Friday, August 26, 2016

GL of NJ Officers To Close NY Stock Exchange Today

The elected line officers of the Grand Lodge of New Jersey F&AM will ring the closing bell of the New York stock exchange today. 

It will be telecast live on CNBC at 4 PM Eastern time. 

They are doing it as representatives of Wreaths Across America, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of that organization.

Issue #33 of the Journal of the Masonic Society

The new issue of the Journal of the Masonic Society heads to the printer this week and will soon be plopping into mailboxes of members. This is the first issue put together by new editor Michael Poll. Given his background and personal interests, and the coincidence that this will be issue No. 33, the cover of the magazine has a whole new look that appropriately announces this new era under Mike's hand. 

John Bridegroom has completely redesigned the cover format, at last breathing new life into my original template, which was born out of both panic and a steep software learning curve eight years ago when we started. John proves once again that he is the best graphic artist in the business, and we are damned lucky to have him as part of the creative team at the Society.

Travis Simpkins  has provided the illustration of Albert Pike with his usual outstanding, signature flair for detail that has rapidly become very well known throughout the Masonic community. (Note the number of Masons all over the country who use his illustrations of themselves as their personal avatars on Facebook.)

If you have a possible article that you think deserves wider circulation - that isn't book-length - please forward it to the Submissions Coordinator, Jay Hochberg, at  Also, if you are an artist or photographer with Masonic subjects in your collection that you think would be of interest, please send them to Jay as well.

To contact Michael Poll directly, send to

The submission guidelines may be found HERE, including notes developed out of the Quarry Project on proper formatting and referencing of Masonic topics.

And if you're not a member or subscriber, please visit the TMS website here for more information. 

UK Report: Still Nothing Found In Ongoing Masonic Witch Hunt, But Will Continue

The never-ending British pearl-clutching over Masonic membership among English police officers continues unabated. No matter how many times this topic has been raised, and no matter how many government investigations, time and time again, have uncovered absolutely no evidence of presumably "dodgy" Masonic cops and judges engaging in untoward behavior of any kind, the accusation and distrust persists.

Case in point: A coroner's inquest case in England was decided back in April by a jury, some 27 years after 96  football fans were crushed to death during the FA Cup semi-final match at Sheffield Wednesday stadium in Hillsborough on April 15th, 1989. 

The inquest is believed to have been the longest in that country's history, lasting more than 300 days, and held in a specially built courtroom. The terrible tragedy has been investigated several times over the years, and the verdict finally and officially put the blame for the disaster largely on the local police and ambulance services.

But as a result of the continued, unfounded insistence of the family members of the victims, since 2013 an Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has been investigating whether the purported Masonic membership of police officers involved at the time - almost 30 years ago - had anything to do with a supposed coverup of internal activities in the local police department associated with the Hillsborough events. 

From the Guardian on Thursday:
Hillsborough disaster: IPCC investigates potential Freemason link
Police watchdog is investigating whether Freemason membership influenced decision-making over 1989 disaster
The police watchdog is pursuing a “further line of inquiry” over whether Freemason membership influenced decision-making over the Hillsborough disaster.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), as part of its overall investigation into alleged criminality and misconduct, has been examining concerns from the families of the 96 victims over Freemason membership.
The United Grand Lodge of England has already provided information including historical attendance records of meetings.
In her latest update on its criminal investigation, the IPCC deputy chair, Rachel Cerfontyne, said: “We are pursuing a further line of inquiry on Freemasons. We are currently liaising with the United Grand Lodge of England, and they are assisting us by checking whether certain individuals involved in Hillsborough were Freemason members.”
The overall match commander, Ch Supt David Duckenfield, told the fresh inquests into the 96 deaths that he had been a Freemason since 1975 and became a worshipful master – head of his local lodge – the year after the 1989 disaster.
He said he did not know if his promotion within South Yorkshire police in the weeks before the tragedy was influenced by his membership of the “secret society” but added: “I would hope not.”
His predecessor, Brian Mole, now dead, had also been a member of the same lodge, jurors were told.
The hearings in Warrington also heard evidence from a police constable who said he heard “a substantial meeting” of senior officers took place in the days after the disaster and it was rumoured most of those attending were Masons.
The coroner, Sir John Goldring, later warned the jury there was “not a shred of evidence” that such a meeting ever took place or that all of those named were Freemasons, and advised them to treat it as “gossip”.
In April, the inquest’s jury concluded the 96 Liverpool fans were unlawfully killed and that blunders by South Yorkshire police “caused or contributed to” the disaster at Sheffield Wednesday FC’s stadium.
The IPCC is looking at whether offences such as conspiracy to pervert the course of justice and perverting the course of justice were committed in the aftermath of the disaster.

