Iowa Freemasonry is a personal journal of a Freemason in central Iowa. This blog documents my Masonic research interests, experiences, and reflections. Welcome!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Des Moines York Rite Fall Festival 2013

The Des Moines York Rite of Freemasonry hosted its Fall Festival Saturday, November 23 with sixteen candidates participating. York Rite bodies from across the state participated both with candidates and with officers assisting in the work. The Heads of all three Iowa Grand York Rite bodies participated: M.E. David G. Klein Grand High Priest of the Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of Iowa, M.I. Thomas E. H. Gruis Grand Master of the Grand Council of Royal and Select Masters of Iowa, and Terry L. Hudik Right Eminent Grand Commander of the Grand Commandery Knights Templar of Iowa.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Des Moines Scottish Rite Fall Reunion

Congratulations to the 2013 John H. McKlveen, 33° Fall Memorial Reunion class: Class President: Donald A. Burkhart, Class Secretary: Brandon V. Scheuring, Class Orator: Joseph W. Seidlin, Andrae C. Delaney, Mark A. Konrad, Lee Roy W. Porter, Alan C. Rodruck, and Mark A. Terhune. More detail is here: 2013 Fall Gala

Friday, November 8, 2013

Delicious Pizza!

The pizza chefs once again turned Polk City’s Operative Lodge #308 into a pizza factory on October 19. Twice a year the members of Operative Lodge make and sell pizzas to benefit charity. This fall Lodge members, and a few wives, turned out in force to create just about the best pizza you’ve ever eaten! Seriously, the pizzas are great and you can pick the toppings. Plus, the money helps support charity.

If you missed out this fall, look for us next Spring!

John Bizzack at Iowa reserach Lodge #2

John Bizzack spoke to the members and guests of Iowa Research Lodge #2 on November 1 in Des Moines. Worshipful Master George Harrison introduced our guest speaker as the author of the book For the Good of the Order: Examining the Shifting Paradigm Within Freemasonry. Bizzack argues that a return to traditional Freemasonry in our Lodges is a way to address membership decline. His book, as well as his speech Friday evening, examines more than just the old debate about membership decline. Bizzack advances the argument that the recent move on the part of some Lodges towards longer periods of time between degrees for a candidate, higher dues, and strict standards of dress aren’t anything new. These characteristics can also be found in Lodges in the 18th and 19th century. His speech was entertaining and informative, a combination rarely seen in many Masonic meetings. 

The Iowa Research Lodge biannual meetings feature dinner, a speaker, and good fellowship. Friday night was no exception.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Operative stone carving at Operative Lodge in Polk City

The Freemasons at Operative Lodge #308 met for their stated meeting Monday evening, March 11, and were treated to an informative presentation by Brother Ben Mayer, a visitor from Acanthus Lodge. Brother Ben is a working stone carver and he brought some of his working tools as well as his work with him. A few pictures are below.

Brother Ben’s talk included explanations of both traditional and modern tools used by masons. The several common gavels and hammers he had are still used today, but the pneumatic chisel, which operates at over 3000 cycles per minute, has replaced much of the manual work. Even a modern pneumatic chisel requires a considerable degree of skill; Brother Ben spoke of how he must both listen to the tone of the sound produced from chiseling as well as be attentive to the feel of the tool as it moves lest the work be ruined.

Thank you Brother Ben Mayer for your interesting and enlightening presentation!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Temple Commandery #4 Inspection and Arch of Steel

Inspection day arrived for Temple Commandery No. 4 on Saturday, February 23, 2013. The morning began with set-up, of course, and the old adage “many hands make for light work,” while true, doesn’t necessarily apply to the actual weight of items when they’re being hauled down from the fourth floor of the Scottish Rite Center in Des Moines. Still, we did have many Sir Knights helping and while the work may not have been light, it was enjoyable.

The inspection of Temple Commandery No. 4 was the first order of the day. Sir Knight Richard "Butch" Zummak, Past Grand Commander, performed the inspection. This was my first inspection and it wasn’t as intimidating as I anticipated. The more experienced guys helped me out with what to do and what to say, but still, I was nervous: I didn’t want to be the guy costing us points. Last May at the annual Conclave I discovered I had lost a button off of my jacket; the sword belt buckle had cut it off. This time, my wife graciously sewed it on with fishing line and all was well!

After the inspection, we went through the opening of a Commandery. I had a very small part, Treasurer, but still struggled with the line. After opening, we had lunch and prepared for the Order of the Temple. The Order of the Temple wasn’t just an inspection of how well we knew the ritual and work, but also an actual Order of the Temple with five candidates. My part was to play the third guard and although this time I had a few more lines than in the opening, I felt that I did better. The Order of the Temple is one of my favorite Masonic degrees/orders; the religious theme and setting has an impact on me each time I see it. Iowa’s Grand Master, Most Worshipful Bryce Hildreth, was with us Saturday and told the class that he found the Order of the Temple to be one of his favorites, and he has certainly seen a lot of different degrees!

After the class and guests departed, props needed to be stored, and humping all of the props up the stairs to the fourth floor can certainly work up quite a thirst for Sir Knights. Needless to say, refreshments were available, and enjoyed.

The day concluded with members of Temple Commandery No. 4 and other Sir Knights forming an Arch of Steel for the Za Ga Zig Shrine’s Potentate at the Potentate’s Ball. Sir Knight Gregory L. Andersen, Right Eminent Grand Commander of Iowa, led sixteen Sir Knights in the impressive ceremony; a few pictures of which are below.

In all, it was a fantastic day for this Sir Knight. Freemasonry offers many opportunities to improve one’s self, and although I’ve only been a part of the York right for just over a year, I’m finding it to be one of the most important parts of my masonic activities. The religious lessons taught by the Order of the Temple are the most powerful expression of Christian belief that I have experienced in Freemasonry. In addition, since York Rite bodies tend to be more localized and smaller, it’s easier to build close friendships. Plus, you get to wear a sword. Now how cool is that!

The pictures below are from the Downtown Des Moines York Rite's Temple Commandery #4 inspection and the Arch of Steel.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Iowa Research Lodge #2 Meeting

The Iowa Research Lodge #2 met last night at the Des Moines Scottish Rite building. WM Shane Harshbarger invited Dr. Natalie Bayers as guest speaker. Dr. Bayers spoke on Freemasonry in Russia and its influences on 18th century Russian literature. Look for a post this evening covering her topic in more depth. Below are a few pictures.