We, at Square & Compass Promotions, have much to be thankful for!
The day-to-day struggles and challenges of life and, particularly, our Masonic commitments can often cause us to overlook that for which we should be thankful.
Thanksgiving is the perfect time to “take another look.”
Below, we discuss just some of the many things for which we are thankful, as it relates to Freemasonry both within our home district (Essex County District) and in general.
We also discuss those things outside of Freemasonry which enrich our lives and cause us to give thanks.
Many of the things discussed below are also discussed in our Dec 2023 story “Reasons for Optimism.” The fact that, 10 months later, these things are now “Reasons to be Thankful,” demonstrates the continued growth and success of Freemasonry in Windsor, Essex, and beyond (and the continued success of Square & Compass Promotions).
These things are by no means exhaustive, both for ourselves or others. Please take a moment to share with us the things for which you are thankful, Masonic or otherwise.
All opinions are statements of Square & Compass Promotions and the author, unless otherwise noted.
The Windsor Masonic Temple Coffee Club
The Windsor Masonic Temple Coffee Club (“Coffee Club”) meets Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays (8:30am-10:30am) in the Windsor Masonic Temple’s ballroom level. A bottomless cup-of-coffee is just $2.00; toast and other snacks available at an even lower cost (and you can often rely on a guest to bring some snacks or pastries).
The Coffee Club is open to the community. The Coffee Club also supports the community via scholarships (the recipients of which do not need to have a masonic connection).
As with all social clubs, COVID-19 related health measures resulted in a significant meeting interruption (but did not interrupt the Coffee Club’s scholarship program).
There was nervousness and concern as to whether, when meetings could resume, Coffee Club guests would return.
We are so thankful that Coffee Club guests have returned…and have returned in as high (and, in some cases, higher) numbers than before the COVID-19 interruption.
It is not hyperbole to say the Windsor Masonic Temple Coffee Club is booming!
Social clubs (like the Coffee Club) are vital to the success and strength of a masonic lodge or district (or building).
Such clubs provide an opportunity for masons to gather in an informal and relaxed setting to both discuss the challenges a lodge(s) is facing (and brainstorm possible solutions) and celebrate the successes a lodge(s) is having (and brainstorm how to continue those successes).
Such clubs also provide an opportunity for friends, family, and community members to meet masons (again, in an informal and relaxed setting) and learn more about freemasonry. Many Grand Lodges encourage masons to spend weeks or months meeting with potential candidates in informal and relaxed settings, before proceeding with the application process.
In Essex County District, several newly admitted members regularly attended the Coffee Club before their initiations (and continued to attend after).
Even if a guest decides not to apply for membership, welcoming community members into the Coffee Club provides great value to and for masonry.
Such clubs also provide an opportunity for masons to support their communities, through the creation of scholarships or similar endeavours.
Recently, for example, the Windsor Masonic Temple and the Coffee Club welcomed local artists into its spaces, displaying artwork from local artists.
The Windsor Masonic Temple Coffee Club is one of many such masonic clubs. Another example, Chatham, Ontario hosts monthly breakfasts (we can attest the food is delicious).
Such clubs are also just fun!
We, at Square & Compass, are so thankful for the Coffee Club: for the way strengthens our district and lodges; for the way it welcomes the community into our home; for the way it supports the community; for the many masons who wake-up early to get the coffee and snacks ready; for the enjoyable company; for the great memories; and for the great (and inexpensive) coffee!
Thank-you Windsor Masonic Temple Coffee Club! If you’re in the Windsor/Essex area, why not swing-by for some great coffee Monday, Wednesday, Friday 8:30am-10:30am.
Question: Does your Masonic district have a coffee club, or another similar type of club?
Border Cities Daylight Lodge №554
Border Cities Daylight Lodge №554 meets five (5) times a year at 11am (hence: “Daylight Lodge”). It meets at the Windsor Masonic Temple.
Border Cities Daylight Lodge №554 (“Border Cities”) has a proud history in both Windsor and the Essex County District, recently celebrating its 100th anniversary.
As with many masonic bodies, Border Cities faced challenges exacerbated by COVID-19 related interruptions.
We are thankful that, due to the hard work of many Brethren, Border Cities is not simply facing these challenges…but overcoming them!
