• Deadline for 2019 Fall Degree Cycle is 7/18

    Generally we do degree cycles (first, second, and third degree initiations) in the spring and the fall. The fall cycle starts in September. This means we will vote on petitions in August which in turn means we need to recive petitions in July, or by July 18th to be exact.

    We suggest coming to one of our open events (those listed in gold on the front page of the website) to get a feel for the group and to get to know some members. Then if you'd like to join you can fill out a petition to do so, if two current masons are willing to recommend you and sign it. After that we have a few more open events coming up where you can continue to get to know other brothers before the vote in August. 

  • Braden Makes Preparations for Biggest "Bump in the Night" So Far

    Tickets are on sale now for "A Bump in the Night" which returns for its third year. This year we have decided to do away with the dinner party aspect of the event and instead introduce the Circus Perplexus, a spooky carnival that isn't meant to just amuse you, but to actually reach out and challenge you. We've also decided to offer not just one puzzle room, but three!

    Step right up to the door of the Arcana Masonic Lodge and you'll discover a darkly whimsical world of entertainment and enigmas. Ride the Elevator of Horros to the second floor and make your way down the tunnel to the Circus Perplexus. Arrive early and enjoy our sideshow featuring a real life sword swallower, live music, and riddles to perplex you. Or perhaps stop at our Midway to play a game of explosive fun. Your team is tasked with defusing a bomb, but only one person is in the isolation chamber with the device. You must communicate with your teammates who have the instructions for defusing the bomb, but you only have a few minutes to get the instructions right. If that doesn't get your heart racing, then step over to the Arcade where we have a collection of classic games with a certain puzzle element to them that you can challenge your cohorts to.  All this is included in your price of admission, but for a small additional charge you can also visit the tent of our tarot card reader or stop by our concessions area.

    Of course this is all just a sideshow to the main event where you will visit one, or perhaps more of our puzzle rooms. In the basement we are reviving our puzzle room from 2015 as The Labyrinth. In addition to solving the puzzles that will lead you to safety, you'll have to work your way through a maze of obstacles that have accumulated in the basement of a century old mason lodge. The real question though is are you really down there alone?

    Or perhaps you will go upstairs to the Lodge where we have recreated 2016's puzzle room as a ghost story.  The Master of the Lodge was last seen going up the Lodge Room and was never seen again. Was he killed? Did he find a door to another dimension? Whatever the answer, strange ghostly happenings have been occuring since that day. Perhaps you can find out what happened and set the spirit finally to rest.

    Then again, maybe you will want to try out our newest puzzle room, the Lounge. Another brother of the Lodge has been delving into some strange research lately and has been using the Lounge as his office. He seemed to be getting paranoid that someone was coming to steal his work and then he disappeared. Can you pick up his trail and discover what he was working on and where he might have gone?

    We've been assemlbing our largest volunteer staff to date and we're hoping to more than double the business we did last year. With the Circus Perplexus, people are free now to come early before their puzzle room as well as stay after and thus make an entire evening out of it. The Circus is open from 5:30pm to 11:00pm the last two Fridays and Saturdays in October. The Puzzle Rooms run at 6:00, 7:30, & 9>00pm. Consequently a group could choose to do two of the puzzle rooms or even all three in one night.

    The cost is $20 to do one puzzle room which includes admission to the Circus Perplexus. If you'd like to do two puzzle rooms, that would be $35, or you can pay $50 to do all three. Alternately, if you just want to come hang out at the Circus, you can do that for just $5. Tickets are available on this website and advance purchases are recommended for the puzzle rooms.

  • Braden Makes Appearance at Convergence

    At first glance it may not seem like a natural pairing, a Mason Lodge and a sci-fi convention. Sure, there are works of Heinlein that reference the Freemasons. and the Masons played a role on shows such as Sleepy Hollow, and one might even manage to imagine a certain natural fit for Masons in the Steampunk movement. Still, when the flag of Braden Lodge unfurled over the balcony of Cabana 223, some people must have scratched their heads.

    Yet, there we were. Ostensibly our reason for being there was to promote our upcoming fundraisers. A Bump in the Night is a Halloween-themed puzzle room happening in October while our Victorian Christmas Dinner will be taking place at the James J Hill mansion in December. We figured people who like sci-fi also tend to like puzzles and people who are into steampunk might appreciate a Victorian-themed event, so with an attendance over 6,000, it seemed like a good target audience to hit.

    To help promote A Bump in the Night, we actually set up our cabana as a puzzle room. We created three new, unique puzzles just for this event. Each puzzle yielded a one word answer, and the three words that served as answers to the puzzles were themselves clues to a 4th word. That word in turn was the password to the balcony and the winner's cricle where we had prizes waiting out there for them.

    The convention runs Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night and we opened our door from 7pm to 1am each night. We weren't sure what kind of reception we would get, and indeed for the first hour on the first night, only a few people came in, and only one seemed determined to actually solve our puzzles. We started to worry about what we were going to do with all of our prizes. But then it started to pick up and it actually never let up. Our room was pretty much filled to capacity for the remainder of the weekend. I had made up 100 badge ribbons for the winners. We ran out of those halfway through the second night and had to switch to ribbons we had been giving out more freely. Even those were almost gone by the end.

