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Master's Message

Henry L. Palmer Lodge #301 Free & Accepted Masons Wauwatosa, WI

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Installation Address

I thank you for this opportunity, the respect and honor you have placed upon me to lead this lodge for the ensuing year is deeply humbling – but not enough so that I will not take this opportunity to pontificate to all of you. First, I would like to give my thanks to the past masters and installing officers on their grand performance and lend my congratulations to all of the officers of Henry L. Palmer lodge. I would also extend a thank you to all of our friends and family members whom without their support and understanding we would not find ourselves at this juncture.

Roughly 30 years ago Henry L. Palmer lodge was a formidable lodge. Our numbers ranked in the thousands and we had lodge meetings generally twice a week. Our presence in Wisconsin Freemasonry was known. One year the members elected to wear light blue sports coats and white shoes as a badge of being a Palmer mason. And when the Grand Lodge convened at its annual communication nearly one hundred Palmer members showed up instead of the requisite three. All dressed in their blue coats. Henry L. Palmer was the lodge to be a member of.

For many reasons, perhaps the use of a more modern form of social networking, our numbers, not just at Palmer but in all of masonry, have dropped.  We find ourselves sleep walking through our meetings (well some of us – some are merely sleeping), we sleep walk through our rituals, attend haphazardly to our special events, we shrug off the importance of maintaining relationships with each other, other lodges, our youth groups, our past members who can no longer be active. All the while boasting that freemasonry is about making good men better – so why aren’t we better?

Freemasonry has many purposes but one singular voice is that Freemasonry makes good men better. We provide principles, direction, theosophical thought and more. Freemasonry is that ideal that prepares us to be practicing humble, trustworthy, and charitable men in the hopes that one day when we knock on that celestial lodge we will be recognized for our efforts. We often joke that you will get out of freemasonry what you put into it. I believe we often get this ideal backward – we try to make good men better. The only man that I can make better is myself, granted with the collected wisdom and direction of those masons around me I can improve myself in knowledge but only I can do that – I cannot force others to think or act as myself. I merely provide a model, as do all masons, but what a model we can be.

Plato is known for saying “Whatsoever light I have I will share with others.” From days of antiquity it has been known that “light” means “knowledge” or “wisdom.”  So Plato is saying ‘what knowledge I have I will share with others’ and is this not the mission of every mason? To seek further light? To seek further wisdom? To share their knowledge?

In Mathew chapter 5 we find the words “14-17 Ye are the light of the world… Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works…”

This is the crux of Freemasonry, dispense with the ritual work, the business acumen, the social networking, what you have left is the archetype of decency. A Freemason is literally a trail blazer to model this decency. By our everyday actions, interactions, and stature we light the path of morality. This is what we can do: we can illuminate or educate through our own work. We can shine by example, we can be charitable not just with funds but with judgment.

Our past members understood that legacy and tradition are important as well as adaptation and progression. It seems as if us modern masons in all of our wisdom have forgotten how all of these pieces fit together to make a fine tuned machine. A friend of mine reminded me that light illuminates but a focused beam of light can shape even the most obdurate of metals and an array of focused lights is a pulsed laser many orders of magnitude greater than its average power. Individually we let our light shine to illuminate a path, collectively we combine our light and we can carve that path.
This ensuing year will find us trying to uphold some of this legacy and tradition as well as move forward. We will begin by having our own special events with our New Year’s Day breakfast which is a tradition from the very first year of our lodge’s existence. In March we have sponsored a table at the Shrine’s annual Sportsmen’s Night, April will see our Spaghetti Dinner and in May we are reviving an old tradition known as the Rose Celebration which we are reenvisioning as a Ladies at the Table Lodge, June brings our Scholarship dinner and our annual picnic, October a Past Masters’ and 25/50 member Table Lodge, November our JW Chili Invitational and December our Pizza with Santa.

This is the gauntlet I put forth to you as masons and friends of masons: let your light illuminate the way. Strive to be that “better” person. And in our own way we can be formidable once again.

Sunday, December 01, 2013

December's Trestleboard


I am humbled by your confidence in my abilities to be master of our lodge for the ensuing year. The task before me is quite daunting as the maintaining and building of our temple has been fraught with the hands of many a worthy master much more accomplished than myself. My hope is that we can continue with the exemplar work that has preceded us. With that in mind I will be calling on our lodge members frequently to help me with planning degrees, special events and the other lodge functions. Our newly elected Junior Warden has expressed a desire to create Palmer dinners that are regal as the days of old so I encourage you to come to lodge if only for the dinners and bring your ladies as there is an interest to revive the Ladies of Palmer.

We have several degrees coming up and are returning to the tradition of having the different officers confer this should help invigorate our work. We are also planning some inter-lodge activities as well as to go a traveling.

I look forward to working with each of you to uphold those traditions of our Lodge that have been established over the last 100 some years, and to make some new ones for those who follow.   

Remember the installation of our new officers is the 7th of December beginning with a meet and greet at 6pm with the installation at 7 pm and an afterglow presented by the Kays in our dining hall.
2014 is an exciting time for us, not only as masons but as brothers who dwell together. I am excited about this year and am very confident in the line of officers.

In wisdom, strength and beauty

Khristian E. Kay