Category Archives: Education

Installation of Officers for 2015-2016


The Brothers of Elvin E. Helms No. 926 gathered for the annual installation of officers for the 2015-2016 year. Holly Kemble prepared a fantastic meal, as always, and the officers brought an array of desserts. There was more food than we could have hoped to eat but that didn’t stop us from trying. After the meal we proceeded to elect our new officers for the 2015-2016 Masonic Year.

Pictured above, left to right: Jason Wallace, Junior Warden; Lew Adams, Treasurer; Buddy Wallace, Senior Warden; Ernie Stratton, Master; Dennis Stephens, Junior Deacon; John Dettor, Masonic Homes Ambassador, District 18; Rick Campbell, Tiler; Travis Bush, Senior Steward; Jim Herzog, Junior Steward; Ed Tanner, Secretary; Adam Gross, Senior Deacon.


Last but not least, five Brothers from Latonia No. 746 attended our annual installation of officers and took home to their Lodge the District 18 Traveling Gavel. The next opportunity to claim the Traveling Gavel will be at their Stated Communication on January 7, 2016. A fellowship meal will be served at 6:30 PM followed by their Stated Communication at 7:30 PM.

Pictured above, left to right: Brad Drew, Senior Warden; Ernie Stratton, Master of Elvin E. Helms No. 926, P.M.; Chuck Yocom, Junior Warden, P.M.; Tom Roundtree, P.M.; Vern Gregory, P.M.; Ira Brockman, Junior Deacon, P.M.


Worshipful Bro. Ernie Stratton, P. M., takes the oath and obligation as Master of Elvin E. Helms Lodge No. 926.


Installing Master John Dettor, P. M., and Installing Marshall Travis Bush, P. M., present newly installed Master Ernie Stratton, P. M., to the Craft.


Installing Marshall John Dettor, P.M., presents Bro. Jason Wallace, P. M., and Bro. Buddy Wallace, P. M., for installation as Junior Warden and Senior Warden.  Bro. Jason was Master of our Lodge in 2013 and Bro. Buddy currently serves as Master of Burlington Lodge No. 264, and previously served as Master of Burlington Lodge in 2012.


Bro. Lew Adams, P.M. and Bro. Ed Tanner, P. M., will continue their outstanding service to our Lodge as Treasurer and Secretary, respectively, in 2016.


Installing Marshall John Dettor, P.M., presents Bro. Dennis Stephens, P. M., and Bro. Adam Gross, P. M., for installation as Junior Deacon and Senior Deacon, respectively.  Bro. Dennis served as Master of our Lodge in 2005 and Bro. Adam served as Master of Newport Lodge No. 358 in 2015.


Bro. Rick Campbell, P. M., Bro. Jim Herzog, P. M., Bro. Travis Bush, P. M. and Bro. Mel Kinser, P. M., stand ready to be installed as Tyler, Junior Steward, Senior Steward and Chaplain of our Lodge for 2016.


Installing Marshall John Dettor present Bro. Mel Kinser, P. M., for installation as Chaplain of our Lodge.  Bro. Mel served as Master of our Lodge in 2004, 2009 and 2010.  Bro. Mel served as District Deputy in 2001-2002 and as Grand Chaplain of the Grand Lodge of Kentucky in 2006-2007.

Dedication at Pieratt No. 725


Pieratt No. 725 had a dedication of their new Temple on Saturday, November 28, 2015. The dedication ceremonies were conducted by the Most Worshipful Grand Master of Masons in Kentucky Cloyd Bumgardner, Right Worshipful Deputy Grand Master Todd Jones, Right Worshipful Grand Senior Warden Tim Sanders, and Right Worshipful Grand Junior Warden Gary Rose. Many other Grand Lodge representatives were present including appointed Grand Lodge Officers, District Deputy Grand Masters, and Grand Lodge Committeemen. We all enjoyed a great meal provided by the Brothers of Pieratt No. 725 prior to the dedication ceremony. We want to wish the Brothers of Pieratt No. 725 many years of success as they begin building new memories in their new Temple.

