Greetings From the East -- June 2022
Brethren, as I write my final Trestle Board, I would like to thank all of you for your support and commitment to our Lodge and Gentle Craft during the Masonic year. The year was a full one and saw the Lodge grow in membership and ritualistic proficiency. The officers we elected for the ensuing Masonic year are committed, capable and will serve you well indeed.
May was the occasion of the most satisfying function of my Masonic year, when I had the pleasure of addressing the parents and students of Meadowlark School to present gift certificates for books to students in grades K through five. I was accompanied by Brs. Chuck G., Tyler, Mark, and Chuck, our Secretary’s father. Br. Mark, a former teacher was a huge hit with the students. I wish all of you could have been present.
At our first stated communication in May, an amendment was read to change our by laws to hold Lodge officer installation on a standardized date, the third Saturday of every August, the time and location to be determined by the Master elect. We will vote on this amendment at the first stated communication on 2 June. Please be there to vote, as any issue of this kind should be considered by as many Lodge members possible.
Regrettably, our planned fraternal visit to Virginia City on 12 May was cancelled due to concerns of exposure to flu but despite that, we were able to raise two Master Masons that evening, Brothers Coleman and Paul. Sincere thanks to all participants for their flexibility and help in this endeavor. At our second stated communication on 19 May, we balloted on a petition to initiate an Entered Apprentice and will perform this degree work on 2 June. The evening closed with my report on the state of the Lodge as determined by the requirements of the Masonic Builders award. A thriving Lodge has a score of 100 or more; we measured above 147. The evening closed with Br. Doug entertaining the Lodge with a demonstration of electronic unicycles which operate on a principal similar to Segway vehicles. Several brothers took up his offer to try their balance skills and I’m happy to report no casualties ensued. It was a good time.
We also had the pleasure of showing the widows of former Brethren they are well remembered by delivering ten floral arrangements to them during May. Special thanks to Brother Chuck and Jay for their assistance, as well as my wife who did some ad hoc detective work in locating one of these ladies at her new address. The annual Pig Roast was a huge success with about 75 guests in attendance. The De Molay did their usual fine job in helping make the event a success. Brothers Mark, Gib and our Patron Saint were indefatigable in their efforts. Br. Matt, a superb speaker and MC made the evening memorable. Special thanks to Br. Colin who supplied libations and Br. Will, who once again, demonstrated his brewing skills; the evening was truly memorable.
At our final meeting, 16 June, we will have our last guest speaker of the year, Colonel Thomas Luhrsen of the Montana National Guard. You are invited to attend what will be an interesting talk on the Montana Guard history and mission. The Grand Lodge will host its annual communication 23-25 June in Lewiston, MT. Registration forms are available online through our Secretary. It should be a fun event.
Finally, Br. Jay, our Master elect, has scheduled the installation of officers on the third Saturday of August, (20 August) at 1:00 PM at the Tracy Street Temple. A reception will follow at 3:00 PM at his residence.
S&F, Br. Al
Greetings from The East -- May 2022
Brethren, April was a busy month for us. At our first stated communication we held our election for Lodge officers for the ensuing Masonic year. For those brethren who could not be present, I’m pleased to announce the following results: WM Elect, Jay L; SW, Mark K; JW, Brian C; Treasurer, Chuck G and Secretary, Gib C. The Lodge is indeed in capable hands.
The second stated communication saw an excellent FC proficiency returned by Br. Paul. Congratulations to him and thanks again to Br. Jay for his dedication as an instructor. Br. Jay is one of several instructors whose devotion enables our Lodge to grow. My sincere thanks to all of you who mentor our newer brothers. A proposal was made to change our by laws to a fixed date for the installation of Lodge officers and a committee to bring said proposal to a vote was formed. The committee is comprised of me, and Brothers Jay, Matt, Gib and Doug. We will vote on this issue before going dark in June. I respectfully ask all Master Masons to review the proposal and vote on this administrative issue with the good of the Lodge in mind.
