Grand Lodge Repairs On-Going

By Tracy L. Bloom, Grand Master

In accordance with the goals and objectives we have set out in our Strategic Plan, we’ve begun maintenance and repairs to your Grand Lodge Building this spring.  This post is an update of the progress we are making.

Workers are nearing completion of the installation of a water and vapor barrier for the foundation walls of the building.  Some years ago a similar system was installed on the West side of the building and it was a great success in eliminating a moisture problem in that area.  This work is eliminating the moisture concerns on the East side of the building.  It was quite extensive but was necessary as the infiltration of moisture and water over time will start degrading the foundation walls and this method of prevention was deemed the best way to prevent that from occurring.

The workers first dug down to the footings of the building at the foundation walls, cleaned the walls of all debris, and coated the walls with a liquid sealant. Following the application of the sealant, they installed a rolled-type of moisture barrier followed by  a sheet of water conduits. At the bottom of the ditch is installed coarse rock and drain tile to divert the water.  The intent is to direct any water or moisture directly to the bottom of the foundation where the drain system will pick it up and allow it to drain into sumps that will then pump the water away for safe discharge.

This work should alleviate the water infiltration into the building on rainy days and when the snow melts in the winter.  With some minor repairs on the inside basement walls things should be back to normal in no time!

I will update you on further repair progress as events dictate.

Kansas Mason Presents at International Freemason Conference

Assistant Grand Secretary Joesphe Stiles recently spoke at the Third International Conference on the History of Freemasonry held May 27-29 at the George Washington Masonic National Memorial in Alexandria, Virginia.

Stiles’ presentation,  Using Progressive Era Ku Klux Klan Membership Activity in Kansas to Understand Changes in Freemasonry and Similar Fraternal Organizations, concerned  Ku Klux Klan  activity in Kansas the 1920s, using that small amount of data to support conclusions about fraternalism more generally.

According to Stiles,  the high point of Masonic membership  occurred in the 1920s. By contrasting Masonic membership data with Klan membership numbers, a new perspective on fraternal membership life cycle may be understood.  “Rebirth of the Ku Klux Klan at the same high membership point of civic and fraternal membership in whole gives us insight into much larger fraternal trends that have nothing to do with the Klan. And since there was so much cross-over of membership in groups with only slight change to the economic situation, and no change to political and social structures, it becomes a potentially powerful tool to examine the attitudes and changes in civic organizations as a whole. ”

Contending that each few months of the life of the Klan organization strongly mirror decades long changes in other groups, he argued there is a lot to learn, however metahistorical it may be.

Stiles was a part of a panel that included Masons and non-Masons who conduct academic research about Freemasonry.  The panel was chaired by Dr Susan Mitchell Sommers of Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, and included Dr Kristofer Allerfeldt of the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom, and WB Adam Kendall, Director of the Henry Wilson Coil Library and Museum of Freemasonry at the Grand Lodge of California.

The Conference, which  meets biennially, features papers and discussions with Masons and Masonic scholars from around the world, and is held under the special patronage of the 11th Earl of Elgin, who is head of the Scottish House of Bruce, and formerly the Grand Master Mason of the Grand Lodge of Scotland.  His age and health prevented his attendance at this session, but each presenter was given a copy of the book, authored by the Earl, on his ancestor, King Robert the Bruce.

The next conference location will be in the north of England, at a date and precise location to be determined.

Strategic Planning Conference Set for Fall

By Cole Presley, DDGM, Dist. 35

On September 17, 2011 at noon, at the Prairie Junction Restaurant in Morland, Kansas,  Millbrook Lodge No. 281 and the 35th District will be hosting a Strategic Planning Conference.

The purpose of this event is to allow lodges from across the state to put their heads together as they begin to build their strategic plans as required by 2013 under Vision 2020.  This will also be a good chance to consult resources for planning and to work out issues in creating goals. RW Rick Reichert, GSW, will also be in attendance with members from his Leadership Task Force to assist any lodges with their plan.

May 2011 Kansas Mason Now Online

The May 2011 issue of the Kansas Mason is now posted online, and the issue has been sent to the printers in advance of our publication deadline.

This is only possible because of the hard work of our writers and editors for this issue; Howard Duncan, Dan Morrow, Chet Peterson, Max Pittman, Nolan Sump, and our proofreader,  Jan Nelson. The issue contains the regular columns by the Grand Master and the Grand Secretary and GSW Rick Reichert also provided us with an excellent article on the Masonic experience life cycle.  Also included are the official edicts from the Annual Communication, and news of the Craft both in Kansas and abroad. The paper copy should reach your US Mail carrier the first week in May.

The issue is full, and  regrettably we had to make some hard choices in deciding what could fit in.  Submissions that reached us in advance of the deadline and were in electronic format received precedence over hand-written or paper submissions. Because of the all-volunteer nature of our staff, we do not have the time or manpower to transcribe hand-written or paper submissions.  But you can help bridge that gap by sending all submissions by email with electronic images (.jpg/.png) accompanying each story.  For further information, please consult our style sheet.