Masonic Homes Night at Elvin E. Helms No. 926

At our stated meeting on November 10, 2015, our Lodge was honored to welcome eight visiting Brothers representing four different Lodges.  Our guests enjoyed a fine chili supper prepared by our own Bro. Buddy Wallace, P.M.  Each of our guests made very gracious remarks to the Lodge upon introduction.  We are delighted to welcome visitors to all of our meetings at Elvin E. Helms Lodge No. 926.  We hope you feel at home in our Lodge and visit us often!

Bro. Bruce Lott, Vice President for Fraternal Relations and Planned Giving of the Masonic Homes of Kentucky, and a Past Master of Willis Stewart Lodge No. 224, Louisville, Kentucky, presented our Lodge’s educational program at our stated meeting on November 10, 2015.  Bro. Bruce gave an overview of the history of the homes, the services that they now provide and the basics of the Masonicare Program.  Bro. Bruce also spoke about the possibility of new regional services to be offered by the Masonic Homes of Kentucky.  Bro. Bruce invited the craft present to visit the Homes whenever possible, and asked the Lodge to consider adopting a resident of the homes by remembering that person on holidays, birthdays, and intermittently throughout the year.  Bro. Bruce’s presentation was very informative and well received by all present.  At the conclusion of our meeting, our Lodge voted to donate $ 200 to the Masonicare Program.  Please remember to support the Masonic Homes of Kentucky!


Pictured are Bro. John Dettor, P.M., Golden Rule-Covington Lodge No. 109, District 18 Ambassador for the Masonic Homes of Kentucky, Bro. Ernie Stratton, P.M., Acting Master of Elvin E. Helms Lodge No. 926 and Bro. Bruce Lott, P.M., Willis Stewart Lodge No. 224, Vice President for Fraternal Relations and Planned Giving of the Masonic Homes of Kentucky.


Pictured above, left to right, are:  Bro. Marvin Knorr III, Boone-Union Lodge No. 304; Bro. Tom Roundtree, P.M., Latonia Lodge No. 746; Bro. Ernie Stratton, P.M., acting Master of Elvin E. Helms Lodge No. 926; Bro. Vern Gregory, P.M., Latonia Lodge No. 746; Bro. Bill Dettor, P.M., Golden Rule-Covington Lodge No. 109 (and an honorary member of Elvin E. Helms Lodge No. 926); Bro. John Dettor, P.M., Golden Rule-Covington Lodge No. 109 and current Ambassador for the Masonic Homes of Kentucky for District 18, Bro. Brad Drew, Senior Warden of Latonia Lodge No. 746; Bro. Chuck Yocom, P.M., Jr. Warden of Latonia Lodge No. 746 and Bro. Bruce Lott, P.M., Willis Stewart Lodge No. 224 and Vice President for Fraternal Relations and Planned Giving of the Masonic Homes of Kentucky.

Masonic Education from Elvin E. Helms No. 926

This paper was presented by our Junior Deacon, Brother Adam Gross who is also the Master of Newport No. 358.

The Compass

It is understood in a Lodge of Entered Apprentice Masons that what we have all come here to do is to learn, to subdue our passions, and to improve ourselves in Masonry.  The first things we saw for ourselves in a Lodge of Masons on any degree were the sacred text of our faith, in my case The Holy Bible, The Square, and The Compass. These three items together are the foundation of our respective faiths and the foundation of Masonry. In talking about what we have come here to do I want us all to focus on The Compass for a few minutes and talk about what it is designed to teach us.

We all know that The Compass is intended to teach us to keep our passions within due bounds toward all mankind, more especially Brother Masons. We are all ritualists in this Lodge and know those words quite well. How many of us have ever stopped and examined this lesson of Masonry more carefully? Let us take a few moments to do this together tonight and look more closely at why The Compass and The Square are so important to our fraternity that they share a place of such great importance in our Lodges with The Holy Bible.

