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2014 Masters Messages

December Message

posted Dec 19, 2014, 5:22 PM by McKinley Lodge

Master’s Message for December

Brethren and friends,

 This will be my final Master’s Message to all of you. This Masonic Year is

drawing to a close, and very soon you will have a new Worshipful Master and

corps of Officers leading the Lodge. At the request of the Worshipful Master

Elect, I will once again return to the role of Counselor. I love working with

candidates and members progressing through the Degrees of the Craft, so I’m

looking forward to serving the Lodge in this capacity.

 Like any worthwhile endeavor, this year had a variety of ups & downs,

successes & challenges.

First the positive:

 The Officers and Committee members planned an extremely active

calendar of events this year. We had opportunities to get involved each and

every month in a variety of ways.

 The big event of the year was the Centennial Celebration. This was, by

far, the biggest event I’ve seen McKinley Lodge put together since I’ve

been a member of the Craft. A lot of time & effort went into the planning

& execution of this event and my sincere thanks go out to all of you who

contributed to making it a success!

 We have some really great men that make up the Lodge today. If you

haven’t been to Lodge in a while, please come to a Stated Meeting and meet

them! If you need a ride, we’ll make arrangements to get you here and back

home again.

 McKinley Lodge got out and visited other Lodges more than I’ve ever seen

before. Monthly trips to spread the cement of brotherly love & affection

afforded opportunities for a change of scenery, to meet new Brethren, to see

how other Lodges do things.

 I was also delighted to see the start of a trend for visitations of sick &

shut-in Brethren take place this year. If you would like a visit from your Lodge

Brothers, please let us know!

 The Trustees put together a new Rental Program which includes contracts,

terms and pricing for non-masonic renters, masonic organization members,

and masonic organizations. We owe the Trustees a big “Thank You!” for all

of the hard work that went into this. Rentals represent a big opportunity for

revenue, enabling us to keep the McKinley Masonic Center operating.

 Our monthly Temple Topics expanded to include messages from more than

just the Worshipful Master, which I thought was really great. I’d like to thank

those Brethren who contributed articles each month - it really did make the

Temple Topics a better publication.

And some of the challenges:

 We likely bit off more than we could chew, but that’s something we can all

learn from and apply going forward.

 We did not have many petitions come in this year, so our degree work was

a bit light. It looks as though things are picking up again here at the end of

the year, so that’s good news.

 We saw a decline in participation levels for long-time members and Past

Masters this year. Our Officer line is fairly new to Freemasonry and could

benefit from the support and guidance of long-time members. My Brothers,

one of the appeals that I will make to you is that you come and support

these newer Masons. You have wisdom to impart and we value your active

participation in McKinley Lodge.

 We have some financial hurdles to overcome in the near future. All is

not doom and gloom, but we need to depart from the course we’re on and

establish a plan that provides McKinley Lodge with a sustainable future for

the next 100 years.

It has been a privilege for me to serve McKinley Lodge as Worshipful Master.

I appreciate the support that you’ve given to both me as an individual as well

as to the Lodge during this very special Centennial Year, and encourage you to

find a way to get more involved this next year. I have the utmost confidence

that Brother Chris Goodwin and the other Officers will do a wonderful job and

look forward to seeing their plans for the year take shape!

 In closing, I’d like to end my final Master’s Message with this piece that

really sums up how I feel we should all think about our lives, our time here on

Earth, and the lessons to be learned each and every day:

 I am Yesterday.

 I am gone from you forever.

 I am the last of a long procession of days, streaming behind you,

 away from you, pouring into mist and obscurity, and at last into

 the ocean of oblivion.

 I depart from you, yet I am ever with you.

 Once I was called Tomorrow, and was virgin pure; then I became

 your bride and was named Today; now I am Yesterday, and carry

 upon me the eternal stain of your embrace.

 I am one of the leaves of a growing book. There are many pages

 before me. Some day you shall turn us all over and read us and

 know what you are.

 I am rich, for I have wisdom.

 I bore you a child, and left him with you. His name is Experience.

 I am Yesterday; yet I am the same as Today and Forever; for I AM

 YOU; and you cannot escape yourself.

 I am Yesterday. Learn to look me in the face, to use me, and not to

 be afraid of me.

Sincerely & Fraternally,

Ryan Mayrand, P.: M.:

October Message - 2014

posted Oct 17, 2014, 1:34 PM by McKinley Lodge

Master’s Message for October

 I would like to take an opportunity to thank all of you who have responded
to two specific mailings that went out earlier in the year. First, was a survey
that was mailed to all of the Master Masons of McKinley Lodge who had
not already responded by phone or email. The purpose of this survey was
 First, it was intended to provide our members with an opportunity to update
our Secretary to any changes in their contact information.
 Second, it was designed as a means of creating more customized call-down
lists for our Officers. If you’re not interested in hearing about upcoming social
events, we want to make sure that we’re not bothering you with calls about
them. Vice versa, if you’d like to hear about deaths & funerals, we want to
make sure that you’re being notified when a Brother passes.
 Lastly, we set out at the beginning of this year to create a membership
directory. My goal with this is to provide our membership with a better
means of getting to know one another. Sure, you know that my name is
Ryan Mayrand and that I’m Worshipful Master this year, but did you know
that I’m 37 years old (turning 38 next month)? Did you know that I work in
marketing for a manufacturer in Germantown? Did you know that my wife’s
name is Erin? I know that there’s so much more to each of you than a name
and phone number on a roster...and the Masonic experience is so much more
enriching when we form fraternal bonds through getting to know more about
one another. That’s the spirit of Brotherhood that I want to foster....
 A quick update on the Membership Directory: I’ve transcribed the answers
of everyone who has responded thus far (no easy task!) and have started
formatting how the pages will be laid out. My goal is to have this formatted
and printed by the end of the the Masonic year so that we can mail out a copy
to each of you.
 The other major mailing that went out was the Centennial Year Master’s
Appeal. I want to sincerely thank all of you who have contributed to the
Lodge so far this year and let everyone know that there’s still time...and
a tremendous need. As I’ve mentioned in previous Temple Topics articles,
we really wanted this year to be special. The McKinley Lodge Centennial
happens just once...and none of us will likely still be around when the Lodge
reaches the 200 year it truly is a once in a lifetime event. Your
McKinley Lodge Officers and Committee Members have labored this year to
remain as fiscally responsible as possible. Your generous donations have
helped us to defer the costs of special programs as well as some much-needed
repairs to the building (most notably to the roof). At the close of the Masonic
Year, we will be creating a plaque to hang on the wall - commemorating our
Centennial and giving recognition to all of those who have donated to the
Centennial Year Master’s Appeal. We created three different giving levels:
 Cornerstone Level ($500 or more)
 Trowel Level ($250 or more)
 Square and Compasses Level ($100 or more)
Brethren, it is not too late to make your donation to the Lodge and be
recognized. I would ask that you prayerfully consider a donation to help
McKinley Lodge make these much-needed repairs. 
In closing Brethren, I appreciate all of you who have taken time to send in
survey letters and donations. These are two big initiatives aimed at improving
the Lodge this year, and their success depends upon your participation. If you
haven’t yet sent them in, there’s still time!
Sincerely & Fraternally,
Ryan Mayrand, P.: M.:

Senior Warden’s Message for October
 A couple of months ago, I wrote about the Masonic tenet of Brotherly Love,
using the words of Bro. Chad Kopenski, P.:M.:, as a starting point. This month
I’d like to pick that back up with Bro. Kopenski’s thoughts on the second
Masonic Tenet, Relief. He writes:
 Masons believe it is our duty to relieve the suffering of others whenever
possible. As everyone travels on the path of their life, they encounter rocks
in the way and Masons believe that we should help remove those rocks
whenever we can. Sometimes that happens because we are asked, but often
that happens because we see the rock in your path before you do and we take
care of it. Masons don’t take curtain calls for this type of work, because we
believe that this type of thing isn’t headline news, it is what you’re supposed
to do. If you can help make someone’s path easier, why wouldn’t you do it?
As brief aside, I love the metaphor he uses with the rocks in the path. It
reminds me of my childhood summers. My family spent our summers sailing
up and down the coast of Maine, and most days we went ashore to walk
on paths through the woods or on the rocky shoreline. It’s easy to see the
troubles of life as the rocky ledges my brother and I had to navigate, or as
the little outcroppings of granite that would trip you up on the forest paths.
Anyway, on to my main point...
 While Masonry, as a fraternity, is not primarily a charity, Charity, or
Relief, is of primary importance to us. From our introduction to Masonry
in the Entered Apprentice degree we are taught that Relief is not only one
of our tenets, but that it’s just “what we should do.” You see it played out
in countless ways. At the Grand Lodge level we have designated charities
we donate to, including the Masonic Service and Assistance Board, the
scholarship matching funds, the American Heart Association, the Masonic
Medical Research Laboratory, and Hiram’s Helpers. At the local lodge level,
relief of others plays out with food pantry donations, scholarships, Angel
Funds, AED donation programs, blood drives, and more. And personally,
Masons donate their time, talents, and money to all of the above and so
much more - helping the widow with household projects, donating their time
to youth groups of all kinds, serving in the community. It’s one of the main
things we do. So ask yourself, “Whose path have I made easier lately?”
Chris Goodwin
Senior Warden

September Message - 2014

posted Sep 12, 2014, 10:15 AM by McKinley Lodge

The gavel having sounded in the East again, McKinley Lodge has come to
order once again after another fine Wisconsin Summer. As I stated in my
previous Master’s Message, I hope that all of you were able to get out and
enjoy the beautiful weather that characterized this Summer.
As I sat down to write this month’s Temple Topics, I debated whether or not
to share thoughts from the archives of our McKinley Temple Topics and share
my reflections about their contemporary relevance...or take some different
course. After watching the evening news and thinking about the events of the
day, I’ve made up my mind to stray from my original plan and share some
thoughts about what’s making headlines in the world today and what we, as
Masons, can take away from the world around us.
Headline #1 - The Palestinian Group Hamas breaks a humanitarian ceasefire
agreement just hours after the deal was brokered.
As a disclaimer, there is always more than one side to a story...and as we
should all avoid discussion of politics in the Lodge, I’m not taking any side on
this topic. I am, however, going to hammer home the idea that as Masons we
must always be true to our word.
Be cautious my Brothers, not to make casual promises. Your Brethren, in
particular, count on your word to be your bond. If you tell your Brethren that
you will do something, they are counting upon you to fulfill that promise. Do
not let them down. Do not betray their trust by shirking responsibility merely
because it is not convenient or advantageous for you. Rather, strive to set an
example for your Brethren so that when they think of you, they’re reminded
of your strong character. Be a man and Mason upon whom all can place their
Headline #2 - Videos surface of mass executions taking place in Iraq at the
hands of ISIS.
I had the opportunity to watch one of these videos online this evening.
The video showed six truckloads of Iraqi men being driven out to a field,
unloaded and forced to lie down in what ultimately becomes a mass grave...
dozens upon dozens of men. As the men pled with their captors, one of the
ISIS soldiers walked down the line with an automatic rifle shooting them in
the head. When he ran out of ammunition, another soldier walked up and
picked up where the first soldier left off. It was extremely graphic to watch...
reminiscent of something that would have come out of Hitler’s Germany or
Pol Pot’s Cambodia.
My Brothers, while I know that the idea of genocide is so distant from a
Mason’s heart that none of you would ever do such a thing, these current
events are a good reminder of two things:
First, that evil is a real and present force in this world. As Masons, we labor
to do good be constructive. Truth, justice and brotherly love must
always pervade our hearts. Remember though my Brothers, not everyone is
like us. There are evil men in this world who do not circumscribe their actions
by the compass or live by the square. Unrestrained passions and a lack of
morality twist men’s minds in ways that cause them to confuse evil for good.
Brethren, hold true to your Masonic teachings and never lose sight of what is
good and true.
Secondly, I think this teaches the importance of tolerance and of having a
pure heart and mind. Again, while none of you would ever act out this type
of crime, have you ever held contempt in your heart for another? Have you
ever harbored ill will towards someone of a different religion? Have you ever
thought less of someone because of their outward appearance? As Masons,
we’re taught to measure men by the quality of their character, to treat
men justly, and to be tolerant. Guard your heart and mind my Brothers, as
feelings and thoughts lead to words and actions.
With that Brethren, I’ll wrap up my Temple Topics article for this month. I
know that the subject matter was a bit serious in nature, but I hope that
it provides you with some things to contemplate. Thinking is important in fact, I would say that it is critical. For in order to truly
change...for all of us (as Masons) to become better men, we need to change
our thinking. Only when we’ve changed our thinking can we change your
Sincerely & Fraternally,
Ryan Mayrand, P.: M.:

