"To preserve the reputation of the Fraternity unsullied must be your constant care."

Monday, September 18, 2017

Indiana Grants Dispensation To New Lodge


Just a quick post to congratulate all my Indiana brethren up in the northwest corner of the state for receiving their new dispensation from Grand Master Rodney Mann for their brand new lodge, Crowned Martyrs Lodge U.D. My understanding is that it is styled as a "European Concept" lodge.

Their lodge's mission statement is:
"To provide a Masonic Experience focused on dignity and decorum, provide substantive education presentations, and foster true brotherhood. To expand the Masonic experience to engage all of the senses, strive for perfection in our Masonic work, and create a sacred space where all brethren are elevated to a state that, while it remains level for all present, is elevated high above our common lives in the profane world outside our tyled doors. To break bread with one another as a way to bridge all distance between us, heal all wounds and absolve all greivances that may obscure the Light between brethren. To serve the Grand Architect, and erect ourselves as Temples for him to dwell within."
In the early 2000s, the Grand Lodge of Indiana dramatically reduced the number of Masons required to charter a new lodge from twenty-five down to just ten. That was done deliberately to make it much easier to establish a lodge than in more than a century, and to encourage more smaller, intimate ones. The philosophy at the time—and continues to be—that a smaller lodge helps to foster closer and greater brotherhood than a large one can. It was that sentiment that we originally had when we founded Lodge Vitruvian 767. In fact, we declared at the time that we would keep from accepting any more than just 36 members. That was done specifically because the more and more members a lodge has, the more anonymous they become to each other, which has long been the philosophy in Masonic jurisdictions outside of the U.S. The smaller the lodge, the closer the friendships, and when you keep the number below 36, you all know when Brother Charlie misses a meeting or loses his job, and are far more likely check on him. Additionally, it was always our intention that if more than 36 Masons ever wanted join us in future, they would be deliberately encouraged to start their own new lodge instead of increasing the size of ours. 

With that in mind, all the very best of luck going forward to Worshipful Master James A. Iles and his officers and the charter members of Crowned Martyrs Lodge U.D!

13 comments:

  1. England has always had a remarkable number of small lodges with special characteristics. For example, many secondary schools have alumni lodges and so do many of the guilds or vocational and trade groups. Its something well worth emulating. I discuss this in a book available from Amazon, Elixir of Empire.

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    1. I know. Jurisdictions outside of the US have always thought we were cracked in our collective heads when we were trumpeting lodges here with 1,000 and even 2,000 members in the 1920s-60s.

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  2. Thanks for posting. Not only did I enjoy reading about this new lodge, I learned a something I didn't know concerning the number of Masons needed to charter a lodge in Indiana.

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  3. Someone should let them know they misspelled substantive. Great mission statement otherwise.

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    1. HA! Well, I cut and pasted into this post late last night from their FB page. Fixed it on my post, but I'll let them know. :)

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    2. The lodge logo, i hesitate to call it a coat of arms, perhaps needs their thoughts. It's a combination of an orthodox ecclesiastical presentation such as a chaired bishop of a religious diocese might use, and not of course a tribute to the four martyrs who were anti-establishment in a sense, along with fleur de lis and rampant lions that really doesn't have much connection with Masonic rituals but are often used out of a desire to emulate British royal iconography. There is a useful reservoir they could draw on of Masonic symbolism that owes a lot to 18th and 19th century bookplates. Perhaps this is being too critical, but it strikes one as an effort to legitimatize a new venture that ends up being pretentious.

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    3. I'll pass the word to their enthusiastic designer. Masons aren't always aware of the sources and likely meanings of earlier imagery, and never have been. He's not alone: the Grand Lodge of Indiana's "coat of arms" or "herald" or whatever they are branding it anymore was quite enthusiastically designed in the mid-1960s for our bicentennial celebration in 1967-8 with the eager encouragement of then-Grand Secretary Dwight L. Smith. It's quite the melange of elements, resulting in something of a symbolic catastrophe for anyone who knows what they're looking at. We colonials never did get over being dazzled by the pretensions of royal trappings and cobwebs. And the Anglicans beforehand never got over the razzamatazz of Papal looms and jewelers, either.

      The biggest reason the Irish and Scots on the south bank shoved it all off for the Antients in the first place. We just were all silly enough to drag it all back in again.

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  4. Bigger is not better. Better is better.

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  5. Tomorrow we are having the consecration of our new Observant Lodge, called Templum Lucis No. 747, Grand Lodge of Canada in the Province of Ontario. Twenty members.

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  6. Looking at Vitruvian website, I noticed a majority of the founding members have taken a demit. Was this to allow more members to join, did the vision of the lodge not play out or for a variety of other reasons?

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  7. Change of address. Loss of interest. Failure to sustain the original vision. 2014 Past Master of Lodge Vitruvian No. 767.

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