2022 Annual Communication

The 147th Annual Communication will be held June 16, 17, and 18, 2022, at the Ramkota Hotel & Conference Center, Pierre, SD.

 

Chocolate, Chili Attract Large Crowd

By Leslie Silverman
It was a brisk day for the 10th Annual Polar Bear Chilli Cook Off.
The fundraising event for the Tin City Masonic Lodge No. 112 allows people to sample various chilis and support the community organization.
There were several different themed booths at the Polar Bear Chili Cook Off, all vying for best decorated. Krull’s Market had a road kill scene. They joked their road kill red chili was made with roadkill off the side of the road and put into a chili.
Truthfully, it contained four different meats, including hot Italian sausage, chorizo, smoked sausage and ground beef. They were 2017 and 2018 winners coming back to defend their title.
Carmen and Chad Ronish had a “Welcome to Margaritaville” theme. The couple was tired of the cold and was serving margaritas along with their chili. They had several chilis, including one containing yak. It was described as a very simple recipe with a smooth flavor. Yak makes a somewhat sweet addition to chili and is a lean protein. They were also making sure everybody who came to their booth got leis. Carmen jokes they were “leiing everybody.”
First place booth winner was Kade McVey, while Krull’s Market placed second and Chad Ronish took third. Elizabeth Knapp had the best red chili and Shane Alexander had the best white chili. People’s choice went to Alyssa Wiess.
Jenny Bradford and Kayla Hernandez were sampling the chili for the first time at the Polar Bear Cookoff.
“It’s a nice activity to be outside. There are a lot of great chilis,” said Bradford.
Also on Saturday was the Hill City Tour de Chocolate. The event attracted visitors from around the region. The Museum @ Black Hills Institute was handing out chocolate ice cubes, a throwback candy from a different time.
“My boss liked them as a child and found them online,” said Nadine Adams, who noted the museum traffic was busier than usual for a Saturday.
Lisa Schneider of Belle Fourche came down with her husband and another couple.
“It’s so clean,” she remarked about the town.
The couples had each bought something in town and joked, “we left our money in Hill City.”

 

GL of Montana Presents Logan James Shedd 70-Year Masonic Pin

On February 8th, 2022, Deadwood Golden Star Lodge #7 Brother Logan James (Jim) Shedd was presented his 70-Year Pin and certificate at a special ceremony at Ashlar Lodge #29 in Billings, Montana, as a courtesy for Deadwood Goden Star Lodge #7 and the Grand Lodge of South Dakota.
Officiating in this special ceremony were MWB Bill Murphy, Grand Master of Masons of Montana; RWB Dave Schantz, Senior Grand Warden, Grand Lodge of Montana; Jason Smith, Senior Grand Deacon, GLM; Darren DeHass, Grand Chaplin, GLM; Dylan Crouse, Grand Organist, GLM; and John Hugdahl, Grand Historian, GLM.
Brother Shedd became a Mason on May 11, 1951, in the Deadwood Masonic Lodge. He and his wife, Marilyn, ran Shedd Jewelers in Deadwood for many years.

Jim Shedd, 70-year Mason; John Hugdahl, Grand Historian, and Bill Murphy Grand Master of Masons of Montana (Photo courtesy of David Allen)

70-Year Mason Jim Shedd and wife Marilyn with family that attended the ceremony in Billings, MT. (Photo courtesy of David Allen)

 

PGM Lyle Rowen Passes

PGM Lyle Rowen passed away Wednesday, January 26, 2022. Hazel passed away January 10, 2022.
PGM Lyle and Hazel Rowen’s Masonic and Eastern Star services will be held on Sunday, January 30, at 4:00 p.m. at the Kuhler Funeral Home in Huron.
Their joint funeral will be on Monday, January 31, at 10:30 a.m. at the Presbyterian Church in Wessington. The Web site for the funeral home is www.kuhlerfuneralhome.com.
Lyle was a life member of Wessington Masonic Lodge #107, where he served as Worshipful Master. He served as Grand Master of Masons of South Dakota in 1985-1986. He was a life member of York Rite, Scottish Rite, a member of Yelduz Shrine, and was awarded the DeMolay Legion of Honor. He was a 33rd Degree Mason.

