lunch, concluding with 6 new Brothers being raised. It was a fantastic day filled with excellent degree work and fraternal comradery. The Grand Lodge would like to thank the Pierre Lodges for their invitation and hospitality, and extend a warm welcome to our new Brothers.
- DaNiel D. Wood, Senior Grand Warden
From the West (posted February 2017)
Social activism vs. social spectacle. I follow many social networks, but primarily Facebook and Twitter. What I’ve seen lately is distressing. The climate of our times has raised the emotions of much of the world. Social media is exploding with questionable content, much of it inflammatory and hostile. As important as that is, I’m going to focus on our small slice. To further refine that focus, I’m going to concentrate on South Dakota Masons who participate on social networks. Let me first convey so there is no misunderstanding; we live in a country where many have given their lives for our freedoms, and I am 100 percent behind freedom of speech and expression. With that understanding, I will proceed.
On those networks, primarily Facebook, I have witnessed posts ranging wide across the spectrum. I have witnessed Brothers openly and sometimes harshly, criticize people for their viewpoints (again, look to what’s happening in our current climate for context) while they themselves in turn, espouse their own beliefs as being correct and take offense when being challenged. Meme after meme of ½ truths, misinformation, or what some would consider discriminatory content. For those who don’t know what a meme is, it’s an image with quick “facts” that are meant to be inflammatory and/or elicit a strong emotion. There is almost always going to be someone(s) who supports those type of postings and encourages their continuance through comments or by flagging the post with a like. This digital reinforcement makes the poster feel justified and empowered. This results in more postings of a similar flavor, or of increasing levels of questionability.
In our Masonic ritual, we’re taught lessons of inclusiveness, unity, and equality. We’re supposed to look past the exterior and embrace the internal qualifications of a person. We don’t discriminate based on race or religion. We should try to exemplify truth, zeal, and not just Brotherly love; but love for all mankind. We should be bringing light to those around us and those whom we have contact with. I would urge everyone to take a look at George Washington’s rules of Civility. Consider these and other teachings we’ve learned from the beauty of Masonry when conducting yourself online. Try to critically examine the content you’ve posted from the opposite viewpoint and grow as a person.
For complete clarity, I will reiterate, I firmly believe in freedom of speech and expression. I also realize that where one person may view a line in the sand as going too far, another may see that as a mere starting point. Safeguard your freedom of speech and don’t water it down or trivialize it.
Please ask yourself; does that post need to be out there with your name attached to it? Is it inflammatory or discriminatory? Are you doing it for real reasons or because of previous reinforcement? Are you appropriately representing several hundred years of our noble institution and is it something that you, as a Master Mason, should be posting? If you still feel strongly about it, pause and consider whether you’re being a true social activist or a social spectacle.
DaNiel Wood, Senior Grand Warden
Tidings from the Grand Treasurer-Secretary (posted January 2017)
It may be hard to believe, but the Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of South Dakota is quickly approaching even though you may be seeing snow falling outside!
We have very important officer positions to fill and hopefully, many of you are considering worthy candidates to nominate for election. We are not looking for “place holders,” but Masons who have the responsibilities of these positions in their hearts and minds to fulfil to the best of their abilities and the health of the Craft.
Additionally, the incoming Grand Master will need to make many appointments to fill diverse important positions to assure that Masonry in South Dakota flourishes. If you are asked to fill one of these positions, please give it thorough consideration and know that your devotion to the Craft and leadership skills were the reason the Grand Master-Elect asked this of you. Rest assured that you are needed and your efforts will be greatly appreciated by the leadership and Masons of South Dakota.
The procedures for nominations of elected officers are spelled out in Section 2.71 of the Grand Lodge By-Laws and the key points are listed here.
1. Nominations shall be made in writing and may be made by any Constituent Lodge or by any member of the Grand Lodge.
2. Such nominations, a Masonic Biography, and a 5 X 7 inch photograph of the nominee (actually, we prefer an electronic copy such as a .jpg in color) shall be filed with the Grand Lodge Office not later than 90 days before the first day of the Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge (That would be March 15, 2017, this year).
3. (The standard nomination form noted is nothing I have seen or used before, and I understand that it hasn’t been used in years). I suggest looking at Masonic biographies of former successful candidates in recent Proceedings as a guide. You want to put pertinent information in the bio to demonstrate you have the essential skills for the job you are being nominated for and not be too “wordy”.
4. We need to have this information published in the Messenger and in the hands of the membership not fewer than 35 days prior to the Annual Communication and not fewer than 45 days before the Annual Communication to the Lodge Secretaries.
5. The list of nominations for officers, their bios and their pictures need to be posted by the GTS prior to the opening of Grand Lodge at the site of the Annual Communication.
The following are the positions open for election this June:
1. Trustees (2)
2. Jurisprudence (1)
3. Grand Treasurer-Secretary
4. Junior Grand Warden
PGM Douglas C. McFarland, Grand Treasurer-Secretary