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 kbreitzmann@wi.rr.com or 414-526-2301.


Zach Fleischmann

Social Committee Chair