Word coming out of the annual communication of the Grand Lodge of New York F&AM on Monday is that they have suspended recognition of the Grand Lodge of Scotland. It appears to have been some institutional heartburn left over from an old territorial issue with the District of Columbia over lodges in Lebanon several years ago, but I haven't seen official wording yet (see the update below).
(New York's official trip to the UK this October might be a wee bit uncomfortable now, as Glasgow was supposed to be their first tour stop, then Edinburgh. Aaaaand...a Scottish team was all set to be in Troy, NY on May 25th to exemplify a degree, with the NY GM in attendance. Good thing Massachusetts, Connecticut and Vermont aren't far from Troy, so their plane tickets won't be wasted.)
NOTE: My headline is technically incorrect. Recognition is suspended, not withdrawn. I just can't change it now because it will break everybody's links back to here.
UPDATE 11:00AM 5/2/2017:
Okay, without having seen actual documents yet, my understanding is that this situation goes back to 2008. At that time, the Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia chartered a new lodge — Ahiram Lodge 1000 — in the Middle Eastern nation of Lebanon where the GLs of both Scotland and New York already had lodges (along with several others). New York at that time had long declared that Lebanon was their "exclusive territory" as part of its District Grand Lodge of Syria-Lebanon, and felt that it had been infringed upon by DC's actions. So NY suspended recognition of DC in 2008.
(Just in the cause of full disclosure, there were at least as many as 18 or 19 different "grand lodges" at work in the tiny country in 1999, the last year I was able to find info for — some of which were perfectly regular in origin and practice. Some are chartered by other nations like the Grande Loge Nationale Française, but others are considered less regular in the eyes of the more widely recognized Masonic world. It's...complicated, and the place isn't that big.)
After backchannel negotiations, the new DC lodge remained in operation, and amity between New York and DC were quickly restored in February 2009.
However, one major bone of contention grew over three former New York members from Lebanon who were expelled by the GL of NY and had been heavily involved in opening the DC-chartered lodge. It seems they subsequently left Ahiram 1000, briefly were members of the Grand Lodge of Italy, and eventually became members in a Scottish constitution lodge in Lebanon. The Scots would not honor NY's expulsions, permitting the three to retain their Scottish lodge membership. The tipping point now in 2017 is that the GL of Scotland is attempting to grant these same three Masons provincial grand rank for their Scottish district in Lebanon (which does seem unduly provocative from this outsider's point of view, but what do I know).
Meanwhile, there's absolutely zero irony that the Grand Officers of New York were bagpiped into their banquet to the tune of...'Scotland Forever.'
For an extensive article featuring a tour of the GL of New York's lodges in Lebanon, see pages 23-37 of the Spring 2017 issue of the Empire State Mason magazine.
For the pertinent background to this from back in 2008-9, including links to explanatory documents, see these posts:
11/6/2008: GL of New York Suspends Amity With GL of District of Columbia
11/11/2008: GLDC Responds to GLNY Over Lebanon
2/19/2009: UPDATED: GL of New York Restores Recognition with the GL of District of Columbia
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