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


Saturday, April 30, 2011

WEOFM: "The Grand Orient of France" by Michel L. Brodsky

The 14th video presentation from the Worldwide Exemplification of Freemasonry is now available. This week's program is "The Grand Orient of France" by Michel L. Brodsky, PM. .

Michel L. Brodsky is Past Master of London's Quatuor Coronati Lodge, No. 2076 and the Prestonian Lecturer for 1994. He is 86 years old and still very active in the fraternity.

The Worldwide Exemplification of Freemasonry 2011 Lecture Series is a free presentation of Masonic education endorsed by the Grand Lodge of Indiana F&AM, beginning January 1, 2011 and running through December 31, 2011.

John Mauk Hilliard To Speak at PA's Shiloh Lodge May 31st

Pennsylvania's Shiloh Lodge No. 558's annual dinner on May 31st will feature John Mauk Hilliard, PM, as the 2011 Bernard H. Dupee PM Memorial Speaker.

The dinner will be held at the William Penn Inn in Gwynedd, PA.

W:.B:. Hilliard is a Past Master of Independent Royal Arch Lodge #2, in New York; a Past Most Excellent Great Chief, Grand Council of Knight Masons; a Past Most Illustrious Grand Master, Grand Council of Cryptic Masons of New York; and Past President of the Philalethes Society.

$40 per person. Click the poster above to enlarge for more information, or contact Matt Dupee at mdupee6@comcast.net

Poll Results: Do dues cover your lodge's annual expenses?

April Poll Results: Do your lodge dues (minus grand lodge assessments) cover your lodge's annual expenses?
• Yes. 115 (36%)
• No, but we have other regular income (rent, investments, etc.). 102 (32%)
• No, we regularly run in the red. 75 (23%)
• I don't know.
26 (8%)
Total Votes: 318

Friday, April 29, 2011

MW Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Virginia Settles With Shriners

In 2009, the predominantly black Ancient Egyptian Arabic Order Nobles of the Mystic Shrine of North and South Jurisdictions Inc. brought suit against the MW Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Virginia, stemming from what was essentially a battle over the Grand Master's and Grand Lodge's authority over the Shrine. Some 49 suspended members of Prince Hall-related organizations sued the 5,000 member Grand Lodge and the related Order of the Eastern Star for $50 million.

Now, the April 21-23, 2011 issue of the Richmond Free Press reports that the two sides in the dispute have finally settled after a court-ordered mediation. Under the terms of a March 28th agreement, the MWPHGLofV and the OES agreed to pay the Shrine $300,000, and to re-instate all suspended Masons and Star members. The money is essentially to cover the Shrine's court costs.

The MW Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Virginia was founded in 1875. The national Ancient Egyptian Arabic Order Nobles of the Mystic Shrine of North and South Jurisdictions Inc. was founded in 1893, and is headquartered in Memphis, Tennessee. (It is not related in any way to the Tampa-based mainstream Shriners International). In 2009, the AEAONMS in Virginia had 718 members, and another 309 members of the related Daughters of Isis. Just like their mainstream Masonic counterparts, to be a member of the Shrine, one first has to be a Prince Hall Freemason.

According to the lawsuit, the trouble stemmed from an incident in 2006 at a benefit football game in Norfolk sponsored by the Shriners. Then-Grand Master Curtis S. Vaughan Jr. allegedly became upset that he was not treated with proper respect by the Shriners. As a result, the Grand Lodge exerted a claim that Shrine Chapters in Virginia were required to seek the Grand Lodge's permission to meet and hold programs in the state, and that the Shrine ignored the GL's authority. Vaughan and his successor, MW Larry D. Christian were accused by the plaintiffs of illegally suspending more than 100 Masons who refused to give up their Shrine membership. Likewise, the PHA-related Order of the Eastern Star suspended members who refused to give up their Daughters of Isis memberships.

In September 2010, newly elected Grand Master, M:.W:. Herman Eggleston Jr. made efforts to settle the case by revoking GM Christian's edict, and acknowledging the Shrine was a body independent of the Grand Lodge.

See: Lawsuit Between Virginia's Prince Hall Grand Lodge and Shrine

New Orleans Scottish Rite History & Research Symposium June 1-4, 2011

The history of Freemasonry in Louisiana is as colorful and rich as everything else about that incredible region, with influences from France, Spain, England and the Caribbean. In celebration of the bicentennial of the creation of the Grand Consistory of Louisiana, the New Orleans Scottish Rite History & Research Symposium will be held in New Orleans June 1-4, 2011. Some of the world’s leading scholars and historians will present papers on the history and development of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite, as well as high grade Scottish Rite Masonry in New Orleans.

The Masonic Society is a proud sponsor of this event.

This is designed as a public event. No paper or material will be offered or presented in a public setting which should be reserved for Masons only. This conference welcomes the non-Masonic academic community and recognizes the contributions to Masonic history which have been made by non-Masonic academics.

The Symposium will be held at the The Royal Sonesta Hotel, which is conveniently located in the historic French Quarter.

Registration is $125.00 per person, including the banquet and conference events. Registration can be accomplished online, along with hotel reservations, at http://www.neworleansaasr.info

MAY 4th IS THE LAST DAY THE HOTEL DISCOUNT PRICE WILL BE AVAILABLE. If you have not yet registered with the hotel to reserve your room, you MUST do so before May 4th.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Mysterious Masonic Sword Energy

Mr. Joshua P. Warren (author of "How to Hunt Ghosts : A Practical Guide") was on Coast to Coast earlier this week. It seems he has discovered amazing properties of a Masonic sword in the lodge in Asheville, NC.

Why, it's just jaw dropping. All those ratty old swords from Ohio made by Ames and Pettibone between 1880 and 1930, pffffft. Nothing. But a Chinese Masonic sword from the last 5 years just lights up like a Festivus pole at a Japanese nuke plant.

Mr. Warren has quite the discovery on his hands there.

H/T to Steve Russo.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Scotland's Nitshill Lodge Robbed

Glasgow, Scotland's Nitshill Lodge No. 1478 is the latest Masonic lodge to be attacked, and this time by more than just vandalism. Two members of the kitchen and waitstaff were robbed Monday night before lodge opened by three men between the ages of 20-25. Each wore ski masks.

According to police reports, the thieves made off with a substantial amount of cash. The man and woman, both in their 50s, were not hurt, but were badly shaken. Unlike in the US, lodges in the UK frequently have their own bars and dining facilities, often with a paid staff.

"Men steal cash from Masonic lodge"
"Nitshill Masonic hall raided by three masked men"

Nitshill Lodge in on Glasgow's south side, and from the looks of the security fence around it, they have had problems before, or at least tried to anticipate them.

