Author: Christopher Burns

Since our first featured Mason of the month was Randall Currier, our new Lodge Secretary, I thought we would follow up with our previous Lodge Secretary, R:. W:. Rusty Glendinning! Rusty is a pillar of Sarasota Lodge No. 147 as well as the Scottish Rite in Tampa. We were fortunate enough that Rusty was able to take time from his busy schedule to sit down and answer our questions for the Featured Mason of the Month in June 2021!

Chris Burns: Where were you born?   

Rusty Glendinning: Sarasota Memorial Hospital.

Chris Burns: What did you do for a living?  

Rusty Glendinning: I was a banker for 25 years and then managed country clubs for 7 years.

Chris Burns: Did Freemasonry have an impact on your career?  

Rusty Glendinning: Yes, I think it did.  I believe it opened some doors for me both professionally and personally.

Chris Burns: Who was your role model as a child and why?  

Rusty Glendinning: Probably my role model as a child was my mother.  Being a single parent raising two children, I saw how she worked hard and sacrificed so that my sister and I had everything that we needed growing up.

Chris Burns: What is one thing you learned from your mother?  

Rusty Glendinning: Be nice to everyone and take the shopping cart back inside the grocery store and not to leave it in the parking lot.

Chris Burns: What do you consider to be your biggest weakness?  

Rusty Glendinning: Not having the word “no” in my vocabulary.

Chris Burns: Can you give us a breakdown of your extensive masonic history?  

Rusty Glendinning: It was a dark and gloomy night (only kidding).  It started when I joined Sarasota Chapter, Order of DeMolay in 1967 at the age of 14.  I served as Master Councilor of the Chapter in 1969.  After that, I served the State Association as State Treasurer (1971) and Deputy State Master Councilor (1972).  I petitioned Sarasota Lodge in 1973 at the age of 20.  The Lodge had to wait until I turned 21 to ballot on the petition, which they did on December 11th.  I received my EA Degree on December 27, 1973, my Fellow Craft Degree on February 21, 1974 at J. Dewey Hawkins Lodge No. 331 as a courtesy to Sarasota Lodge.  I was Raised on April 13, 1974 in Sarasota Lodge.  I was appointed Junior Steward in 1975, progressed through the line and served as Worshipful Master in 1980.  From 1981 to 1987 I served as Lodge Secretary and then again from 2014 to 2020.  In 1984, I was appointed District Deputy Grand Master of the 24th District (now the 23rd District) by M⸫ W⸫ James A Wilson.  I was appointed to the Masonic Youth Activities Committee in 1981 and served on that committee for 11 years, 2 years as State Chairman.  I served one year on the Public Education & Citizenship Committee, the Finance & Accounts Committee for 2 years and on the Jurisprudence Committee for 20 years, 3 of those years as Vice-Chairman of the Committee.

I joined the York Rite Bodies in 1974 and Egypt Temple Shrine in 1976.  When Sahib Temple received their charter, I became a Charter Member.  I joined the Scottish Rite in 1980.  I became a Knight Commander of the Court of Honour in 1995 and a Thirty-third Degree Scottish Rite Mason in 2001.  In 1996. I became a member of the Valley of Tampa’s Classroom Directors Staff, serving as chairman from 2001 to 2007, when I was appointed the Personal Representative of the Sovereign Grand Inspector General in Florida.  I still serve in that capacity in addition to being the Special Assistant to Ill⸫ Rick Hoover, 33°, Deputy in the Orient of Florida.

I continue to work with DeMolay both on a local, state and international level.  I have served Florida DeMolay as a Program Director, Province Governor and as Conclave Director.  I was elected to DeMolay’s International Supreme Council as an Active Member in 1989 and served for 20+ years as chairman of the DeMolay Alumni Affairs Committee.

Chris Burns: You mentioned becoming a 33rd degree scottish rite mason. Can you tell me a little bit about how long you served the Scottish Rite prior to receiving that honor and what the process of becoming a 33rd degree was like? I think many people are curious about that in general and I know I would love to hear your story. 

