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Suffolk District Grand Lecturer’s Convention

Attending the Grand Lecturer’s Convention last Saturday was a first for me. In attendance was the Grand Lecturer, R:.W:. Charles Toombs. I have to tell you that I was impressed by the RW Grand Lecture’s demeanor and knowledge. I suppose I should not be surprised as one does not reach that position lacking these things. I was also very pleased to see that the convention was very well attended. Only being a Mason for just over a year, that is the most Freemasons I have seen in one place. The work of the evening was done with few mistakes and I learned a great deal.
Learning about the ritual is fascinating to me not in the words themselves but in the nuances of how it’s done. I couldn’t help but wonder what it would have been like to sit in at the birth of the Premier Grand Lodge of London and Westminster. Another first was visiting Old Towne Lodge in Southampton. This is a truly fantastic lodge building. The lodge room is large and spacious and has grandeur about it. The collation space downstairs was nice as well. The Brethren of Old Towne Lodge lived up to their reputation of being gracious and generous hosts, I mean the food was incredible and I don’t think there was an unloosened belt after dinner.
I had also thrown my hat in the ring with regard to the district MAGLA competition. For those who are not familiar with this, it is the Metropolitan Area Grand Lecturer’s Association. Brothers who have not attained the position of Master are eligible to ‘compete’. The AGL’s for the district choose a part of the work, i.e. a section of the middle chamber lecture, etc. and at the end of the convention several Brethren will be called into the lodge one by one to deliver that portion of the work. There are several ‘judges’ who will pick the best to represent the district in the same competition at Grand Lodge in April. I must tell you dear reader, yours truly did not win. The honor went to Bro. Gary Gudzick of Suffolk Lodge # 60 and my sincere congratulations go out to him. At the time V:. W:. Glenn Rubin also asked me to be Bro Gary’s ‘second’ in case he could not attend the Grand Lodge event, and this is enough of an honor for me. I did give it my best shot and I hope to improve in my ritual delivery and who knows, maybe I will throw my hat in again next year. I really enjoyed this event, butterflies and all. I am in no way a great public speaker but I know of no other way to become one. It is my opinion that all members of the craft who occupy officer’s chairs in a lodge should try to improve their public speaking skills. This would make for better ritual and a more exciting ‘average’ lodge event.
Tonight’s program has something special in it. I hope to present a fun and exciting ‘lecture’ to the Brethren present in lodge tonight. Of course this is another way one can get the public speaking experience that is oh so important. I really hope those who attend tonight’s communication enjoy the presentation and if you are reading this and wonder if I should get dressed and attend lodge, you should! All I can say at this writing is it will be best with full member participation, the more the merrier. Hope to see you there.
The Potunk Lodge Webmaster
Ex Tenebris Lux

Lodge Last…

 I am endeavoring with the help of the Brethren of Potunk Lodge to complete my list of Past Masters. I suppose I can sit down and go through the minute books to find the gaps in my list, but I was informed that it would be difficult at best. Is anything that is worth doing not difficult? At some point I would like to digitize the minute books as well so they can be preserved. However I come across the missing names is not important, what is important is that the list be completed. The more I learn about Freemasonry the more I realize that these men should be remembered.
I have had discussions with another brother about scanning all the images on our Past Masters wall and correcting any mistakes in dates and re-ordering the pictures. I began to think a fitting remembrance would be to create a photo slide show of these past lodge Masters with an appropriate musical selection. I will do my best to keep the memories of these brethren and to honor them all both living and those who have laid down their working tools of life.
I have been working on a special presentation for the brethren on our next communication. I really hope we have a decent turn out, with the weather getting warmer I believe we may. I thing the brethren present will be pleasantly surprised with what I have in store for them. If all works out it should be a rather fun and interesting evening.
So next week it will be off to the Grand Lecturer’s Convention and the MAGLA competition, of which yours truly will be a participant. I know the work, but I am not sure how well I will present it. I am no actor. Although I did have a co-starring role in an elementary school play called “Cowboy on the Moon”. One of my mother’s neighbors has a daughter that I went through school with and was in the same class when I “performed” and keeps threatening to make me watch the video. To be honest I didn’t think video cameras we even around yet, but that shows my age. Well until the next event…