How many times must this idiotic issue be trotted out and paraded around the public square to the amusement of the children and alarm of the elderly? Of course, there has never been any evidence of any kind that the membership of Freemasons on the force had anything whatsoever to do with departmental decisions, before, during or after the Hillsborough tragedy. The Commission might just as well be attempting to investigate whether they all smoked Dunhills, collected tea cozies, or were all members of a philatelist club. 

Between 1997 and 2009, then Home Secretary Jack Straw and his commission in the Home Office enacted a law forcing cops and members of the judiciary to declare their membership in no other group besides the Freemasons, and wasted a fat wad of the taxpayer's cash and twelve years to come to the same conclusion across the whole country - there was no there there. He was only stopped after the European Union ruled against a similar Italian law in the Court of Human Rights. 

Many years ago, an English Brother said this in the wake of a truly pathetic exposé of a London lodge in the Telegraph:
In the UK, August in the national press is referred to as the "silly season" as normally there is little or no news generated, as all the news generators are off on holiday. Stories such as this come out of the woodwork in August through the need to fill space.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Scottish Rite Bodies and Louisiana Flood Disaster Relief

Your Scottish Rite is pledging more than $1 million in disaster relief to help Freemasons affected by the massive flooding in Louisiana. The crisis is described by the American Red Cross as the "worst natural disaster in the United States since Hurricane Sandy" in 2012. 
"The incomprehensible level of destruction in Louisiana has damaged and destroyed more than 40,000 homes," said Sovereign Grand Commander, John William McNaughton. "Many of our Brother Masons and their families are among the 70,000 persons displaced in this disaster." 
In response to the crisis, the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction immediately issued $100,000 in debit cards that recipients can use for urgent needs such as food and clothing. "During Hurricane Sandy, we learned that accessing cash is a real problem for the displaced," said Commander McNaughton. "Our Brothers in Louisiana who are leading Masonic relief efforts tell us the same is true in this situation. We have Brothers who are without homes, cars, clothes, food, work places, churches, and do not know what today or tomorrow will bring. Many have lost almost everything." 
In addition, a pledge of $1 million for construction assistance has been made from the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction. "This will help Louisiana Freemasons, their widows and their families rebuild," said the Commander. "Recovery is expected to take months, if not years. We will work closely and deliberately with the Southern Jurisdiction to ensure these funds are used to help our Brothers put their lives back together. The vision of our Fraternity remains firmly committed to the most fundamental of our values--caring for one another. "
The Northern Masonic Jurisdiction is also organizing the shipment of bottled water and other supplies to be delivered to the ravaged area, as the need for clean water is great.  
If you would like to donate to the relief effort and help others in this stricken jurisdiction, please send your contribution to:
Louisiana Flood ReliefScottish Rite Almoner's Fund PO Box 519Lexington, MA 02420
You can also donate online at this link. Please indicate "Louisiana Flood Relief " in the additional instructions section on the page.

The Scottish Rite notice went on to describe an even greater need than the financial one. The Louisiana Masonic community is in dire need of help. In addition to immediately needed supplies listed here, the greatest need is for volunteers. This message was relayed from the Southern Jurisdiction:
Cars are destroyed and many Brethren cannot get to stores or to doctor appointments. It is nearly impossible to rent a car, and ATM machines are not working in most areas. Crews are needed to rip out drywall, remove mud and dirt, and push out water. Volunteers are also needed to cook and to check on our Brethren in various neighborhoods. 
If you can give a few days, or even a week or two, please be in touch. You will be fed and housed in a Shrine building with only Masonic Brothers and Sisters. 
The Masons in Louisiana are in great despair. They need hope, and you can help provided that. The generosity of spirit you show in this time of need will bless you in return a thousandfold. 
What to Do if You Have the Time to Deploy
Visit the Southern Jurisdiction website at this link for up to date information on supplies needed, and other details you need before you deploy. 
Who to Contact:
Please call before you leave your home to head out for the disaster relief operation, and  then again when you get to Baton Rouge. 

Joseph Ryan
(717) 623-7578
Carle Jackson
(225) 938-3552
Where to Go: Acacia Shrine Temple
7991 Commerce Ave,
Baton Rouge, LA 70815 

Note that these appeals, programs and funds are all in addition to the separate Disaster Appeal For Louisiana organized by the Masonic service Association. 