Looking ahead to May, the widow’s luncheon will be held on 21 May at the Country Corner Café, the annual 1717 Pig Roast on Saturday, 14 May and a fraternal visit to Virginia City Lodge 1 is scheduled on Thursday, 12 May. We will be raising two Master Masons then and further details will follow in a separate email providing the exact time and mode of departure and travel plans. In closing, I request that you all keep dear Br. Jack in your prayers. He is recovering quite well and in excellent spirits and humor, as always.
S&F, Br. Al
Greetings from the East -- April 2022
Brethren, March came in like a lamb, meteorologically speaking, and went out like a lion from a Masonic perspective. At our first stated communication, we hosted Most Worshipful Brother Bill Murphy, Grand Master. We were also privileged to have the following distinguished Grand Lodge visitors in attendance, Brothers Jason Smith, Mark Basset, David Schantz, and Sam Whitehead.
The meeting was also notable for the program presented by a guest speaker, Mr. Casey Bertram, the Superintendent of Bozeman Public Schools, as part of our continuing series of guest speakers. This program was part of Public Education Night. Mr. Bertram was well received by some twenty-seven Masons in attendance from our Lodge and Gallatin Lodge 6. He gave an informative talk regarding the current educational issues in Bozeman Public schools, such as the impact of the Wuhan virus, foreign language students, and housing costs in Gallatin County as it affects recruiting qualified personnel, as well as the solutions the school system is seeking to resolve these issues. Mr. Bertram fielded a variety of questions from Lodge members and appeared as happy to address us as we were to hear his perspective on these important educational matters.
Following this program, Br. Paul returned his EA proficiency with the assistance of his coach, our SW, Br. Jay. Br. Paul’s performance was flawless, and Br. Jay once again demonstrated his value to our lodge as a coach and mentor.
MW Br. Murphy then made his remarks. He tells a fine Irish story. Both he and the attending Grand Lodge members offered kind words regarding the fellowship and level of Masonic commitment they observed during their visit. I would like to extend my most sincere thanks to all the brethren in attendance for making the Grand Master’s visit a success, especially Brothers Brian, Mike, David, Colin, Matt, and our own Patron Saint for their continuing and tireless efforts on behalf of our Lodge.
At our second stated communication in March, held on St. Patrick‘s day, Br. Paul was passed to the degree of Fellow Craft. Br. Joseph returned his FC proficiency at this meeting as part of the degree work and turned in a superlative performance. Congratulations on a job well done Br. Joe and sincere thanks to his coach and father for this effort and as well as his contributions to our Lodge and to his many years of service to the DeMolay. A program on Ireland’s St. Patrick was well received by the brethren in attendance.
Prior to our second stated communication in March, I met with Br. Gib to complete the Builders Award form for this Masonic year. Br. Gib will be submitting it shortly and I was pleased to learn how this form would be useful as a reporting metric for our efforts during the year. It encompasses all Masonic activities a lodge performs during the year from degree work, membership and retention efforts, community outreach, and specific and unique lodge activities. I will use it as the basis of a report to the Craft at our final meeting in June to inform you in detail of our Lodge‘s present state and as a report of my year as Master. I believe this will be a useful means of measuring our performance and would respectfully recommend this practice each June by all future masters. As always, Br. Gib stands out as an excellent Lodge resource and tireless aid to its Masters.
An additional item was also raised before the Lodge, the feasibility of forming a Lodge of Education, pursuant to Section 20020 of the Montana Code. I would like all the brethren to give this serious thought, both the pros and cons of such an endeavor, and prepare for a discussion at the second meeting in April. The thoughts and opinions of every brother are useful and contribute to our Masonic mission.
April will also be significant since we will elect our officers for the ensuing Masonic year. The second meeting will be a discussion regarding our by-laws as they relate to our annual installation of Lodge Officers. Please mark these important meetings on your calendars to ensure the best and most inclusive outcome for our Lodge.
