Your 2021-22 Grand Lodge Officers [posted August 2021]
From the Deputy Grand Master [posted August 2021]
I would like to first start out by announcing a HUGE Thank You for allowing me to serve as your Deputy Grand Master for the ensuing year. I can not tell you how much each and every one of you have made my yearly journey on this thing we call Grand Lodge exciting!
The year has started out a blast our biggest event as your Grand lodge line was just a few weeks ago in Philip, SD, for the C.W. Nash celebration, which was a lot of fun! I would like to extend a big thanks to the planning team for getting it all put together. If you ever find yourself around Philip, SD, be sure to get there on a Friday night and hit up the 73 Saloon for their steak night. WHOA, that is a huge piece of beef that you cook yourself . . . or, in our case, there were 3 cooks and the other 30 of us just ate the food! Be sure to stop up at the Masonic cemetery and see the story board that we had dedicated in C.W. Nash’s honor.
Your Grand Lodge line is excited to get this year moving forward, all of the lodges should be open and running strong. If you haven’t heard from your Lodge in awhile it may be because you don’t have the correct contact information set up with them. Please reach out and be sure that all of your contact info is up to date. That is the only way to guarantee you get the info you need, from your Lodge and your Grand Lodge.
A big change headed your way, and one I am super stoked about is, the decision of your Grand Master to put together a membership team consisting of members from the Masons, The Shriners, the York and Scottish Rites to work together as a strong unit to get those good men into our great fraternity. Let us be honest, we NEED to work together as a team, to try and curb the decline of membership across the state.
Again THANK YOU Brothers!!
Dan Nace, Deputy Grand Master / Grand Master Elect
From the South [posted August 2021]
As we begin a new Masonic year there is a lot of opportunity in front of us. Many Lodges are eager to kick off their fall calendar and get back into a more normal rhythm of the Craft that was disrupted by the events of the last 18 months.
This year kicked off with the funeral rites and plaque dedication for CW Nash in Phillip. It was refreshing to once again come together with Brothers from across the state as well as from different jurisdictions. The Brothers from Philip Lodge #153 and the other Brothers involved in planning this event deserve special kudos for their work!
Our Masonic family has been busy as well! Recently, I attended MSA in Sioux City, Iowa, with Brothers and Nobles from across the region. Both the Scottish and York Rite bodies have been busy in planning and presenting degree work for new members. The Custodians are also hosting Schools of Instruction for those interested in learning and developing degree work. If you get an opportunity, stop in and support these Brothers as they work hard to create a unique and rewarding experience for everyone involved.
On September 10, Brothers will be gathering as the Hillsview Golf Club in Pierre for the inaugural South Dakota Masonic Classic, a golf tournament benefiting the South Dakota Masonic Charities. If you haven’t yet registered, there is still time! You can register as an individual or a foursome at mygrandlodge.org/golf. The afternoon will kickoff with a 1:00 shotgun start and a grill out will follow the round. Pros and duffers alike, all are welcome to join in the fun and I look forward to seeing you there!
One thing that I am truly looking forward to over the next few months is the opportunity to once again travel and sit in Lodge with Brothers around the state. There are so many good things happening in our Lodges and just as many great ideas on how to grow our Craft. Our Grand Lodge is a resource for everyone in helping to turn these ideas into action. If there is any way that Grand Lodge can assist your Lodge, please do not hesitate to reach out. The Grand Lodge team is on the same page and ready to support Lodges in any way we can.
As we return to a new normal, let’s continue to support one another as we work to grow our Craft. Masonry has so much to offer to current Brothers and Brothers-yet-to-come. Together, we can continue to create a Craft that is an asset not only to our members, but also to the communities we serve. Thank you Brothers, and let’s have a great year!
Dane Bloch, Junior Grand Warden
Training the Trainers [posted August 2021]
On Friday, July 23, Worshipful Jay Darrow had an evening to “train the trainers” and get to meet some of the Custodians of the Work, District Masters, Lodge Masters and Education Officers on the western side of the state. Custodians Larry Smith from District 15, Jerry Weischedal from District 13, and newly appointed Ray Pearce from District 17 were in attendance along with Worshipful Bob Tesch from Sturgis and Worshipful Clare Armstrong from Spearfish. The training included examination of visitors, due guards, signs, and other modes of recognition as well as references to the Constitution and Code, Ritual Monitor, and the Written Work.
