Events & Milestones

Monday Night Meetings: Rising Sun #29 is a very active Lodge conducting business and conferring degrees. This allows us the opportunity to convene regularly every Monday night for Stated or Called Meetings.


Pre-meeting Dinners: There is a meal prepared in our "Tom L. Collins Kitchen", blessed, and served in our “George F. Mills Dining Hall” every Monday night prior to starting Lodge meetings.


Practice Meetings: Except for the months of November and December, Rising Sun #29, along with Athens Lodge #16 dedicate every Wednesday night to practice meetings, where we can come together and hone our skills and knowledge in the Craft for conferences and monthly meetings. Meetings are hosted on a rotating schedule between Decatur, Athens, Somerville and Falkville Lodges. All Brethren, but more especially those from Group 2, 5th District, in any degree are always welcome to practice.


Fellowship Breakfast: Every 1st and 3rd Mondays of the month Rising Sun #29 hosts a delicious Fellowship Breakfast prepared in our "Tom L. Collins Kitchen" then blessed and served in our “George F. Mills Dining Hall”. All Brothers, family, and friends alike are welcome and regularly attend.


Fifth Monday Night Dinners: Also prepared in our "Tom L. Collins Kitchen" and served in our well known “George F. Mills Dining Hall”, Rising Sun #29 hosts a scrumptious Dinner every fifth Monday night of the month. Affectionately referred to as the "Knife & Fork Degree", we welcome all Masons and their families. Brothers have found that this is a very good event to introduce their family members and friends that may be interested in petitioning the Lodge for membership. Our 5th Monday Dinner in December 2012 was held Monday the 10th as Christmas With Family & Friends Social.


Grand Masters Dinner & Reception: Rising Sun #29 hosts an annual Grand Masters Dinner to introduce the newly installed Grand Lodge Officers (please see PHOTOS page). Our January 2012 Grand Masters Dinner & Reception was a very notable evening for us as one of our own, Brother John Strickling, was introduced as the newly elected Right Worshipful Junior Grand Warden. This is the first time a Rising Sun Lodge #29 member has advanced to the Grand Lodge line. Decatur Mayor, Don Stanford, presented the Key to The City to Most Worshipful Grand Master, Brother Sterling Hughes. Rising Sun Lodge hosted a Grand Masters Dinner & Reception, Monday, January 28, 2013 for the newly-elected Grand Master Charles A. Booker. Decatur Mayor Don Kyle presented him with the Key To The City. Our own Right Worshipful Senior Grand Warden, Brother John Strickling was honored for his progression in the Grand Lodge line.
Monday, January 27, 2014 - Rising Sun Lodge hosted the 2014 Dinner & Reception to a crowd of over 150 and Decatur Mayor Don Kyle presented Most Worshipful Grand Master Lane Weatherbee the Key to the City .


Widows Luncheon: Wednesday, May 2, Rising Sun #29 hosted a special luncheon for the widows of our fallen Brothers. This is an annual event, usually in early May, we prepare in our Tom L. Collins Kitchen and serve in our George F. Mills Dining Hall. The luncheon is especially catered to the honor and memory of their husbands who have passed.


Funerals: Rising Sun No. 29 conducted 3 funerals in 2011. In 2012 we have had 10 Brothers join the Celestial Lodge and we have conducted funerals for 5 of them with graveside Masonic Rites. These Brothers will forever be missed. With tragedy comes honor, however, and we are proud of their service to this fraternity. They were given full Masonic ceremonies and burials, wearing their aprons, and it was apparent to all that their love and devotion to this brotherhood helped guide them through life. May they rest in peace, we love you. We were deeply saddened to learn that our Grand Master Charles A. Booker (1937-2013) passed away just 9 days after he was honored by a reception and dinner at Rising Sun Lodge on January 28, 2013. Brother Booker is the first sitting Grand Master in over 75 years to pass away and Rising Sun Lodge sent a spray of flowers for his funeral.


Birthday Cakes: With age, the recognition of birthdays is also a special part of Rising Sun #29’s regular activities. Birthday Cake is served once a month during a Monday Night Dinner in celebration of those who have gained one more year of knowledge and experience in this great fraternity of ours.


