From the East [posted July 2020]

I would like to take a few moments to share some thoughts with all of you. I am truly honored to be serving as Grand Master of Masons in South Dakota for the ensuing year. I appreciate all the kind words of support and offers to help with projects when needed. I want to thank my Installing team for all their hard work! I thought for doing most of it remotely things went extremely well! If you were unable to watch the Installation live, you can still watch it if you go the Grand Lodge of South Dakota Facebook page.
We are building a strong team with your Elected Line of Officers. With the help of Microsoft® Teams and Zoom® meetings, we have been in almost constant contact for the last several months. This has allowed us to develop a good idea of how we all want to move forward in the next few years. I sense excitement and motivation which I hope will catch on as the year progresses.
My Brothers, it is imperative that we gather accurate contact information for every Mason in our Jurisdiction. If the “Virtual” Grand Lodge Communication taught us anything, it is that we need to be able to send emails out when important information must be shared. I will personally make one of my missions, with the help of the Grand Lodge Office and the individual Lodges, to get our information in MORI as updated and accurate as possible. We are only as good as the information we have in MORI and currently it is severely lacking. I am confident we can agree that communication and information is key to our success!
I am also excited to roll out a new program for the year. For the last few years Resurgam Lodge #31 in Mitchell, my local Lodge, has been doing Blood Drives and I know several other Lodges do the same. During the initial phases of the COVID-19 pandemic I noticed the Red Cross was advertising a need for blood donations. I realized this is an excellent opportunity for Masons to do what we do best, which is help our communities. This literally costs us nothing but the end result is invaluable. I would love to be able to say at the end of each Masonic year that Masons and Mason driven Blood Drives have yielded “X” amount of blood for our state. We will need Brothers across the Jurisdiction to help get this program off the ground. RWB Jeff VanCuren has worked hard to get the details ironed out and we will be getting out more information in the near future.
Thank you all again for entrusting me to lead this Fraternity that means so much to me. Please feel free to reach out to me or any of the Elected Officers with any questions. I look forward to working with all of you this year.
Jason D. Swindler, Grand Master of Masons  


From the Deputy Grand Master [posted June 2020]

Brethren, “I am so humbled by my election to the position of Deputy Grand Master/Grand Master Elect” is a response all good Lodge Officers have been taught to say whenever they get elected to a new position. In this case I truly mean it. South Dakota and the United States is in a time when Masonry is desperately needed. We are in scary but exciting times and we need to work together to show the World what diversity and inclusion look like.
Last year I wrote an article about the Tenant of Brotherly Love, and in re-reading it I can see how we can also extend that Tenant to society in general and not just Brother Masons.
Start thinking of how “Your Lodge” can get involved and serve “Your community.” Can you run a Food or Blood Drive? Can you volunteer to read at the elementary school? Can you do a roadside clean-up? Can you maintain a public space? Can you sponsor a youth group? As the Grand Master said at his installment, “Masonry is Local.” The Grand Lodge cannot know what is best for every Lodge and it is our job to assist you in making what you do at the local level as impactful as possible to your community.

Jeff VanCuren  
Deputy Grand Master / Grand Master Elect