by Midnight Freemason Contributor
RWB Michael H. Shirley
Our annual family sojourn to Wisconsin’s North Woods has come and gone, and thus it’s time for my Island City Lodge No. 330. We were away for three weeks this time, which meant I was able to attend two breakfasts and two stated meetings. Since our last trip, Island City has added a stated meeting on Wednesday night in an attempt to attract younger men who aren’t able to attend a 10 am meeting. It’s early days, yet, but things look promising (despite an occasional grumble from the north that things shouldn’t change). The morning meeting lasted for two-and-a-half hours, for no readily discernable reason, other than that Masons like to talk, and Masons who are retired like to talk more.
report on my home away from home: Minocqua’s
The evening meeting was not as well attended, but was more fun for me, as I got to demonstrate Illinois opening and closing, and the intricacies of Illinois’s rod work. Opening and closing in Wisconsin and Illinois are very different, and most of the Brethren there had not seen anything of Illinois Work. Worshipful Brother Dave Imlah, who had been asking me to demonstrate Illinois Work for a while now, declared himself fascinated, and thought it would be worthwhile to travel rather farther than Rhinelander to observe degrees. I hope someday that my trip north will coincide with a degree so that I can observe Wisconsin Work beyond perusing the cipher book.
We all have things to teach one another, if only that Masonic ritual varies, but that the lessons it teaches are universal. I’m grateful to my Wisconsin Lodge for allowing me to bring Illinois ritual to the North, and look forward to learning more from my Brethren there and elsewhere. With my pending move to Indiana, I hope to learn even more of the manner in which our eternal truths are expressed by Brethren in other jurisdictions.
R.W.B. Michael H. Shirley serves the Grand Lodge of Illinois, A.F. & A.M, as Leadership Development Chairman and Assistant Area Deputy Grand Master of the Eastern Area. A Certified Lodge Instructor, he is a Past Master and Life Member of Tuscola Lodge No. 332 and a plural member of Island City Lodge No. 330, F & AM, in Minocqua, Wisconsin. He is Past Most Wise Master of the George E. Burow Chapter of Rose Croix in the Valley of Danville, IL; he is also a member of the Illinois Lodge of Research, the York Rite, Eastern Illinois Council No. 356 Allied Masonic Degrees, Eastern Star, Illini High Twelve, and the Tall Cedars of Lebanon. The author of several article on British and American history, he teaches at Eastern Illinois University.You can contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org