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.


Kansas Mason Online Poll

The printed version of the February 2011 issue has been completed ahead of schedule, with delivery expected before the first of February, thanks to a lot of hard work by the Kansas Mason staff, including Howard Duncan, Chet Peterson and Nolan Sump. The online edition is available now.

Since February 2010, the newsletter has undergone substantial changes. Are we living up to your expectations? Be sure to check it out and give us your feedback.


Winter 2011 Book Reviews

AN ILLUSTRATED HISTORY OF THE KNIGHTS HOSPITALLER

By Stephan Dafoe

There are several good reasons for buying this book, but searching for a connection between the Knights Hospitaller and Freemasonry is not one of them.  Author Dafoe presents an extremely detailed history of the Knights Hospitaller from their formal creation by Pope Paschal II in the year 1113 [six years before formation of the Knights Templar] to the present day.  The Order’s mission was originally to  care of the sick and infirm within hospitals (it continues to this day), but from 1128 to 1798 it also included the militaristic crusading aspect.  That ended with Napoleon’s taking of Malta and two years later losing it to the British Empire.

The book gives a well developed view of the intricacies within the competing military, religious, and political powers in the medieval era.  The cruelty committed in the name of religion should inspire our present generation to a passion for freedom of religion.  Decapitated heads were flung at the enemy by catapult and cannon.  Surrender meant unarmed death or, if lucky, life as a galley slave chained to a rowing bench.

Dafoe is an excellent researcher and writer, qualities which make the book somewhat of a tome.  If you find that you do not want to read it all, it has some value as a beautifully illustrated coffee-table decoration.  The greatest value of the book is impressing upon our present humankind the true ugliness and tenacity of religious warfare.

Reviewed by J. Howard Duncan, Lawrence Lodge No.6

Ian Allan Publishing

160 pages

Paperback ($22.90)

THE DIRECTOR OF CEREMONIES

By Richard Johnson

The author surely had no expectation that his just released book The Director of Ceremonies, published by Lewis Masonic in England, would be of interest to Kansas Masons.

It was written as a very specific guide to the office of Director of Ceremonies in British blue lodge Freemasonry. We have nothing like this office in Kansas as it performs duties which we have spread over the positions of Master, Secretary, Senior Deacon, Junior Warden, Tyler, Stewards, and Coach. In effect, the British Director of Ceremonies is the Manager of lodge proceedings and meetings. Why should such a narrowly devoted book about something we don’t have in Kansas be of interest to Kansas Masons?

It serves as a highly interesting voyeur experience for the Master Mason curious about how English Masonry differs from Kansas Masonry. In the UK, the Director of Ceremonies is almost invariably a Past Master and a highly accomplished ritualist. Johnson is no exception to these basic characteristics, and he is a skillful writer with an entertaining sense of humor. How can you avoid an inward chuckle when reading his remarks about the Master splitting his trousers at an elevating moment in the third degree?

Perhaps the most singular distinction between American and English Masonry is formality and recognition regarding Provincial and Senior Grand Officers in Great Britain. These dignitaries, several of whom are usually present at any given meeting, have specific seats determined by rank and are given specific formal salutes by all except higher ranking officers. The English lodge attire is much more formalized, including the wearing of white gloves. Many of their meetings include wine toasts starting with to the Queen and the Craft. After the meeting, there is a bar and sometimes a meal. The English also have some specialized blue lodges known as Emulation Lodges which feature accomplished ritualists and do lengthy full ceremonies.

The book price is clearly a bargain compared to round-trip airfare. Even if you intend to visit an English lodge, buy the book as trip preparation.

Reviewed by: J. Howard Duncan, Lawrence Lodge No. 6

Lewis Masonic

80 pages

Paperback ($16.95)

THE MEANING OF MASONRY

By Albert Pike

While not a recent book of this century, or even the last, The Meaning of Masonry is a book that should hold a prominent location in the library or any Mason who seeks deeper meaning in the philosophy of the Fraternity.  As Pike notes, “Masonry is not speculative, but operative.  Good masonry is to do the work of life, its practical work is natural life.”

Albert Pike was requested to expound on his philosophy of Masonry at the meeting of the Grand Lodge of Louisiana in 1858.  At that time, several of the lodges and appendant bodies were in conflict with each other over who can best work and best agree.  This slim volume (44 pages) reproduces his lecture to the assembled Masonic bodies of Louisiana, describing his vision of Masonic fraternity in hopes of mitigating the acrimony.

