Email from June 4th, 2018 Grand Lodge Announcement:
Resolution No. 8 - What Does It Mean? Brethren All.
At the 174th Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of Wisconsin this past weekend, a strong majority of the representatives from the Constitute Lodges voted to approve Resolution No. 8. Approval of the resolution gives the nod for your Grand Lodge Officers to enter into discussion with the Madison Masonic Center Foundation Board regarding the proposal to donate the Madison Masonic Center to the Freemasons of Wisconsin.
The Resolution authorizes us to enter into negotiations with the Madison Masonic Center Foundation Board for the potential acquisition of the Madison Masonic Center facility; however, this is by no means a done deal. It simply opens the door for the parties to explore the possibilities.
Some of the points made during discussion of Resolution No. 8 included:
- There may be other income opportunities available for the Madison Masonic Center. All reasonable options to generate revenues need to be looked at.
- The facility is worth millions of dollars. We would have the option of selling the facility if we find that it is not feasible to own and operate it. The Center's Foundation Board is basically gifting the facility and the value of the assets far exceeds the debts.
- There is a potential to move the Grand Lodge Offices to the Wisconsin Masonic Center in Madison. A feasibility study will be conducted if the deal goes through.
- This magnificent structure is located just a few blocks from the Capitol rotunda of the State of Wisconsin and symbolizes an important Masonic presence. Additionally, this building is part of our shield. Today Masonic facilities in Wisconsin are real estate tax exempt through the tax code of this State. Many States do not extend that benefit. The combination of the mere presence so close to the legislature, together with the possibility of a modern, updated library which could help educate the legislators and the public on Freemasonry and all the charitable work done by the fraternity could help to provide a shield against changing the tax code to remove the exemption from real estate taxation thus helping every Masonic building, and as a result, every Mason in this State.
The resolution, as amended and adopted, calls for an annual member assessment not to exceed a maximum of $10 each annually for a period, not to exceed two years. The assessment will not be levied if an agreement is not reached with the Madison Masonic Center Foundation Board.
One Brother who spoke convincingly in support of Resolution No. 8 stated
"As just a foot soldier in masonry, not ever being a Grand Lodge officer, I want my officers to have the ability to make a reasonable and informed, ultimate judgment on this. How much does that cost me? To the individual Mason, that cost is less than one lunch at McDonalds each year, I hold in my hand, a McDonalds receipt from a few days ago, for a Bacon Cheeseburger, fries, and chocolate shake for $10.85 - 85 cents more than the cost to allow our officers to make a thorough inquiry and make a reasonable decision." He went on to say "Let us not allow the flag of Wisconsin Freemasonry to fall here in the State Capitol, not this day, not in this place, not at this time for the cost of a lunch at McDonalds."
I thank the representatives who attended the 174th Annual Communication for their vote of confidence and I promise to do my very best to live up to your expectations.
Sincerely and Fraternally,
Scott E. Pedley
Grand Master, 2018-2019
An email from our Grand Master Bob Stader on December 6th, 2019:
A note on the Madison Masonic Center $10 Assessment from the Grand Master
Every Brother recently received a letter from me about the need to pay the $10 Special Assessment for the Madison Masonic Center (MMC). I’ve heard there is confusion among the workmen, and some of you have thought the letter was a conspiracy by the Foundation to raise money for general use with some even throwing it away.
We have completed transfer of control of the MMC Foundation to our Masonic family of charities. Your lodge representatives voted on and approved this special assessment during the 2018 Annual Communication. It was decided that the MMC was a charitable endeavor worth launching upon for the next 2 years. The name will be changed to the Wisconsin Masonic Center.
The money is being funneled through the Wisconsin Masonic Foundation (WMF), since it is our main mechanism to send dollars to various 501(c)(3) charitable organizations and it shows the IRS that our Brothers in Wisconsin donate money to charitable endeavors. You also noticed that the Grand Master’s appeal for the Wisconsin Veterans programs also came through the WMF. It is easy for us to earmark incoming funds and get it to the right place to make the desired impact.
Let me assure and promise you that your $10 and any extra that you wanted to donate will all be forwarded to the MMC to place it back on a stable financial bedrock.
We’ve also made it easy to pay the assessment via PayPal on the Grand Lodge website. Lodge secretaries were also sent letters to compile a list of all members they remit dues for and given the ability to send in payments for those Brothers.
I would also like to introduce the new Wisconsin Masonic Center Board members with the staggered lengths of their terms: Tom Ewald (1 year); Don Komplin (1 year); Bob Gorsuch (2 years); R.J. Johnson (2 years); Scott Pedley (3 years); Jan Talaga “the elder”, as I refer to him since his son is also a Mason, but not a Junior (3 years); and Travis West (3 years).
We will be sending out updates on the Wisconsin Masonic Center (WMC) in the coming months.
Brothers, isn’t it enough that all the non-Masons think we’re involved in conspiracies, that we don’t have to add to that confusion ourselves?
Bob Strader Grand Master
2019 - 2020
Copyright Freemasons of Cambridge Wisconsin, Social Lodge 245