April 20, 2008

How can it already be April.  It seems as if the year just started.  Since then things have gone quite well.  Our attendance is up.  We have been blessed by the presence of many less frequent attendees including:   Wes Knauss, Art Neu, Norm Winchester, Dick Tilton, Chris Bogue, and Lloyd Demoss.  As important has been the conversion of many occasional attendees to regulars, improving our experience exponentially.  Our last three meetings have had over twenty Brethren!!  I have had many phone conversations with other Brethren who are planning to attend upcoming meetings.   Most important has been the addition of Brothers Jake Daniels and John Kitt.   
Our business meeting has been streamlined.  Our discussions at the meeting are focusing on all things Masonry.  In February, we discussed terms used in the obligations and charges.   Often we are too focused on being the candidate to obtain their full meaning.  I believe even the Past Masters may have picked up on a word or two.  Our March meeting found us discussing the role of secrecy in Lodge and the reality of being as open about our Craft as we can; otherwise,  how can we perpetuate ourselves.  Only the signs, words and modes of recognition are generally assumed to be off limits.  The same meeting Glenn reviewed the proper manner in which to handle one’s staff.  We ended with a review of the grips. 
We hosted a school of instruction from the Custodians with eight Signet members joining with Masonic Instructors and District Lecturers in their continuing education.  This clearly made us a better lodge in the conferral of our degrees.  March found us holding practice with a DL in attendance to check our accuracy of word and floor work.  There is little doubt we were helped immensely.   
Also we changed some ways in which we conferred the degrees.  In the 1st degree, the second section was presented from memory which I expect is how we should do this hereafter.  The Brethren, from Grace Lodge 519 in Laurens blessed us with their talents in putting on the 2nd section of the 2nd degree, in a manner none of us had seen.      Many of our brethren have been working hard to learn new parts in the ritual.  I would especially like to commend Brother Joe Daniel our Junior Deacon, who took on the challenging role of 3rd ruffian and did a fantastic job.  Also Brother Mark Bennett, has done a commendable job in his endeavors to learn the prodigious Senior Deacon roles.  Lastly Jason Bush has been nearly flawless in his speaking role as Senior Steward. 
Regarding degree work, I would encourage those of you who can think of a candidate who could benefit from Masonry to approach him with a petition.  The time is ripe for our lodge to continue to make headway in improving Carroll and our State through the virtues of Masonry.  Our energy level is off the charts.  When was the last time anyone remembers the Lodge room echoing during the Pledge of Allegance as it did the past three meetings.  I would be glad to approach a potential candidate if that would be more appropriate.   
Further, we have many roles large and small that need to be added or duplicated to enhance the ritual experience.  The following roles need to be memorized.  Please let me know if you are up for the challenge.  Having held an office is not a requirement for participation.  Remember the more active you are the more you will get out of the Lodge.  The bold face type represents parts currently being read or not done thus ready for the taking.    
The very large parts are:  1st degree 3rd section, Middle Chamber Lecture, and 3rd degree 3rd section
The large parts are:  King Solomon, Senior Grand Deacon, 1st craftsman, 1st degree 2nd section (18 questions), Extended Trowel Lecture, Midnight Soliloquy by 3rd ruffian, Charges (all degrees)
The moderate parts are:  Senior Grand Warden, the bible presentation after the 3rd degree, bible verses during conduction of the candidates, 3rd ruffian, Door Lecture
The small parts are:  Grand Secretary, Sea Captain and Wayfarer, 2nd ruffian and 2nd Craftsman
This is a great way to increase the number of contributing Brethren.  We have such a talented pool of ritualists, let us take advantage of our talents. 
I would like to introduce you to some of our officers especially to those of you who may not have had the opportunity to have met them.   They are a very energetic group who desire to put on the very best degrees possible.  We will be begin with our Stewards. 