Senior Warden’s Message for September
Thank You note: I‘ve had several experiences lately - some to do with Lodge
and some outside of it - that have reminded me of one of the things I love
the most about our fraternity. Or maybe better said, have made me see the
difference between dealing with Masons and dealing with the rest of the
world. It comes down to Trust.
I love the fact that I can trust my brother Masons. There are many traits and
principles that characterize a Mason. They are taught in our degrees and
exemplified in our lives - they include integrity, honesty, fidelity, fortitude,
prudence, justice, equality, truthfulness, faithfulness, and more. These all
describe the Masons I know and I feel comfortable saying they just as well
describe those I don’t know. Because I know this of my brothers, I trust that
when they say they’ll do something, they’ll follow through and do it if it can
be done. I frequently don’t feel that way in the workplace or the world at
large. Because of our trust, it’s easier for me to be honest, faithful, etc. with
my brothers and others. Because of this trust I can feel comfortable and be
I certainly don’t mean to imply that all Masons are perfectly trustworthy,
because we know that can’t be true. I struggle with many of these principles
at times, as I’m sure you all do. But I feel that these principles describe a vast
majority of the men in Freemasonry almost all the time in their interactions
with each other, and we’re teaching each other to be better all the time. What
a wonderful thing of which to be reminded.
Thank you for being good men with whom I can feel comfortable and can
Chris Goodwin
Senior Warden

Junior Warden’s Message for September
Brother Andrew would like to share with you a Short Talk Bulletin from 1925
titled “The Sound of the Gavel” that he found particularly interesting:
The long summer days are gone, Autumn is here and the world takes up its
tasks. The judge returns to his bench, the preacher to his pulpit, the man
of affairs to his desk and the teacher to his/her school - the boys and girls
following with no quick step. To some it is a joy, to other a grind; but, all
return to the work appointed them to do.
Last, but not least, the lodge is opened, tiled and tested; and the sound of the
Gavel in the East calls the Craft from refreshment to labor. Soon the noisy
quarries will be busy, making ready the stone for a living Temple slowly
rising without the sound of hammer or ax; built by the faith and labor of
good and wise men as a shrine of fellowship and a shelter for the Holy things
of life.
The Common Gavel, it is a symbol both of labor and of power. As the square
is no doubt the oldest instrument of our science, so the Gavel is its oldest
working tool - some trace it back to the rude ax of the Stone Age. How simple
it is - just a piece of metal with a beating surface at one end and a cutting
edge at the other, with a handle for better effect in use. Every Mason knows
by heart the explanation of its meaning, given him in the First Degree.
The words are simple; their meaning is plain - searching, too, when we think
of the rough and superfluous things which need to be broken off and polished
away from the best of us, before we are fit to be used by the Master of all
good work. Alas, the words are so familiar that we, too, often forget how
pointed and practical they are, teaching us the first necessity of the Craft - its
need of clean and square men.
As we listen to those words for the first time, we did not realize how much
meaning they held. No one can. There are so many delicate touches in
Masonry, so many fine arts, that time is needed to see and appreciate them.
Its business is to build men, taking the raw stuff of us and shaping it into
forms of beauty and use. Before us it holds an ideal and plan of a Temple,
into which it seeks to build our lives as stones. So it begins by using the
Gavel, cutting away rough edges and breaking off ugly vices. Any man who
knows himself at all knows how much it is needed, if he is to be a true man.
Nor did we notice, in the surprise of initiation, that the Gavel is also used
by the Master of the Lodge. With it he opened and closed the Lodge; with it
he ruled. It is the symbol of his power. It is wonderful, if we think of it, how
the humblest tool is put into the hand of the highest officer. So rough an
instrument, the commonest in the quarry, hardly seems to typify a ruler. Yet
in the three principal offices of the Lodge it is the symbol of authority. The
Lodge is ruled not by a Square, still less by a Scepter, but by the sound of a
common Gavel - only Masonry could have thought of a thing so beautiful

Chaplain’s Message
Like many others, my fascination with plants began in a vegetable garden.
I grew up just outside of Green Bay, one of six kids. My father was a welder
in a paper mill and my mother a nurse. There was no way that Mom and
Dad could have fed all those hungry mouths without their half acre garden—
planned every winter in pencil on butcher paper rolled out on the kitchen
The bounty of that garden still captivates me. The wonder I felt as a boy
at how the fence sagged beneath cucumber vines only 60 days after I had
pressed three small white seeds into a mound of soil has never left me. I can
smell that earth. I can feel the earthworms and hear the bees. I know the
heft of ripe cantaloupe. I can taste the sweetness of freshly dug carrots—gritty
with soil that didn’t wipe off—and the tart juice of the immature green fruits I
snuck from the apple tree which grew just behind the compost pile.
That garden is gone now, as are my parents, but I remember.
These days, I watch as my children push three small white seeds in a mound
of soil each Memorial Day and label the resulting pickle jars with their own
names. I kneel as they crowd around, blackened to the elbows with darkened
knees, and wait for me to solemnly judge who has, in fact, found the biggest
worm living in the compost pile. I grin as they stalk cabbage moths with
raspberry stained faces or gather roly-polys in opaque buckets. Each spring I
photograph them beneath their own personal cherry trees.
A lifelong love of gardening was my father’s legacy, my inheritance; a family
heirloom. Now it is theirs.
My prayer is that we each remember that our most important contributions to
those we love, and will leave behind, are roots and wings.
-Ryan Mayrand

August Message - 2014

posted Aug 12, 2014, 6:25 PM by McKinley Lodge


I hope that Summer has afforded you the opportunity to get outside, enjoy the company of friends and family, and appreciate the Supreme Architect of the Universe's handiwork around you. 

While there are no stated meetings taking place during this time, there's a lot going on behind the scenes at McKinley Lodge:

Recognizing that the rental of the McKinley Masonic Center represents a key revenue opportunity for the Lodge, the Trustees have been hard at work revising our building rental program. We have a goal of finalizing a complete program by the first stated meeting September - complete with new rates, policies, and a contract. W.: B.: James Lovett has stepped down as Chairman of the Calendar and the Keys, so we will be discussing who will spearhead the rental program going forward as well. Thank you W.: B.: Lovett for your service to the Lodge all this time.

The Fundraising Committee has been working on planning events for the second half of the Masonic year. We have some fundraising events such as a fish fry, spaghetti dinner, winter bazaar, and breakfast with Santa coming up - please watch the Temple Topics for details as these events draw closer. These promise to be not only fun, but a great way to raise money for the Lodge!

We will also be finalizing the Membership Directory this Summer and our goal will be to print and distribute copies to each McKinley Lodge Master Mason early this Fall. There hasn't been a directory printed for many, many years, and the Officers felt that it would be a good idea to resurrect the idea. We hope that this helpful tool will enable our membership to reach out to one another more easily.

Please come out and join us on August 9th at 5:00pm for an evening of fun at the McKinley Masonic Center. We'll be having a BBQ, a bonfire and enjoy some lawn games and conversation together.

I hope that you enjoy the rest of your Summer and I look forward to seeing you back in Lodge on September 4th for Corn & Brat Night as well as our 1st Stated Meeting. Remember that it is Hawaiian shirt night, so don't forget to wear your favorite Hawaiian shirt that evening!


Ryan Mayrand, P.: M.:
Worshipful Master

“The Power of Truth”
From The Power of Truth: Individual Problems and Possibilities, 1902
By William George Jordan

TRUTH is the rock foundation of every great character. It is loyalty to the right as we see it; it is courageous living of our lives in harmony with our ideals; it is always—power.

Truth ever defies full definition. Like electricity it can only be explained by noting its manifestation. It is the compass of the soul, the guardian of conscience, the final touchstone of right. Truth is the revelation of the ideal; but it is also an inspiration to realize that ideal, a constant impulse to live it.

Lying is one of the oldest vices in the world—it made its debut in the first recorded conversation in history, in a famous interview in the garden of Eden. Lying is the sacrifice of honor to create a wrong impression. It is masquerading in misfit virtues. Truth can stand alone, for it needs no chaperone or escort. Lies are cowardly, fearsome things that must travel in battalions. They are like a lot of drunken men, one vainly seeking to support another. Lying is the partner and accomplice of all the other vices.

Truth is the oldest of all the virtues; it antedated man, it lived before there was man to perceive it or to accept it. It is the unchangeable, the constant. Law is the eternal truth of Nature—the unity that always produces identical results under identical conditions. When a man discovers a great truth in Nature he has the key to the understanding of a million phenomena; when he grasps a great truth in morals he has in it the key to his spiritual re-creation.

For the individual, there is no such thing as theoretic truth; a great truth that is not absorbed by our whole mind and life, and has not become an inseparable part of our living, is not a real truth to us. If we know the truth and do not live it, our life is—a lie.

In speech, the man who makes Truth his watchword is careful in his words, he seeks to be accurate, neither understating nor over-coloring. He never states as a fact that of which he is not sure. What he says has the ring of sincerity, the hallmark of pure gold. If he praises you, you accept his statement as “net,” you do not have to work out a problem in mental arithmetic on the side to see what discount you ought to make before you accept his judgment. His promise counts for something, you accept it as being as good as his bond, you know that no matter how much it may cost him to verify and fulfill his word by his deed, he will do it. His honesty is not policy. The man who is honest merely because it is “the best policy,” is not really honest, he is only politic. Usually such a man would forsake his seeming loyalty to truth and would work overtime for the devil—if he could get better terms.

Truth means “that which one troweth or believes.” It is living simply and squarely by our belief; it is the externalizing of a faith in a series of actions. Truth is ever strong, courageous, virile, though kindly, gentle, calm, and restful. There is a vital difference between error and untruthfulness. A man may be in error and yet live bravely by it; he who is untruthful in his life knows the truth but denies it. The one is loyal to what he believes, the other is traitor to what he knows. “What is Truth?” Pilate’s great question, asked of Christ nearly two thousand years ago, has echoed unanswered through the ages. We get constant revelations of parts of it, glimpses of constantly new phases, but never complete, final definition. If we but live up to the truth that we know, and seek ever to know more, we have put ourselves into the spiritual attitude of receptiveness to know Truth in the fullness of its power. Truth is the sun of morality, and like that lesser sun in the heavens, we can walk by its light, live in its warmth and life, even if we see but a small part of it and receive but a microscopic fraction of its rays.

Which of the great religions of the world is the real, the final, the absolute truth? We must make our individual choice and live by it as best we can. Every new sect, every new cult, has in it a grain of truth, at least; it is this that attracts attention and wins adherents. This mustard seed of truth is often overestimated, darkening the eyes of man to the untrue parts or phases of the varying religious faiths. But, in exact proportion to the basic truth they contain do religions last, become permanent and growing, and satisfy and inspire the hearts of men. Mushrooms of error have a quick growth, but they exhaust their vitality and die, while Truth still lives.