Finally, in an unrelated situation, the NMJ's Sovereign Grand Commander McNaughton has asked Active Member and Deputy for Indiana Gail N. Kemp to work with the Grand Lodge of Indiana to identify Masons and their families who may need assistance after a large tornado struck in and around Kokomo, Indiana yesterday. A state of emergency was declared in Howard County after the tornado destroyed businesses and dozens of homes there. Please contact the Grand Lodge office in Indianapolis at 877-247-MASON.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

GL of Arkansas Suspends Grand Senior Warden


The Internet is a funny place. The Facebook page for the Grand Lodge of Arkansas  F&AM this morning posted the following quote:
"Peace – harmony – charity – square dealing – mutual respect – limits on my right to criticize or judge. Noble sentiments all! Such words are so often heard that if we are not careful they can become just that – words with no real summons to alter our conduct with their timeless precepts." — Ill. Bro. Ronald A. Seale
Interesting timing, since that coincides with the confirmed news that the Grand Lodge has just suspended their Grand Senior Warden, Aaron South. This will have other effects, as Brother Aaron is also serving as Right Eminant Grand Commander of the Grand Commandery of Arkansas

Also, take note that Arkansas' Grand Lodge Officers Page displays an empty slot in place of where the Deputy Grand Master's photo should be.

At this rate, that grand line is going to be a mighty lonely place by the annual communication in February.

UPDATE 8/24/16

By 7:00PM Wednesday, all of the Grand Lodge of Arkansas' Facebook pages and official groups have disappeared.  However, their Twitter page remains activated for the moment.

In the wake of internal turmoil back in 2010, the Grand Lodge website vanished, and they had no  official online presence for at least two years.

UPDATE 8/25/16

The Grand Senior Warden's photo has just disappeared from the GL officer's page, as well, as he is "suspended, pending trial."

Arkansas brethren are now reduced to speculation about their own officer's line.

Mid-Atlantic Convocation of Academic Lodges 9/30-10/2

More and more grand lodge jurisdictions are chartering or otherwise encouraging a growing number of lodges whose members have an affinity with a nearby college or university. Some of these notably include Boston University Lodge and The Harvard Lodge in Massachusetts, The Patriot Lodge No. 1957 at George Mason University in Virginia, and The Colonial Lodge No. 1821 at George Washington University in Washington D.C. In fact, the Grand Lodge of D.C. just granted dispensation to a new one, American University Lodge U.D., in January. And in a slightly different variation, their Fraternity Lodge No. 54 was chartered in 2001 as an affinity lodge to "share the common experience of brotherhood in the college or university Greek-letter fraternity tradition." 

Meanwhile, the United Grand Lodge of England has grown its own "Universities Scheme" that has encouraged lodges in college and university towns to appeal to younger candidates, and also to provide another way for alumni and staff to share their university experience as a common interest.

In support of these ideas, The Patriot Lodge No.1957 in Fairfax, Virginia and The Colonial Lodge No.1821 in Washington DC are co-hosting the first ever Mid-Atlantic Convocation of Academic Lodges on the first weekend of October this year. The gathering is an opportunity for new and seasoned academic lodges to share ideas and lessons learned as they implement ideas such as the UGLE scheme.

A welcome dinner will kick things off Friday, September 30th at Alexandria's famed Gatsby's Tavern. Then, the event itself will take place Saturday, October 1st at the Scottish Rite's House of the Temple in Washington D.C. There will be two tracks of presentations and discussions, so you will have to choose between Academic Lodge Leadership, and Topics in Masonic Education

Wrapping the day up will be a keynote address by WB Edward Lord, Chairman of the UGLE's successful Universities Scheme, and a festive board will follow.

Sunday morning will feature a group tour of the George Washington National Masonic Memorial.

Registration for the Saturday program and Sunday tour is $85, and must be done via Eventbrite HERE. Organizers simply want a head count for Friday's dinner at Gatsby's - that meal is at your own expense. 

For a list of speakers, the agenda, and accommodations available, visit the event's website HERE.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Winslow, AZ Lodge Is Rising From the Ashes

On the night of October 10, 2014, three young men strategically set several fires around the historic temple building of Winslow Lodge No. 13  in Winslow, Arizona. The lodge was not their only target - they also torched two other historic buildings in the area. No one was hurt in the resulting blazes, but as of a result of their acts, the lodge's 1920s building was severely damaged, their original antique furniture lost, along with irreplaceable documents, paraphernalia, regalia, and so much more from their 120 year history.

As events unfolded, police located and arrested three suspects, Chad Lapointe, 20, Erik Nelson, 20, and Steven Gonzales, 18, all Winslow residents.  Early reports indicated that the men set the fires, "simply out of boredom."