 

From: MWB Jeffery P. VanCuren, Grand Master of Masons in South Dakota
To: All Masonic Lodges and all Freemasons under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of South Dakota

In light of the events over the past two years, I have noticed a trend that smaller rural lodges have been unable to meet due to COVID-19. This has made it incredibly hard to maintain positive growth in membership and has put some Lodges in jeopardy of permanently closing. Although this is by no means the only solution, I think we need to get creative and look for opportunities to meet together. Remember Psalms 133: Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity.
I therefor encourage Lodges to seek opportunities to hold and conduct joint Lodges, a format that was proven successful was that One Lodge provide the Principle Officers to open the Lodge, conduct any business that needs to be done, call the Lodge to recess, switch Principle Officers to the second Lodge, conduct any business that needs to be done, and then close the Lodge with the second Lodge’s Officers.
This format does not need to be limited to two Lodges. However, if business is needed to be done, it will require either the visiting Lodge to have a dispensation from their District Master to change the time and place of their stated meeting. If no business is required, then a Masters may call special meetings at a location convenient to the Lodges.

 

GRAND MASTER’S PROCLAMATION REGARDING QUORUM REQUIREMENT FOR LODGES TO CONDUCT BUSINESS 1/11/2022

From: MWB Jeffery P. VanCuren, Grand Master of Masons in South Dakota
To: All Masonic Lodges and all Freemasons under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of South Dakota

Our Constitution and Bylaws specifically state in Section 4.18 subparagraph 5 that “At any Stated Communication seven members of a particular Lodge shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business,” I believe this to be an arbitrary number and detrimental to the good of Masonry in South Dakota.
Whereas the Hierarchy of rules in a “Regular and Well Governed” institution dictates that Landmarks takes precedence over our Constitution and Bylaws.
And Whereas Landmark 9 states “The Necessity for Masons to congregate in Lodges”
And Whereas Landmark 10 states that “The government of ever Lodge by a Master and two wardens.”
And Whereas in the ritual teachings and lectures of the three degrees in Masonry teach us that it only takes three Master Masons to constitute a Master Mason Lodge.
And Whereas only Master Masons of a Particular Lodge May vote in Lodge business to include balloting on degrees, petitions for membership or the election of Officers.
And Whereas a Stated Meeting is a communication held at a specific time and place according to the bylaws and cannot be changed without special dispensation from the District Master or Grand Master.
And Whereas all Master Masons Sign the bylaws of their particular Lodge and know the exact time and location of every stated meeting.
And Whereas no Lodge business may be conducted at a Special Meeting unless special Dispensation is given by the Grand Master and that only the specific business stated on the Special Dispensation may be entertained at that Special Meeting.
And Whereas, seven members of the Lodge range from 2 percent of the Lodge Membership to 70 percent of the Lodge membership.
And Whereas, that percentage of membership is causing the smaller lodges of South Dakota to be deprived of their right under Landmark 9 of “The Necessity for Masons to Congregate in Lodges”
Therefore, I believe that since every Mason of a particular Lodge is notified of meetings by the bylaws and is duty bound to be at those meetings, if within the length of their cable tow.
And, I believe that the arbitrary requirement for having seven Master Masons present at a stated meeting to conduct business is detrimental to South Dakota Masonry
And, I believe that the elected officers of a Lodge are entrusted by the members of their Lodge by virtue of their election to that position.
Therefore, I hereby proclaim the minimum requirements for number members of a Lodge Present to conduct business at a Stated Meeting for the 2020-2021 Masonic year is three, which will include at least the Master of the Lodge or an elected Warden of the Lodge.