In October of 2023, Border Cities held a successful and well-attended installation (at which this author acted as Installing Master) for a very deserving W. Master elect and officers.
In the Spring of 2023, Border Cities celebrated its 100th anniversary with a Windsor Yacht Club luncheon (attendees included Windsor’s Ward 3 City Councillor and a local author).
In the Summer of 2023, the City of Windsor honoured Border Cities with an Official City of Windsor Proclamation, noting the lodge’s importance to the City.
Daylight Lodge(s) are vital to the success of a masonic district. As noted by distinguished Brethren, daylight lodges provide an opportunity for older Brethren (who may not feel comfortable driving at night) or for Brethren who work night shifts to take part in freemasonry.
A daylight lodge can also be connected with breakfasts, luncheons, (or a coffee club) or other such special events.
As our area’s exclusive daylight lodge, the continued success and growth of Border Cities Lodge is incredibly important.
We, at Square & Compass, are so thankful for Border Cities Lodge №554: for the hard-work and dedication of its membership; for the support from visitors; for the history therein contained; and for keeping the light of “daylight lodges” shining in Essex County District.
Thank you Border Cities Lodge! If you’re an Mason in Essex County District who is free during the day, consider affiliating with this special lodge!
Question: Does your masonic district have a “daylight lodge?” How it is doing?
Windsor Masonic Temple Mentoring Nights
The Windsor Masonic Temple’s Mentoring Night takes place Wednesdays at 7pm.
It takes place at the Windsor Masonic Temple.
Mentoring is done by Worshipful Masters and other distinguished Brethren.
For many years (including when the author first joined), “Wednesday night mentoring” was a Windsor Masonic Temple mainstay.
However, as the years passed, mentoring nights saw fewer-and-fewer attend. COVID-19 exacerbated this trend.
We are so thankful that, over the last several months, Wednesday Night Mentoring has returned and, like the Coffee Club, it is not hyperbole to say that Wednesday Night Mentoring is booming!
It is “booming” so much that, on a typical Wednesday night, it is not uncommon to find at the Windsor Masonic Temple both lodge rooms and both ante-rooms being used in the mentoring of various candidates and officers.
As has been noted by Grand Lodges, Grand Masters, and distinguished masons, a strong mentorship program is vital to the success of a masonic lodge or district.
It is also vital to understand and note that mentoring is not reserved exclusively for candidates; every mason should take advantage of mentoring opportunities.
As M. W. Bro. Cameron Bailey noted in his very valuable publication Emeth (a publication for which we are thankful):
- “[Mentoring] our upcoming or new Lodge Officers [to] become proficient is certainly a Lodge responsibility, but I think it is a responsibility completely neglected in most of our Lodges.
- We are failing our new Officer when we don’t take the time to teach him his role in the Opening, Closing, and Degrees. But we are also badly failing ourselves, for in far too many cases he will struggle to learn on his own, and we will have to sit through poor ritual, something none of us want to do.”
- This very small investment of time will pay the Lodge, and the Officer, dividends for years to come.
We, at Square & Compass, are thankful for Wednesday Night Mentoring: for the mentoring it provides to candidates preparing to advance within their Masonic career; for the mentoring it provides to officers and members preparing for their masonic work; for the members that (almost literally) resurrected mentoring and grew-its attendees; for the time spent with Brethren; and for the assistance mentoring provided this author on his masonic journey.
Thank you to the mentors at the Windsor Masonic Temple. If you are a Mason in the area and want to practice any work, come out to the Windsor Masonic Temple Wednesdays at 7pm.
Question: Does your masonic lodge or district have a mentoring program? If it does, do you take part (either as a “mentor” or “mentee?”)
International Order of Rainbow/Masonic Youth Groups
The International Order of the Rainbow for Girls teaches what matters most: leadership, confidence, and citizenship. It is a Masonic youth service organisation for young women emphasising leadership training through community service. You can learn more about the International Order of Rainbow at: https://www.gorainbow.org/
We are thankful that our district and building are home to a thriving masonic youth service organisation.
The Essex County District and Windsor Masonic Temple are home to “Fort Assembly №26 International Order Rainbow Girls.” This assembly is a credit to the International Order of Rainbow.
It is also a credit to our entire masonic family.