Past Masters Night: Once a year, Rising Sun #29 conducts a special meeting in commemoration of our Past Masters. This meeting is filled with emotion, as each Past Master reflects their time served, along with the relationships built over the years of their service, as well as remembering those Past Masters who are no longer with us.


Grand Lodge Annual Communication: 2012 - Brother Gerald Gunn, PM had the pleasure of casting the unanimous ballot for RWSGW John Strickling. Brothers’ Paul Lamont, PM, Donald Foster and RWSGW John Strickling accepted the Mark Twain Service Award for 2011. Brother Phillip Sherman, PM assisted in promoting the Child ID program to other lodges during the session. 2013 - Brothers Rob Quinn, Paul Lamont, Neal Hudson and Donald Foster, WM accepted the Mark Twain Service Award for 2012. 12 RSL29 members attended Grand Lodge.


Trestle Board: Rising Sun #29 implemented the use of an electronic newsletter communication - The Trestle Board. The Trestle Board is published weekly to inform the Brethren and update the ongoing events and happenings of not only our Lodge but in Lodges in the 5th District and surrounding area. Reaching over 300 Brothers can now be done with the touch of a button, and in a flash, they all receive our weekly announcements, schedules and updates. In addition to being e-mailed, the current Trestle Board occupies its own page on this website. In 2012 we have already published 39 issues and over 128 issues have been published since inception in 2008.


Website Development - www.risingsun29.org: RisingSun29.org began breathing its first pixels of life in late 2011 and was released in Beta form in early 2012. Application was made to the Grand Lodge Internet Committee and within a few months it was approved and made its world internet debut. It has already become the Lodge hub of activity for information and media resources. The website will always be a work-in-progress, often updated daily, and will evolve to reflect the needs of our members and to promote Freemasonry. The 2,000th website visit happened in just 4 months - April 2012. The 25,000th milestone was reached on November 13, 2012. The 30,000th visit was reached in the first days of January, 2013. Visit us often and Thank You for your support and interest!


Mobile Web Browsing: We asked and they listened and in November 2012, GoDaddy.com (our web host) launched a free mobile version compatible with all smartphone and tablet devices. As we have developed into an on-the-go society, this mobile version solves the screen resolution issues and affords us the ability to reach our members virtually anywhere.

2012 Web Site Awards: We are very grateful for the international recognition our website has received from the Brethren of Lodge Anima 1223 in Glasgow, Scotland. They have bestowed upon us their 2012 GREAT MASONIC WEBSITE AWARD.

  • “From the Lodge Anima 1223 Webmaster: 
  • “I have had much pleasure in looking at your site and feel it more than worthy of our award….”

Rising Sun Lodge strives to make an interesting and informative website for our Brethren and visitors. We are proud to be recognized by www.thNYCavalry.com for meeting these high standards and honored to receive their 2012 THE BLUES AND GRAYS OUTSTANDING SITE AWARD

On November 11, 2012, we were awarded the George Washington Past Master Award.

This award was given 8 times in 2009, 9 times in 2010, 1 time in 2011 and we were the only 2012 recipient.

Boston Butt Sale: Smoke rose above the lodge on Friday, June 20, 2012, and all through the night our pit meisters stoked the fires and tended the 3 smokers. Saturday morning we distributed over 250 succulent, moist and delicious Boston Butts. Conducted at least once a year, some may argue that Alabama is the king of grilling, but we at Rising Sun like to dispute that by claiming our own fame to the flame. We know how to cook a Butt, and local folks will agree. Rising Sun Lodge #29 always hosts a breakfast that Saturday morning.
March 14-15, 2014 - The 4 custom built, behemoth, smoke belching monster cookers were given their inaugural test and more than 200 Boston Butts were cooked to perfection.   

MWPGM John Strickling, David Glenn, PM, Dean Stark, Gerald Gunn and Phillip Sherman

Smoker/Cooker Project: The 4 behemoth, hickory eating, smoke belching monster tank cookers have been designed, assembled, sand-blasted, painted with 1000º black paint, and installed on a poured and sealed concrete pad behind the Lodge on November 22. This massive project began in mid-2013 and involved a workforce of dozens. Brother Tim Shaneyfelt helped design the cookers and donated his time and facilities for cutting, welding and assembly. In appreciation, the Lodge recognized his contributions with a Perpetual Membership. All that remains is to erect an awning and to unload a delivery of oak and hickory. These smoker/cookers will handle our Boston Butt cooks for decades to come.  

