Shriners come from all walks of life. We are members of the community who are working or retired, members of the trades, business professionals, business leaders and men who want to just have fun. We are fathers, uncles and sons. We are also brothers. When you become a Shriner, you become part of a brotherhood of men committed to family, engaged in ongoing personal growth, and dedicated to providing care of children and families in need through Shriners Hospitals for Children regardless of their ability to pay.
While our backgrounds and interests may be diverse, what binds us together are shared values and a desire to have fun, do good and build relationships that can last a life time. Is it time for you to learn more about Shriners International? Visit www.beashrinernow.com and find out. You can also go to our Join Nile page for what it will take to join.
Michael J. Riley
I remember my Grandfather's hands. He was a welder by trade and an avid farmer. They were burned, scarred, callused and cracked with dirt permanently stained in the crevices. After just a few weeks of the governor's stay at home order, gardening, and clearing out blackberries, when I look down, I see my Grandfather's hands instead of my own. They are reliable, caring hands, just beat to hell.
I have been doing a lot of thinking. What are some of the promises that we made as Masons? To care for the widows and orphans and to aid and assist distressed worthy brother Master Masons so far as their necessities require and my ability permits. I got genuinely concerned. My lodge isn't doing anything right now. But then again, what is a masonic lodge? It is not the building but the members. Am I personally doing everything that I can do to help? What if I have friends out there who can't get to the store because they couldn't get a mask, didn't have a ride or a few dollars to pay for their prescriptions. I am still working, but didn't want to be like Schindler at the end of the movie, thinking, why didn't I do more? I should have done more. I made some calls and reached out on Facebook and was pleased to find that no one appeared to be in that position. It was an irrational fear, and everyone is well, just tired of being cooped up. Despite a large number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, none of those I called were affected—a small but essential sample to me.
As we work in our garden, we see our neighbors walking by on the nearly deserted streets wearing masks. A sight that I have seen on the news, but I never thought that I would see near my home. The good news is that most appear to be trying to do their part to help get over this. There are no significant food shortages. Kim has been baking snickerdoodles to share with our neighbors. After all, who doesn't like warm snickerdoodles?
The Nile is doing fine, despite not having any income. Ken and Arne are continuing to keep the business going. We have cut expenses where possible and reduced them in other ways. The gates are secured, and Dale Newman has volunteered to stay on-site and oversee security. We are getting caught up on projects while the golf course is not in use, so we can hit the floor running once this is finally over. I am grateful for them all.
What can you do? Watch out for your neighbors and start calling members. Ensure that they are doing okay and can hear a friendly voice. Remember your obligations. There is a reason why you must be a Mason before you can be a Shriner. When this is finally over, I hope that people will want to become Masons and Shriners because of you.
I look forward to seeing you all soon. Stay safe and healthy.
At the recent Conference of Grand Masters in Louisville, Kentucky, Imperial Potentate Jeff Sowder, along with Scottish Rite Sovereign Grand Commanders David A. Glattly, 33° (Northern Masonic Jurisdiction), and James D. Cole, 33° (Southern Jurisdiction), announced a formal partnership on the Path Forward for Freemasonry.
As part of that initiative, the three leaders announced BeaFreemason.org, which features a wealth of information including an explanation of Masonic terms, lodge life, symbolism, degrees and family organizations. Launched in mid-February, this first-of-its-kind site introduces Freemasonry to men who are looking to "become the best version" of themselves. The site has a "Get in Touch" button, so prospects (in North America) can fill out a short form that will put them in touch with a Masonic leader in their local area. We hope you share this helpful site with men that you know who are committed to lives of honor, integrity and character.
For more information, go to: beafreemason.org