St. John’s Honors Brothers

Brother Walter G Schaefer Sr was honored September 20 at St John’s Lodge #1 by District Master Brad Hazuka for 50 years of Masonry.

Brother Warren H Peterson was honored by District Master Brad Hazuka for 50 years in Masonry.

Brother James R. Williams received his 50-Year Pin from District Master Brad Hazuka.

Brother Dale H Cowman was honored with his 60-Year Pin by District Master Brad Hazuka.


SD Child Identification Program in Parade

The SD Child Identification Program participated in the Labor Day Parade held on September 3 in Buffalo. The program’s float entry was built by Brother Bob Carrico of Cedar Lodge #124 and Brother Mark Millett of Cedar Branch Lodge #179. Their desire to have an entry in the parade provided great exposure for the SD Child ID Program.


Playground Being Readied

The fenced-in playground area just north of the elementary wing of the new school still has a lot of work to be done. Several pieces were damaged when the pieces were taken out of their original positions in the playground’s old location. Volunteers — individuals and groups — are being led by a Mason’s drive to get some of the workable pieces re-assembled and in place. So far, six pieces are set up and usable by kids. Eventually, the entire play area within the chainlink fence will be layered with a covering of pea gravel. To know when the next work time will be held, thus to volunteer your labor, please contact the school.



As you may, or may not know, RWB Richard Hagler has moved out of our jurisdiction with his new employment. He searched diligently for a position in-state for over a month, but nothing materialized. He was forced to pursue options in other states and landed employment in Omaha. With a heavy heart, he submitted his resignation from his Grand Lodge position. He will be missed, and we wish him the very best of success.
To replace the vacancy left by RWB Hagler, I have appointed RWB Jason Swindler to the position of Senior Grand Warden for the 2018-2019 Masonic year. RWB Swindler will then stand for election at our next Annual Communication for the position of DGM/GME. Although his path has been accelerated and the learning curve is [difficult], I have no doubt that he will rise to the challenge and perform his duties admirably. Please join me in congratulating him.
DaNiel Wood, Grand Master  


Sioux Falls Lodges Unite

The Sioux Falls Lodges have come together under the banner of “Three Lodges — One Brotherhood” for the betterment of our community and Masonry in Sioux Falls. We have created an inter-Lodge Trestle Board in a newsletter format. We have included:
- Short articles from the Worshipful Masters, Senior Wardens, and Junior Wardens
- A column to further Masonic Education
- Featured websites and apps
- Interesting things that have been happening in the Lodges and appendant bodies
- A page for spotlighting great events and amazing Brothers
-A calendar of events
- Ways that Brothers can get involved with inter-Lodge committees.
Those committees are:
-Good Works and Outreach Committee, in charge of finding opportunities within the community to do good works, to help Masonic widows, and to aid in charitable efforts. It will also work to find opportunities to reach out to the community and get Freemasonry noticed again.
- Masonic Education Committee, charged with keeping the Brothers tools from gathering dust. This can be done by coming up with presentations that can be carried out in each Lodge or inviting in speakers on things that may be interesting to the Brothers. This Committee will also help with things like putting together education packets for new Masons.
- Mentoring Committee, charged with helping set up guidelines for vetting potential candidates and finding committed Masons to act as mentors to new brothers. This Committee will find ways to help shepherd new Brothers through their first year of membership.
- Ritualistic Excellence Committee, charged with helping conduct our rituals at the highest levels. It will build degree teams as well as educating those who are interested in having a deeper understanding or our rituals.
- Communication and Technology Committee, charged with helping Brothers stay informed of Masonic happenings around the city, state, and region. It will be in charge of our on-line presence and ensuring that we are communicating with our Brothers.
- Masonic Building Association Committee, in charge of gathering and carrying concerns from the Brothers to the MBA as well as providing consistent and relevant information to the Brothers about the Masonic Center.

What Do You Mean by “Three Lodges — One Brotherhood”?
One of the things all of us have heard around our Lodges is “I wonder what Trinity is doing?” or “When is Minnehaha doing their degree work?” or “Is that guy a part of Unity or another Lodge?” One of the things we hope to accomplish is to bring all the Lodges closer together and start working in concert to have a greater impact on the Sioux Falls community. We feel that we can help make each other better men by finding common purposes and working on them together.
We are encouraging Brothers to try to make it to a Lodge meeting. Make it to your own if you can but if you can’t, stopping by another Lodge’s meeting is OK too. Also, investigate joining a committee (or two or three). There are a lot of opportunities to be involved, even if a Brother can’t make it to a Lodge meeting for whatever reason. Also, check out our new Facebook page: “Sioux Falls Freemasons.”