(Photo from Jimmy1361's Flickr page http://www.flickr.com/photos/7622517@N05/3092464415/)

Indianapolis' Lodge Vitruvian No. 767 Tonight: Ken Davis, "Tarot & Freemasonry"

Lodge Vitruvian No. 767, Indiana's only European Concept Lodge, will have its next meeting tonight, April 26, 2011, beginning at 7:00PM. Vitruvian meets in the Broad Ripple Masonic Temple at 1716 Broad Ripple Avenue, on the north side of Indianapolis, Indiana.

Tuxedo, Regalia and White Gloves for Members, Tuxedo or Business Attire for Visitors.

WBro. Ken Davis, Master of this Lodge in 2009, will be with us from New Mexico and will provide the evening's Masonic education on Tarot and Freemasonry.

Dr. Ken Davis is former professor and chair of English at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and president of Komei, Inc., a global training and consulting firm. His clients have included the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, the Republic of Botswana, IBM, the International Monetary Fund, and the U.S. Social Security Administration. With more than 30 years experience as a business writer, editor, and trainer, Ken has served as director at large of the Association for Business Communication and is immediate past president of the Association of Professional Communication Consultants. His most recent book is The McGraw-Hill 36-Hour Course in Business Writing and Communication. He lives in New Mexico with his wife and business partner, Bette Davis

Festive Board to follow the meeting at the nearby Capri Restaurant, 2602 Ruth Drive, Indianapolis, Indiana, (off Keystone Avenue between 71st and 75th Streets)

Each attendee will be responsible to the Lodge for the cost of his meal. The cost for the Festive Board is $30 per person, exclusive of alcoholic beverages, payable to the Secretary. Gratuity will be paid by the Lodge.

If you are interested in visiting, contact Secretary, WB Nathan C. Brindle at secretary@vitruvian.org

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Knights Templar Easter Services on Both Coasts

The 81st Annual Easter Sunrise Service, sponsored by the Grand Encampment of Knights Templar of the United States of America, will be held this morning on the steps of the George Washington Masonic Memorial, Alexandria, Virginia.

The parade will form on the lane leading up the hill and will step off at 7:30AM. The Service will begin at 8:00AM, and will be conducted by Right Eminent Grand Prelate, Sir Knight William D. Hartman.

In Los Angeles, the West Coast Easter Observance will take place at 9:00AM at the Shrine Auditorium. Los Angeles Commandery No. 9 is the host Commandery, and the Knights will assemble and march in formation down the street from the USC Raddison Hotel to the Shrine Auditorium.

(Photos from the 2010 Easter celebration in Alexandria)

Saturday, April 23, 2011

MM Degree Aboard USS Lexington in Corpus Christi, TX 4/30/11

On Saturday, April 30th, Oso Naval Lodge No. 1282 in Corpus Christi, Texas will confer the Master Mason degree aboard the U.S.S. Lexington CV-16. This is the first time a Masonic degree has been performed on board the aircraft carrier since she was permanently docked in 1992.

The degree will be presented in the onboard three-story tall Mega-theater, built in the original forward aircraft elevator, which has seating for 193.

Plan to arrive by 8:00AM. Lodge will open at 8:15AM, and the degree will begin at 8:30AM. Lunch will be served after the degree, and you are invited to tour the ship.

Tell the admissions office that you are with the Masons, and you will be required to present a current dues card.

The Lexington was commissioned February 17, 1943, serving the United States longer and setting more records than any other aircraft carrier in the history of naval aviation. The Japanese erroneously reported Lexington sunk on four different occasions during WWII, leading Tokyo Rose to nickname her "The Blue Ghost." Lexington was the oldest working carrier in the U.S. Navy when decommissioned in 1991.

For more information see the South Texas Masons website, or contact District Instructor Mike King at 361-946-0685, or email the lodge at osonaval@yahoo.com.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Heartless Freemasons Defoliating Neighborhood Garden

The Scottish Rite SJ's Washington, D.C. headquarters, the House of the Temple, is in the midst of a huge multi-million dollar, multi-year renovation project, to preserve and renovate the 100 year old building. For almost 20 years, the HOT has been a good neighbor to the surrounding community, and allowed area folks to use a large plot of land adjacent to the parking lot as a community garden. Flowers, herbs and vegetables have been growing in the Temple Garden since the early 1990s.

Well, no good deed goes unpunished.

With the renovation project underway, the land is now needed for supplies, parking, craftsman trailers, and the general detritus of a major construction project. Land within the District is not exactly plentiful and the existing spaces in the HOT's lot are not sufficient for the added space needed. Unfortunately for the neighbors, the garden has to give way to the rightful owners of the property. And that's not going over well with a few of the gardeners, who have taken their story to the press. Comments on the Temple Garden website make it clear that most of the gardeners understand the situation, but that doesn't make good David vs. Goliath headlines.

D.C.'s NBC affiliate interviewed the sad gardeners ("Community Garden Threatened"), and didn't even bother to include an on-camera statement by the Scottish Rite.

The Washington Post at least presented the other side by speaking with HOT attorney Barbara Golden.

From "Garden to close for Masonic temple renovation" by Larissa Roso:

Temple officials say they had no choice but to close the garden because the renovations are so urgent. The historic building is nearly a century old. Construction had began in 1911 and lasted until 1915.

“We want it to last another 100 years,” said Barbara Golden, a lawyer for the House of the Temple. “The timing, we don’t know. It could take four years, 20 years. We are not going to make a promise; we are not going to commit. At this point, we just don’t know.”

The garden, which opened in 1990, was never just a place to plant seedlings. Families held barbecues. A neighbor who’s an art teacher takes students there to paint.

“There’s a lot more to it than just growing things,” says the Temple Garden association’s president, David Rosner, who became a member in 2006, after four years on the waiting list. “This is part of people’s lives.”

Newcomers didn’t need particular skills. Plenty of members were willing to help beginners.

Annie Nash, who describes herself as a “city girl,” knew little about the growing season, light and soil composition on her first day working in the garden in 1999. Now she is taking horticulture classes offered by the Department of Agriculture.

“I usually go there in the morning or early afternoon on the weekend, thinking I’ll be there an hour or two,” Nash said in an e-mail after reflecting on the garden’s meaning to her. “Six or seven hours later, I realize that I’ve had a great day planting, weeding, or harvesting, and meetings members of the community or folks who just walk by asking about it.”

For Tom Mayes, who has had a plot at Temple Garden since 1998, the experience has brought moments of pure joy — the first goldfinches in late spring and the sunflowers still blooming in September, “brilliant against the clear blue skies.”