The Assembly’s growth, which started virtually during COVID-19, is incredible and a testament to the hard-work of the entire assembly!
Whenever the Windsor Masonic Temple hosts an open-house or other event in which the public is welcomed, Fort Assembly №26 is always willing to assist and take-part, including by sending representatives to set-up displays and answer the public’s questions.
Youth groups are a vital part of our masonic family. Masonic districts with strong masonic youth groups also tend to be strong in other areas.
The International Order of the Rainbow for Girls also supports the community (including Assembly №26) by engaging in various community activities and fundraisers.
The International Order of the Rainbow for Girls is one of many masonic youth groups. Aside from the International Order of the Rainbow, “DeMolay International” is perhaps the most well-know Masonic youth group.
“For more than one hundred years, DeMolay has helped boys become men of outstanding character, through dedicated mentorship and unique, hands-on life-skill programs.” You can learn more about DeMolay at: https://beademolay.org/
We, at Square & Compass, are thankful for the International Order of the Rainbow Fort Assembly №26: for the hard-work of its membership in growing the assembly; for the way it strengthens the entire local masonic order; for the positive image it casts upon Freemasonry; and for its support of the Windsor Masonic Temple.
Thank you to the International Order of the Rainbow Fort Assembly №26!
Question: Does your Masonic district or building host any masonic youth groups?
Stability and Growth in Lodges
The author is a member of three masonic lodges.
[My home lodge is Windsor Lodge №403. My first affiliated lodge (at which I am Secretary) is Harmony Lodge №579. My second affiliated lodge is Border Cities Daylight Lodge №554 (discussed above). I am also a member of the Scottish Rite Rose Croix.]
As experienced by every Masonic lodge or body, COVID-19 related interruptions and in-person meeting suspensions placed a strain on these Lodges.
To its credit, the membership worked very hard during these interruptions and suspensions to maintain, as much as possible, masonic continuity.
Harmony Lodge №579 (for example) maintained a regular summons schedule, regular correspondence, regular communications with its Grand Lodge, holiday gifts for the membership, and a regular virtual-meeting and event schedule.
These virtual meetings and events included: several guest speakers (from around the world); the opportunity to meet with potential applicants; a virtual whiskey tasting (attended by our Most Worshipful Grand Master and DDGM); and a virtual beer & cheese night.
However, even with the above work, it was hard not to be nervous upon the resumption of in-person meetings. Could and would membership return to Lodge, and in-person meetings, after the COVID-19 related interruptions and virtual meetings?
We are so thankful that, after COVID-19 restrictions, attendance in the author’s lodges are either stable or growing.
Windsor Lodge №403, in particular, has seen growth in attendance.
Border Cities Lodge №554 has also seen growth in attendance.
Harmony Lodge №579 is welcoming new members, and advancing dedicated candidates through the degrees. The Lodge has also engaged in social activities, including a softball game!
Things are going well, and we are thankful!
It is also important to note that other Lodges within our district (Essex County District) are also doing very well. Parvaim-Central №395 (which is the first lodge the author visited after COVID-19 related restrictions eased) has done an amazing job at growing its membership and officer line-up. Trinity Lodge №521 hosted an amazing and very well-attended district “Fish Fry” dinner and has a very-strong officer line-up.
Lodges and the Districts are organising special ceremonies for Remembrance Day 2023 and other occasions.
Farmersville Masonic Lodge №214 in Texas held a pancake breakfast.
Lodges are seeing higher attendances. Lodges are also seeing younger attendees. Lodges are seeing fewer holes in the officer line-up. This is true in our local district.
Even our local Temple Association had excellent attendance at its recent special meeting.
We, at Square & Compass Promotions, are so thankful for the growth and stability we are seeing in our lodges: for the work and dedication from the brethren creating this growth and stability; for the friendships, brotherhood, and memories resulting from this growth; and for the momentum this growth creates.
We are also thankful to be part of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, for the hard-work and dedication of its membership in our Valley. Scottish Rite (and York Rite, and Shrine) is a vital part of our masonic family and its growth is so important to the long-term health of Freemasonry.
One opportunity to celebrate this growth and stability will be Windsor Masonic Temple’s 140th anniversary banquet, taking place January 19th at the Windsor Masonic Temple!
