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Monday, February 12, 2018

Grand Masters Conference in Indianapolis Begins Saturday

Coinciding with the bicentennial celebration of the founding of the Grand Lodge of Indiana this year, Indianapolis is hosting the 2018 Conference of Grand Masters of North America. Events start Saturday, February 17th and run through Tuesday, February 20th.

I will be roaming the halls or manning a vendor's table at the Hyatt with my usual stack of Freemasons for Dummies and my other books. But this year is very special for us in Indiana, and I will have copies of my latest, Heritage Endures: Perspectives On 200 Years Of Indiana Freemasonry. It will be the perfect souvenir of your trip to Indianapolis this year, and a bargain at a paltry $25. Plus, my Grand Master Rodney Mann is tired of tripping over all of these book boxes on his way to his office. So I had to do something drastic. 

I promise that, unlike the usual grand lodge history book, this one will be of interest to all Masons, not just us Hoosiers. This isn't just a list of antique grand masters and forgotten lodges, and Indiana is placed into the wider story of the fraternity.

And hey, any book autographed by me twenty years from now will be worth FULL retail...

While you're in town, be sure to visit our three major landmark Masonic buildings: the Indianapolis Masonic Temple at 525 North Illinois Street; The Indianapolis Scottish Rite Cathedral, just north of the Temple at North and Meridian Streets; and the Murat Shrine Temple at 502 North New Jersey Street. 

Indianapolis Masonic Temple

Also, be sure you visit the Masonic Library and Museum of Indiana on the 5th floor of the Masonic Temple. Our director, Past Grand Master Michael D. Brumback has flown back from wintering in Phoenix just to be here for the Conference, and he is the consummate Museum guide. We have many special exhibits here specifically for the bicentennial year, including the Fredericksburg Lodge Bible upon which the young George Washington took his three Masonic obligations in Virginia in 1752-53.

Fredericksburg Lodge Bible

As a bit of Masonic heritage trivia, the Hyatt Hotel today sits on the former site of not just the first, but the first TWO Grand Lodge Temples in Indianapolis:
The first Indianapolis Masonic Temple and Grand Lodge headquarters 1848-1874. 

SE corner of Capitol Avenue and Washington Streets.

Second Indianapolis Masonic Temple (1875-1906) during the fire of 1906. 
On the far right of the photo is the last minute afterthought addition of 
Indiana Freemasons Hall auditorium, embarrassingly (and expensively) left out of the original plans. 
SE corner of Capitol Avenue and Washington Streets. 
Replaced by the current Temple in 1910.

Be sure you cross the street diagonally to the Statehouse and take your picture next to the statue of George Washington depicted in his Masonic regalia as the founding Master of Alexandria lodge in Virginia. He appropriately faces Washington Street:

No one will be bored in this town, I promise. If this is your first time in Indianapolis, don't just chain yourself to the hotel. You and your traveling companions are NOT confined to the Hyatt when it comes to shopping, dining, and loads of sights and attractions, including museums and theatres. Downtown Indianapolis is FILLED with 300 restaurants, so you will find an embarrassment of riches when hunting somewhere to eat dinner. Better yet, this is a walking city, even in the winter time, and loads of business areas are interconnected connected with covered walkways, including the Circle Center Mall. Everything is close by. The Hyatt is a five minute walk from dozens of eateries, in all price ranges. Check out the Downtown Indy website for ideas. 

Here is the current schedule of the Conference events:

Registration desk will be open from 9:00am to 3:00pm.
GRAND LODGE of INDIANA: Pre-conference Tour at 9:00 am
-Welcome and Tailgate Party: Refreshments at 5:30 pm, Dinner at 6:30 pm, Dress is casual, wear your favorite team apparel.

Registration desk will be open from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm.
Grand Secretaries' Tour departs at 9:30 am

Grand Masters Conference opens at 10:00 am. Dress: Coat/ties-Dress/Pantsuit. 

Reports of Planning, Executive Secretary, Nominating Committee, Election of 2019 Officers.

a) Grand Masters and their Ladies "Get Acquainted Lunch"
a) Deputy Grand Masters and their Ladies "Get Acquainted Lunch" a) Grand Wardens, Officers and their Ladies "Get Acquainted Lunch"

SUNDAY AFTERNOON: Conference will begin with Reports by the George Washington Masonic Memorial Association; National Masonic Foundation, Masonic Renewal and MasoniChip International; . Breakouts on Database Management, Blue Lodge Finances, & Millennial Apprentices.

SUNDAY EVENING WILL BE OPEN. So take advantage of our incredible downtown lineup of dining options.

MONDAY, February 19, 2018
Registration desk will be open from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm
Grand Secretaries Conference convenes at 9:00 am
Grand Masters' Conference reconvenes at 9:00 am with reports from Time and Place Committee and Commission on Information for Recognition. 

Breakouts on Lodge Security, Social Media & Generational Differences and Expectations followed by a second session on Lodge Security, Social Media and Masonic Youth.
(You can't tell from these descriptions, but one of these breakout sessions deals with 'How to Improve the Stated Meeting,' presented by Roger S. Van Gorden of the Masonic Renewal Committee. I highly recommend this one if you haven't seen it before.)
Grand Masters, Grand Secretaries & Visiting Grand Lodge Officers photos at 11:00 am.

Grand Secretaries' and Grand Masters' Conference reconvenes at 1:30 pm. Breakouts on Peer Groups, JGMs, SGMs, and DGMs.

BANQUET HOSTED BY THE CONFERENCE OFFICERS: (All welcome) Entertainment and 2018 Presentations. Social Hour -- 6:00pm; Banquet at 7:00pm, $75.00 each. Dress: Coat/Tie-Dress/Pantsuit.

DAD LAND SHRINE/DEMOLAY MEN'S BREAKFAST 7:00 am -- Sponsored by the Imperial Shrine on behalf of DeMolay International. Donation of $20.00 is being collected for DeMolay International.

Grand Secretaries Conference reconvenes at 9:30 am
Grand Master's Conference reconvenes at 9:30 am with reports from Time and Place Committee and Commission on Information for Recognition. 

Breakouts on Temple Associations, Redistricting/Consolidation & Social Media.

LADIES BRUNCH: The Masonic Medical Research Laboratory will host a Ladies Brunch on Tuesday morning at 9:15 am. 


The Grand Masters Conference will reconvene with business session and discussion on any items not completed. Our 2019 Hosts, the Grand Lodge of South Dakota will have a presentation on the 2019 Conference.

After adjournment the National Sojourners, Inc., Grand Masters Chapter 996 will meet.


There will be a huge lineup of vendors on hand on the third floor at the Hyatt throughout the Conference. The  diagram of those tables is below. Click the image to enlarge:

Please stop by my table and chat. I'm looking forward to meeting up with old friends and making new ones. And I hope you have a great time in my home town! Great Masonic ideas and practices got their start in Indiana, and we have much to be proud of here.

Welcome to Indianapolis!

Indianapolis Scottish Rite Cathedral

Murat Shrine

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