The man who makes the acquisition of wealth the goal and ultimatum of his life, seeing it as an end rather than a means to an end, is not true. Why does the world usually make wealth the criterion of success, and riches the synonym of attainment? Real success in life means the individual’s conquest of himself; it means ”how he has bettered himself” not “how he has bettered his fortune.” The great question of life is not “What have I?” but “What am I?”

Man is usually loyal to what he most desires. The man who lies to save a nickel, merely proclaims that he esteems a nickel more than he does his honor. He who sacrifices his ideals, truth and character, for mere money or position, is weighing his conscience in one pan of a scale against a bag of gold in the other. He is loyal to what he finds the heavier, that which he desires the more—the money. But this is not truth. Truth is the heart’s loyalty to abstract right, made manifest in concrete instances.

The tradesman who lies, cheats, misleads and overcharges and then seeks to square himself with his anemic conscience by saying, “lying is absolutely necessary to business,” is as untrue in his statement as he is in his acts. He justifies himself with the petty defense as the thief who says it is necessary to steal in order to live. The permanent business prosperity of an individual, a city or a nation rests finally on commercial integrity alone, despite all that the cynics may say, or all the exceptions whose temporary success may mislead them. It is truth alone that lasts.

The politician who is vacillating, temporizing, shifting, constantly trimming his sails to catch every puff of wind of popularity, is a trickster who succeeds only until he is found out. A lie may live for a time, truth for all time. A lie never lives by its own vitality, it merely continues to exist because it simulates truth. When it is unmasked, it dies. When each of four newspapers in one city puts forth the claim that its circulation is larger than all the others combined, there must be an error somewhere. Where there is untruth there is always conflict, discrepancy, impossibility. If all the truths of life and experience from the first second of time, or for any section of eternity, were brought together, there would be perfect harmony, perfect accord, union and unity, but if two lies come together, they quarrel and seek to destroy each other.

It is in the trifles of daily life that truth should be our constant guide and inspiration. Truth is not a dress-suit, consecrated to special occasions, it is the strong, well-woven, durable homespun for daily living.

The man who forgets his promises is untrue. We rarely lose sight of those promises made to us for our individual benefit; these we regard as checks we always seek to cash at the earliest moment. “The miser never forgets where he hides his treasure,” says one of the old philosophers. Let us cultivate that sterling honor that holds our word so supreme, so sacred, that to forget it would seem a crime, to deny it would be impossible. The man who says pleasant things and makes promises which to him are light as air, but to someone else seem the rock upon which a life’s hope is built is cruelly untrue. He who does not regard his appointments, carelessly breaking them or ignoring them, is the thoughtless thief of another’s time. It reveals selfishness, carelessness, and lax business morals. It is untrue to the simplest justice of life.

Men who split hairs with their conscience, who mislead others by deft, shrewd phrasing which may be true in letter yet lying in spirit and designedly uttered to produce a false impression, are untruthful in the most cowardly way. Such men would cheat even in solitaire. Like murderers they forgive themselves their crime in congratulating themselves on the cleverness of their alibi. The parent who preaches honor to his child and gives false statistics about the child’s age to the conductor, to save a nickel, is not true.

The man who keeps his religion in camphor all week and who takes it out only on Sunday, is not true. He who seeks to get the highest wages for the least possible amount of service, is not true. The man who has to sing lullabies to his conscience before he himself can sleep, is not true.

The power of Truth, in its highest, purest, and most exalted phases, stands squarely on four basic lines of relation,— the love of truth, the search for truth, faith in truth, and work for truth.

The love of Truth is the cultivated hunger for it in itself and for itself, without any thought of what it may cost, what sacrifices it may entail, what theories or beliefs of a lifetime may be laid desolate. In its supreme phase, this attitude of life is rare, but unless one canbegin to put himself into harmony with this view, the individual will only creep in truth, when he might walk bravely.

The man who has a certain religious belief and fears to discuss it, lest it may be proved wrong, is not loyal to his belief, he has but a coward’s faithfulness to his prejudices. If he were a lover of truth, he would be willing at any moment to surrender his belief for a higher, better, and truer faith.

The man who votes the same ticket in politics, year after year, without caring for issues, men, or problems, merely voting in a certain way because he always has voted so, is sacrificing loyalty to truth to a weak, mistaken, stubborn attachment to a wornout precedent. Such a man should stay in his cradle all his life—because he spent his early years there.

The search for Truth means that the individual must not merely follow truth as he sees it, but he must, so far as he can, search to see that he is right. When the Kearsarge was wrecked on the Roncador Reef, the captain was sailing correctly by his chart. But his map was an old one; the sunken reef was not marked down. Loyalty to back-number standards means stagnation. In China they plow today, but they plow with the instrument of four thousand years ago. The search for truth is the angel of progress—in civilization and in morals. While it makes us bold and aggressive in our own life, it teaches us to be tender and sympathetic with others. Their life may represent a station we have passed in our progress, or one we must seek to reach. We can then congratulate ourselves without condemning them. All the truths of the world are not concentrated in our creed. All the sunshine of the world is not focused on our doorstep. We should ever speak the truth,—but only in love and kindness. Truth should ever extend the hand of love; never the hand clenching a bludgeon.

Faith in Truth is an essential to perfect companionship with truth. The individual must have perfect confidence and assurance of the final triumph of right, and order, and justice, and believe that all things are evolving toward that divine consummation, no matter how dark and dreary life may seem from day to day. No real success, no lasting happiness can exist except it be founded on the rock of truth. The prosperity that is based on lying, deception, and intrigue, is only temporary—it cannot last any more than a mushroom can outlive an oak. Like the blind Samson, struggling in the temple, the individual whose life is based on trickery always pulls down the supporting columns of his own edifice, and perishes in the ruins. No matter what price a man may pay for truth, he is getting it at a bargain. The lying of others can never hurt us long, it always carries with it our exoneration in the end.

Work for the interests and advancement of Truth is a necessary part of real companionship. If a man has a love of truth, if he searches to find it, and has faith in it, even when he cannot find it, will he not work to spread it? The strongest way for man to strengthen the power of truth in the world is to live it himself in every detail of thought, word, and deed—to make himself a sun of personal radiation of truth, and to let his silent influence speak for it and his direct acts glorify it so far as he can in his sphere of life and action. Let him first seek to be, before he seeks to teach or to do, in any line of moral growth.

Let man realize that Truth is essentially an intrinsic virtue, in his relation to himself even if there were no other human being living; it becomes extrinsic as he radiates it in his daily life. Truth is first, intellectual honesty—the craving to know the right; second, it is moral honesty, the hunger to live the right.

McKinley Lodge Trestleboard

Saturday, August 9th

  • 3:00pm - Officer's Meeting at the McKinley Masonic Center
  • 5:00pm - BBQ, Bonfire & Lawn Games at the McKinley Masonic Center (Open to anyone & everyone!)

Saturday, August 23rd
  • 1:00pm - Laflin-St. James Lodge Bowling Fundraiser at Jay's Lanes 326 Atkinson St. Mukwonago, WI 5314. For more information, please contact David Koch, Senior Deacon at (414) 218-6624 or

Sunday, August 31st
  • 4:00pm - Lincoln Lodge Golf Outing at Kettle Hills Golf Club (3375 Hwy 167 West, Richfield). $30/person includes 9 holes of golf, golf cart, sandwich & prizes. 4-person scramble format. Send payment to M.: W.: B.: Craig Campbell, P.: G.: M.: at 4600 Pioneer Rd., Cedarburg, WI 53012. Include a note with your typical score for nine holes. Limited to the first 48 to reply. Email Craig at with any questions.

Thursday, September 4th
  • 6:00-7:00pm - Corn & Brat Dinner ($5/person) (Open to anyone & everyone!)
  • 7:30pm - First Stated Meeting (Hawaiian Shirt Night)

Saturday, September 6th
  • 9:00am-12:00pm - Lodge Cleanup
  • 12:00pm - Lodge Cookout

Tuesday, September 16th
  • 7:30pm - Visit George Washington 1776 Lodge

Thursday, September 18th
  • 6:30pm - Trustees Meeting
  • 7:30pm - 2nd Stated Meeting & Setup for Fish Fry Afterwards

Friday, September 19th
  • 5:00-7:00pm - Lodge Fish Fry

Remember, there are no meetings in August!

Masonic "Birthdays" for August

Please join me in congratulating the following Brethren who were Raised to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason in the Month of July:
  • Noaman A. Sharief - Raised August 10, 2002
  • Mauricio Garzon - Raised August 20, 2001
  • Boyce W. Dougherty - Raised August 29, 1950

July Message - 2014

posted Jun 26, 2014, 3:10 PM by McKinley Lodge


With the Centennial Celebration weekend behind us, I'd like to take this opportunity to thank all of you who contributed to the success of our special commemorative events. Whether you assisted in the planning or execution, or simply attended and enjoyed the festivities, I truly appreciate it.

The Social Committee did a wonderful job planning the Centennial events. Months of planning went into making both Table Lodge and the Centennial Celebration a success. This one weekend represented probably the largest advertising and PR effort that I've ever experienced at McKinley Lodge - with multiple articles in the Wisconsin Masonic Journal, business card invitations handed out at the Annual Communication, emails to all of the major television stations and newspapers in the area, as well as personal invitations to community and state officials. We even canvassed the surrounding neighborhoods with flyers one morning in an effort to get members of the local community to attend. Thank you Social Committee - this event couldn't have happened without you!

Brethren, Chris Goodwin, Andrew Meyers, Brian Carter, Dan Richardson, Jon Schroeder, Brian Breitzmann, Kevin Breitzmann, and Tom Hill are your Officers this year. They are the workhorses behind much of what gets done within the Lodge, and their help in getting both Table Lodge and the Open House/Reception going was invaluable. We all lead very busy lives, so each hour these men donate of their time in service to the Lodge is truly a gift that we should all appreciate. Thank you to a great bunch of guys who helped convert the dream into reality!

Jim Stone is serving the Lodge this year as Head Trustee. Jim is a very results-driven "go getter" who happened to have some time available in the weeks and months leading up to the Centennial weekend. Jim spent a significant amount of time at the Lodge cleaning the building up to look presentable for the Centennial, and his efforts really paid off. Brian Carter also spent a number of nights helping Jim around the Lodge with various "handyman" type tasks and cleanup. The efforts of these two Brethren not only created a beautiful space for our Centennial Celebration, but also laid the foundation for gaining additional outside renters by increasing the "curb appeal" both inside and outside of the building.

To all of you Brethren who made a donation to the Lodge this year, I sincerely thank you. A Centennial is a once in a lifetime experience that all of you had an opportunity to share in. We wanted to make this year extra special, and it was through your generous donations that we were able to help commemorate this momentous occasion without dipping into our investments. The printed Centennial program featured the names of all those who donated. Thank you to each and every Brother who pledged their financial support!

To the Breitzmann family, thank you so much for the creation & donation of our candelabra and officer podiums. These custom-made items were designed to match the new altar and were given to McKinley Lodge in memory of W.: B.: Rick Breitzmann, P.: M.: who the Supreme Architect of the Universe elevated to the Lodge Eternal. Like these furnishings which now adorn our Lodge room, Rick was a regular part of our Lodge's life. I can think of no more fitting a way to remember our dearly departed Brother than to have these items. Thank you to Jan, Kevin and Brian.

To the Kappel family, thank you very much for your generous donation of the new cornerstone plaque as well as the Master's collar. One cannot pass into the McKinley Masonic Center without taking notice of the wonderful new bronze plaque, and Worshipful Masters will wear the jewel of their office with pride thanks to your kindness.

