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


Thursday, June 27, 2024

Charters of Lodges In Lebanon Revoked by GM of District of Columbia

by Christopher Hodapp

MW Grand Master Jacob M. Bressman of the Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia has arrested the charters of all three of their lodges in the Middle Eastern nation of Lebanon. Official Decision No. 2024-4, issued June 24th, revokes the charters of Phoenix Lodge No. 1001, Cadmus Lodge No. 1002, and Cedrus Libani Lodge No. 1003, all located in Beirut, Lebanon.

The Decision states:
"It has come to my attention that Phoenix Lodge No. 1001, Cadmus Lodge No. 1002 and Cedrus Libani Lodge No. 1003, have each demonstrated an inability to work together in fraternal communion-to such an extent that their disharmony warrants action by this Grand Lodge; and. . . have been provided ample opportunity to rectify these issues but have failed to do so. . . 


[These lodges are now] prohibited from holding all communications, conducting visitations to other Lodges, and participating in any Masonic activities-including all appendant bodies-held throughout this or any other Jurisdiction in the World, until such time as this matter is properly resolved."

The decision does clarify in this instance that the members of these three lodges who are in good standing "continue to enjoy their individual privileges and rights as Masons of this jurisdiction."

For such a relatively small country, Freemasonry has had a chaotic history Lebanon. In 1999, authors Kent Henderson and Tony Pope reported in their indispensable book, Freemasonry Universal, that there were at least 18 grand lodges at work within Lebanon at that time; several had just one single lodge and a grand master "appointed for life."

Grand lodges of Scotland, New York and the Grande Loge Nationale Française (GLNF) have all had regularly chartered lodges in that country for decades. 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. New York first established lodges in Lebanon in 1924, and created its own District Grand Lodge of Syria-Lebanon back in 1955.

The entry of the GLofDC into Lebanon was a recent development. I believe they chartered their first two lodges there in 2017, which turned into a major controversy that resulted in New York, Scotland and DC all trading accusations and withdrawals of fraternal relations for a few years.

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

It's worth pointing out to those unacquainted with the geography, Lebanon sits just west of Syria and north of Israel, abutting the Golan Heights. Increased Hezbollah attacks against Israel from across the border are in danger of escalating the war into Lebanon sooner than later. It is a complex country with a complicated population mix and a history of violent upheavals ever since achieving its post-WWII independence. As desperately needed as Masonry's message of tolerance, cooperation, universal benevolence, and brotherhood may be in this region of the world, the realities of human conflicts aren't always so easy to trowel over with the cement of brotherly love.

Sunday, June 23, 2024

Smoky Mountains Masonic Marker Near Maggie Valley Vandalized

by Christopher Hodapp

The Great Smoky Mountains Masonic Marker at Black Camp Gap in North Carolina was recently vandalized, according to an article on the WLOS-TV13 website

The Marker, located along the Blue Ridge Parkway, is a stone monument that was constructed in the 1930s by area Freemasons, and it contains stones from all 50 states, many of which are inscribed with their origins. 

Attendees at the annual Great Smoky Mountains York Rite Festival held in Maggie Valley each July make a pilgrimage to the Marker. It was dedicated July 11, 1938 and contains a time capsule. 

The Marker sits at the top of a hill and can be reached via a series of stone steps that are engraved with the names of various lodges and grand lodges that contributed to its construction. Photos in the article show damage was done to those stairway stones, along with several more on the Marker itself:

Blue Ridge Parkway representatives say it appears that someone took a hammer and chipped the steps away at the Masonic marker near Maggie Valley, all the way up to the main marker. "It appears to be some fairly recent vandalism," said Blue Ridge Parkway spokesperson Leesa Brandon.

Brandon says that only last week did they hear of the damage at the Masonic marker off of the Heintooga Road section of the Parkway.

"Unfortunately, instances of graffiti and vandalism on the Parkway are all too common," said Brandon. "But we're sorry obviously to see this particular instance at this historic marker that's been here since the late 1930s."

The monument includes rocks from most states — from places such as Plymouth Rock and the Alamo. Some of the stones have even come from the Rock of Gibraltar and Antarctica.