Rusty Glendinning: I had been a member of the Scottish Rite for 15 years when I received a letter from the Sovereign Grand Inspector General (SGIG) informing me that I had been elected to the rank and dignity of a Knight Commander of the Court of Honour and to contact the General Secretary in the Valley of Tampa for more details.  I called the General Secretary, who I served as District Deputy Grand Master for in 1984 and told him that I did not think I deserved this as I had really done nothing in the Scottish Rite for 15 years except pay my dues.  His response was that I was not getting the KCCH for service to the Scottish Rite but rather for my work and efforts in the Order of DeMolay as an Advisor.  He explained to me that the KCCH is awarded for several reasons, community service, service to the fraternity, etc.  After receiving the KCCH, I started to get involved in the Valley of Tampa and became a member of the Classroom Director’s staff, which was basically being at the two Reunions each year.  In 2000, I received a letter from the SGIG informing me that I had been elected to receive the Thirty-third Degree in 2001.  I honestly read the letter three times to make sure I was reading it correctly.  While I never expected to receive the first letter, I knew that those letters were normally sent out every other year (odd year) at that time.  The second letter was a total shock as it was mailed in 2000 instead of 2001, as 2001 was the bicentennial year of the Scottish Rite Southern Jurisdiction and they voted a year early so people could make plans to be at the 2001 Session.  For the most part, the Thirty-third Degree is given to members of the KCCH for their work in the Scottish Rite.  This is not a hard and fast rule but one for which there are not many exceptions.

To become a Thirty-third, a man must have received his KCCH at least 44 months prior to his election to receive the Degree.  Nominations for this Degree are made by the SGIG or Deputy in each Orient by May 1st of every other year (every odd year) as that is when the Supreme Council meets.  A brother nominated for this Degree must be elected unanimously by the Active Members (not to exceed 33) of the Supreme Council.  The KCCH and Thirty-third Degree are not to be asked for and if a brother does ask to receive either of them, he is automatically barred from ever receiving it.  The number of new KCCH members is based on a formula for which one must have a Masters Degree from MIT to understand as it is based on the number of new members of the Scottish Rite in an Orient for the previous two years along with the number of reinstatements and affiliations for the same time period.  The number of Thirty-thirds awarded in any given year is not to greater than one-half of the number of new KCCH awarded.  These totals are reported to the SGIG or Deputy in each Orient and he then decides how many new KCCH and Thirty-thirds will come from each of his Valleys.  Recommendations for these honors come from the Personal Representative in each Valley to his SGIG or Deputy and are confidential.

Chris Burns: With so many appendant bodies, committees, and district opportunities, what advice would you give a new made Master Mason that is looking to get more involved in Freemasonry?  

Rusty Glendinning: Freemasonry is not a sprint, it’s a marathon.  If you have a desire to progress through any part of the Masonic family, dedicate yourself to that Lodge, Allied or Appendant body.  Learn as much as you can, meet as many people as possible, and participate in the length of your cable tow but never forget where you started, your Blue Lodge.  Every branch on the Masonic tree is worthy of our support but a brother does have other obligations (work, family, church) so you need to pace yourself.

Chris Burns: What people had the biggest impact on your Masonic life and why?   

Rusty Glendinning: There are so many that have had a major impact on my Masonic life and unfortunately, many of them are no longer with us.  Perhaps the biggest impact was from a brother that I never met as he passed away on November 8, 1959.  That was Frank S. Land, the founder of the Order of DeMolay.  The fraternity that he founded has had a major impact on my life since that night in February 1967 when I joined.  His vision for young men has afforded me the opportunity to meet Edgar Mitchell, the 5th man to walk on the moon, interview Reubin Askew, former Governor of Florida, and John Cameron Swayze (our older readers will remember him), one of this country’s first newscasters, a sitting member of a Presidential Cabinet and a former member of a Presidential Cabinet, leaders of business, politicians and many more.  It is probably logical that the others who have had a major impact on my Masonic life are tied to the Order of DeMolay.  Glenn Wittstruck, who within 30 minutes of finding out I was 14, had 2 DeMolays knocking on my front door, a petition in hand; R⸫ W⸫ Arthur Stone, PM of Sarasota Lodge, who was my Chapter Dad when I was Master Councilor, my catechism instructor in the Three Degrees (he had 1 week to teach me my EA & FC catechisms and really learned that patience is indeed a virtue) who also taught me all of the ritual work in the Lodge that I know; R⸫ W⸫ J. G. Kicklighter, who would become my step-father in the late 1970’s but who had been one of my DeMolay Advisors.  Last, but not least, are those young men who were DeMolays and years later make contact with you or see you somewhere and still call you Dad and thank you for what you instilled in them.