 

Life on Molar 1

— Leslie Silverman
The Delta Dental Van treated students at the Hill City School District the week of January 10. The cost of the site visit was $2,500, which ensures site partners will have people available for check ups and treatment. Each year the Hill City Masons raise that $2,500 as a means to give back to the community.
The Delta Dental Van is more of a truck, stretching 40 feet in length, and there are two of them, Molar 1 and Molar 2, that travel around the state serving people up to 21 years of age who either live over 85 miles from a dentist or have not seen one in the last two years.
Each is followed by what is referred to as a “creeper” can, which is used to transport staff. The staff, which is made up of one full-time dentist, a full -time hygienist, two dental assistants and a truck coordinator, travel 40 weeks out of the year, staying in hotels from their arrival Monday afternoon until their departure on Friday.
Being on staff isn’t for everyone. Teresa Mastellar drives Molar 1 and has been doing so for four years. Masteller’s children are grown, but she does have a husband and two fur babies which she leaves each Monday and returns to each Friday. She describes her job as “very rewarding,” while admitting at times it can get “very hectic and crazy.” But she adds, “the pros outweigh the cons and we do our best so that many kids can get healthy smiles.”
Mastellar and her coworkers usually pack their lunches and suppers to eat while on the road. The work involves a lot of teamwork, or as she says, “a lot of gears that have to roll in the same direction.” The staff tries to have some unwind time each night after work, and enjoy “forced family time’”once a week with a dinner at a restaurant.
“It’s easy for me to go to work on Monday,” Masteller said.
Logistically, it is quite an endeavor to plan the comings and goings of the trucks. Weather may prompt visits to be cut short. Each week of travel hotels need to be lined up for staff. Vickie Samuleson, logistic coordinator for Delta Dental, has already mapped out each hotel for 2022. She also creates a rooming list for the staff.
The trucks serve approximately 3,000 children each year and have visited over 86 communities since the program’s inception in 2004. It costs approximately $25,000 a week to operate Molar 1 or Molar 2, yet communities only get billed $2,500 for a visit.
Sometimes retired dentists who want to keep their licences or local partner dentists are brought in for a site visit. Externs and students who need clinical hours may also be involved.
The teams perform treatments from extractions to cleanings, from crowns to sealants. The only thing they don’t do is root canals. And anything they can’t do due to behavior issues or treatment that is beyond the scope of their mobile capability is referred out to other dentists after the truck leaves.
The staff who work in the truck are on a pretty tight schedule. They arrive at their site Monday afternoon and spend the remainder of that day and Tuesday mornings doing exams on children. Treatments are set up for the rest of the week before the truck departs back for Pierre on Friday. Depending on the children and their needs, treatments can be so cumbersome that the van must come back to the area or children may need follow up locally.
Molar 1 last visited Hill City in January 2021. Forty-one students were served on that visit and almost half of them were found to have tooth decay. Staff placed 205 sealants in that visit, a means to help prevent further tooth decay. The value of the care provided was nearly $30,000.
Years back First Interstate Bank was originally the local sponsor for Delta Dental and over the years Hill City Masonic Lodge No. 112 took over. It’s been about five or six years since that shift.
Members of the Masons contribute their own time and money and receive support from local businesses and individuals to bring the dental vans to the community.

 

What Has the Grand Master Been Up To? (September - December)