In May we plan to raise two Master Masons in historic Virginia City Lodge, host a luncheon for our widows and host the annual 1717 Pig Roast, a York Rite event. I look forward to seeing you at these important and worthwhile Masonic events.
S&F, Br. Al
Greetings From the East -- March 2022
Brethren, February was a particularly memorable month for Bozeman Lodge. At our first stated meeting Br. Coleman gave his EA proficiency in open Lodge and passed with flying colors. The questions were asked by Br. Tyler, who demonstrated notable grace under fire as he was asked to fill in for Br. Colin at the last minute and did not let us down. The Lodge went to Refreshment and we heard from the Sheriff of Gallatin County, Dan Springer, as part of America night. Sheriff Springer proved to be an excellent speaker. He was more than entertaining, providing valuable insight into the current state of policing and social conditions in our community from his unique perspective. I’m also pleased to inform you that several technical issues regarding our new Lodge website have been resolved thanks to the efforts of Br. Jay and Br. Doug. My sincere thanks to both these men; we are fortunate to have such dedicated Masons in our Lodge.
At our second stated communication, we were provided an excellent discourse on King Solomon’s legacy by Br. David. This was followed by a historical overview of King Solomon’s biblical genealogy which led to the building of the Temple by Rabbi Chaim Bruk of the Chabad Lubavitch Congregation of Montana. An excellent speaker, his presentation was well received and generated many questions from the brothers in attendance. My sincere thanks to Rabbi Chaim, a father of five and head of a religious congregation whose obligations make his time to our Lodge a generous gift indeed, as well as to Br. Seth, who helped arrange his visit. Next, a tip of the Master’s fedora to Br. Tyler who stepped in as Junior Deacon due to Br. Mike’s business travel. Finally, Br. Josh, Master of Gallatin No. 6, has extended an invitation to us to attend a mock trial on Wednesday, 23 February. The defendant, Br. Bryan will be represented by our own Br. Matt. I offer no odds on Br. Bryan leaving Lodge 6 as a free man.
March will be another busy Masonic month. At our first stated communication on 3 March, we will have the honor of the Grand Master’s visit. That same evening, we are privileged to host the Superintendent of Bozeman City Public Schools, Casey Bertram, for Education night, as part of our continued program of community speakers. Our second stated communication on 17 March will most likely be devoted to degree work, passing Br. Paul to the Fellowcraft degree.
Looking ahead to April, we will have the election of Lodge Officers, final planning for the annual widows’ luncheon, and a discussion and vote regarding formalizing the annual officer installation process. As we move into May we will have the 1717 Annual Pig Roast sponsored by our York Rite Chapters, Saturday, 14 May at the Tracy Street Temple. We will be making a fraternal visit to Virginia City No. 1 Lodge and are in the process of seeking a dispensation to take our charter there with the intention of raising two Master Masons either on 12 May or 9 June. Stay tuned for further developments.
S&F, Br. Al.
Greetings From the East -- February 2022
Brethren, as we approach the halfway point in our Masonic year, I’m pleased to report we had an outstanding turnout for our obligatory Feast of St. John. Approximately thirty brethren turned out for the event, and the evening was a rousing success. The event was hosted in our Lodge and well attended by brothers from Gallatin 6. The Master of Ceremonies was our own Br. Matt whose sense of humor and drama made the evening truly memorable. The meal was prepared by our Secretary, Br. Gib, and he demonstrated his usual culinary flair. The DeMolay assisted with cleanup and raised almost $300 thanks to the contribution of Brs. Colin and Will, who brewed and donated the proceeds from the keg of ale they provided. Regrettably, the Grand Master could not attend due to inclement weather and road conditions but despite this disappointment, the evening went splendidly. At our second stated meeting, Br. Jay gave the Lodge a demonstration of a new website developed at no cost to the Lodge by his son at my request. A vote of the Lodge was held on this matter and the website was approved unanimously. This website will aid in our need to communicate easily and to enhance our profile in our community as well as to provide simple links to Masonic programs and education. I invite all of you to visit the site: bozemanlodge18.org. As we move forward with our website, issues and growing pains may arise that will need to be addressed, as with any new website. I ask all of you to bring these to my attention in Lodge so we may discuss them and resolve them satisfactorily. A motion by Br. Doug to review and increase the salary of the Secretary was brought to the floor and approved unanimously, a well-deserved measure. On a closing note, Br. Tyler stepped up to meet the Lodge’s need for a Senior Deacon and performed flawlessly. Sincere thanks to all of you for making our Lodge a retreat of friendship and virtue.
