Thursday, June 21, 2012

Masonic Society Semi Annual Mtg in Philadelphia 7/27

The Masonic Society Semi-Annual Meeting will be held in Philadelphia July 27th and 28th, 2012. The hotel will be the DoubleTree City Center, 237 S Broad St Philadelphia PA. The rate we have negotiated is $149 per night, however if you book on Expedia now and pay-in-advance, the rate is $146 per night. The conference cost will be $75 per person (all inclusive) and $60 for banquet and dinner speaker only. The conference will be split between the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania Temple and the Union League (http://www.unionleague.org/). The following is the conference schedule as of today (dependent on ongoing negotiations):
Friday evening, July 27: Meet up at a local Philadelphia watering hole. We are considering McGillin’s Olde Ale House (http://www.mcgillins.com/), if it is not too small for our enjoyment.
Saturday, July 28
Breakfast - (on own)
9:00 AM - Noon - Tour Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania Temple and museum
Noon - 1:00 PM - Lunch in the Temple
1:00 PM - 4:00 PM Presentations at the Union League by the New Jersey Lodge of Masonic Research and Education No. 1786 (NJ LOR) and The Livingston Library (GL of NY)
4:00 PM - 6:00 PM - (on own - TMS Board to meet for about an hour, with call in by those not present)6:00 PM - 7:00 PM - No host social hour at Union League
7:00 PM - 10:00 PM - Buffet supper and guest lecturer
Afternoon speakers will be:
Thomas Savini, Director Livingston Masonic Library Grand Lodge of New York
(http://www.nymasoniclibrary.org/) - Presentation of the Chancellor Robert R. Livingston Library
Ben Hoff, PM NJ LOR (http://njlore1786.org/) - a paper on the original Ahiman Rezon
Howard Kanowitz NJ LOR - a very unique presentation on the Battle of Gettysburg
Ray Thorne, current WM of NJ LOR - has a work in progress suitable to our Pennsylvania audiance
Dinner speaker - Thomas W. Jackson, PGS Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania and Exec. Sec. of the World Conference of Grand Lodges
Space will be limited to 50 for afternoon speakers series and to 100 for the banquet and dinner speaker. Please note that the Union League has a strict dress code, which we will have to abide by.
For reservations go to: http://tmssemiannual2012.eventbrite.com/
You need not be a member to attend the program, but please consider joining the Masonic Society today!

Lodge Vitruvian Indianapolis Festive Board 6/26


Come join us for an evening of fellowship and scholarly discussion on the evening of Tuesday, June 26, 2012 AD, 6012 AL.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012
7:00 - 8:00 PM Stated Meeting

Lodge Vitruvian No. 767
Broad Ripple Masonic Temple
1716 Broad Ripple Avenue
Indianapolis, IN46220-2338

Link

8:30 - 10:30 PM Festive Board

Capri Italian Ristorante
2602 Ruth Drive
Indianapolis, IN46240-3283

Link

Keynote Speaker:
Bro. Samuel Lawson

Subject:
Two Scotts, a King and a Spaniard
With illustration on classical guitar

All Master Masons are welcome to join us for the Stated Meeting. Ladies and Guests are welcome to join us for the Festive Board.

Cost is $30.00 for Dinner and Non-Alcoholic Beverages at Capri. Adult Beverages are the responsibility of our Attendees.

The Dress Code for Officers and Members is a Tuxedo and Gloves or Highland dress. The Dress Code for Visiting Brethren is a Tuxedo or Business Suit.

Please RSVP to W. Bro. Carson Smith, Junior Warden, at carson.c.smith@gmail.com, so we can let the restaurant know how many tables we will need.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Edict Against Esotericism?

I thought I had heard just about everything as far as Grand Master edicts go, but this one boggles the mind. It was issued this week by Derek J. Robson, Grand Master of New South Wales & Australian Capitol Territory (NSW & ACT) Australia. In it, he takes on the subject of esotericism and research. And not in a good way. I am almost speechless over the implications of it.