Brethren, this fall has once again been a very busy time but, I wish more Lodges and organizations were inviting me to events. Although, I have had a couple of conflicts, I will try and make any event that I am invited to as long as I have enough lead time and I do not have anything scheduled. If you do have an event or meeting you would like me to attend, please send me an e-mail to [email protected] or call me at (605)646-8899. These are some of the events that I attended this Fall:
 September 7th, Hot Springs Installation of Officers
 September 10th, Inaugural South Dakota Masonic Charities Golf Tournament, Pierre, SD
 September 13th, The Hospital DADS (Drivers Are Dedicated Shriners) appreciation Dinner, Rapid City, SD
 September 16-18th, Grand Lodge of Iowa Annual Communication
 September 28th, Belle Fourche Lodge, Open Air Lodge, Kissack Ranch
 October 7th, OES Installation and Public Opening
 October 10th, Masonic Funeral for MWB Kenneth Ireland, Phillip, SD
 October 22nd - 23rd, Wall, SD Grand Lodge Ritualistic Festival
 October 27th, Hot Springs, SD Masonic Funeral
 October 30th, Rapid City Special Olympics Polar Plunge
 October 31st, Naja Shrine Trunk or Treat, Rapid City, SD
 November 2nd, Initial Meeting of the South Dakota Masonic Membership Council (Grand Lodge, Scottish Rite, York Rite, Shrine) (Zoom)
 November 3rd, District 17 Meeting, Olive Branch Lodge, Sturgis, SD
 November 4th, District 14 Meeting, Pasque Lodge, Bison, SD
 November 8th, Deadwood Valley Scottish Rite visit and Tour of Life Scape, Rapid City Location
 November 11th, Sturgis Veterans Day program, All Vets Club (Toast to the Flag)
 November 11th, Initial Encampment of the Jimmy Doolittle Camp of Heroes of ’76
 November 18th, Fellow Craft Degree, Pierre Lodge, Pierre, SD
 November 27th, Parade of Lights Masonic Family Float, Rapid City, SD
 December 1st, Lemmon Lodge Meeting, Lemmon, SD
 December 8th, Naja Shrine Quarterly Meeting and Election of Officers, Deadwood, SD
 December 12th, Schrader Commandery Knights Templar Christmas Observance, Rapid City, SD
 December 18th, Naja Shrine Christmas Party, Deadwood, SD
 December 21st, Rapid City #25 and Custer City Lodge #66 Joint Meeting

 

From the Deputy Grand Master [posted January 2022]

This year has been flying by so fast! By the time you all get a chance to read this, it will be past the holidays. I hope all of you had the chance to visit with family during that period. Did your lodge have any sort of Christmas party? Hanukkah party? Or, whatever your lodge prefers? I got the chance to hang with the great brothers of Hartford #136 for their annual Christmas party at the Hartford steakhouse, which is always a great time! Thank you Brothers from Hartford #136 and Brothers that attended from other lodges for the great time.
Now time for the adventures of Deputy Dan!
The Brothers on the westerly angle of the state had a Masonic Festival that was attended by Brothers all over the state. There will be another one planned soon for the easterly side this spring-ish of 2022. We also ventured to the north-ish part as a group from Sioux Falls to help out Concord Lodge #13 with a MM degree. That was a fun trip, great food and great fellowship as always!!!! A huge thanks to RWB Aaron Zahn for being our driver of his fancy bus, dubbed the (Mason Mover).
More to come in the next article!
How good are you at saving money these days? I, in particular, try very hard to save money for myself. As for you brethren, your Grand Lodge officers are working hard to save our Grand Lodge as much money as possible. If we expect to have Freemasonry in South Dakota another 150 years, we will need the money. However, that doesn’t mean we won’t help you and your community the best we can if needed. We all took the same obligation that we would help a person in need, but especially a Brother Mason. Your Grand Lodge intends to keep that promise. One of the topics that has come up lately is lodge dues. We all know what we pay yearly for those dues and would always like a break in cost yearly for ourselves, however the less we pay the more your local lodge struggles.
What is Masonry worth to you? Think about that question for a bit and let it sink in. Whether you are an active Mason, Shriner, Yorkie or Scottish Rite member, all arms or branches need your participation to some degree. Please consider stopping into one of the meetings those members are having.
So many good things are coming up in our jurisdiction. The formation of a membership council, consisting of members of all concordant bodies, is a milestone in itself. Congratulations MWB VanCuren on that success!
Got some changes to Annual Communication coming this year. I’m just going tease you with that and zip my lip about the details. Remember, if you are a MM, you are most welcome to attend. Talk to your lodge if you are interested in going and you just might get to vote!
I hope all of you Brothers had the best holiday season you could hope for!