“The rosemary bush in my plot is the oldest thing there,” he said. “I’ve used it in hundreds of recipes, but the most frequent is the homemade focaccia. I love the smell of that plant as I brush past it. And I note that, in the meaning of plants, rosemary is for remembrance.”

Golden, the lawyer, said the House of the Temple kept the garden long after it was required to. In 2001, after a long judicial process, the D.C. Council approved the closing of an alley in the center of the property on the condition that temple keep the community garden open for at least another five years.

“Which we did,” Golden said. “And, in fact, we kept it beyond that. We wanted to be a good neighbor. We weren’t doing anything different in the building. We weren’t planning these renovations. We didn’t need it. Now we do.”

The House of the Temple sent a letter to Rosner on April 9 to inform him that the garden would close this year.

Golden said the gardeners will have time to make new arrangements. The closing date is more than seven months away: Nov. 30. Rosner and Kemp said they intend to ask the temple for a meeting to discuss the closure.

“We are going to ask them to reconsider and if there’s anything we could work out,” Rosner said. “Our primary message is going to be, thank you for what you’ve done for us. The secondary is, is there anything we can do? Are there alternatives we can explore?”

If a compromise can’t be found, the group will look for places where it can relocate and start a new garden.

Read about the "Rebuilding The Temple" project here.

Photo from the Washington Post.

Monday, April 18, 2011

A Masonic Passover

A drawing of David Mayer from the collection of the William Breman Musem

WXIA-TV11 in Atlanta has a story today about a Masonic "Passover" tale during the Civil War.

From "Atlanta and the Angel of Death" by Ben Mayer:

The Southern cause is failing. Sherman's army has spent weeks reducing Atlanta's buildings to hollows of char. And yet, a lone mercantile stands among them somehow untouched. Sherman, like the Angel of Death itself, passes over the store on his march to Savannah.

The story is one my family tells every year at Passover. The storeowner was David Mayer, my great-great-great grandfather. The story goes he hung a Masonic apron on the front porch because he knew Sherman was a Mason, too. And it worked like the lamb's blood from 3,000 years before; Sherman's armies lurched by Whitehall Street on their grim campaign.

Until this year, I knew little about David Mayer. He was relegated to the dusty lore and old family stories stored with our Passover things taken out only once a year, which is just often enough to have the stale taste of Matzoh, the bread of affliction, in our mouths.
Read the rest of the story here.

There is actually no evidence General William Tecumseh Sherman was Freemason (his father, Charles Sherman, was a Mason, according to the Lancaster, Ohio Historical Society), but there was no shortage of brethren on both sides. And it makes a nice story...

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Update: My Cancer Adventure Continues

The mail yesterday brought a delightfully deranged gift from my friend, W:.B:. Andrew Hammer in Virginia. Yes, it's a plush, stuffed stomach. Biggest laugh I've had in weeks.

As I have publicly announced last month ("Yes I have cancer. You thought I was a Scorpio."), I was diagnosed with stomach cancer at the end of March, and I started chemotherapy about two weeks ago. The treatment is aggressive to keep the cancer from spreading.

I have discussed my traveling schedule with my oncologists and surgeon. In the beginning, they advised me to "keep to my usual routine." I don't think they fully comprehended that my usual routine was to take week-long driving trips, sleeping in the back of a van, hauling book boxes around, getting up at 7AM for a Masonic breakfast with lunatic early risers, while being kept out until 2AM by far more rational night owls. While they are understanding of my situation, doctors seem bizarrely more concerned with keeping me alive than they are about me swanning about the countryside. And I misunderstood the regimen schedule when this saga began- it's considerably longer than i thought. So, I have now been advised to cancel my traveling events in May and June.

Skipping over the ickier details, the plan is to kill as much of the tumor with chemo as is possible for an initial nine weeks, hack out the part of my stomach that is affected, replumb the whole mess, and follow up with another nine weeks of chemicals. That puts the surgery at approximately the end of May or beginning of June. In the meantime, I'm wearing a portable chemo pump around my neck, that's about the size of a 1970s cassette deck.

I'm not used to having my wings clipped, and this was supposed to be a very busy spring and summer. But I'm told I need to shut my squeakhole about the inconvenience, and be a little more upbeat about the "not dying" side of things.

This does NOT mean I am getting worse—quite the opposite. Everyone has been quite positive and optimistic, and most important, no one has taken Alice out in the hall and suggested a long, final Caribbean cruise, and maybe a nice party where everybody brings a funny story about Chris. But I am being sternly warned about fatigue, weight loss and other side effects, and just the simple technical challenges of traveling, versus trying to keep to the chemo treatment regimen.

The funniest part of this mess is that, after losing 90 pounds over the last year, I'm being told to eat 3,000 calories a day in anticipation of the eventual appetite loss. Criminey. I didn't eat 3,000 calories a day when I was at my most alarmingly spherical circumference.

I apologize for waiting to make these scheduling decisions until now, which puts many brethren in a bind for their events, but my health issues and answers have been changing on a daily basis, with lots of unknowns. I hope you understand. I will be happy to help any of you find a substitute, unless you want to try to reschedule in the Fall. I'll do whatever I can to attempt to assist from my end.

I remain the luckiest guy in Freemasonry, and Alice and I both appreciate the literally hundreds of emails, letters, cards, phone calls, and stuffed stomach toys that have been coming in. In spite of my grousing, early detection of this condition, along with the friendship of all of you, have been the greatest gifts for which I am truly thankful.

Masonic Book Club: "Evolutions of Freemasonry" by Delmar Darrah

The Masonic Book Club started in 1970, and reprints hard to find Masonic books in limited hardback editions for its members. In the next few weeks, they will be shipping the 2010 title, Evolutions of Freemasonry by Delmar Duane Darrah, PGM of Illinois, a collection of articles on Freemasonry written in the 1920s.

According to the Club newsletter, "Delmar Duane Darrah was a Professor of English and Public Speaking at Illinois Wesleyan University. He served Illinois as Grand Master in 1910-11, Grand Commandery's Grand Recorder in the early 1920's. He was an Active Member of the Supreme Council and Deputy for Illinois in 1932, serving as Grand Lieutenant Commander of the Supreme Council, N.M.J., A.A.S.R. He was a Masonic publisher, an author and a lecturer of wide renown. He was also a key mentor of Louis L. Williams who was one of the founders of the Masonic Book Club."

The Club lost its printer of four decades this past year, but now has a new supplier, and they are now offering on-line payments for annual dues and book sales via Paypal. Past editions are for sale, and the Club is partnered with the Illinois Lodge of Research Library, which is administering their book inventory.

