In today’s society, it is refreshing and inspiring to know a group of young men who want to become better and improve the world around them. They want to help one another become better friends, students, and sons on that progressive journey to become better men, brothers, husbands, fathers, citizens and leaders in their future. While having fun and learning, they are maximizing the fraternal experience provided as active members of Illinois DeMolay. As one of the jurisdictions of the DeMolay International organization, Illinois DeMolay welcomes young men of good character from ages 12 to 21 to join them in their chapters located across Illinois. The state and chapter leaders of Illinois DeMolay are making a positive impact on their members, families and communities. For example, they rallied their teams to share the story about a quality DeMolay experience which sparked membership growth last year and placed Illinois DeMolay as one of the top five growing jurisdictions. With membership in the state of approximately 600 active DeMolay members, the positive and infectious energy of these young men are attracting like-minded peers who are enjoying spending time with a great group of friends and brothers.
Illinois DeMolay is a Masonic youth group and part of the Illinois Freemasonry Family. Many of the Advisors to the DeMolay chapters are Freemasons. Some have the distinction of being both Senior DeMolay members (those who are older than 21 years old) and members of Masonic lodges throughout the state. These Brothers dedicate their time, energy and talents to help ensure that the experience of active DeMolay young men are rewarding. Also, we have active DeMolay young men continuing their fraternal journey to become Freemasons. In April, we celebrated with five active DeMolay members as they were raised to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason during their third degree ceremonies.
These Brothers are:
- Brother James Wolsfelt, a Past Master Councilor (leader) of A.D Manners Chapter of Illinois DeMolay, became a Master Mason of Gothic Lodge No. 852 in Fairview Heights, IL on April 11, 2018
- Brother Austin Kimsey, a Past Master Councilor (leader) of Frank S. Land Chapter of Illinois DeMolay, became a Master Mason of Nunda Lodge No. 169 in Crystal Lake, IL on April 14, 2018
- Brother Michael Kuniej, current Deputy State Master Councilor (second-in-command for the state) of Illinois DeMolay, became a Master Mason of Evergreen Lodge No. 170 in Freeport, IL on April 23, 2018
- Brother Andrew Buckwinkler, current State Master Councilor (leader for the state) of Illinois DeMolay, became a Master Mason of Batavia Lodge No. 404 in Batavia, IL on April 28, 2018
- Brother Alex Buckwinkler, current State Scribe (secretary for the state) of Illinois DeMolay, became a Master Mason of Batavia Lodge No. 404 in Batavia, IL on April 28, 2018
Freemasons travelled from various parts of the state to attend these important milestones in the lives of these young men. At one of the ceremonies, Brother Russ Scanlan, Executive Officer of Illinois DeMolay shared, “I’m proud and honored to see the excitement of the active DeMolay members to join our ancient and honorable fraternity.” He further stated, “more and more of our DeMolay members can’t wait to reach 18 years old to seek initiation and eventually become a Master Mason in Illinois Freemasonry.” Just think that these Brothers (and many more like them) will celebrate their 25th Anniversaries as Master Masons before turning 50 years old.
Similar to these DeMolay young men, many others within their age group around the state are seeking to learn more about Illinois Freemasonry. Our core Masonic values like honor, integrity, brotherly love, learning and service to mankind are resonating with them; also, our actions to create a stronger connection with our Brothers and prospective members through digital mediums are achieving a deeper engagement with them. According to Most Worshipful Brother Gregory Clark, Grand Master of Illinois Freemasonry, “the strong desire of these new Brothers to continue seeking Enlightenment on that ultimate journey to ‘become the best version of themselves’ is inspiring and proves that we are going in the right direction.” Reflecting further, Brother Clark stated “as a Senior DeMolay myself, I can attest to the great experiences awaiting these young men and look forward to seeing them grow as good men and leaders within Illinois Freemasonry.”
To highlight the talent of the active DeMolay members who are Master Masons, a team of them will assist the Grand Lodge officers to perform the time-honored opening ceremonies of the 179th Annual Grand Lodge of Illinois Communication in October. This annual convention of Masonic leaders from around the state coupled with Masonic dignitaries from near and far will provide an audience of approximately 2,000 people to recognize and celebrate a rare moment for these young men and our fraternity. It will truly be a confirmation that we are part of one Illinois Freemasonry Family!
R. W. Bro. Wayne Spooner
Grand Lodge Membership Committee Chairman