The Arizona Journal reported five days later:

Ken Evans, Senior Steward of Winslow Masonic Lodge No. 13, noted that the lodge is nearly a total loss and said a conservative estimate would be that actual damages will run about $3.5 million, but many of the items lost had a value beyond monetary. The building was the third location for the Winslow Masons, who first formed the lodge in 1896 and gathered at the Palace Hotel, then in the upstairs rooms of the Elks Lodge before building their own lodge in 1923. The lodge contained valuable antiques built by the M.C. Lilly & Company, which at the time cost $1,200. “These were very ornate Masonic furnishings with Middle East designs and Masonic symbolism referencing King Solomon’s Temple from the 1896 World Fair. We lost an altar, two pillars and three chairs, as well as a wood and marble station. We also lost our regalia from the 1800s, as well as the regalia from the Order of the Eastern Star and Commandery of Knights Templar,” stated Evans.
“The Joseph City, Holbrook and Winslow fire departments all worked together like a fabulous machine, and helped to protect the neighborhoods and prevent the fires from spreading. While doing that they managed to save our archives and records from the first floor, and pulled photos from the walls, as well as an entire display of first edition Bibles. These items were wet, but they were able to keep them from being super soaked,” added Evans, who works at Homolovi State Park, where he utilized an emergency freezer so that the documents could be frozen before developing mold. Despite the massive loss, Evans was positive that the lodge will be rebuilt and that the programs conducted by the lodge will continue uninterrupted.

I have no idea how I missed reporting this story almost two years ago, but I did. 

In an ironic return to their own history, the nearby Winslow Elks Lodge graciously provided a temporary new home for not only the displaced Winslow Lodge No. 13, but their York Rite and Eastern Star bodies as well, in their own beautiful building.

Rebuilding Winslow Lodge

True to their word, the brethren of Winslow Lodge indeed got to work rebuilding their temple. As word spread throughout the country, Masons everywhere offered donations of money, aprons, furnishings, and other necessary items to the lodge as well as the York Rite.

I received a message this morning from Brother Edward G. McKeowan who attended a degree in Flagstaff over the weekend reporting that Winslow Lodge has slowly risen from the ashes. I searched the Facebook page for the lodge and saw this photo of construction on July 6th of this year, so they obviously still have a way to go yet.

As for the three arsonists, while stories abound online announcing their rapid apprehension and detention immediately after the fires, there is no public record I can find of their ultimate sentencing.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Growing Atheist Population May Affect Future Freemasonry

The Grand Lodge of Scotland is looking into the future about a subject that rarely occurs to most of us within the fraternity - the decreasing population of men who actually believe in a Supreme Being. And the numbers don't look good in the UK, at least, and Scotland in particular.

From the Herald Scotland website Friday:
Scotland's Freemasons have admitted that their future may be under threat because of the rise of atheism.
Senior figures in the organisation have reportedly expressed concern over the number of people turning their backs on religion, with about half the country now saying they do not attend church.
Individuals can only be initiated into the Grand Lodge of Scotland if they state their belief in a "supreme being", something at odds with an increasingly Godless society.
The lodge posted a chart based on the 2011 census on its official Facebook page, showing that people living north of the border are most likely to declare they follow no particular faith.
The page stated: "This graphic fortells of a looming problem and it is one that will be upon us sooner or later." The Grand Lodge declined to comment further, but key figures within the organisation are believed to consider the census findings a long-term problem.
Last year the male-only organisation revealed that its number of new recruits had fallen to around 2,000 today from a high of 45,000 a century ago.
The [United] Grand Lodge of England acknowledged the concerns of its sister organisation, but said that it was more upbeat about its own future.
Mike Baker, its director of communications, said: "Our present experience is that whilst formal religious observance is on the delcine, most people still have some form of personal faith or belief system."

The actual article referenced on the GL of Scotland's Facebook page reads:

Freemasons are not all that good at planning, at least not long term planning. That is one reason why, despite the insistence of the conspiracy theorists, we don't rule the world! We couldn't even if we wanted to!!
This graphic foretells of a looming problem and is one that will be upon us sooner rather than later. The younger generations of Freemasons will be the ones who will have to deal with the problem - unless some thought is given to it now.
To avoid prejudicing the debate we make no comment at this time but please have a look at the graphic and let us know that you think the future of Regular Freemasonry will be...

(Click chart to enlarge.)

Friday, August 19, 2016

Habemus Papam! AASR-NMJ Announces Next Sovereign Grand Commander

The Supreme Council of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite - Northern Masonic Jurisdiction  has officially announced the next Sovereign Grand Commander who will succeed Illustrious John W. McNaughton when he retires next year: Illus. David A. Glattly, 33° of New Jersey.