Traveling: Rising Sun #29 members are explorative by nature, with a vast interest in other Lodges, communities, and culture in general. Many Brothers have visited Lodges all over this country, and in some cases, even foreign countries. In November 2012, a representative of Rising Sun Lodge visited Munford Lodge #226 in Munford, TN. While on a work assignment in Germany, Brother Rob Quinn visited Pyramid Lodge #869 in the community of Hahnbach in March 2014. He was honored to be asked to be seated as the Junior Warden. At the conclusion of the meeting, he was asked to approach the altar and was presented with miniature apron. Brother Sandy Sanford traveled to the 3rd Annual Cove Waterfall meeting in Jasper, Georgia in May 2014. A Master Mason Degree was preformed by The Wool Hat Boys in Confederate attire. Over 140 Master Masons were in attendance with some from as far away as Puerto Rico. We try our best to support other Lodges by visiting as regularly as possible and participate in degree work or events as requested. We are always welcomed with open arms and delicious meals.


Dauphin Island Degree: On April 27th, 2011, four of Rising Sun #29’s Brothers had the opportunity and privilege to attend the annual “Dauphin Island Master Mason Degree” on the beautiful Gulf Shore Island off the Alabama coast.


Eastern Star/Shrine: Rising Sun #29 is proud to support the Eastern Star and Shriners, not only by participating memberships, but also by personal and collective donations.


Notable Contributions:

  • Rising Sun Lodge donated $1000 to the Decatur-Morgan County Community Free Clinic on December 20, 2007.
  • On September 19, 2011, we donated to “Wreaths Across America”, which tries to put a flag on soldier’s grave sites.
  • On October 18th, 2011, Rising Sun #29 donated $500 to the “George Washington Masonic Memorial”.
  • On November 7th, 2011, we donated $900 to “Blue Star Mothers”, a private non-profit group from Morgan County Alabama who felt a desire to send every deployed Soldier from Morgan County something for Christmas.
  • Also, in November 2011, we donated 8 hickory smoked Boston Butts to the Baptist Children’s Home in Decatur. On May 21, 2012, Rising Sun Lodge donated $300 to Cordova Lodge No. 559 in Walker County, that Lodge having sustained a direct hit and destroyed in a storm.
  • In October 2012, Rising Sun Lodge donated $300 to Help Ed Hear Charity Golf Tournament. Ed was born with a hearing disability and is the son of one of our own Brothers, Eddie Rose and his wife Margie. We’re all very hopeful and prayerful that his upcoming cochlear implant operation will be successful.
  • On November 19, 2012, Rising Sun Lodge donated $250 for the relief of Brothers that were Super Storm Hurricane Sandy victims in New Jersey and in New York.
  • In May, 2013, $250 was donated to the relief of the victims of the Oklahoma City massive tornado event. We also donated $100 to the Shrine for the benefit of cripple children.

These charities, along with many others that we contribute to as a Lodge as well as individual "free-will" donations, allow us to promote Freemasonry.


Thomas L. Collins Scholarship: Once a year, Rising Sun #29 conducts a scholarship contest and selects a winner based on a written essay. Every Senior from every High School within the Decatur City limits is encouraged to apply. The awards are for $2500 with an additional $1000 contributed by the Grand Lodge upon application and approval. This prestigious award is usually presented during a 5th Monday Family Dinner.

2015 - Austin High School - Olivia Bolton
2014 - Austin High School - Lexie Jones
2013 - Austin High School - Dorci Hushi
2012 - Austin High School - Mary Beth Snow
2011 - Austin High School - Natalie Jones Robinson
2010 - Austin High School - Rachel Witti
2009 - Austin High School - Jack Robenson


Tornado Victims: On April 27th, 2011, the tornado damage done across the State of Alabama was unlike anything ever before seen in recent history. As such, Rising Sun #29 took a special interest in these victims, especially those who are Brothers, volunteering our time, donations, and resources to help in the recovery process.


Masonic Shirts: Taking pride in our fraternity, as well as a desire to create further community awareness, it was decided to purchase high quality shirts with the Masonic logo, Rising Sun #29, and our individual names embroidered on the front of these shirts.