To W.: B.: Ken Gorgen, P.: M.: and all of the Brethren who assisted in the preparation and serving of the Table Lodge meal, thank you for providing our guests with one of the best dining experiences our Lodge has ever put on. The Kitchen Crew always does an excellent job, and this year was no exception. We are blessed to have this group feeding us!

Thank you to the Officers' Ladies for entertaining our visiting Brother's wife out on the evening of Table Lodge. We appreciate your hospitality and hope you had a great time together.

Lastly, thank you to everyone who helped with all of the finer details surrounding the Open House, Re-Dedication, and Centennial Reception: Jen and Andrew Meyers put together the centerpieces, Jon Schroeder for preparing educational information on President William McKinley, and all of the other tasks that the Brethren and their Ladies helped out with. The Centennial Weekend was a perfect example of teamwork in action...thank you!

Ryan Mayrand, P.: M.:
Worshipful Master

Senior Warden's Message for July
Brethren,I was recently trying to get the piles on my home office desk under control when I came upon a paper I’d mostly forgotten about. It’s entitled “Why I Am a Mason,” and was penned by my wife’s friend Chad Kopenski, P.:M.:, who grew up in Wisconsin and now lives in Ohio. He does a great job of explaining how he came to be a Mason and why it’s so important to him. I’ll take a small portion of that article to comment on here. Chad’s writing about the Masonic tenet of Brotherly Love:

“Brotherly Love: Masons hold that they should seek to take care of their community, whether that is the smaller community of their Lodge or the larger community as a whole. This is why the histories of almost every town, state, and this Great Nation are just littered with the contribution of Masons. I have met men in this Fraternity from different backgrounds, different political beliefs, different religions and some of them so different that there is no way, on paper, that we should get along and yet, we do. They are great guys and the rest of that stuff doesn't matter because I know, at their heart, that we value and want the same things. They have my back and I have theirs. I am a part of this community.”

I think his last three sentences are what really attracted me to Masonry. Left to my own devices, I tend to be a loner. I’d be just as happy to sit at home and watch TV, read, or play on the computer rather than to get out and be involved with others. By getting involved in the Masonic community through the rest of my family (Eastern Star, Rainbow for Girls, and DeMolay), I came to recognize that these Masons, all good men, could help draw me out of myself and into their - well, actually our - community. While this is not always a comfortable thing, it is a good thing. I’ve become involved with planning and executing events, sharing fellowship and fun, participating in degree work, fundraising efforts and presenting scholarships, and especially, this year, in planning the celebration for our 100th year in the community.

In the process, my new brothers have helped me become a better man, husband, dad, and ultimately a better member of the community. I’m grateful for the Brotherly Love shown me by these good men, these Masons, my Brothers.


Chris Goodwin
Senior Warden

Chaplain's Message for July
Cross my heart and hope to die,
Or stick a needle in my eye.

Old English Oath modeled on oaths performed by members of religious orders circa 1300 C.E
Oath of truthfulness used by my daughters; in play


I am an avid reader. I prefer fiction. However, I’ve recently been reading a historical exploration of the Peasant’s Revolt of 1381 in England—also known as Wat Tyler’s Rebellion—written by noted historian John J. Robinson. I imagined that this was going to be pretty dry when W.B. Ken Gorgen lent it to me. In truth, I am fascinated.

Wat Tyler’s Rebellion emerged almost simultaneously among tens of thousands of illiterate and desperately poor tenant farmers in England. They marched on colossal cities like York and London, burning and destroying, killing and plundering—from the 30th of May until June 15th. Then Wat Tyler was killed and the “rebellion” lost focus, fell apart, as was completely mopped up by the end of October.

Here’s the fascinating part…Mr. Robinson asked a question many historians had simply skimmed over, who organized this? How was it possible that, in a time without a literate society, no mass communications, and the necessity of reporting to authorities any time one left their hamlet, nearly 100,000 peasants armed themselves, gathered together, and moved on specific targets?

By asking that question, the author unearthed the potential role of fugitive Knights Templar who had fled France to escape the persecution and inquisition begun by both King Philip IV and Pope Clement V. Mr. Robinson then discovers a nearly direct link to Freemasonry from the Knights Templar of England and Scotland.
John J. Robinson is not a brother Mason. He is a historian who, veered away from his historical research of the Peasant’s Revolt and doggedly followed the threads of documented historical proofs which may, in fact, point to the origins of our gentle craft! The book is entitled Born in Blood: The Lost Secrets of Freemasonry.

My prayer, Brethren, is that every Master Mason in Wisconsin read this historian’s work. It is not perfect or, I’m sure, definitive. I am certain it will spark lively debate among the brethren regarding the veracity of Mr. Robinson’s account and what—if true—today’s Freemasons should do with this awareness. I look forward to the fellowship that conversation would generate.

Tom Hill

Social Committee Update for July
With Table Lodge and the Centennial celebration behind us, the Social Committee is looking to our last event of the year: the fall pig roast. Planning is still in the beginning stages but it is sure to be a fun and relaxing event for McKinley Lodge. As always, family and friends are welcome!

Although there are no stated Lodge meetings in July, we intend on meeting Monday, July 14th and Monday, July 28th@ 7:00pm at the Lodge. Those who are not members of the Social Committee that want to participate in the planning are more than welcome to join.

Finally, the summer Brewer game that we have on the calendar of events for July has been cancelled. The Social Committee efforts were instead focused on the planning of the Centennial celebration. While the Lodge will not hold a Brewers game of its own, the Brookfield Chapter of DeMolay will be going to a game on the evening of Friday, July 25th. Please contact W.: B.: Kevin Breitzmann, P.: M.: at or 414-526-2301.


Zach Fleischmann

Social Committee Chair

June Message - 2014

posted Jun 26, 2014, 3:05 PM by McKinley Lodge


A little over 100 years ago, a group of Milwaukee Masons decided to form a new Lodge. They drafted a petition for dispensation, collected all of the necessary signatures, and held regular planning meetings to see their goal through to fruition. One such meeting took place on the evening of January 29th, 1914. It being the birthday of our late Brother, President William McKinley, the Brethren present unanimously agreed that the new Lodge should be named “McKinley Lodge.” On June 10th, 1914, the Grand Lodge of Free & Accepted Masons of Wisconsin issued their 307th Charter...that of McKinley Lodge. This, my Brothers, is the nature of our origin.

Over the course of the last century, McKinley Lodge has accomplished much. We have united thousands of good men with the purpose of making them better men. We have forged countless life-long friendships by spreading the cement of Brotherly Love and affection. We have served our community through the volunteering of our time and the donation of our resources. You can be proud of what your Lodge has done over the past century. You can be proud to be part of a force of good in the world that is bigger than yourself. Be proud, my Brothers, that you are a member of McKinley Lodge. While I think it is definitely appropriate to look back at the last 100 years and celebrate the Lodge’s accomplishments, I feel that it is equally important for us to look to the future. We stand at the threshold of a new century in the Lodge’s history. The decisions we make today will shape the future for generations of McKinley Lodge members to come, so it is important to approach the future with a long-term view. Recognizing that we are merely stewards of the Lodge in the here and now, each of us has a responsibility to do what we can to ensure the longevity and prosperity of this wonderful institution.

I would invite each of you reading this message to consider the question “What am I going to do for McKinley Lodge to help continue our legacy?” If the broadness of that question leaves you struggling to provide a clear answer, let me share with you two very tangible suggestions which will benefit
the Lodge for years to come:

Your presence

My Brothers, we have 130 Master Masons who hold membership at McKinley Lodge. Of that 130, there are perhaps 20 or so of you who regularly attend our meetings. My purpose in stating these figures is not to chastise any of you for not attending Lodge, but instead to point out the tremendous opportunity that exists to grow participation at McKinley. To be present in Lodge costs you nothing more than your time...which I recognize is precious, but it truly is a meaningful gift that you can give to the Lodge. We want you there my Brothers.

If you cannot drive and would require transportation in order to attend Lodge, we can pick you up before Lodge and take you home afterwards. If you’re concerned that you won’t know anyone, fear not. Your Lodge is filled with true and faithful Brothers who would love to meet you and share your fellowship. The more members we have in attendance, the stronger we are as an organization, and the more each of us will get out of our Masonic experience at McKinley Lodge.

Your financial support

Many of you have already contributed to the Master’s Appeal that I sent out in late April - I sincerely thank you for your generosity and support of the Lodge. If you set aside the letter and mistakenly forgot about it, please know that it isn’t too late to send it in. This year, more than ever, the Lodge needs your financial support.

Another great way to support McKinley Lodge financially is to make bequest as part of your estate planning. This means of support has been a powerful tool over the last century and is a great way to leave a legacy for generations of McKinley Masons to come.

Lastly, if you are not a Perpetual Member of the Lodge, I would invite you to become one. For those of you not already familiar with the Perpetual Membership Program, it allows you to buy in (at the cost of your current annual dues times an age-based multiplier) and the Lodge will receive a check each year (even after your death) which pays your dues. In effect, you never have to pay dues ever again and the Lodge will receive annual payments for perpetuity.

 In conclusion Brethren, let us take pause this month to reflect upon the significance of our centennial and rededicate ourselves to making McKinley Lodge #307 a strong and vibrant Lodge for the next 100 years.


Ryan Mayrand, P.: M.:

Worshipful Master


Congratulations to our Newest Master Mason Brother Keith Egelston

On the evening of Thursday, May 29th, Brother Keith Egelston was raised to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason. Brother Keith hails from California and is a member of the United States Air Force. Keith, his wife Megan, and their new daughter Hazel, have been familiar faces around the Lodge this term and we’re excited to have them as part of the McKinley Masonic Family!

May Message - 2014

posted May 4, 2014, 5:57 PM by McKinley Lodge   [ updated May 4, 2014, 5:59 PM ]


With Spring in the air and Mother's day just around the corner, I thought it would be fitting to reflect on the subject of motherhood. Whenever I think about this subject, there is a specific memory from when I was 16 years old that always comes to mind. That memory is the first time that I witnessed a DeMolay Ceremony titled "The Flower Talk."

For anyone who hasn't experienced this ceremony first-hand, I would strongly encourage you to see it if you ever have the chance. This beautiful ceremony is given to newly initiated DeMolays, ideally in the presence of their mothers, and centers around developing a deep appreciation and reverence for motherhood. This message is extremely important for teenage boys to hear, but I also think that it serves as a good reminder for grown men too.

To this day, whenever I read this ceremony or hear it presented by an active DeMolay, it stirs up memories of that evening 22 years ago when I first saw it. I can picture my mother's face and the tears she shed while listening to the ceremony. I remember feeling deep remorse for all of the thoughtless and careless things I'd done throughout my childhood that caused her pain. I remember feeling indebted to her for all of the love and kindness she showed me. But most of all, I remember coming to the realization that I am my mother's legacy...and that I should endeavor to live my life in such a way that all of her sacrifices have not been in vain.

Again, reading excerpts of "The Flower Talk" can't do it justice, but here are a few of my favorite portions:

You may rise to positions of great influence in commercial, political, or professional life, but you can never reach the heights of your mother's secret hopes for you. You may sink to the lowest depths of infamy and degradation but never below the reach of her love. The memory of it will always stir your heart. There is no man so entirely base, so completely vile, so utterly low that does not hold in his heart a shrine sacred and apart for the memory of his mother's love.

It was your mother who loved you before you were born - who carried you for long months close to her heart and in the fullness of time took God's hands in hers and passed through the valley of shadows to give you life. It was she who cared for you during the helpless years of infancy and the scarcely less dependent years of childhood. As you have grown less dependent, she has done countless, thoughtful, trouble-healing, helpful and encouraging things which somehow only mothers seem to know how to do. You may have accepted these attentions more or less as matters of course and perhaps without conscious gratitude or any expressions of your appreciation.

