A new Traditional Observance lodge is forming in New Hampshire, to be called Phoenix Lodge. WBro. Paul C. Smith explains the plans for the new lodge on the Grand Lodge of NH website here:
A Traditional Observance Lodge is a lodge that is focused on the initiatic experience of a candidate. Utilizing methods such as a chamber of reflection, the candidate is left with a deep and meaningful experience of what should be a life-changing moment on his entrance into our fraternity. A T.O. Lodge focuses on education and introspection; before a candidate can advance to the next degree, not only must he recite his lesson in full, but present a paper on a topic of his choosing, usually discussing the degree and its importance to him. Papers and presentations are the norm for meetings, as are silence, musical pieces and introspective meditation; we should all strive for enlightenment not only as a time period of the past, but as a recurring state of mind. An Agape (or Festive Board) takes place after every meeting, where discussion and pure Masonic love is shared by all attending. A T.O. Lodge requires the officers and members to dress formally with white gloves, signifying our pure intentions in the Craft. New Hampshire ritual will be used in our lodge, with some best practices from sister jurisdictions being available outside of our normal ritual. Very important is the dues of a T.O. Lodge; purposely high because of the many aspects that the members get from it will be well worth the cost (books, aprons, discussions, meals, guest speakers, etc.)- our lodge would require dues of $360 annually.
While these things may not seem like everyone’s cup of tea, statistics show that this is what many men who are seeking petitions are looking for in Masonry. The goal of this T.O. Lodge is not to steal members, in fact, membership will be purposely low-72 in all, with no more than 3 to 4 candidates expected per year, negating the argument that we will be taking away candidates…after all, if a lodge is worried about losing one candidate to another lodge, it has bigger problems.
Our members will NOT leave their lodges, they will continue to be productive and helpful members of their mother lodge as long as they wish. Visitors will always be welcome, but adherence to the dress code and formalities observed in the lodge are requested. The goal is to be elite…but not elitist. New Hampshire Freemasons are humble, honest and forthright Yankees, and that is what sets us apart from other jurisdictions. Everything we will seek to do in the lodge will be for one distinct purpose; to leave an indelible mark on the hearts and minds of those who choose to become members.
The name that was chosen for our lodge is Phoenix; because as the mythical bird rose from the ashes of the fire that consumed its former self, so to do we believe that our lodge will help to make Masonry flourish again.
There will be approximately 20 members on our charter from across the many districts of our state, and the only direction we seek to go is up.
Our club meetings are open to attend ($10 donation requested); our next meeting will be on December 9 at the Tilton Masonic Temple at 7 PM; be warned however, if you plan on coming, be prepared to join in the conversation and have fun!