Christmas Parade: The Jaycees conduct an annual Christmas Parade through downtown Decatur. Monday, December 3, 2012, the Rising Sun Lodge No. 29 Christmas Float followed the parade through the streets of downtown Decatur, Alabama all the while waving at the revelers and distributing candy to the eager children young and old. The Cahaba Shrine Club joined us and entertained the crowd with their precision motorcycle riding with weaves, turns and circles. After the parade, we always return to the lodge for a piping hot bowl of RWSGW John Strickling’s famous chili. 

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Christmas Parade: The Jaycees conduct an annual Christmas Parade through downtown Decatur. Monday, December 3, 2012, the Rising Sun Lodge No. 29 Christmas Float followed the parade through the streets of downtown Decatur, Alabama all the while waving at the revelers and distributing candy to the eager children young and old. The Cahaba Shrine Club joined us and entertained the crowd with their precision motorcycle riding with weaves, turns and circles. After the parade, we always return to the lodge for a piping hot bowl of RWSGW John Strickling’s famous chili. 

Special Guests/Speakers: It is always an honor anytime someone outside of the fraternity stops by to visit and talk. Although there are many who stop by from time to time, a special thanks should go out to various officials who take time out of their busy schedules to come by and talk with us. Another special thanks should go out to the Decatur City Police and Fire Departments, as well as the Morgan County Sheriff’s Department. With all that these Departments do to protect and serve us all, they are always welcome. We were honored to have Mrs. Yvonne Krenkle, Director of Decatur Beautification Department, and Mr. Phil Wirey, noted local historian, as our guest speakers in July 2012.
Autism Awareness - Monday, February 23, 2015 - We were delighted to have as our guest speaker Ellen Casale. Please CLICK HERE to be re-directed to YouTube for video of her awesome presentation. 


A "Special" performer, Mr. Logan Blade (right) entertained us Monday evening, January 25th, 2016 with his amazing gift of song. What makes him special? He was born just a normal 8 lbs. 2 oz. At the age of 18 months Logan started to regress. At The age of 2 Logan was diagnosed with Autism. Although he cannot carry on a conversation with you, God has given him the voice of music. Logan has been blessed to travel all over our area and he has also joined Josh Turner on the Grand Ole Opry. Not only does Logan travel locally but has recently traveled to Washington D.C. where he sang at The WWII Memorial and The Chapel of Annapolis. Blade's beautiful voice makes him a champion for Autism Awareness. You can listen to him on YouTube HERE. 

2011 & 2012 Mark Twain Masonic Awareness Award Winner:

In 2011, Rising Sun Lodge No. 29 was 1 of the 18 nationwide recipients of this prestigious award. For the second consecutive year we have achieved the distinction of being 1 of 22 nationwide recipients of this award. The Masonic Information Center (MIC) sponsors the Mark Twain Masonic Awareness Award to recognize lodges that have demonstrated exemplary work in constructing a positive Masonic identity within the lodge and for the local community. The 2011 award was presented at the 192nd Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of Alabama. Freemasons For Dummies posted a Blog on April 4, 2012 describing the criteria for the Mark Twain Award and congratulated Rising Sun Lodge and the other 17 2011 winners.

Hooked On Decatur Team Bass Fishing Tournament: This was a new event that Rising Sun Lodge #29 developed, hosted and sponsored on Saturday, July 28, 2012. Several brothers in our lodge have served or are still serving in the military were looking for a way to give back to the community and support the Wounded Warriors coming back from the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. So Rising Sun Lodge rolled up their sleeves and did something about it. Thus the Hooked On Decatur Team Bass Fishing Tournament was born. We then built a website www.HookedOnDecatur.com to promote the event. Brother Kevin Hazelleif, Brother Rob Quinn and Past Master Paul Lamont chaired the committee. They decided that the Wounded Warrior Project would be the best benefactor of this event. Our goal was to bring awareness to our Wounded Veterans and awareness to the community that our lodge was committed and engaged in charity for those in need. We wanted to raise as much money as possible and donate 100% of the proceeds to "The Wounded Warrior Project", which is a program designed to help disabled veterans and their families with hospital, travel, and even living expenses. 

