Delegates at the 155th Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of Kansas have voted in favor of loosening restrictions on alcohol at social functions in Kansas lodges. This means Kansas now joins what is a slowly growing list of U.S. grand lodges that are returning to treating just and upright Masons as adults, along with granting greater autonomy to the lodges in regards to renting out their facilities to the public. Moreover, it allows alcohol at festive boards, as our brethren in earlier days enjoyed, and as they still enjoy elsewhere in the Masonic world.
From the Grand Lodge of Kansas AF&AM website on Friday:
By-Law 3-619, long the subject of debate at past annual communications was amended this afternoon to read:
Alcoholic beverages are forbidden in Lodge rooms, except for ritualistic purposes. The serving or consumption of any beverage having a recognized or indicated alcohol content in any Lodge room, ritualistic purposes excepted, shall be deemed an offense against the Body of Masonry. This does not preclude lodges from renting their facilities, except Lodge rooms, to groups where alcoholic beverages are consumed in accordance with the laws of the State of Kansas.
This language replaces the previous by-law which prohibited any alcohol consumption at any social function of any lodge. The proposer, PGM Glenn E. Kohr brought the by-law change to the floor of Grand Lodge under the rationale that it would allow appendant bodies to use alcohol for ritualistic purposes and not violate Kansas Masonic code. Further, he stated, it would “remove the hypocrisy that currently exists where we turn a blind eye to alcohol use at social functions.”
According to in-coming Grand Senior Warden Rick Reichert, the change was a positive one. “Today, the brethren of Kansas voted to clarify the Grand Lodge’s position on alcohol by repealing prohibition. The by-law that keeps alcohol out of lodge rooms remains, but the decision to have alcohol or allow alcohol on the premises is now up to each lodge. If they do not want alcohol, lodges can add that restriction to their own by-laws. In cases where lodges operate in dry counties or military installations, the vote does not change their status.”