    Now to truly appreciate this, you have to understand that there are over 35 cabanas in the hotel, each with a similar party going on. Most are designed to have people come in, get a drink or some food, maybe do some quick activity, and be out again in a few minutes. But people were sticking around in our room 20 minutes, 30 minutes, or even longer to solve our puzzles Some worked on them for a while and then came back later to finish. Many of those who did finish said it was their favorite party room.

    But the key thing here isn't the quality of the party. It's that we were Masons, out in the world doing something pretty visible and making a positive impression on those we interacted with. Those who made it out to the balcony got a chance to talk Masonry with the brothers out there. But even those who didn't knew we were there and heard people saying good things about us. We don't know yet if we will get any new members out of this, but I do feel we planted that first seed in many. When they next encounter Masonry, they should have a good impression of it already, and a second or third impression may be what it takes for them to truly check it out.

    Another interesting aspect of the weekend was how the whole thing paralleled Masonry itself. People had to work their way through the puzzles to get the password which was sort of like going through the initiations. Once they did all three and got the password, they were admitted into the inner sanctum of the balcony where there were people that had shared the same experience. And once they had the password, they were free to go directly to the balcony any time they returned, as they were now a member of the Winner's Circle. I had suspected we would go through a lot of prizes on Saturday night as people would leak the password around the convention, but that didn't happen. People respected the secrecy of it and that impressed me.

    Sunday morning we packed up and moved out of the cabana. It had been a genuinely successful weekend as far as running our room went. We will see if the advertising aspect of it pays off or not. But it was good to have a chance to be "loud and proud" as a Mason. We actually met several other Masons out there as well as Eastern Star members, widows, and children of Masons. We have another lodge that wants to join with us next year to make our party even bigger. We had some long discussions with Masons who had come from other states. All in all, I would say it is something that we will look forward to doing again next year.

  • Braden Scholarship Winners Announced for 2017-18

    Congratulations to the winners of the two Braden Scholarships for the 2017-18 school year:

    Ms Jerrilyn Dvorak of Oakdale MN, who is enrolled in an Orthotic and Prosthetic Applications Program at Century College, in preparation for pursuing a Master of Science in Orthotics and Prosthetics; and 

    Brother Erik Fairchild of Roseville MN, a member of Braden Lodge who is enrolled in a Certified ScrumMaster program at the Univ of Minn College of Continuing Education, in pursuit of his Master of Business Administration degree.

    Each will receive a $1,000 scholarship to defray their educational expenses. The scholarships are made possible through the grateful support of a matching grant from Minnesota Masonic Charities.

  • Officers Installed for 2017

        On Dec 1st, 2016, Braden Lodge #168 held its annual Election of Officers for 2017. Tradition prevailed and the Senior Warden, Jeff Koltveit, was elected Worshipful Master for the coming year.

        The complete list of elected and appointive officers for 2017 follows:

    WB Jeff Koltveit  •  Worshipful Master

    Matt Gallagher  •  Senior Warden

    Brian Silverain  •  Junior Warden

    WB Erick Crail  •  Secretary

    WB David Allison  •  Treasurer

    David Potter  •  Senior Deacon

    Luke Matschina  •  Junior Deacon

    Erik Fairchild  •  Senior Steward 

    Travis Thorpe  •  Junior Steward

    Ray Davis  •  Tyler

    Miquel Viana  •  Marshall

    WB John Stitely  •  Lodge Education Officer / Funeral Coordinator

    JP Armstrong  •  Chaplain 

    Jay Koelsch  •  Musician

    WB Tim Grube  •  Historian

    WB Jesse Williams  •  Board of Trustees (thru 2017)

    Mark Steiger  •  Board of Trustees (thru 2018)

    WB Andy Harvego  •  Board of Trustees (thru 2019)

        An excellent Installation Ceremony was held Dec 15th, 2016, at which WB Andy Harvego served as Installing Master; WB Steve Leinen served as Installing Marshall; and WB Anthony VanWagner served as Installing Secretary.

        Our new Worshipful Master, WB Jeff Koltveit, was raised in Braden Lodge in December, 2009. He has selected “Faith, Hope, Charity” as a central theme for his year in the East.

    Pictured at Braden’s Installation of Officers held Dec 15th, 2016, were: Top (back) Row: WB Jeff Koltveit, Worshipful Master. 2nd Row (from top, L to R): Matt Gallagher, Sr Warden; Brian Silverain, Jr Warden. 3rd Row (L to R): WB David Allison, Treasurer; WB John Stitely, Lodge Education Officer / Funeral Coordinator; WB Erick Crail, Secretary. 4th Row (front, L to R): David Potter, Sr Deacon; J P Armstrong, Chaplain; Erik Fair-child, Sr Steward; Travis Thorpe, Jr Steward; Miguel Viana, Marshall; Ray Davis, Tyler.

    Pictured at Braden’s Installation of Officers held Dec 15th, 2016, were:

    Top (back) Row: WB Jeff Koltveit, Worshipful Master.

    2nd Row (from top, L to R): Matt Gallagher, Sr Warden; Brian Silverain, Jr Warden.

    3rd Row (L to R): WB David Allison, Treasurer; WB John Stitely, Lodge Education Officer / Funeral Coordinator; WB Erick Crail, Secretary.

    4th Row (front, L to R): David Potter, Sr Deacon; J P Armstrong, Chaplain; Erik Fair-child, Sr Steward; Travis Thorpe, Jr Steward; Miguel Viana, Marshall; Ray Davis, Tyler.