Since 1949, the conference has endeavored to provide an opportunity for Masonic educators from around the country to connect, share best practices, identify common issues, and find individualized solutions. This year, the Midwest Conference on Masonic Education will be hosted at the Canton Masonic Temple on April 28-30, 2023.
The theme of the conference is “Intentional Masonry – Enlightening and Empowering Masons to Craft an Experience Reflecting What is Unique, Valued, and Meaningful About Masonry.”
“I first found out about this conference from MWB Charlie Murphy and WB Chad Simpson,” says current Masonic Conference on Masonic Education (MCME) President and past Chairman of the Grand Lodge of Ohio’s Committee on Education and Information, Chad Kopenski.
“Ohio has such a rich history with the MCME. We are seen as a leader in Masonic education and our participation in the conference has led to significant improvements in education both in Ohio and around the country. It is so easy in Masonry to get into a bubble, assuming that the way it is practiced in your Lodge, your District, and your state is the way it is practiced everywhere. When you sit down and speak to Brethren from outside your bubble, it is amazing what you learn.”
Originally, the conference was only available to those operating at the Grand Lodge level: Grand Lecturers, Grand Education Officers, Education Committee Chairmen, etc.; but, since 2020, the conference has opened up to Masonic educators at all levels because quality Masonic education happens at the personal, Lodge, and District levels as well as at the Grand Lodge level.
To help get those different voices at the conference, the MCME is trying something new this year: a challenge coin with a true challenge attached. “This was an idea from the other Chad, Chad Simpson,” Kopenski says. “We realized that we both have been lucky enough to have a seat at ‘the table’ with those movers and shakers in Masonic education. But there are many others who should be at that table.”
So, Chad’s idea was a coin, a ‘Royal Summons to Solomon’s Repast,’ an invite to be at the table. You got the coin because you had a seat at the table, but you got to keep the coin only after you had given it to someone else who deserved to be there. Education leaders received the coin but were challenged to give it to someone else. They’d get their coin back from that person at the conference.
Multiple state jurisdictions will be attending as well as representatives from educationally focused Masonic entities like Castle Island Virtual Lodge of Manitoba, Spes Novum Lodge in Illinois, and Ohio’s Royal Scofield Society. Speakers this year will include RWB Alexander Herbert discussing the incorporation of religious traditions that Brethren may be unfamiliar with. Another presentation will be RWB Chris Busby and the Grand Lodge of New Hampshire’s efforts to improve Ritual through a ‘back-to-basics’ approach, as well as Dr. Heather Calloway from the Center for Fraternal Research at Indiana University to discuss how a Lodge can discover and preserve their history. Activities will include a Masonically-themed escape room-style game, a resource room hosted by the Ohio Lodge of Research where Brethren can get assistance on educational papers and presentations, and the 21st District Grand Master’s Reception at the beautiful and historic Canton Masonic Temple.
Kopenski says, “Words cannot express my gratitude to Eric Muehlenbein and the Brethren of the 21st District for hosting this event. This will be an amazing experience and phenomenal opportunity to showcase the best in Masonic education.” Brethren can register for the conference now at www.mcme1949.org and can choose how they would like to attend: virtually, one day in-person, or the full experience.
This article was originally published and written by the Ohio Beacon.
Interested in learning how you can get more involved with Ohio Masonry? Visit our Open House page and encourage your Lodge to host an Open House this April.