Our Junior Steward is Brother Dave York.  He graciously accepted his role only two weeks after having been raised.  Brother York was born December 22, 1970 in Hamburg, IA.  He they grew up on a farm near Riverton by Shenandoah, IA graduating from Farragut Community Schools in 1989.  He attended Iowa State studying Agriculture and Farm Operations graduating in 1993.   He has lived in Williamsburg and Muscatine before relocating to Carroll.  Dave’s grandfather is a Mason in Sidney, IA and his mother was a Rainbow Girl.  Dave currently resides at 344 Prairie View, unfortunately he will be moving to Atlantic in June.  He works as District Conservationist for the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service, and will be moving to the same job in Atlantic for Audubon and Cass Counties.  Dave is an avid Cyclone Fan and enjoys their attempts at playing both basketball and football.  He collects John Deere tractors and spends the bulk of his time with family:  wife Kristy and children Katie 6, and Bryan 4.  Hopefully Dave will take some of the lessons he has learned in Carroll and be a firebrand at whichever lodge he joins.  He will be sorely missed. 
Our Senior Steward is Brother Jason Bush.  He also was raised to a Master Mason in December of 2007.  Brother Bush was born October 2, 1972 in Carroll.  He grew up in Storm Lake and Audubon.  After graduation he attended Buena Vista for a year, to play football.  After an injury, he transferred to Northwest Missouri State.   Jason works for Farner-Bocken driving a truck to Des Moines daily.  He and his wife Kelli who works at Carroll Dental Clinic have two girls Hannah 5 and Haley 3.  They also have a Shetland sheepdog, Max.  Jason father-in-law and grandfather-in-law are both masons.  His grandfather-in-law is a 50 year Mason and Past Master.  Thankfully Jason is a Hawk fan.  Jason’s other hobbies are working out, especially through racquetball and lifting weights.  He very active in the community:   Teaching Sunday school and helping on the finance committee at the Methodist Church, being a member of the fire department and on a local relay-for-life team.  Jason hopes that Masonry aids him in becoming a better man and endeavors to learn more of the mysteries of Masonry.  He is hopeful that together our lodge can be one of the best in the state.  We certainly appreciated his enthusiasm.  Dave and Jason courageously took on their roles and have done a fantastic job of perfecting the floor work of the stewards. 
This is just a synopsis of these officers’ lives and hopefully it entices someone either to strike up a conversation or attend lodge to meet these fantastic individuals.  They have put forth a significant time commitment towards our lodge’s improvement. 
May will be very busy.  On May 1st please expect to vote on Bruce Hauswirth also I am planning a presentation on the 47th problem of Euclid and its true significance in Masonry.  I will also be answering the question of which steward wears which apron and the definition of shibboleth.  Thursday, May 8th at 600pm we will be conferring two first degrees.  Brother Randall Crouch will also attend and present the entire 3rd section of the 1st degree from memory.  He is a fantastic speaker.  Let us support him with our attendance.  The second degree will be on Tuesday May 13th at 630 pm.  Monday May 19th at 630 pm will be Bruce’s raising.  Lastly a meeting on the Retention of our newly admitted brethren with be the topic for a Grand Lodge Meeting May 20, Tuesday at 700 pm with refreshments following.  This will focus on the mentoring program. 
I would like to thank all those who helped clean the lodge on Saturday.  Also the pancake breakfast on Sunday was by all accounts a success.  Tuesday, May 6th we will have another breakfast for the United Methodist Women.  If interested in helping call Brother Lockhart, otherwise please attend and show your support.  Our next relief item will be the Memorial weekend breakfast with the American Legion.  We will need lots of help.  Times will be forthcoming.
Thank you all for making this year so rewarding.  Signet Lodge has truly stepped up to the plate in its attempts at rejuvenating Masonry in Carroll.  Please continue to display our central tenets of Brotherly love, relief and truth in any means you can.  I am honored to be representing our lodge.  For any who have email and not on our list please send me you address as you are missing multiple communications regarding degree work. 



Greg Perkins

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