From the Supreme Council's website today:

Scottish Rite Sovereign Grand Commander John William McNaughton has the pleasure to announce to the membership today that Active Member, David A. Glattly, 33°, will succeed him as leader of the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction upon his retirement in August 2017. 
“To our valued members and Brothers,” said Commander McNaughton, “I could not be more pleased to inform you that the Supreme Council’s nominating committee has named David Glattly as your next Sovereign Grand Commander. Brother Glattly has been an active and honored Freemason for more than 40 years, and a member of the Scottish Rite for nearly three decades. Our fraternity will be led by a good man who serves from his heart. He will shoulder great responsibility with intelligence, experience, dedication, and grace.” 
The appointment of Brother Glattly marks the first time a new Scottish Rite leader has been announced a year prior to taking office. “These are challenging times for Freemasonry,” said Commander McNaughton. “Your Scottish Rite leadership and I feel it is important to have a thorough and seamless transition for our Fraternity.” Commander McNaughton and Brother Glattly will consult together over the next 12 months to continue the work “we began a decade ago—shifting the priorities of Northern Masonic Jurisdiction back to caring for our members, and bringing compassion to the forefront of our Fraternity,” he said. 
Said Brother Glattly, “I am extremely proud and humbled to be nominated as the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction’s new Sovereign Grand Commander. It is truly the honor of my lifetime. From my time as a young man in DeMolay, the ideals and ageless standards of our Craft have been central to my life. I can vow to all members that I will work to my highest abilities to serve you, and champion the future of this vibrant, historic, and vital organization.” 
Brother Glattly began his Masonic career by joining Clifton Chapter, Order of DeMolay in 1970, eventually serving as State Master Councilor of New Jersey. He was raised a Master Mason in Clifton Lodge #203, Clifton, New Jersey in 1975. He served as Worshipful Master in 1995, and as the Grand Marshal of the Grand Lodge of New Jersey in 1998. He became an Active Member of the DeMolay Supreme Council in 1994 and served as Executive Officer in New Jersey from 1999-2004. In New Jersey Freemasonry, he was awarded the prestigious Daniel Coxe Medal for distinguished service to the Craft. 
Glattly completed the degrees of the Scottish Rite in 1987. He was created a Sovereign Grand Inspector General, 33°, Honorary Member of the Supreme Council in 2000 at Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. He was crowned an Active Member at Boston, Massachusetts in 2002. He is also a member of Salaam Temple, AAONMS; Hugh DePaynes Commandery #1, St. Joseph Conclave, Red Cross of Constantine, among numerous other Masonic organizations. 
He and his wife Monica live in Hawthorne, New Jersey. They have two children, son Matthew and daughter Jessica.

This is simply the decision of the nominating committee. The actual official election for the position will take place next year at the  2017 Annual Meeting in Rochester, New York. 

MSA Establishes Disaster Relief Fund for Louisiana

The Masonic Service Association has established a Disaster Relief Fund for Louisiana, following drenching rainstorms and massive flooding. Thousands of homes and buildings have been damaged or destroyed, with 70,000 persons reportedly displaced.
The magnitude of the storm was described by the America Red Cross as the “worst natural disaster in the United States” since Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Recovery is expected to take months, and the lack of communication in flooded areas continues to cause issues in finding information and victims. 

The Grand Lodge of Louisiana reported that two Lodge buildings have been heavily flooded, and the building of the Scottish Rite Valley of Baton Rouge, which houses three additional Lodges, incurred significant amounts of flooding and damage. Many Masons and Masonic families are among the 70,000 displaced. 

More information and details to send in donations are on their webpage, and donations may be made on the webpage with the use of a credit card. This allows funds to reach their destination faster.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Nude Trump Statues Appear With Masonic Rings

PLEASE TAKE NOTE: I am taking no public sides in the current political debate regarding the run for the presidency. I am simply reporting this peculiar development.

The latest exhibits of intelligent political commentary and discourse this election cycle have mysteriously appeared in several major cities across the U.S. today in the form of portly, nude caricature statues of Donald Trump. I will bypass the low-hanging fruit of commenting on the common criticisms among more purportedly "progressive" members of society against those who engage in "body shaming."  But one does wonder what the public reaction would be to a similar erection of Mrs. Clinton. 

I will simply leave it to your own discretion to search for more revealing images of them online.

But I am posting this carefully cropped image of one of these alleged artistic representations to point out that the reputed Las Vegas-based sculptor included a Masonic ring on the right hand of Mr. Trump. I suspect it is supposed to make a visual accusation of the common "New World Order" cliché that traditionally pops up around political candidates every four years. (If you really feel the inclination, click the image above to enlarge.)

The statues were installed by an "activist collective" that goes by the name INDECLINE. 

In any case, just for the record, Mr. Trump is not known to actually be a member of the Masonic fraternity.