SD Child ID Event in Watertown (posted August 2018)

Watertown’s Concord Lodge #13 held a SD Child ID event on August 7, 2018, at the Watertown Police Station as part of the National Night Out Campaign. National Night Out is an annual community-police awareness-raising event. In addition to the SD Child ID event held inside the police station, a variety of vendors were set up outside providing fun and games for the kids. With the help of twelve Brother Masons and eight Lady volunteers, as well as two DeMolay members, 83 children were processed. Additional thanks to Brother Larry Clark of Elk Point Lodge #3 and his Lady for getting things set up.


Philip Masonic Rascal Rodeo (posted August 2018)

The annual Philip Masonic Rascal Rodeo for youth up to age 14 was August 4 at the Philip Roping Arena. Philip Masonic Lodge #153 put on the fun event.
The entries were divided into four age groups: six years old and younger, seven through nine, 10 through 12, and 13-14 year olds.
The fun for all did not necessarily require a horse. Depending on the number of entries, possible events included a goat ribbon race (no horse needed), goat tying, barrel racing, mutton busting and steer riding, breakaway roping, flag race, pole bending, and adult and rascal team roping.


Tidings from the Grand Treasurer-Secretary (posted August 2018)

Albert Einstein is credited with saying “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” I follow that up by saying “here I am in my second year as Grand Treasurer-Secretary.” I may try to reassure myself that these two sentences are placed together purely by coincidence, but I know the true answer may differ slightly.
Having said that, I will argue that when doing something of importance, repeating it SHOULD bring different results. Whether it is a part in a Degree, a leadership position, or whatever the case may be, whenever we take on a new challenge, we practice, we perform, we practice some more. Each of those repetitions is INTENDED to bring different results, it brings improvement. Even when things go well, we can always do better.
Masonry teaches us that we should always strive to improve ourselves, to strive for perfection. We fully understand that we will never truly achieve perfection in this life. Only our spiritual transition to that house not made with hands will bring us to that state. But that should never prevent us from striving to be better than we were before, to strive toward perfection. After all, if we cannot live by our own precepts, how will we convince others that they should even try.
Safe travels Brothers!

Terry Knutson, Grand Treasurer-Secretary  


From the South (posted August 2018)

I would like to thank you all for the opportunity to serve as your Junior Grand Warden for the ensuing Masonic year. As an elected officer I believe I have an obligation to act in the best interest of all Masons in South Dakota. I have been working hard to open lines of communication with several Brothers throughout the State. In order for me to be an effective leader I need counsel, ideas and concerns from as many SD Masons as possible. Please remember I am working for all of you even if my thoughts and ideas are different from yours. This is what makes our Fraternity great. We can meet on the Level, have civil conversations, compromise if need be and leave knowing our Work means something.
I have been asked many tough questions from concerned Brothers and past and current Line Officers. I have tried to answer them to the best of my ability. I have the best interest of the Craft in mind each and every time. I encourage and welcome communication from all Masons in South Dakota. My contact information will be available and I hope to hear from you.
During the Sturgis Rally I had the opportunity to attend the Widows Sons Council meeting and act as the Grand Master&8217;s Representative on the WS Board. It was a productive meeting and I look forward to great things coming out of this group of Masons. [I am] Proud to wear my Widows Sons Masonic Riders Association vest whenever I ride. I also had the honor of attending the Installation of Officers at Resurgam Lodge on August 14th in Mitchell. The event was well attended and it was great to see so many family members there. Without our family we would not be able to do what we do as Masons.
I look forward to working arm-in-arm with each and every one of you this year. Remember our communities and friends and family on social media notice Masonic symbols wherever they may see them. Promote our Craft positively every day.

Jason D Swindler, Junior Grand Warden  


Brother Richard Phillips Receives 50-Year Pin (posted August 2018)

Richard Phillips, of Huron Lodge #26. received his 50-Year Pin at the Hi-12 luncheon. There were 12 people in attendance, with Helen performing the pinning ceremony.

Doug Bjorke, Richard and Helen Phillips

New Office Manager (posted August 2018)

After an arduous yet fruitful search, I am pleased to announce that Kari Muller has taken the position as the new Office Manager of the Grand Lodge Office in Sioux Falls. She is replacing Gwen Olson who retired at the end of June. Kari has quickly acclimated to the workings of the Grand Lodge Office and we are very pleased to have her on board. If you get an opportunity, please take a minute to introduce yourself.