Thinking back upon the years of your life when you have reached the threshold of manhood, your mother might well say in the words of the poet:

"My body fed your body, son,
But birth's a swift thing,
Compared to one and twenty years
Of feeding you with spirit's tears.
I could not make your mind and soul,
But my glad hands have kept you whole.
Your groping hands
Bound me to life with ruthless bands.
And all my living became a prayer,
While all my days built up a stair
For your young feet that trod behind,
That you an aspiring way should find.
Think you that life can give you pain
Which does not stab in me again?
Think you that life can give you shame
Which does not make my pride go lame?
And you can do no evil thing
Which sears not me with poisoned sting.
Because of all that I have done,
Remember me in life, O son.
Keep that proud body fine and fair,
My life is monumented there.
For my life make no woman weep,
For my life hold no woman cheap,
And see you give no woman scorn
For that dark night when you were born."

Whether your mother is living or eternally at rest, no doubt you'll recall many instances of love and sacrifice freely given for you. If your mother is still living, please spend time with her this Mother's Day. Tell her you love her and what she means to you.


Ryan Mayrand, P.: M.:
Worshipful Master

Junior Warden's Message


We’re pleased to share some exciting news about a new fundraising program for our organization.  It’s called “scrip”, and it’s the fundraising program that works while you shop.

Scrip is simply a word that means “substitute money” – in other words, scrip is gift certificates from national and local retailers.  They’re the same gift certificates that you buy at the store.  Many popular retailers participate in our scrip program including JCPenney, The Gap, Shell, Pizza Hut, Red Lobster and many, many others. 

You’re probably asking yourself how these stores help us raise money.  It’s simple -- scrip participating retailers agree to sell gift certificates to our organization at a discount.  Member families like yours buy the certificates for full face value, they redeem them for full face value, and our school keeps the difference as revenue.  And scrip is exciting, because everybody wins:

The retailer gets cash up front and repeat business…
You get a powerful fundraising alternative that involves no selling…
Our lodge gets a regular source of revenue.

The beauty of scrip is that you put your regular household shopping dollars to work. You earn money for our lodge without spending a single additional penny.  Just spend your regular shopping dollars with scrip at the stores that participate in the scrip program!  And scrip can be used for just about any household purchase including food, clothing, entertainment, gasoline and even dining out.

We’ll be providing further information at the upcoming stated meetings about our new scrip program, and we urge you to attend.  We’ll go over all of the facts about scrip, provide enrollment forms, and answer your questions:

The McKinley Lodge #307 scrip program promises to be a simple and effective fundraising program.  Thanks for your support, and we’ll see you at one of our meetings!

Sincerely & Fraternally,

Andrew Meyers
Junior Warden

Chaplain's Message

The bee was to the ancient Egyptians the symbol of an obedient people, because, says Horapollo, "of all insects, the bee alone had a king.” Hence looking at the regulated labor of these insects when congregated in their hive, it is not surprising that a beehive should have been deemed an appropriate emblem of systematized industry. Freemasonry has therefore adopted the beehive as a symbol of industry, a virtue taught in the instructions, which says that a Master Mason "works that he may receive wages, the better to support himself and family, and contribute to the relief of a worthy, distressed brother, his widow and orphans”; and in the Old Charges, which tell us that "all Masons shall work honestly on working days, that they may live creditably on holidays."
- Source: Mackey's Encyclopedia of Freemasonry


I have constructed a beehive.  Soon I will populate the hive with a queen and three pounds (yes! Live bees are sold by the pound) of angry, confused, discombobulated bees.

As any of you who has had the misfortune to be within the length of my cable-tow recently can attest, I seem to be unable to stop talking about bees.  Sometimes I pepper my patient listeners with facts—Did You Know that a single honey bee will forage up to 3 miles (one way) away from the hive on each flight? Did You Know that an average honey bee only makes 1/12th of an ounce of honey in their entire lifetime?  Did You Know that on a single forage flight a honey bee needs to visit between 1,300 and 1,500 blossoms to gather a single load of pollen?  Did You Know that bees do not sleep?  They forage by day and build/repair comb by night and live only 45 days in the height of summer. Sometimes I extol the health virtues of raw honey.  Sometimes I discuss colony collapse disorder, native pollinators, or how one out of every three bites of food that we consume is brought to us by the work of bees.  And on, and on, and on.

I apologize to those brethren who’ve quietly suffered my enthusiasm.

Yet, how quintessentially Masonic is a working, thriving hive of honey bees!  Put gender aside (all worker bees are female) and the bee colony—with its division of duties, its defined progression of rank, and its “all for one, one for all” existence is exactly how our fraternity operates.

Most striking to me is the power in multitudes of tiny individual contributions—by themselves meaningless and insignificant.  Look at the results they produce!  No one bee can protect the hive from invaders.  No one bee can produce enough honey to feed the hive.  No one bee can produce enough comb to shelter all the young.  However, with each doing its own little part, all of these essential contributions (and more) are accomplished.

My prayer, brethren, is that we learn from the bee. May we never lose sight of the truth that each seemingly insignificant contribution and effort we make on behalf of the lodge will—in aggregate—ensure the overall health of our fraternity today and after we have gone.


Tom Hill

Social Committee Report

Plans for the Centennial Celebration are coming together (details for the June 20th & 21st festivities appear in the Trestleboard above).

Our next Social Committee meetings will take place on the following dates:

-Monday, May 5th
-Monday, May 19th
-Monday, June 2nd

All 7PM at McKinley Lodge - please come and join us if you'd like to take part in the planning of upcoming events.

Zachary Fleischmann
Social Committee Chairman

A Prayer for our Shut-Ins

When the trials of this life, make you weary -
And your troubles seem to hard to bear
There is a wonderful solace and comfort, in the silent communion of prayer.

When you've searched for the sun without ceasing
And the showers continue to fall
There's a heavenly gift that God extended to all.

From magic of prayer there comes power
That will minimize all of our cares
And will gather new hope when your able to cope with the troubles that once brought despair.

So lift up your heart to the heavens
There's a loving Father there
Who offers release, comfort and peace in the silent communion of prayer.

On behalf of all the Brethren of McKinley Lodge, I would like to wish all of our shut-ins peace and happiness. Know that you're not forgotten, that the Lodge would love to hear from you, and that we're happy to even pay you a visit if you're so inclined. Just say the word and you have true and trusty friends who would love to spend some time with you.

The Power of Ritual: The Creation of Sacred Time and Space in a Profane World
by Brett & Kate McKay

Last month we explored the nature of ritual and posited that its current scarcity may be at the root of the restlessness, apathy, alienation, and general boredom many modern day men experience. It’s our determination that without ritual, life often seems flat and devoid of rhythm and texture.

Now, we are not suggesting that rituals be reinstituted on a society-wide basis; we’re quite pessimistic about putting a cat back in the bag once it’s been let out. Rather, what we hope and recommend is that individual men find a place for ritual in their lives through their own chosen communities and social groups. This can be done by seeking out institutions – be they lodges, clubs, sports teams, churches, or fraternities ­– that provide a rich, satisfying ritual experience. You can also achieve it by making a few of your little, everyday routines more ritual-like. Everything from family traditions to your morning cup of joe can become small rituals if you intentionally cultivate that character for it. How to do this is something we’ll talk about down the line.

You might even consider the possibility of creating your own rituals that involve others – an initiation to your club, a rite of passage for your son, an oath of loyalty among friends. I’m still chewing over the viability of this idea, but I can’t see any reason why you couldn’t. Since our current culture prizes “authenticity,” us moderns are very dubious about setting up or scheduling such a thing, believing “real” rituals are pulled from the ether and evolve naturally and organically. But if one examines most rituals, even those that seem quite mysterious and ancient, you will find that they were in fact created by someone, or a group of someones, very intentionally, deliberately, and self-consciously. Or they developed from behaviors that once had a practical purpose, but gained ritual status after that utility was lost in the mists of time. Those rituals with origins we cannot definitively trace strike us as inherently more real, but that is because no one was around to record how they were created. Had someone been there, maybe they’d just find a guy, sitting in a hut, dreaming up a new ritual. At any rate, a subject for another day.

Today we’ll begin a discussion as to why you might consider seeking to participate in more rituals. What power does ritual hold? How can ritual transform and enrich a man’s life? I had intended for this discussion to be encapsulated in a single article, but as always, underestimated the amount of material to cover. Plus, since this is such a deep, meaty topic, I thought it best to do three “shorter,” easier to digest installments rather than one mega submission.

In this installment we will be discussing two different ways of looking at the world: the sacred and the profane. This post will be much more esoteric and specifically religiously-oriented than the next, but it is impossible to discuss ritual without understanding its most basic underpinnings. While the sacred and profane are rooted in religion (and the lack thereof), as Mircea Eliade, the professor who made these categories famous, wrote, “they are of concern both to the philosopher and to anyone seeking to discover the possible dimensions of human existence.” So pretty much everybody.

The Sacred and the Profane

We would argue that today’s world often seems flat and one-dimensional because modern existence lacks a layer of the sacred and exists solely on the plane of the profane, i.e. secular, in a more religious term. For Eliade, the sacred and the profane constitute the “two modes of being in the world.” The sacred represents fascinating and awe-inspiring mystery — a “manifestation of a wholly different order” from our natural (or profane) everyday lives. Traditionally, the religious man (and here we’re really talking about those who live/d in premodern societies) seeks to experience the sacred as much as possible, for he sees it as the realm of reality, the source of power, and that which is “saturated with being.” For the religious man, the profane feels unreal, and leads to a state of “nonbeing.” In contrast, the nonreligious man refuses any appeal to mystery or to the supernatural. As a humanist, he believes “man makes himself, and he only makes himself completely in proportion as he desacralizes himself and the world.”

If you’ve ever felt a sense of “nonbeing,” it may be because the modern world has become desacralized, or as Max Weber put it, “disenchanted.” In a traditional society, all of man’s vital functions not only had a practical purpose but could also potentially be transfigured into something charged with sacredness. Everything from eating to sex to work could “become a sacrament, that is, a communion with the sacred.” In the modern world, such activities have been desacralized; we live in a thoroughly profane world.

While Eliade associated the religious man with the sacred and the nonreligious man with the profane, he argued that even “the most avowedly nonreligious man, still, in his deep being, shares in a religiously oriented behavior.” What he meant was that even a man who doesn’t believe in the supernatural realm experiences things like a wedding, a mountain top, or the birth of a baby as extra-ordinary. He still fills movies and books with the “mythical motifs — the fight between hero and monster, initiatory combats and ordeals, paradigmatic figures and images (the maiden, the hero, the paradisal landscape, hell, and so on).” The nonreligious man still seeks renewal and rebirth in different forms. Rather than sacred, however, he would call these things significant or special. If he seeks a life of greater texture, he has just as much need as the religious man to interpose such significant experiences with everyday life, and to seek to make such extra-ordinary events as distinct from his workaday world as possible.

“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.”

As an example, the famed naturalist John Muir believed in the sacred, religious beauty of nature. In fact some experts have theorized that he abandoned his Christian roots altogether and became solely a congregant of the church of nature. He turned away from the traditionally religious, and injected the spiritual, or sacred, into his own life, in his own way. He created ritual for himself by climbing trees in the middle of storms and by exploring the ever-changing worlds of glaciers. Just because you aren’t religious in the traditional sense doesn’t mean you can’t inject sacredness into your life.

