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Ohio Freemasonry

An Interview with the Senior Grand Deacon

By April 18, 2024No Comments

Learn about the 2024 Senior Grand Deacon, Bro. Eric Muehlenbein and his journey to the Grand Lodge of Ohio Grand Line.

Please introduce yourself. Tell us your name, title, home lodge, and how long you’ve been a Freemason. 

My name is RWB Eric W. Muehlenbein and I am from Canton Lodge #60 in the 21st District. I was raised on March 6th, 2011.

Tell us about how and why you joined the Grand Line? When did you join?

On July 26th, 2023, after the Deputy Grand Master’s rollout program held at the Canton Masonic Temple, my wife Joy, and I were asked to become a part of the Grand Lodge Officer line by our now Grand Master, MWB Paul A. Weglage and Lady Karen. Being asked to serve our fraternity in this capacity is not only a great honor but also a privilege that is not afforded to many. This new role for us is a team effort on our part, and we strive to fulfill every aspect of our duties and obligations to this great responsibility with dedication and admiration.

What is the role of the Senior Grand Deacon? What are your responsibilities?

As the Senior Grand Deacon is an appointed position, the primary responsibility is to do whatever needs to be done, whether asked by others or noticed by self. There are some duties specific to the position. I set up all travel accommodations for the Grand Lodge Officers’ travel around the state and assist in the ceremonies of the Grand Lodge by working closely with the Grand Marshal. I also set up the various pieces of the ceremonies and see that they are returned and properly stored, and take part in those ceremonies in whatever capacity or position that is needed to be filled. There are many committees that this position is a member of and there is much behind the scenes work that goes on that most Brethren do not see.

What does it mean to you to be part of the Grand Lodge of Ohio leadership?

As previously stated, it is a great honor and privilege to be a part of this leadership team. Everyone has the potential to be a great leader and if they apply themselves and work hard, there is no accomplishment that cannot be achieved. I am grateful that our Grand Lodge leadership saw potential in me and have placed me in this position to serve our Grand Lodge and Brethren of Ohio.

What do you hope for the future of Ohio Freemasonry?

Our biggest challenge in keeping our fraternity moving forward is membership retention and growth. The 3-5-7 program addresses this and our Lodges need to support the program to make it work. This program encourages lodges to raise 3% of their current membership, restore 5% of members who are suspended, and lose no more than 7% of members during a Masonic year. By engaging new members and re-engaging existing members to participate in Lodge functions, the Brotherly bond will improve and become infectious and spread which ultimately makes our Lodges stronger. 

We also need to look at the newer generations coming in and what their interests are to figure out what they need to get out of Freemasonry to remain active. Staying contemporary to the times is important and a melting pot of new ideas coupled with ancient traditions could be the difference.

Can you share your favorite moment from your time as an Ohio Freemason?

My best moments were knocking on the door and then being brought to light for the first time in the Entered Apprentice degree and starting on this incredible, lifelong journey. It is an evening that I will never forget.

Do you have any advice for members looking to get involved?

Be active, get involved, remember what triggered you to ask to become a Mason. Lead by example to inspire others to be active on their own journey. It is amazing how Brethren will look up to you without your knowledge, just for you doing the right thing and embracing Masonry not only as a fraternity, but also as a lifestyle driven by self improvement. The sky’s the limit.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

I have told many Brethren my “why” story and how it brought me to our beloved fraternity. I cannot imagine life without Masonry and only wished that I was brought to light sooner. I am thankful for this opportunity to serve on a statewide level in addition to the local level that has been such a blessing. Many are content with their Lodge participation only, some aspire to hold higher positions within their Lodge, or even their District. No matter what your comfort level is, it is better for the fraternity as a whole because you are a part of it. Stay active, embrace your Lodge and strengthen it and help it grow. If we can all do that, imagine how much stronger Freemasonry in Ohio would be. The Lodges across this great state are the foundation of the greatest fraternity in the world that I am proud to be a part of with you, my Brethren.

Read our interviews with this year’s Junior Grand Deacon and Grand Tyler to learn more about Grand Lodge of Ohio leadership!