GRAND MASTER'S EDICT
ANNOUNCED AT THE GRAND COMMUNICATION - 13th JUNE, 2012
On 12 May 2010 the Board of Management passed a resolution stating the principles governing esoteric research. These principles are central to the practice of Regular Freemasonry. In order that there be no doubt that they bind every brother and Lodge in this jurisdiction I have decided to make them the subject of a Grand Master's edict. At my request the Board of Management has rescinded its resolution so that it may be substituted with the following edict which takes effect immediately.

1. Authorised, official Masonic Education and Instruction is only 'Regular' when applied to Free and Accepted or Speculative Masonry (Regular Freemasonry).

2. Because of the widely divergent interpretations which can be placed upon it, I am concerned about the unqualified use of the word "esoteric", or any of its derivatives or extensions, within Regular Freemasonry. Such use needs to be avoided as it has been and can be misconstrued to the detriment of the Craft.

3. I encourage all Masons to make daily progress in the acquisition of Masonic knowledge. Speculation and discussion within the Landmarks of the Order are to be commended.

4. Within Regular Freemasonry, interpretive discussion and exposition concern only the progressive acquisition of Masonic knowledge towards an understanding of the secrets and mysteries of the Craft, promoting the brotherhood of man under the fatherhood of God. To avoid any misapprehension, such regular discussion and exposition shall be described as "speculative" and the term "esoteric" shall not be applied.

5. Regular Freemasonry does not permit within it any form of esotericism which encompasses or tends towards – occultism, sorcery, alchemy, astrology, profane mysticism, transcendentalism, supernaturalism, druidism, rosicrucianism, satanism or any concept or movement related to any of these. The presentation, endorsement and/or promotion of such subjects in any Lodge holding under the UGL of NSW and ACT whether the Lodge be open, adjourned, at refreshment or closed or at any connected or associated Lodge function should be deemed irregular and is strictly forbidden.

6. Any breach of this Edict constitutes serious unmasonic conduct and shall be treated accordingly.

7. The Grand Master from time to time may grant dispensations to permit the presentation of papers on esotericism which would otherwise constitute a breach of this edict. A dispensation may be granted on such terms and conditions as the Grand Master may impose. An application for a dispensation must be made to the Grand Master in writing through the Grand Secretary. Normally it will only be granted if the proposed paper is a genuine and proper piece of masonic research.

DEREK J ROBSON AM
GRAND MASTER
New South Wales & Australian Capitol Territory (NSW & ACT) Australia.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Michigan Mason Expelled to Shrine's Satisfaction

At the annual communication of the Grand Lodge of Michigan F&AM on June 2nd, the assembled GL voted to expel Brother Craig Hatch following his guilty plea on felony charges. According to a June 4th letter from the Imperial Potentate of the Shrine, Michael Severe, this satisfies the Shrine's requirement of expelling Hatch officially and not just by the Grand Master's edict.

The GL also voted to grant the new Grand Master the power to negotiate with the Shrine to again recognize the Shrine in Michigan. Time will tell if he actually does this, or if the Shrine remains off limits for Michigan Masons.

For background on this story, see GL of Michigan Withdraws Recognition of Shrine

More Troubles in West Virginia

Those of outside of West Virginia thought the PGM Frank Haas situation was dead and buried, once the civil courts found in the Grand Lodge of West Virginia's favor. Au contraire. This word comes out of WV last night.

Mt. Olivet Lodge No. 3 in Parkersburg, WV was ordered by Grand Lodge to prefer charges on a member for his alleged mishandling of the ballot at Frank Haas' GL session and his operation of the Masonic Crusade website. The lodge declined, as the brother in question is no longer a member (he's now a plural member in Minnesota and Ohio). Once this happened a PM of #3 filed charges of unmasonic conduct on PGM Charlie Montgomery (also a member of #3)for 6 counts--2 for each of the three people he expelled while serving as Grand Master. It was voted on and passed the ballot and the trial was set for 6/28/12. On June 11th, the current GM attended and proceeded to pull #3's charter. The end result is no trial and a questionable future for the members of Mt. Olivet lodge.

