On Monday, November 12th, at 8:10 PM, Halcyon Lodge No. 498 voted unanimously to surrender its charter to the Grand Lodge of Ohio and cease to recognize the authority of that Grand Lodge. Several of the brothers reassembled later that same evening for the purpose of forming amongst themselves a new Masonic lodge unaffiliated with the Grand Lodge of Ohio.
More news of the new lodge will follow.
Almost as quickly as it was announced on its website, the site seems to be down today, but according to a post on thebluelodge.org, it is now Halcyon Lodge No. 2 — although no purported Grand Lodge affiliation is claimed yet. Former Georgia Mason Jeff Peace has been associated with Halcyon over the last year – both philosophically and physically, as a speaker, webmaster and honorary member. Speculation is that Halcyon No. 2 is probably now part of the United Grand Lodge of America, if there is such a thing outside of the Internet and a few participants' wishful dreams.
This event is scarcely a surprise, given their activities over the last year or so. "Halcyon Charities" was set up in December 2006, and if I recall a flurry of postings by one of its more outspoken members, ownership of their impressive Temple was transferred to their charity – a somewhat transparent preemptive move to keep the building from reverting to the Grand Lodge of Ohio's ownership if they lost or gave up their charter. I do hope there is some mechanism by which Halcyon members who did not agree with giving up their charter can be allowed to transfer membership to another lodge. On the other hand, these men have not been shy or coy about what they were clearly planning to do, and shame on any Halcyon member who was too uninterested to make themselves aware of the impending change and plan accordingly.
The website for Halcyon Charities (again, shut down as of this writing) said that their goal was to "make this facility the cornerstone of a multi-faceted charitable enterprise focused on youth development. . . We already house youth athletic programs and will be initiating other youth-oriented cultural programs, including theatre, art, and music education. We will also support other charitable entities by opening our facility for their activities." I wish them the best in this noble purpose, even if I disagree with their methods.
An unknown Mason has posted a blogsite dedicated to the loss of several Masonic lodges in the Cleveland area. This is clearly the fate the Halcyon men are struggling to avoid. The odds are against them, given their most recent actions, but it's not my fight. Maybe they'll show us all. Maybe they'll be the first to show us a different path to the future of Masonry. I doubt it.
I hope they find what they are seeking by opting out of the GL of Ohio. As with all new ventures, there will be no one else to take the bows and credit from their successes, and no one to blame but themselves if they fail.
Having said all of that, I expect the full weight and wrath of the Grand Lodge of Ohio to now come down on them, with much legal precedent. I have suspected from the day I heard it that their transfer of assets to "Halcyon Charities" was illegal. And if the GL does NOT accept their charter back, it leaves open the very real possibility that the GL will appoint new officers and simply evict the young turks who started all of this mess. And it is likely that, given the sort of revolution they have tried to start, they have probably doomed the building they sought to save, by their own actions. The next few days will be . . . interesting.