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


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Michael Halleran at Natl Heritage Museum April 28th

"Gentlemen of the White Apron," A Lecture by Michael A. Halleran
On Freemasonry in the Civil War
at the
National Heritage Museum
Saturday, April 28, 2012 at 1 pm

Michael A. Halleran, a freelance historian and practicing attorney, sets the standard for scholarship on Freemasonry in the Civil War. On Saturday, April 28, 2012 at 1pm, he will present the talk, “Gentlemen of the White Apron: Freemasonry in the American Civil War.” The lecture will reveal the history behind the many mythical stories of Masonic Brotherhood across the Civil War battle lines. A signing of his acclaimed book, The Better Angels of Our Nature, will follow. Admission is free. The lecture is part of a series on the Civil War, and is made possible by Ruby W. Linn.

Michael Halleran is a freelance writer and a practicing attorney in the Flint Hills of East-Central Kansas. A lecturer at Emporia State University, he is also an active Freemason. Halleran received the Mackey Award for Excellence in Masonic Scholarship by the Scottish Rite Research Society for his article on Civil War Freemasonry in that society’s journal: Heredom. 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 Museum is offering the lecture series on occasion of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. The series is designed to explore the history of this divisive conflict, and its meaning for our nation today. It also relates to Museum’s mission of fostering an appreciation of American history, patriotism and Freemasonry, and reflects both current research and exciting themes relevant to our world. All talks are sponsored by Ruby W. Linn.

Upcoming lectures in the series are:

“Among the Ruins: Charles F. Morse and Civil War Destruction”
Saturday, September 29, 2 pm
Megan Kate Nelson of Harvard University will unfold the Civil War experience of one Massachusetts soldier, Charles F. Morse, an officer in the 2nd Mass. Rgt. His letters, drawings, and other contemporary images will draw us into the world of ruin and destruction that participants in the war found themselves confronting.

“Quilts for Civil War Soldiers: Stories from the Home Front and the Battlefield”
Saturday, October 20, 2 pm
Pamela Weeks, Curator of the New England Quilt Museum, knows the stories behind thee rare surviving Civil War quilts made by caring hands for soldiers fighting for North and South. Learn about the quilts, their makers, life on the home front during the war, and about how civilians organized to get desperately needed aid and supplies to the battlefield.

The National Heritage Museum is dedicated to presenting exhibitions on a wide variety of topics in American history and popular culture. The Museum is supported by the Scottish Rite Freemasons in the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction of the United States. The Museum is located at 33 Marrett Road in Lexington at the corner of Route 2A and Massachusetts Avenue. The Museum is open Wednesday through Saturday from 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Admission to the Museum is free. For further information contact the Museum at (781) 861-6559. www.nationalheritagemuseum.org

Speaking in New Haven, CT This Saturday

I will be speaking at the Masonic Lodge of Research of Connecticut No. 401 in New Haven this coming Saturday, March 31st.

From the lodge website:

Worshipful Brother Chris Hodapp will be the recipient of the Masonic Lodge of Research James Royal Case Fellowship on March 31 in public ceremonies at the New Haven Masonic Temple, 285 Whitney Avenue. The evening will begin with dinner at 6:30 p.m., followed by the 7:30 p.m. conferral of the award and a presentation by Bro. Hodapp.

The Case Fellowship was first presented by MLR in 1971, and the recipient was Bro. Case himself. In his 6+ decades as a Mason, Jim Case served as Grand Historiographer of most of the grand Masonic bodies of Connecticut. He was a Past Master of American Lodge of Research in New York City and the author of numerous books and articles on Masonic history. Respected for his work worldwide, Bro. Case began the bicentennial history of the Grand Lodge of Connecticut before being called by the Grand Architect of the Universe in 1987.

Chris Hodapp is the twentieth recipient of the Case Fellowship and the second from Indiana. The first was MWPGM Dwight Smith, also the long-serving Grand Secretary of that Grand Lodge. Chris was the almost accidental choice to write Freemasons For Dummies, which became one of the biggest sellers in that franchise's catalog. Since that time, he has written several other Masonic-related works, some in collaboration with his wife, Alice Von Kannon. Chris also writes a popular Masonic blog.

Those desiring to attend the March 31 dinner must make prepaid reservations through WM Martin Ede not later than March 24. The cost of the dinner, to which ladies and guests are most welcome is $20 per person, and checks payable to MLR may be sent to Bro. Ede at 9 Simpson Court, Bethany, CT 06524. Questions may be directed to Martin at mede@snet.net.