Question: How are Lodges in your district doing? What successes are you seeing? What challenges are you facing? What events are they holding? Let Square & Compass know, so we can share!
Our Grand Lodge
Lodge growth is also the result of hard work at the Grand Lodge level. Our jurisdiction falls under the Grand Lodge of Canada in the Province of Ontario.
We are thankful for all of the work being done by our Grand Lodge to grow lodges through administrative improvements.
As the author is a Lodge secretary, he can personally confirm these improvements.
We are thankful that the Grand Lodge is now allowing for the submission of a summons electronically.
We are thankful for Grand Lodge’s new Lodge Management System, which is an excellent tool for any Lodge secretary.
We are thankful for the Grand Lodge’s Cornerstone Committee and updated Cornerstone program.
We are thankful for the introduction of on-line voting for Grand Lodge Officers and DDGMs.
We are also thankful for the return of an in-person Grand Lodge Annual Communication, and the awesome location at which it takes place.
We are thankful for the Grand Lodge’s work on creating a consistent “Ontario Mason Brand.”
We are thankful for our Grand Master, Grand Secretary, and everyone who works so hard for Freemasonry in our jurisdiction.
Thank you to everyone who has worked so hard to make our Lodges grow after COVID-19.
“For The Next 100 Years”
We, at Square & Compass Promotions, promote masonic projects (or events). In this way, we hope to encourage other masonic lodges, districts, or individuals to consider similar projects. We share these projects via social media and our podcast.
We are thankful when any masonic lodge, district, or individual engages in any project.
We are particularly thankful for the Windsor Masonic Temple’s (Border Masonic Temple Association’s) “For The Next 100 Years” project.
This project ensures that the Windsor Masonic Temple remains for the people of Windsor and Essex a place of heritage, friendship, and community “For The Next 100 Years.”
It is ensuring this by engaging in significant work (funded in part by the Government of Canada, the Municipality of Windsor, and local supports) to make the Windsor Masonic Temple as accessible as possible, as energy efficient and environmentally friendly as possible, all while preserving its heritage and architectural features, and extending its useful life.
We, at Square & Compass Promotions, are thankful to the Windsor Masonic Temple for engaging in this project because it is Freemasons doing “what is best for society.” In a Sep 2021 letter, our (then) M. W. Grand Master stated that “Freemasons are committed to doing what is best for society.”
- Doing what is best for society means ensuring our buildings are as energy efficient and environmentally friendly as possible.
- Doing what is best for society means ensuring our buildings unique historical and heritage features for future generations are preserved, championed, and maintained.
- Doing what is best for society means ensuring our buildings are as accessible as possible.
- Doing what is best for society means ensuring our buildings historical documentation are digitally preserved, protected. We are thankful to Windsor Lodge №403 for work in this area.
- Doing what is best for society means ensuring our buildings useful lives are extended.
We are also thankful because this project has forced Square & Compass Promotions to consider topics not normally considered, such as:
- Freemasonry’s relationship with First Nations groups. We write about this in: “Freemasonry & The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Final Report’s “Calls for Justice.” We have also increased use of land acknowledgements.
- Freemasonry and sustainability/environmental responsibility. We write about this in: “Square & Compass Signs Sustainability Tourism 2030 Pledge & Takes Sustainability Assessment”
- Freemasonry and accessible communication (i.e.-braille signage in masonic buildings or using “alternative text” on electronic images)
- Freemasonry and use of minority official language(s).
[The author has tried to take into account all of the above in my work as Lodge Secretary and “For The Next 100 Years” project chair, by increasing use of French, ALT text, Accessibility training, and more].
We are thankful for these considerations, because they encourage us to try new things!
Our audience may have noticed an increase in French Language messaging both on our social media and in our e-mail blasts, as well as an attempt to increase voices of diverse groups (such as UGLE participating in London’s Pride parade, our trip to a special day for local First Nations in Windsor, or the Order of Women Freemasons) and increased accessibility by (for example) use of ALT text. Freemasonry is diverse, and Square & Compass intends to examine and promote that diversity!
We are also so thankful for the work being done on our home masonic building and favourite place: the Windsor Masonic Temple. We are thankful for every grant provider and government agency, municipal support, masonic group, and individual who contributed funds to and for this work.
