V.W. Ronald P. Singleton passed away November 8, 2016. Services are pending. Grand Lodge will post additional information when available.
Originally published on Spokesman.com
A group of men are huddled in a half circle inside the cold walls of the decrepit Selkirk building downtown. Many of them are wearing ornate aprons embroidered in different colors and patterns. One man talks from behind a podium with a broadsword stuck in a piece of wood in front.
A large stone sits to his right – a ceremonial cornerstone in dedication of the new-old building that will soon house several chapters of Freemasons, called “lodges.”
One by one, the tools of Freemasonry – the square, level and plumb – are used to measure the stone and inspect its worth. Then, corn, wine and oil are poured on its surface.
“May the all boundless offer nature bless the inhabitants of this place with abundance of the necessaries, conveniences and comforts of life,” says Jim Mendoza, Grandmaster of the Freemasons of Washington. “And grant to us all a supply of the corn of nourishment, the wine of refreshment and the oil of joy.”
Upon hearing these words, the masons cross their chests with their arms, their hands outstretched; they look like mummies. They bow their heads: “so mote it be,” they say in unison. The stone is perfect.
Sometimes, this is what being a Freemason is – fraternity, with a little pomp and circumstance. It’s much less exciting than the pop culture image of Freemasonry: Nicholas Cage in the “National Treasure” film franchise hunting down a fabulous hidden treasure stashed by the Founding Fathers – many of them Freemasons.
In reality, Freemasons are closer to a college fraternity (without all of the “buffoonery,” they jokingly say) than an all-powerful secret society. There are rules, expectations, a strong sense of community, and a deep history spanning as far back as the 14th century.
There are also many powerful and historical figures among their ranks: George Washington, Paul Revere, Theodore Roosevelt, John Elway and Steve Wozniak, the Apple co-founder, to name a few.
In Washington, Freemasonry began in 1858, and in Spokane, around 1880 – when settlers first arrived to the area. The first lodge was formed not long after. In 1910, there were enough masons to warrant their own building – the Masonic Center on Riverside Avenue (Theodore Roosevelt was present for the groundbreaking).
They stayed there for a century, until it was sold in 2013. The center was too large, and the amenities in too much disrepair to afford. The lodges headquartered there moved in with other lodges, with a plan to move out once the new center is complete. The ceremony Saturday was one of the last steps before construction and repair go into full swing at 506 W. Second Ave.
Many of the windows are boarded, and the walls have large, gaping holes exposing the outside. Several sections of the first floor are unfinished, showing the earthy foundation sitting underneath. Rather than move into a finished building, tradition is to either build a new one or find one that could use some tender love and care.
“We like to fix things up better than we found them,” said Richard Coffland, a deputy grandmaster.
By early next year, the space will look a lot different. The plan is to knock down the rusted metal beams on the first floor; the space will be shared by Spokane Lodge 34, Oriental 74 and North Hill 210. On the top floor will be a masonic museum and library preserving the storied history of Freemasonry in Spokane.
The second floor will be shared by the Scottish Rite, another branch of masonry, and Early Life Speech and Language clinic, which provides free research-based therapy for children ages 2 to 7.
Ashley Miller, the clinic’s development officer, said half of the second floor of the new masonic building was offered as a permanent home to the nonprofit. For the past two years, Freemasons have remained one of the clinic’s top supporters, having just put on a large golf tournament to raise funds.
“They’re always looking for ways to help us grow,” Miller said.
It’s self-improvement and improving the community, Freemasons say, that is the essence of being a Freemason – not necessarily the complex ceremonies or ornate dress codes. For hundreds of years, masons have donated to their communities, helped construct new buildings and repaired old ones. And all the while, they’ve lectured the fraternity is more about building human character than anything.
“In that sense, we are all architects,” Mendoza said.
As for conspiracy theories about Freemasons controlling the United States government, having ties to the Illuminati, or stashing treasure as portrayed in Hollywood blockbusters?