Passions are powerful or compelling emotions or feelings. People who are ruled by their emotions or beliefs are passionate. Being ruled by your emotions and beliefs can lead you down a road of narrowmindedness, bias, intolerance, discrimination, and bigotry – things Masons are Charged never to be. So what does The Compass teach us about subduing our passions? It teaches us that we should never allow our beliefs and emotions to so cloud our vision that they lead us to do immoral things, or bring harm to others. In short, using The Compass in our daily lives will set us free from the beliefs and emotions that might otherwise cause us to hold prejudice against other people, discriminate against them, to be intolerant of them – or to become a bigot. The use of this working tool in our daily lives will set us free from these feelings and beliefs that lead us to be irrational. None of us has been, or should have been, taught to hate or be intolerant of any other person or group of people in Church or in Lodge. We are constantly reminded of the universality of Freemasonry. Within these walls we are taught to love the human family without exception regardless of their faith, creed, color, or opinion and more especially our Brother Masons.

Over the journey of a lifetime we can learn to truly love our fellow man by constantly keeping The Compass and its use at the front of our minds, and more especially our Brother Masons for helping us to achieve this level of peace and compassion between ourselves and the world at large. This is an institution that says, very generically, that we make good men better. I want to remind every Brother here, that at our most basic level, Freemasonry is a support group for good men fighting to be good men and become great men in an immoral world – just like salmon, Masons swim against the current. This is where we come to escape the horrible things that go on in this life outside of our walls. We can be comfortable here, loosen up, and feel as safe, if not safer, as if we were in our own homes. For the time we are blessed to spend together we don’t have to feel strange or unusual – we’re all here to do the same thing. We challenge ourselves and one another to be better men the next time we come back to this most special place.

In the Entered Apprentice Lodge we are taught that The Compass is dedicated to the Craft, for by a due attention to its use we are taught to circumscribe our desires and to keep our passions within due bounds. In the Fellow Craft degree we are reminded that we are speculative Masons and that through speculative Masonry we learn to subdue the passions, act upon the square, keep a tongue of good report, maintain secrecy, and practice charity. In the Master Mason degree we yet again see The Compass and its central role and unmistakable importance in our Craft. This time the extended points of The Compass are applied to a new Master Mason’s chest, the moral being that as the most value parts of man are contained within the breast so are the most excellent tenets of our institution contained between its extended points – friendship, morality, and Brotherly love.

What do the sacred texts have to say about tolerance? The Holy Bible says, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her,”, “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law,” and, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one.”

The Quran says, “We have appointed a law and a practice for every one of you. Had God willed, He would have made you a single community, but He wanted to test you regarding what has come to you,”, “Beware! Whoever is cruel and hard on a non-Muslim minority, or curtails their rights, or burdens them with more than they can bear, or takes anything from them against their free will; I Prophet Muhammad will complain against the person on the Day of Judgement,” and, “To you be your religion, to me be mine.”

The Torah says, “Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it,”, “Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity,” and, “He who justifies the wicked, and he who condemns the just, both of them alike are an abomination to the Lord.”

The sacred texts of the world’s three great religions agree it is our duty to the Grand Architect of the Universe to be tolerant of one another and learn to love one another.

Accept, befriend, and love every member of our human family without exception. This is the lesson taught to us by use of The Compass. By this working tool of ancient operative stonemasonry we, as speculative Masons, have something we can put our hands on to teach us this very same lesson. We are taught in our respective Churches and simultaneously within Freemasonry, by way of The Compass, to love and be tolerant of one another without regard for faith, creed, color, or opinion. This is one of the most excellent tenants of our institution and of our profession, as Masons, and what is meant when we speak of the universality of Freemasonry. This is what we all have said we came here to do. I challenge all of us to make regular use of The Compass. With its aid we can become the better men we aim to be, and once we have mastered it, we will be Free.