Adopt-An-Area: In cooperation with the City of Decatur Landscape & Beautification Department, our Lodge has been approved for and granted a perfect Adopt-An-Area. The area is designated to be on Central Parkway from the Decatur Animal Shelter to Clearview Street around Wilson Morgan Lake. Two PUT LITTER In It's Place! Thanks To Rising Sun Lodge #29 signs were erected at each end of our area Wednesday, July 18, 2012. In a continuing effort to increase public awareness, community involvement and civic contributions, this area will give us very good exposure. It's a beautiful, safe walking trail in a very high traffic area. Yes! This will be a family event - the more the merrier! Don't forget the duck and goose food! In August 2012, we received a letter of appreciation from Mrs. Yvonne Krenkle, Director of Decatur Beautification Department, for the great job we are doing keeping OUR area clean.  

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Website Music: In May, 2012, Brother Howie Damron granted us permission to incorporate onto our website (3) three of his inspirational and motivational Masonic songs - The Ring, Hiram's Call and I'm A Master Mason. Brother Damron is a celebrated Nashville recording artist and has toured with the Johnny Paycheck Band. Rising Sun Lodge raised over $600 through the sales of his CDs.


Favicon Issued: In early May, 2012, we applied for and were issued a favicon (favorite icon). Our favicon is a very, very small 16x16 pixel image of the Square & Compasses and is located in the left side of the address bar at the beginning of our url (http://www.risingsun29.org) to distinguish us. It is visible on most internet browsers.


Google Places: In April 2012 we submitted documentation to Google Places and were approved. The search terms Rising Sun Lodge Decatur entered in the Google search engine will result in our Lodge being first on the list and a link to our website. A clickable map with driving directions and photos of the Lodge (including our beautiful neon sign aglow at night) is included with the results at the top of the page.


MapQuest: In July, 2012, MapQuest congratulated us that our listing had been classified as "Live".


PayPal: We are the first Lodge in the State of Alabama to be approved for and to utilize PayPal on our website. We are now able to make Donations and Pay Dues online. This gives the Lodge another means to receive funds and our members an addition option for paying their dues they have not before had - credit card thru PayPal. We now can receive payments for dues, merchandise, special promotions and ticket sales, etc.


e-M@sons: The Grand Lodge of the State Of Alabama brought their new and revamped website online in late 2011 and incorporated an e-M@sons page. All signed-up members, through email or other mobile devices, now can be instantly electronically notified of important communications (events, deaths, etc.). Rising Sun Lodge 29 has earnestly solicited all our members with the capability of receiving electronic communications to sign up. In June 2012, we led all lodges in the state with the most e-M@sons.

Child I.D. Program: This is a program conducted by the Grand Lodge Youth Committee. It is a FREE program sponsored by the Grand Lodge to provide parents a CD with their child's photo, electronic fingerprints, video with sound interview and other pertinent identification information. The parents of a missing child provide the information packet containing the CD to law enforcement agencies to assist in locating the child. It is a very simple, menu driven computer program that takes about 10 minutes. The forms, CD's and computer equipment are available FREE to the Lodge and registration is FREE to the parents. The administering Lodge only retains the parental signature portion of the application form. The remainder is enclosed in the packet. The computer memory is purged and no information on any child is retained. We are currently exploring opportunities to utilize this program to contribute to youth programs in our in schools, churches and communities. CLICK HERE to be re-directed to the Alabama Grand Lodge site for more information. UPDATE - We met with the Morgan County School Board in September, 2012, and received a request to implement the program. 431 children were ID'ed at Priceville Elementary on October 1, 2 and 4 and at Laceys Spring Elementary on October 8, 2012. The Decatur Daily newspaper published an article about Rising Sun Lodge administering the Child I.D. Program at Priceville Elementary School in the Tuesday, October 2 edition, page 9. WHNT Chanel 19 aired an interview with RWJGW John Strickling during the 6 pm broadcast on Monday, October 1. On Tuesday, October 9, Brother Strickling was featured on WYAM-TV 51 for a live on-the-air interview with Suzie Wiley. We were at Priceville Junior High School Tuesday, December 4, 2012 to administer the program to 37 students. 