Chris Burns: What is your greatest success in Freemasonry?  

Rusty Glendinning: There are probably two that come to mind.  One is becoming a Thirty-third Degree Scottish Rite Mason.  The second is being appointed to the Grand Lodge Jurisprudence Committee and serving as Vice-Chairman for three, going on four years and not being a Past Grand Master.

Chris Burns: What motivates you to keep showing up for Freemasonry?  

Rusty Glendinning: The fellowship that is there at any Masonic meeting or activity that I attend.

Chris Burns: What qualities do you think make up a great Worshipful Master?  

Rusty Glendinning: I feel that the qualities of a great Worshipful Master are not how proficient he is in the ritual but rather his organizational skills, his ability to use common sense in governing the Lodge, his knowledge of the Digest of Masonic Law of Florida, and his ability to motivate his Lodge to meet or exceed agreed-upon goals during his year.

Chris Burns: What do you think are the biggest challenges that Freemasonry faces today?  

Rusty Glendinning: Changing with today’s standards but at the same time, not lowering our standards.  Those joining the fraternity today are different in many aspects from when I joined.  Freemasonry needs to stay in tune with today’s population but still instilling in our members their duties to family, community, and mankind.

Chris Burns: Where do you see yourself in the next five years?  

Rusty Glendinning: Sitting in the chair in the SE corner of the Lodge with my name on it and seeing Randy Currier as Lodge Secretary.

Chris Burns: Is there something about Sarasota Lodge No. 147 that you think stands out from other lodges?  

Rusty Glendinning: The history of our Lodge and the impact that our members have had in many facets of life in Sarasota.  As the oldest Lodge in Sarasota County, three Lodges, Venice Lodge No. 301, Cary B. Fish Lodge No. 346 and The Builder’s Lodge No. 376 (both of which are now called Phoenix Lodge No. 346) are our children, as our approval was needed for them to be formed.  Many of our former members were the movers and shakers of early Sarasota, both the city and the formation of Sarasota County.  There are many but a few are Col. J. Hamilton Gillespie, a charter member of the Lodge and the first Mayor of the town of Sarasota who brought the game of golf to Florida (the Lodge is located on what was the 8th fairway of his golf course), C. V. S. Wilson, the owner of the first newspaper in Sarasota, a Charter member of the Lodge and our first Secretary, W⸫ Arthur B. Edwards, the first Mayor of the City of Sarasota, W⸫ John Burket who is credited with getting the State Legislature to pass the resolution forming Sarasota County, Augustus Wilson, a charter member of the Lodge who brought the first automobile to Sarasota, three members who served the City of Sarasota as Chief of Police and a former member of the United States House of Representatives.

Chris Burns: If you could step into my shoes, what would you have asked yourself that I didn’t?  

Rusty Glendinning: What prompted me to join the Masonic Fraternity?  I think the answer is simple; it was my association with Master Masons who were my DeMolay advisors.  Their dedication to the young men of Sarasota and the state of Florida had a major impact on my life and I wanted to continue in their footsteps.

Randall CurrierRandall Currier is currently in his fourth month as the installed secretary of Sarasota Lodge No. 147. He has picked up the mantle from R⸫ W⸫ Russell Glendinning who served as the Secretary of our Lodge for the past 8 years (This time). Russell or Rusty as we all know him is 33°, Special Assistant & Personal Representative to the Deputy of the Supreme Council, in the Valley of Tampa. He is a Past Master of Sarasota Lodge No. 147, a Past District Deputy Grandmaster of our district, and sits on the Grand Lodge Jurisprudence Committee among his many other stations and accomplishments. Look for an interview with this Legend of Freemasonry in the very near future!

