I suppose my first encounter with Freemasonry was in seeing the sign on the Lodge in North Bend, WA where I grew up. Years later I became facilitated by the history of the english 1600s and the english enlightenment, as well as the role Freemasonry played in that time and the formation of the United States. I first inquired by emailing the Grand Lodge, and was referred to Eric at Queen Anne Lodge who invited me for dinner one evening is 2009.
I was nervous the first time I went, not knowing what to expect. I’m sure my imagination was tainted by the media, but taking the action to explore what facilitated me was exciting. The first people I met were Eric, Zane and Justin. At the time Zane was going through a divorce, Justin was transitioning jobs, and Eric was living apart from his family for work. So they often opened up the lodge on days other than stated meetings for casual dinners and conversation to pass the evenings in good company. It was one of those cozy small dinners that I walked into. It was clear that Freemasonry is a family.
I expected secrets guarded in ceremonies, but what I found were brothers. Men that I could connect with and relate to, and friendships that have spanned years and thousands of miles.
I went in with gusto, being raised to a Master Mason within 6 months, and immediately volunteered to take the position of Junior Deacon in the sparsely populated Lodge. I wanted to help more though, so I also volunteered to build a new website for the Lodge, which lead me to study the history and culture of Craft in in great detail in order to write much of the original content. The intended result was expanded visibility in search and education of other like minded men about Freemasonry, which is exactly what happened. The Lodge, which I’m told was nearly dead in the early 2000s, began to spark to life with energetic and motivated millennials like me, and more friendships and Freemasons were born.
During the thick of the recession many of my our members were between jobs including myself, so we set to work improving the venue of our community, the Lodge. The brothers had talked for years about removing the drop panel ceilings to expose the original raised ceilings in our building, which was once the PNW telephone exchange. So I put together a proposal to begin by remodeling and redecorating the entry way. In the process we discovered that hidden behind faux 1970s wood panels was a beautiful brick that had been preserved in the 100 year old building. So we threw a work party where dozens of brothers, their families and men interested in joining showed up to expose the brick, replace the interior walls with a beautiful mahogany wood, and the furniture with leather chesterfields, creating the look and feel we all imagined in our minds eye a Freemasons Lodge should look like.
The renovation of the entry way was such a success that we immediately began the year long project of transforming the dining room as well in the same style. Now our lodge building hosts not only our brothers but dozens of events every year put on by people who want to celebrate surrounded by old world charm.
Through a series being short of hands in my early days at Queen Anne Lodge, and some turn over in upper level leadership. I found myself in the position of being moved directly to the position of Senior Warden, after my 2nd year as an officer, and the Worshipful Master in just my 4th year as a Freemason, when I was 26, making me the youngest Worshipful Master in Washington, which was an amazing honor.
I had the opportunity to travel to England in 2014, and arranged a visit to the Lodge in my family’s ancestral home town, Tarporley. When I arrived I was doubly welcomed by the brothers there as if I had actually grown up in the town, and had been a close family member visiting after a long absence. This has been my experience with all travel I have taken part of as a Freemason. I came to the craft for mysteries and knowledge; but time and time again, I realize those only serve to cement the bonds of friendship that open doors across the world, but more especially here at home.