Thursday, June 21, 2018

The New Book!

Over the last few months, I've been working with Midnight Freemasons Senior Contributor Greg Knott on a new book.  This new book will be a collection of short pieces on a variety of topics relating to Freemasonry, a few new, but most of them previously published on the Midnight Freemasons blog and elsewhere.  Greg Knott will have several pieces in the book as well, and his tremendous photographs are featured throughout the book.  We're hoping it's a book people enjoy reading, but Masons can also use in their Lodges. 

It's been a fun project to work on--a real trip down memory lane!  I founded the Midnight Freemasons for a dozen years ago, and the first seven years, I wrote all the pieces myself (three pieces a week).  The book talks a little bit about the Midnight Freemasons blog, and how it evolved into what it is today.  I've included in the book some of the pieces that in the beginning got the blog noticed, and made it a "must read" for so many Masons today.

We're looking at a Fall 2018 release, so stay tuned!

~Todd E. Creason

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Mattoon Lodge No. 260 (IL) Stained Glass

Stained glass windows at Mattoon Lodge No. 260 A.F. & A.M. Illinois
I noted on a recent visit to Mattoon Lodge No. 260 for a Secretary's Workshop, these beautiful round stained glass pieces inset into the wall between a seating area in the entrance foyer and their large dining room.  It was not the first time I noticed them.  They're beautifully lit from behind by track lighting on the other side of the wall.  As you can see they are stunning.  There are actually five of these, but sadly I botched the photo of the Eastern Star window.  I apologize.

Long time member Charlie Coffey (and I believe he's a Past Master there) filled me in on their history.  They were part of the original Mattoon Lodge building.  They were inset into the exterior wall over the entrance doorway of that Lodge and served as the meeting lights.  When they were illuminated it was a meeting night.  I assume each stained glass panel had it's own bulb and switch and were illuminated according to which body was meeting at the old building that particular night. 

When the Lodge left the old building, and took residence in a more modern building, they brought those stained glass panels with them, and installed them in the dining room wall so that future generations of Mattoon Masons could enjoy that legacy.  Great story, and a really nice feature of their Lodge.  I would have loved to have seen them as they looked in the old Lodge building.

~Todd E. Creason

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Masonic Ink: New York

WB Richard Vesperman, Yorktown Lodge, No. 1154, New York
I haven't done one of these for awhile.  I posted a series of these Masonic ink photos some time back that Masons would send me.  You can find all of those by clicking the "Masonic Ink" tag below. 

I'm not sure traditionally how popular Masonic tattoos have been in the past, but they are certainly very popular today.  If you have some ink you'd like to share, send it to me at webmaster@toddcreason.org and I'll put it up.  Be sure and include your name, your Lodge, and a bit about yourself (and who did the art would be nice as well). 

This ink belongs to WB Richard Vesperman from Yorktown Lodge No. 1154 F & AM, Yorktown, New York!

Thanks for sharing, Bro. Rick!

~Todd E. Creason, 33°

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Taking The Show On The Road!


Yup, that's a lot of pins.

This is the Grand Lodge of Illinois AF & AM Eastern Area of Illinois--15 districts and 99 Lodges.  I'm to be the new Eastern Area Education Officer, so this is my domain.  I've usually steered clear of Grand Lodge positions--I've always felt I reach more people and am able to do more good with my books, and through the Midnight Freemasons blog.  In fact, I had an opportunity a couple years ago to join the Grand Lodge line--I backed out at the last minute when I realized that perhaps I'm not the right type for that duty, and that Illinois probably isn't ready for a Grand Master Creason even 15 or 20 years from now.

But then this AEO job came up, and I realized what a unique opportunity it offered.  We've been doing some interesting things at Homer Lodge No. 199 and with Admiration Chapter No. 282 RAM with education--in fact, both the Lodge and the Chapter have education and member development as its central focus, and both are seeing a very positive impact on our membership.  And of course the Midnight Freemasons have been leading the charge in emphasizing the need for better Lodge education--not to mention proving through its tremendous success that there is indeed an interest in topics relating to Freemasonry.  When this job came up, I realized I was uniquely qualified to fill it--I'm knowledgeable in the subject, and the challenges.  I know many of the District Education Officers (which include Midnight Freemason Darin Lahners).  And as a bonus, I know the State Education Officer, also a former Midnight Freemasons contributor WB Scott Dueball.  So here we go on a new adventure.

In Illinois, like in many other places, education and member development is being taken much more seriously than it was even a decade ago.  The biggest challenge is that Freemasonry hasn't done a great job in encouraging Masons to study in more depth the topic of Freemasonry for a couple decades or so--so we find ourselves short on scholars, teachers, presenters, writers, etc.  So that's really where we have to start--building core groups of educators.   There are Masons interested in this area.  I get emails nearly every day.  It's a matter of providing them with the resources, training, guidance, and opportunities to share what they're learning.  And that's going to be my focus.

Sounds simple, right?  Believe me, it's easier said than done.

So going forward, I would imagine I'll be writing a lot about the places I'll be visiting, and the things I'm learning during my travels. I don't plan on visiting all 99 Lodges, but I do plan on visiting at least one in each District during my first year.  It should be an interesting new adventure, and I hope it will provide me with plenty of fodder for future articles and posts.

~Todd E. Creason, 33°


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