Personally I have gotten to know Randall very well. We often ride to the Scottish Right meetings together and pontificate on Freemasonry as well as just learn more about each other. I find Randy to be a true Mason. He has only good intentions in all his actions and he is always trying to improve himself as a man and Mason. Randy is a huge asset to Sarasota Lodge No. 147 and no doubt Rusty is sleeping well knowing that the Lodge is being taken great care of.

Randall or Randy as we know him in the Lodge was kind enough to answer my questions with candor and so I present to you the Sarasota 147 first-ever Featured Mason of the Month for May of 2021!

Chris Burns: Where were you born?

Randy Currier: Middletown Connecticut

Chris Burns: What do you do for a living? 

Randy Currier: Mechanical work

Chris Burns: Does Freemasonry have an impact on your career?

Randy Currier: I would say that it helps me stand more firmly when I talk to people, and allows me to feel more comfortable speaking.

Chris Burns: Who was your role model as a child and why?

Randy Currier: Luke Skywalker. Because he was an adventurer and he was able to travel space.

Chris Burns: What is one thing you learned from your mother?

Randy Currier: How to take care of myself.

Chris Burns: What do you consider to be your biggest weakness?

Randy Currier: Attractive women who take the time to talk to me.

Chris Burns: Can you give us a breakdown of your extensive masonic history?

Randy Currier: Back in the day, around 2019, I was Raised and since then, I have been working in the line of officers. One day, I will take the time to ask those questions we all ponder, again, and really take the time to search for answers that make sense to me.

Chris Burns: What is your biggest failure in freemasonry, and what did you learn from it?

Randy Currier: Forgetting a cable tow. Ahh, to not let someone else move the cable tows.

Chris Burns: With so many appendant bodies, committees, and district opportunities, what advice would you give a newly made Master Mason that is looking to get more involved in Freemasonry?

Randy Currier: Please get involved in your Blue Lodge, to see if there is anything you can do to help it be more prosperous. Then pick an appendant body that sounds interesting, and that has men you respect in it.

Chris Burns: What people had the biggest impact on your Masonic life and why?

Randy Currier: Besides Rusty, I really have to say that every active Mason has been important. When you take the time to stand back and watch any one man or group that is working at keeping the lodge successful, there is alot to learn, and good things to try yourself.

Chris Burns: What is your greatest success in Freemasonry?

Randy Currier: Giving Rusty a break.

Chris Burns: What motivates you to keep showing up for Freemasonry?

Randy Currier: Giving Rusty a break. And.. for that time when I finally get my small study group to regularly chat about the finer things and ways to be a better man.

Chris Burns: What qualities do you think make up a great Worshipful Master?

Randy Currier: Organization, the ability to convey your thoughts and ideas into words so the Craft can easily follow and assist.

Chris Burns: What do you think are the biggest challenges that Freemasonry faces today?

Randy Currier: The internet and many other things give men other things to do. We are thinking correctly in that we must find a way to be an option when someone thinks, what can I do with myself and my spare time.

Chris Burns: What are you passionate about outside of Freemasonry these days?

Randy Currier: The simple fact that we are alive, and can communicate and create. And beautiful women who take the time to talk to me.

Chris Burns: Where do you see yourself in the next five years?

Randy Currier: Giving Rusty a break.

Chris Burns: Is there something about Sarasota Lodge No. 147 that you think stands out from other lodges?

Randy Currier: I try not to think in this manner. All lodges are unique and have their goods and bad I suppose. 147 has the potential to find the sweet spot of Cool, fine work, and old school, if we keep on trying. 

This concludes the May 2021 Featured Mason of the Month interview with the current Secretary of Sarasota Lodge No. 147, Randall Currier. I thank you Randy for taking the time to do this and if anyone that is a member of Sarasota Lodge No. 147 is willing to participate and wants to tell us your story please contact me at chrisg.burns2@Gmail.com!