"A biker told me about it," said Mark Balree, who is visiting from Wilmington. "I'm going to go see it."

He finds the monument intriguing and is saddened to hear of the vandalism.

"Our law enforcement rangers have been on site and have collected some of the information," said Brandon. But, with no surveillance cameras on site, the investigation will be difficult.

"It's very hard to know or say exactly what happened without any witnesses," she said.

Brandon said this marker has a significant meaning to the Freemasons. "We've started some discussions with some of the local caretakers of that site about next steps," she said. The repairs, however, will be more difficult than replacing graffitied or stolen overlook signs.

"This is not going to be that kind of repair," Brandon said. "It will require a lot of special care and attention."

Future security measures are up for discussion, such as a security camera and more patrols.

"I think all of those conversations are on the table," she said.

The Blue Ridge Parkway says anyone with information should contact authorities at 1-800-727-5928.


The Marker was the brainchild of T. Troy Wyche in the early 1930s. A stone bearing his name was damaged, as was a triangular stone commemorating its dedication in 1938. It was created to demonstrate the cooperation among Masons all over the world.

The National Park Service explanation of the Marker
(Photo: Chris Hodapp)

According to the National Parks Service sign, the Marker is made up of 687 stones that came from the various states and 41 other nations, from every continent, including Antarctica. They include stones from Plymouth Rock, the Rock of Gibraltar, the Alamo, and the White House.

Over the years, a metal fence was installed around the Marker in an attempt to prevent just this sort of vandalism, and a wooden shelter was built over it to guard against damage from the natural elements.

Saturday, June 22, 2024

The Illumin-Arby?!

by Christopher Hodapp

More proof that we Freemasons are everywhere, hiding in plain sight. Even in fast food establishments.

First it was Taco Bell back in 2018, with hidden squares and compasses in their exterior light fixtures, followed by an entire ad campaign linking secret societies, secret lapel pins, tacos, and the Illuminati. The Belluminati.

Now it's Arby's with the "Masonic" all-seeing eye over an unfinished "Masonic" pyramid, just like the "Masonic" symbols on the back of the "Masonic" dollar bill. 

Actually, it's announcing the return of Arby's longtime signature side item, the triangular-shaped potato cake. And at the base? Dipping sauces and the Roman numerals for 'July 1, 2024.'

Friday, June 14, 2024

Speaking at New Jersey's Nutley Lodge This Monday 6/17

by Christopher Hodapp

This coming Monday, June 17th, I'll be flapping my way New Jersey-ward to speak at Nutley Lodge 25. Despite my having spoken there in 2011 and 2012, Worshipful Master Jerry Lukowiak wants me to come back anyway. 

It's not like he hasn't been warned... 

Dinner at 6:15PM, lodge opens at 7:00.

Thursday, June 13, 2024

RIP: Bill Hosler

by Christopher Hodapp

UPDATE Monday, June 13th, 10:30AM: This story has been updated with Bill's official obituary, and funeral and memorial services’ information for both Arkansas and Indiana.

The world suddenly became a sadder and far less pleasurable place to inhabit this weekend. Word came that my friend and Masonic Brother William C. Hosler, PM, passed to the Celestial Lodge on Thursday, June 6th. He was 58.

If you're a Masonic podcast fan, you may be familiar with Bill from the 'Meet, Act and Part' program, with co-hosts Greg Knott, Darin Lahners, and occasionally, 'The Midnight Freemasons' author Todd Creason. 

Bill Hosler entered the fraternity three years after I did. Back in the early 2000s, he joined Fort Wayne's 
Three Rivers Lodge 733, and almost immediately became a regular contributor to early Internet Masonic message boards like Jeff Naylor's Indiana-based MasoniclLight.net (which started in November 1999). 

Bill and I became buddies right from the start, sharing our love for 1960s British comedy. He had lived for a time in England, and I seemed to be the only one who caught on to his references to the hilarious old 'Carry On' movies.