“I find it to be very humorous,” Mendoza said. “I look at it this way: I attend many of the lodge meetings where they argue over who’s going to bring condiments to the barbecue.”
October 22, 2016
Most Worshipful Grandmaster, Grand Lodge Team, Distinguished Guests, Friends, Ladies, Gentlemen, Brethren All,
It is not the aesthetics of this building that matters, but the proper construction of its foundation that will bear the test of time.
Our Ancient Craft’s history can be likened to a pond, where a ripple effect can impact the entire ecosystem from one mere pebble thrown, though it’s rings in the water will cover a distance far mightier than its density. That’s how mankind’s history works – simple events influencing other events as it significantly produces one milestone after another.
The year was 1905 in this city of Spokane when a masonic temple was built to accommodate the growing interest in Freemasonry.
The same temple was expanded in 1925, which coincided with the peak of the fraternity, especially in this country during which time over 12% of the adult male population were members of the craft. The numbers generated by the strong interest produced enough dues that allowed many Grand Lodges to build on truly magnificent Masonic proportions.
As for the original Spokane Masonic Temple, now known as Riverside Place, it may not come as a surprise how Spokane Lodge #34 membership had grown from 16 members in 1880 to over 1200 by the year 1925. The total number of Masons in the State had grown from 1089 in 1880 when the Lodge was formed, to 46,409 by December 31, 1925. In addition to the growth of the Spokane Lodge itself, a number of new Lodges had been formed by the end of 1925 bringing the total Masonic population of the City to a total of 3,725 Master Masons.
Considered one of the grandest fraternal lodges in the western part of the Unites States and a principal structure in the Riverside Avenue National Historic District, the Spokane Masonic Temple was representative of the City Beautiful Movement as it was applied and adopted in this city.
After extensive research, other wise known as a Google search, I learned that the City Beautiful Movement was a reform philosophy of North American architecture and urban planning that flourished at the tail-end of the 1800s. The intentions behind this movement were to introduce beautification and monumental grandeur within cities, thus creating moral and civic virtue among urban populations. Advocates of the philosophy believed that such beautification promoted a harmonious social order that would increase the quality of life. However, some critics were apprehensive, recognizing the movement as overly concerned with aesthetics at the expense of true social reform.
On the contrary, most of the influential and prominent citizens of this city drew on their talents during its construction and period of development. This was a true reflection of the need and importance of the fraternal and social organizations to the mainstream community to keep up with the growing demand for added social interactions.
After a century of fraternal existence in the community, we decided to part ways with the famed structure that exemplifies the disciplined classicism that evolved from the Beau-Arts movement and the influence of other architectural styles of that period.
This morning we brought with us the same Landmark as before, a synthesis of virtues of the Ancient Craft in its genuine form by bringing it under the same hat of none splintered way of thinking, all in harmony together as we solemnly lay the cornerstone for this New Masonic Temple. A building whose masonic identity resides within its tiled recesses with the spirit animatedly flowing from those emblems as it typically expressed the individuality of our temples.
As we cheerfully conform to the ancient usages and established customs of the fraternity, we are presented with the three precious jewels of each station in the lodge, the square, a level and a plumb to constantly remind all present of its Moral & Masonic uses in our daily lives such us virtue, equality and rectitude.
This was followed by the Masonic Consecration of the lodge, a deeply symbolic ceremony during which the lodge following ancient custom, was anointed with corn, wine and oil: corn representing abundance and plenty,
wine the symbol of strength, and gladness and oil representing peace and joy.
With a continued desire to be the difference in promoting the honor and interest of the craft agreeably to its ancient forms and usage, allow me to share with you an excerpt from the original oration given by W. H. Ludden, Grand Orator, at the Cornerstone Laying of the Spokane Masonic Temple on October 6, 1904:
As the square angles of this stone symbolize virtue and its cubical form represents truth and perfection, so the foundation of Masonry and the perfect character of every Mason is based on virtue and truth.
