Van Rensselaer No. 87 3rd degree

PGM Neal Bidnick, myself and GM James Sullivan

PGM Neal Bidnick, myself and GM James Sullivan Jan 26th 2013


Newly raised MM Bro. Juan George and myself. Jan 26th 2013


Newly raised MM Bro. William Yager and myself. Jan 26th 2013


Bro. Jim Johnson aka JJ and myself. Jan 26th 2013


Bro. Juan George, myself and Bro. David B. Harris Jan 26th 2013


Myself and Bro. Avian MoralesJan 26th 2013

Bro. Chad Bromley and myself.

Bro. Chad Bromley and myself.

Masonic Care Community Nov 3rd 2012

Albany District Bus Trip to the Masonic Care Community in Utica NY

Sat. Nov. 3, 2012 the bus will pick us up at Van Rensselaer Lodge No. 87
at 9:45 am for a 10 am departure. (710 Columbia Tpke. East Greenbush NY)

We will arrive at the Masonic Care Community in Utica around 11:30 am, tour Acacia Village, then have a lunch buffet before touring Wiley Hall, The Health Pavilion, Chapel, Museum, and Library.  Then, back on the bus and return to East Greenbush. We will be back just before 5pm…just in time for dinner!

This is an excellent opportunity for relatives and friends of masons as well as men who are interested in the fraternity. This is a free trip so, let’s take advantage of this gift and pack this bus!

The Masonic Care Community sponsors everything about this trip, the bus and an excellent lunch buffet. We need 40-45 people to make this work. Please email or call W:. Dan Valenti at the info below. Spread the word!

Thank you!

W:. Dan Valenti’s contact
Albany District MCC Ambassador or 518-472-1933

Elected to the JW chair.

I have been elected to serve in the JW chair at Van Rensselaer Lodge No. 87 for the 2012-2013 masonic year. The SD chair was an awesome responsibility and probably the best seat to be in, but I am looking forward to bringing the craft from labor to refreshment soon!



Peace, brothers.

This Friday, Feb 17th, W:. J. C. Litwin, Past Master of Harmonie Lodge No. 699, will be presenting a lecture on Freemasonry & The American Revolution. An in depth look at the Freemasons who inspired, led, and fought on both sides of the American Revolution.

This lecture will be given at Van Rensselaer Lodge No. 87 (Rt. 9 & 20 – East Greenbush NY) 7pm sharp. We always enjoy pizza and soft drinks during the lecture so please bring your appetite for knowledge and food!

This lecture is open to all EAs, FCs, & MMs.

Travel safe, Caution.


Well, this Saturday, January 28th at 10/9c America’s Book of Secrets on H2 (History Channel 2) will try it’s hand at covering this fraternity. The History Channel has covered the craft before and has featured prominent brothers of the craft.

Most of us have seen a documentary or some sort of feature on Freemasonry before. For the most part it’s produced by people who are not of the craft. There’s been so much speculation and mis-information spread about this fraternity it’s enough to get your temperature up. With that being said…I’m definitely watching this episode. Our brother Chris Hodapp and his wife Alice are both featured in this episode of America’s Book of Secrets.

This is what Brother Chris had to say about being featured in the episode:

“I haven’t seen the episode, so I can make no promises about it. I know how much they shot and the questions we answered, but who knows what the final edit contains. I know they also used interviews with Dr. Bob Hieronimus and MW Akram Elias, PGM of the Grand Lodge of Washington DC, and I am told they shot scenes inside of DC’s Naval Lodge No. 4. I have seen a preview that shows the participation of famed paranoid Jim Marrs and the execrable Alex Jones on the “anti” side. In the name of balance, you know.”

Please support brother Chris’ published masonic releases at

Peace and light!

Contagious Freemasons

This Tuesday evening, Dec 6th, I will be at the Albany Temple for the official visit of R.:W.: John W. Scott. This brother delivers very powerful messages to the craft. It’s a staple in his presentation and I’m glad to share one of those messages right here. He delivered this message to Noah Lodge #754 in October 2011.

Contagious Freemasons by R.:W.: John W. Scott

District Deputy Grand Master for the Albany District

If you saw your neighbor’s home on fire and thought he was asleep, would you see that as a private matter, or would you find a way to get your neighbor’s attention? If you had good news that could help change another person in a most positive way in this life and possibly for eternity, would you want to share it?

