Grand LEO


In 2023, there was a primary educational theme emphasizing the significance of travel, complemented by the secondary theme of interconnectedness. Our interactions with others and the world around us hold a pivotal role in Masonry, both presently and historically. These cemented bonds are the key to unlocking our capacity to learn, grow, and effect positive change. The world presents us with boundless opportunities for learning, beauty, wonder, and mystery for those who dare explore it.   While sometimes veiled, this was the interconnected theme of my articles in the Ashlar, eMason, and Conundrums.  There were some “Easter Eggs” thrown in for good measure; I hope you found and reflected on them.

I have a strong wish to inspire fellow Brothers to step forward and share a piece of themselves with our Fraternity and the broader world. The repercussions of the pandemic have underscored the importance of reconnecting with society and adapting to the changing landscapes that have unfolded over the years.  This is a challenging task.  While it can seem like 2020 is the root of our current obstacles, I would argue that we were already on a trajectory of deeper isolation which current events have only accelerated.

Speaking as a technologist, our advancements can be a blessing and a curse.  It has become too easy to retreat behind screens and hide in a virtual world in the comfort of our armchairs rather than truly engaging with reality.  The world needs us now more than ever to rediscover the balance. In the real world and throughout my travels, I have witnessed Brothers collaborating and displaying a keen interest in reflecting on the lessons imparted by Masonry. Witnessing this fills my heart with joy.  

Wayfaring Man Program
For some time now, the importance of travel has been understood and reflected in the Minnesota Wayfaring Man Program.   It continues to grow and be used as an effective tool for Masons to take advantage of the 14th Ancient Landmark here in Minnesota.  We see Brothers bringing their passports to Masonic events to be stamped and signed.  Additionally, the program continues to find new ways to assist members and provide opportunities for stamped passports.  An increase of Grand Lodge events has boosted activity and engagement. 
As of this writing, there were 269 enrollees, 27 additions, and 1 completion in 2023.  Look for special traveling and educational activities planned for 2024.  Special thanks to WB Terrance Schaffer for his work and report for the Wayfaring Man program.

Masonic Light Program
Challenge and reward is a major aspect of incentivizing us to grow.  For those that decide to engage with it, The Masonic Light Program continues to be a great intellectual challenge, and framework for learning new things.  The program has had 29 Brothers who have earned the award since its inception.  While no new awards were given in 2023, seven new Brothers enrolled in the program last year.  Special thanks to WB Rick Vance and his leadership and report for the Masonic Light Program.   

Midwest Conference on Masonic Education
I have made some great friends through MCME, and I am excited that it will be hosted on May 3 – May 5, 2024 in Minnesota.  With a theme of “Teach the Teacher”, MCME promises to have great materials for anyone excited to learn and share what they have learned with others.  Throughout 2023, great work was done in preparation for this event.  With several jurisdictions in its membership base, MCME is an excellent opportunity to network and benefit from multiple Masonic perspectives.  Special thanks to MCME, and especially WB Andy Niemyer and WB Don Moy for their help in making this exciting event materialize in Minnesota in 2024. 

Masonic Camp
I am also excited to be collaborating with the Masonic camp.  Located in Minnesota and hosted in July, the Masonic Camp is an opportunity to “lose yourself in the company of good fellowship of your Brothers for a weekend surrounded by the majestic pines, clear blue waters, and the soft crackle of the campfire for a weekend of Masonic Education …”  Special thanks to Bro Evan Schroeder, Bro Peter Beerbower, and WB Chris Glassman for their help in making this event materialize.

Committee Interactions
We continue to evolve the way we think about membership, mentorship, and leadership.  Education is an undeniable aspect of each.   Special thanks to the committees for their involvement, and to WB Reed Endersbe for leading us into the next generation of these concepts.   Re-imagining work has started in 2023, and I am excited to see and support new developments that are coming in 2024. 

Looking to the Future                                                    
Looking to the Future, I am excited to see more education opportunities and sharing of content and ideas.  In 2024, you’ll see an expansion of opportunities in this space, and I will be looking to LEOs and members of the craft to help us achieve this objective.

Fraternally submitted,
Bradley Phelps
Grand LEO

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