The saga unfortunately continues...

Nebraska's Swisher Lodge in Afghanistan

The Grand Lodge of Nebraska has established a military lodge that has been at work in Afghanistan over the last few months. From a report by W.B. Patrick Barger in the latest Nebraska Mason magazine:

In the last issue of the Nebraska Mason I was pleased to report there were a number of people stationed near me who were interested in joining Masonry. As the word continued to quickly pass through our military channels and the chain of command, many deployed personnel followed through on their desire to become Masons. When it was finally time to rap the Entered Apprentice gavel, it is my pleasure to report that we initiated seven Masons before the lodge shut its doors and returned with me to the United States. A Navy Captain, Air Force Lieutenant Colonel, Army Sergeant First Class, two Navy Lieutenants, an Air Force Major, and a civilian contractor were initiated.

Before I packed our implements of Masonry and climbed aboard a C-17 Globemaster III headed toward the setting sun, Swisher Lodge had thirty members hailing from all corners of the earth. Besides Nebraska, the Phillipines, Nova Scotia, Oregon, West Virginia, Iowa, Massachusetts, Texas, Virginia, Germany, Washington, Colorado, and South Dakota are represented. Brothers from Oregon and Colorado who remain in the war zone have contacted the Grand Lodge of Nebraska for advice on forming an expeditionary lodge and inform me their Grand Masters are very interested in pursuing the idea. It’s nice to know Nebraska has inspired and played a significant role in furthering Masonry well beyond its territorial borders.

As you know, Swisher Lodge was named after Bro. (SSG) Christopher Swisher of Lincoln Lodge No. 19, killed in Iraq in 2003. Everything we did was dedicated to him. The lodge was the brainchild of MWB Dean Skokan who, during his advancement through the Grand Lodge Officer line in 2003, heard the Grand Lodge of Tennessee formed an expeditionary lodge and sent it to the war zone with deployed brothers. Skokan, a Vietnam combat veteran, was struck by the fact he saw a photograph of deployed Masons wearing garbage bags as aprons and vowed to create what eventually became known as the famous “Swisher Kit” containing real cloth aprons and all the implements necessary to conduct a lodge meeting that could fit within a shoulder bag. MWB Dean’s additional research revealed the Grand Lodge of Nebraska previously constituted what was known as “Monitor Lodge” during the Civil War for Nebraska Masons deployed to the front lines to continue their Masonic endeavors. To discover that significant bit of Masonic military history was for Skokan, “Very inspiring. Very inspiring…” All of this indeed inspired him to research and define the necessary legalities of constituting a modern expeditionary lodge. Wanting to dedicate it to SSG Swisher and with the permission of his family and approval by the necessary Masonic authorities, the lodge was formed. In a way only a combat veteran knows, there are frequent times when you search for anything from home to help take your mind off the stress of the war zone environment. Next to communicating with your family, being able to sit in lodge with your fraternal brothers is second only to that. On behalf of 30 Masons deployed to Afghanistan, we thank MWB Dean Skokan for having the vision and tenacity to accomplish that.

Our very existence in Afghanistan is evidence that Masonry is a worldwide fraternity. There are 30 brothers in the world who will always remember one of their best and most memorable experiences in Masonry was in a Nebraska lodge.

It’s good to be home. God Bless You, our beloved country, and the Ancient Free and Accepted Masons.

H/T to Greg Prososki

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

George Washington's Copy of the Constitution For Sale

From the Daily Mail online:

George Washington's inscribed copy of the United States Constitution is being sold at auction next week, and is expected to fetch up to $3 million.
The hardcover 'First Acts of Congress,' a personalised copy from 1789, comes with penciled notes made by America's first president next to parts including controlling the Army and Navy and having the power to write treaties.
Mr Washington also wrote 'President' in his calligraphic cursive on the brand-new Constitution, which will be auctioned in New York on June 22.

