by WB Erick Crail
Secretary, Braden Lodge
A big THANK YOU to the Brothers of Braden Lodge who marched in the 2016 Pride Parade on Sunday, June 26th in downtown Minneapolis! We had a nice contingent of 13 Brothers who participated in the Parade.
To our knowledge, this is the first time a Masonic Lodge has participated in the Twin Cities Pride Parade. While the original idea may have been prompted in part by the negative actions of some Lodges in other states to exclude gay men from membership, Braden Lodge took a more positive approach, using the occasion to showcase the diversity and acceptance that we embrace and cherish at Braden and throughout Minnesota.
How meaningful was our presence in the Pride Parade? Let me share a letter received from a Brother Mason from another Minnesota lodge who attended the Parade:
I wanted to send you a quick note to say “Thanks” for taking the time and effort to participate in the Twin Cities Pride parade. Your actions mean more to me than you can ever imagine. Shocked does not begin to describe my feelings when I saw your sign, flag and brothers walking in aprons, I had tears in my eyes.
It has been hard reading the posts of brothers in other states where their lodge decided to not allow gay people and kicked our fellow brothers out of the lodge because they are gay. It makes me so happy to know that the Grand Lodge of Minnesota granted you a dispensation to have on the aprons, and your lodge is accepting. I hope you are in the parade next year and/or have a booth in the park and I hope I can stand with you. There are so many men in our community that would serve our craft well. The many steps you took in the parade was one giant leap in showing the community who we are.
Thank you for taking a stand. Thank you for your inclusion. Thank you for your openness. Thank you for helping our Craft move forward. Thank you for understanding who a Mason is. Thank you for being Brothers!
(name withheld by request)"
Special thanks to WB Tim Grube for his leadership, to Br Travis Thorpe for use of his vehicle and designing the new Braden Lodge flags, to Br David Coleman for designing the new Lodge Banner, to Br Brian Silverain for picking up supplies and driving in the Parade, to Br Erik Fairchild for printing the Open House stickers for the business cards, to Br Matt Gallagher for spreading the word when our line-up location was changed at the last minute, and to all who contributed in any other way to making for a fun, exciting, and meaningful presence in the Pride Parade!
Brothers of Braden, you have made us all proud to be Masons by your willingness to take a stand in favor of diversity, equality, and acceptance. By breaking down barriers that separate us, we make our Lodge more open and accepting, we make our Community and our Fraternity more welcoming and inclusive, and -- most importantly -- WE MAKE GOOD MEN BETTER!
Well done, Brothers!