This is something of the struggle many of us feel about sharing Freemasonry with our friends and acquaintances. We know Freemasonry is good and can change everything about the life of those good men who are receptive to its message. Yet we are hesitant, or shy, or maybe we just want to honor the other person’s privacy and choice. What do we do? We must learn to be comfortable using our good deeds and words to point men toward the Craft. We must not put the spotlight on ourselves and speak only about our Masonic achievements. No one wants to hear our war stories. We must always put the spotlight on Freemasonry. We must become Contagious Freemasons.

Being a Contagious Freemason is about living by the tenets of the Fraternity in all aspects of our lives and also being able to effectively verbalize the principles of the Fraternity when the situation presents itself. We must study and become conversant about Freemasonry so we will be ready to speak up and courteously tell anyone who asks who and what we are as Freemasons.

My Grandfather, the Presbyterian Minister, had a favorite saying: “The unspoken but lived sermon is always powerful.” He followed this principle in all aspects of his life. On his desk was a plaque on which was carved the core of his belief: “Preach the gospel at all times; use words when necessary.”

Freemasonry is designed to be shared. This means being a witness by how we live and it means being ready to share what we believe with others. While there is usually a place to speak, the best place for that speaking is out of the way we live our lives. We are always on display. Our good deeds may attract one man, but our bad example will discourage many. If you are going to act like a jerk, please do not tell people about Freemasonry. I would also add, if you are going to drive like a jerk, do not advertise that you are a Freemason by placing a medallion or bumper sticker on your car. If you are going to be impatient waiting in line or talking to a salesperson, do not wear a Masonic pin on your lapel or a ring on your finger. Always remember, to reach people, the living we do will always speak louder than the words we speak. This is especially true in times of trouble when we are challenged and stressed.

It is my belief that, in a crisis, we do not rise to the moment, but default to what we have been trained and prepared for. By way of example, please recall one of the most famous airline landings ever that happened on January 15, 2009. The runway was the Hudson River alongside Manhattan. The pilot, Chesley Sullenberger has become an American hero for that emergency landing saving 155 people on USAir flight 1549. But Sully made clear in the days that followed that he was not a hero. He was merely doing what he was trained and prepared to do. He said that any well-trained pilot could have done that. I am sure the people of flight 1549 were glad that Sully was their pilot that day, precisely because under extraordinary circumstances he defaulted to what he was trained and prepared to do in such circumstances

As Freemasons, what are we trained for? Simply stated, we are trained and expected to act as the dictates of reason prompt us; to live in Brotherly Love, always mindful that Charity, the brightest gem that can adorn our Masonic profession, is one of the pillars upon which our Fraternity was founded. To relieve the distressed is a duty incumbent upon every man, but more particularly upon Freemasons. We are linked together by one indivisible chain of sincere affection that requires us to endeavor to sooth the unhappy, to sympathize with their misfortunes, to compassionate their miseries, and restore peace to their troubled mind.

Our Brothers in Noah Lodge are perfect examples of this thesis. Over the many years they have existed in this community, the Brothers of Noah Lodge have remained an integral part of Altamont. Through their actions they have promoted Masonry very effectively. This attitude continues as these Brothers still act for the benefit of their community. Please look in their dining room and you will see part of the Altamont library that was moved here when the usual library space was damaged in the recent flooding.

We can also be very proud of the efforts taken by our Fraternity in response to the devastations wreaked by the recent tropical storm and flooding. Examples of this have included financial support offered by Grand Lodge, coupled with the local examples of financial and material support and physical assistance to the many Lodges and Brothers who lost so much. During these trying times we have both individually and corporately become Contagious Freemasons by rising to the challenge and demonstrating the very best traits of our Masonic character.

Most Americans have a belief system. A number of years ago the legendary voice of Chicago Cubs, Harry Caray, died. In a book he wrote a few years before his death he shared his belief system: “I am not a religious man. I’ve made some mistakes in life. But I’ve always believed in Almighty God. I’ve always believed that if you live your life as a decent person, the umpire in the end will say you did it right.” (From Holy Cow!, 1989)

This is an attractive creed that is comforting in its simplicity, and not altogether inconsistent with Freemasonry. We are taught to live our lives according to the tenets of the Craft so that, when necessary, we will default to what Freemasonry has trained and prepared us for. Our life example will be that unspoken sermon that attracts good men to our Fraternity. By endeavoring to follow this simple formula, we will continue to be Contagious Freemasons who can take comfort in the knowledge that as a result of our well-spent lives, we have passed the Craft to a new posterity; and, in the end, the record of our lives and actions will be found adequate such that we will be welcomed into the warm embrace of our God.

Well done my Brothers. Well done.