What is Masonry… really?

what is masonry

  • Is it Fund Raising for charity?
  • Is it memorization and ritual work?
  • Is it remembering facts and dates?
  • Is it sitting in chairs and holding titles?
  • Is it accumulating proficiency cards and certifications?
  • Is it showing off our Masonic bling to non-masons?

The answer is yes. But is this the true purpose of Freemasonry? Freemasonry is a living organism. The purpose of any living organism is to perpetuate itself.

Freemasonry is a system of morality. What does that mean? That simple definition defines Masonry as a complete system built for a primary purpose. That purpose is to make you a better man, to make you a more moral man. Not every man, not most men… YOU. You as an individual man should utilize the systems of Freemasonry to become a better man.

Freemasonry being a system of morality for an individual man to utilize, it stands to reason that Freemasonry will be a different experience for each of us. We are all individuals after all. Our experiences from our childhood, teen years, into adulthood, our work experiences, our relationship experiences, they all make us individual men. We all experience the world in different ways and therefore react to it in the only way we can, which is through the lenses of our own personal experiences and beliefs. We have different strengths and different weaknesses.

No doubt, our operative forefathers also experienced this. For rarely could a man be an expert in all things. No doubt some were better at carving. Some better at setting. Some better at planning, and some better at measuring. Likewise, I have no doubt some struggled with the same. But a group of good men skilled in their craft came together with their various strengths and weaknesses to erect some of the most beautiful and glorious structures in the history of mankind.

As speculative masons we also share the same types of strengths and weaknesses in our speculative labors. We all have some outstanding skills in some areas and work hard to improve others that are not so strong. It is the combination of our strengths and weaknesses that make us such a successful unit as a Lodge of Brothers.

I wonder if any of you reading these words right now are perfect men. No. Only a fool would think such of himself. Masons are not fools. Masons, by the very nature of the fraternity (A system of Morality) are ever struggling with their inner demons, always chipping away at the vices and the superfluity (excess) of their lives. Ever remembering to work more harmoniously and spread the cement of brotherly Love.

My Brother, you are an integral cog in the wheel of Freemasonry. We have a wave of young men looking to gain more light in Freemasonry. We live in a world starved of light and brotherly Love. It is up to us to be prepared to show them the way. How can we show them if we have not done the work ourselves? We cannot. Without being hardened men from the labor of the craft, we are not prepared to lead them, nor anyone else to further light. We must first have spent enough time laboring in the quarry seeking it for ourselves, before we are prepared to lead others.

I am not talking about laboring in officer chairs. I’m not talking about laboring through boring meetings. I not talking about laboring to organize and execute cook outs and charity drives. Yes these are all important thing that must be done, and we should all assist in, but I am talking about the highest of matters, looking within. I’m talking about the labor of erecting our symbolic Temple within us.

It is only by looking within and honestly using all of the implements of Freemasonry to build our inner temple, which allows us to truly call ourselves Masons. We must identify our flaws. We must expose our weaknesses. We must recognize our demons. We must share them with our Brothers and seek their help in chipping them away from the rough ashlar of our souls. We must remain vigilant in knowing what labors our Brothers are working on personally so that we can help them.

Look at what men accomplished in the history of operative and speculative Freemasonry. Look at the land acquired, look at the edifices erected, and look at the charities that have benefited mankind as they have survived through the ages.

What are you doing to be more like those men?

You don’t have to be a rich man. You don’t have to be a well-connected man. But are you working to be a good man? Are you the best version of yourself that you can become? Have you truly utilized all the implements of Freemasonry to make your temple smooth, beautiful, and glorious?

My Brother, it is only by become enlightened men. Strong men, with a firm foundation and a grand internal temple built with hard work and sacrifice, that we can accomplish anything. How can we be part of something bigger than ourselves without having done the first mission of Freemasonry and made ourselves better men?