MasonicLight.net came into being in the nascent days of the movement to create observant-style lodges in the U.S. (which went by various names over the years, like European Concept, Traditional Observance, Best Practices, and others I've lost track of). A core clot of us on the website began tossing around ideas which quickly led to the establishment of Indiana's Lodge Vitruvian 767, with our fearless leader Jeff Naylor as its founding Worshipful Master. And a lot of those ideas made their way into Laudable Pursuit, which we published on online anonymously under our group's nom de l'internet, The Knights of the North.

Bill Hosler was one of those intrepid knights of the keyboard.

At that time, Bill was a truck driver based in Fort Wayne, in northeastern Indiana. In the coming years, he served as Worshipful Master at Three Rivers Lodge, and became a plural member in Calvin Prather Lodge 717 in Indianapolis. 
Bill was a member of the Fort Wayne Valley of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite (NMJ); he served as the High Priest of Fort Wayne's Royal Arch Chapter 19; and he was Commander of Fort Wayne Commandery No. 4 of the Knights Templar. He was also member of Mizpah Shrine in Fort Wayne, where he served as the webmaster and editor of their magazine. In 2007, he became a member of the Grand Lodge of Indiana's Technology Committee.

Bill relocated to Texas for a while, and he attended lodge whenever and wherever he could. He joined Lebanon Lodge 837 in Frisco, Texas, Roff Lodge 169 in Roff, Oklahoma, and Ardmore Lodge 31, where he became a life member. He and his wonderful lady, Tammi Harmoning, most recently settled in Three Rivers, Arkansas.

Meanwhile, he continued to write about the fraternity, contributing regularly to Todd Creason's 'The Midnight Freemasons' blog. Over time, he contributed a series of thoughtful short stories that featured dialogues between a young Mason named Pudge, and the Wise Old 50-year Mason, in a vein similar to Carl Claudy's famed Old Tyler Talks and The Old Past Master tales.

The 'Meet, Act and Part' podcast hit the air in 2020, and Bill was a regular presence there, too. But it was really Facebook where Bill's natural tendency to find a hilarious punchline in all things really came alive. I could always count on him to make me laugh at thoroughly inappropriate moments.

Services for Bill have not yet been announced, but this post will be updated as soon as I find the details (see below). My deepest condolences and sympathies go out to Tammi. Please keep her and the rest of their families in your thoughts and devotions.

I'm sorely going to miss you, my friend.

His column is broken, and his Brethren mourn. 

Requiescat in pace.

UPDATED June 13, 2024, 10:30AM:

Bill's obituary in the Arkansas Democrat Gazette:

William "Bill" Hosler, PM, age 58, of Cave Springs passed away on June 6, 2024, in his home. He was born February 1, 1966, in Fort Wayne, Ind., to William Carl Hosler and Margaret Ann Coil Hosler. Bill was the eldest of three children and was raised in Huntertown, Ind. Bill was preceded in death by his parents; and his beloved dog, Happy, who was the age of 13. Survivors include his soulmate, Tammi Harmoning of Cave Springs, Ark.; and his two siblings, Holly Hosler of Ohio, and Bob Hosler of Missouri. 

Local services for Bill will be Thursday, June 13, 2024, 1 p.m., at Hunt Chapel of Pinnacle Memorial Gardens in Rogers, Ark. Visitation will be held at Epting Funeral Home, Bentonville, Wednesday, June 12th, from 4-6 p.m. Bill will be laid to rest at Lindenwood Cemetery, Fort Wayne, Ind. Fort Wayne, Ind., services will be held at Lindenwood Cemetery on Saturday, June 15, 2024 at 2 p.m., with entombment to follow. 

Bill had several careers through his life, including a decade driving a truck. While it was not without stress, he found joy being on the road because he was able to visit all 48 United States and two provinces of Canada. He also worked as a Security and Emergency services officer at a General Motors, where he met so many long-lasting friends. For several years, Bill was the building manager for the Fort Wayne, Ind., Masonic Temple, and shared so many stories of his time there. Many of the inspirations for his fictional published writings came from his time as caretaker to the old Masonic edifice in Fort Wayne. 

