What a great winter and spring we had as a Temple! It was great to get around to many shrine clubs to either watch or assist in their officers’ installations and regular club meetings. The Divan was always greeted with kindness and brotherly love, and that is a great feeling to have. Thank you all for your warm welcomes during our visits.
By the time you receive this edition of the Saladin News, the circus, the March Stated Meeting and Circus Appreciation Brunch, and the Spring Ceremonial will be behind us already. We had a strong year with the circus; costs were down, tickets sales were up, and every circus program we had was sold. If you didn’t get a chance to see the circus program this year, drop by the Temple soon to see it. Recorder Rick Williams did an incredible job laying it out! At the Circus Appreciation Brunch, everyone who worked the circus was recognized with a certificate and a pewter figurine of two circus elephants in a classic pose on a pedestal. Chris Brandt, Shriners Hospitals for Children patient and son of Noble Gary Brandt, spoke at the event after the Stated Meeting about his experience as a patient. He fielded multiple questions from nobles and their ladies about the patient process and how it felt to go through it. When he was finished, the Temple presented $5000 in his name to whatever cause with Shriners Hospitals for Children that Chris would like. We are excited to hear what he chooses! A special thanks goes out to everyone who made the circus and the appreciation brunch a success! Mark Baldwin, Larry Allen, Rick Williams, Sara Kopec, Jeff Gooder, Ryan Hardy, and everyone else who had a hand in stepping up the circus and appreciation brunch is greatly appreciated!
In February, we had our annual Saladin Valentine’s Dinner at the Temple again. 77 people were there including nobles, masons, their ladies, and guests. In representation of the Temple and the guests at the event, we donated $16,000 to The Shriners Hospitals for Children – Galveston and then served a seven course wine-paired meal with a theme of A Trip Around the World. We started with an Asian-style seared sea scallop course, followed by a beautiful Greek salad. For the third course, High Priest and Prophet Jeff Gooder prepared Spanish paella with chicken and chorizo sausage. Fourth, we enjoyed Armenian Khashlama stew, and then moved back to the U.S. with a smoked three cheese mac n’ cheese for the fifth course. The sixth course was Australian kangaroo shepherd’s pie (yes… with real, wild-caught, ground kangaroo). Finally, we finished the night with South African malva pudding cake served with vanilla bean ice cream from Loves in the Grand Rapids Downtown Market. A huge thank you goes out to everyone who helped make this night possible, but most especially to the following people: Jason Fongers who spent all evening in the kitchen doing dishes; Sara Kopec for all her hard work preparing and serving; our entire serving staff (Michael, Nenad, Amanda, and Bethany) for their non-stop support all night; Grand Rapids’ own sommelier Michael Smith for choosing and presenting the wines; Rick Williams for his organizational and design work; and Jeff Gooder for preparing the paella course.
You might be wondering why you didn’t see much advertisement for this event like you have in the past. I am proud to say that this event sold out very quickly, and the need to advertise outside of Stated Meetings and the Saladin Installation was not there. I am confident that if we had sent around a reservation sheet for next year’s event, it would be sold out already. Saladin has worked very hard to increase the quality of our events so our nobles can be even more proud of our organization. As we move through this year, I encourage you to take advantage of what your membership provides. We are confident that together we can continue to improve on what the Temple is offering you and your family. Be sure to make it to the May Stated Meeting in order to make sure you don’t miss anything great!
Finally, I want to say thank you to you all for your increased participation in Temple events. It has been great to see so many of you at the Temple this winter and spring, and we hope that you check the schedule of events and mark your calendars so you can join us the rest of the year. After all, our events, ceremonials, and celebrations are nowhere near as fun and impactful without you there.
Please be sure to check the Temple calendar in this edition of the Saladin News for details regarding upcoming events! The May Stated Meeting and Pig Roast is on May 19th, the Potentate’s Cruise on Lake Michigan is on June 16th, and the Tall Ships event in Traverse City is planned for August 11th. Please join us for all these events as they promise to be a great time!
Thank you again for all your support of the Temple and the Shriners Hospitals for Children.