Paynesville Press - May 28, 2003

Community Perspective

Masons serve Paynesville for over 135 years

By Bill Schultz

My Masonic home lodge is Paynesville No. 71 A.F. & A.M., located in a beautiful western town of Minnesota. It is probably the most soul-satisfying place to live of any place that I have experienced in the United States.

Our lodge was founded or "chartered" in 1868.

Why did I join the Masons? Several reasons! Principally, because my father, an active Mason, volunteered to pay my initiation costs, several of my close friends while in the military service were active, as well as being aware of so many community and military leaders who were Masons, as well as 14 presidents of the United States who belonged to the order.

Just who are these people? The Masons are the largest fraternal organization in the world, more than two million in North America. They represent virtually every occupation and profession, yet within the lodge we meet as equals.

Masons have varied religious beliefs and creeds, yet all believe in one God. There are no professing atheists in our fraternity!

Masonry is not a religion nor is it mysterious. Some writers say Masonry is the successor to the Mysteries. The principles of goodness (not to be confused with salvation), compassion, concern, love, trustworthiness, integrity, or sense of "connectedness" with history... these are the elements of the Mysteries and are not in conflict with any faith.

Can a man be a Christian and a Mason at the same time? Perhaps the best answer is that most of us are!

What do Masons do? First and foremost, it encourages its members to become better men. Lifelong friendships are developed in the lodge. Masons are deeply involved in helping people. Scholarships are provided to deserving students.

To be a shriner, you must first be a Mason. Shriners support 23 hospitals for crippled children and it doesn't cost the patient a dime! We also underwrite the costs of three burn institutes. The Scottish Rite, also a part of the basic Masonic structure, support and provide costs to normalize speech impediments and deficiencies.

The Masons spend - through all the organizations - approximately $1.6 million per day.

Several Masonic Principles are: 1) Faith must be the center of our lives; 2) All men and women are children of God; 3) No one has the right to tell another person what he or she must believe; 4) Every person is responsible to be a good citizen and obey the law; and 5) Honor and integrity are keys to a meaningful life.

So, who are the Masons? Men of good character who strive to improve themselves and make the world a better place to live. They accept men whose allegiance is to God, be he protestant, Catholic, Jewish, black, brown, yellow, or red!

We are providing a unique opportunity for men desiring to be a part of our beloved fraternity to participate in a one-day-to-Masonry conclave to be held in Minneapolis on Saturday, June 21. Wives are invited to accompany their husbands and partake of the continental breakfast, lunch, and festive banquet given that day. Wives will not participate in the degree work.

Applications should be obtained and completed as soon as possible. Should you have a desire or interest to be a part of this great fraternity, contact any Mason in Paynesville or the surrounding area. The initiation fee and annual dues are minimal.

Bill Schultz, who lives on Rice Lake, is a 57-year member of the Masons and is currently master of the lodge.

Do you have an opinion about the future route of Highway 23 through or around Paynesville? Call Michael Jacobson at 320-243-3772 or e-mail him at to inquire about expressing your opinion.

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