Annual dues are $20 US & Canada, and $25 for members in other countries. See www.masonicbookclub.org


Please note! As of early 2016, the Masonic Book Club has gone out of business, and the Illinois Lodge of Research no longer lists the Club's old stock of titles anymore. Rumor has it that another existing, established Masonic research organization is going to resurrect the Club, possibly by 2017, and the hope is to reprint many of the older titles that are out of print and hard to find. But no details are publicly available yet.

WEOFM: "The Royal Secret in the U.S. before 1801" by Dr. S. Brent Morris

The 12th video presentation from the Worldwide Exemplification of Freemasonry is now available. This week's program is "The Royal Secret in the U.S. before 1801" by Dr. S. Brent Morris .

S. Brent Morris 33° is the managing editor of the Scottish Rite Journal of the Supreme Council, 33°, S.J. A former mathematician with the federal government (he holds a PhD in Mathematics from Duke University), he has lectured at over 100 universities, and has taught mathematics, computer science, and cryptanalysis at Duke University, Johns Hopkins Universities, and the National Cryptologic School. He is currently on the graduate faculty at George Washington University. He was the first American to be elected as the Worshipful Master of Quatuor Coronati Lodge, the oldest Masonic Research Lodge in the world. Among his many books are The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Freemasonry, A Radical in the East, and Is It True What They Say About Freemasonry? co-authored with Art de Hoyos.

The Worldwide Exemplification of Freemasonry 2011 Lecture Series is a free presentation of Masonic education endorsed by the Grand Lodge of Indiana F&AM, beginning January 1, 2011 and running through December 31, 2011.

Caption This Photo

It's a slow Sunday, and I came across this double-barreled lodge goat, armed to the teeth.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Another Shot Fired in the Rectified Rite USA Battle

I've never been one to advocate one grand lodge ganging up on another. I was against it when GLs attacked the GL of Minnesota back in 2001 and 2002. I'm against it whenever someone suggests acting against southern GLs over Prince Hall recognition. And I'm still against it. It's one thing for a grand lodge to exercise its powers and prerogatives within the confines of its own borders. It's something else entirely when it tries to flex its muscles and demand another grand lodge to knuckle under.

A Mason was denied entrance into his own annual communication today, not because he had violated rules of his own grand lodge, but because a visiting Grand Master from another jurisdiction claimed his GL would withdraw recognition if the Brother in question was allowed to enter. And so, the Brother's own Grand Master complied, and barred him from entering his own session. Why? Because the Brother is a member of the new Grand Priory of the Reformed and Rectified Rite of the United States of America (CBCS), and the visiting Grand Master issued an edict over the formation of the Grand Priory. At what point does that give a visiting Mason the right to tell another Grand Lodge which of its own members it can admit into its own grand lodge session? If the visitor has a conflict, he should be the one sitting out under a palm tree on the white sandy beach, not the dues paying member who has broken no rules within his own jurisdiction.

Members of the Reformed and Rectified Rite of the US have NOT sat in, nor are they members of, clandestine lodges. And the Brother's own Grand Lodge has not issued any opinion on the Grand Priory of the Reformed and Rectified Rite of the US.

If I have misunderstood the incident, I will happily correct this entry. But if it happened the way it was described, this represents a new low in the battle between the factions in the CBCS/Rectified Rite debate.

The Rectified Rite degrees are far too philosophically and spiritually beneficial to be locked out of the US because the GSA's model was to be nothing but a dinner club for 30 or so men who think the rest of Masonry lets in too much riff raff. Those on both sides of the issue can drag personalities into this if they wish, but it is really a clash of philosophies, between those who want the CBCS to be the ne plus ultra clique of elite Masonry, versus a unique Christian variant with a fascinating history and a huge body of ritual and commentary that deserves to be shared. The one way brings it to a dead end, while the other is another step on the path of seeking Masonic light. I sort of thought we were all hunting the latter rather than the former. And the one thing this fraternity has no shortage of is dinner clubs.

Freemasons For Dummies: Washington, Oregon and the Grand Encampment
Freemasons For Dummies: 2011 Report: Commission on Information for Recognition
Freemasons For Dummies: Grand Priory of the Reformed and Rectified Rite of the USA
Freemasons For Dummies: Grand Priory of the Scottish Reformed & Rectified Rite of the United States of America


UPDATE on May 20th

I have modified this entry a couple of times, as there has been much controversy over just which Grand Lodge made the objection. The Brother who was excluded from the meeting was told one story by his DGM, but others have stepped up to say the players have been misidentified. It has taken on a decidedly "Rashomon" vibe.

My purpose is not to besmirch anyone's name or reputation, or to question anyone's description of the events of the day. My purpose for posting this incident is to point out the madness of threatening withdrawal of fraternal relations over an incident like this, and the collateral damage inflicted on brethren when GMs start swinging their authority around outside of their own jurisdictions.

My apologies to anyone who was misidentified or hit with shrapnel. But the end result was that the Brother who flew thousands of miles to visit his own annual communication, at the invitation of his own incoming GM, was turned away, and he was the most damaged party here.

Oregon, Washington, and now reportedly Idaho and Oklahoma, either have or are considering taking action against the Grand Encampment over this tempest. The only real victims will be the thousands of Knights Templar in these states who will get caught between the grinding wheels. It's why the Commission on Recognition should have stayed out of this in the first place. The Commission historically had never dabbled in appendant body minutiae before, but just by bringing up the matter, the Commission put a live grenade in the hands of GMs who sometimes feel the compulsion to pull the pin first and ask questions later. And that's a damned shame.

Women Not Flocking To Grand Orient of France

In 2010, France's largest Masonic obedience, the Grand Orient de France, with about 50,000 members, voted to admit women into its lodges. The decision was left to the individual lodge, and required no special permission.

Well, women aren't exactly flocking to the doors of the GOF's lodges. According to Au GODF : mais où sont les femmes ? by François Koch:

• 53 women are now members of GOF (including twenty affiliations transferred mostly from the Grande Loge Feminine de France)

• 160 requests for initiation of women or affiliations by existing sisters are being processed.

• Only one in five GOF lodges have refused to accommodate women.

The Grand Orient of France does not require its members to profess a belief in a Supreme Being, does not require lodges to have a Volume of Sacred Law on their altars, and does not prohibit taking official positions on religious and political issues. It is regarded as irregular by the majority of the Masonic world.

There are at least ten Masonic allegiances of varying importance in France. The GOF has just under 50,000 members. The Grande Loge Nationale Française (male only) has about 38,000 members, and is the obedience that is most uniformly recognized as regular by the majority of grand lodges around the world. The male only Grande Loge de France (GLdF) has 28,000.

Women make up approximately 17% of the Freemasons in France at various other grand lodges. Le Droit Humain (DH) is a Co-Masonic obedience which claims 15,000 members, and the Grande Loge Feminine de France (GLFF), represents some 14,000 women.

