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


Tuesday, August 09, 2022

Reading, Pennsylvania Scottish Rite Cathedral Damaged By Fire

by Christopher Hodapp

West Reading fire officials are investigating a suspicious overnight blaze at the Scottish Rite Valley of Reading, Pennsylvania. The Scottish Rite Cathedral suffered extensive smoke damage from the fire that was confined to the lobby. It is currently being investigated as arson.

According to a story in the Reading Eagle by reporter Steven Henshaw, West Reading police and fire departments were dispatched at 1:20 a.m. Tuesday to the Cathedral at 430 S. Seventh Avenue when smoke was spotted pouring out of several windows. The fire was located in the west end of the lobby, and most of the furniture was ablaze when fire fighters arrived.

Thankfully, there were no injuries, but damage to the Cathedral is expected to be significant. 
According to WB Seth Anthony, the fire fortunately did not reach the offices or the Children's Dyslexia Center.

The Reading Scottish Rite's lobby before the fire 
{Photo from their website)

The Scottish Rite Valley of Reading was established in 1906. Their current Cathedral was built in phases, beginning in 1983 and completed in 1988. The auditorium seats 1,300, and it is an important venue in the community for theatrical presentations, music, seminars, and community events like high school graduations.

Anyone with information about the fire is asked to call West Reading police at 610-373-0111 and talk to Criminal Investigator Karie Good.

Photos: Bill Uhrich for the Reading Eagle
H/T to WB Seth Anthony - alas, this is his home Valley.


  1. Too many events like this, sad, sad, sad.

  2. Our lodge in Honey Brook, PA was vandalized with graffiti. We're a rural community. Our budding artist told us "Jesus is King + Lord of Lords" While we agree with that statement, our vandal failed to understand that Jesus probably didn't go around tagging buildings. We would gladly have a dialog with the person if contacted by other means. As a PM, I'd respond to a note taped to the door.

    So much hate towards our Fraternity by the uneducated masses. We aren't the problem. It's imperative that we actually do something in our communities so they can see our members as a force for good.

    We always talk about seeking more light. Many forget that we need to be the light and share it with others.

  3. It seems necessary to take more defensive precautions. For example, surveillance cameras, alarm systems, fortified glass, and fire retardant water sprinkler systems. Many Freemasons are currently (and have in the past) set a good example by sharing their LIGHT in their Lodges, outside of Lodges, in their homes, in their communities, and (from my personal experience) even on the battlefield.

    Many years ago, as a young Rosicrucian student, I traveled the United States, Germany, France, and Japan. I saw outreach programs in action during that time. I was even present when the Rosicrucian Order, AMORC opened its University for the first time, on a limited basis, to the general public and there were even a few Masons in attendance.

    Freemasonry, has also tried outreach programs in order to present a good positive image to the more uninformed general public. And we must continue to do so, never lose hope. But having said that I am reminded that some of life's greatest truths are subjectively experienced. In other words, we can point the way, but we can not force any man to walk it.

    The late great, Frater Raymond Andrea, Past Grand Master of the Rosicrucian Order, AMORC, of England, commenting on the Conflict of Opposites, said:

    "It is the law of life, and there is no escape from it at this point of our evolution. Moreover, if we expect life to bear fruit in good works, nothing less than the conflict of opposites will produce them". In other words, a certain amount of darkness is to be expected and is inevitable. So let's continue our work and 'guard the West Gate'.


Your comments will not appear immediately because I am forced to laboriously screen every post. I'm constantly bombarded with spam. Depending on the comments being made, anonymous postings on Masonic topics may be regarded with the same status as cowans and eavesdroppers, as far as I am concerned. If you post with an unknown or anonymous account, do not automatically expect to see your comment appear.