Since his earliest days, he had a vivid imagination and a flair for writing. His writings have been published in the Working Tools magazine and he was a Regular Contributor for The Midnight Freemasons. He was also so happy when he was able to accomplish being a published author of Meditations of a Flawed Ashlar. He also found joy and laughter being a Co-Host of the Meet, Act and Part podcast with wonderful brothers he cared deeply for. He spent the last 14 years with his lady, Tammi, and their yellow Labrador named Happy, living across Oklahoma, Texas, and Arkansas. They enjoyed traveling with their precious dog to many parts of the lower 48. Within the last few years, they found joy in seeing the world, cruising the Caribbean and Atlantic Islands and had already begun planning several trips in the near future. 

WB Hosler was made a Master Mason in 2002, in Three Rivers Lodge No. 733 in Indiana. He served as Worshipful Master in 2007, and in 2006, became a member of the internet committee for Indiana's Grand Lodge. Bill was a member of Calvin Prather Lodge No. 717 in Indianapolis. He also held Masonic memberships outside his mother jurisdiction, amongst which was a perpetual membership of Ardmore No. 31 in Ardmore, Okla., and a lifetime member of Lebanon Lodge No. 837 in Frisco, Texas. Bill was a member of the Valley of Guthrie Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite in Oklahoma and the Valley of Indianapolis, Ind. He had also served as the High Priest Fort Wayne Chapter of the York Rite No. 19, and was Commander of Fort Wayne Commandery No. 4 of the Knight Templar. Bill is a founding member of the Masonic Society, he also held membership in the Dwight L Smith Lodge of Research in Indiana, Oklahoma Lodge of Research, Texas Lodge of Research, and The Missouri Lodge of Research and the Scottish Rite Valley of Fayetteville, Ark. 

Arrangements: Epting Funeral Home of Bentonville Condolences: www.eptingfuneralhome.com

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Postcards from Vancouver, Canada

by Christopher Hodapp

NOTE: This article rated RLRA (Really Long. Read Anyway.)

My very deep and belated thanks to the brethren of the Grand Lodge AF&AM of British Columbia & Yukon for inviting me as the keynote speaker for their Grand Masonic Day in Vancouver at the beautiful Freemasons Hall in New Westminster at the end of May. This event, presented by the Vancouver Lodge of Education and Research, has been going strong since 1982 and features a unique educational program each year with a lineup of speakers. 

I would especially like to thank Brothers Troy Spreeuw and Wes Regan for the great job they did organizing this event and for asking me to be a part of it. Troy and his wife Nina handled the book sales all afternoon and evening, and Nina also handled tickets sales for the event and other administrivia.  I'm afraid it was an extremely long day for them both. 

Attacks on Masonic Buildings in North America

Brother Wes Regan put on an excellent presentation concerning attacks on Masons and Masonic buildings in North America over the last several years. Vancouver was hit particularly hard a couple of years ago when an anti-Masonic arsonist set fires at three different Masonic buildings around the city, damaging one, gutting another, and completely destroying a third. A police officer spotted the arsonist at the last location and arrested him on the spot. 

This was a companion presentation to his article in a recent edition of the Philalethes Magazine (Vol 76, No. 4)Wes’ presentation collected statistics from several different grand lodges across North America. Few grand secretaries have been keeping detailed records of these sorts of things over the years, but it is obvious that individual lodges have got to step up to the plate and install surveillance cameras, alarm systems, exterior lighting of parking lots and entrances, and other security precautions, because these mostly Internet-driven, conspiracy-stoked anti-Masons are showing no signs of letting up.

When a window or doorway gets bashed in, it’s often done by someone who started out by painting graffiti on the building. Police departments don’t usually have anti-Masons on their radar. They don’t commonly know that antis do exist in large numbers, and so authorities don’t usually correlate several different attacks as perhaps coming from the same person. As a former Scotland Yard officer in attendance brought up, this is very similar to the sorts of attacks made on Jewish synagogues. Anti-Mason’s often conflate us with their own theories of 'nefarious Jews' who all supposedly control the world behind the scenes. Because of this common connection among conspiracists, we may be seeing a slow increase in vandalism in conjunction with the anti-semitic and anti-Israel protests going on around the world.