On Saturday morning all of the same players were present with the exception of one who had a prior engagement. In addition to the Brothers mentioned above, were District 14/17 Master Brian Teller, Spearfish WM Charles Nicholas, Spearfish JW Chuck Aurand, Sturgis WM Harold Walker, and Hot Springs WM Rick Grubb. That morning we covered the same topics as the night before with a little more detail. That afternoon we dove into the questions about the Constitution and Code as well as the Ritual Monitor, and Written Work. To finish the morning session, we broke up into two groups and played “The Lodge Game.”
No school of instruction could be complete without floor work so we spent the afternoon in a Lodge setting and worked on opening a Lodge of Master Masons, and floor work with Deacons and Stewards; as it applies to the first section of each Degree. All in all, I believe that everyone went away with a sense of accomplishment and hope for the future. I will be in contact with the Custodians around the State as we try to bring this training to a Lodge near you.
Philip Masonic Lodge Hosts CW Nash Celebration [posted August 2021]
On Saturday July 31st, the Philip Masonic Lodge #153 hosted a celebration of CW Nash, regarded as one of the founding fathers of Masonry in Rupert’s Land, in what was the far north area of Dakota Territory. Nash is buried in the Masonic Cemetery in Philip.
The Lodge hosted a breakfast and program at the Phillip American Legion Post #173 Hall in conjunction with the Grand Lodge of South Dakota. Masons from across South Dakota, including most of the South Dakota Grand Lodge officers and those from several adjacent states were in attendance.
The morning program was kicked off with a welcome by Lincoln Smith, District 15 District Master of Masons, followed by a greeting from Jeffrery VanCuren, Grand Master of Masons in South Dakota. The Honorable Michael Vitter, Mayor of the City of Philip gave a warm welcome to the attendees. Duke Westerberg, Master of Philip Lodge #153, was next to extend remark to those gathered. Harold Ireland, PGM of SD, gave remarks on CW Nash’s history and how this event came to fruition.
Mike Rodman, PGM of SD, introduced out of state dignitaries that gave remarks, beginning with Rolf Widstrand, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Minnesota brought fraternal greetings from the Masons of Minnesota. Kim Jones, Senior Grand Warden from the Grand Lodge of Iowa then brought greetings from the Grand Lodge of Iowa. Next was Rick Wightman, Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of North Dakota, who also brought fraternal greetings. Lastly, Bob Darling, PGM of Minnesota and member of the board of Directors of the George Washington Masonic National Memorial Association brought greetings from the Memorial.
The keynote speaker was Jim Savaloja, PGM and Grand Historian of the Grand Lodge of North Dakota, who talked about the years long search to find Nash’s grave and how a posting of headstones in the Philip Masonic Cemetery on the find a grave website led to the confirmation and celebration.
Following the morning program, attendees moved to the Philip Masonic Cemetery where Grand Master Jeffery VanCuren and the SD GL officers conducted a unique Masonic gravesite service with the help of Rolf Widstrand, GM of Minnesota; Kim Jones, SGW of Iowa; and Rick Wightman, DGM of North Dakota. The Philip American Legion Post #173 Honor Guard presented the flags and gave the gun salute.
Immediately following the Masonic gravesite service, was the unveiling of the Interpretive Panel for CW Nash; followed by the dedication of the panel, using the Mason’s historic cornerstone ceremony. This, too, was a historic event with the participation of Grand Lodge officers from South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa and North Dakota.
Masons returned to the American Legion Hall for refreshments and fellowship.
Child-ID Program Restarts [Posted July 2021]
Our Child-ID program got restarted the first week in August for the National Night Out observance. We held events at Aberdeen and Watertown with success at both events. Aberdeen did 60 kids and Watertown 42 kids. The numbers were down from past years about 30 percent because of lower attendance at the entire event and not from public fear of the personal contact that our program presents.
Another event is planned for Rushmore Mall in Rapid City on October 2nd and hopefully as much success is enjoyed there as happened in the 1st two events. If your Lodge is thinking about an event please contact any of the Child-ID committee members and we will be happy to help.
From the East [posted June 2021]
It is difficult to express the gratitude and sheer overwhelming sense of responsibility that I now garner from being elected and installed as the 131st Grand Master of Masons in South Dakota.
As I said last year, “South Dakota and the United States is in a time when Masonry is desperately needed. We are in scary but exciting times and we need to work together to show the World what diversity and inclusion look like.” This is still true and I believe it is my responsibility to set the example for Masons in South Dakota. This will not be something that can be done easily or overnight. There are many difficult conversations that Masonry has ignored over the past couple of decades.