Capt. Morgan strikes again

This morning I read a post on a forum that a new book will be published by author Stephen Dafoe. Bro Dafoe has written several other books including The Compasses and the Cross and Nobly Born to name just two. In his latest book Morgan: The Scandal that Shook Freemasonry, Dafoe will take the Masonic reader in a new direction. This from Bro. Dafoe’s Blog; “What makes this telling of the Morgan story different is that it has no partisan axe to grind. Almost every book written on the Morgan Affair has been written with an anti-Masonic or pro-Masonic agenda. Morgan: The Scandal That Shook Freemasonry will walk the path left by the various materials still available: court transcripts, letters, affidavits and firsthand accounts. And there are plenty of materials to draw from; the bibliography runs some nine pages. But that doesn’t mean this will be some dry academic tome. Although the book will be well cited, I’ve chosen to go with a narrative nonfiction style this time around, making the book read more like a mystery novel than a traditional nonfiction book.”
I look forward to reading Bro. Dafoe’s book and looking more closely at the incident that nearly destroyed Freemasonry in the US in the years after. The book is being published by Cornerstone Book Publishers soon. “Masonic publishers did not want to touch it, afraid to publish something that suggested Freemasons might be guilty of murder, and non-Masonic publishers were reluctant to touch it for fear of alienating the Freemasons who might buy their books.” again from Bro. Defoe’s blog. I would encourage anyone to read this book that may be interested in Masonic history, especially anti-Masonic history.

A bit about William Morgan: Morgan was born in Culpeper, Virginia in 1774. He was apprenticed as a bricklayer or stone cutter, then briefly was a brewer in Canada, before returning to quarry work in Rochester, New York.
In October 1819, when he was 44, Morgan married 16-year old Lucinda Pendleton in Richmond. They had two children, Lucinda Wesley Morgan and Thomas Jefferson Morgan. Two years after his marriage, he moved for unknown reasons to York, Upper Canada, where he operated a brewery. He has been described as a heavy drinker and a gambler.
When his business was destroyed in a fire, Morgan was reduced to poverty. He returned to the United States, settling first at Rochester, New York, and later in Batavia. Morgan claimed to have served with distinction as a captain during the War of 1812, though there is no evidence that he did so. Several men named William Morgan appear in the Virginia militia rolls, but none held the rank of captain.
I will leave the rest of the story to Bro. Dafoe to tell and hopefully shed some light on this nagging question.

The Masonic Society

 I have followed the genesis of this organization for almost a year now and on February 13th I took the leap of faith and joined. The impetus was a message on the home page of the society that stated that Feb. 13th was the last day one could join and be considered a “founding member”. So what is The Masonic Society you ask? Well from their own website:

“A significant group of passionate Masons are coming together to create what aims to be nothing less than the premier North American research society in Freemasonry. Called simply The Masonic Society, we are gathering together brothers who have a deep and abiding desire to seek knowledge, explore history, discover symbolism, debate philosophies, and in short, who will be at the forefront of charting a path for the future of Freemasonry.

As a student of Freemasonry, you are invited to join with us in the formation of this new and exciting organization.

Our name, The Masonic Society, intentionally alludes to the Royal Society, the innovative organization of visionary men who were at the forefront of the Age of Enlightenment, many of whom were present at the formation of what became modern Freemasonry. Likewise, our new Society will be at the forefront of a new age of Freemasonry, and we intend to be a vibrant, active community within the fraternity.

The goal of The Masonic Society is not just to look backward at the history of Freemasonry, but to foster the intellectual, spiritual and social growth of the modern Masonic fraternity.

To that end, The Masonic Society extends the hand of assistance and cooperation to individual Masonic research lodges in North America. It is the desire of The Masonic Society to be a partner with these lodges, to give their members the regular opportunity to publish their papers for an international audience, and to publicize their activities.

The Masonic Society is also forging a special relationship with those bodies that meet annually during Masonic Week, as well as the Grand Encampment, Knights Templar and the George Washington Masonic National Memorial Association. While not designed as a York Rite-specific research group, The Masonic Society encourages examination of this branch of Freemasonry.”