Transgenderism and Freemasonry

An extremely thoughtful program about the issue of transgenderism and Freemasonry was presented by WBs Frank Fowlie and Shaun Turner, with a panel discussion moderated by Philip Durell. These brothers researched differences between gender policies enacted recently by the United Grand Lodge of England versus those in several different U.S. grand lodges. Some grand lodges in North America and elsewhere have recently added language to their petitions or within their constitutions, stating that Masons and new petitioners must be natural born men, and remain as such. In contrast, the UGLE was compelled by European Union laws and England’s own transgender anti-discrimination laws to get very specific about what lodges can and cannot do. Laws there kick in when an existing member decides to change gender to live as a woman, or when a petitioner comes to them who presents as a man, but was in fact born as a woman. It can lead to a serious legal tango.

Even though, from a statistical standpoint, the possible numbers of potential trans-person petitioners will likely be infinitesimally small, it is going to happen in the coming years (and already has in several jurisdictions). The question becomes, should a grand lodge adopt an official policy, or remain completely silent? In truth, silence may not always be possible into the future as states and countries enact more and more specific laws on the subject. In the absence of federal law, this will continue to be a local or state level issue and there will be no uniformity. Bear in mind that our ancient customs and usages within the fraternity still permit every Mason the right to vote his conscience when accepting or rejecting a petitioner, just as every Mason still has the right to object to the attendance of any visitor into his lodge.

One thing is certain; if a trans-person petitions a Masonic lodge and is turned down for membership, someone who is determined to be a crusading activist on the subject may very well take their story to the news media, which will not give a particular damn that individual lodges can administer their own by-laws and their own members as they see fit. The press will merely characterize it as "The Freemasons" turning away a trans-person membership. That could very easily mushroom into an ugly and noisy lawsuit, and worse, a noisome and destructive story in the press. 

As the panel discussion wound down, there was no conclusive answer, and there wasn’t meant to be one with this presentation. This was intended as an informational session to familiarize members with the terminology, the laws, and the potential issues involved. It was heartening to witness just how calmly and rationally the discussion was handled by everyone present. There was no chest-thumping, smart-assed commentary, or angry pronouncements against one point of view or another. My hat's off to the brethren who handled the conversation so reasonably.

Civility. Whatta concept.

Lodge Communication and Masonic Education

A presentation by Junior Grand Warden Ron Cawthra concerned the importance of lodge communication, mentoring, and using the many tools that the GLofBCY offers to lodges to help educate their new members. Every single year, every jurisdiction has a whole new class of Worshipful Masters and officers who have never heard about these programs before, or never paid attention to them until they actually got to the East. A grand lodge could (and should) present this exact same transfer of information, year after year, as it reaches an entirely new audience every time.

The Dummy Speaks

As the afternoon darkened into evening, they had no alternative left but to let me speak. I’ve decided to stop giving long talks because of my throat – several of our members have threatened to cut it. But somehow I made it through this time without any ensuing property damage, so I presume the brethren found it of value. 

The program concluded with an open Q&A session with Wes and me, and I was gratified to see that no one bolted for the doors. It was either our scintillating observations or everyone was too overstuffed and preoccupied with digesting their dinners to have the energy to flee the joint. That, or everybody's NyQuil kicked in at the some moment.

After the program ended,  Troy Spreeuw recorded an extended discussion for his Mystic Tye podcast featuring the presenters, along with a group of brethren visiting Vancouver from lodges in Seattle, Washington.

Vancouver Masonic Centre

Let me jump back a day to Friday. While I was flown in for the Saturday event, I had the day before to explore the Vancouver Masonic Centre before visiting two lodges there that evening. The VMC is an example of Masons acting together in concert to create a new modern facility that is every bit as impressive as our older buildings, but far more practical for the modern fraternity, as well as providing for the future. Working with local city planners and housing authorities, they have created a facility that is also of great service to the surrounding neighborhood. 

(If you were a subscriber to the Journal of the Masonic Society and received the Spring 2023 double issue #59, check out the article 'What To Do With Our Masonic Buildings' by Wes Regan and Jack Barr wherein they describe the developments in Vancouver.)