February should be an exciting Masonic month. At our first stated communication on 3 February, our Lodge will host Gallatin County Sheriff Dan Springer, as part of America Night. At our second stated, 17 February, we will hear a program by Br. David pertaining to the legacy of King Solomon and Masonic values.
March will also be a very busy Masonic month. At our first stated communication, 3 March, we will host an Official Visit by our Grand Master and his entourage. This will coincide with a special program by the Bozeman School Superintendent who will address the Lodge for Education Night. Br. Jason, the GL representative for our area, advised the GM looks forward to hearing this program. Our second stated communication will be held on 17 March, St. Patrick’s Day and we will have a program on the Patron Saint of Ireland in his honor.
S&F, Br. Al.
Greetings from the East -- January 2022
Brethren, as 2021 draws to a close, I’d like to give you a brief report of Lodge activities to date. At present, we have initiated two Entered Apprentices, passed one Fellow Craft, and raised two Master Masons, an impressive amount of work concluded in four months or eight stated communications. We’ve not yet had to perform degree work on a Saturday and I hope we can continue to avoid doing so. We have also obtained jewels for our Lodge officers, voted to purchase new officer aprons, gave away cocoa at the Christmas Stroll to bring in almost $700 in donations for the Shriner's hospital, voted to donate money to purchase books for Bozeman schoolchildren, resumed our tradition of Christmas Caroling and provided some first-rate Masonic education to the brethren, due to the excellent efforts of Br. L.A., Br. Jay, Most Wor. Jack and Br. Mark K.
January will see the Lodge hold its annual Feast of St. John on Thursday, the 6th, our first stated communication. The Grand Master will be in attendance, wine will be provided by Wor. Br. David M., and a keg of beer, courtesy of Br. Colin’s Last Best Place Brewery will be provided, crafted by Br. Will. I know it will be a memorable evening, in no small part due to W. Br. Matt serving as the Master of Ceremonies. Festivities start at 6:00 PM. It will be a night to remember. Our second stated communication will be held on Thursday, 20 January and at present, no degree work is scheduled so we can look
forward to a program.
February looks to be a worthwhile Masonic month. At our first meeting on Thursday, 3 February, we will host America Night, and we will have the pleasure of a guest speaker, Gallatin Valley Sheriff Dan Springer. It promises to be an interesting evening and I look forward to our Lodge hosting him. Finally, I wish all of you and your families a wonderful Christmas and a healthy, happy, and prosperous New Year.
S&F, Br. Al.
Greetings from the East - December 2021
Brethren, November was a very busy time for our Lodge. At our first stated communication, Br. Dan W. was initiated as our youngest entered apprentice. On November 10th the brethren of Bozeman Lodge performed a graveside Masonic Service for Br. Bradley, a member of our Lodge and Air Force veteran. At our second stated communication, Br. Dan returned his Master Mason catechism and Br. Tyler returned his Fellow Craft catechism. Both brothers did an excellent job and I would like to express my thanks to their respective coaches. The second reading of Mr. Paul V E’s petition was read again and balloted on; he will be initiated at our second communication in December. Additionally, our Lodge was honored by a visiting brother from California, Br. Troy. The Thanksgiving Proclamation of Br. George Washington was read in Lodge in honor of the upcoming Holiday and Masonic Education was provided by MWBr. Jack. The following day, Masonic Funeral Services were conducted for my father-in-law, Br. Michaelsen, a 61 year Master Mason and Navy veteran of WWII. My sincerest thanks for the support of those brethren who assisted me in paying the final tribute of affection.