I believe that we accomplished nothing in comparison to our predecessors in as many years because we have lost sight of this core, basic ideological truth in Masonry. What time we have to devote to Freemasonry has been consumed by shiny things, tiny things… things that will fade and disintegrate with time after we are gone from this place. We have become comfortable seeking praise and personal glory. We have become too much like the profane (non-masons).

We need to spend our time laboring in the quarry to become the man we were born to be. Bleed your hands with the work of this labor until you are hardened Master Mason.  Only then will we be in a position to help anyone else. Only then will it be possible for our generation to advance and lead great ideas to fruition.

It cannot be denied that the light of Freemasonry has dimmed. Only a fool would think that the survival of our ancient beloved Fraternity is guaranteed.

We must do the work my Brother. We must shine with the light of Freemasonry in order for others to once again see its brilliance. We live in a broken world thirsting for this light.

Hold the mantle of Freemasonry high. If you cannot do that assist another brother that you see attempting to do so. Together the burning fires of the mantle of freemasonry will start to shine. Shine bright enough so that others in your Lodge can see it. Then your lodge will shine so bright with the light of Freemasonry that others in your district will being to see it, and for them it will become easier to multiply that light so that the rest of the jurisdiction can see it and hopefully shine so brightly that those outside the Fraternity cannot deny it’s brilliance!

It starts with you. It starts with one Brother making the choice to listen with his ears and an open heart to the mission of Freemasonry, and that brother giving himself to the process of building his temple. That brother being willing to sacrifice and labor with the tools of Masonry in the quarry to erect a grand holy edifice to God in his soul.

Be that brother, I beg of you. We need leaders in Freemasonry if we are to carry on the work of the great Masters of old. You can be that leader. You can be the spark that starts the fire or increases its brilliant light. Be a strong Master of this speculative craft and help other brothers to obtain the same. Let us once again become a Fraternity of excellent men that are limited by NOTHING.

“Masonic labor is purely a labor of love. He who seeks to draw Masonic wages in gold and silver will be disappointed. The wages of a Mason are in the dealings with one another; sympathy begets sympathy, kindness begets kindness, helpfulness begets helpfulness, and these are the wages of a Mason. “

Benjamin Franklin

“The secret of Masonry, like the secret of life, can be known only by those who seek it, serve it, live it. It cannot be uttered; it can only be felt and acted. It is, in fact, and open secret, and each man knows it according to his quest and capacity. Like all things worth knowing, no one can know it for another and no man can know it alone.”

William Howard Taft

DDGM Visit 2019





District Deputy Grand Master Visits Sarasota Lodge No. 147 F. & A. M.

Sarasota Lodge No. 147, Free and Accepted Masons of Florida, welcomed District Deputy Grand Master Dan Van Alstine last night on behalf of the Grand Master of Masons of Florida, Most Worshipful John Westerman.

Right Worshipful Van Alstine was accompanied by his District Committeemen who spoke on matters concerning the Florida Masonic License Plate, the Masonic Home in St. Petersburg, The Florida Child ID Program, Growing Freemasonry in Florida, and other charitable activities. Right Worshipful Van Alstine congratulated Worshipful Master Ramon and his Lodge for the Excellent work they do for the community of Sarasota. The Worshipful Master of Sarasota Lodge, Ramon Hernandez-Ron, thanked all who attended the meeting and pledged his Lodge’s continued support of all Masonic charities. The Grand Master’s slogan this year is “Success Favors the Bold”. Anyone interested in Masonic activities is encouraged to visit our Sarasota 147 Events Page, Visit the District 23 Masonic Events Page, or contact us to learn how to become a Mason in Sarasota!

Sarasota Lodge was granted dispensation by the Grand Lodge of Florida on August 13, 1904. The first donation for the building fund to buy their building was given on February 6th 1945 by Brother Robert Stickney – $100! Sarasota Lodge No. 147 has been led been many prominent creators of Sarasota County including Cary B. Fish (1913), Joseph Clark (1960), and many more. They meet the second and fourth Tuesday of the month at 6:30PM at the Lodge Building at 2160 Main St in downtown Sarasota.

Sarasota Lodge No. 147

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