After reading many papers in the past year to understand Masonry and find my place in it, I have found that the pursuit of knowledge in Freemasonry is a lifetime goal. I am determined to know and pass on everything I learn along the way. The mission statement, if you will, brings with it a renewal in modern day enlightenment for those interested in attaining it. In the paper “Laudable Pursuit” by The Knights of the North a new resurgence of regaining Freemasonry’s legendary status seems to be on the rise. “This new generation of members wants to associate with something ancient, something mythical, something legendary; with a group that has been the fraternity of the greatest of men for three centuries; with a fraternity that is worldwide in its scope, and universal in its welcoming of all faiths and all races; with a local lodge that helps the family next door and the school down the street; with a group that once was at the forefront of issues that shaped this country and – arguably – was the crucible that gave birth to the American Revolution because they were men of action and social conscience; with a fraternity that claims as its members the most imaginative minds and the most successful of men. That’s what they read about on the Internet and in books and see in movies and even comics. That’s the image they see and what they are looking for when they knock on our doors.” – Laudable Pursuit, pg.4.

Will the dinner dances and summer picnics come to an end? I sincerely hope not, for this fellowship is the cement that binds. We all know that the numbers of Masons is shrinking or at best stabilizing where they are today. Many believe that there should be no drives for memberships like the one day courses. Pros and cons of these types of programs aside it is the quality of the members that counts. Should a lodge initiate, pass and raise 10 brothers in 1 year and only 2 come to lodge on a regular basis and get involved in lodge activities; seems to be a typical theme. In my short tenure as a Mason and from the small fraction of Brothers I have met, a couple of them came through the one day classes.

This really didn’t start out as an essay on one day classes or anything other than a general observation of Freemasonry today and tomorrow. The one day class example is just that an example.

So back to the Masonic Society, I have to admit that becoming a founding member is a real thrill. I am looking forward to the lifetime of learning that is ahead of me and hope that I can transfer this to whomever may be interested in seeing this great fraternity grow.

Ex Tenebris Lux

GLoNY renews amnity with GLoDC

I read this today and I really hope it is true.

Brethren All:

Our Most Worshipful Brother Kwame Acquaah, Grand Master of Masons of the District of Columbia, has contacted me from the Conference of Grand Masters and Grand Secretaries in North America (taking place this week in Anaheim, California) and requested that I announce to you on his behalf this happy news:

The Grand Lodge, F. & A.M of the State of New York has announced this morning that it has renewed recognition of the Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia. A joint statement issued today by our Grand Lodge and the Grand Lodge of New York at the Conference of Grand Masters and Grand Secretaries in North America, confirmed that the issues between the two Grand Lodges have been resolved and amity restored. MWB Acquaah greatly appreciates the cordial and amicable manner in which this matter was handled between our Grand Lodge and the Grand Lodge of New York. The Grand Master prays that the bonds of fraternal affection between our two Grand Lodges will continue until time is no more.

The Grand Master is also happy to announce that MWB Thomas M. Velvin, Jr., Grand Master of Masons of Maryland, has ordered the immediate resumption of the processing of requests for jurisdictional waivers from our Grand Lodge. Grand Master Acquaah is thankful and appreciative of the cooperative manner in which the Grand Master of Masons of Maryland worked to facilitate resolution of this matter.

The Grand Master would like everyone to know that he is grateful and most appreciative for the patience and understanding of all DC Freemasons during the past several weeks.

Our Grand Master respectfully invites as many of you as are able to join him at 7:00 pm this Friday, February 20th at the Scottish Rite Center on the occasion of our Grand Lodge Founders’ Day. Please register by email at grandlodge@dcgrandlodge.org before 12:00 noon on Thursday, February 19th. Most Worshipful Brother Acquaah looks forward to seeing and sharing fellowship with you on this very joyous occasion.

Fraternally,
Walter R. Hoenes, P.M.
Assistant to the Grand Secretary

THE GRAND LODGE OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
Free and Accepted Masons of the Nation’s Capital

And from the GLoNY:
Letter from GloNY
http://www.potunklodge.org/docs/GM_Letter_GLofDC_restored.pdf

The Solomon Key nearly complete?

Dan Brown the author of the Di Vinci Code novel may be nearing completion of his latest novel, tentatively titled The Solomon Key. From the Guardian.co.uk “Speaking on the Geneva set of the second film to be based on one of Brown’s novels, Angels & Demons, Howard told the US television show Entertainment Tonight that Brown had finished writing the long-awaited third book featuring Langdon, and that the author was “very excited” about the novel. Howard added that although he hadn’t had the chance to read the book yet, he couldn’t wait to do so.