Yep. 3+5+7+ another 18 = 33 steps

Their original 1970s-era hall was too far gone to keep pumping money into, so they knocked it down, and worked with an architectural firm to design a modern hall with a future source of substantial income. 

The Masonic portion of the building features two large lodge meeting rooms; a very accomodating social gathering/seating club room; a bar featuring individual scotch lockers for members' use; a roomy board meeting/banquet table/library area perfect for medium-sized festive boards; a coat and apron case closet; a small museum display area; and even two carved stone, functioning fireplaces. All of this is compactly arranged on one single floor. 

Lounge/social area, with the bar in the background.
Those are members' private scotch lockers on the back wall.

Lounge area with working fireplace

Board room / festive board dining table with room for 24

Apron and coat closet

Upstairs is the grand lodge office and the library/archive/museum room.

On the first, fourth and fifth floors are social and dining spaces, including an open outdoor patio. They have their own in-house catering staff for handling meals. But it's what's behind all this that's the key to self-sufficiency. 

Photo: Shape Architecture

Sharing the underground car park and behind the fraternal building is an 18-story apartment building, which will provide income for decades to come. The Grand Lodge has one furnished 2-bedroom suite set aside for out of town visitors, traveling grand officers, or the occasional visiting Dummy.

I will do a separate story with more about this ambitious project. (The Westminster hall also has a similar setup behind its historically-protected facade, because good ideas have a way of spreading.) Check out Wes Regan's article in the California Freemason magazine about these two projects HEREI will say here that Masons in every city or town with one or more enormous Masonic buildings they can no longer afford need to travel to Vancouver and see what they've done. 

More of that anon.

I do want to thank the brethren of Vancouver's Southern Cross Lodge for their generosity and hospitality on Friday night. Southern Cross is a unique lodge within their jurisdiction because it is believed to be the only Masonic lodge in all of Canada that is permitted to work using Australian ritual. Getting to see this while I was here reminded me that I saw Pennsylvania ritual when I visited Scotland many years ago, English emulation ritual when I went to Ohio, and now Australian ritual when I came to Canada. 

Go figure.

Grand Lodge Library & Archives

WB Trevor McKeown, Grand Historian

This trip also presented me with the great fortune of spending time with Trevor McKeown, the Grand Historian of the GLofBCY, and curator of their Grand Lodge Library & Archives. I've long admired the enormous amount of work Trevor has done in creating and updating their incredible website over the last 25 years. If you do research on almost any topic involving the fraternity, sooner or later you'll hit a link to their website with its hundreds of entries. 

Currently, the Grand Lodge Library & Archives is tucked into a compact space in the building. But new custom cabinetry has been installed in a display area adjacent to the lodge rooms and the large social lounge on the lower floor, which will permit better lighting and more visible and accessible exhibits. To paraphrase a commandment, 'Thou shalt not covet thy Brother's display cases,' but I just can't hold back my envy. 

New custom display cases in the lobby. I only took pictures because
I want some now.
And don't get me started on their wall of moveable library stacks upstairs...

In the midst of the Friday night merriment, I also attended a business meeting of the Vancouver Lodge of Education and Research, in which Trevor is the Secretary.

Masonic Meetings themselves aren't where the best fraternal experiences are made; it's the before and after times that really count and forge real fraternal brotherhood. With that in mind, Secretary McKeown's report clocked in under 7 minutes, and the entire meeting was opened in due form, conducted and closed in form in a mere 12 minutes total.

Trevor will be honored in November by being installed in London as the Worshipful Master of England's Quatuor Coronati Lodge of Research, and local brethren are organizing a group excursion to be there with him for this event. Congratulations! (If you inclined to visit yourself, QC’s meetings are held at Freemasons’ Hall, Great Queen Street, London, and start at 4.00 PM.