Fraternally,  
Dan Nace, Deputy Grand Master / Grand Master Elect  

 

From the West [posted January 2022]

Brotherhood is a word that continues to grow with me and my experiences tell the story. I knew from the very start of my Masonic journey that I was entering into a very special group of people. It was instilled in me that the men that I was about to get to know would be there for me no matter what and would help me if I need it as much as they could. We continue to experience and treasure our brotherhood but it really hit home with me this year. This year time seemed to pause for me when my dad became sick and ultimately was called to the that Celestial Lodge above. The support my Brothers gave me during this time was incredible. I’m certainly not one to ever ask for help but you Brothers stepped up and gave my family and I the comfort and support we needed. I am so grateful for each of the messages, thoughts, prayers, Masonic service presence, hospital visits, the help, and the Brotherhood the last few months. My dad raised me a Master Mason both before I petitioned and when he was reaching down with the strong Grip of the Lions Paw, I’m looking forward to honoring him by being the best Brother I can to this fraternity!
In this new year I am looking forward to visiting more Lodges and getting to know even more of the Brothers across the state. I am very excited for our team of Grand Lodge officers and the vision of moving Masonry in South Dakota forward. We want to connect with each Lodge personally and want Lodges to know we want to hear from you. This message may sound repeated, but we truly mean it, and it may be a new message to new leaders in your Lodge. If there is anything we can help with please reach out.
Thank you so much again, Brothers!

Fraternally,  
Aaron Zahn, Senior Grand Warden  

 

From the South [posted January 2022]

From the South...
“Behold, how good and pleasant it is
when brothers dwell in unity!”
— Psalm 133:1
This verse is among the first things a candidate and prospective Brother hears upon his first entrance to one of our Lodges. At a moment when a candidate is hoodwinked, under the care of a conductor, and likely hyper attentive to what he can perceive of his surroundings, our Fraternity has deemed it important to impress this upon the mind.
I often ponder the significance of this point. As I do, it always reminds me that no matter what the situation in which we find ourselves, we are charged with a higher standard. In a day an time where we are bombarded by news of discord and disagreement, we, as Masons, are charged to act and treat others in a manner that promotes unity and harmony.
Does this mean that we never to disagree? That we should be stuck in a rut of conformity for the sake of conformity? I, for one, do not believe this to be the case. I believe the guidance this verse provides and the direction that we are charged to follow is that of principled discussion. As we debate topics, from the important to the mundane, we are supposed to be that example of individuals who can best work together to find common ground, explore options based on merit and principle, and always keep in mind that we converse as colleagues, friends, and Brothers. At the end of the day, harmony (not constant or superficial agreement) is the strength of our institution. To reach this, we remember that others, especially Brothers, are not adversaries that we are to defeat at all costs, but individuals with whom we should strive to live out tenets of our profession.
I believe this to be one of the most important things out Craft and Fraternity has to offer our neighbors, community, nation, and world. We, as Masons and leaders in our communities, are examples of this higher principle. Through our Masonic Civility Program, Charities, Scholarships, and other community initiatives we can be the gold standard of harmony and strength. Because of this, I am proud to be known not only as a Mason, but also as a Brother to each and every one of you.
The last several months have been busy with Masonic happenings. It has been my pleasure to visit with many Brothers including those at Mobridge Lodge #164, Sunrise Lodge #211, Concord Lodge #13, and at the District 13 Meeting in Pierre. I’ve even had the opportunity to visit our Brothers in Indianapolis, Indiana while on a work trip in October. As I’ve had the chance to travel across the South Dakota, I’ve been excited to engage in meaningful and productive conversations about the state of the Craft. We have so many talented and dedicated Brothers who are working diligently and making significant impacts in our Lodges and communities! As the new year turns, I earnestly look forward to continuing visiting Lodges across the state and sharing these conversations with you.
In addition to attending Lodges across the state, I am looking forward to the upcoming midyear meeting in Pierre and the Second Annual South Dakota Masonic Classic Golf Tournament to be held during the 2022 Annual Communication! Registration for this tournament benefiting the South Dakota Masonic Charities will open in January. Be sure to watch for more information to come!

Fraternally,  
Dane Bloch, Junior Grand Warden  

Joint Lodges: Imagine the Possibilities

- Jeffery P. VanCuren, Grand Master of Masons in South Dakota

What a cool evening. I was able to visit a Joint Lodge held by Rapid City Lodge #25 and Custer City Lodge #66. #25 opened the Lodge, conducted business, switched officers with #66 and they then conducted business and closed the Lodge.

