My Brothers, some lodges have jumped to the chance to “give back” to our Minnesota Masonic Charities in recognition of almost a dozen of us who are running the Twin Cities Marathon in October.
But the number who have responded is yet too small. Has your lodge respond- ed? More than half of our lodges have taken advantage of MMC’s Matching Grant program since 2005, and many have used the program multiple times, so clearly, this excellent tool to increase our community gifts is becoming well-known around the state. This only makes it more evident that in these tough economic times we need to continue to fund the pool of dollars to ensure it is fully able to support your next grant request.
I learned long ago that giving is a habit that must be nurtured. Therefore, I’ve made it one of my goals to see that every lodge gives something. The amount could be as little as a dollar, though I hope it is more. But I want all our lodges to start the habit of supporting “our” Masonic Charities.
The exercise of discussing such a gift and voting on it is a valuable experience even for a struggling lodge. Masons give. We need to remember this, and in these times, remember that our gifts, no matter how small, are an essential part of our responsibility to our communities.
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Office of the Grand Secretary 11501 Masonic Home Drive Bloomington, MN 55437-3699
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The Masonic Code
How did the Minnesota Grand Lodge and your local Lodge in Minnesota obtain legal existence? To answer this question a brief review of the history of Lodge organ- ization is in order. Albert G. Mackey, in his 1856 book, The Principles of Masonic Law, a Treatise on the Constitutions Laws, Usages and Landmarks of Freemasonry, goes into great detail on the organizational history of Masonic Lodges. I will summa- rize his comments here.
M.W.B. Thomas Hendrickson Grand Master
Did you know that already this year, over 95 matching grants have been accepted and funded by MMC? Your gifts, large and small, are where this money comes from.
As I mentioned, your ADs and DRs are tracking the responses as they come in, and all lodges should give them a response, whether “YES” or “NO.” But like the fellows who attempt to cook for your lodge prior to a meeting will say, “It’s just rude not to respond, not to RSVP, and then show up expecting to be served.” You see, our shared Charities helps us all. Whether through our big programs like the Masonic Homes for those needing such care, or by our lodge and community grants, we should all realize that “there but for the grace of God go I.” We often don’t know until a disaster when we will need help, or when we will be in a position to ask MMC for a matching grant or other support. Let’s support this good institution while the sun is shining, eh?
Please call or write to me ... I’m here to listen if you have any concerns.
Fraternally and respectfully yours,
Thomas E. Hendrickson Grand Master
P.S. I’d love some encouragement to bol- ster my running, and your response would mean a lot Thanks
The Minnesota MASON
VOL. 59, No. 2
The Minnesota MASON (USPS 593- 460) is the only official publication of the Grand Lodge A.F. & A.M. of Minnesota. It is published bimonthly in January- February, March-April, May-June, July-
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The history of Masonic Lodges prior to 1717 is somewhat vague. Prior to 926 all Masonic Lodges were, more or less, independent of each other. General Assemblies were started in 926 in the City of York, England, with permission from King Athelstan. These centralized meet- ings of Masonic Lodges continued sporad- ically for the next 800 years. As you have all undoubtedly heard previously, four lodges from the South of England met at the Apple Tree Tavern at Charles Street in Covent Garden and on June 24, 1717, established a formal Grand Lodge. They provided for an annual assembly and feast. All additional Lodges needed a warrant from the Grand Lodge to be regular or constitutional. Lodges were admitted only on the condition that they would never suffer the old charges and landmarks to be infringed. Nearly all Grand Lodges in the United States of the York rite got their start from the Grand Lodge of England.
Mackey poses the question: How shall a Grand Lodge be established in any state or country where such a body has not previously existed; but where there are subordinate Lodges working under warrants derived from Grand Lodges in other states?
As stated in the question, there needs to be a certain number of subordinate Lodges necessary to form a Grand Lodge. There were four Lodges that formed the Grand Lodge of England so, in the United States, seldom were there less than four subordi- nate Lodges until the Grand Lodge of Texas organized in 1837 with three subordinate Lodges. The Grand Lodge of Texas was immediately recognized by other Grand Lodges and precedent was established.
