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


Monday, May 29, 2023

Ric Berman To Speak at Georgia's Atlanta-Peachtree Lodge June 19th

by Christopher Hodapp

At 7:30pm on June 19th, 2023, Atlanta-Peachtree Lodge No. 59 will host Worshipful Brother Dr. Ric Berman at an open event at the Atlanta Masonic Center in Atlanta, Georgia. Dr. Berman will be giving his presentation  "1723: Inventing the Future," which commemorates the 300th anniversary of 1723's Constitutions of the Free-Masons written by James Anderson.

A version of this presentation was previously given to over 1,600 brethren at a special meeting of the United Grand Lodge of England in January of this year, which UGLE's Pro Grand Master, Most Worshipful Brother Jonathan Spence, described as "a truly wonderful and extraordinary event."

Dr. Berman is one of the most exciting Masonic historians of our time. He is a Past Master of Quatuor Coronati Lodge, No. 2076 (the Premier Lodge of Masonic Research), and was named as the United Grand Lodge of England's Prestonian Lecturer in 2016. He is also a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. He received his PhD in History from the University of Exeter, and has written numerous books on Masonic history, including Loyalists & Malcontents: Freemasonry and Revolution in South Carolina and Georgia, and The Foundations of Modern Freemasonry.  His most recent book is the basis of this particular presentation, 1723: Inventing the Future.

This meeting in Atlanta should be a truly fascinating evening of Masonic history. Atlanta-Peachtree Lodge meets in the Atlanta Masonic Center, located at 1690 Peachtree Street NW. While attendance for this presentation is free, a registration form should be completed at this link.

Friday, May 19, 2023

Rubicon Masonic Society's Ongoing Virtual Education Programs

by Christopher Hodapp

I've been woefully remiss in failing to promote the ongoing Masonic education video presentations posted by the fine brethren at Kentucky's Rubicon Masonic Society, in conjunction with Lexington Lodge 1 and the William O. Ware Lodge of Research. 
The May 22nd, 2023 program is "Operative Freemasonry: A Manual for Restoring Light and Vitality to the Fraternity" presented by Kirk White, the current Grand Junior Warden of the Grand Lodge of Vermont. To RSVP and gain access to this episode, CLICK HERE.

Rubicon hosts their virtual Masonic education programs on the 4th Monday of each month, starting promptly at 7 pm Eastern. Education is open to Masons of all degrees as well as non-Masons. Their monthly online presentations started during the COVID shutdowns and have continued ever since. They're up to 47 episodes so far, and are still going strong. 

If you've never heard of it before, the Rubicon Masonic Society is an invitation-only private group of Master Mason Freemasons located in Lexington, Kentucky. Their purpose is to establish a deeper understanding and connection with Freemasonry, its traditions and practices, and to further cement the brotherhood of its members and guests through conviviality and unity outside of the lodge. Their annual Festive Boards, held at Lexington's magnificent Spindletop Hall, have become legendary (this year's will be August 18th, as part of a special conference about the 'Classic Masonic Authors of the 20th Century' – CLICK HERE for details), and I heartily recommend attending one, or at least catching the video they shot demonstrating their special ways of running these events (see The Masonic Table on Amazon Prime).

Monday, May 08, 2023

Colorado Lodge Dedicates Idiosyncratic New Meeting Space

Photo: Bruce Hinde

by Christopher Hodapp

CORRECTION: I mistakenly thought the new building being used by Elk Mountain Lodge was a re-purposed grain storage silo. Brother David Moran tells me this is a brand new structure, and was never used as a silo. My apologies for jumping to conclusions.

On April 22nd, the Grand Lodge AF&AM of Colorado consecrated the new lodge hall of Elk Mountain Lodge 118 in one of the most unusual locations in the world — inside of a round, steel building that resembles a grain storage silo (photo above). 

Photo: WB David Moran

Photo: Elk Mountain Lodge Facebook page

Up until two years ago, their old lodge hall on the second floor at 111 Eighth Street in Steamboat Springs had served them well for almost a century, but the cost of upkeep and improvements continued to rise over the decades while their supporting membership shrank in size.  So Brother Ray Selbe, a member of Elk Mountain Lodge since the 1980's, came up with an innovative solution: a 900-square-foot loft area inside of a round, steel building on his ranch that houses his blacksmith shop and antique tool collection.

Selbe, a practicing blacksmith, was building a shop where he could properly display a collection of blacksmithing tools he has been accumulating for several years. When the topic of the lodge needing a new location came up, he offered to build a mezzanine where the members could meet.

“We were building a new blacksmith shop, and suddenly we needed a place for the lodge,” Selbe said. “So we built a mezzanine level in the new blacksmith shop for the lodge.”

