Van Rensselaer Lodge of Perfection

2017/18 Annual Report

Illustrious Deputy, Illustrious Active Emeritus & Past Honorary Sovereign Grand Commander, Illustrious Brothers and Prince Masons;

The Valley of Chicago has had a difficult year. Loosing our leader and Active Member John Thomas Phillips far too soon was a blow to all of us. He was a very kind man, who loved the fraternity and loved the Scottish Rite. His passing leaves a void for all of us. But together we will persevere. It is in these difficult times that we should rally together and draw on the strength of each other as brother Masons. That is one of the most amazing things about this fraternity is to pick each other up when we are down. I am proud to stay that the Valley of Chicago has done this and has delivered another successful year in keeping with our rich traditions and history.

Specifically I want to thank all the members The Van Rensselaer Lodge of Perfection who served in our degrees and to the directors and officers who ran them. An extra special thanks also goes out to the support staff and technical staff who make us look good. We may be the actors on stage but without lighting, stage, sound, wardrobe, make-up and our organist, we would be able to do a thing. You are often the un-sung heroes of the Reunions. So please join me in thanking all those who help behind the curtain.

The events put on by the Valley of Chicago during the 2017-2018 Masonic year were fun, informative and exciting as always. It all started with our Back to the Rite Night last September and flowed right into Reunion season with our Fall Fraternal Relations Night featuring the Improve Entertainment Group from Whose Line is it Anyway? The event brought new members into our building and that carried over to a very Successful “Sweet Home Chicago” Themed Reunion. The Fall Reunion was also held on Veteran’s Day and I am proud of the way we honored all of our Veterans and we want to continue to do so. I wish to say thank you to all those members who have served in our US Armed Forces. Thank You.

The Lodge of Perfection was pleased to have a former Presiding Officer Tony Cracco as the Fall 2017 Reunion Class Honoree. He has been a good leader and we proud to call him a LOP Past Presiding Officer.

The Adult Holiday Party and Holiday Season we great time to celebrate and enjoy family and friends. Unfortunately that quickly gave way in January to the funeral service of our beloved John Thomas Phillips. His service and tribute here at the Valley of Chicago was fitting for a man that generous. I am often inspired by his kindness and example. It is my hope that our newest members, men who may not even have met John will be touched by him through the lessons he taught those of us who did have the benefit of knowing him. His example can live through us in the way we treat each other and the way we work together for the common good.

Our Spring Reunion and events tried to highlight the fun and joy of the Scottish Rite Experience. The Lodge of Perfection was once again busy putting on several degrees this April including the singing wood choppers degree directed by Past Presiding Mike Ehle. I want to again thank all my officers for their time, talents and energy. Your dedication makes our Valley Work. But my most heartfelt thanks goes out to you the members. Without your participation none of this would matter. Please continue to show up, volunteer for degrees, and participate on committees. We are always happy to have new members join in the fun. As we look forward to next year I can predict another busy and important year for our Valley. Please join us and lets build this Valley together standing on the shoulders of those that came before us and building something lasting for those that will come after.


Donald E. Esser