Why We Say Grand Architect of the Universe

Freemasonry insists on belief in a Supreme Being – a Creator – a single omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent, infinite being. That means that we accept men of all faiths that are monotheistic or polytheistic, providing their faith of choice has one Supreme Being above all others. This is why Freemasonry accepts men of the Hindu faith – while it is a polytheistic faith, they believe in one Supreme Being who is Master of all, and so revered they do not mention His name directly, except as Freemasonry teaches, with the reverence and awe due from a creature to his Creator. In regards to the universality of Freemasonry, this means that Freemasonry regards the Supreme Being of every faith as the ONE Supreme Being. Every religion has a different name for Him – God, Yahweh, Jehovah, Allah, Trimurti – but we are all speaking of the same Creator regardless of what we call Him. So we do not promote one faith over another or marginalize any faith, Freemasonry has adopted our own terminology that represents the one and only eternal and infinite Creator of our universe – Grand Architect of the Universe. That we reference God with this phrase instead of the name of choice from any faith on Earth underscores that we accept all good men regardless of their faith and fully understand that there is only one eternal and perfect Creator. It doesn’t matter whether you call Him God, Yahweh, Jehovah, Allah, or Trimurti – we are all praying to and have our faith in the one true Supreme Being – The Grand Architect of the Universe.

To download a copy of Brother Gross’ paper, click here.



Brothers from Elvin E. Helms No. 926 traveled to Lexington, KY to enjoy an evening hosted by the Rubicon Masonic Dinner Club at Spindletop Hall. The topic for the evening was the Apron, how it has evolved over the years, and why. Worshipful Brother Patrick Craddock, visiting from Franklin, TN, was the presenter. He gave a very informative and interactive presentation. As usual, the RMDC put together a great evening all in attendance were glad to be part of.

Pictured above, left to right: Dan Kemble, P.M.; Ed Tanner, P.M.;  Patrick Craddock, P.M.; and Adam Gross, Junior Deacon.

2015 Bernard Hogan Essay Contest Winners

Elvin E. Helms Lodge No. 926 is pleased to announce the 2015 winners of the Bernard A. “Barney” Hogan Essay Contest. This year’s winners are:

First Place – Christopher Sanders – Conner High School
Second Place – Sarah Moore – Ryle High School
Third Place – Kendra Fogt – Ryle High School
Honorable Mention – Sydney Taylor – Conner High School

Congratulations to each of our contestants!

Mr. Sanders’s winning essay is printed below.


Freemasonry and the Culture of America

By Christopher Sanders

Grandpa was a Freemason? I never met my grandfather, but my dad misses him a lot and reminisces about him all the time. When my social studies teacher invited us to write an essay about Freemasonry’s influence on American culture, little did I realize I was about to find out another piece of who I am. My dad has always talked about how Grandpa was trying new things, trying to make himself a better person, was involved deeply with his church, and fought for his country on Leyte Island in the Phillippines and in Papua New Guinea during WWII. Now, as a result of this essay prompt, I found out that Grandpa Sanders was also a Freemason and a Shriner, and Dad showed me the delicate worn box of my granda’s lapel pins and told me what he knew of the Freemasons. Other than a brief mention of the Masonic Order and the Anti-Masonic party in my United States History text, Freemasonry was never covered in any of my Social Studies classes, so I decided to find out more about who the Freemasons were and what they did for the United States.

I discovered by examining my grandpa’s mementos, talking with my dad, and using the Internet, that Freemasonry has a long and rich history. The fraternity might have begun as early as the Middle Ages, as stonemason’s guilds. Later, the Freemasons embraced the radical free-thought movement, which emerged from the religious conflicts brought about by the European Reformation and Enlightenment periods. Freemasonry was the first widespread and connected organization to promote religious toleration and liberty. These ideals were spread by the Masons into the American colonies through the works of such men as Benjamin Franklin, John Hancock, Paul Revere, John Marshall, Joseph Warren, John Paul Jones, and George Washington. Freemasons believed in a search for religious truth (partly why I believe my grandpa belonged to the group), and one of the Mason’s most radical ideas was the encouragement of different faiths within a single nation. In the United States, as Washington said, “minority religions were not only guests, but also full members of the nation.”

