REPORT OF THE GRAND LODGE EDUCATION OFFICER
“Education, no matter what kind, should breed in the student a love of knowledge.” – Address given by Bro. J. A. Evans, M.D., P.M., P.Z., before the Toronto Society for Masonic Study and Research, September 20th, 1930.
Growth and Development
This past Masonic year has seen Minnesota Masonic Education grow and restore itself as we move out of the period of comparative isolation and back into joining together in learning and development of our Masonic lives. Brothers not only received more light in masonry, but many also felt inspired to write and share learning with others. This inspiring turn shows that as has been discussed in prior years, Masons thirst for education, and receiving that education serves to build stronger Masons as well as stronger Lodges.
It is worth noting that Minnesota Masonic Education has become recognized nationally as both a source of material for others interested in education, but also as a welcoming platform for aspiring and established Masonic writers to publish their works and essays. This has allowed us to share works by many authors, helping to spread light in masonry even further.
The Masonic Light Program 2022
WB Rick Vance reports to us this past year: “The Masonic Light Award Program has Brother Joel Friedman of Cataract Lodge No. 2 as a recipient this year. He will be the 29th recipient in the 29 years of the program. Brother Joel’s educational content he shared with his lodge was outstanding. It has been six years since another brother has earned the award. In the past year nine other brothers have signed up to participate in the Masonic Light Award Program.
To earn the award, one must complete a number of specific objectives in seven of the following nine categories: Leadership, Masonic History, Ritual, Philosophy & Masonic Symbolism, Computers & Masonic Forums, Contemporary Enlightenment, Mentoring, Lodge Administration, and Concordant Appendant Bodies. While working toward completing the objectives of the program is largely self-directed and motivated by the individual it is helpful for the enrollee to let their lodge Master and Lodge Education Officer know they are enrolled to enable and encourage them to make presentations in lodge meetings and participate in the various roles and activities to help them earn the points to fulfill the objectives of the different categories. The program guidelines specify that points toward the program can only be awarded after a brother has enrolled in the program.
It is recommended that all newly raised brothers are advised of the program and encourage to enroll to facilitate their own path of Masonic education and enlightenment. Rick Vance of Corinthian Lodge No. 67 is the Masonic Light Award Program coordinator and can be contacted at 952 210-8743.”
Ashlar, Minnesota Mason Newspaper, eMason & Monthly Lodge Education Bulletins:
This year saw the evolution of our printed communications from the phasing out of the Minnesota Mason to the broader distributed Ashlar, aimed at all branches of the Minnesota Masonic family, including DeMolay, Job’s Daughters, the Order of the eastern Star as well as Minnesota Masonry. Given its broader audience, Ashlar articles focused this past year on universal lessons in leadership, applicable for members and leaders in each and every organization.
The monthly eMason has become the focus for education aimed directly at Minnesota’s Masons, with a wide variety of material looking at ritual, more esoteric aspects of Masonry, history and other topics of a general educational nature. Contributions have been made from both Minnesota Masons as well as Masonic writers from across the nation, as noted above.
The Minnesota Monthly Masonic Education Bulletin, explicitly aimed for LEOs, has continued to be sent out in all but June, July & August for their use. Its subscription base continues to expand, and is distributed across the country and to Minnesota Lodge Education Officers.
Wayfaring Man Program
Ably administered and wisely guided by Worshipful Brother Terrance Schaffer, and with Lodges all now open for guests and visitors again, the Traveling Man program is once again quite active. WB Schaffer reports:
Total Number of Enrollees: 242
Total Additions for 2019: 28
Program Completions: 1 in 2022 (17 Total)
“The ability to freely travel and visit lodges again as well as the reinstatement of regular degree cycles has opened up the program to a number of new members this year and the program has benefited greatly, bringing in greater numbers since taking over the Program in 2013.
“The increase in some of the required events being put on by Grand Lodge has also been a boast in activity, such as the Area Conferences and the JR Wardens conference and the like. The Schools of Instruction has begum again and Brothers are excited about getting out and taking advantage of these opportunities.
“We are continuing to find new ways to assist members of the program as well and giving them opportunities to get things accomplished. Look for some special Traveling Activities as well as Educational Activities as we move farther into 2023.”
Masonic Education Committee
Members of the Committee have continued to serve as outstanding content providers, as well as educators in their own right. With 27 separate publishing deadlines over the masonic year, the Committee members made available numerous essays and writings that have been published in the e- Mason and Minnesota Monthly Masonic Education Bulletin.
This Report marks my last as your Grand Lodge Education Officer. These past five years have been ones of growth, unforeseen challenges, remarkable advances in how we communicate, the loss of truly noteworthy Masonic educators of national renown as well as losses within our own collective Minnesota Masonic family. Through it all, the quest for more Light in Masonry through education has served as a beacon and landmark for us all. It has been a period for me, as your Grand Lodge Education Officer, of growth and knowledge and the realization that as I came to study and impart knowledge of the Craft, the less I realize I know of it and its intimate complexities. My greatest hope is that I have imparted to all Masons at least as much light as I have received as we all continue to Seek More Light, Quarite, plus lucem.
Very respectfully submitted,
Andrew Niemyer, PM
Grand Lodge Education Officer