Sacred Time

One of the potent powers of ritual is its ability to set off certain times and spaces as sacred, as “something basically and totally different” than the profane. Let’s talk first about the idea of sacred time.

Eliade argued that all rituals at their core are reenactments of the primordial deeds performed by God, gods, or mythical ancestors during the period of creation. In imitating the gods, it is as if the original events are happening once more, and the ritual releases some of the potent, transformative power that was present at the very beginning of the world. The rituals are able to re-create and re-found the world, re-sacralizing time and beginning it anew, so that each ritual restores freshness and strength to a worn out world.

The Abrahamic religions have a less cyclical and more historical, linear view of time than some faiths, but their rituals also allow the participant to “periodically become contemporary with the gods” and the faith’s heroes. When a Christian participates in the Eucharist or a Jew in the Seder, they are reliving the original Last Supper and the Exodus. The sacred power that was present during the original event is re-created. It is an experience of ritual remembering that connects the participant not only to the original actors, but to all those who have performed the same ritual throughout the ages. In this way past and present are integrated, providing the participant with a sense of continuity; profane time is subordinated and sacred, eternal time emerges.

The power of ritually-created sacred (or at least significant) time applies outside the realm of religion as well. Think of an institution that draws on past traditions to inform its current identity and code of behavior. In such a case the ritual may not release sacred power when reenacted, but simply serves to refresh members’ minds about the founding events and the groups’ basic values, inspiring the inheritors of the legacy to carry them on. For example, the Fourth of July, if intentionally ritualized, can serve as a time to reflect on the founding values, of, well, the Founders.

Sacred Space

Rituals cannot only set apart particular times as sacred, but certain spaces as well. In religious traditions, these sacred spaces are places where the veil between humans and the transcendent are thin, facilitating communication between heaven and earth. When you step into a sacred space, you can leave the profane world behind. Time is also transcended (as just discussed) and you can travel back to the past to participate in your faith’s founding events.

Entering into sacred space, you enter into a state of “liminality” — a state of being in-between – neither here nor there. Dr. Tom F. Driver explains how this allows you to become someone different than who you are in your “normal” life:

“When people engage in ritual activity, they separate themselves, partially if not totally, from the roles and statuses they have in the workaday world. There is a threshold in time and space or both, and certainly a demarcation of behavior over which people pass when entering into ritual. The day-to-day world, with its social structure, is temporarily suspended.”

Rituals cannot only sacralize a general environment, but the physical objects within that space (the people too, but we’ll talk about that next time). Elements that in your profane life would be merely ordinary, take on a new meaning and can become a cipher through which the sacred is revealed to you. Jonathan Z. Smith describes this process:

“When one enters a temple, one enters marked-off space in which, at least in principle, nothing is accidental; everything, at least potentially, is of significance. The temple is a focusing lens, marking and revealing significance…

The ordinary (which remains, to the observer’s eye, wholly ordinary) becomes significant, becomes sacred, simply by being there. It becomes sacred by having our attention directed to it in a special way…

The sacra are sacred solely because they are used in a sacred place; there is no difference between a sacred vessel and an ordinary one. By being used in a sacred place, they are held to be open to the possibility of significance, to be a see as agents of meaning as well as utility.”

Rituals can get us to see everyday things in a new way. Wine is just wine, until it’s the Blood of Christ. A handshake is just a handshake, until it is used to reveal secret truths. Shoes are just shoes before you remove them to step on sacred ground. As you ponder the meaning of these symbols, they can, as Eliade puts it, “take you past the particular, into the universal” and grant you new insights into truth.

Where is sacred space?

When you think of sacred space, houses of worship most likely first come to mind. As you step through their physical thresholds, which are often accentuated by soaring arches or gigantic doors, you move not simply between the street and the sanctum, but between two modes of being – the sacred and the profane. Removing your shoes as one does before entering a mosque or making the sign of the cross with holy water as you enter a cathedral helps tangibly mark this passage.

Many churches today, in an effort not to make potential members uncomfortable with a physical structure and rituals they are unfamiliar with, have modeled their buildings and services on the edifices and entertainments of popular culture, making the transition from the outside world into the sanctuary as seamless as possible. In theory, this does limit the potential for worshippers to experience the manifestations of the sacred as “something basically and totally different…like nothing human or cosmic.” It has been said that sacred ritual disorients to reorient, and modern worship often skips the first phase.

At the same time, however, buildings are actually not the central element that makes possible “irruptions of the sacred” (Eliade’s wonderful phrase). Ritual, not actual physical structure, is what creates sacred space, so that it can be found anywhere one finds worshippers ritually tapping into the divine, from a church to a trailer park to a grove of redwoods.


If you often find yourself asking, “Is this all there is?” you may be due for an immersion in the sacred. You may need to find a place for ritual in your life, even if it’s as simple as declaring part of your morning as sacred time or a room in your home as sacred space. If you wait for life to hand you texture and meaning, you’ll feel flat forever. The modern world exists solely in the profane dimension; to access the sacred, the pathway is ritual. And beyond just giving the individual a sense of meaning and connectedness, ritual also mediates and builds the bonds of community and brotherhood. It’s to that topic that we’ll turn in our next article.

April Message - 2014

posted May 4, 2014, 5:47 PM by McKinley Lodge

t was one of those evenings when friends start dropping by, and the living room becomes a beehive of conversation, several persons talking at the same time and on entirely unrelated subjects.

And, as it almost always happens when Brethren who are close friends are chatting, the Lodge was mentioned. Someone asked "Are you going to the Lodge tomorrow night?"

One woman, seated in an odd chair, where she was part of two conversations, turned her attention from the fireside and looked at the man who had addressed the inquiry to one of the other men in his group. The woman was a relative of one couple present, a resident from another city.

Frankly she addressed the men "I want you to tell me something. My husband (a man known to all present) has been a member of a Masonic Lodge since we were married, 18 years ago. I have never known him to go to Lodge. We have gone through some rugged times, especially in the Depression days, and there have been times when a dollar was the difference between a meal and an empty stomach. We would cut expenses. But he always paid his Lodge dues. I sometimes wonder why. I sometimes wondered what the tie was that was so strong he would never think of becoming delinquent in his Lodge; yet, I also wondered, why he never attended."

There was no immediate answer. Finally one of the Brethren ventured "I'm sure I can't answer the question to your satisfaction. There is something about Masonry that is a challenge to a man. He knows deep in his heart Masonry offers him a formula, a guiding light which, if applied conscientiously, would make of him the kind of man he truly aspires to be. I know your husband. I know that he is a Mason. His membership is not in the city where you have lived most of your married life. Your husband is like many Masons who become absorbed in business, move out of the immediate influence of their own Lodge, and with the best of intentions, never get around to visiting Lodges in the new community. He gets out of the habit. Always, though, back in his mind he has the intention of someday getting back into the swing. You asked why he paid his dues and never attended. He has faith in Masonry. He realizes his own negligence. He knows that withing Masonry is the path he would follow in his relationship to his fellow man. I think to him his Lodge is sort of a life buoy, anchored there; something secure and promising. He's swimming around, but he knows that when he gets tired, he can reach out and find a haven. He hasn't deserted the Lodge. He's just out of habit."

Brethren and friends,

I found this story published in one of our old Temple Topics. I found it particularly interesting because I've pondered the very same question numerous times over the years. There are so many members of McKinley Lodge that I've never had the pleasure to meet in person and I've wondered why these Brethren continue, year after year, to pay their dues and not attend Lodge. From a purely practical standpoint it doesn't make any sense (to me at least) to pay for something you're not using...something you're not getting value out of.

And that's where this story showed me that I may have had an entirely too narrow view on the subject. What I failed to see or appreciate is that Freemasonry does have value to members who don't attend our meetings. It has value because of what the organization gives to the individual - a set of moral standards by which to improve one's self.  It has value because of the life-long friendships - friendships which transcend the issue of attending or not attending business meetings. And finally, it has value because the Lodge is always there for you - a place you can always turn to for assistance when you need it, a place you can seek comfort and support in times of sorrow, and a place where Brethren will genuinely share in celebrating the joyful times in your life.

This story has helped me to better understand the value of Freemasonry and so I hope that by sharing it, you may also learn something.

And to the Brethren who haven't attended Lodge for a long time, I hope that in reading this, you feel a renewed connection to the Craft and it validates why you've retained your membership throughout the years. Know that at McKinley Lodge you'll always have an open door, a welcoming smile and a warm handshake to greet you.


Ryan Mayrand, P.: M.:
Worshipful Master

Senior Warden's Message

I was recently asked a question pertaining to Freemasonry and religion, and it got me thinking that those of you reading this might get asked similar questions from time to time. I hope the following thoughts might help you to answer those questions in a positive and helpful manner.

The question could be as simple and straightforward as “How can you be both a Mason and a _______ (fill in the blank with a religion, i.e. Christian, Jew, etc.), aren’t they both religions?” Or, if they know a little about our organization they say that “After all, Freemasonry requires a belief in Deity, uses biblical references in its ritual, has holy writings open on an altar, and includes prayer in almost everything it does. How is that not a religion?” Further, one has only to look at the exam that Masons must pass for each degree to understand to some extent where this confusion comes from. Near the beginning of each exam, the Mason is asked “What religious precepts are reinforced in Masonry?” To demonstrate his understanding of the degree he has recently attained, the Mason’s answer should be something along the lines of: “1) to invoke the blessing of Deity before any great or important undertaking, 2) to regard all men for their quality of character rather than their outward appearance, and 3) to be charitable by contributing to the relief of those less fortunate than ourselves.” None of this is by any means secret; we want those outside of the organization to know that this is part of what we believe. Note, though, that we are reinforcing these principles that have presumably already been taught through the Masons own religion.

I dare say most religions would also espouse these principals, but there are definitely ways we differ from the religions we encourage Masons to be part of.

When I do I try to explain that Freemasonry it is not a religion, I point out that while we share many of the principals taught in formal religions, we do not have a doctrine or dogma like those at are central to most faiths. The most important of those doctrines probably have to do with eternal life. While we believe in eternal life, we do not have a specific way of attaining it. Rather, we encourage each Mason to find that path through the ways of the religion that they subscribed to before they were a Mason, be that Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Islam, or whatever. Specific doctrines like Christian baptism or communion, Islamic pilgrimages and the like are not part of Masonry. And, while we use some stories and lessons from the Christian Bible, they are used in a metaphorical sense - to teach lessons of morality and good behavior, not history or doctrine.

In point of fact, while Freemasonry is not a religion itself, it is probably one of the biggest encouragers of religion in general. We want the Masons to be active in their places of worship and to be leaders in those organizations. I hope these thoughts may be of assistance to you if you are posed questions about Freemasonry and religion.


Chris Goodwin
Senior Warden

Chaplain's Message

One generation plants the trees under which another takes its ease.

– Chinese Proverb


Today, I have been frost sowing wildflower seed. This is not complicated to do. It is a simple
technique which mimics Nature. Bring together a broad blend of flower seed—annual and
perennial, tall and short—and mix them together. I use an old Folger’s coffee container. (My
grandfather used to use a brown paper lunch sack.) Dump the seeds in, shake them up, and
broadcast them by hand on top of the snow—or frozen ground—where you want them to grow.

No need to do complicated bed preparation, fertilizing, or to set up irrigation. You simply leave
the area alone to sort itself out. What grows, grows. It is how Nature does it. And the diversity!
One exciting result of frost sowing is that you never know how it will look in six months; six
years. The only sure outcome is that butterflies, bees and birds will use the area and, in time,
the soil will benefit. I have used this technique for many years but today, it occurred to me, that
frost sowing is very Masonic.