The Fall issue of the Kansas Mason is due out in September 2011. Writer’s deadline for submissions is August 15, 2011.

Justice Lodge No. 457 Announces Inaugural Meeting

The charter members of Justice Lodge No. 457 – Kansas’ newest lodge – announced their first meeting will be held in Abilene on May 28, 2011 with a festive board following.

The lodge will convene using the facilities of Benevolent Lodge No. 98, with the permission of the Benevolent’s Masonic Temple Board.  According to the invitation issued by the charter members of the lodge, the first meeting will be a business meeting, to include “installing the appointed officers, accepting petitions, and such other business as may come before the Lodge.  The highlight of the meeting will be a masonic education session given by W:. Michael Halleran, Master of Justice Lodge, Guards Posted at the South, East, & West: Kansas Masonic Lawmen.”

As the first affinity lodge since territorial days, Justice Lodge  limits its actual membership  to forty-five  Master Masons who are past or present Law Enforcement Officers, which include federal, state, county, or city law enforcement officers, federal, state, county, or city corrections officers, and past or present federal, state, county, or city prosecutors.

According to the invitation, “as a courtesy to our members and guests, and in profound reverence for the sacred tenets of our Order, we enforce a dress code.  Lodge officers shall wear tuxedos; members and guests shall be properly attired in tuxedo or dark business suit and tie.  As a traveling lodge we do not have “courtesy” or communal aprons.  Members and guests should bring their own Masonic apron to wear.”

Regular Masons in good standing are invited to attend.

Invitation to Inaugural Meeting of Justice Lodge

Texas Masonic Lodges Report Vandalism, Arson Sprees

Two neighboring Masonic lodges in Texas have reported serious criminal damage to their lodges in the last sixty days.

On April 2, 2011, a lodge member found a pipe bomb near  Helotes Masonic Lodge No. 1429 in Helotes, Texas. The fuse initiated device was constructed with PVC pipe.

Onion Creek Lodge No. 220

In March, Onion Creek Lodge No. 220 in Austin eighty-four miles from Helotes Lodgesuffered damage from a Molotov cocktail thrown through a window.  Although the lodge suffered fire damage, the bottle failed to break, limiting the spread of the fire.  According to a report posted on Round Rock Lodge No. 227 website, there have been three other vandalism incidents at Onion Creek Lodge during the last year.

(1) Sometime last year, the lodge sign on North Bluff Drive was destroyed by being cut completely through the sign and two Plexiglas covers.

(2) Several months ago, there was an unsuccessful attempt to break in through the rear door of the dining room.

(3) About two weeks ago, someone took down our American flag, turned it upside-down, and re-hoisted it. That same day, the outside screen was torn open and several panes of the men’s room window were broken.

Onion Creek Lodge is the second oldest, continuously used, Masonic Lodge in the state of Texas.

Police are investigating the incidents at both lodges.

Further reading:

Onion Creek Website:

Historical Inquiry Prompts Lodge Renovation Project

By C. Max Pittman, King Solomon Lodge No. 10

Following a contest in the Kansas Mason (Vol. 48, No. 3) to determine the oldest lodge in the state still in its original building, the members of King Solomon Lodge No. 10 in Leavenworth did a little digging.

Researching their building, which is located at 423 ½ Delaware Street, the members learned that the Leavenworth Masonic Temple was among the three oldest known Masonic buildings in Kansas to have been in continuous operation since constructed.

The Leavenworth building is the largest and most ornate of the three.

The Leavenworth Masonic Temple c. 1920 (click to enlarge)

It was designed by William P. Feth, a Leavenworth architect, built in 1913 and occupied in 1914. It has since become a Kansas Masonic landmark.

Following their research, members of King Solomon Lodge began planning improvements to the building, contemplating adding a new elevator, and air conditioning to improve its usage and help safeguard the building’s future. The group agreed that funding such a project would not be easy but was certainly worth their best effort.

One member, Mark Swope, said he was surprised when he and the Lodge Secretary discovered the original architect’s drawings of the building in the basement vault. When the plans were opened up they were found to be in exceptionally good condition — drawn on linen cloth as was the practice at that time. The building has since been examined by a Kansas City structural engineering firm who surveyed the property and reported it to be in solid condition, noting many unique architectural features that they recommended be well preserved.

Among the architectural highlights of the temple are decorative terra cotta bandings and ornate cornice work on the exterior façade, incorporating Masonic symbols into the design. Inside, visitors are met with a grand entrance stairway with marble wall panels and steps, the original tile flooring in the hallways, and original wood trim with its original finish. In addition, the temple boasts original furniture, casework and millwork with ornamental detailing throughout.

The temple now serves the Byington Chapter No. 177, Order of Eastern Star, Jobs Daughters Bethel 28, the York Rite Bodies, as well as King Solomon Lodge.

The group of members of King Solomon Lodge hopes that improvements to the building will help to generate new interest in downtown Leavenworth as well as renew interest in membership of the Masonic Bodies.