Masons of the past, never shied away from these discussions but, we have become complacent. Our forefathers, made a point of doing what they thought was right, many times sacrificing their personal welfare. Neither should we, in modern times, shy away from having those difficult discussions and making sure Masonry is relevant in today’s society.
Masonry is not political, but we are fooling ourselves if we don’t think that Masons of the past didn’t discuss political subjects and act upon them. We are, or should be leaders in our community and as such, we should bring our working tools, especially the Level and the Trowel, to the discussion and assist our communities to grow according to these, the two most outward facing of our working tools.
By the Level we are reminded that we are all children of God and are bound to aid, support and protect each other.
And with the Trowel, we are to spread the cement of Brotherly love and affection which should band us with society as friends. As Brothers, no contention should ever exist save that noble contention or rather emulation of who can best work and best agree.
That being said, it is impossible that we will agree on all things, all the time. But, as an enlightened society, we should be able to come to a decision based on discussion and open conversation and be noble enough to support that decision whether or not it conflicts with our personal beliefs.
“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity.”
Jeffery P. VanCuren
Grand Master of Masons in South Dakota
South Dakota Masonic Classic
Are you looking for an opportunity to join your fellow Brothers, have some fun, and serve a great cause?
You’re invited to the First Annual South Dakota Masonic Classic benefiting the South Dakota Masonic Charities!
The Classic is a four-person scramble golf tournament that will take place at the Hillsview Golf Club in Pierre on Friday, September 10. A shotgun start will take place at 1:00 and a reception supper will be provided in the clubhouse as the tournament ends.
Join us for fun, fellowship, and to support a great cause! All funds raised will support the mission and programs of the South Dakota Masonic Charities.
Registration is $100 per person or $400 per four-person team. If you register as an individual, you’ll be placed on a team with other Masons from across the state! Registration includes green and cart fees, reception, and a welcome gift!
New to golf? No problem! We’ll have prizes for overall winners as well as hole prizes designed for fun.
Registration is limited to 20 teams, so reserve your space quickly!
Hotel blocks are available at the Pierre Ramkota and Clubhouse Hotels. Hospitality rooms will be available to those who are spending the night!
Stay tuned to email and Facebook for more information and we look forward to seeing you in September!
South Dakota Masonic Charities
Charles William Nash
Founding Master Celebration
30-31 July 2021 at Philip, SD
C.W. Nash, Founding Master of the first Lodge, Northern Light Lodge in west Rupert’s Land which is now in North Dakota. Later as Grand Master of MN he chartered Lodges in Dakota Territory.
Schedule of Events:
30 July: Welcome Steak Fry & fellowship at 73 Saloon
31 July: 8:00 Breakfast & Program
- 10:30 Masonic Rites and Interpretive Panel dedication in Philip Cemetery
Map of Philip:
Here is a downloadable, printable .PDF with a map of Philip:
For Lodging Reservations:
Motel West, 421N. Auto Ave, Philip, SD 57567, 605-859-2546
Americas Best, 401 SD-73, Kadoka, SD 57743, 605-837-2188
Lakota Lodge, 106 SD-73, Kadoka, SD 57743, 605-837-2151
Americas Best, 201 S. Blvd, Wall, SD 57790, 877-200-1272
Best Western, 712 Glenn St, Wall, SD 57790, 605-279-2145
Come celebrate our Masonic history!
M.W.B. Charles W. Nash Masonic History
On Saturday, July 31, 2021, M.W. Jeffery VanCuren, Grand Master of Masons in South Dakota, will be presiding over the Final Masonic Burial Rites, for MW Bro. C.W. Nash, our Founding Master, at the Masonic Cemetery in Philip, South Dakota.
M.W. Bro. Nash was Captain of Hatch's Battalion, Minnesota Cavalry, which was sent to Ft. Pembina in the fall of 1863, during the Sioux Uprising. Their military duties were to insure the safety of the local residents, and to assist in guarding the border between Dakota Territory and Rupert’s Land, British Territory.
Within this military unit there were a number of Masons, who wished to continue their Fraternal Fellowship while stationed at Ft. Pembina and reached out to the Grand Lodge of Minnesota for ability to do so.