(By the way, don't bother attempting to post a link to this story on Facebook. Mr. Zuckerberg's robotic censors have had a sudden, unexpected attack of good taste and are blocking it.)

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

MM Degree Aboard USS Lexington 9/10

On Saturday, September 10th, Oso Naval Lodge No. 1282 in Corpus Christi, Texas will confer the Master Mason degree aboard the U.S.S. Lexington CV-16. Masonic degrees have previously been performed on board the aircraft carrier since she was permanently docked in 1992. The event is in conjunction with the Grand Lodge's Officers Leadership Training Program. 

The degree will be presented in the onboard three-story tall Mega-theater, built in the original forward aircraft elevator, which has seating for 193.

Lodge will open onboard at 8:00PM, and the degree will begin at 8:15PM. 

Tell the admissions office that you are with the Masons, and you will be required to present a current dues card.  Aprons will be provided, but please bring your own in case the supply runs low.

The Lexington was commissioned February 17, 1943, serving the United States longer and setting more records than any other aircraft carrier in the history of naval aviation. The Japanese erroneously reported Lexington sunk on four different occasions during WWII, leading Tokyo Rose to nickname her "The Blue Ghost." Lexington was the oldest working carrier in the U.S. Navy when decommissioned in 1991.

For more information contact District Instructor Mike King at 361-696-1585.

Click the flier below for details.

Monday, August 15, 2016

St. Patrick's Lodge #4 in Johnstown, NY Celebrates 250th This Weekend

This weekend, St. Patrick's Lodge No. 4 in Johnstown, New York will celebrate its historic 250th anniversary of receiving their charter. 

This year is the 250th anniversary of one of the oldest Masonic lodges in New York state, and it stands in the heart of the city.
St. Patrick's Lodge No. 4 - the stately structure at 22 N. Perry St. [in Johnstown, NY] - has been a fraternal meeting place for countless area Masons. The lodge was chartered on May 23, 1766.
"We're unique in that we have the original jewels, the original charter and the original minutes from 1766 to the present," Schermerhorn said.
St. Patrick's Lodge Secretary Sean Gittens said St. Patrick's Lodge No. 4 is the fourth oldest lodge in New York state. He said each state has what is considered a Grand Lodge, and the Johnstown lodge is even older than New York state's Grand Lodge, which is located in New York City.
Gittens said the local lodge has a current roster of 133 members.
"It was going down," Schermerhorn said of membership. "We've had a resurgence the last few years."
Traditionally, Masonic lodges don't actively recruit new members, but men who hear about Masonry through word of mouth and express an interest are welcome to inquire about joining.
The three original officers named in St. Patrick's Lodge charter included Sir William Johnson as master; Guy Johnson as senior warden; Daniel Claus as junior warden; and John Butler as secretary.
The first recorded meeting of the lodge was held on Aug. 23, 1766. Except for a period of time during the Revolutionary War - May 5, 1774, to Feb. 2, 1786 - the lodge has met continuously ever since. There was a lull in its activities during the anti-Masonic period. The lodge met but once a year to elect officers, and no new candidates were initiated from 1831 to 1843.
The local lodge plans to celebrate its history.
"We've got a busy weekend planned," Gittens said.
From 6:30 to 9 p.m. Friday, Friends of Johnson Hall will host a reception and tours of the Johnson Hall State Historic Site for Masonic brethren.
Members will assemble at the lodge at 8:30 a.m. Saturday for a 9 a.m.parade in the city. The parade will be around one block from the lodge, and members will stop at St. John's Episcopal Church's Courtyard for a memorial service for Sir William Johnson at his gravesite.
"He created St. Patrick's Lodge," Gittens noted.
After that, the parade marches back to the lodge.
A ceremonial event will be conducted at 11 a.m. Saturday at the original lodge and original rooms where it was formed at Johnson Hall in 1766. Grand Lodge officers will preside. It is anticipated only Grand Lodge and St. Patrick's Lodge officers and special guests will be admitted as there is only room for a maximum of 40 to 50 people.
At 2 p.m. Saturday, there will be a rededication of St. Patrick's Lodge by the grand master and grand line officers of the Grand Lodge of New York. The charter will be read. A historical lecture will also be presented by two guest speakers from Hamilton College.
The lodge will conduct a banquet for members at 5 p.m. in the lodge dining room.
A breakfast at the dining room will be conducted from 6:30 to 10 a.m. Aug. 21.
A lecture by Joscelyn Godwin and Christian Goodwillie will be given at 1 p.m. Aug. 21 at Johnson Hall. They will discuss early New York Freemasonry and examples of Masonic architecture and symbolic artwork. An open house featuring an exhibit of the original jewels, minutes book and charter of St. Patrick's Lodge, a book signing by the authors of "Symbols in the Wilderness: Early Masonic Survivals in Upstate New York" and light refreshments will follow the lecture.
For the rest of the article, CLICK HERE. 

