Van Rensselaer Lodge of Perfection

2021-2022 Annual Report

To the Illustrious Deputy, Illustrious Deputy Representative, Illustrious Active, Illustrious Active Emeritus, Presiding Officers, Officers of the Lodge of Perfection and Members of the Valley of Chicago:

As I write this report I am beaming with pride and full of excitement. Pride in being blessed with the opportunity to serve our Valley in this office and to be forever named on the list with some of the most distinguished men in Scottish Rite Masonry.…in Illinois Masonry. Excitement for the opportunity to participate in shaping the plans for the future of our Valley, and to help influence its trajectory toward that future.

The year began as the Valley was still closed due to the pandemic. Our Annual Meeting was held outdoors, but soon after, we were able to reopen, and we emerged from the confines of isolation and the limitations of the virtual world to hold our first indoor event, the Town Hall stated meeting in June. From that point, there was no looking back. Each month was seemingly a new adventure. In July we held a “Mini” Reunion to welcome the brethren back home and to reacquaint. The 4th and 32nd Degrees were presented. In August we held our Family Picnic at Cantigny Park, Demolay Honors Night and the Charity Golf Outing. September brought us the Dyslexia Center 5K Walk/Run, and the Grand Masters Festival where our Ancient Craft Degree Team displayed a masterful presentation of the 3rd Degree, and the Lodge of Perfection debuted live the newest version of the 4th Degree, The Builder. We moved into October with the Family Fall Festival and Fraternal Relations night. In keeping with our Fall theme ‘Honoring First Responders’ and in recognition of the 20th Anniversary of 9/11/01, we brought in Fire Chief “Pitch” Picciotto who gave us a riveting account of his experiences in the World Trade Center on that fateful day. Next up was our Fall Reunion where one of our Past Thrice Potent Masters, Illustrious Mike Ehle 33o, was named the Class Honoree. The Lodge presented the 4th and14th degrees. In December we had the Double Eagle Con, our Valley’s first-ever Education Symposium which included some of the premier Masonic writers and speakers of our time. A brief threat of Covid resurgence prompted the decision to cancel events in January, but we returned in February to kick off our Spring season with presentations of the 16th and 17th degrees by the Council and Chapter. In March was the second Fraternal Relations event which introduced our Spring theme, the 1893 Columbian Expedition. We experienced a re-creation of the World’s Fair which continued into the Spring Reunion in April. Our class honoree, none other than Ill. Gerald Carlton 33o. The Lodge presented a re-imagining of the 4th degree, set in the modern-day, as well as a great performance of the 5th degree, Perfect Master. Our year of events concluded with the Feast of the Paschal Lamb to honor the memories of our departed brethren. These events were all successes as a credit to the imaginative planning of our leadership team, the careful considerations of our risk management committee and, of course, the responsible resilience of our members.

The Ancient Craft Degree Team has been steady and active throughout the year as well, performing 3rd degrees for the Grand Master’s Festival, Pleiades Lodge, Berwyn Lodge, Illumination Lodge, Paul Revere Lodge, and most recently, Men In Brotherhood Lodge.

I cannot fail to acknowledge two brethren that I vowed from the beginning of the year that I would mention in my annual report, who have given lifetimes of immeasurable service to our Valley and have moved into well-earned retirement, Ill. Lee Bradley 33o and Ill. Jim Patton 33o. Your contributions have been enormous. We thank you. We salute you.

My fellow presiding officers, we make a great team! This year has been a blast!

Our outgoing Commander-in-Chief and Most Wise Master, job well done, Gentlemen. We support you and wish you the best in your next chapter.

My fellow Lodge of Perfection officers, your consistent and powerful presence means the world to me.

The Lodge of Perfection degree directors, Ill. Russell Scanlan, MSA, 33o, Deputy Master (4th Degree), Stephen Valle, Captain of the Guard (5th Degree) and Angelo Deserio, Past TPM (14th Degree), THANK YOU.

A HUGE acknowledgment of the hard work and diligence of Brother Terry Hartl, VA, MSA. For ALL that you do, THANK YOU.

And MOST especially our office staff, Executive Secretary Dave Koss, the incomparable Debbie P., and our newest office team member Michael Kuniej. You are the engine that keeps our Valley moving.

Brethren, the state of our Valley is strong. Our future is bright and in great hands. Your Executive team will continue to strive to bring rich and memorable experiences to the membership. Your Cathedral Board will continue to work to conserve our assets and maintain our financial wellness. And at the forefront of all of our minds will remain the health and safety of our members.

Humbly and Respectfully submitted,

Reuben M. Owens
Thrice Potent Master