When Bro. Hodapp came to Connecticut in 2008, space was at a premium to hear his address and chat with him before and after the meeting as he sold his papers. Another large crowd is anticipated for his upcoming visit.

The French Meltdown: Florida Suspends Relations with GLNF

The Grand Lodge of Florida has joined the growing ranks of North American grand lodges that have suspended fraternal relations with the Grande Loge Nationale Française. See this link for the text.

To All Particular Lodges

Dear Brethren,

In consequence of recent events and the ongoing disharmony within the Grande Loge Nationale Française, M:.W:. Jim J Harris, Grand Master of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Florida, hereby SUSPENDS FRATERNAL RELATIONS between the Grand Lodge of Florida and the Grande Loge Nationale Française effective February 24, 2012.

This suspension of fraternal relations is based upon recommendation of M:.W:. J. Dick Martinez, Chairman of the Grand Lodge of Florida Fraternal Relations Committee, and concurs with the recommendations of the Committee on Information and Recognition of the 2012 Conference of Grand Masters of North America.

Therefore, no lodge in Florida may visit nor allow visitors or petitioners for affiliation or dual membership from any Lodge Chartered by The Grande Loge Nationale Française.

Sincerely and fraternally,Richard E. Lynn, PGM
Grand Secretary

Levant Preceptory in Detroit Last Weekend

Many thanks to the members and guests of Detroit Commandery No. 1 last Saturday for their kind hospitality as Levant Preceptory traveled to Michigan to portray the Order of the Temple in period costume. Sir Knights came from Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Canada and Trinity Commandery No. 80 in Downer's Grove, Illinois for the day, and it was a great way to spend a Saturday. Lunch and dinner were outstanding, and the Detroit Masonic Temple is the perfect place to perform this degree.

Photos thanks to Phil Whisner.

(Left to right) Chris Hodapp, Jim Dillman, Jim Iles

Front Row
Chris Hodapp, Jim Dillman, Terry Turner, Tom Tuttle, Grand Master of the Grand Encampment William H. Koon II, Grand Commander of Indiana Paul Cole, Jack Wallace, and Hermits Rob Kumpfer and Mark Haworth

Back Row
Jim Iles, Phil Whisner, Mitchell Rohrbaugh, Aaron Taylor, Carson Smith, Dale Adams, John Bridegroom, and Hermit Gary Messer

Thanks especially to Grand Commander Cole and Grand Master Koon for coming out and seeing us. Levant Preceptory is Indiana's period recreation Knight Templar team, which operates under the charter of Raper Commandery No. 1 in Indianapolis. Sir Knights participate from all across Indiana.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Charles Rangel Celebrates 200 years of Prince Hall Freemasonry in New York

New York Representative Charles Rangel celebrated the 200th anniversary of Boyer Lodge No. 1 and Prince Hall Freemasonry in New York on the floor of the House of Representatives last week.

From his remarks on March 22nd, 2012:

History notes that Boyer Lodge No. 1 was named after Jean Pierre Boyer, a native of Saint-Domingue, who was born around February 15, 1776. He was a courageous soldier and leader of the Haitian Revolution, who served as a General under Toussaint L' Ouverture in the Haitian War of Independence against the French Government. Jean Pierre Boyer served as the fourth President of Haiti from 1818 to 1843, and managed to rule for the longest period of time of any of the revolutionary leaders of his generation. He reunited the north and south of Haiti in 1820 and also invaded and took control of Santo Domingo, which brought all of Hispaniola under one government by 1822. Under President Boyer's leadership, Haiti declared independence from France in 1825, becoming the only free Black nation, then in existence.As stated by Worshipful Master Carlo Smith-Ramsay,

The daring price that our ancestors paid to boldly and audaciously decide to become Freemasons at a time in history when men of color were not entirely free men and the laws of the land provided them very little protection is the reason why we should humbly and reverently celebrate our Bi-centennial Anniversary of Boyer Lodge No. 1.''

Read his complete remarks here.

H/T to Stephen Hill

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Controversial Kentucky Man Arrested for Lodge Theft

Readers from last year may recall the story of WBro. John D. Wright of Kentucky, who announced to his lodge that he was openly gay and attempted to get anti-discrimmination legislation passed at Grand Lodge in 2010. Wright went on to blog about his situation and kept the gay issue at the forefront of his posts. At one point charges were filed against him by members of his lodge, who privately told me that homosexuality was not the only reason for the charges, without elaborating at that time. He was subsequently suspended.

Well, it seems that Wright was just arrested for stealing $10,000 from his lodge between 2009 and 2011.