'Getta You Tootsie Frootsie!' - Chico Marx (1937)

Trevor also knows where Vancouver's great restaurants are, along with the shop that has the distinction of being in the Guiness Book of World Records for having more flavors and varieties of ice cream than anywhere else on Earth. La Casa Gelato is at 1033 Venable Street, and 238 is the current flavor count, in case you were curious. Over its 40-year history, they've made 588. And I haven't had real gelato since visiting Italy many, many moons ago.

Thursday, June 06, 2024

Two Masonic Halls Destroyed in Rioting on Pacific Island of New Caledonia

by Christopher Hodapp

As reported on June 2nd on the Hiram.be website, two Masonic temples in the Ducos peninsula area of the Pacific island French territory of New Caledonia were destroyed by fire earlier this week. There has been widespread rioting going on across New Caledonia in recent weeks, especially in and around the capitol city of Noumea. It's difficult to ascertain if these two Masonic halls were the target of a specifically anti-Masonic arsonist, because there have been so many other fires set recently on shops, homes, factories, hospitals and churches around the region. 

At least 6 people have died in the riots since mid-May, and the sight of roadblocks and burning cars have been reported in the press. 

New Caledonia is a French-run island that sits about 700 miles east of Australia, and lodges of the three largest French grand lodges are at work there: Grand Orient de France (GOdF), Grand Loge de France (GLdF), and the more widely recognized Grande Loge Nationale Française (GLNF). 

The local mayor described Noumea as a "city under seige." More than 3,000 foreign tourists have been trapped there for weeks, and the airport has been closed. Between 600 and 1,000 French gendarmes were sent to New Caledonia last month to attempt to stop the ongoing violence.

NOTE: I'm uncertain which Masonic halls were actually destroyed. Area Masons, or French-speaking brethren — please help me fill in the details I don't have.

According to a letter posted by the Grand Orient's Grand Master Guillaume Trichard, (if I'm translating this right), there are 8 GOdF Masonic lodges at work in New Caledonia. His letter says the two destroyed halls are the Eugène Porcheron Masonic Temple and the Jean Unger Masonic Temple. 

Regardless of which lodges and under whose jurisdiction they fall, the damage to the two Masonic halls is shown on the clocherobecourt.com website HERE. One temple's burned out main lodge room can be seen in the photo at the top of this post.

The other destroyed Masonic hall's gutted lodge room in the photo below:

No word yet about potential suspects.

During World War II, New Caledonia's Ducos peninsula was home to an important allied naval base at the port near the capital city of Noumea. All of the island's inhabitants hold French citizenship. While there have been several attempts to split from France in recent decades, at least three independence resolutions have failed by slim majorities. The current clashes are between pro-France and pro-Independence supporters.

(All photos from https://www-clocherobecourt.com)

Sunday, June 02, 2024

175th Anniversary Edition of Macoy's Classic Monitor

by Christopher Hodapp

Hard to believe, but Macoy Publishing and Masonic Supply is entering its 175th anniversary of serving the Craft. That's pretty amazing for any company, but especially one that has such a narrow niche of customers. To celebrate, their first project is a reprint of a Masonic classic: the 175th Anniversary Edition of (Robert) Macoy's Masonic Monitor. 

This edition has been thoroughly edited and formatted by Kansas Past Grand Master and author Michael Halleran, and its more than 300 illustrations have been painstakingly cleaned up. The hardback covers are being individually gold stamped in-house at Macoy using the same hand-carved wooden dies that were created for the original 1867 edition. 

The company has literally hundreds of these illustration dies created for their oldest books that were painstakingly carved by craftsmen in the 1800s using the tiniest of precision carving blades and magnifying glasses at a time long before the introduction of electricity. Macoy's also refurbished a mid-1800s letter press in order to print limited edition bookmark cards for this special book, using its own custom-carved wooden die.

In the video above, Macoy owner Steve McCall explains the difference between a Masonic monitor versus a ritual, and a brief history of the development of monitors that led to Robert Macoy's version in the 1850s. And if you've never known how a hardback book gets manufactured with a complex, artistic gold-stamped cover, Steve explains it. 

Macoy's has made a limited edition of just 750 copies of this book, and some 400 have already been sold. So act now! At just $29.95 (cheap!) they'll go fast! 

To order, CLICK HERE.