Washington, as well as other early leaders in American Freemasonry, rejected a European past where overreaching authority regulated how one could exchange thoughts and ideas. This view is embodies in one of the greatest symbols associated with Freemasonry: the all-seeing eye, representative of an omniscient God, aware of, but not controlling the activities of men. Although similar to the “eye of providence” (found in a triangle, overlooking an unfinished pyramid on the back of the one-dollar bill, as the Great Seal of the United States), the Great Seal is not of Masonic origins. However, the Latin maxim that surrounds the unfinished pyramid of the Great Seal — Annuit Copetis Novus Ordo Seclorum — can be roughly translated as “God Smiles on Our New Order of the Ages,” and is consistent with Masonic philosophy. The pyramid, representing man’s worldly achievements, or perhaps the United States, is incomplete without God’s blessing. As Freemasons believed, the union of God and man was required to break the religious order of Europe and begin a renewed search for the universal truth. Masonry embraced the new idea that was being born in America, that individual thought and free will were superior to governmental dictates and denominational affiliation.

At the time of the country’s founding, and later during the Civil War, Freemasonry continued to promulgate the dignity of man and the liberty of the individual. As such, the Freemasons were a pro-abolition society. As early as 1777, the fraternity made pro-abolition petitions in Boston. During the Civil War, the Freemasons, although at times separated by the color of their uniforms, remained true to their values and brotherhood. There are many stories of wounded soldiers, taken by both the North and the South, who were treated and cared for as if they were a brother. The strength and beliefs of the fraternity held more power than the governments to which they had pledged allegiance.

With the passage of time, Freemasons continued to influence American ideals and culture. Throughout the 1800s and into the early 1900s, before the United States formed social “safety-nets,” the Freemasons established orphanages and provided homes for widows and the aged — a form of “social security” — providing meals, clothing, and health care. To this day, Masonic Homes offers housing and services to individuals and families, and Masonicare provides nursing care and other services, regardless of the individual’s affiliation or ability to pay. Masons remain devoted to social betterment through individual involvement and philanthropy, but also continue, as a fraternity, to prioritize personal study and self-improvement.

Discovering that many of the “founding fathers” of our nation had Masonic ties made learning about that period of history more personable and relevant. I have a clearer understanding of how these men were connected and came to be united in cause. Over the course of the history of the United States, Freemasonry has strengthened America and reminded her of its original founding principles and ideals, as well as maintained its commitment to the individual’s pursuit of purpose. It is not overly presumptuous to suggest that Freemasonry played a significant role in establishing America as a place where the spiritual search, and man’s pursuit of liberty and purpose and the common good, would be protected from oppressive political systems and ridicule from other groups. Over the centuries, Freemasonry has transformed itself into a global fraternal association. While the typical American may be fascinated merely with the symbols and secrecy of the Freemasons, it remains a goal of the Freemasons “to instill in the hearts of men, ideals for a better tomorrow.” That goal has been and will continue to be Freemasonry’s most significant contribution to American culture. Grandpa Sanders succumbed to cancer in 1990, at age 65, well before I was born, but I believe that the pursuit of knowledge, the betterment of self, and his search for spiritual answers are among the reasons that my grandpa became a Freemason — pursuits which are still pertinent to and influence American culture today.

Installation of Officers for 2015

Elvin E. Helms Lodge No. 926 met on December 9, 2014 for the purpose of its annual election and installation of officers. Brother David V. Cassesa — an honorary member of our Lodge, Past Master of Robert Burns Lodge No. 163, and Past District Deputy Grand Master, District 19, Grand Lodge of Kentucky — served as Installing Master. Brother Travis Bush, Past Master, was elected and installed for his second term as Master of the Lodge. Brother Travis then installed the remainder of the Lodge’s officers for 2015.


