Wheaton Lodge JW, Brother Paul Cameron has now had the chance to give the 1795 Paul Revere Charge in 3 different states, IL, IN, and WI. It's catching on!
Indiana was interesting to see because of the differences in how they open and close their lodge, and many of their traditions that we don't get to see in Illinois. It was fascinating.
Wisconsin, however, was a complete shock. A brother from Ozaukee Lodge 17 reached out after seeing our video of the Paul Revere Charge on our YouTube Channel. Paul agreed to go out of curiosity to see the inside of a Wisconsin lodge. On the way there though, he couldn't help but wonder if a season ticket holding Chicago Bear fan was making a smart decision by visiting a lodge in Wisconsin, in a very small town, at a small lodge, all by himself.
They were Masons, however, so he knew it would be an amicable meeting. His only actual concern was if enough guys would show up to be able to hold the installation. To say he was wrong about that is the understatement of the year!
Despite the smaller town, the lodge building was very nice on the outside, and blow-you-away fantastic on the inside! They had a beautiful lodge room, and a full balcony extending in a big U shape from Northeast corner, through the West corners, and finishing by the Southeast corner.
The guests? There were 4 Grand Masters and at least 1 chapter of every appendent Masonic body you can think of in attendance!
That includes members of the York Rite in full uniforms, Jobs Daughters who performed the living cross (beautiful performance by the way), and the entire Grand Line of the Prince Hall Masons of Wisconsin with over 20 members who were all there (their current Grand Master is in the upper right of the picture with Paul). A chapter of Demolay was there in full uniform, 3 different chapters of Eastern Star, and several other Masonic bodies were all there. The place was packed!
As a professional speaker who has practiced this charge hundreds of times, this should have been no problem. Fortunately it went smoothly, but upon sitting down afterwards his hands were visibly shaking and his eyes were as wide as saucers. (I must say I do hate writing in 3rd person, doing my best for the sake of this blog, but I can't help but break in to say that was one of the most amazing experiences of my Masonic career! My heart was pounding out of my chest giving that charge!)
The 2010 Past Grand Master of Wisconsin (lower right shaking hands) was there too. He is a Wisconsin Grand Lecturer and as it turns out, just 10 years ago HE actually re-wrote 7 of the lectures used in today's rituals in the state of Wisconsin! Incredible. AND he re-wrote the Grand Lodge installation ritual of Wisconsin and used lines directly from the Paul Revere Charge in that installation!
If you ever get a chance to visit a lodge in another state, or elsewhere in Illinois for that matter, go! You never know who you could meet. As a testimony to the welcoming nature of Masons, if a Chicago Bears fan can travel into Wisconsin and write about that experience being one of the best of his life, you know this thing Masons keep talking about called "brotherhood", is for real.