It should be noted by all of us in the US that every one of the grand lodges in France have steadily increased their membership over the last six years.

GLNF Grand Master Stifani Resigns . . . Sort Of

GLNF Grand Master Francois Stifani

Drama continues in the Grande Loge Nationale Française. Wednesday, 38 Provincial Grand Masters, officers and other luminaries handed Monique Legrand, the court-appointed administrator for GLNF, a petition announcing their support of a major insurrection against GM François Stifani from April 2010. The 38 Masons who submitted the petition did so in the wake of action by Stifani on April 9th in which he dismissed 8 provincial Grand Masters who refused to acknowledge his authority.

Shortly after that message was released to the press, Stifani issued a letter in which he says he will "surrender his mandate", but then sets out his own directions for the June General Assembly, which Legrand is supposed to be in charge of.

In December, a Paris court required Grand Master Stifani and the GLNF to convene a General Assembly to hold a new vote for the position of Grand Master, and to answer to the membership for a series of allegations and complaints against his actions. It was alleged that Stifani was illegally elected to serve a second five year term, in violation of the GLNF's constitutions. The Board of Directors resigned in January, and Stifani later stepped down as president of the administrative side of the fraternity, but not as Grand Master (technically two separate positions). A hearing was held on April 5th, and the new date for the Assembly was set for June 27th. Meanwhile, Stifani continues to cling to his position, in spite of the very public and embarrassing unraveling of the grand lodge.

L'Express magazine's blog, La Lumiere by François Koch, is reporting every twist and turn in the ongoing saga.

The GLNF is the second largest Masonic obedience in France, with approximately 38,000 members, and is overwhelmingly recognized as the sole regular body in that country by the majority of grand lodges around the world.

See also Grande Loge Nationale Française Imploding: UGLE Weighs In from January.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Openly Gay Mason Suspended in Kentucky

The Lexington Herald-Leader is reporting that the Grand Lodge of Kebtucky F&AM has suspended an openly gay member, following a trial held April 8th. W:.B:. John Wright, Past Master of Right Angle Lodge No. 233 in Winchester, Kentucky, was found guilty on several counts of un-Masonic conduct, and was suspended indefinitely in a letter sent April 11th.

Five Masons from Central Kentucky (and not from his own lodge) brought charges against Wright, saying he violated the Grand Lodge constitution by forsaking his belief in God in declaring his homosexuality, deserting his wife, and by going public with private Masonic information. When Wright became a Mason in 2007, he was married—he and his wife filed for divorce in March 2010 because he realized he was gay. According to the charges, Wright's behavior ran afoul of the Grand Lodge constitution because he "violated the sanctity of his marriage" and "deserted her due to his homosexuality," and that he may have violated his oath and obligation by engaging in other relationships prior to the finalization of his divorce.

The charges also alleged that Wright had violated the constitution because he had "openly forsaken his belief in God . . . by refusing to obey the Moral Laws in declaring his homosexuality which the Moral law declares as an abomination to the law of God." This charge was dismissed by the trial commission, but he was found guilty of all other charges.

In October 2010, assembled members of the Grand Lodge of Kentucky at their annual communication voted against legislation that would have banned openly gay men from joining Kentucky lodges.

Some have accused Wright of self-aggrandizement and using the issue to get his name in the papers, and he says on his website that he is a "LGBT activist", and describes himself as a "troublemaker." He went to the local paper when the anti-gay legislation was defeated at Grand Lodge last year. I suspect many Kentucky Masons didn't appreciate the issue being splashed across the media, especially when they had decisively voted the measure down—they handily defeated the proposal, yet got negative publicity over it anyway. That may have been the initial genesis of the charge of making making private Masonic business public.

Overwhelming reports are that the principal charge that got him booted was going public with private Masonic information, and in particular, private communications that he took to the press, which included voice recordings from inside the tyled Grand Lodge annual communication. That's cause for suspension or expulsion in pretty much any Masonic jurisdiction. The homosexual aspects have been played up in the papers, largely through Wright's showboating and self-promotion. Were there Kentucky brethren who tried to make the gay issue central to the charges? Yes. But those were not the primary issues for the trial commission, apparently. Reports indicate that his sexuality came up only once in the proceedings, and it was Wright himself who attempted to introduce it.
Such mundanity does not make for compelling headlines.

The GL of Kentucky's defeat of anti-gay legislation last year is the real barometer of this issue in that state, not this Brother's case.

Author Michael Halleran at Gettysburg May 21st

Pennsylvania Masons take note! Brother Michael Halleran, author of "The Better Nature of Our Angels: Freemasonry in the American Civil War," will be speaking at the Gettysburg Museum and Visitor Center on Saturday, May 21st, 2011. This public event begins at 2PM.

The Center is carrying Brother Halleran's book, and is one of the rare instances of a book about Freemasonry offered for sale by the National Parks Service.

Michael is the former editor of the Scottish Rite Research Society’s Plumbline. He is a freelance writer, a lecturer at Emporia State University, and a practicing attorney in the Flint Hills of East-Central Kansas. He is a member of both Emporia Lodge No. 12, AF&AM, and Mount Zion Lodge No. 266, AF&AM, Topeka, Kansas. Halleran received the Mackey Award for Excellence in Masonic Scholarship by the Scottish Rite Research Society for his article on Civil War Freemasonry in Heredom, vol. 14 (2006), and he was the author of the "Brother Brother" feature for The Scottish Rite Journal (now appearing in The Square Magazine). He is a member of the Quatuor Coronati Correspondence Circle, and the Scottish Rite Research Society, where he studies American military Masonry and the traditions of military lodges worldwide.

The Gettysburg National Military Park Museum & Visitor Center is located at 1195 Baltimore Pike, Gettysburg, PA 17325. For more information, contact the center at (717) 334-2288.

The Doctor Sez: "Fezzes Are Cool"

From the newest incarnation of Doctor Who.

Brother Walter Breuning 33°, World's Oldest Man, Dies at 114

Brother Walter Breuning 33°, the world's oldest man, died Thursday April 14, 2011 at the age of 114 years and 205 days. He was born on September 21, 1896, and was declared the world's oldest man and the fourth oldest person in the world on July 18, 2009, by the Guinness Book of World Records.

Brother Walter received his degrees in Great Falls Lodge No. 118, Great Falls, Montana. He was Initiated on March 7, 1925, Passed on April 4, 1925 and raised to the sublime degree of a Master Mason on May 16, 1925. He affiliated with Cascade Lodge No. 34, Great Falls, Montana on January 1, 1992. He had served as Secretary of Great Falls Lodge No. 118 from January 1, 1946 through December 31, 1968. Brother Breuning received the Meritorious Service Medal on June 24, 1993.