Thank you!  
Terry Knutson, Grand Treasurer-Secretary  

Gwen Olson Honored (posted August 2018)

Gwen Olson, Office Manager, was honored for her service to the Grand Lodge of South Dakota at the public opening of the 144th Annual Communication.
Gwen has retired after 4 years of service. The Brethren of South Dakota appreciate her service, and she will be missed. Gwen was presented with a plaque and roses honoring her retirement. She is pictured above with Right Worshipful Brother DaNiel Wood and Most Worshipful Brother Yancey Smith.

From the East (posted August 2018)

Brothers, it is my great honor to serve as Grand Master, and is one more step towards paying off a great debt I have to Masonry. Roughly eight months before I became a Mason, I had an intra-cerebral hemorrhage. I wasn’t expected to survive, and if I did, was supposed to be permanently disabled. I did survive and although I do have some lingering effects, I truly won the lottery of life. Upon returning home from the hospital it took three months to be able to function again. That event changed my life and I made a promise to myself that if I wanted to do something, I did it. Five months later, I was raised as a Master Mason. I went to every meeting, every degree I could attend, and followed along diligently in the Blue Book putting words to cypher and relearning critical thinking skills. Many Brothers assisted me, knowingly and unknowingly. This is my debt.
Although providing only a fraction of my story, I wanted all to know how much Masonry means to me. I truly love our noble Craft and those in it. My life has been changed forever. It deeply saddens me when I see Brothers in disagreement, and restores my faith when I see Civility and Brotherhood prevail. I don’t view our Craft as a fraternity, but rather as a family and true Brotherhood. Like all families we have squabbles, hurt feelings, and things better left unsaid. Having a long memory for grievances is a detriment to resolution. Forgive and forget is the path forward, wipe the slate clean and move ahead unified. Everyone is aware of the current turmoil we face, and I am committed to a restoration of peace and harmony. This is my goal, and my promise to the Craft.
May peace within the Craft prevail, and Brotherly love unite and cement us.
DaNiel D. Wood, Grand Master of Masons  

2018-19 Grand Lodge Officers (posted August 2018)

At the 144th Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of South Dakota, the following officers were installed to govern the Craft for the ensuing Masonic year:
DaNiel Wood, Grand Master; Harold Ireland, Deputy Grand Master/Grand Master Elect; Richard Hagler Jr., Senior Grand Warden; Jason Swindler, Junior Grand Warden; Terry Knutson, Grand Treasurer-Secretary; John McKnight, Grand Chaplain; Kendig Bergstresser II, Grand Orator; Bryant Stokes, Grand Marshal; Jeffrey VanCuren, Senior Grand Deacon; Aaron Zahn, Junior Grand Deacon; Dane Bloch, Senior Grand Steward; Stephen Butterfield, Junior Grand Steward; Arlon Gill, Grand Standard Bearer; Roger Hansen, Grand Sword Bearer; David Wheeler, Grand Pursuivant; Justin Stanek, Grand Historian; James Frey, Grand Musician; Ardel Reder, Grand Tyler; Don Humes, Representative for the Grand Master.
Elected to serve the Craft were WB Douglas Papendick, WB Robert Tesch Jr., WB Glendon Rice, and WB Herbert Cook as Trustees, and WB Jason Glodt and WB Scot Mannschreck on the Jurisprudence Committee.

Pictured from left to right, front row: RWB Jason Swindler, JGW; RWB Terry Knutson, GTS; MWB DaNiel Wood, GM; RWB Harold Ireland, DGM/GME; RWB Richard Hagler Jr., SGW. Second Row: WB Stephen Butterfield, JGS; WB James Frey, Grand Musician; Br. Don Humes, Representative for the GM; WB Arlon Gill, Gr. Standard Bearer; WB Aaron Zahn, JGD; WB Dane Bloch, SGS; WB Ardel Reder, Gr. Tyler; WB John McKnight, Gr. Chaplain; WB Roger Hansen, Gr. Sword Bearer; WB Jeffrey VanCuren, SGD; WB Kendig Bergstresser II, Gr. Orator; WB Bryant Stokes, Gr. Marshal; WB Justin Stanek, Gr. Historian. Not pictured: WB David Wheeler, Gr. Pursuivant.