QR Code: A QR Code (it stands for "Quick Response") is a cell phone readable bar code that can store website URL's, plain text, phone numbers, email addresses, Google Maps data, social networking websites and pretty much any other alphanumeric data. The next-gen smartphones are about to make a huge use of this code to succeed in online marketing. The purpose of using QR codes for online marketing is to advertise a particular product via mobile devices and direct them to our website. Rising Sun Lodge is the first Lodge in Alabama to have a QR Code for our website to be used in flyers, newsletters and on tickets for events, sales, donations, promotions, etc.


Wikipedia Article: On July 2, 2012, the article "Rising Sun Lodge 29" was accepted by the online encyclopedia, Wikipedia as a “Start Class” article. Because the lodge building itself is not of historical or architectural significance, our article was then linked to the Cotaco Opera House Article on August, 2012. In 1934, Rising Sun Lodge No. 29 occupied The Cotaco Opera House which was built in 1890 and was placed in the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 1986.


Find A Grave: On July 3, 2012, Rising Sun Lodge No. 29 made application to and received a memorial in the name of James McGinnis Brundidge on the web-based genealogy database. At the time of his death, the beloved Brother Brundidge had been Past Master of Rising Sun Lodge No. 29 several years, Junior Grand Warden, Grand Lecturer and Honorary Most Worshipful Past Grand Master A. F. & A. M. of State of Alabama. CLICK HERE to be re-directed Brother Brundidge Find A Grave website memorial.


Video Security System: In our continuing efforts to help provide a safe and secure environment for its members as well as the tenants of the Masonic Building, an infrared video surveillance system was installed in July, 2012.


Gifts & Archive Donations:

  • It was with great honor and pride that on May 16, 2011, Brother James Owens (after receiving his 60 year pin) presented Rising Sun #29 with 2 Masonic History books.
  • On July 18th, 2011, Brother George Mills presented the Lodge with a 24 book set of Masonic Encyclopedias. Each of these particular items donated to our archives is of historical value, and words alone cannot describe their importance.
  • While taking inventory of her late father's worldly possessions, Ellen S. Butler discovered a shoebox and within was a 120 year-old picture of Honorable MWPGM James McGinnis Brundidge and a 1942 reprinting of the book, Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry by Albert Pike. Locating us through our website, she inquired if we would like to have these items. On September 17, 2012 a donation of these artifacts to the archives of Rising Sun Lodge No. 29 was made in the name of Ellen S. Butler and in honor of her Father, himself a Mason in Virginia.
  • On December 12, 2012, Brother Robert Moody, Orange, Texas, donated $100 via PayPal through the website. On December 17, 2012, Brother George Mills, PM, contributed merchandise valued at over $500 to be donated to various charities. On December 17, 2012, Brother Lloyd Barnett and family donated 4 cemetery plots in Decatur City Cemetery to Rising Sun Lodge.
  • On February 4, 2013, we were very grateful to Mrs. Joanne Askew for donating a century-old Masonic Manual of Alabama - 1913 Edition in honor of her Grandfather Brother Pearl Roscoe Martin of Geneva County, Alabama.
  • In April 2013, Brother Steven McGlocklin, Past Master of Helion #1 and Past Grand Lodge Historian won an eBay auction of a pendant distributed at Grand Lodge in 1899 to honor Grand Lecturer James McGinnis Brundidge. This pendant was 1 of 1000 prepared as a souvenir and was bestowed upon him for being elected Honorable MWPGM. This was the first and only time this honor has been given. It was part of an estate sale auction and Brother McGlocklin donated it to the archives of Rising Sun Lodge where Honorable MWPGM Brundidge was a Master in 1862-69 and again in 1871.
  • In November, 2013, First Response Ambulance (owned by Brothers Jason Tindol and David Childers), Brother Bill Means (in Honor of his parents Brother Maurice Means and wife Darlene) and Brother Joe Jefferies, PM donated $500 each to the Smoker/Cooker Project and will have the privilege of naming one of the 4 units.



 

Under the watchful eye of Worshipful Master, Brother Donald Foster, a Masonic belt buckle collection is donated to the Lodge on August 12, 2013 by Brother Archie Hampton, PM. (L-R) Brother Archie Hampton, PM, and Lodge Trustees Brother Maurice Means, PM and George Mills, PM.