Sunday, April 09, 2006

Dummies In Minnesota

I continue to be be astonished and humbled at the incredible reception Freemasons For Dummies has received. This past week, I spent two days in Minneapolis, at the Grand Lodge of Minnesota's annual communication. The book and its Dummy have been awarded the Duane E. Anderson Award for Excellence In Masonic Education by the Masons of Minnesota.


I don't know where to begin with how honored I am to be given an educational award for a book with Dummies in the title. More important, the reception I was given was nothing short of astonishing. If there are any Minnesota Masons lurking here, thank you, truly, from the bottom of my heart.



Their Grand Secretary told me to prepare not one, but THREE presentations for Friday. I figured by the banquet Friday night, the rotten vegetables would be flying at me. But every session was a true delight.

I owe a tremendous and un-repayable amount of thanks to MWBro. Andy Rice, the immediate PGM, MWBro. Neil "Cinosam" Neddermeyer PGM (and his wife Julie), Ed "More Light" Halpaus, Grand Lodge Education Officer, MWBro. Terry Tilton PGM, Grand Secretary Doug Campbell, especially SGD Tom Hendricks, and way too many others to list here. But most especially the brethren of Minnesota. The Grand Lodge Masonic Book Program has delivered over 1000 copies to its members, and the Grand Lodge Book Store sold over 200 copies on Thursday and Friday alone.

You guys won't ever know how that makes me feel, and I can't put it into words.

Now, here's the really important bit.

If you noticed something about the above descriptions, you'll see something very different from most Masonic jurisdictions. The GLofM gives a local and national award for excellence in Masonic Education. Their Grand Lodge meeting has three sets of afternoon breakout sessions on a wide variety of educational topics. They have a Grand Lodge Education Officer, Ed Halpaus, who emails a monthly educational piece to thousands of Masons. Ditto for Neil Neddermeyer, their Grand Lodge Fraternal Relations Officer, whose job it is to visit EVERY SINGLE LODGE IN MINNESOTA over the course of the year. He sends out CINOSAM, a weekly educational and anecdotal newsletter to over 3000 Masons the world over. Minnesota has a regular book program. In short, the GLofM has made a huge, ongoing commitment to educating its members. Their website is loaded with rafts of educational programs for officers and members. They believe strongly in the regular, ongoing mission of keeping their Craft educated, engaged and informed.

That's a lesson we should all be stealing and claiming as our own.

By the way, they have been planning for months a high-profile reaction to the upcoming DaVinci Code movie, and are planning for the onslaught of interest in Freemasonry when Dan Brown's Solomon Key is released, probably around Christmas.

Are you? Are we?

2 comments:

Donnie Davis said...

I don't know much about Freemasons, I admit. Everything I've heard have made them seem secretive. I've always been interested in learning about these secrets.... I am the type that loves to solve riddles and puzzles. Maybe it's not as secretive as everyone makes it out to be... or maybe it is.

Chris Hodapp said...

Ah, Victoria, have I got a book for you...