The 2022 North Carolina Middle Chamber education series: My Own Hero’s Journey in Masonic Education - Part Two

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
Bro. Randy Sanders

Part Two of Three: Fellow Craft

Amusingly, my 1,600-mile round trip in June for the Middle Chamber’s Fellow Craft session tested me just as EA’s should be tested before the second degree. I opted to leave again very early Friday morning, and I met serious resistance in driving through three separate severe thunderstorms and several other heavy storms along the route. The severe thunderstorms were definitely big ones as I saw trees bending as much as sixty degrees at mid-point and large limbs down in many places. Fortunately, my truck handled the storms with ease, and I was only delayed a couple of hours by traffic, not so much by the weather itself. I pulled into the Greensboro Wyndham Garden hotel at almost 7pm having left St. Louis at 3:30am, and I found amusement in the timing as we had unofficially adopted 7pm as our meeting time in the restaurant. Not a bad guess at timing the drive after all. 

Brother Matt and several of the instructors had some health issues pop up, so Brother Ben Wallace met us in the restaurant with a smaller crowd of about eight Brothers this time as fewer stayed at the hotel. Along with the eight or so Brothers at dinner, I had another nice long conversation with Brother Ben who assured me of the blessings and encouragement of all the instructors to expand the Middle Chamber education to Missouri. We enjoyed a long evening of fellowship and good times before retiring for the next morning.

Brother Ben kicked things off right on time, and he adapted on the fly to most of the instructors out from illness or previous commitments. In a testament to the depth of knowledge and teaching skills of the North Carolina instructors, Brothers Ben and Randy Browning alternated sections, guiding us seamlessly through the material. The only issue we encountered, maybe almost humorously, was the lunch break being early enough the downtown restaurants hadn’t yet opened. Several Brothers were late returning to the Temple and missed a bit of the afternoon lecture. This seems a bit trivial until I assure you every instructive word was memorable and worth considering.

For the Fellow Craft trip, I opted to drive home after the class ended rather than stay overnight Saturday. I stayed briefly for a personal guided tour of the temple by several very knowledgeable Brothers, I found a gas station, and I didn’t stop again for about 400 miles. Calling back to being tested on the road this trip, I was driving around 1:00am somewhere near Evansville, Indiana on Interstate 70. As I pulled into the left lane to pass a car, I noticed headlights in the distance, and it took me a moment to realize these headlights were actually pointed at me, not in the normal oncoming lanes. I pulled back over into the right lane and began slowing down, and sure enough, the wrong-way driver flew past me in my own passing lane easily exceeding highway speeds. Guessing they were DUI, I said a silent prayer for anyone behind me that they might meet. I also didn’t have any issue remaining awake for the last three hours of the journey home.

Next part: bringing it all together


Randy and his wife Elyana live near St. Louis, Missouri, USA. Randy earned a bachelor's 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 of 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, a 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.

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