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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Sir Knight Carson Smith Makes Cover of KT Magazine

My good friend, Brother and Sir Knight Carson Smith, PC, KYCH, KCT made the cover of this month's Knight Templar magazine, posing with Grand Master David Goodwin. Carson is featured for his incredible recruitment efforts, bringing in 135 petitioners for the Order of the Temple since his own knighting on November 8, 2004. During the same period he has been the top line signer for the equivalent number of petitioners for the degrees of the Scottish Rite. When asked for the secret of his successful recruitment, he answers simply, "I ask." He has developed a presentation for a Lodge of Master Masons entitled 'The Three Minute Drill.' It is available by request at carson.c.smith@gmail.com.

Carson is also this year's Master of Indianapolis' Lodge Vitruvian #767, Indiana's only European Concept Lodge.

Congratulations, my friend!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Summer International Masonic Workshop in Greece, 8/27-31, 2014

The list of Keynote Speakers at the Summer 2014 International Masonic Workshop that will be held in Greece, between Wednesday August 27th and Sunday August 31st 2014, has been finalized. The organizers have invited several distinguished speakers, who will deliver papers and lectures:
 
Antti Talvitie, Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons of Finland and Past Master of the Research Lodge Minerva Lodge No. 27, under the Grand Lodge of Finland: «Freemasonry: an ever more secular society».
 
Dr. Anna Zarkada, Assistant Professor of Marketing in the Department of Business Administration, in the Athens University of Economics and Business. Her current work focuses on personal branding, corporate reputation co-production on Web2.0, service pricing and the philosophical foundations of key marketing constructs: «Crafting the Craft's reputation in the 21st century».
 
Robert Bashford, Leading Masonic researcher and lecturer, Past Grand Officer of the Grand Lodge of Ireland, and editor of the renowned masonic website irishfreemasonry.com«The Dissemination of Masonic Knowledge in the 21st Century».
 
Dr. Evelin Durie, Doctor of Political Science and History, academic researcher and lecturer, and author of a pioneer in Greek academic context doctoral thesis that focused on the freemasonry in the Ionian Islands: «The Masonic community inCorfu at the time of the Napoleonic occupation (1807-1814). Between a Napoleonic and a local lodge».
 
Dr. Ric Berman, author of the Foundations of Modern Freemasonry and Schism, Past Master of the Marquis of Dalhousie lodge, No. 1159, and Temple of Athene Lodge, No. 9541, the Middlesex Research Lodge, Treasurer of Quatuor Coronati Lodge No. 2076, and holder of Provincial and London Grand Rank: «The Grand Architects».
 
John Belton, Leading Masonic researcher and lecturer, founding Senior Warden of Internet Lodge 9659 under the United Grand Lodge of England, and also a member of Quatuor Coronati Lodge No. 2076, Lodge Ellangown 716 in Scotland and of other orders: «Revolutionary and Socialist Fraternalism 1848 - 1870: London to the Italian Risorgimento».
 
The Honorary Keynote Speaker of the Workshop, Dr. Mike Kearsley, Secretary of Quator Coronati Lodge No. 2076 and appointed Prestonian Lecturer for 2014, will present some aspects of his prestonian lecture: «1814 - Consolidation and Change. The first year of the United Grand Lodge of England», during a specially designed unique session named «Food for Thought», in attendance by the participants and their accompanied persons.
 
Following the keynote presentations, the program of the Workshop will include:
                                                                                                                                                         
Thematic Sessions: Individual paper presentations that will be organized into thematic areas. Papers on a common topic, or representing different perspectives on an issue, will be presented sequentially in a session.
 
Roundtable Discussions: Invited distinguished speakers will have an assigned table during a session to review and discuss the most recent topics concerning Freemasonry.
 
Short papers presentations: Individual delegates will present their short papers.
 
The Summer International Masonic Workshop that will be held in AthensGreece, between Wednesday August 27th and Sunday August 31st 2014, is being organized by PHILOTECTON.
 
PHILOTECTON is a voluntary association of Freemasons, who in attendance of many conferences, workshops, symposiums in Europe for many years, wish to expand their knowledge of Freemasonry and to establish various interdisciplinary events for studying the history, the philosophy and the symbolism of Freemasonry and to publish papers and lectures on various masonic topics.
 
PHILOTECTON, by the INTERNATIONAL MASONIC EVENTS project, aims to widen and deepen research in all aspects of Freemasonry: to broaden the focus of research, to encourage the work of academic and non-academic, freemason and non-freemason researchers and to organize workshops, symposiums, and conferences.
 