December will be equally busy for us all both Masonically and spiritually. I wish all of you the joy and comfort of the season. At our first stated communication on 2 December, Br. Tyler will be raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason. Saturday, 4 December, will see the return of the annual Christmas stroll, this year headed by Br. Mike. Additional details will be announced in Lodge at our first meeting. On Tuesday, 7 December, we will travel to Big Timber Lodge for a fraternal visit, dinner, and a historical program by our Senior Warden, Br. Jay on Montana’s vigilantes. This year we will hold a second stated meeting to initiate an Entered Apprentice, Mr. Van Earp. Our Christmas caroling will be conducted the following evening on 17 December. Further details will be provided at our second meeting (16 December); after caroling, we will repair to Br. Jay's for a bit of Christmas cheer. The annual chili cook-off was resumed in November and Br. Gib took honors for the seventh time. However, the game brought little joy to Mudville, save for those few heretics who know not what they do and rooted for the Grizzlies! Finally, Br. Dan has generously volunteered to work on our website with a brother Mason in Virginia who set up the website for my mother Lodge. We’ll keep you posted on our progress; the issue of good and simple communication cannot be stressed enough.
Looking ahead, our first meeting in January promises to be an excellent opportunity for fellowship as we will host the Grand Master at our annual feast of St. John on 6 January. Additional details will be forthcoming but Br. Gib will prepare this meal and will likely be requesting the assistance of the brethren, so please be ready to help out. Many hands make light work. Our second stated communication will be held on 20 January and as yet, there are no specific degrees or programs. As always, any brother desiring to provide Masonic education is warmly encouraged to do so. Hard as it is to believe, when January arrives, it will mark the completion of half of the Masonic year.
S&F, Br. Al.
Greetings From the East - November 2021
Brethren, it is hard to believe that the holiday season will be upon us so quickly and that we’ve already completed a decent portion of our Masonic year. October saw an excellent program on ciphers presented by Br. L.A., who has now returned to North Carolina and will hopefully rejoin us early next year. His presentation was both interesting and historically significant. Fine food for thought, especially for those who have the opportunity to visit our nation’s capital. At our second stated communication, we had the pleasure of passing Br. Tyler to the degree of Fellow Craft and look forward to raising him next spring. Additionally, we voted on a petition to initiate a new member.
November will see the initiation of Mr. Daniel W. at our first stated communication on the 4th. I will open and close the Lodge and our JuniorWarden, Br. Mark K. will confer the degree and recite the apron lecture, a task he has performed beautifully during previous degrees. Any brothers desirous of learning one of the degree charges should make their intent known so we can deepen our bench. A special tip of the master’s fedora to Brothers Mark S.J. and David C. for their tireless work with our DeMolay youth group as well as the excellent examples they always set for these young men. The second stated communication will feature Br. Brother Dan returning his Master Mason catechism as well as a program on Masonry and the Thanksgiving Holiday presented by your Worshipful Master. This is your chance to save yourselves by scheduling a program of your own well in advance. All brothers are heartily encouraged to present a program of their own. Please let me know in advance. I would also like to see the Lodge vote on my proposal to purchase and install a Square and Compass for the stairway area. The cost is in the neighborhood of $1,000.
December will see our first stated communication on the 5th of the month. We will be doing our usual Christmas caroling on the 18th, our second stated meeting. However, if we need to do degree work, I think that is important and recommend we meet to carol on another night. I don’t want degree work to pile up for my successor and adding to our membership is an important and crucial objective. Finally, the Grand Master will visit Livingston Lodge on 7 December and I think we should plan a fraternal
visit; please attend if within the length of your cable tow. I look forward to seeing you all in Lodge.
S&F, Br. Al.