From the Richmond Register:

John D. Wright, 27, of Radcliff, was arrested Saturday morning by the Kentucky State Police, according to the Hardin County Detention Center’s website. An arrest warrant for Wright had been issued after a Madison grand jury indicted him last month on a felony charge of theft by failure to make required disposition of property.

Wright is being held without bond and will be transported to Madison County Detention Center. Court records show the case has been assigned to Madison Circuit Court Judge Jean C. Logue.

The charge against Wright was a direct submission to the grand jury, meaning the case had not proceeded through Madison District Court first. Most criminal cases begin with arrest and proceed in district court. Felony cases typically are referred by the judge to the grand jury. If a person is indicted on one felony charge or more by the grand jury, the case will continue in circuit court.

Commonwealth’s Attorney David Smith said the KSP and Richmond Masonic Lodge 25 had requested the case be directly submitted to the grand jury. KSP Detective Monte Owens testified at the closed hearing about the “lengthy investigation” conducted by the agency into Wright’s handling of the lodge’s funds from July 2009 to April 2011, according to KSP Post 7 Public Affairs Officer Paul Blanton. Blanton said an investigative audit was conducted of the lodge’s records.

Other than the indictment, Wright’s case file did not contain any additional information about the alleged crime. The indictment states he “obtained company funds ... and then dealt with the funds as his own and thereby obtained property from the company of the value of more than $10,000.”

In 2010, Wright told a Winchester Masonic lodge, at which he was the Master, that he was gay, according to a Lexington Herald-Leader story. He had been with the organization since 2007.

Wright told the newspaper that lodge members asked for his resignation, which he refused to give. Later that year, a proposed change to the Masonic state constitution to bar openly homosexual members was voted down at the group’s state gathering.

However, organizational charges were brought against Wright for going public with private Masonic information and forsaking God by declaring his homosexuality. A Masonic trial found Wright guilty of “un-Masonic conduct” on April 8, and he was indefinitely suspended, according to the Lexington newspaper.

UPDATE 3/25/2013

From the Richmond Register News comes the outcome of Wright's trial:

A former Madison County man accused of stealing thousands from a Richmond Masonic Lodge entered an Alford plea in circuit court, and the state is recommending a five-year sentence. 
John D. Wright, 28, entered the plea last week to a charge of theft by failure to make required disposition of property, according to Commonwealth’s Attorney David Smith. 
An Alford plea means the defendant does not admit guilt but acknowledges that enough evidence exists for a conviction. 
The prosecution recommended Wright receive a sentence of five years in prison. His plea deal also requires that he pay $13,000 in restitution to the lodge, Smith said. 
The crime was investigated by the Kentucky State Police.The sentence recommendation is the minimum for the Class C felony, which carries a sentencing range of five to 10 years in prison. 
Wright was a treasurer of the Masonic Temple Company when, from July 2009 to April 2011, he was accused of stealing the money, according to an indictment handed down in February 2012. He reportedly “obtained company funds ... and then dealt with the funds as his own and thereby obtained property from the company of the value of more than $10,000.” 
His sentencing in Madison Circuit Court is scheduled for 2 p.m. May 9.Wright caused waves in the Kentucky Masonic community in 2010 when he told members of his Clark County lodge that he was gay after he divorced his wife, according to a Lexington Herald-Leader article. He joined the organization in 2007. 
A Frankfort lodge proposed a change to the group’s state constitution that would prohibit openly gay men from being Masons, but the proposal was rejected by vote during a 2010 Masonic statewide gathering, according to the article. 
However, a 2011 Masonic trial on mutliple counts found Wright guilty of “un-Masonic conduct,” and he was indefinitely suspended, the newspaper reported. 
Wright ran for District 4 constable in Madison County during the 2010 election. He came in third-place for the Democratic primary.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Junior Grand Deacon of Ohio Passes Away

The Junior Grand Deacon of the Grand Lodge of Ohio, Right Worshipful Brother Michael T. Puskarich, passed away suddenly on Saturday, March 17th.

From the Grand Secretary of Ohio on the GL website:

It is with sadness and a heavy heart that I inform you of the passing of our Junior Grand Deacon, and the President of the Board of Trustees of the Ohio Masonic Home, Right Worshipful Brother Michael T. Puskarich.

As a result of complications from a pulmonary embolism, Right Worshipful Brother Puskarich passed during the early hours of Saturday morning, March 17 while a patient at Good Samaritan Hospital in Zanesville. Michael is survived by his wife, Judy, and two children.

