January Message - 2014

posted Jan 4, 2014, 8:56 AM by McKinley Lodge
Greetings from the East Brethren!  For those of you who regularly attend McKinley Lodge, you probably know me, but for those of you who don't, I'd like to share some of my story with you. My name is Ryan Mayrand and one could say that my Masonic journey began, in a way, at the age of 15 as a member of Racine Chapter DeMolay. Masons played a very important role during my impressionable teenage years, so when I became of age, it seemed quite natural to join our Fraternity. I was raised to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason in 1999 while still attending college in Ripon, Wisconsin, and joined the progressive line after settling down in the Milwaukee area following my graduation. In the years that followed, I had the opportunity to serve the Lodge in a variety of roles before being elected to the office of Worshipful Master in 2007. Subsequently, I have served as Secretary, Trustee, and Counselor. I am eager to serve the Lodge again as Master this year, and it is my sincere hope that we have a spectacularly successful Centennial year.

I thank all of you who came out and joined us for the installation of officers that took place on Saturday, January 4th. I would especially like to thank the installing officers (Jerry Robison, PM as Installing Master; Kevin Breitzmann, PM as Installing Senior Warden; Tom Schlicht, PM as Installing Junior Warden; Mike Gorgen, PM as Installing Marshall; Bob Kappel, PM as Installing Secretary; and Don Haas, PM as Installing Chaplain) for conducting the installation ceremony, the Knights Templar for serving as color guard, the Triopoli Highlanders for playing the processionals, Norma Kappel for being soloist, and Marcia Earl for being organist. All of these individuals help to make this ceremony itself a very special one.

Your officers this year are as follows:
  • Chris Goodwin - Senior Warden
  • Andrew Meyers - Junior Warden, Trustee
  • Brian Carter - Senior Deacon
  • Dan Richardson - Junior Deacon, Trustee
  • Tom Hill - Chaplain, Visitation Committee Chair
  • Brian Breitzmann, PM - Secretary
  • Kevin Breitzmann, PM - Treasurer
  • James Lovett, PM - Tiler
  • James Stone - Head Trustee, Fundraising Committee Chair
  • Zach Fleishmann - Trustee, Social Committee Chair

One thing I hope you noticed in that list is that I've listed Committee Chairs. One of my goals as Master this year is to resurrect the practice of having standing committees. These committees are a great way for our membership to get involved. Entered Apprentices, Fellowcrafts, and Master Masons are all invited to participate - this isn't an "MM only" type of thing. The three committees this year are: Visitation, Fundraising, and Social. The aim of the Visitation Committee is twofold - one to organize visitations to sick or shut-in brethren, and two, to organize visitations to other Lodges. Fiscal responsibility is of the utmost importance, so the activities of the Fundraising Committee this year will be a major focus for us. And last, but not least, the Social Committee will be responsible for planning those fun events throughout the year to have some fun and to create memories that will last a lifetime.

As I shared in my remarks at our installation, I believe McKinley Lodge is in a period of transition. Over the past few years I have watched a change taking place within the Lodge. Many of the long-standing members that made up the "older, wiser crowd" when I first joined the Lodge have been pulled away by death, infirmity, taking care of an ill spouse, retirement, etc. These brothers are most certainly missed (I think of them very often - both in Lodge and while in prayer) and their absence changes the dynamic within the Lodge. 10+ year members are now the minority at our meetings, meaning that we've got a significant percentage of new Masons actively participating in the Lodge.

We have been very blessed in that we've had a healthy stream of good men joining our ranks. Our new members are absolutely wonderful...they're smart, enthusiastic, and eager to take in all that our Fraternity has to offer. Our challenge this year (and I would guess for the next several years) will be to provide these men with the same type of quality experience that led our long-standing members to become as involved and as dedicated as they were. I am excited and energized by this opportunity to shape the future of our Lodge and invite all of you to "jump in with both feet" to make our Lodge (and our Fraternity) the very best that it can be. Doing so will not only make it much more rewarding for you personally, but you will help to leave a legacy that can act as a force of Good in the world for generations to come.

We have a very active calendar of events planned for the year and I sincerely hope that you not only attend, but that you feel a genuine sense of welcome and belonging here. If you haven't already received a refrigerator magnet with our calendar of events, simply ask one of the Lodge Officers for one the next time you're at the Lodge. Of particular interest to you may be our monthly dinner programs. These events, like the vast majority of events on the calendar, are open to Entered Apprentices, Fellowcrafts, Master Masons, and your friends & family. In order to accommodate the diversity of schedules that people have, we'll actually serve between 6pm and 7pm, so simply come when you're able. Each month, we'll have a different program to go with the meal - ranging from our Annual Awards night to learning about our Masonic Youth Groups.

Brethren, I'd like end my message this month with the following thought: Robert Louis Stevenson once said "Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds that you plant." Remember that our time on Earth is short and that what we do for others is what will survive in their hearts and minds after we've gone. Go forth and do good as men who are Masons.


Ryan Mayrand, PM