Of singular interest to this reviewer was the timing of this seminal document relative to the publication, thirteen years later, of Pike’s masterwork, Morals and Dogma.  There is enough overlap between the morals and philosophy expressed in The Meaning of Masonry that it could be considered an outline or executive summary of the later treatise.  Every grand thought about the valor, honor, compassion, faith, hope, charity, and altruism that should be the mark of every good man and Mason is expressed by this book and elaborated upon by the later ritualistic work of the Scottish Rite.

The book was written for the Mason of the mid-nineteenth century, and it expresses the Masonic enlightenment beliefs of the mid-18th century, while remaining relevant to the Mason of the 21st century.  While written for Masons, it should be read by every man who thinks of petitioning the Fraternity, for it clearly and succinctly describes the reality of Masonic thought – stressing virtue, patriotism, liberty, fraternity, and equality in equal measure as the foundation of the Fraternity.

Reviewed by: J. Howard Duncan, Lawrence Lodge No. 6

Cornerstone Book Publishers, published for the Louisiana Lodge of Research

Paperback ($11.00), Kindle ($5.99)

If you are a Kansas Mason and would like to publish a book review in the Kansas Mason, please use the contact form to send a query to the editor telling about the book, and the length of your review (in words). We will respond to all queries promptly.


Annual Communication Info Now Online

The 155th Annual Communication will be held at the Salina Masonic Center, 336 South Santa Fe, Salina, Kansas on March 18 -19, 2011. Registration paperwork and proposed by-laws for the session are now online.

Accessible by members in the secure membership area (Membership/Official notices) , the registration form  may be downloaded, filled out, and mailed to Grand Lodge at the address provided. To obtain your password, contact your DDGM or ADGM. A hard copy of the registration form will also be included in the next issue of the Kansas Mason.

In future years,  the form will be integrated into the website as an electronic registration, eliminating the need to download, print and mail.

The by-law proposals are also incorporated as a .pdf file in the membership area (Membership/Official notices).  A hard copy of the proposed by-laws will also be included in the next issue of the Kansas Mason.

As a reminder, Article V of the Constitution states that all past masters of Kansas lodges and all currently serving, elected and appointed officers of a Kansas lodge (in good standing) are eligible to vote at the Grand Lodge session.

Please fill out your registration paperwork and plan to attend to make your voice heard.


Annual Communication to Feature Historical Apron Presentation

Bro. Patrick Craddock

Noted expert on Masonic aprons and regalia, author and historian, Bro. Patrick Craddock of Conlegium Ritus Austeri No. 779, Nashville, Tennessee will be speaking at the 155th Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of Kansas in Salina on March 18, 2011.
Craddock, who received his Master of Arts degree (Middle Tenn. State Univ. ’92) and Master of Philosophy ( University College of Wales – Aberystwyth ’01) in history, is a contributing author to Encyclopedia of Tennessee History, C. Van West, ed., as well as a past-curator of

exhibits at the Carter House Museum, Franklin, Tennessee. Initiated, passed and raised in O.D. Smith Lodge, No. 33, Oxford, Mississippi, he is a life member Hiram Lodge No. 7, Franklin, Tennessee and the sitting J.W. of Conlegium Ritus Austeri No. 779 in Nashville ( as well as a charter member of same). Additionally, he is the owner of The Craftsman’s Apron, manufacturers and providers of the highest quality Masonic regalia extant.

Custom-made apron created by Craddock

Bro. Craddock will present one of four Masonic education sessions during the Annual Communication.

His talk,  “Properly Clothed & Vouched For: Historical Masonic Aprons & Regalia” focuses on the development of the Masonic apron from its origins to the present day.

According to Craddock, Masons traditionally were responsible for their aprons, sometimes making them themselves, or crafted by a family member, and they brought them to lodge with them. Additionally, many of these aprons were decorated with masonic symbolism from the simple to the intricate.

“It’s a comparatively recent development that Masonic lodges supply cloth aprons to their members and guests,” he said, “but it hasn’t always been that way.”

Craddock’s presentation will trace the operative origins of the the Masonic garment and other Masonic regalia through the 18th and 19th centuries, showing hand-crafted and machine-made aprons from America and Europe. His presentation – the time to be determined – will be open to Masons and their ladies.