Expressions of sympathy can be sent to:

Mrs. Judy Puskarich
35500 Cadiz Piedmont
Cadiz, OH 43907-9638

Calling hours and funeral services will both be conducted at Scotts United Memorial Methodist Church, 817 East Market Street, Cadiz, OH 43907.

Calling hours are 1:00 P.M. until 8:00 P.M., Thursday, March 22nd . Masonic Funeral Services will be conducted by the Grand Master Thursday evening at 6:30 P.M. Masons who plan on attending the Masonic Services should bring their own aprons.

Funeral Services will be conducted Friday morning, March 23rd at 10:30 A.M.

His love for life; his love for family; his love for the fraternity; his big, warm smile; his soft spoken voice…gone, but not forgotten.

“To live in the hearts we leave behind is not to die.” - Thomas Campbell

C. Michael Watson, PGM
Grand Secretary

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

NASCAR's Clint Bowyer

NASCAR fans take note: the Grand Lodge of Kansas reports that driver Clint Bowyer has petitioned Emporia Lodge No. 12 for membership. The Grand Lodge joined Bowyer at an event today to dedicate the Bowyer Community Building in Emporia, made possible by his $1 million donation to the community.

From the Grand Lodge of Kansas website:

A native of Emporia, Kansas, Bowyer drives the #15 5 Hour Energy Toyota Camry in the Sprint Cup Series for Michael Waltrip Racing. Early in his career, he drove for Richard Childress Racing. He won the 2008 Nationwide Series championship.

The building, which was completed in early March was made possible by a donation of $1 million by Bowyer in July 2010 and will be available for many uses including children's and community events.

Grand Master Tracy L. Bloom presided over the ceremony, and was joined by Past Grand Masters Jimmi L. Grassi and Roy T. Sullivan, Deputy Grand Master Don Newman, and a host of Masons from across the state. On hand to watch the ceremony was a crowd of 250 spectators, community leaders and the media.

Additionally, Mark Snider, the Master of Emporia Lodge announced that Bowyer has petitioned for membership in Emporia Lodge No. 12.

H/T to Michael Halleran, who says if Bowyer is successfully voted in, he'll be "going through the old fashioned way."

Levant Preceptory Travels To Detroit 3/24

Levant Preceptory, Indiana's medieval period recreation Templar unit, will be conferring the Order of the Temple in the Detroit Commandery #1 Asylum in the historic Detroit Masonic Temple on Saturday, March 24, 2012 at 2:00 P.M. They will be serving lunch at 12:00 P.M. and a dinner banquet will be held at approximately 5:00 P.M. following the conferral. Anyone interested in attending should contact Detroit Commandery #1 Eminent Commander S.K. Abe Albert at asa2253@aol.com or by telephone at 313-590-0503. Meal reservations need to be made no later than Wednesday, March 14, 2012. Time is very short, so please contact SK Albert right away if you are interested in attending.

Anyone who would like to go up the night before or stay Saturday evening may use the discounted room rate at the Holiday Inn in Livonia, MI, which is approximately a thirty-minute drive from the Detroit Masonic Temple. If you make a reservation at the hotel, use the group code LEV or tell them that you are with the Levant Preceptory group. Rooms have been discounted from $119.00 to $89.00.

Levant Preceptory confers the Order of the Temple in period costume, chainmaille, steel helmets and broadswords, and is made up of Sir Knights from all across Indiana. It is a club of Indianapolis' Raper Commandery No. 1, and operates under Raper's charter.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Indiana Disaster Relief From Tornados

The Grand lodge of Indiana has issued the following message about disaster relief from the recent tornados in Indiana:

Most of you have learned of the recent rash of tornados to hit southern Indiana. The Grand Lodge office has had several inquiries regarding ways to help with the recovery efforts. We have been in contact with two different Worshipful Masters regarding damages. The Worshipful Master of Grandview #161, WB Ira David Bevins reported that the front awning roof of their building was heavily damaged, and the building is unsafe to enter at this time. WM Bevins was not aware of any injuries, and no other serious damage in Grandview, Indiana. Their insurance company has been contacted and will help them deal with the damage.