Every day, in each encounter we have with others, there is an opportunity to sow goodness.
As Masons we should always be modeling integrity, uprightness, honesty, justice, and
perseverance. Charity and kindness and compassion for those less fortunate are also in our
creed. There is no way for us to know the outcome of, for example, sharing a commiserating
smile and comment of support for the harried mother in a grocery store who’s three year old is
having a tantrum. We cannot know the result of stopping to jumpstart a battered car belonging
to a young man engulfed by piercings and tattoos; swimming in oversized belt-less pants.

Equally, we cannot know what happens if we judgmentally sniff at the mother and child or drive
by the stranded young man.

My prayer is that, as Masons, we always choose to sow wildflowers—not thistles; to sow
goodness—not discouragement. We do this for the benefit of others, for those who come after
us, even though we may never reap the results.


Tom Hill

Social Committee Report

Planning for the re-dedication is in full swing with the Social Committee. At our last meeting we began discussing some of the finer details of the event. The public events we have hosted this year and will host have an important side effect. That is, spreading awareness of our organization to non-mason friends, family, and members of the community. This not only helps us find good potential members but will also have a positive impact on attendance for our fund raising events. Please continue to promote our events to those you know that may be interested - the vast majority of events are open to the public.

The next McKinley Lodge social event after the re-dedication will be a Brewer’s game on July 13th. We'll provide more information on reserving tickets, etc. in the coming months.


Zachary Fleischmann
Social Committee Chairman

Fundraising Committee Report

The "Scrips" talked about last month are coming along great. We plan to have them available by the time you receive this. Please contact me (Jim Stone) if you have questions as to how they work.

Most of our last Fundraising Committee meeting was spent working on the details of the "Winter Bazaar". Scheduled for Nov. 14th 2014. This event seems to have everyone excited, and is really starting to take shape. If anyone is interested in purchasing a booth to sell merchandise, please contact Micah Anderson at 414-213-4667.

We have a Fish Fry coming up on Friday April 4th 2014 at 5pm. It will be $12 for adults ($11 with a donation of a non-perishable food item), $11 for seniors ($10 with a donation of a non-perishable food item), and $7 for children. Please spread the word about the event. We look forward to seeing you there!

Lastly, if you haven't already received a letter from the Worshipful Master regarding the Master's Appeal, please let me know. The Social Committee is planning many fun and exciting events to make our Centennial year special. The Centennial Celebration taking place on June 21st, in particular, will be of special interest to you. In order to make these events possible, we're looking to collect funds from our membership. Please prayerfully consider making a donation to the Lodge as part of the Master's Appeal - your contributions will truly make a difference.

Jim Stone
Fundraising Committee Chairman

Trustees Report

I'd like to start by thanking all of the organizations currently renting at the McKinley Masonic Center. Everyone has been helpful and understanding of our notes of correspondence located around the building. We appreciate your help with labeling of the lockers, cabinets, as well as for your assistance in cleaning out the refrigerator.

This is a big year for McKinley Lodge. The Lodge Trustees, several brethren, and myself have been working hard to clean, organize, and fix our building. You'll most likely see more notes popping up as labor to make the Lodge building the best it has ever looked before!

In order for the Lodge building to achieve this level of clean, we need your help. The biggest complaint we continue to receive from organizations is that organizations aren't cleaning up after themselves. Specifically, we would like your help with the following:

  • Putting furniture back into it's proper locations, in both lodge rooms, and dining rooms.
  • Wiping down counters and tables in  kitchens after food preparation and eating.
  • Sweeping/dry mopping, or vacuuming the floors if a mess is made (glitter being one of the biggest culprits).
  • Putting away belongings left out. For example, items left in the back corner of the large kitchen, items piled on cabinets, or items left out in locker rooms.

We're looking to keep all these areas clean, and your belongings secured. We're working hard at McKinley to market our building to outside renters. This turns a profit, and helps to keep costs reasonable. To do this, we need to look both clean and professional. It also keeps our items safe, and makes cleaning easier.

There's one last item I'd like to address...that being the rumor of rents going up. At this point everything will remain the same for the remainder of 2014. The Trustees and I are working to draft a new lease agreement for each of the organizations that currently meets at the McKinley Masonic Center. When the agreements are drafted, we'll sit down with the head of each organization to discuss. Let me add this. We have no intention of making large profits from our Masonic based organizations. We do however need to cover the cost of operating the building during each occupancy.

I have placed a comment/correspondence box outside of the library by the trustee bulletin board. Please use box to stay in touch with us.

Once again thank you for your cooperation.

Jim Stone
Head Trustee

Masonic Lore

  • Benjamin Franklin laid the cornerstone of Independence Hall in Philadelphia while he was Grand Master of the State of Pennsylvania.
  • The first Grand Lodge of Masons in America was organized in Massachusetts on July 10, 1733.
  • The first Mason to have lived in American colonies is said to have been John Shene, Deputy Governor of West Jersey. He came to the colonies from Aberdeen, Scotland, where he was made a Mason in 1682, thirty-five years before the Grand Lodge of England was formed in 1717.

The Rites of Manhood: Man's Need for Ritual
by Brett & Kate McKay

Does modern life ever feel excruciatingly flat to you? A bleak landscape devoid of layers, rhythm, interest, texture?

Are you ever haunted by the question “Is this all there is?”

Have you ever looked at an old photo and felt that the scene held such an inexplicable richness that it seemed you could practically step right into it?

The barren flatness of modern life is rooted in many things, including mindless consumerism, the absence of significant challenges, and the lack of shared values and norms, or even shared taboos to rebel against. But what is the solution?

Many would be quick to say faith, or philosophy, or relationships. All good answers.

But what is it that vivifies beliefs to the extent they can transform your perspective not simply for an hour on Sunday, but also in the mundane moments throughout your week? What can move an understanding of abstract truths from your mind into your very sinews? What can transform superficial ties with others into deep and meaningful bonds?

The answer I would suggest is ritual.

Our modern world is nearly devoid of rituals – at least in the way we traditionally think of them. Those that remain – such as ones that revolve around the holidays – have largely lost their transformative power and are often endured more than enjoyed, participated in as an obligatory going through of the motions. Ritual has today become associated with that which is rote, empty, meaningless.

Yet every culture, in every part of the world, in every era has engaged in rituals, suggesting they are a fundamental part of the human condition. Rituals have even been called our most basic form of technology – they are a mechanism that can change things, solve problems, perform certain functions, and accomplish tangible results. Necessity is the mother of invention, and rituals were born out of the clear-eyed perspective that life is inherently difficult and that unadulterated reality can paradoxically feel incredibly unreal. Rituals have for eons been the tools humans have used to release and express emotion, build their personal identity and the identity of their tribe, bring order to chaos, orient themselves in time and space, effect real transformations, and bring layers of meaning and texture to their lives. When rituals are stripped from our existence, and this fundamental human longing goes unsatisfied, restlessness, apathy, alienation, boredom, rootlessness, and anomie are the result.

What is Ritual?
According to Catherine Bell, professor of ritual studies and author of the preeminent textbook on the subject, ritual has been traditionally defined as an action that lacks a “practical relationship between the means one chooses to achieve certain ends.” For example, shaking hands when you meet someone can be considered a ritual as there is no real reason why grabbing another’s hand and shaking for a second or two should lead to acquaintanceship. It is a culturally-relative gesture; we might very well greet each other with a pat on the shoulder or even no physical contact at all. As another example, washing your hands to clean them is not a ritual since there exists a clear practical relationship between your action and the desired result. But if a priest splashes water on his hands to “purify” them, that’s a ritual, since the water is largely symbolic and not really meant to rid the hands of bacteria.

Bell lists six attributes of rituals:

  • Formalism: This is a quality rooted in contrast and how restrictive or expressive the accepted code of behavior is for a given event/situation. For example a backyard picnic is very casual and will not feel like a ritual because there are few guidelines for how one may express oneself. A very formal dinner, on the other hand, has a more limited range of accepted behaviors and thus can feel quite ritual-like. Bell argues that while we sometimes see formality as stuffy, since it curbs more spontaneous expression, formalized activities are not “necessarily empty or trivial” and “can be aesthetically as well as politically compelling, invoking what one analyst describes as ‘a metaphoric range of considerable power, a simplicity and directness, a vitality and rhythm.’ The restriction of gestures and phrases to a small number that are practiced, perfected, and soon quite evocatively familiar can endow these formalized activities with great beauty and grace.”
  • Traditionalism. Rituals are often framed as activities that carry on values and behaviors that have been in place since an institution’s creation. This link to the past gives the ritual power and authority and provides the participant with a sense of continuity. The ritual may simply harken to those who came before, as when university graduates don the gowns that were once typical everyday classroom wear for scholars, or it may actually seek to recreate a founding event – as in the American celebration of Thanksgiving.
  • Disciplined invariance. Often seen as one of the most defining features of ritual, this attribute involves “a disciplined set of actions marked by precise repetition and physical control.” Think of soldiers marching in drill step or the sit/stand/kneel pattern followed by Catholics during the course of a Mass. Disciplined invariance suppresses “the significance of the personal and particular moment in favor of the timeless authority of the group, its doctrines, or its practices,” and “subordinates the individual and the contingent to a sense of the encompassing and the enduring.”
  • Rule-governance. Rituals are often governed by a set of rules. Both war and athletics are examples of activities that can be quite ritual-like when their rules regulate what is and is not acceptable. Rules can both check and channel certain tensions; for example, the game of football channels masculine aggression into a form of ritualized and controlled violence. On occasion the rules fail to sufficiently check the tension that is always bubbling right at the surface, as when a chaotic brawl breaks out amongst players. That the game reflects a similar submerged tension within society at large is part of why the audience finds the ritual so compelling.
  • Sacral symbolism. Ritual is able to take ordinary or “profane” objects, places, parts of the body, or images, and transform them into something special or sacred. “Their sacrality,” Bell writes, “is the way in which the object is more than the mere sum of its parts and points to something beyond itself, thereby evoking and expressing values and attitudes associated with larger, more abstract, and relatively transcendent ideas.” Thus something like incense can be a mere mixture of plants and oils designed to perfume a room, or, when swung from a censer, can represent the prayer of the faithful ascending into heaven.
  • Performance. Performance is a particular kind of action – one that is done for an audience. A ritual always has an intended audience, even if that audience is God or oneself. Tom F. Driver, a professor of theology, argues that “performance…means both doing and showing.” It is not a matter of “show-and-tell, but do-and-show.” Human are inherently actors, who wish to see themselves as characters in a larger narrative, and desire the kind of drama inherent in every timeless tale. Rituals function as narrative dramas and can satisfy and release this need. In the absence of ritual, people resort to doing their “showing” on social media and creating their own drama – often through toxic relationships or substances.

The more of these attributes a behavior/event/situation invokes, the more different from everyday life and ritual-like it will seem. The fewer of these attributes present, the more casual and ordinary it will feel.

For a more simple definition of ritual, here’s one that works: thought + action. A ritual consists of doing something in your mind (and often feeling something in your heart), while simultaneously connecting it to doing something with your body.

Rituals fall into a wide variety of categories. Theorist Ronald Grimes lists 16 of them:
  • Rites of passage
  • Marriage rites
  • Funerary rites
  • Festivals
  • Pilgrimage
  • Purification
  • Civil ceremonies
  • Rituals of exchange (as in worshipers making sacrifices to the gods in hope of receiving blessings from the divine)
  • Worship
  • Magic
  • Healing rites
  • Interaction rites
  • Meditation rites
  • Rites of inversion (rituals of reversal, where violating cultural norms is temporarily allowed, as in men dressing like women)
  • Sacrifice
  • Ritual drama

The important thing to understand about rituals is that they are not limited to very big, very formal events. Rituals can in fact be large or small, private or public, personal or social, religious or secular, uniting or dividing, conformist or rebellious. Funerals, weddings, presidential inaugurations, church services, baptisms, fraternal initiations, and tribal rites of passage are all rituals. Handshakes, dates, greetings and goodbyes, tattoos, table manners, your morning jog, and even singing the Happy Birthday song can be rituals as well.