The event page on Facebook is HERE. Reservations for Friday's Johnson Hall event and Saturday evening's banquet are needed BY TODAY, August 15th (my apologies, I just found out about it). Contact Michael Millias or Sean Gittens directly. Sean's email is HERE.

225th Anniversary of Nova Caesarea Harmony Lodge #2 in Cincinnati 9/10

On September 8, 1791, the Grand Lodge of New Jersey granted a charter to a small group of pioneers living in Cincinnati, a newly settled town tucked in the southwest corner of the untamed Ohio Valley.  The dangers of the frontier delayed the charter for more than three years, but in December of 1794, the first members of Nova Caesarea Lodge No. 10 met to elect their officers. 

Subsequently, Cincinnati Lodge No. 13 was chartered in 1806 by the Grand Lodge of Kentucky, made up of members who had originally formed Nova Caesarea Lodge No. 10 under their New Jersey charter fifteen years before. They returned the charter to that grand lodge prior to requesting a new one from the closer Grand Lodge of Kentucky.

Even though Ohio had statehood approved by Thomas Jefferson in 1803, it would take until 1808 for Cincinnati Lodge to join with five others to form the new Grand Lodge of Ohio. But at 225 years old, the renumbered and renamed Nova Caesarea Harmony Lodge No. 2, as it has been known since 1813, is one of Ohio’s oldest Lodges, predating the Grand Lodge and even Ohio’s own admission into statehood. 

On September 10th, 2016, the Grand Lodges of Ohio, New Jersey and Kentucky will come together and celebrate the 225th anniversary of the founding of the original Nova Caesarea Lodge No. 10 in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Lodge will open at noon, and the keynote speaker for the event will be RW Moises Gomez, Past Grand Historian of the Grand lodge of New Jersey.

Dinner will be at the Glendale Lyceum at 6PM, and a cash bar will be available. The venue is located at 865 Congress Avenue, Cincinnati, Ohio.

For reservations, please call (513) 771-8383. Reservations MUST BE MADE no later than August 20th. There is no charge for members of the lodge, but other Masons and their guests will be charged $15 per person, or $25 per couple.

For more information, contact RW Moises Gomez at

2016 Masonic Society Conference: "Freemasonry on the Frontier" 10/7-9

The 2016 conference of The Masonic Society will take place this year October 7-9, at Morgan Hill Masonic Lodge in Morgan Hill, California (just twenty minutes from the San Jose International Airport). The theme of the conference will be “FREEMASONRY ON THE FRONTIER,” the role of Masonry in the westward expansion of the US and Canada.
The conference will begin Friday evening with an informal dinner and end with lunch on Sunday. A tour of the Winchester Mystery House—possibly haunted and with Masonic connections—will be offered Sunday at 2.

More information is available at the Conference website HERE.

Scheduled Speakers:
Samuel Langhorn Clemens: Brother Samuel Clemens was made a Mason in 1861, at Polar Star Lodge 79, St. Louis, MO. His many literary works (often published under the pen name Mark Twain) include “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County” (set less than 135 miles from the site of this conference) and Roughing It, an account of Clemens’s life and travel on the Western frontier. Clemens’s 'appearance' is made possible by WB Jefferson H. Jordan, Jr., immediate past grand master of Masons in New Mexico and an authority on Clemens’s life and work.
Mark A. Tabbert: "George Washington and the Masonic Frontiers of the 1700's"Worshipful Brother Mark Tabbert has served as curator of the Scottish Rite National Heritage Museum, and is currently director of collections at the George Washington Masonic National Memorial in Alexandria, VA. He is past master of Mystic Valley Lodge, Arlington, MA, and the Lodge of Nine Muses 1776, Washington DC. He is a full member of Quatour Coronati Lodge 2076, London, and a member of the Society of Blue Friars.
John Bizzack, PhD: "The Expansion of Freemasonry into the West: The Pivotal Role of Kentucky, 1788-1810"Worshipful Brother John Bizzack is a twenty-five-year veteran of the Lexington (KY) Police Department and, more recently, Commissioner of the Department of Criminal Justice Training for the Kentucky Justice Cabinet.
John Cooper, PhD: "Freemasonry and Nation-Building on the Pacific Coast: The California Experience"MWB John Cooper is a past grand secretary of the Grand Lodge of California, having served for almost eighteen years when he retired in 2008. In 2013-2014 he served as grand master of Masons in California. He holds a PhD in education from Claremont Graduate School, and before becoming grand secretary, he held various teaching and administrative posts in the public schools of California.
Prices vary, from $100 for the complete weekend's program, to $50 for the speakers' sessions without meals.  PLEASE REGISTER ONLINE VIA THE EVENTBRITE WEBSITE, HERE.