From the Deputy (posted August 2018)

Brethren, as we proceed into this new Masonic year, it gives me great pleasure to serve as your Deputy Grand Master. Your Elected Grand Lodge Line is busy working hard to improve Freemasonry in South Dakota.
As I review all the programs we have put in place to move our fraternity forward, I am struck by the many young Masons who are welcoming these changes and new challenges but at the same time we have others who are resistant to change. Many in attendance at our recent Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge were not voting members or key leaders within their Lodge but see the opportunity to become involved and grow as a Mason.
Over the past two years your Grand Lodge Officers have programmed improvements by updating the Grand Lodge Strategic Plan, its Mission and Goals; initiated New Dues Cards that can be utilized to verify if a member is in good standing; initiated Our Lodge Page with a website and mobile apps for every Lodge; started using email blasts and robo-calls to get the word directly to everyone that has a good email or phone number in MORI; provided Path to Brotherhood folders to all Lodges with examples to assist them in accomplishing many tasks as well as welcoming a new Brother; provided New Member Packets to Brothers once raised and entered into MORI; initiated Service Awards for 5, 15, 25, 35, and 45 years of service and updated the Longevity Awards for 50, 60 and 70 year recipients; continuing to provide Civility Awards for deserving people in our communities; continuing to provide our Leadership Seminar and District Master Training annually; assist with Lodge Assistance Teams to any Lodge that requests assistance; continue to work on getting our artifacts and treasures adequately preserved and displayed; providing exceptional events for our Brethren (i.e.; Mt Rushmore Celebration, Oklahoma Degree Team); look for excellent programs that can benefit the Craft in our jurisdiction; all the while we are representing your South Dakota Jurisdiction at neighboring Grand Lodge Communications, the Midwest Conference of Grand Lodges, the Midwest Conference on Masonic Education and the Conference of Grand Masters of Masons in North America.
Your South Dakota Grand Lodge will be hosting the 2019 Conference of Grand Masters of Masons in North America on 16-19 February at the Ramkota in Rapid City. We are looking for Brethren to volunteer in assist in making this the best conference ever and to also participate where they can. There are some great activities you should get involved with during this Once-in-a-Lifetime Event. More details are available in this Masonic Messenger and by contacting the Grand Lodge Office.
Again, it is a pleasure serving the Brethren of the Craft of this Masonic Fraternity.
May peace within the Craft prevail, and Brotherly love unite and cement us.
Harold D. Ireland, Deputy Grand Master


Yankton Valley Needs Your Help

Dave Brown, Secretary for St. John’s Lodge #1 in Yankton, asks for the assistance from all Yankton Valley members for the upcoming Romeo & Juliet theatrical production that will be performed at the Yankton Scottish Rite Temple. We need volunteers to help usher, sell tickets, and serve as tour guides. Please also plan on attending and seeing one of the performances.
Prairie Fire Productions will be putting on Romeo and Juliet in the Yankton Scottish Rite Masonic Temple Theatre on August 2, 3, and 4 at 7:00 pm. There will be matinee performances on August 4 and 5 at 2:00 pm.
The Scottish Rite will receive income from this show. Let us know how you can help, by sending an email to
Thanks everyone!
Dennis Nelsen, 32nd degree, KCCH,
Executive Secretary, Yankton Valley

Grand Lodge Leadership Training

Learn to be a better leader. Join us at the Ramkota Hotel & Conference Center, 920 W. Siouix Avenue, Pierre, September 7 and 8, for the Grand Lodge of South Dakota Leadership Training. MWB Bob Conley will again be our keynote presenter and will cover “Six Steps to Initiation,” candidate mentoring, and much more.
The cost of this fantastic training is only $45.00, which covers registration, all training materials, and lunch on Saturday.
The registration form is here (print the form and mail it in):

Registration form


A block of rooms has been reserved at Ramkota for $99.00 plus tax. Be sure to mention the Grand Masons Leader Training to get this rate. Rooms will be held until August 8. Make your reservations by calling (605) 224-6877 or by e-mail
This year’s training promises to be great. We will be done in time Friday night to socialize, and we will have you done in time on Saturday to get home that night.
Join us for fun, a chance to make new friends and to see old ones and maybe, just maybe, leave with a plan to make your Lodge a cut above the ordinary.
Download the flyer for this event.

Grand Lodge Scholarship Program

In all our Masonic teachings, we are admonished to contribute to the relief of our Brothers and their families. The Grand Lodge Scholarship Program is one of the several ways we put these words into action. This year I am pleased to report we have awarded 9 scholarships for students to attend college, university, or technical school. The nine lucky recipients are: Rachel Ireland, Alex Klingaman, Andrew Klingaman, Chase Klingaman, Kasey Schutte, Luke Weber, Logan Smith, Mattisen Kelley, and Christopher Holm. Their college choices include SDSU, SD School of Mines, USD School of Medicine, Black Hills State, University of Sioux Falls, and University of Minnesota Morris. We wish each and every one of these students all the best as they journey forth on their roads to knowledge.
If you have a relative who will be attending college in the future, remember to encourage them to apply for the Grand Lodge Scholarship. Scholarship application forms can be downloaded here.