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Sunday, February 04, 2007

Grand Lodge of Nebraska

I had the honor of being a part of the workshops for the 150th annual communication of the Grand Lodge of Nebraska this past week in Kearney, Nebraska. The brethren of Nebraska were exceedingly gracious, friendly and fun, and I had a fantastic time. Many thanks to the folks there who helped make it a great couple of days (you guys have a gem in your Grand Lodge office in the form of Michelle, in case no one told you lately).

My very special thanks go to Most Worshipful Brother Scott Krieger, GM in 2006, and his wife Tammy. I met them last year as I visited grand lodges in Iowa and Minnesota, and I owe them both a tremendous note of thanks for their kindness and their warm welcome. Nebraska had fine leadership last year with Scott at the helm, and Nebraska's Masons can be proud of their accomplishments. What I saw and heard during their Grand Lodge session make it clear that the men poised to lead Nebraska's Masons into the future truly have vision and commitment.

Congratulations to their new Grand Master, MWBro. Dean Skokan. He promised all assembled lodges that he would grant dispensation for almost anything to allow them wide latitude to experiment, innovate and find new solutions to the problems that plague them. His quote was "You can't steer a parked car. This fraternity has been acting like a stubborn mule for too long. I'm here to kick it in the ass." Bravo, my friend.

I was especially honored to share the stage during the workshops withBrother Akram Elias, Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia. If you saw A&E/The History Channel's program, Mr. Dreyfuss Goes to Washington, Akram co-produced it with Richard Dreyfuss and wrote the original treatment for the show.

Brother Elias presented his program, Unveiling The Masonic Symbolism of Washington, DC. I assure the brethren, there was no advance collusion between the two of us, but it sure seemed like it as he touched on topics I brought up, and Solomon's Builders certainly covers much of what he spoke about. If you haven't seen Brother Elias' program, he is a powerful speaker, with an exciting and powerful viewpoint concerning Freemasonry and the founding of America. The most stirring thing he said touched the hearts of every Mason in the room. "I was born in Lebanon," he said. "I am an American by CHOICE, not by birth. I choose to be an American because of this Great Experiment created by Freemasons."

The Grand Lodge banquet was enlivened by almost 600 people performing the 7 traditional toasts, which expanded to about a dozen before it was over, with *YIPE!* real wine and real firing glasses, making a great show of the proper cannon fire procedures, which became big, loud, noisy and hilarious by the end of the evening. It was the one and only Grand Lodge banquet I have ever attended that people hated to see end, and truly had a wonderful time.

Again, many thanks to the Masons of Nebraska and to Brother Akram as well, for the many new friendships I made this week.

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