The news will be welcomed by fans of Brown’s fast-paced conspiracy thrillers: the book was originally intended to be published in 2006, when it was listed on Amazon as The Solomon Key. It will be the author’s first new novel since the 2003 publication of The Da Vinci Code, which went on to sell over 70m copies worldwide.

Brown reveals on his website that the new book will see Langdon “embroiled in a mystery on US soil” for the first time. “This new novel explores the hidden history of our nation’s capital,” he writes. Internet speculation has suggested the novel will focus on the Freemasons.

But Brown’s US publisher Doubleday provided no confirmation of the report, saying only that Brown was making “great progress” with the book and that there was as yet no title or publication date to share.”

It remains to be seen what light Mr. Brown will paint the world’s oldest fraternity; since this novel will bring the Langdon character onto US soil and rumor has it that is will focus on the ‘freemasons” and the US capital. This is fodder for conspiracy theorist in a big way. Now should Dan Brown go ahead and add references to the Denver International Airport then the conspiracy nuts would have a hat-trick. I have to admit that I read the Di Vinci Code and enjoyed it, the movie not so much. I will look forward to reading this book and see how our honored fraternity is placed once again into the spotlight. This public attention could bring renewed interest in Freemasonry and hopefully positive interest.

Freemasonry in Bro. Washington’s Day

As there is not much news activity today; I thought I would post a little about or honored Brother George Washington. As presidents day is approaching this coming Monday I thought I would remind everyone of what we are celebrating. This holiday was originally celebrated publicly even during Washington’s presidency, but obviously called Washington’s Birthday. In later years after Lincoln’s Presidency some states began calling the holiday President’s day. Since Washington’s Birthday is February 22nd and Lincoln’s is February 12th the day became a celebration of both these fine men.
Now a little more about George Washington. According to Albert G. Mackey in a speech given on the centennial of Washington’s initiation: “The minute book of the Lodge at Fredericksburg presents no more than the usual record that on the 4th of November, 1752, George Washington was initiated as an Entered Apprentice. The youth, who, though even then he had been honored by a distinguished appointment in the military service of his native State, had not yet developed the germ of his future greatness, passed undoubtedly through the solemn ceremonies of initiation into our mystic rites, without any suspicion on the part of those who assisted in bestowing on him the light of Masonry, that the transaction then occurring was to become an era in the annals of our institution, and that a century afterwards their descendants would ordain a jubilee, to hail its memory with shouts of joy and to celebrate its anniversary with loud peans of praise.”
Mackey continues: “In the ancient record book of the Lodge at Fredericksburg in Virginia – a book venerable for its age as a relic of the past -but still more venerable for the pages on which the record is made, will be found the following entries.
The first entry is thus:
No. 4th, 1752. This evening Mr. George Washington was initiated as an Entered Apprentice,” and the receipt of the entrance fee, amounting to 2 pounds 3s is acknowledged.
(Webmaster’s note: in today’s currency that would equal about $150.00)
On the 3rd of March in the following year, “Mr. George Washington” is recorded as having been passed a Fellow Craft; and on the 4th of the succeeding August the transactions of the evening are that “Mr. George Washington,” and others whose names are mentioned, are stated to have been raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason.
Though other things have passed away, that still remains; now as it has ever been ­ indissoluble ­ immutable – no landmark subverted-no fragment dissevered from its perfect mass; its columns still standing in strong support; its lights still burning with undiminished splendor; its altars still blazing with their sacred fires; its truth still pure as in the day of its birthhood; and when the cycle of another century shall have revolved, and you and I, and all that are elsewhere meeting on this festival day, shall have gone down to the dust from whence we sprung – another generation will be here – again to meet upon a second jubilee, and with like hopes and joys, and with like words of granulation and songs of triumph, to celebrate the two hundredth anniversary of that day which gave to Masonry the noblest of her sons, in him who was “First in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen.”
It is still more than 42 years until the 3rd jubilee in 2052 when Masons can reflect back upon the tri-centennial of that fine day in November 1752 that, as Mackey said, “gave Masonry the noblest of her sons”. So while you may have the day off from work and family or leisure activities planned, remember Bro. Washington and what Masonry, or the world, might have been if not for this one man.


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