He was a 33° Scottish Rite Freemason in the Valley of Great Falls, Montana.

Walter Breuning- Scottish Rite Freemason from Scottish Rite on Vimeo.

From the AP last September:

Walter Breuning was born on Sept. 21, 1896, in Melrose, Minnesota, and moved to Montana in 1918, where he worked as a clerk for the Great Northern Railway for 50 years.

His wife, Agnes, a railroad telegraph operator from Butte, died in 1957. The couple had no children.

Breuning inherited the distinction of being the world's oldest man in July 2009 when Briton Henry Allingham died at age 113. Allingham had joked that the secret to long life was "Cigarettes, whisky and wild, wild women — and a good sense of humor," according to Guinness World Records.

His brethren mourn. R.I.P.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Lodge Vitruvian No. 767 April 26th Meeting

Lodge Vitruvian No. 767, Indiana's only European Concept Lodge, will have its next meeting on Tuesday, April 26, 2011, beginning at 7:00PM. Vitruvian meets in the Broad Ripple Masonic Temple at 1716 Broad Ripple Avenue, on the north side of Indianapolis, Indiana.

Tuxedo, Regalia and White Gloves for Members, Tuxedo or Business Attire for Visitors.

WBro. Ken Davis, Master of this Lodge in 2009, will be with us from New Mexico and will provide the evening's Masonic education on Tarot and Freemasonry.

Festive Board to follow the meeting at the nearby Capri Restaurant, 2602 Ruth Drive, Indianapolis, Indiana, (off Keystone Avenue between 71st and 75th Streets)

Each attendee will be responsible to the Lodge for the cost of his meal. The cost for the Festive Board is $30 per person, exclusive of alcoholic beverages, payable to the Secretary. Gratuity will be paid by the Lodge.

If you are interested in visiting, contact Secretary, WB Nathan C. Brindle at secretary@vitruvian.org

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Washington, Oregon and the Grand Encampment

In the wake of the Conference of Grand Masters of Masons of North America's Commission on Recognition report in February concerning the formation of the Grand Priory of the Reformed and Rectified Rite of the United States of America (CBCS), M:.W:. Godofredo Santy Lascano , Grand Master of Grand Lodge of Washington (State) F&AM has issued an edict. He has directed all Master Masons in Washington "to refrain from any interaction with the Grand Encampment Knights Templar of the USA." Violators will be subject to suspension or expulsion.

At issue is the question of irregularity of the French governing body that issued the charter to the GEKTUSA to form the new Grand Priory.

The Grand Lodge of Oregon AF&AM Grand Master Ed Bousquet issued a similar edict in March, briefly suspending recognition of the Grand Encampment of Knights Templar USA, but rescinded the edict a week later, in light of "improved dialogue." Grand Master Bousquet has asked for "patience and understanding as the leaders of these organizations attempt to work through the problem."

Previous stories on this subject:
Grand Priory of the Scottish Reformed & Rectified Rite of the United States of America
Grand Priory of the Reformed and Rectified Rite of the USA
2011 Report: Commission on Information for Recognition

UPDATE: Below is a letter that was sent to all Grand Masters in the US in response to the Commission on Recognition report. It should be pointed out that 4 of the 6 elected members of the Grand Encampment officer's line were present at the Conference of Grand Masters and none were asked, or even allowed, to address the Commission, or answer any questions on this matter. Click to enlarge.

(Please note that, in the interest of full disclosure on my discussions about this issue, I am a member of this body.)

Connecticut's Newest Lodge: Quinta Essentia Lodge U.D.

Congratulations to the brethren of Connecticut's newest Masonic lodge! On April 4th at its annual communication, the Grand Lodge of Connecticut AF&AM granted a dispensation form Quinta Essentia Lodge U.D., a "European Concept" lodge.

The lodge will be limited in membership size to just 35, and will meet six times a year. Meetings and festive boards will be held in private dining rooms of restaurants, not lodge rooms, and each gathering will have a cocktail hour and dinner, with either a presentation or an open discussion topic. Masonic introductions will be kept to a minimum. The lodge will have a dress code, requiring either a tuxedo or dark suit, and lodge dues will be higher than most blue lodges in the state. And officers will not necessarily progress through the line.

Congratulations to R:.W:. Brother Brandley K. Cooney, Quinta Essentia's first Worshipful Master, and to all of the charter members of the lodge.

For more information, contact the lodge Secretary, W:.B:. Charles Tirrell.

WEOFM.ORG: "The Evolution of Scandinavian Freemasonry" by Dr. Andreas Önnerfors

The eleventh video presentation from the Worldwide Exemplification of Freemasonry is now available on Vimeo in Flash format.

This week's program is "The Evolution of Scandinavian Freemasonry" by Dr. Andreas Önnerfors.

Andreas Önnerfors was the director of the Centre for Research Into Freemasonry and Fraternalism at the University of Sheffield from 2007 until it was closed last year.

The Worldwide Exemplification of Freemasonry 2011 Lecture Series is a free presentation of Masonic education endorsed by the Grand Lodge of Indiana F&AM, beginning January 1, 2011 and running through December 31, 2011.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

More Fallout from New York Royal Order of Jesters Investigation

From the Buffalo News website today, "Retired deputy sentenced for transporting prostitutes":

A retired Erie County sheriff’s deputy who transported prostitutes to an event run by the Royal Order of Jesters was sentenced to one year on probation and fined $1,000.

Michael Lesinski, 51, of Derby, pleaded guilty last year to failing to report a felony crime, the U. S. Attorney’s Office said.

In April 2005—while he was still a member of the Sheriff’s Office — Lesinski transported about six prostitutes from Buffalo Niagara International Airport to a Jesters convention in Niagara Falls, Ont., prosecutor Robert C. Moscati said.

Lesinski’s involvement was discovered during an investigation of human trafficking crimes associated with the Jesters. The Buffalo FBI office, the U. S. Border Patrol, the Erie County Sheriff’s Office and U. S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement conducted the probe.

Lesinski is the fourth public official convicted in connection with an ongoing federal investigation of the Royal Order of Jesters in Buffalo, New York. He pleaded guilty to concealing a felony last November.

For more background see also Federal Probe of Jesters Expands, and The Trouble With Jesters.

Calm Returning to Grand Lodge of Nebraska

In an April 11th, 2011 letter, MW John T. Parsons, 2010 Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Nebraska AF&AM, announced officially that RW Bruce Baker will be installed as Grand Master of Nebraska on April 16th.

