Grand Master Strader’s September Address to the Craft

Greeting Brothers,

   I hope you’ve enjoyed the summer so far, even though we’ve had our bouts of extreme heat or extreme rains. Just another typical summer in Wisconsin! Thank you for all the courtesies you’ve shown to me during my visits to lodge, appendant bodies and youth group events.  I’ve seen evidence of many of you embracing the experiences that Freemasonry and its related organizations have to offer, trying new things and doing what it takes and striving to get members, old and new, as involved as possible.

   I’ve been slowed a bit this summer by an unintended issue. Having been told by my doctor a while ago that both my knees would eventually have to be replaced, I had hoped to wait until after my year in the Grand East to deal with it. Well, one knee decided not to cooperate and quickly progressed downhill, so I decided I needed to deal with it.  n early July I had my left knee replaced and did not want to make a big deal of it, but many of you caught wind of it and I’ve received many calls and emails, as well as cards from lodges wishing me a quick recovery. Thank you all for the sentiment. You don’t realize the extent of your network of friends and Brothers until something like this occurs. Rehab is going well, I’m walking well enough now to lose the cane, but getting full movement in the knee joint is likely to take a few more months.

   I hope your lodge contributed something to our time capsules for the 175thanniversary of our Grand Lodge. We had a memorable ceremony after the closing of the Annual Communications, with specially minted challenge coins given to all in attendance. If you weren’t there, challenge coins are still available for purchase on the Square Store on the Grand Lodge website. Our District Deputy Grand Masters arranged to have the massive model of the Madison Masonic Center (MMC), constructed by our own Brother and former DDGM Jerry McDonald, transported to Dousman for a closing ceremony at the 3 Pillars summer picnic on August 4. It followed the touching annual ceremony by Three Pillars for the Tribute Path, this year introducing dedicated picnic tables in addition to benches and bricks. Our time capsules inside the MMC model will be on display in the library at the MMC

   Speaking of the Madison Masonic Center. . . as I write this column, while at the biennial Scottish Rite Northern Jurisdiction Supreme Session in Milwaukee, all those that needed to complete signing the MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) to bring the MMC under the administration of the Grand Lodge charities were here this weekend, and it is now signed and complete.  I’ll report more on this next month.

   The Masonic Days of Light for this fall are well along in planning and execution. I look forward to seeing many of you in Tomah on October 19 and in Sheboygan on November 2. To give the lodges a bit of advance notice of the Spring MDoLs, so you can arrange your membership activities, we have those dates and locations established. There will be an event on March 7th at Racine-Belle City, and on March 21 in Eau Claire. For those of you anticipating further light, we are also looking at an Academy session on January 18th in Portage, and another yet unscheduled session after the Spring MDoL events.

   This fall is going to be a busy one and I look forward to seeing, greeting and conversing on the topics of Masonry with many of you at lodge meetings, table lodges, special dinners, district meetings and other events. Please contact me if you want Grand Lodge representation at your lodge’s key events. I’m especially interested in major Masonic anniversaries and helping you commemorate them with those deserving Brothers. Speaking of Grand Lodge representation, if you are interested in being considered for one of our officer positions or being on one of our many committees, please contact any Grand Lodge Officer.  

I’m proud to be a Freemason! I hope you are too.  Hope to see you soon!

Embrace the Experience!

Faithfully yours,

Bob Strader

Grand Master