Joining the Shrine

by Midnight Freemason Guest Contributor
Michael Hambrecht

Any who know me, know that I wasn't really interested in bodies like the Shrine, Grotto, Tall Cedars of Lebanon, or even the High Twelve Clubs. It’s not that I had anything against these other Masonic bodies, it’s that I wanted to spend my time working in the York Rite bodies and some in the Scottish Rite first. That part hasn’t changed. What has happened is a different story.

I became a Master Mason back in April 2016. Sometime after that my Mom started asking me if I was ever going to be a Shriner. I remember telling her, “I don’t have any desire to be a clown or drive around in little cars, so probably not. But maybe someday.” She said, “ok”, but she never stopped asking. She even began to tell me why she wanted me to join, because of their Children’s Hospitals. My response was, “Yes they do that but I can just donate to that. I don’t have to join.” Finally in late 2017, she said, “If you join, I’ll pay your dues for it as long as I live.” I said, “Okay, if it’s that important to you. Let me think about it but I think I will. For you.

Well, as usually happens life and other things got in the way of doing anything about it. In February 2018, my Father, a new Mason, her husband of 53 years passed away. This was pretty devastating to the whole family and had a profound effect on us. I now had other things, including my Freemasonry to think about and work on. As with all things like the loss of a spouse, it had an extra profound effect on my Mom. She actually never let it show. So I had no idea how much until she passed in December 2018, only a mere 10 months almost to the day that my Dad did. To say this shattered me would be an understatement, but I have persevered with the help of my Brothers.

Now when she passed, it turned out that she and my Dad left my sister and I some money. Enough to make some long term decisions. One that still took me some time to make-- Should I join the Shrine? I spent quite a bit of time going back and forth about it. I still really hadn’t decided on her offer. I spoke to quite a few Brothers about this. Some Shriners and others not.

I had decided that I would do it one day soon, maybe next year. A Brother of mine told me that they were planning a ceremonial, the initiation, on June 8th (last passed), if I was really interested. I immediately asked for a petition, for two reasons, 1st my birthday is June 7 and 2nd, June 9th was my Mom’s Birthday. It seemed like a sign. As soon as I turned in the petition, I began to get excited for it. After I was informed that my petition had been voted on and accepted, I was really excited. Not just because I was joining something new but because I was doing this for Mom.

On June 8th, I went through the ceremonial and got my Fez. I owe this to my Mom for giving me a reason to consider joining this, but honestly, I am now a member not just for her but for all of the Children we help every year at the Shriner’s Hospitals. I listened to many stories about what's been done and what Brothers do every day for these children and their families. I have finally learned a little more about the charitable side of Freemasonry. I can’t explain the feeling but I want you to know it’s not the financial side of charity I am talking about. It is the dressing as clowns to make children smile. It is driving little cars, motorcycles or trucks to let people see us. It is talking to a burn victim’s family and offering them hope. It is talking to the family of a child with bone issues or the child with cleft lip and or pallet issues and offering them hope. I realize I am mentioning hope but the charity of caring enough to speak with these families, caring enough to volunteer to get them to and from the hospitals and caring enough to do this, without asking anything from those families, just so they can hope and their child can be healed. I am glad I did this but I am sorry I didn’t do it when my Mom was alive to see me do it. She knew how right this was to do.


Bro. Mike Hambrecht was raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason on April 20, 2016 in Village Lodge #274 F & AM in Burton, Ohio. Currently he is a member of Triandria Lodge #780, where he is Junior Deacon and Lodge Education Officer, and a member Lake Shore Lodge #307. He is also a member Willoughby Royal Arch Chapter #231, where he is Scribe, Ohio Royal Arch Chapter of Research, where he is Secretary, Windermere Council of Royal & Select Masters #113, Eagle Commandery #29, where he is Standard Bearer, Scottish Rite Valley of Cleveland, and more recently a Noble of the Al Koran Shrine. He also serves on the Grand Lodge of Ohio’s Education Committee. He works in the IT field and has a wife, daughter, two dogs, and two cats.


  1. Brother, I feel your pain. My dad passed in January 2005. Mom in September 2005. I became an orphan at age 49.

  2. I joined Tripoli last year. I enjoy being active with my local Shrine club. I don't know how active I'll ever be with "main group", but I love being active at the community level with the local group.


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