M.W. Bro. Nash was appointed the founding Master of Northern Light Lodge U.D., at Ft. Pembina, Dakota Territory, when it was given a Dispensation to operate as such, on September 18, 1863. He personally carried this Dispensation with him from St. Paul as the soldiers made their way north.
While pondering a proper name for his Lodge one winter evening, Nash witnessed a beautiful display of color and light high above him and was compelled to call his lodge, Northern Light. This name still continues today under the Affiliation of the Grand Lodge of Manitoba A.F. & A.M.
A number of prominent individuals and soldiers from the Red River Settlement (present day Winnipeg) wished to join the Masons, and knowing of the Lodge operating at Ft. Pembina, traveled south to receive their Degrees.
When the soldiers from Minnesota were no longer needed along the border they returned home to Minnesota during the month of June, 1864. All the meeting records, membership list and the original Dispensation were returned and given to the Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of Minnesota.
In the meantime, the northern Brothers had petitioned M.W. Bro., A.T.C. Pierson, Grand Master of Minnesota to reinstate the Dispensation of Northern Light Lodge U.D., Red River Settlement, Rupert’s Land, which he signed on May 20, 1864. He also appointed Bro. John Shultz to act a Master. W. Bro. Shultz would later become the fifth Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba, serving from 1888 to 1895.
This original Northern Light Lodge U.D. became a cornerstone Lodge of three who originally formed the Grand Lodge of Manitoba, and it operates today as Northern Light Prince Rupert’’s Lodge No.1, Winnipeg, Manitoba.
In its formative years the Grand Lodge of Manitoba held Fraternal authority of all lands to the west within Rupert’s Land, including present day Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and the Northwest Territories.
M.W. Brother Nash, returned to the Minneapolis, St. Paul area and was an active member of the community as well as the Masonic Lodge. He held a Degree in Law and co-owned the Pioneer Printing Company in 1866, which later became the Minneapolis Tribune. Prior to arriving in Minnesota, he had also held the office of Mayor at Ft. Dodge, Iowa.
On April 21, 1868, a fire destroyed the building which housed the Grand Lodge of Minnesota, and thus all the records from the past were consumed in the flames, but our unique history with Northern Light Lodge continued.
W. Bro. Nash was nominated and elected, from the floor of the Minnesota Grand Lodge to the position of Grand Master without ever holding another office! And, on January 10, 1872, as Grand Master of Masons in Minnesota, he signed the Charter for Yellowstone Lodge No. 88, Ft. Buford, Dakota Territory, which became the first Chartered Lodge in what is now the State of North Dakota.
Thus, he became a Grand Master of Masonry which eventually held leadership over several million square miles, and a Father of Masonry for many historically recognized Lodges in the US and Canada, including the noted Northwest Mounted Police Lodge No.11, at Regina, Saskatchewan.
The schedule of events honoring our historic Mason at Philip, South Dakota, will begin on Friday evening, 30 July 2021, with a Steak Fry Meet and Greet social, hosted by the Masonic Lodge Brothers in Philip and the Grand Lodge of South Dakota. A Breakfast Program will be held the following morning, and the Masonic Burial Ceremony to follow.
A special commemorative marker and interpretive panel will be placed and dedicated at the grave site after the Masonic Last Rite Ceremonies, with representatives from the Grand Lodge Jurisdictions from which MWB Nash had affiliation.
Contact numbers for Motel rooms, etc, can be found on the Grand Lodge of South Dakota web site. Most of the rooms in Philip at Motel West are already taken, but those in Wall and Kadoka are still open. Kadoka is about 20 miles to the South of Philip and Wall is 32 miles West of Philip, and the roads are in good condition, so spending the overnight there should not create too much of a problem for those who have to travel back and forth.
The public is invited to attend the services and dedication at the cemetery, and all Members and Ladies from any Jurisdiction are welcome to attend both the steak fry and breakfast and program on Saturday morning.
The committee is asking that if you plan to attend the steak fry, or the morning breakfast, to please sign up through Eventbrite at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/c-w-nash-celebration-tickets-156240157517
. They will need this information in order to have enough provisions on hand for everyone when they arrive. Your assistance in this matter is greatly appreciated.
For any specific questions on the celebration you may contact either of the contacts listed below.
Lincoln Smith, District Master, District #15
20824 226th Street
Quinn, SD 57775
Mobile: (605) 441-2500
Doug Thorson, Past Master, Philip Lodge No. 153
22750 Cottonwood Rd
Quinn, SD 57775-3200
Mobile: (605) 515-1590