I always run late and miss the interfaith service on the morning of the Grand Master’s Breakfast. I don’t know why, but it seems to be a tradition now. I may just keep that tradition and skip the Sunday service although I hear it’s nice. The breakfast and fellowship never disappoint, and I seem to find my way to the St. Louis Moolah Shrine Temple about the time the service ends each year just in time to shake some hands and be seated at my lodge’s table.
This year being no exception, it was a nice cool, rainy break from a run of near or over 100-degree days as I pulled into the mostly full large parking lot. I knew I would see some of my favorite Brethren from all over the state, and sure enough, they drove sometimes hours and hours to gather for the event. This year all three youth organizations banded together for the first time to assist in serving the breakfast, and it was nice to see all three orgs working together seamlessly. The Shriners were fantastic as always and very welcoming in opening up the large hall for the breakfast. I have the utmost respect and appreciation for the Shriners even though it doesn’t seem to be my path in Masonry. I encourage all Masons to do a deeper investigation into the Shrine to see if it fits with their path. The programming was good and moved quickly through many introductions to the speaker and then closing remarks, and a few of us retired to a local cigar lounge for additional fellowship and lofty conversation over beverages of choice.
Seems fairly pedestrian, right? Most of us experience some form of Masonic event across regional or even state boundaries, right? Well, no, and I hope to make this point: Many don’t know all Masons are welcome and encouraged to attend these functions. I know many Masons that have never visited even a neighboring Lodge, and that makes me a little sad. We must communicate and encourage others to attend these events and especially attend events like our Grand Lodge communications. I often hear those events are for “apron chasers” who belong to all the organizations, or that these events are for officers and those “chasing gold” by wanting to be appointed to higher offices. Believe me when I say that’s not the case. Yeah, I suppose we do have a fair number of Brothers who do chase the gold, but that’s no different than any organization, right? It took me a few years to get past my preconceptions to understand attendance to Grand Lodge functions helps demonstrate your voice, and your voice is important. Your voice is certainly as important as mine, and probably more so!
I also had to come to my own realization about those chasing the gold as I used to think the same thing. I admit I had a jaded view of organizational management when I joined the Craft, and that initial bias carried over to sarcasm and even some dismissive views toward Grand Lodge at the regional and state levels. After all, what and who were these people to me? I found out differently as I met and spoke with these fine gentlemen who give up so much time with family and friends in order to serve the Fraternity. Yeah, we may occasionally get a Grand Master here and there in some jurisdictions that may not be the best, but I found that to be a rarity. We in Missouri are very fortunate to have a very strong Grand Line both past and present, and I am excited for the future of the Craft. If you will take the time to talk to your Grand Line officers, your Masonic experience will be enriched. Taking the time to engage and work with your Grand line officers, or simply showing up at functions to show support makes a difference.
My Grand Line officers know I’m not chasing aprons nor interested in ever becoming a Grand Line appointee. How do they know that? I told them. I just don’t see Masonic administrative leadership as being my path in Freemasonry when my focus remains on helping others through education, communication, and mentoring. I also told these same Grand Line officers they could count on me if needed or as needed to get things done. These private conversations with the Grand Line officers pay off in ways we may never see. By making our interests known, by making our voices heard, by showing up and simply having a good time in fellowship with our Brethren, we set many wheels in motion behind the scenes. If you want to serve on committees or serve in other ways, how will they know if you don’t tell them? If you want to support your Grand Lodge but not serve on committees or by appointment, how will they know if you don’t tell them? If you are able to provide Brotherly Love, Relief, and Truth in some way to your District, Region, or Grand Lodge, how will they know if you don’t tell them?
Randy and his wife Elyana live near St. Louis, Missouri, USA. Randy earned a Bachelors Degree in Chemistry with an emphasis in Biochemistry, and he works in Telecom IT management. He volunteers as a professional and personal mentor, NRA certified Chief Range Safety Officer and enjoys competitive tactical pistol, rifle, and shotgun. He has 30 plus years teaching Wing Chun Kung Fu, Chi Kung, and healing arts. Randy served as a Logistics Section Chief on two different United States federal Disaster Medical Assistance Teams over a 12 year span. Randy is a 32nd degree KCCH and Knight Templar. His Masonic bio includes past Lodge Education Officer for two symbolic lodges, Founder of the Wentzville Lodge Book Club, member of the Grand Lodge of Missouri Education Committee, Sovereign Master of the E. F. Coonrod AMD Council No. 493, Co-Librarian of the Scottish Rite Valley of St. Louis, Clerk for the Academy of Reflection through the Valley of Guthrie, and a Facilitator for the Masonic Legacy Society. Randy is a founding administrator for Refracted Light, full contributor to Midnight Freemasons, and an international presenter on esoteric topics. Randy hosts an open ongoing weekly Masonic virtual Happy Hour on Friday evenings. Randy is an accomplished home chef, a certified barbecue judge, raises Great Pyrenees dogs, and enjoys travel and philosophy.