This could absolutely be a model for Lodges to visit each other while at the same time meeting their obligations to hold a monthly stated. Think of the possibilities for two small Lodges near each other to grow together and still maintain their Lodge Identity. If your Lodge would like to try the same, contact the Grand Master and find out how to get permission.

 

A Message from PGM Lyle Rowan and His Lady

Lyle and I want to thank the Past Grand Masters for the very lovely flowers, for all the cards, calls, prayers, hugs and concerns!! Also all the South Dakota Masonic Brothers that have reached out to us. Your love is overwhelming, and we appreciate each and every one of you. We have traveled our state over the many years and have always been treated so very nicely. Each one of you holds special memories for us. We wish for each of you a very blessed Christmas with your families and a great new year. We never know what God has planned, however, we do know we are ready for His plan. Again, thank-you so very much for just everything!! God bless.
Love and hugs,  
(PGM) Lyle and Hazel Rowan  

 

Be Part of South Dakota Masonic History

Be part of South Dakota Masonic history and become a Mason of the world-famous AF and AM Masonic Order in the Capitol City, Class of 2022 in Pierre on January 15, 2022. The schedule is as follows:
- Entered Apprentice Degree at 8.30 AM sharp, followed by a short break and conferral of the Fellow Craft Degree.
- Lunch will be provided by Pierre Lodge # 27.
- The Master Mason Degree will start at 1:00 PM.
- The Pierre Stewards will have coffee and rolls to welcome you as you arrive with your prospective candidates.
We can accomidate up to 50 new members. Please bring for your candidates the Masonic iniation apparel and apron. Have an officer of your Lodge come with the candidate. Send to the Pierre Secretary the names of all candidates so they will be in the hands of the presiding officers at the right time.
The theme of the day will be “Nothing Happens Unless You Make It Happen.”
The Pierre Lodge Officers will open and close and call up and down and prepare the candidares for the next degree.
The storm day will be January 29, 2022.
The contact person in Pierre is Uncle Matt at 605-280-7248.
Let’s all make this the biggest event in Masonic history in South Dakota.

 

Spearfish Lodge Celebrates Renewed Connection to 1955 Eisenhower Christmas Tree

The Masons of Spearfish Lodge #18 have a special reason to be thankful this Christmas season.
The gavel that was used by then South Dakota Grand Master Robert Benton for the May 7th, 1966, Grand Lodge cornerstone ceremony of the new Masonic Lodge in Spearfish, has been reunited with the Spearfish Lodge. The gavel was carved from the 1955 Eisenhower National Christmas tree. This tree was cut in the Black Hills National Forest off Boyles Canyon Road and Red Lake Trailhead.
The family of PGM Robert Benton returned the historic gavel to South Dakota this summer and in a special ceremony South Dakota Past Grand Master Harold Ireland presented Spearfish Lodge Master Charles W. Nicholas the gavel to be permanently displayed in the Spearfish Lodge. “We were surprised, honored and humbled to receive this historic gavel made from the 1955 National Christmas Tree, harvested right here in the Black Hills National Forest; and used for the dedication of our Masonic Lodge,” said Charles Nicholas.

The gavel was given to GM Robert Benton by Johnny Bivens with an accompanying note that said:
  “Dear Brother Bob: This is a token of friendship and brotherly love. It is from the beautiful spruce that went from the Black Hills to Washington and adorned the White House lawn at Christmas 1955. The tree was 65 years old, the same as our president.”
- Johnny Bivens
PGM Benton was a member of Tin City Lodge #114 in Hill City and Custer City Lodge #66 in Custer. His Grand Master’s program was “Masonry: A living Force in the Community.” He served for a time as South Dakota State Secretary of Finance and in 1966 as Chairman of the Masonic Service Association.

