Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Bullard Masonic Lodge #785 to provide Dental Kits

All first graders at Bullard Primary School were recently given free prevent tooth decay kits by members of Bullard Masonic Lodge #785.

Michael Whisenhunt, a member of the Lodge, organized the kit distribution. Members of the Lodge assembled and delivered 160 kits to the school.

The project, called the Fantastic Teeth Fan Club, is a program of Masonic Children & Family Services

(MCFS) and local Masonic Lodges to prevent children from suffering with toothaches, reduce missed school days due to dental problems, and cut costs for dental treatment.

Prevent tooth decay kits contain: a toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss, healthy teeth sticker, two minute timer (optimal brushing time), “Tips for Healthy Teeth At Any Age” educational flyer for parents in both English and Spanish, and a summary of MCFS services and grant opportunities.

According to Oral Health In America: A Report of the Surgeon General, tooth decay is the single most common chronic childhood disease— five times more common than asthma and seven times more common than hay fever. Poor children are affected by this epidemic more frequently than other children, with nearly 12 times more restricted-activity days due to dental issues than children from higher-income families. With more than 1.5 million Texas children living in poverty, there is a great need for this type of program.

Dental problems also directly affect success for children, with more than 51 million school hours lost each year to dental-related illness. Teachers have judged both classroom performance and classroom behavior to be significantly poorer among children in need of dental care. Pain and suffering due to untreated dental disease can also lead to problems in eating and speaking.

Masonic Children & Family Services of Texas is a nonprofit organization with a history spanning more than 100 years of helping children across Texas. Contact the organization at toll-free 1.877.203.9111; email:, or online at

Vandals spray graffiti at Boise Masonic Temple

Boise, Garden City, Mountain Home | Idaho Statesman

Sometime between midnight Saturday and early Sunday morning, vandals spray painted the entrance of the historic Masonic Temple at 215 N. 10th St. in Downtown Boise.

The graffiti read "V 4 Victory." Those were the same words spray painted at the Masonic Temple in Meridian this summer, said Corey Turner, vice president of the Boise Masonic Temple Association.

"We don't know who it is, or who to suspect," said Turner. There was no other damage to the building. Vandals broke a window at the temple in Meridian, but didn't damage that building otherwise.

Turner, who's been with the organization for 25 years, believes the act wasn't random, and that the Masons were singled out.

"People think the Masons are a new world order, trying to take over," he said. People are misinformed. The group focuses on community and philanthropy, and trying to lead good lives, Turner said.

The historic temple, which became the latest addition to the city's list of historic local landmarks this fall, was the subject of a recent story in the Idaho Statesman.

The Masons filed a police report. Boise Police spokeswoman Lynn Hightower said there are no suspects. She asks that anyone with information call Crime Stoppers at 343-COPS. Ultimate Carpet Cleaning cleaned up the spray paint for free, said Turner.

Naples Lodge collect gifts for troops in Afghanistan


The Brothers of Cypress Masonic Lodge No. 295 in Naples will be collecting gifts to send to Marine Corps units in Afghanistan for the upcoming Holiday season.

All shipping costs are paid by members of Cypress Lodge. Those wishing to participate are encouraged to drop off gifts at the lodge, 5850 N. Tamiami Trail (just north of the intersection with Pine Ridge Road). The Lodge will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, December 9-10 and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday Dec. 14.

Suggested gift ideas can be accessed at For more information, email

Monday, November 28, 2011

Owosso Man Receives Top Masonic Honor

Owosso man receives top Masonic honor - The Argus-Press: Owosso, MI

OWOSSO — The Supreme Council of the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction of the United States, meeting in Boston, has elected highway construction manager Bart A. Porter of Owosso to receive the 33rd degree, the highest honorary degree in Masonry. 

He will receive the degree when the Supreme Council meets in Cleveland, Ohio, in August 2012.

An employee of the Lansing-based Sanches Construction Company since 1984, he has been the firm’s construction manager since 1991. Sanches is involved in highway and bridge construction throughout the state of Michigan.

Man of a thousand funerals lives for his work

EL PASO – Most people go to only a few funerals in their lifetime, so it is hard to imagine going to hundreds, but Norman Miller says he has performed 1,000 Masonic funeral services.

The 93-year-old Freemason has been conducting funeral services for the Freemasons for 48 years.

“The military and Masonry have been my life,” Miller said proudly as he sat just feet away from a chapel-like room where Masonic paraphernalia is displayed in the Scottish Rite building in downtown El Paso.

“I came in to the Masons in 1958… In December of 1963, I did my first Masonic funeral on an old gentleman, Mr. Pandelities.” Freemasons refer to the funeral ceremony they conduct as an orientation. The ceremony itself is very similar to non-denomination funeral services in large part because of the Freemason’s ambiguous belief in a supreme being. Miller is the Master of the ceremony, the person who speaks at the service, much like a priest would at a funeral.

The memory of the men he has helped commemorate obviously weighs heavily on Miller, but he takes it all in stride. “And I have continued and continued up to this time. I never kept track of how many, but I know it is over a thousand,” Miller smiles.

He pointed out that this is not a job for the faint-hearted. “We never know when we will get a call. The last funeral lasted six to eight hours. I had to get everybody together.” This means he had to find six other available members and make sure all the materials for the ceremony where ready. “We made it to the funeral,” he said proudly.

Miller explained the process this way: “We get word from the families or the funeral director that the family desires to have a Masonic gravesite service. We don our Masonic aprons, our paraphernalia… some of the lodge officers (have) their jewels on. We form the group and I do the Masonic orientation.”

The Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry is located at 301 W. Missouri Ave.