With pleasure and gratitude, we meet here today to lay sure and lasting this cornerstone that there may be erected upon it a Masonic temple from which shall go forth a brotherhood of men to spread everywhere the eternal principles of truth and brotherly love. It shall be their purpose to smooth the rugged places in life, provide for the widow and orphan, and point out every man the right way. This stone will last for ages, but when the temple reared upon it has decayed and the stone itself crumbled to dust, the sublime principles of our order will still exist in their sublime significance.
A temple is reared upon a foundation rock, but the Masonic life and character is founded upon the principles of truth. No one shall enter here except he place his trust in the supreme architect of the universe, and the Holy Bible, the chief cornerstone of our order. How true it is that within this temple when completed will be cherished those virtues which adorn society and make the work a heaven even to those who cannot enter.
There are many temples of art in which we can cultivate our tastes, there are temples of science in which we can familiarize our minds with the works of nature and nature’s God, there are temples of religion in which we can prepare our hearts for the sacred communion of saints. But in all these, ambition may stir the passion or differences of opinion create contention and discord, destroying that peace without which earth has no joy and heaven can have no existence.
In the temple of Masonry only those human qualities which lie at the foundation of human brotherhood are called into action. Before the altar all animosities are laid aside. If man is to learn anywhere faith in his fellow men, careful scrutiny of his own conduct charity, liberality, fraternal love, kind consideration, it is in the courts of that temple.
It is because they who enter in pass on to good influences and noble purposes and kind associations that this temple of ours becomes like that ‘not made with hands.’ The completion of this building will be a permanent addition and ornament to our city and the lessons taught within its walls will bring and influence to our citizens that will be an eternal benefit.
The foundation of our temple we have now laid. With solemnities suited to the occasion, with prayers to Almighty God for his blessing, and in the midst of this assembly we have begun the work. We trust it will be prosecuted and that springing from a broad foundation, rising high in massive solidity and grandeur it may remain as long as heaven permits the works of man to last, a fit emblem of Masonic thrift and of the gratitude of those who have reared it.
We know, indeed, that the record of progress is most safely deposited in the universal remembrance of mankind. We know that if we could cause this structure to ascend, not only till it reaches the skies, but till it pierced them, its broad surfaces could still contain but part of that which, in an age of knowledge, hath already been spread over earth, and which history charges itself with making known to all future times.
We know that no inscription less broad than the earth itself can carry information of the principles we commemorate where it has not already gone; and that no structure which shall not outlive the duration of letters and knowledge among men can prolong the memory of our order.
But our object by this edifice is to show our own deep sense of the value and importance of the achievements of brotherly love and truth, and by presenting this temple to the eye to keep alive similar sentiments and to foster a constant regard for the principles of Masonry.
Human beings are composed not only of reason, but of imagination and sentiment; and that is neither wasted nor misapplied which is appropriated to the purpose of giving right direction to sentiments. Let it not be supposed that our object is to perpetuate a mere building, or even to cherish this particular spot. It is higher, purer and nobler.
We consecrate our work to the spirit of eternal truth, and we wish that the light of peace may rest upon it forever. We come as Masons to mark a spot which must forever be dear to us and our posterity. We wish that this structure may proclaim the magnitude and importance of the principles of Masonry to every class and every age.
We wish that infancy may learn the purpose of its erection from maternal lips and that weary and withered age may behold it and be solaced by the recollections it suggests. We wish that labor may look up here and be proud in this midst of its toil. We wish that in those days of sadness and sorrow that must come on us the desponding hearts may turn hitherward and be assured that the foundations of truth and brotherly love will stand strong.
We wish that this temple rising toward heaven among the pointed spires of so many temples dedicated to God may contribute also to produce in all minds a pious feeling of dependence and gratitude. We hope that this structure will stand years and years like the lighthouse on the shore, warning all who behold from danger and leading all with a pure and holy light to a life of peace and brotherly love.
On behalf of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Washington we thank you for being a part of this auspicious event and we wish you all the success.