 

Masons Honor Veterans [posted December 2021]

By Leslie Silverman

The oldest fraternity in the world held a breakfast on October 30 to honor veterans in Hill City. The Veterans Appreciation Breakfast took place at the Masons’ Tin City Lodge.
The breakfast is a way to show appreciation to those who served our country and is just one of the many ways the Freemasons give back to the community. Freemasonry is a men’s organization devoted to philanthropy. The charitable organization does a lot to help people in Hill City and the surrounding regions.
Locally, one of its most notable programs is the Delta Dental programs it brings in the schools. The mobile dental unit will be in the district Jan. 10-14. The group hosts the Polar Bear Chilli Cook Off in February and has its largest fundraising event during the Hill City Wine, Beer and BBQ event in the summer.
Statewide, the Masons also work with the South Dakota Child Identification Program as well as hosting Masonic Model Student Assistance Program, a two-day event where school personnel can learn about strategies to improve communication with at-risk children.
There are approximately 6,000 Masons in the State of South Dakota and about 40 in Hill City. The Masons organization is based on rituals that date back to the time of King Solomon. While their meetings may seem secretive to outsiders, their mission is to help the less fortunate and to give back.
“We do have a secret handshake and password,” said Jack Welker, who chatted extensively about the accolades of being a Mason.
“When I grew up back then it was quite secretive,” said Jim Olson, the current Master of the Lodge. “My dad was way into it. Any son wants to be like his dad.” That prompted Olson to join the Masons as an adult. He feels a sense of pride knowing that when he became a Master Mason, “My dad’s looking down on me with a smile,” he said. A Master Mason is the highest degrees a Mason can obtain in the fellowship.
The Masons are all about making yourself better and helping make the world better, they say. One of the requirements for entry is a belief in a divine body. Once an application for membership is received, Masons visit your home and meet your family to make sure your family is behind you.
Sam Charles is a new Mason. He knew about the Masons for years and met Welker, who gave him information about what the Masons do.
“It sounded like something fun and a way to help the community,” said Charles.
He was hosted to a free dinner by the men in the organization and was hooked on the comradery.
“I’m glad I joined,” he said.
The history of the Masons in Hill City dates to January 15, 1892. The Lodge“s current building is its third, with the first having been in the old Mercantile Store. In the region there have been many famous Masons, including Peter Norbeck and Gutzon Borglum.
Courtesy,Hill City Prevailer News

 

Brother Doyle Lenerville Honored

Brother Doyle Lenerville, Lemmon Lodge #151, was presented his 50-Year Pin and certificate on December 1, 2021. The presentation was made by MWB Jeffery VanCuren, Grand Master of Masons in South Dakota. Present for the presentation were Scott Reede, Mike Colville, Doyle Lenerville, MWB Jeffery VanCuren, Scott Fitch, Jeremy Ebert.

Brother Maynard Wagner Honored

Brother Maynard Wagner from Onida Lodge #173 was presented his 60-Year Pin by his son Dan Wagner from Hiram Lodge #123. The presentation was held at the District 13 meeting at the Pierre Masonic Temple on Saturday, November 13, 2021. The meeting was presided over by District Master Chris Kaus.

Brother Jim Halpin Honored [posted November 2021]

On November 2, 2021, Brother Jim Halpin received his 50-Year Pin. Pictured are WM Dick Ericsson and the Brother of Evergreen Lodge #17.

 

In Memoriam

It is with heavy hearts that we have received notice of the the death of Past Grand Master MW Kenneth Ireland of Philip, SD, on Saturday, October 2, 2021.
MW Bro. Ireland served as Grand Master in South Dakota 1998-1999. He was also a Past Worthy Patron of the South Dakota Order of Eastern Star.
Funeral services are set for 2:00 p.m. MST, Sunday, October 10, 2021, in the school gymnasium in Philip, SD.
Please keep his family and those who will dearly miss him in your thoughts and prayers.
Jeffery VanCuren  
Grand Master  

 

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!!

Fraternally,  
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!

Fraternally,  
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.”
Fraternally,  
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.
Learn more and register atwww.mygrandlodge.org/golf.
Want to be a tournament sponsor? Sponsor information is also available by clickingwww.mygrandlodge.org/golf!
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!
Once again, for more information on the tournament, sponsorships, or to register a team, visitwww.mygrandlodge.org/golf.
Stay tuned to email and Facebook for more information and we look forward to seeing you in September!
Fraternally,  
Dane Bloch  
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

 

RSVP

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/c-w-nash-celebration-tickets-156240157517

 

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 athttps://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