Whither Ritual?

In many traditional societies, almost every aspect of life was ritualized. So why is there such a dearth of rituals in modern culture?
The embrace of ritual in the Western World was first weakened by two things: the Protestant Reformation’s movement against icons and ceremonialism and the Enlightenment’s emphasis on rationalism.

Historian Peter Burke, argues “the Reformation was, among other things, a great debate, unparalleled in scale and intensity, about the meaning of ritual, its functions and its proper forms.” Many Protestants concluded that the kind of rituals the Catholic Church practiced gave too much emphasis to empty, outward forms, rather than one’s internal state of grace. They rejected the “magical efficacy” of rites to be able to do things like change bread and wine into the literal body and blood of Christ.

The magical efficacy of ritual was attacked from the other side by Enlightenment thinkers. As discussed above, ritual is inherently nonrational since there is no practical relationship between the action and the end result. It is not rational to think that painting one’s body before battle will offer protection, that a rite of passage can turn a boy into a man, or that smoking a peace pipe can seal a treaty. Thus, ritual began to be associated with the superstitions of primitive peoples.

Suspicion of ritual again grew after World War II, in the wake of the way in which ritual ceremonies had been used to solidify loyalty to the Nazi cause.

Cultural embrace of ritual then really began to unravel during the social movements of the 1960s, which emphasized free expression, personal freedom, and individual emotional fulfillment above all. Rituals — which prescribe certain disciplined behaviors in certain situations, and require a person to forfeit some of their individuality in service to the synchrony and identity of the group — constrain spontaneity and the ability to do whatever one pleases. Ritual thus came to be seen as too constraining and not sufficiently “authentic.”

For these reasons, the use of and participation in rituals has been greatly curtailed. Or perhaps as historian Peter Burke argues, we’ve just replaced old rituals with new ones: “If most people in industrial societies no longer go to church regularly or practice elaborate rituals of initiation, this does not mean that ritual has declined. All that has happened is the new types of rituals—political, sporting, musical, medical, academic and so on—have taken the place of the traditional ones.” But the new rituals – watching sports, attending music festivals, checking Facebook, shopping, visiting a strip club on your 18th birthday — are light on nourishment and do not satisfy. Traditional rituals provided a mechanism by which humans could channel and process that which was difficult to grapple with – death, maturation, aggression – allowing the participant to discover new truths about themselves and the world. New rituals, if they can even really be called such, attempt to deny anything ugly in life (lest that lead you to close your wallet) and present a shiny, glossy façade — "confetti culture" – that facilitates passive consumption and turning away from examining given assumptions.

Next month, we will share an argument that despite the cultural disdain for ritual, it is a human art form and practice which should be revived. It is true that ritual can be used for good or for ill, yet its benefit is so great that fear of the bad should not lead us to throw out the baby with the bathwater. Even if a man sees no place for ritual in his faith, he can have great use for it in other areas in his life (indeed, if his faith is completely unritualized, he has all the more need for other kinds of rituals). We will argue that even the most rational man might make room in his life for some “magic,” and that while ritual may seem constraining, it can paradoxically be incredibly empowering and even liberating. How that might be so, is where we will turn next time.

March Message - 2014

posted Mar 19, 2014, 4:40 PM by McKinley Lodge   [ updated Mar 19, 2014, 4:42 PM ]

In these days of our troubled world when some nations and individuals alike are threatening the very
existence of one another, it is timely and appropriate that we should all reflect on one of the basic precepts
of Freemasonry - the Brotherhood of Man. “Service to others without expectation of reward,” is embodied
as one of the great teachings of Freemasonry. As Masons, we are taught that we cannot live solely for
ourselves, and we are obligated to give thought for the welfare and well-being of others. It is not enough
to do well by one’s self; to be successful in one’s job or profession; to be a good father and husband; to
lead a good faith life. That’s all very well and good, but you must do something more. You must give some
time to your fellow man. Even if it’s only a little thing, do something for those who have need of your help,
something for which you get no pay but the PRIVILEGE of doing it. It is the act done of one’s own free will
and accord that brings the greatest pleasure to the doer.

As Masons, we should always seek to do some good, somewhere, for every may has to find in his own way
to make his own self more noble and to realize his own true worth.

Brethren, these words were penned more than 50 years ago by W.: B.: Robert Korn in our June 1960
McKinley Temple Topics. As I reflect upon his words, I can’t help but to think about the terrific group of
men we have in the Lodge today. Each and every meeting I’m seeing what W.: B.: Korn described in his
Master’s Message...brethren giving of their time to help one serve the Lodge. It is a great
encouragement to me and I want each and every one of you to know that I truly appreciate your efforts.

We may not be the biggest Lodge in the state or have the largest coffers, but we make up for it in Brotherly
Love and a genuine zeal for the Fraternity. Brethren, I urge you to keep up the good work and we will
undoubtedly have a year to remember!

Sincerely and Fraternally,
Ryan Mayrand, P.: M.:
Worshipful Master

Fundraising Committee Report
We are currently working on the selling of “scrips.” For those of you who are not familiar with scrips,
it is a popular fundraising program used by many schools and non-profits. The way it works is that the
Lodge purchases a quantity of gift cards to re-sell. The gift cards range from gas stations to grocery stores,
restaurants to sporting goods stores. There’s no mark-up (the Lodge buys a $25 gift card for $25, sells it
for $25, and the person redeeming it gets $25 of merchandise), but the Lodge receives a percentage of
the sale. Once we get the program set up, you can buy gift cards for things you’re already planning to
spend money on (gas, groceries, etc.) and by doing so, support the Lodge! We’re very excited about this

The Fundraising Committee has also set some dates that we would like all of you to add to your calendars:
• We will only be holding one Fish Fry this year - targeted for the season of Lent. We’ll announce the
date once plans have been finalized with W.: B.: Chris Engel.
• We’re going to try something a little new this year and have two Spaghetti Dinner fundraisers - one on
Friday, October 3rd and another on Friday, November 14th.
• Right on the heels of the November Spaghetti Dinner is the return of the Winter Bazaar (November
• Our next Fundraising Committee meeting will take place on March 3rd at the Buffalo Wild Wings
restaurant, on Bluemound Rd. at 7:00pm. All are welcome.
Jim Stone
Fundraising Committee Chairman

Social Committee Report

The 2014 Social Committee started the year off with a successful first event, brunch at Maxim’s on January
19th. We had a respectable turnout of just under than 20 people. Immediately after, our attention turned
to our next event, the wine, cheese, chocolate, and game night. This even required quite a bit more
planning from the committee. I would like to give special thanks to brother Andrew Meyers who took the
lead on getting most of the supplies. We are looking forward to our next event in March, the dinner theater
at the Majestic on 3/9/2014. Contact Zach Fleischmann for details.

At our last committee meeting, the Worshipful Master made it clear that one of our biggest tasks for the
year will be to plan the re-dedication Ceremony. We compiled quite a long list of tasks that need to be
completed before the event but given the commitment already demonstrated by the members of the Social
Committee, we should have no problem pulling together a worthy centennial celebration.
Zachary Fleischmann
Social Committee Chairman

February Message - 2014

posted Feb 25, 2014, 7:07 PM by McKinley Lodge

From Faith for Living, 1940
By Lewis Mumford

Man’s chief purpose…is the creation and preservation of values, that is what gives meaning to our civilization, and the participation in this is what gives significance, ultimately, to the individual human life…

The individual contribution, the work of any single generation, is infinitesimal; the power and glory belong to human society at large, and are the long result of selection, conservation, sacrifice, creation, and renewal — the
outcome of endless brave efforts to conserve values and ideas, and to hand them on to posterity, along with physical life itself. Each person is a temporary focus of forces, vitalities, and values that carry back into an immemorial
past and that reach forward into an unthinkable future.

I begin the Master’s Message this month with this excerpt in the hopes that it will inspire you take a moment and contemplate man’s purpose. Why are we here? What are we to strive for and accomplish during our brief time on
Earth? I encourage you to unplug from the business of your daily life and take some time to reflect upon these questions.

Freemasonry teaches us that life is short, that the Supreme Architect of the Universe created all of us and instilled within us an innate sense of morality, and that it is the duty of every Mason to abide by this divinely-instilled
structure of law. We learn also that man is flawed and life is hard. Pride, selfishness, ignorance, and a multitude of other shortfalls cause us to stumble.

As Freemasons, we are fortunate to have tools at our to help us overcome these stumbling blocks and help us in our quest to become better men. Implements such as the square, plumb, level, and compasses
remind us how to think and how to act. These symbols, having been handed down from generation to generation within Lodges, are just what the excerpt describes. They preserve values. They give meaning to our civilization.  They give significance to your life and mine.

Remember too that the Supreme Architect of the Universe has a plan for each of us. It isn’t an accident that
you are here. In times of adversity, it is easy to feel down and allow fear, doubt, or pain to get the best of
you. Take comfort in the knowledge that there is a reason for may not understand it at
the time, but many of life’s greatest gifts stem from times of great trial.

As you go about your daily lives this month, I urge you to live purposefully. Make conscious decisions that
have a positive impact on not only yourself, but those around you. Be humble and thankful for what you
have. And lastly, do not neglect incorporating daily prayer into your life.

Ryan Mayrand, P.M.

Temple Topics Comments
It should be a self-imposed obligation of every Mason to make a personal masonic inventory of himself to
evaluate his posture as a Mason.

The “Trestleboard” besides outlining the functions, as ordered, by the Worshipful Master of the Lodge
is also your invitation to participate in the affairs of the Lodge to refresh and strengthen your Masonic

The deadline for submission of materials for publication in the McKinley Lodge Temple Topics Newsletter is
the 10th of the month prior. Materials should be submitted to

The members of McKinley Lodge are invited to submit ideas, opinions, suggestions, news items or articles
that are newsworthy and pertain to the best interest of McKinley Lodge. The publishing of any material is
the reserved right of the Editor.

February Trestleboard
Thursday, February 6th - 6:00-7:00pm - Soup & Dessert Dinner ($5.00 per person) - Open to friends & family
                        7:30pm - First Stated Meeting, Billiards Following the Meeting
Tuesday, February 11th - 7:00pm - Visit Elmbrook Lodge
Thursday, February 20th - 6:00pm - Trustees Meeting
                        7:30pm - Second Stated Meeting, Refreshments & Fellowship Following
Saturday, February 22nd - 7:00pm - BUNKO, Wine/Cheese/Chocolate Social

Masonic Birthdays
Arthur J. Sandner - Raised January 14th, 1960 • Rupert J. Bartel - Raised January 26th, 1961 • Joseph
G. Bubacy - Raised 17th, 1978 • Donald A. Haas, P.M. - Raised January 8th, 1983 • Michael J. Preuschl
- Raised January 22nd, 1987 • Brian S. Breitzmann, P.M. - Raised January 13th, 1994 • Melvyn G.
Feder - Raised January 20th, 1994 • Jose R. Maia - Raised January 19th, 2006 • Lawrence J. Volk -
Raised February 15th, 1943 • Donald J. Klebba, P.M. - Raised February 3rd, 1975 • Jack T. Sneesby,
P.M. - Raised February 11th, 1975 • Klemor H. Knapp - Raised February 9th, 1978 • John R. Batchelor -
Raised February 23rd, 1984 • Mark C. Perdue - Raised February 18th, 1993 • Andrew L. Meyers - Raised
February 1st, 2007 • Jose Rivera - Raised February 24th, 2011

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