The new Elk Mountain Masonic Lodge is located above Selbe’s shop on his ranch located at 25245 County Road 42. The 900-square-foot lodge is built on the mezzanine level of the 1,800-square-foot blacksmith shop.


The completion of the lodge put a smile on Selbe’s face not only because it gave the Masons a new place to meet, but because it ensures the organization still has a home in Steamboat Springs.

“My grandfather and my dad and uncles were all Masons — it was a family tradition, I guess,” Selbe said. “There were a lot of memories in that downtown location, but now we’ll make new memories.”

Photo: Elk Mountain Lodge Facebook page

Photo: Elk Mountain Lodge Facebook page

Like so many lodges, Elk Mountain began life downtown in their hometown of Steamboat Springs, Colorado. They were granted dispensation in 1902 and received their charter in 1904. 

Elk Mountain 118's former downtown lodge hall in Steamboat Springs
(Photo: Google Maps)

But Elk Mountain's new, modern lodge room is truly unique for the 21st century. For many years, these distinctive agricultural vessels have been converted into innovative homes and vacation cabins, but this is the first one I've ever encountered being turned into a Masonic temple. 

*   *   *

Read the histories of Masonic grand lodges throughout America over the centuries and you'll encounter countless stories of lodges meeting in unusual places like caves, above general stores, in barns, attic loft areas of log cabins — anywhere that could be successfully tyled, away from prying eyes and snoopy eavesdroppers. In Indiana we had two lodges that began life meeting on the top floors of operating grist mills in the 1800s: Millersville Lodge 126 and Wild Cat Lodge 311. (Adams Mill in tiny Cutler, Indiana is a museum today and area Masons have set up a historical re-creation of the original meeting space of Wild Cat Lodge No. 311 for the public to see and for our lodges to use.)

1864-era Masonic lodge room re-creation on top floor
of Adam's Mill, Cutler, Indiana.

Tuesday, May 02, 2023

GL of New York Restores Amity with the GL of Scotland

NY GM restores amity with Scotland (artist rendering).

by Christopher Hodapp

The Grand Lodge of New York has at last settled its six-year-long dispute with the Grand Lodge of Scotland and restored fraternal relations. Announcements were officially issued this morning by New York's Grand Master, Most Worshipful Richard J. Kessler, and Scotland's Grand Secretary, RW William M.S. Semple. (Click images below to enlarge.)

Scotland never did suspend recognition of New York, so their letter merely states the resumption of fraternal relations.

The original dispute came about in 2017 after a chain of events in the Middle Eastern nation of Lebanon (yes, really). Grand lodges of Scotland, New York and the Grande Loge Nationale Française (GLNF) have all had regularly chartered lodges in that country for decades, and shared that territory (along with at least six more unrecognized and/or irregular grand lodges that chartered other lodges of their own). New York first established lodges in Lebanon in 1924, and created its own District Grand Lodge of Syria-Lebanon back in 1955.

Meanwhile, Scotland's first lodge in the area was chartered in 1861, back when the region was called Greater Syria, and the Scottish lodges flourished during the period of the Ottoman Empire. The GL of Scotland formed its own own District Grand Lodge of Lebanon in 2012, and I believe they currently have a dozen lodges at work there.

Complicating matters, the Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia chartered two of its own Lebanon lodges that resulted in New York suspending relations with them briefly in 2008-09 for improperly invading the territory. They patched up their feud pretty quickly.

But the longer gripe with Scotland came when a pair of expelled New York Masons in Lebanon jumped ship, joined a Scottish-constitution lodge, AND helped charter the District of Columbia's new Lebanon lodges. Despite New York's actions, the GL of Scotland not only refused to acknowledge and honor the expulsions, but went even further and bestowed provincial grand rank on the two men.

Here is the letter from the GL of New York back in 2017 announcing the withdrawal amity, just for reference:

Confused yet? For a longer explanation of this saga, see this story from 2017 (Click Here).

PGM William Sarbane (right, in the hat) issued a
charter for the new Grand Lodge of Lebanon in 2018.

Further mucking up this melange, three of the Grand Lodge of New York's chartered 
Lebanon lodges petitioned to form their own grand lodge. A charter to that effect was signed and issued by the Grand Lodge of the F&AM of the State of New York on October 24, 2018 creating the Grand Lodge of the F&AM of Lebanon. They currently have six chartered lodges at work, plus a lodge of research. However, there still remain 12 active New York lodges in their District Grand Lodge of Syria-Lebanon, along with Scotland's lodges in their District Grand Lodge of Lebanon.

And I don't even want to talk about the GLNF's French lodges because it becomes too headache inducing.

In Thomas Jefferson's inaugural address in 1801, he declared his devotion to "peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none." Those ol' entangling alliances will bite you in the butt every time.