The Worshipful Master of Henryville Lodge #651, WB Jerry Wayne Zollman, Jr. has informed us of their current situation. The lodge building escaped with minor damage, a few broken windows and some minor roof damage, which is also covered by insurance. The Masonry structure still has electricity, heat and water. WM Zollman has informed us that some members had some home damage, and one brother had serious injuries. WM Zollman has been in contact with the Red Cross and the local township authorities in his area, and has offered the use of the lodge hall as a possible shelter or distribution center. He was told that there are facilities close by to act as shelters for displaced residents as well as adequate food necessities flowing in. The lodge hall may likely become a distribution center in the coming days. WM Zollman will let us know if and what we all can do to help with their tragic situation in a couple of days as disaster relief plans are implemented. He cautions that physical help and supplies should not simply come to the community, since professional disaster relief people are on the scene and will likely turn such aide away. This office will send out further updates as information comes available. You can contact Worshipful Master Zollman at jzollman@insight.com or by telephone at (812) 569-7814 if you wish to discuss assistance with him. Money donations will likely be the best help at this time. Monetary donations can be made through the Grand Lodge Web Site under the Contributions heading followed by Disaster Relief. Monetary contributions have also been set up as listed below.

Disaster Relief Donation Center
Jennings Twp. VFD Parking Lot
Trailer will be parked between Austin City Hall
& Jennings Twp. Vol. Fire Department
Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday
10am - Noon & 2pm - 7pm
Need Donations: good used furniture, good
clean clothes,toiletries & household items
Please No Food Items @ This Location
For More Info Call: 812.794.6646

Disaster Relief Donation Center
Mid America Science Park
Lake Road Behind Pizza Hut
Needed Donations: non-perishable food items and snacks,
water, personal hygiene items, pillows, blankets, towels and
wash cloths, pet food, and disposable diapers.
Also needed are work gloves, generators, chain saws, rakes,
shovels, flash lights, large heavy duty trash bags, tarps,
and Large Storage totes.
Check Donations can be made to: Disaster Relief Fund
Clothing is not being accepted at this time
For More Info Call: 812.820.3472

Richard J. Elman, PGM
Grand Secretary

Thursday, March 01, 2012

New Author for Lost Symbol Movie Adaptation

Deadline New York is reporting that Dan Brown has passed the reins of writing the screen adaptation of The Lost Symbol to a new author:

Danny Strong, who wrote the Jay Roach-directed HBO films Recount and the upcoming Sarah Palin pic Game Change, is stepping up to features. Sony Pictures has set him to write The Lost Symbol, Sony’s third installment of the Dan Brown-penned thrillers focusing on symbologist Robert Langdon. The expectation is that the film will be directed by Mark Romanek after Ron Howard opted out of directing the third film, with Howard producing with Imagine partner Brian Grazer after he helmed the blockbusters The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons. Grazer produced the first two films in the series with the late John Calley.

Strong comes in after Brown had a hand in writing a script as did Steven Knight. The project is a priority for the studio. The Da Vinci Code grossed $758 million worldwide in 2006 and while Angels & Demons dropped off to a $486 million worldwide gross in 2009, that is still a big box office haul. Tom Hanks, who played Langdon in the first two thrillers, is expected to reprise, but no commitment has been made to this point.

Speaking in New Hampshire Saturday 3/3

On Saturday, March 3rd, 2012, I'll be speaking at the Nashua Masonic Temple for Ancient York Rite Lodge. From their website:

Worshipful Brother Chris Hodapp is making his first visit to New Hampshire. Ancient York Lodge will be hosting a semi-public Fellowship dinner and presentation on Saturday, March 3, 2012. Dinner will start at 6:00pm; Bro. Hodapp’s presentation will begin at ap- proximately 7:30pm. Tickets for the event will be $20 per person. All Masons and those interested in learning about Freemasonry are welcome to attend!

Tickets will be available for purchase from Bros. Michael Henry or Chris Busby. Alternatively, they are available to purchase via PayPal.

Bro. Hodapp is the author of a number of books on Masonry including "Freemasons for Dummies". He is currently the Editor-In-Chief of "The Journal of the Masonic Society" and a Founding Fellow of the Society. He is a Past Master of Lodge Vitruvian No. 767 in Indianapolis. He received his 33° in Chicago in August 2011.

Visit the website for tickets.

Andrew Hammer in Connecticut June 4th

Wyllys – St. John's Lodge No. 4 A.F. & A.M. will present an Evening With Andrew Hammer, Author of the book, "Observing the Craft"

June 4th, 2012, 7:30pm (Dinner served at 6:00pm)

Wyllys-St. John's Lodge No. 4
11 South Main St.
West Hartford, CT, 06107

Reservations Required
Lecture only: Free
Dinner with W.B. Andrew Hammer (Prime Rib au Jus): $30
Autographed Book: $20

For reservations, please mail check with appropriate amount, names of persons attending and your selections to:

Jonathan Stein, J.W.
12 Miamis Rd.
West Hartford, CT, 06117

Please contact J.W., Jonathan Stein at: (860) 751-4482 or jstein@wsj4.org with questions.