PHILOTECTON is not a Masonic organization. As is not involved itself in the legislative or ritualistic deliberations of any Masonic body, is confirming that the Summer International Masonic Workshop, that will be held in Athens, Greece, between Wednesday August 27th and Sunday August 31st, 2014, is not in any way a tyled event nor is there going to be any associated tyled meetings.
 
 
Further information: www.masonic-events.org 
               
 

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Prince Hall Grand Lodge Building in Massachusetts Faces Foreclosure

A foreclosure auction has been scheduled for the Prince Hall Grand Lodge building in Dorchester, Massachusetts on Thursday, April 17, according to a legal notice
The 30,000-square-foot building is located on about one acre at 18-24 Washington St. The auction will be held on siteThe nonprofit organization took out a $300,000 mortgage in 2006 from Sovereign Bank, now Santander Bank. The note was recently sold to Northborough Capital Partners when the group failed to make payments.Shectman Halperin Savage LLP, the law firm representing the lender,and Lodge officials did not return calls seeking comment.On its website, the Prince Hall Grand Masonic Lodge calls itself the oldest black fraternal organization in North America.

A letter has been sent out to Prince Hall members, but it seems like awfully short notice. It reads as follows:

Greetings Prince Hall Family, Friends and Supporters;

May this email find you and yours in good health and spirit. As you may or may not know, the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge, Jurisdiction of Massachusetts is currently dealing with a serious crisis. Our Masonic Temple and adjacent land, located at 24 Washington Street Dorchester, Massachusetts is scheduled to be auctioned on April 17, 2014.

Like several other area organizations and churches we are not exempt from the negative effects of a bad economy. In our case and due largely to the actions of our past mortgage holder (Sovereign Bank), we are currently faced with foreclosure on our beloved Grand Lodge Temple.

In order to resolve this terrible crisis, your help in the way of monetary donations and prayers is necessary. If you would like to help the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge, Jurisdiction of Massachusetts (Where Prince Hall Freemasonry Worldwide Began) in this hour of great need with a tax-deductible donation, please click on the link. "

Click Here toDonate

Please donate whatever you can and please don't be modest. No donation is too big or small. Every act of generosity is needed and appreciated. Just click on the above link and make your donation using your PayPal account, credit or debit card.

Whether you are able to make a donation or not, please forward this plea to everyone you know. We can make it through these hard times with your help and generous donation.

If you prefer to use a check or money order, please make it payable to; The Prince Hall Foundation, Inc. and put "Building Relief Fund" in the memo section and send it to:
Prince Hall Grand Lodge
24 Washington Street
P.O. Box 227
Boston, MA 02121

No act of kindness however large or small will go unrecognized. Thank you in advance for your generosity and support. 

Sincerely, M.W. Compton R. Jones Grand Master
The Prince Hall Foundation is an IRS 501(c) 3 tax-exempt organization

Click Here to Donate

UPDATE:
Here is the link again. It worked for me:
https://www.paypal.com/us/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_flow&SESSION=9HGUYlbxx16TaJcNdLJhccLJTFgJ__Rgg4JgMdoL-7RBshCKfRNtG2KQos8&dispatch=5885d80a13c0db1f8e263663d3faee8d8cdcf517b037b4502f6cc98f1ee6e5fb

UPDATE

The auction was avoided at the last minute, in part thanks to donations. From the Bay State Banner  on April 16th:

A foreclosure auction for the Prince Hall Grand Masonic Lodge in Grove Hall scheduled for Thursday was called off last week after officials from the lodged reached an agreement with Northborough Capital Partners, the entity that currently holds their loan.
Under the terms of the agreement, the Prince Hall officials paid more than $30,000 in penalties and interest for defaulting on a $300,000 loan, according to a lodge member who spoke on the condition of anonymity. The lodge has six months to pay off the remaining principal on the loan.
Lodge officials would not speak to the Banner for this story.
The Lodge borrowed the $300,000 in 2006, to make needed repairs to the 30,000-square-foot building, including repairs to the roof and HVAC system.
According to the Banner’s unnamed source, rank-and-file members of the lodge were unaware of the default on the loan until a foreclosure auction notice garnered media attention.
Once lodge members became aware of the predicament, they began making donations.
“They’ve got members on fixed incomes coming up with $500 and $1,000 donations,” the source said.
Coming up with the funds to pay the remaining principal on the $300,000 loan shouldn’t be a problem, according to the source.
“There are a number of institutions that are now offering to step up and help save and restore the space,” he said. “This is do-able and should have been done a while back.”
The notice of the impending auction sent shock waves through Boston’s black community. The Prince Hall Lodge has been the site of numerous community events, including concerts, community meetings and political rallies. Sitting on an acre of land, it is one of the largest black-owned parcels of commercial real estate in the city.