A discounted hotel rate of $139.00 per night is available at the Courtyard by Marriott Morgan Hill, 18610 Madrone Pkwy, Morgan Hill, CA 95037. Telephone: 408-782-6034 and mention The Masonic Society to get the discounted rate. (NOTE: the hotel link on the current TMS website for the Conference appears to be incorrect at this time, so telephone the hotel. I will change this here if I get updated information.)

For questions, contact the Conference coordinator at

Sunday, August 14, 2016

The Unsung Heroes of Online Masonic Education & Research

Over the years, several websites have quietly become the repository of an astonishing pile of research material about Freemasonry that are a godsend for anyone hunting quick information on myriad Masonic topics. Seasoned researchers know about them, but newer Masons may not be aware of them. So I wanted to take the opportunity to give a shout out to several of them and their dedicated content creators. These brethren provide an incredible resource and are unsung heroes for it.

First is the amazing website of the Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon, and their longtime webmaster Trevor McKeown. The range of topics  on the site can be seen HERE, and it explores well researched articles of biographies, customs, paraphernalia, anti-Masonry, symbolism, ritual, jurisprudence, and much, much more. If you are stuck for an answer to a general question about Freemasonry, this is a good place to start. 

Brother McKeown is not that widely known outside of his jurisdiction, and his name doesn't often pop up when the best known living Masonic scholars are discussed. That's a crying shame, because he is dedicated and meticulous at what he does, and deserves the thanks of all of us.

Next up is Brother Ed King's Anti-Masonry Points of View website. His extensive site has been online since 1998 and is largely dedicated to the eternal struggle against anti-Masonry and bogus pseudo-masonic organizations. He is opinionated, occasionally sarcastic - and absolutely indefatigable at tracking down Masonry's detractors and frauds.  On the side, he has also reviewed a wide variety of Masonic books, and they are available on the site, as well. 

Ed has slowed down a little bit in recent years, along with being drafted into more work for the Grand Lodge of Maine, so updates have not been as regular lately. Nevertheless, his site is a great one for peering into a world most of us don't encounter on a daily basis, but flourishes largely unfettered online. Ed calls them like he sees them. It's a thankless crusade, and he handles it with a sense of humor.

Third up is Paul M. Bessel's Homepage. His Masonic topics START HERE. Like Ed, Brother Paul started his Masonic pages in 1998, and his site tends to be more historically and statistically oriented. He is a member of the Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia, and is the go to source of information featuring stats and graphs about Masonry in DC, the US, Europe, and Prince Hall jurisdictions, including recognition issues. He also explores historical topics, such as Founding fathers who were and were not Masons, and those involved in pivotal roles during and after the American Revolution. There is much, much more buried in the site. It suffers a bit from odd formatting, so you have to poke around to find hidden gems. 

Unfortunately, Paul has curtailed most of his Masonic activities recently and has stopped updating the site. That's a shame for us all, but we should be grateful for the massive work he accomplished before losing interest. He does remain a member, so perhaps he will return in future. He has been a dedicated contributor to Masonic research, and deserves our deepest appreciation.

And no mention of online Masonic resources would be complete without pointing to David Lettelier's Phoenixmasonry Masonic Museum and Library. Over many years, he and his fellow contributors have amassed an enormous online collection of images of Masonic objects, collectables, and other ephemera, along with online texts of rare books and magazines like the famous The Builder, and many more. If you are hunting an image or description of an unidentifiable piece of Masonic collectanea, it's likely to be here.

There are certainly many other sites that are great repositories of great Masonic information, like the Masonic Renewal Committee, the Online Masonic Research Institute, the Knights of the North's Masonic Dictionary, the Pietre-Stones Review of Freemasonry, the Educator, the Masonic Awareness at the Speed of Light lecture series, Guy Chassagnard's The Old Charges collection, 3-5-7 Productions' Masonic Education Papers, Gary Dryfoos' A Page About Freemasonry (one of the first), the Phylaxis Society Prince Hall Masonic Research pages (especially their very detailed Commission on Bogus Masonic Practices section), and many, many more.  Forgive me if I've left out your favorite, although many others are listed in the Links column over on the right side of this page, down a little ways.

These brethren all deserve our deepest appreciation for their work, so if you visit their sites - and especially if you use their information in papers, books, or websites - please acknowledge them as a source, and take a moment to drop them a quick e-mail and thank them for their labors.