Kellerman Appointed GSD

Daren Kellerman has been appointed the Grand Senior Deacon for 2011.  A former Area Deputy Grand Master, Kellerman is a member and secretary of Delphian Lodge No. 44 in Garnett, and a plural member of both Xenia Lodge No. 47 and Justice Lodge No. 457, in which he is also the secretary.

A ten year law enforcement veteran, he is the former Chief of Police in La Harpe and is currently a deputy sheriff in Allen County. Apart from his Masonic commitments, he is also a member of various police organizations including the Kansas Peace Officers Association, the  Kansas Sheriff’s Associations and the Fraternal Order of Police.

If elected by the Craft, Kellerman will be Grand Master of Masons in Kansas in 2015.

Daren, and his wife Jennifer, live in Ottawa.

First Affinity Lodge Formed After GL Vote

Delegates at the 155th Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of Kansas overwhelmingly approved the formation of the first modern affinity lodge in Kansas:  Justice Lodge No. 457, based in Abilene. Affinity lodges, recognized by many other jurisdictions but practically unknown in Kansas, are lodges that confine their active membership to a shared interest or profession.

Making use of a little-known procedure in the Kansas Masonic code, the charter members of the lodge petitioned for  a Warrant for Constitution directly to the Grand Lodge, by-passing the usual step of requesting Letters of Dispensation. The petition was read and acted on during the annual communication.  The Grand Master, L. Kent Needham, then asked the proposers to address the assembled delegates.

In their address, charter members Cole Presley (PM Millbrook Lodge No. 281 ) and John R. Harwood, Jr. (PM Benevolent Lodge No. 98) explained that Justice Lodge would be an affinity lodge for law enforcement Masons – past or present police officers, corrections officer, emergency dispatchers, prosecutors or court trustees. The pair emphasized that Justice Lodge would be the first step in fulfilling the objectives of the Strategic Plan which calls for ten new lodges in ten years. Drawing members from all over the state, Presley commented that the lodge intended to become an occasional lodge meeting quarterly, and highlighted this fact in explaining why the group by-passed the traditional step of requesting Letters of Dispensation.

“We intend on petitioning Grand Lodge [if a charter is granted] to allow us to become an occasional lodge, but Lodges Under Dispensation are not allowed to be occasional lodges – this is why we have petitioned Grand Lodge directly,” Presley said.

The charter members of the lodge are Daren L. Kellerman (Delphian No. 44), Presley, Harwood, Michael A. Halleran, Kevin C. Crist, John Scarce and Lane Ryno (Emporia No. 12), Kevin L. Turner and Russell B. Ingle (Millbrook No. 281). Immediately following the vote, the principle officers were installed by the Grand Master with the assistance of Grand Senior Warden Rick Reichert with Halleran in the East, Harwood in the West and Crist in the South.

The charter members of Justice Lodge following officer installation.

Following receipt of the charter from Grand Lodge, Halleran stated that the group will plan its first meeting and would provide information to the Kansas Mason website.

“We are looking forward to getting organized and we would welcome visitors and guests to our first meeting once we get organized,” he said.

Although the first affinity lodge in modern memory, Justice Lodge is not technically the premier affinity lodge in Kansas Masonic history. Union Lodge No. 7, formed by and for military Masons in Fort Riley, was chartered on October 29, 1857.

Grand Lodge Votes New Alcohol By-Law


The voting delegates at the 155th Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of Kansas voted today to loosen the restrictions on alcohol at social functions in Kansas lodges.

By-Law 3-619, long the subject of debate at past annual communications was amended this afternoon to read

Alcoholic beverages are forbidden in Lodge rooms, except for ritualistic purposes.  The serving or consumption of any beverage having a recognized or indicated alcohol content in any Lodge room, ritualistic purposes excepted, shall be deemed an offense against the Body of Masonry.  This does not preclude lodges from renting their facilities, except Lodge rooms, to groups where alcoholic beverages are consumed in accordance with the laws of the State of Kansas.

This language replaces  the previous by-law which prohibited any alcohol consumption at any social function of any lodge.  The proposer, PGM Glenn E. Kohr brought the by-law change to the floor of Grand Lodge under the rationale that it would allow appendant bodies to use alcohol for ritualistic purposes and not violate Kansas Masonic code.  Further, he stated, it would “remove the hypocrisy that currently exists where we turn a blind eye to alcohol use at social functions.”

According to in-coming Grand Senior Warden Rick Reichert, the change was a positive one. “Today, the brethren of Kansas voted to clarify the Grand Lodge’s position on alcohol  by repealing prohibition.  The by-law that keeps alcohol out of lodge rooms remains, but the decision to have alcohol or allow alcohol on the premises is now up to each lodge.  If they do not want alcohol, lodges can add that restriction to their own by-laws.  In cases where lodges operate in dry counties or military installations, the vote does not change their status.”

For a complete update on all measures passed at the 155th Annual Communication, please see the next issue of the Kansas Mason.