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:

http://www.masonsoftexas.com/showthread.php?13448-Sad-news-from-Onion-Creek-220

Onion Creek Website: http://www.onioncreeklodge220.org/


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

LIVE BLOGGING FROM THE GRAND LODGE:

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.


“B” Proficiency Exams to be Conducted at Grand Lodge

Kansas Master Proficiency Pin

Live-blogging from the Area/District deputy Orientation in Salina, it is just announced that “B” proficiency examinations will be held at the Annual Communication in Salina, March 18 – 19, 2011.

In response to questions from the assembled district and area deputies, DGM Tracy Bloom and GSW Don Newman announced that brethren wishing to be examined for the first stage of GL Kansas proficiency should appear at the annual communication prepared to complete the examination.

The announcement was prompted by concerns from the floor that the mechanics for earning “B” proficiency cards are very difficult for those brethren who belong to lodges that have no proficiency card holders to conduct the examination of new proficiency candidates. Kansas currently offers B, A, Master and Unlimited proficiencies in ritual work

“We’ll work out the details,” said GSW Newman, “and make sure that we have people on hand to conduct the examinations.”  Newman said that in times past, proficiency cards were awarded at the annual meeting, and that “with brethren asking us for help, we need to step up and provide it.”

Brethren wishing to be examined for “B” card proficiency at Grand Lodge should email Grand Lodge using the contact form on the Grand Secretary’s page, providing their name, lodge name and contact information (email address, phone number) to reserve a time for the examination. Only “B” card examinations will be held at the Annual Communication.

At present, time and day of the examinations are to be determined. Information will be posted in this space as scheduling issues are resolved, and brethren emailing Grand Lodge will receive confirmation details as they are finalized.


Masonry in the News: Rock Musicians Join Mass. Lodge

Chris Hoddap’s blog Freemasonry for Dummies – a veritable clearinghouse for Masonic news worldwide – takes note of a story in the Boston Phoenix, an indie-urban entertainment newspaper (similar to Kansas city’s Pitch Weekly), “How the Boston rock scene grew up, got real jobs, and became Freemasons?” by reporter Eugenia Williamson.

Williams looked into some of the members of Amicable Lodge (which does not have a number) of Cambridge, Massachusetts, and found that its membership are not old, out of touch men, but former rock and rollers.

The Masons of Amicable Lodge have tattoos curling out from under their button-down shirts. They wear giant rings and waist aprons that look like oversize satin envelopes. They wear ties and medals and amulets. They carry staffs. Each month, they gather to practice secret rituals in Porter Square.

Once, they played in Boston bands like Slapshot, Crash and Burn, Sam Black Church, Victory at Sea, the Men, and Cradle to the Grave. Back then, none of them would have dreamed of joining the Masons. Masonry — a fraternal society that dates back to the 1700s — has not, heretofore, been associated with rock and roll.

But people get older and settle down. They get married. They have kids. They get jobs. They join the Masons.

The article alludes to the seemingly poor fit of rock and rollers with the ideals of Freemasonry, but one of the lodge members disagreed.

“I think a lot of people’s misconception of the fraternity is that it’s a bunch of stodgy old men,” says Master Mason J.R. Roach. Roach, 41, is a big dude with black hair and a couple of tattoos that he keeps covered up. Once he was the drummer for Boston stalwarts Sam Black Church and played with KISS, Ted Nugent, Motörhead, Black Sabbath, and Dio.

“There’s a saying in the ceremony that basically says the organization will not regard any man for his wealth or appearance. So it’s a very interesting mix of people. You go to Lodge and the reverend of your church could be sitting next to a guy with really long hair, and nobody cares. Everybody’s considered equal.”

Taken as a whole, the article portrays Freemasonry in a very positive light.  As Hodapp notes, many of the brothers featured in this story were also the subject of a story – along similar lines – that appeared in the Boston Herald in 2008, which also portrayed the fraternity in a positive light.

Stodgy lodges, traditional initiations and secret handshakes would seem to be the antithesis of punk rock.But a diverse group of Hub rockers are embracing centuries-old fraternal ideals to become the new face of the Freemasons in Boston.

“It’s not a religion, and it’s definitely not a cult,” said J.R. Roach, drummer for Sam Black Church and bassist for The Men, who also is master of the Masons’ Cambridge Amicable Lodge. “Everything is supposed to be dignified. There’s no hazing. We’re all brothers. It’s a movement for guys trying to find a deeper meaning in their lives.”

A new breed of Freemasons has surfaced locally, filling seats occupied for decades by community leaders, politicians and executives. Some join because their fathers or grandfathers were Masons. Others come for the male camaraderie or the intellectual challenge. And some simply want to get out of the house and go somewhere other than a rock club.

“It’s kind of like a history class that no one else can take,” said Dave Norton, drummer for Victory at Sea and The Men. He believes his membership in the fraternal organization will be especially rewarding when he tours Europe later this year.

“I can go anywhere in the world and find a brother,” he said.

A visit to Amicable Lodge’s web site will confirm that it continues to defy stereotypes – its web page is clean, well designed and timely updated, and the webmaster features the Boston Phoenix story front and center on the lodge blog.