We are thankful for the expertise and dedication of the architects, heritage, and artisan specialists who created the plans. We are thankful for all of the workers and specialists, who have braved some very hot days, restoring the Windsor Masonic Temple’s facade, repairing the parapet, re-pointing, cleaning limestone, replacing copper, replacing damaged tile and brick, and more. We are also thankful for all of the interior work, modernising the Windsor Masonic Temple lift and washrooms. More to come!
We are thankful (and excited) for the January 20th, 2024 Public Unveiling of this work. We are thankful for all of the musicians, poets, dignitaries, masons, and community members who will be joining us during the unveiling.
We are thankful we have the opportunity to share the “For The Next 100 Years” project with our audience, and we hope by doing so we encourage other masonic lodges, districts, or buildings to consider similar projects.
[THIS PROJECT IS FUNDED IN PART BY THE GOVERNMENT OF CANADA’S ENABLING ACCESSIBILITY FUND. CE PROJET EST EN PARTIE FINANCÉ PAR LE GOUVERNEMENT DU CANADA PAR LE BIAIS DU FOND POUR L’ACCESSIBILITÉ
“This project is funded [in part] by the Government of Canada. Ce projet est financé [en partie] par le gouvernement du Canada.”]
Welcoming the Community
Masonic growth and stability also relies upon welcoming the community.
Welcoming local artists, artisans, heritage performers and/or cultural carriers with opportunities to engage in their communities through local arts and heritage; and by providing local citizens opportunities to be exposed to local arts and heritage is vital to masonic growth.
We are thankful that the Windsor Masonic Temple and lodges are welcoming these relationships. See below for a case-study.
The Windsor Masonic Temple is welcoming these relationships by hosting local artisan products, including: local soda pop; local cheese; local coffee; and local products curated through “519culture.”
Since August 2023, the Windsor Masonic Temple has welcomed artists by providing space to engage the community with their work and expose the community to the same, by displaying paintings, photographs, poems, wood-carvings (and more) in two public spaces within the Windsor Masonic Temple. As of this date, seven (7) local artists have displayed their work, with more on the way.
The Windsor Masonic Temple welcomes authors for book-launches.
The Windsor Masonic Temple celebrates the history of Windsor and Essex.
The Windsor Masonic Temple welcomes ballroom dancers.
The Windsor Masonic Temple welcomes school graduations, which feature musicians and artists.
The Windsor Masonic Temple welcomes the Christmas Elves Christmas Dinner every December 25th, open to anyone who is hungry, isolated, or otherwise wanting to eat a Holiday Dinner in the company of others. The 2022 dinner featured a therapeutic horse, performers, and a visit from Santa.
The Windsor Masonic Temple has the Learning Centre, and welcomes the students, tutors, and volunteers for an annual graduation ceremony.
We are thankful that the Windsor Masonic Temple (and lodges) is welcoming and building these relationships, and we hope other masonic buildings or lodges welcome the same.
As a connection to the above, the Ontario Culture Days Festival is an annual celebration of arts, culture and heritage taking place each fall across the province. This year, it takes place from Sep 22nd, 2023 — Oct 15th, 2023. The Windsor Masonic Temple is a home for arts & culture-including showcasing the works of local artists, dancers, and youth groups!
Question: Does your Masonic Building or Lodge welcome the community? If so, in what ways?
2023 National Trust Conference
We cannot wait to attend the National Trust Conference 2023 (with Canadian Association of Heritage Professionals and Indigenous Heritage Circle) Transforming Heritage Ottawa (Château Laurier), October 26–28, where we will learn more about preserving built heritage, including masonic built heritage.
[Conférence 2023 de la Fiducie nationale (avec l’Association canadienne d’experts-conseils en patrimoine et le Cercle du patrimoine autochtone) Le patrimoine en évolution à Ottawa (Château Laurier) du 26 au 28 octobre.]
The National Trust has been a major resource in the “For The Next 100 Years” project.
Ottawa is an important part of the author’s life. It has been a long time since he has returned to this beautiful city…and he is so thankful for the opportunity to return in October!
Taking the time to attend conferences and learn from different organisations and disciplines (such as The National Trust) is vital to Freemasonry.
We at Square & Compass Promotions work hard to encourage masonic groups, lodges, or individuals to consider what can be learned or gained from different organisations and disciplines. We, for example, posted our podcast with a marketing specialist, to learn about how Freemasonry can better market itself to the public and communities.