W. George Franco – Grand Orator 2017
Affiliated Past Grand Master MWB Ernest R. Hazelwood passed to the Grand Lodge Above on Friday, October 21st at 8:01 p.m. He was surrounded by his Family, Wife – Dorothy, Daughters – Carol Ann and Debbie, and four of his Lodge Brothers. Ernie was 89 years old.
MWB Ernie will be buried at the Willamette National Cemetery in Portland, Oregon. A memorial service will be held in Albuquerque at a later date.
86 Riverview Rd.
Edgewood, NM 87015-6719
Fred B. Frye, Secretary
Edgewood Lodge No.82
612 Granite Point Trail SE
Albuquerque, NM 87123
Please disregard the fraudulent emails from MW Jim Mendoza. He is aware of the issue and is working with his provider to have it taken care of.
The Washington Freemasons are coming to Husky Stadium this fall to watch the Huskies play Arizona State in our Pac-12 Regular Season Finale.
Special Group Pricing & Seating
$40.00 (almost $30 off of the face value of the ticket)
Everyone ordering by the deadline of Monday, November 7th will enjoy group seating together at the game.
CLICK HERE FOR THE ORDER FORM and additional information.
I’m what the old guys would call “a tech guy.” What that means to me and what it means to them are two very different things. To them, it means I know how to do something as far as this whole ‘internet thing’ is concerned. While I may get tripped up on the technicalities of specialization of my profession, they’re right about one thing, I’m a millennial through and through.
There’s been a lot of confusion about the word ‘millennial’. I subscribe to a field of thought that views millennials as the post-generation generation. Unlike Generation Y, which is who most people confuse with Millennials, Millennials act in a new way of being human that relies primarily on digital technology as our most natural way to connect with others. That means that it includes any age group, nationality, or culture of human who live and breathe in the digital world as much as they do in the physical.
Millennials, because of our use of technology to connect with others, naturally see the world through a lense that is much broader than people who grew up without a real-time window into the lives of others. Freemasonry across the world has understood that we have “a marketing problem”, however, what many freemasons don’t realize is that you can’t solve it with a new logo or a tagline. We have to adopt new technology in order to speak the new language millennials understand: social media.
For those who don’t really understand why so many social networks exist, the explanation is actually fairly simple. Each social network has its own purpose. Linkedin is ideally used for work connections, Pinterest is used to collect beautiful and inspirational images, Facebook is the place to keep up with friends and acquaintances, Twitter is optimal for connecting with strangers to discuss mutual interests and topics, and Instagram is where we share memories visually. All of these networks help enhance our human experience by connecting with many many more people than we otherwise could.
Jason Silva is someone who I would consider to be an archetype of a 21st century philosopher. This video is a little piece he did that explains the network.
Now comes the interesting phenomenon: following celebrities. People follow them because they want to feel like a part of their life and enjoy in the moments that they feel are special to them. And the oldest celebrity office in the world, the Pope himself, finally joined instagram in March of this year. Frankly, he’s killing it.
Millennials crave authenticity and transparency. These are things that become more and more difficult for institutions as they age, so the Freemasons and the Catholic church face a similar challenge in that regard. However, when an old institution like the Vatican focuses their Instagram account on the humanity of those precious passing moments of the present, old institutions become very relevant.
So my call to action is, every lodge should have someone instagramming, whether they do it personally and include the fact that they are a Freemason in their bio, or by posting on behalf on of their lodge. The focus should be on the fellowship, not the regalia. The secrets of our brotherhood are the bonds between brothers, and everyone can relate to or aspire to that.
By VW Zane P. McCune, DDGM 13
Good Evening Brethren, welcome to autumn in the Pacific Northwest. This is actually my favorite time of year. The rainy days upon us have quickly greened up our summer lawns and the sunny-crisp days of September are the last glimmers of summer fading away. We are reminded that the chill of winter will be knocking on our door shortly, and with it comes the shadowed silhouette of leaf-bare branches.