Codes & Conspiracies: Freemasons Sunday at 10PM on AHC.

Alice and I were interviewed last April for onscreen segments of a show that is finally airing this next week. Even the title hadn't been picked at the time. Well, it finally airs this Sunday on the American Heroes Channel (formerly the Military Channel) at 10:00 PM. "Codes and Conspiracies: Freemasons" is a title only a mother could love.

For our parts, we were called in to discuss the role of Freemasonry during the American Revolution. They had me walk the procession route from Gatsby's Tavern in Alexandria, Virginia, down to Jones Point where the Masons laid the first cornerstone of the District of Columbia. It was nice to see the Parks Department has added some signage to the lighthouse explaining the significance of the place, along with a pane of glass which allows you to see the boundary marker hidden in the seawall - something you used to have to hike down into the flotsam of the Potomac River to get to.

I believe (it's been a year) that the director told me that Akram Elias, PGM of the District of Columbia, also appears on the show.

I make no promises about the content of the show, apart from our short parts. And even that, God knows what the editorial process did to us.

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Masonic Society 5th Anniversary Jewel Promotion Ends 4/30/2014

For those of you who have not yet joined The Masonic Society, the promotion in which you receive the beautiful TMS 5th Anniversary commemorative jewel free of charge just for becoming a member will end on April 30. All membership applications sent by mail must be postmarked no later than April 30. If you register online, you must do so prior to midnight on April 30. The jewel will remain available in the TMS store for $12 (including shipping) for members who have not joined during this promotion period.

To join, go to www.themasonicsociety.com

Thursday, April 03, 2014

GL of Virginia Prohibits Transgendered Petitioners

On March 20, 2014, Wayne S. Flora, Grand Master of Virginia, issued the following edict (as well as change in petition format) governing rules for membership of transgendered persons in lodges holden under the Grand Lodge of Virginia:

Freemasonry traditionally being a Fraternity of good men, no person shall become or remain a Mason who does not continue to remain both physically and legally a male or who does not continue to present and conduct himself as such. 
The petition for membership now requires members to avow that they were born a male and continue as a male.

To my knowledge, this is the first time a U.S. Grand Lodge has dealt with the issue of transgendered members. Somebody correct me if I'm wrong.

Read the whole edict here.

See also the blog entry by Jason Richards.

H/T Bill Hosler

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Wilkes-Barre, PA Temple Catches Fire

The Masonic Temple in Wilkes-Barre. Pennsylvania caught fire on Tuesday, causing major damage to the historic building. Fire officials have not yet determined the cause.
A fire Tuesday afternoon damaged the Masonic Temple on North Franklin Street.
The cause is under investigation and a fire inspector was on scene around 2 p.m., roughly an hour after the alarm came in, said Wilkes-Barre Fire Chief Jay Delaney.
“It’s very preliminary. The fire started about an hour ago. We just got it under control,” Delaney said as smoke still wafted from the four-story brick building.
“We’re still having a tough time getting all the residual heat and smoke out of the building,” he said.
“It’s like a maze inside there with multiple, multiple rooms in there,” Delaney said. “A lot of the smoke and heat got trapped inside of the building, that’s why it took a long time to extinguish. But it’s under control. The fire’s out. We’re just mopping up right now.”
Three Masonic Lodges use the building, but it was unoccupied at the time of the fire. A meeting was scheduled for Tuesday night.
Delaney said there was power to the building and firefighters arrived to find heavy fire on the first floor. Black smoke billowed from the front door and windows.
Firefighters broke some windows, but overall they fought the fire in a manner to protect the historical value of the building. “We really tried to limit the damage to the building,” Delaney said.
Police closed North Franklin street between West Union and West Market streets during the fire. A steady stream of people walked by and some stopped to take photos.
A member of one of the lodges, who did not want to give his name, said the building is insured. He said there is a lobby on the first floor. Along the sides are five rooms and restrooms. A kitchen is located in the rear. There are meeting rooms on the second and third floors. The fourth floor is vacant.
“The building is so big we still had to do a search of the entire building, every single room of the building to make sure there was no one in there,” Delaney said.