Our Master for 2015, Brother Travis Mark Bush, who previously served as Master of our Lodge in 2012.


Brother Travis takes the oath and obligation of Master.


Brother Dave Cassesa, Installing Master, propounds the ancient charges to the Master-Elect.


Brother Dave Cassesa, Installing Master, seats newly installed Master Travis Bush in the chair of King Solomon.


Officers for 2015 are: Rick Campbell, P.M., Tyler; Mel Kinser, P.M., Chaplain; Kenny Williamson, P.M., Junior Steward; Dennis Stephens, P.M., Senior Steward; Adam Gross, Junior Deacon; Buddy Wallace, P.M., Senior Deacon; Ed Tanner, P.M., Secretary; Jason Wallace, P.M., Junior Warden; and Ernie Stratton, P.M., Senior Warden.


Past Masters, Brothers Kenny Williamson and Dennis Stephens, are installed as Junior Steward and Senior Steward.


Brother Rick Campbell, Past Master, is installed as Tyler.


Jillian and Rosslyn Gross draw a winner from donors to the Lodge’s 2014 Christmas Fund for Kelly Elementary School.


The winners of the 2014 gift cards given to donors to the Lodge’s Christmas Fund for Kelly Elementary School are Brother Garry Kelly (again) and Brother Dan Kemble.


Rosslyn Gross attempts to detach the ear of her mother, Jillian.

Open Installation of Officers for 2015

December 9th, 2014 – 6:30pm – 8:30pm
Come one, come all to Elvin E. Helms No. 926 Open Installation of Officers for the ensuing year. Brother David V. Cassesa, Past District Deputy Grand Master, District 19, will install our new Master. All other Officers for 2015 will be installed by Brother Travis Bush, Past Master. Dinner will be served at 6:30pm and the Open Installation will begin at 7:30pm. This event will be open to all members of Elvin E. Helms Lodge as well as their family and friends. We all look forward to seeing you there as we elect, install, and introduce our Lodge Officers for 2015.

Installation of Officers


Bobby Watt (Hays No. 517), Installing Master; James Stidham (Hays No. 517), Installing Marshall; Travis Bush, Senior Steward; Lew Adams, Treasurer; Jason Wallace, Senior Deacon; Rick Campbell, Tyler; Dan Kemble, Master; Dennis Stephens, Junior Steward; Ed Tanner, Secretary; Buddy Wallace, Junior Deacon; Ernie Stratton, Junior Warden; and Bob Fobbe, Chaplain.


Bobby Watt (Hays No. 517), Installing Master; Dan Kemble, Master; and James Stidham (Hays No. 517), Installing Marshall.


Sarah Watt, Bobby Watt (Hayes No. 517), James Stidham (Hays No. 517), and Wanda Stidham.


Brother Bobby Watt (Hays No. 517) presents Master Dan Kemble with the print “Let There Be Light” by Brother Pete Hicks of Bowling Green Lodge No. 73. The print depicts the altar from the old Bowling Green Lodge. Brother Hicks was an art professor at Western Kentucky University.


Brother Garry Kelly and Brother Jason Wallace won the 2013 gift cards for their donations to our Kelly Elementary School Fund. The school is not named for Brother Garry, although he is said to have attended first grade there for several years.

Installation of Officers


Brother Buddy Wallace, P.M., Installing Marshall, places Master-Elect Jason L. Wallace at the altar as a Master Mason.


Master Jason L. Wallace is seated in the Oriental Chair.


Newly installed Master Jason L. Wallace with Brother Bobby Engle, P.M., of Burlington Lodge No. 264.


Newly installed Master Jason L. Wallace with his parents, Brother Buddy Wallace, P.M., and Janice Wallace.


Master Jason L. Wallace addresses the Lodge.