After more than two months of silent unease, a letter was received last week by the members of AW 22, informing them of the subsequent actions of the GM and the officers, and their current situation. The letter dated June 19th was signed by Michael P. Bible PM, the new Worshipful Master Designate of Alexandria-Washington Lodge 22. It reads in part:
"I would like to update you concerning the status of our Lodge charter and some information, as I know it. I share your frustration with regards to the lack of communication with our membership throughout this process.
"On April 13, 2017, the Grand Master of Masons in Virginia arrested our Lodge Charter. The Grand Master directed the Worshipful Master to contact the Grand Lodge Office for a meeting to discuss getting the charter restored.
"On April 21, 2017, the Worshipful Master, 8 days later, contacted the Grand Lodge for an appointment date with the Grand Master.
"On May 10, 2017, the officers of the Lodge, with the exception of the Senior Warden, met with the Grand Master in Richmond, Virginia. During that meeting the Grand Master requested the Worshipful Master and the Secretary to write and send letters to him, explaining how the lodge plans to address and correct the issues for which the charter was arrested.
"We believe the Grand Lodge received the requested letters sometime during later part of May.
"On June 2, 2017, the Grand Master sent letters to the Worshipful Master, the Senior Warden, the Treasurer, and the Secretary, removing them from their officer responsibilities. After a personal meeting between the Grand Master and the Treasurer, the Grand Master rescinded removing the Treasurer from office.
"The Grand Master has made the following decisions; I have been selected to serve as Worshipful Master, RW Mark Underwood, DDGM, will serve as Senior Warden, and RW Jack Canard, PDDGM, will serve as Secretary. The charter will be returned and the new officers will be installed at our Stated Communication July 13, 2017. The Grand Master will also address the lodge at that time.
"Brethren, the last few months have been an emotional and challenging time for all of us. We, who make up the membership of Alexandria-Washington Lodge No. 22, at this particular moment in history, are the caretakers of our lodge and will determine its path forward from this fragile time in the life of our lodge. Together we will restore our lodge and her great traditions and fraternal relationships. I ask for your participation and support, but more importantly your prayers. I ask prayers for relationships to be healed and prayers for our lodge and our great fraternally. I hope to see all of you at our July 13, 2017 stated meeting."There is much that I can't and won't comment on right now, however nothing good will come out of any of this, I'm afraid.
The dust has not entirely settled and there isn't even a charter back on their wall yet. If you have been planning an upcoming visit to a meeting of AW22, which is located inside the George Washington National Masonic Memorial, you are still unable to do that at this time.
Also, if you have an upcoming event scheduled with author WB Andrew Hammer who is a very popular speaker, I suggest you contact him PRIVATELY and NOT through the lodge's appointed interim Secretary, nor via the generic lodge email link to AW22's Secretary you might have had from the lodge website. That link will NOT reach him anymore.
As I posted before about this, all Virginia Masons are duly admonished to be aware of, and fully comply with, the Grand Lodge of Virginia's extraordinarily draconian rules regarding online communications. Take notice and govern yourselves accordingly.
Sadly, grand lodges that enact such rules only create a sense of bolder defiance when un-Masonic activity or overreach happens, and the result is never good for anybody. Politicians, entertainers, and corporate executives have all demonstrated there's no such thing as 'keeping it all quiet' anymore. Masons haven't figured it out yet, I'm afraid. Masonic secrecy was always about honor, and never about covering up less than honorable behavior.
At least, that's what it's supposed to be about.