"The Geometry of Mystery: Secret Societies, Ineffable Names, & Ancient Egypt"

Please Join Signet Chapter Royal Arch Masons For
"The Geometry of Mystery: Secret Societies, Ineffable Names, & Ancient Egypt"
Presented by guest lecturer
Adam G Kendall
Archivist of the Grand Lodge Library & Museum
Monday April 7th • 7.30pm
Social 6pm - Dinner 6.30pm - Stated Meeting & Lecture 7.30pm
Dinner is $12 for Non-Members & FREE to members of Signet Chapter
Van Nuys Masonic Center
14750 Sherman Way, Van Nuys, CA 91405-2214
This is a Tiled Event - You Must Be a Royal Arch Mason to attend
Reservations required - RSVP to email@sfvyrb.org

H/T David Williams

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

GL of Connecticut Encouraging Corporate Partnerships to Refurbish Older Temples

The Grand Lodge of Connecticut has instituted a wonderful parnership program with corporate sponsors to help rejuvinate older lodge halls. From the Tao of Masonry: (unless this is just one of Bro. Accousti's April Fools pranks)

One of the items that is being overlooked in the agenda for the upcoming Grand Lodge of Connecticut Annual Communication is a bold initiative to help finance the rejuvenation of the state’s older lodge buildings, a plan that may be the first of its kind in the North America, and which may be the key toward not only rejuvenating the buildings, but revitalizing the lodges, themselves.
Like most of the areas of the northeastern US, Connecticut has a number of older lodge buildings, many of them built in the early 1900s or even before. While many of these buildings are located in the center of their respective towns, these historic buildings were often poorly maintained, and the funds for much needed capital improvements were often neglected by the members from the 1960s until today. Indeed, it’s not unusual for lodges to lack air conditioning or updated heating systems, proper kitchen and dining areas, or in some cases, even modern bathroom facilities.
“While some members of the fraternity might see their facilities as ‘quaint,’ the sad fact is that many members of the public, including potential members, see them as ‘antiquated,’ ‘dated,’ or just plain ‘old,’ and it becomes a real turn-off,” said Grand Master Simon LaPlace. “Unfortunately, many of the lodges were short-sighted and skimped on saving money for improvements, and with the lack of new members, they simply can’t afford to put the necessary thousands of dollars into building improvements, and many of them are just barely able to keep up with the basic maintenance. This is why we are introducing this plan, which should help them to raise the money to bring the facilities up to date.”
The new program, called the Building & Organization Allied Sponsorship, or BOAS, allows lodges to partner with local or even national businesses and organizations in order to have a committed source of revenue that would be put toward building and grounds improvements, and updating the facilities inside the buildings. Lodges could look forward to new or updated lighting, handicap access, internet and wifi service, and cable tv, as well as kitchen and dining equipment, general upkeep, and yes, even more modern bathroom facilities.
When questioned about the criticisms that BOAS would lead to Freemasonry as being seen as “too public,” the Grand Master dismissed the concerns. “Corporate sponsored venues have been around for years,” he said. “A few large corporations put their names on ball fields, and nobody bats an eye. But a business puts a name on a small, little lodge, and everyone loses their minds.” Indeed, a quick survey showed that most people could not remember the previous names of the Xfinity Theater or the Comcast Theaters, although most people also did not remember that Toyota now sponsors the Oakdale Theater in Wallingford — ironically, the town in which the Grand Lodge of Connecticut is located.
A large concern for some is that the Connecticut Grand Lodge gets a percentage of the BOAS funds, and will start pressuring all of the state lodges or buildings to find businesses to partner with, or worse, may penalize some of the lodges for not doing so. “Grand Lodge needs to make money, too,” responded Grand Master Simon LaPlace. “None of those guys complaining think twice about spending money on a mocha latte several times a week; but if Grand Lodge asks for a five or ten dollar per member increase, suddenly we’re the evil empire. Sure, times are tough, but we’re talking about giving up the equivalent of a couple of coffees and donuts in a year.” He looked around and added “And believe me, many of our brothers could certainly afford to go without a donut once in a while.”
Not surprisingly, not all of the Masons are happy about this program. “It’s nothing more than plain, old Grand Lodge greed. They don’t actually care about the lodges, they just care about getting their cut of the action.” said one Past Master who refused to be named. “That’s not what we used to do back in the old days,” said another, “Back in 1968, when I was Master of the lodge, when we needed money, the wives around the lodge would help hold a bake sale, and we hit everyone with a ten dollar special assessment. Why, we once raised over a thousand dollars, which was enough to put on whole a new roof!”
That’s not the attitude voiced by everyone, however. Many more members, and not necessarily the younger ones, seem to approve of BOAS. Several lodges around the state have already been testing the idea, and indeed, at least one partnership is in the final stages. “We have been fortunate to partner with a large, nationally recognized corporation that is known for its aggressive community outreach,” said a District Deputy from the 4th District. “We are just finalizing some details, like the new sign placement and promotional spots, and within a few weeks everybody should be seeing some big changes at the new McDonald’s Masonic Center of New Haven.”
For the rest of the article, go to the Tao of Masonry.