A flurry of accusations, charges, counter charges, trials and other assorted brouhaha has surrounded the Grand Lodge officer's line in Nebraska since late last year. The short version is that Edward David Watts, who was Deputy Grand Master in the grand lodge line of succession last year, was arrested in November after a violent altercation at his girlfriend's home. He was subsequently charged by the Lancaster County Attorney in Lincoln with four felonies: first-degree assault, strangulation, terroristic threats, and use of a weapon to commit a felony.

In the aftermath of these events and in light of the seriousness of the charges, Grand Master Parsons remained in his position temporarily after the annual communication, until Masonic trials could be properly conducted. This led to some noisome accusations of power grabs and impropriety in some quarters that have aired online. Some of this back and forth sniping has been discussed on the Masonic Information website.

Grand Master Parsons' letter reads as follows:


As most of you know, at the last Annual Communication, Masonic charges were preferred against the then Deputy Grand Master, E. David Watts, the Grand Junior Warden, Rex Moats, and the Grand Senior Deacon, Thomas Hauder. Trial commissions were appointed and I issued an order that no brother facing Masonic Charges would be installed in any Grand Lodge Office until the trial was completed and any sentence satisfied. Subsequently, the lodge that preferred Masonic charges against Brothers Moats and Hauder declined to prosecute those charges and they were therefore dismissed by the Trial Commissions. Brother Moats has been installed as Grand Senior Warden and the installation of Brother Hauder as Grand Junior Warden is pending.

E. David Watts was convicted of a Masonic offense and sentenced to a definite period of suspension for one year. That period commenced on April 6, 2011, the date of the filing of the report and findings of the Trial Commission. As a result of such sentence, his Masonic memberships, as well as his memberships in all appendant bodies, are suspended. He may appeal such suspension, but his suspension begins from the date of the trial verdict, not the date of any appeal, in accordance with Section 3-709 of the Grand Lodge Bylaws. Since he is suspended from all Masonic Bodies, he is not eligible to serve as a Grand Lodge Officer, and is accordingly removed from all Grand Lodge authority, functions, and meetings. All brethren should take due notice and govern themselves accordingly.

Mr. Watts and others may also be subject to additional Masonic charges for activities occurring after Annual Communication but before the period of suspension began, however, no charges have been filed at this time.

As I stated at Annual Communication, as soon as the results of the trials were in, I would resign as Grand Master and in accordance with Article XI of the Grand Lodge Constitution, the line of succession would take effect. Therefore, RWB Bruce Baker, who was elected as Deputy Grand Master/Grand Master-Elect at the Grand Lodge session, will succeed to the office of Grand Master, effective on April 16, 2011. Those other Grand Lodge officers, previously appointed and installed, will retain their offices. RWB Baker may appoint an officer to fill any vacancies or personal representatives as he sees fit.

I would urge each of you to support Brother Baker in his efforts to restore peace and harmony to Nebraska Masonry, as well in his endeavors to cleanse the fraternity of the tarnish applied over the past several months by a few individuals. I know the fraternity in Nebraska will emerge stronger and more robust as a result of these tribulations, and I know that Bruce will have a good year.

Sincerely and fraternally,
John T. Parsons
Grand Master

Friday, April 08, 2011

Author Timothy Hogan in Florida May 14th

Boynton Lodge No. 236, Worshipful Master Rodney Gnoinsky, and the Boynton Lodge Esoteric Research Group announce the visit of Worshipful Timothy Hogan, May 14th, for a seminar and discussion on Alchemy, Qabbalah, and how they relate to the Freemasonry, as well as a discussion on the Holy Grail.

Saturday, May 14, 2011 from 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM (ET)
2701 Quantum Blvd, Boynton Beach, FL

Timothy Hogan is author of the books The Alchemical Keys to Masonic Ritual, The 32 Secret Paths of Solomon: A New Examination of the Qabbalah in Freemasonry, Revelation of the Holy Grail (written under the name Chevalier Emerys), and Novo Clavis Esoterika. He is a former editor for the periodicals Ariadne's Web and L'Initiation. Tim is a District lecturer for the Grand Lodge of Colorado. He is a Knight Templar in the York Rite, a 32º KCCH in the Scottish Rite, and Past Master of both East Denver No. 160 and AMD Council No. 425. He serves as an officer within several Masonic bodies, including the SRICF, and he belongs to several other bodies including the Royal Order of Scotland. He is also the current Grand Commander for the Ordre Souverain du Temple Initiatique, a non-Masonic Knight Templar lineage out of France. Tim is a Fellow of the Masonic Society, and he is an owner and Education Director for www.thesanctumsanctorum.com. Tim has appeared on several international television shows and podcast episodes being interviewed about Freemasonry. Tim regularly lectures at Lodges around the world on the mysteries of Freemasonry.

He has also written several articles on Freemasonry for Masonic and esoteric publications.

This is a Master Mason only event, dues card & ID Required for entry.

TICKETS ARE LIMITED - only $25, including Lunch

See the lodge website for more information: www.blerg.eventbrite.com

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Vandalism Against Texas Masonic Temple

Brother John Wallace reports that Onion Creek Lodge No. 220 in Austin, Texas recently suffered its fourth vandalism incident in the past year and a half. Its signage has been destroyed, at least two break-in attempts were made, windows have been broken, and the American flag in the front yard was turned upside down. Most recently, at the end of March, a Molotov cocktail was hurled through a window of the dining hall. Fortunately, the bottle didn't break, and the flames did not spread, but some fire damage did occur, including to a piano. It could have been far worse.

There have also been reports of other Austin-area lodges, as well as some across Tarrant County (the Ft. Worth area) having anti-Masonic material taped to their doors.

Because of the previous repeated attacks, the Austin Fire Department installed motion activated cameras and the images are being studied to see if faces and vehicles can be identified. The arson attempt raises the acts from vandalism to a 2nd class felony.

Onion Creek Lodge is an historic building—it's the second-oldest lodge building in Texas still in use today, along with being one of the oldest public school houses in the state. It is a state-designated historic site.

Unfortunately, reports of vandalism and worse activities are increasing against Masonic lodge buildings, as Freemasonry gets greater exposure in the press. And sad to say, not everyone who comes to your open houses has angelic motives. If your lodge doesn't have bright exterior lighting and a decent alarm system, with a monitoring service and an updated contact list of your officers, you need to bring it up at your next lodge meeting.

And it never hurts to remind brethren to drive by the lodge on their way home from work, or after a night out. Too many Masonic buildings sit empty 29 days a month, which makes them an easy target for bored miscreants or devious Masonophobes.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Masonic Society: New Announcement Site For Conferences, Speeches, Symposia & Gatherings

WBro. Nathan Brindle has been toiling in the electronic quarries of late, making new additions to the Masonic Society website.