Three subordinate Lodges formed the Grand Lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of Minnesota by Territorial legislation in 1853. Dispensation to the first Lodge in Minnesota was given by Wisconsin to St. John’s Lodge No. 1 in Stillwater on October 12, 1850; however, they did not receive a Charter from the Grand Lodge of Wisconsin until June 9, 1852. Cataract Lodge No. 2, St. Anthony, received its dispensation from Illinois and subsequently its Charter from the State of Illinois on February 5, 1852. St. Paul Lodge No. 3 received its Charter from the Grand Lodge of Ohio in 1853.
Section 1 of the Territorial legislation declared the Grand Lodge of Minnesota to be a body politic and corporate with the right in its corporate name to sue and be sued and to have perpetual succession. Section 2 of the Territorial Legislation pro- vided that in its corporate name the Grand Lodge of Minnesota could contract and be contracted with, may receive by gift or pur- chase, and may hold and convey real and personal estate and may make such by-laws, rules and regulations as they may deem best. The 1885 State of Minnesota Statute amend- ed the Territorial statue and confirmed and ratified the corporate entity of the Grand Lodge of Minnesota as well as all subordi- nate Lodges organized up to that time.
The three subordinate Lodges organiz- ing the Grand Lodge and all future subordi- nate lodges chartered by the Grand Lodge in any part of Minnesota were granted the same rights and privileges given the Grand Lodge in Sections 1 and 2 recited above. The only prerequisite for future subordinate
The Minnesota MASON
Lodges was to file with the Clerk of any Court of record in the County in which it is located a Certificate setting forth the name of the Lodge, the county and the place in which the Lodge is to meet. By an 1885 Amendment to the Territorial Legislation, the Certificate was thereafter required to be filed with the Register of Deeds. The 1885 amendment also provided for the election of three trustees in subordinate Lodges, who had to be members of the Lodge, who by statute are designated to have the care and control of all property belonging to the Lodge and shall make all contracts and transfers relating to said property for the disposition of said property. A subordinate Lodge, by Statute, cannot sell or dispose of any real property or lease the real property for a term exceeding 5 years unless a majority of all the members (not a majority of those voting) vote to do so at a regular communication of the Lodge. Section G13.20(a) of the General Regulations pro- vides, in part, that “The Master and Wardens of each Lodge shall be the Trustees thereof unless provision is made in the by-laws to the contrary”.
There is a footnote after the 1885 leg- islation in the Masonic Code that it may be advisable to have a separate non-profit corporation to hold title to real estate. I would expect that every Lodge in Minnesota has filed a Certificate with either the Clerk of Court or the Register of Deeds (now County Recorder). If this has been done, your Lodge has been validly incorporated and has the legal authority to hold title to real estate. So why have a separate non-profit corporation to hold title to real estate? Some attorneys may be of the opinion a separate corporation is warranted for liability reasons. I trust all Lodges owning real estate have adequate insurance to protect the users of their property if damages or injuries occur. As a matter of curiosity, I would expect some- one in each of your Lodges would check to see if you filed a proper Certificate with the Clerk of Court or Register of Deeds; if your Lodge owns real estate, is it in the same name as on the Certificate? Does your Lodge have a separate non-profit cor- poration holding title to your real estate? Is your building adequately insured?
I checked the twenty Lodges in the District in which my home Lodge is located and found only five had been separately incorporated with Articles of Incorporation filed with the Minnesota Secretary of State. Of those five, two are inactive; this usually occurs when a tax return is not filed.
You may also want to track down the Certificate filed with the Clerk of Court or Register of Deeds that established your Lodge as a corporation. The Certificate for my home Lodge, Mesaba Lodge No. 255 AF&AM of Hibbing, Minnesota, recites that it was granted a Charter by the Grand Lodge on February 25, 1903, that the Deputy Grand Master instituted and installed the Lodge on May 25, 1903, lists 25 charter members, named the officers being the Worshipful Master, Senior Warden, Junior Warden and Secretary, was signed by all of the officers on August 26, 1905, and filed with the Register of Deeds in Book 3 of Miscellaneous, Page 456, on August 31, 1905. Some of the names of the charter members are still recognizable personages today. I expect you may find the same is true in your own Lodge; take a look.
Some interesting articles on the estab- lishment of the Grand Lodge in Minnesota are on the following websites:
Fraternally yours, Dick Sellman Mesaba Lodge No. 255 Hibbing, Minnesota