Read the rest of the article here.

Phoenix Lodge No. 62 Tonight

Indiana brethren, I'll be speaking tonight (Wednesday, June 13th) at Phoenix Lodge No. 62's Strawberry Supper in Rushville, IN. The lodge is located at 328 Main Street.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

France Continues to Lose Recognition

More cheery news for the embattled Grande Loge Nationale Française this past week. Grand Lodges in New York, Poland, Bulgaria, Austria, Belgium, Luxembourg and Switzerland have all withdrawn recognition of the GLNF in the wake of the recent reelection of Grand Master François Stifani.

The GLNF is quickly spiraling into a situation that will be hard to recover from, in terms of international recognition, as well as internal turmoil. Even if efforts to organize a new grand lodge in France succeed, recognition of a new GL takes lots of time, leaving one of Europe's most populous nations without regular, recognized Freemasonry for the short term future.

For now, Stifani seems hell bent on allowing the GLNF to completely crumble under his leadership. That's a terrible situation for the brethren of France to find themselves in. What's amazing is that he can find anyone to follow him down that path.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Good News For Detroit Masonic Temple


Some cautiously optimistic news out of Detroit about the largest Masonic temple building in the world, from The Detroit News:

A plan is in the works to pump $38 million into Detroit's Masonic Temple and the surrounding desolate area.

The investment in the world's largest Masonic Temple, in the Cass Corridor, is being driven by a team of state and city economic power brokers who are working on the financing and declare the deal could be done by year's end, according to information that was posted online by the Michigan Magnet Fund.

"At this stage, it is expected the project will be able to close in six to eight months," according to the memo, written about a month ago, by the Magnet Fund. It's not clear how long the memo was online, but it was removed Friday after The Detroit News made telephone calls to fund officials.

Plans call for a $9.3 million parking garage, as well as $5 million in inside upgrades that include a new geothermal heating system and more women's rest rooms.

The 14-story complex has 1,037 rooms and multiple theater and entertainment venues. Jack White last month played two sold-out concerts at the temple's rarely used Scottish Rite Cathedral.

The once-grand facility has a storied past in Detroit entertainment history, often used by traveling companies of Broadway shows, as well as top musical acts of the day.

The project also calls for $4 million in upgrades to outdoor public lighting and improvements to Cass Park across the street.

Fire Guts Grand Lodge of Mexico Building

A fire has gutted the Grand Lodge of Mexico's building in Mexico City. From the WRadio.com website (loosely translated from Spanish via Google):

Mexico-Experts in the Capital are working to determine the causes of the fire in the Grand Lodge of Mexico located on Sadi Carnot Street in the San Rafael district.

The fire gutted the second level, and according to the first reports of the fire fighters may have been due to a short circuit, however experts will identify and confirm the real causes of the accident.

Fire fighters worked for 40 minutes, and two of them were treated for smoke inhalation.

The street was cordoned off by the Civil Protection, until removal of debris from the place where the fire occurred was completed.

A second story on Impacto reports:

A fire damaged the headquarters of the Masonic Grand Lodge of the Valley of Mexico located in the San Rafael, in this capital city, and learned that the fire was set, according to the report of the experts.

The incident occurred at dawn on the premises of the Lodge located at number 75 on the street near the corner of Sadi Carnot Antonio Caso.

The fire wiped out many books and paintings from the seventeenth century, and objects of historical value, say members of the Lodge.

At the time of writing this report no information of victims.

Allentown, PA's Masonic Temple

WFMZ-TV, channel 69 in Allentown, Pennsylvania, has a terrific article today about the Allentown Masonic Temple on its website here. It shares a link with the Masonic temple in Muncie, Indiana as both buildings feature beautiful murals by famed German artist Gustav Brand, who painted murals for the World's Fair in Chicago in 1893.