From the National Trust, we can learn how Freemasonry can protect and preserve its built heritage and its historical buildings.
We, at Square & Compass Promotions, are thankful to the National Trust; thankful for the work of its members and employees in promoting the importance of historical and heritage buildings and in providing resources for the preservation of these buildings; for the upcoming 2023 Conference Transforming Heritage; for its very useful website; and for providing us the opportunity to return to a city in which we love.
We are also thankful that the National Trust of Canada organises “Historic Places Days: Every Place a Story.” In 2023, Historic Places Days took place from July 8th to July 23rd (it also took place in 2022). We are thankful for Historic Places Days as it gave us the chance to “show-off” the Windsor Masonic Temple (https://historicplacesdays.ca/places/windsor-masonic-temple/) both in 2023 and 2022. We are thankful for every virtual visitor who took part in the Historic Places Days and visited the Windsor Masonic Temple.
Question: Will you be attending the National Trust Conference? What have you learned from outside areas which you have applied to Freemasonry?
YouTube Channel(s) & Social Media
Square & Compass Promotions hosts a variety of social media accounts (including “X” (formerly twitter), Facebook, and Instagram). We also host a main YouTube Channel and a YouTube Clips Channel, on which we post both long-form podcasts and clips. We also post the audio versions of these podcasts on a variety of sites, including Audea and Vurbl.
We also have, as you are aware if you’re reading this, a medium page.
Creating content on social media, or creating podcasts, or creating any digital content is a scary prospect. It was also, for us, a new prospect when we started in February 2021.
While there have been challenges (and we are still working on these challenges) we are thankful for the growth we are seeing on our YouTube channels and social media. We have also started to try new content, including using YouTube shorts.
We are thankful for every follower, every “like,” every comment, every share, and every audience member. We are thankful for every listen. We are thankful for every subscriber.
We are also thankful for every Patreon supporter, without whose support Square & Compass Promotions would not be possible. If you would like to support Square & Compass Promotions, check out our Patreon page here.
Question: Do you follow Square & Compass Promotions? If so, on what site(s)?
Freemasonry is our first love-but it isn’t our exclusive love. No Mason can spend the entirety of his life involved in the masonry (that is a sure way to burn-out).
Outside interests are vital to Masonic career. Now would be a good opportunity to switch from the impersonal “we” to the personal “I,” these are things outside of Freemasonry for which “I” am thankful!
I love professional wrestling. I am thankful that we have had the opportunity to engage with this love “up-close” through my involvement with Can-Am Wrestling School, Border City Wrestling, and Impact Wrestling. I am so thankful that I could share a professional ring (as a referee) with legends old & new. I am so thankful that I am a very small part of some very big organisations, including Impact Wrestling. I am so proud that on Oct 7th, 2023 I got to referee at Border City Wrestling’s 30th Anniversary! I am thankful for all the training (and trainers) that got me this far.
I love horror movies. I am thankful that we could combine our love of horror with our love of Freemasonry through my interviews with “Tales of Terror” founder Steve Hutchison. I am thankful for every horror-movie we own, and every horror-movie we watch.
I love my family, and am thankful for everyone back in Winnipeg (my home town). I am particularly thankful for my father (and Bro.) Harry Adamson, as he cares for my Mom during her illness.
I am thankful for all of my friends and family. I am thankful for my health.
I also need to add that, unfortunately, in 2023 many masons which I consider close friends and brothers suffered health scares. While I am not thankful for the scares, I am thankful for the recoveries these masons made and are continuing to make.
I know there will be many challenges and many problems in the future (that is life)…but that is for the future.
For today, right now, I am thankful.
Question: What are you thankful for?
All opinions expressed are those of Square & Compass Promotions and the guest(s), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Windsor Masonic Temple and/or any Masonic group.
*EDIT: The author is also thankful that: in March 2023, he was able to present the beautiful and historical Windsor Masonic Temple to the St. Clair College Interior Design Students; in April 2023 he was able (with Square & Compass Promotions) to promote tours and the history of the Windsor Masonic Temple at the “Staycation Expo;” and for all of the travel he has been lucky enough to do-including to Texas, Kentucky, and Ottawa in 2023!