One of the regular features of the Journal of the Masonic Society is an announcement page for Conferences, Speeches, Symposia & Gatherings. That feature has now been added to the TMS website here.

If you have an announcement for an upcoming meeting, event, speaker, research lodge gathering, conference or other function that would be of interest to a wide Masonic audience, please forward them to articles@themasonicsociety.com

Pete Normand in Chicago April 7th

Tomorrow's Scottish Rite Valley of Chicago Stated Meeting at the Medinah Shrine Center, will be a special occasion. They will be filling the time capsule for their new building with Masonic memorabilia, pop culture icons, and other items of contemporary interest.

In addition to the dedication of the time capsule, the Valley will welcome special guest speaker, Pierre "Pete" G. Normand Jr. 33°, who will speak on the topic of "The Royal Arch Degree in the Scottish Rite Tradition." Pete is a Fellow of the Masonic Society, a member of the Blue Friars, the former editor of American Masonic Review, and of The Plumbline, the newsletter of the Scottish Rite Research Society and a noted Masonic writer and speaker.

The Medinah Shrine Center is located at 550 Shriners Drive in Addison, Illinois. The dinner at 5:30 is sold out, but the Stated Meeting will follow at 7:00 pm. It is open only to members of the Scottish Rite, and there is no cost to attend, followed by fun, fellowship, coffee and refreshments in the Oasis Lounge. And something tells me with Pete there, cigars will be involved somewhere along the line.

W. Kirk MacNulty 4/15 Lecture Postponed

Brother W. Kirk MacNulty has undergone heart surgery this week, and his April 15th lecture at New York's Masonic Hall will be rescheduled, once he has recuperated. Brother Richard Powell reports that Kirk is doing fine and is in good spirits, and that the Livingston Library will announce the new date once it is confirmed.

W. Kirk MacNulty is the author of several books on Freemasonry (Way of the Craftsman; Freemasonry: A Journey Through Ritual and Symbol; Freemasonry: Symbols, Secrets, Significance) .

All my best to Brother Kirk, with thoughts and prayers for a speedy recovery.

I'm starting to think there's something iffy in the green bean casserole.

Grand Lodge of Iowa AF&AM and Extended Prince Hall Recognition

On September 17th, 2010, the Grand Lodge of Iowa AF&AM voted to enter into fraternal relations with "any and all Prince Hall Grand Lodges which are (1) recognized by the M. W. Prince Hall Grand Lodge F. & A.M. of Iowa and Jurisdiction, Inc.; and (2) have concluded an agreement, treaty, or compact of mutual recognition with the sister Grand Lodge with who they share territorial jurisdiction that is in comity with the Grand Lodge of Iowa."

A very positive step that all mainstream and PHA grand lodges should consider. The patchwork quilt of recognition is confusing to brethren who travel, who don't always understand that joint recognition usually just applies within the confines of their state.

And once again I make a plea for Prince Hall grand lodges to submit their contact information and their current lodges to Pantagraph Printing's List of Lodges Masonic. The listing allows you to add whatever restrictions and requirements you might have, but more important, as bogus lodges and grand lodges continue to proliferate, the List is a recognized and trusted source for determining if the Mason who presents himself at your door is from a lodge you are in amity with. It just makes good sense for everyone.

Contact Pantagraph Printing & Stationery Co., P.O. Box 1406, Bloomington, IL 61702-1406

Services Friday for Brother Bill Wine

Brother Mark Sandstrom has posted the following information about services for WBro. William N. Wine, who passed to the celestial lodge on March 25th in his home in Concord, California. Bill was well known to many brethren from the CompuServe Masonry Forum, the first popular online community for Freemasons in the 1990s.

Services have been scheduled for our Brother William “Bill” Wine, PM. at the Oakland Scottish Rite, 1547 Lakeside Drive, Oakland, CA 94612, (510) 832-0819

Services will be held on Friday, April 29, 2011.
Viewing: 9:00am
Celebration of Life: 10:00am

A reception will follow. Bill would want us to gather to laugh, eat, drink and tell stories. Please know he will most definitely be present as we lift a glass in his honor and memory.

On behalf of Bill’s family, thank you for your outpouring of care, concern and love.

Mark R. Sandstrom, PM
West Covina Lodge #446
West Covina, CA

Bill was raised in June 1971 in Diablo Valley Lodge No. 448, and served as Master in 1978-79, and again in 1986-87. He was a founding member of Academia Lodge No. 847. He was also a member of Concord Star No. 384 of the Order of the Eastern Star. Among his many accomplishments and honors, Bill was a Past Grand High Priest of Royal Arch Masons in California, a Founding Fellow of the Masonic Society, a Fellow of the Philalethes Society, and served as president of the Philalethes' Cornerstone Computer Chapter. He was involved with Masonic education programs in California, including the formative years of the California Masonic Symposium. He was a Past Master of the Northern California Research Lodge, and a Past Master Councilor of the Northern California DeMolay Association.

If you are unable to attend, but would like your memories of Bill recorded, please format them as a Word document, and send them to me at hodapp@aol.com . I will see that they are forwarded to Mark, who is assembling them for Bill's family.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

"The Man Who Would be King"

Rooting around on YouTube tonight, I came across the great scene from The Man Who Would be King in which Brother Rudyard Kipling briefly explains Freemasonry.

"Well, let's have a look at your lodge brothers."

The film was released in 1975 and directed by John Huston, starring Sean Connery, Michael Caine and Christopher Plummer.

Any grown man who watches it without breaking down and blubbering at the end has no soul left in him.

The song near the end of the film that Brothers Danny and Peachy sing has the tune of an Irish air called "The Moreen" (that is better known as "The Minstrel Boy" because of an 18th century patriotic Irish lyric written to it), yet the movie substitutes the lyrics of "The Son of God Goes Forth to War" by Reginald Heber.

The Son of God goes forth to war,
a kingly crown to gain;
his blood red banner streams afar:
who follows in his train?
Who best can drink his cup of woe,
triumphant over pain,
who patient bears his cross below,
he follows in his train.

That martyr first, whose eagle eye
could pierce beyond the grave;
who saw his Master in the sky,
and called on him to save.
Like him, with pardon on his tongue,
in midst of mortal pain,
he prayed for them that did the wrong:
who follows in his train?

A glorious band, the chosen few
on whom the Spirit came;
twelve valiant saints, their hope they knew,
and mocked the cross and flame.
They met the tyrant's brandished steel,
the lion's gory mane;
they bowed their heads the death to feel:
who follows in their train?

A noble army, men and boys,
the matron and the maid,
around the Savior's throne rejoice,
in robes of light arrayed.
They climbed the steep ascent of heaven,
through peril, toil and pain;
O God, to us may grace be given,
to follow in their train.