Our year is beginning to draw to an end. For many, this time is reminiscent of the sands in the hour glass noticeably and yet quickly diminishing and as a result we begin to naturally look inward and examine what this year has meant. And this has given me cause to reflect on our Grand Master’s message this year.
Before becoming a Freemason, this fraternity, this society you have joined asks of you one question – simple, yet profound – what came you here to do?
I hope your answer is just as profound.
Because none of us needs to be a Freemason. And want I mean to say is that we all choose to be a Freemason. We choose this life because something in our nature is responding to a mysterious call. And as such, your Masonic journey is really like a mission. Your mission, should you choose to accept it is to learn to subdue your passion and improve yourself in Masonry.
Learning to subdue your passion. Which at first blush seems a bit counterproductive. Don’t we learn as a child to be passionate about what we do? For the initiate of our Masonic order, this is one of the first and most important points of Freemasonry and yet this is often vulnerable to misinterpretation, and consequently it merits some examination.
First, we must understand why we use the word passion. As it relates to our ritual, I believe we are talking about an affection of the mind. Oxford Dictionary refers to this type of passion as “Any kind of feeling by which the mind is powerfully affected or moved; a vehement, commanding, or overpowering emotion.”
Which is why we come here, to this temple of virtue, to learn to subdue our overpowering emotions. Because passion taken to an extreme overcomes our reason. And are we not instructed by the virtue of PRUDENCE which teaches us “to regulate our lives and actions agreeably to the dictates of reason, and it is that habit by which we wisely judge and prudentially determine all things relative to our present as well as to our future happiness. This virtue should be the peculiar characteristic of every Mason, not only for the government of his conduct while in the Lodge, but also when in the world.”
In other words, when you combine these concepts into one thought, we can say that “to learn to subdue my passions” means to through the virtuous teachings of Masonry one learns to bring commanding and overpowering emotions and desires into subjection and control. This is quite the contrary to the situation in which a man’s passions and emotions have control over his sense of logic and reason – a situation which Masonry seeks to remedy and which is often described through the all too well known cliché of making a good man better. In other words, it is not within the capability of our ego-driven self to keep passion in check. We must learn to do this.
By improving oneself in Masonry. At first this seems like almost an obvious statement – for why else would one be here? It’s so vast it almost seems like the perfect “catch all” statement. But before we gloss over it and commence with scheduling the next feast and celebration, let us consider the nature of this declaration.
For it is a personal commitment. You joined to improve yourself.
Unfortunately, the Masonic experience for some is reminiscent of the fallacy of what has become a tag line for an entire generation – Here we are now, entertain us. But nothing could be more opposite from the truth. Freemasonry exists for YOU to discover her treasure and no one should expect it to be done for them. You come here to improve yourself in knowledge of Masonry. And it is through and from this expansion of knowledge that we begin to learn to conduct ourselves with peace and harmony with those around us.
First with our brethren, but then with the outer world. And consequently, we become a better, more improved version of earlier self.
As Masons, we are called to labor and be laborers. From the very first step in our Initiatic journey we are taught symbolically how to make use of every hour of every day by the 24-inch gauge.
We are taught to divide our time equally between our service to the Supreme Architect and our worthy brethren, to our society through our vocation and to the refreshment of ourselves which includes, presumably, our family.
This is why it is so hard for many of us to sit idle, wasting the hours away accomplishing little but the short lived thrills of passing amusement.
It’s simply not in our nature as Masons.
If you stop and think about it, we are constantly working on a temple – whether it’s our spiritual, temporal, or our personal temple.
We build – that is what we do, and there is no rest for the weary.
You see, this is why our Grand Masters theme this year encapsulates the very essence of what it means to be a Mason. It’s not simply a theme but rather a reminder of the declaration you made when you chose to become a Mason.
‘Be the Difference’ by its very nature is calling our craft from refreshment to labor
So brethren, I ask you again, what came you here to do?
And with that…Let us now set to work.