The Freemasons is a fraternity that has a long and sometimes mysterious history that stretches back to the 16th century and across the Atlantic Ocean to the British Isles. This has earned them the reputation of being a secret society.

In recent years the Masons have grown into a fraternity that is more open and focused on charitable works. Their history, however, still has a strong presence in their culture. One of the places where this is strongly felt is in their funeral traditions, where a special service for a deceased Mason is performed by other fellow Masons. The ceremony is riddled with symbolism only understood by Masons.

“Most of the services I’ve done have been at Fort Bliss National Cemetery for members of the Masonic order that have been military in the past.” There is no Freemason rule that states you must have served to be a Mason but almost all Masons have a military background.

Ironically, this spirited senior Mason credits his long life to his funeral work with the Freemasons. “I think that I owe my longevity to just staying active all my life.“

Despite all the death in his work or maybe because of it, Miller has a positive outlook on life, “All I can say is that it has been a beautiful life.“

Masons Receive Service Emblems - Scranton, PA

Hopkin T. Rowlands Jr. and William D. Anagnos, past master, received a 50-year Masonic Service Emblem during a recent meeting of Lodge 62, Free and Accepted Masons, Wilkes-Barre. Barry W. Littleford, District Grand Master of the 12th Masonic District, presented the pins, assisted by Timothy L. McCarthy, Worshipful Master of Lodge 61. At the ceremony, from left, are McCarthy, Rowlands, Anagnos and Littleford.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

GL of Michigan Withdraws Recognition of Shrine

The Grand Master of Michigan, MW Frederick E. Kaiser, Jr., has withdrawn official recognition of the Shrine there, and it has been declared clandestine and illegal. Michigan Masons may not attend tyled Shrine meetings in that state.

The problem stems from a Mason who was expelled by the Grand Master in July allegedly for pleading guilty to a crime punishable by incarceration of one or more years, and per Michigan's Masonic rules. Unfortunately, the Elf Khurafeh Shrine and the Imperial Shrine (Shriners International) in Tampa didn't agree and kept the suspended Mason as a full member of the Shrine. A slight complication: he's the current Potentate. He had pled guilty to possessing and operating gambling devices, and probably won't be sentenced until February. However, since he did plead guilty, the GM expelled him. The Shrine did not.


From the GM's letter of November 23rd:

The expelled Mason, by action of Elf Khurafeh Shrine, headquartered in Saginaw, Michigan continues to be a member and Potentate of that Shrine. Elf Khurafeh’s action to retain him was subsequently upheld by the Imperial Potentate. This situation exists despite the reputed requirement that a member of the Ancient Arabic Order Nobles of
the Mystic Shrine (Shriner’s International) must also be a Mason in good standing.

Discussion was initiated with the Imperial Potentate, and counsel for the Imperial Shrine. The Grand Lodge of Michigan explained its position, and requested that the Imperial Potentate reconsider his decision, given information previously unavailable to him. Unfortunately for all concerned and with heavy heart, I must state that no modification of
his position, nor of Elf Khurafeh Shrine’s, has occurred.

Elf Khurafeh Shrine and the Imperial Potentate have failed to adhere to their own Shrine law, by retaining a non-Mason in their ranks. They have also failed to honor their obligations under Michigan Masonic Law. Therefore, acting under § of Michigan Masonic Law, the Grand Lodge of Michigan hereby withdraws formal recognition of the Ancient Arabic Order Nobles of the Mystic Shrine (Shriner’s International) as a Masonic organization in the State of Michigan. The relevant sections of Michigan Masonic Law are as follows:

§3.8.2: Any and all organizations, associations, or persons within the State of Michigan, professing to have
any authority, power or privileges in Ancient Craft Masonry, not fraternally recognized by this Grand Lodge, are
declared to be clandestine and illegal, and all Masonic intercourse with any of them is prohibited.

§ All Master Masons under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Michigan who hold membership in
Ancient Arabic Order Nobles of the Mystic Shrine are forbidden to attend tiled Shrine meetings when there is in
attendance a suspended or expelled Mason.

It is therefore my order that no Mason who holds membership in a Michigan Lodge, or in a Lodge chartered by a recognized Grand Lodge who resides or sojourns in Michigan, may (1) attend any nonpublic function of any Shrine in Michigan or (2) have any Masonic interaction of any kind with any Shrine organization in Michigan. Furthermore, no Shrine function or activity will be afforded a special privilege not afforded any other unrelated organization that is allowed to use a building dedicated to Masonic purposes, or on the grounds of a building so dedicated.

Violation of these provisions by a Mason under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Michigan is punishable by charges of un-Masonic conduct.

Arguments with Grand Masters don't generally turn out well.

Masons' War Memorial Targeted by Vandals

It's a dismal commentary on a city when it cannot protect memorials to its war dead. But sadly that appears to be the case in Windsor where area Masons are proposing to move their battered Malden Park memorial out of the city to safeguard it from rampaging vandals and chronic civic inattention.

Appalled by the monument's condition and never-ending assaults on it by park denizens, the Masons are looking seriously at moving it, piece by piece, to a secure site on the grounds of the Canadian Transportation Museum and Heritage Village on Arner Town line in greater Kingsville.

"It's a shame it has to come to that, but if it stays here it's not going to be standing in 10 years," said an angry Geoff Perry, past deputy grandmaster of the Windsor District Masons and chairman of its memorial committee. "Heritage Village has offered the property and we're looking at the practicality of moving it. We've got to get it to an area where it's not going to be abused."

Perry, an old pal, was livid this week as he led me on a tour of the hillside memorial to 26 young Masons from the Windsor region who were killed in the First and Second World Wars.

Tucked into the south side of "Mount Malden" overlooking a walking trail and a picturesque pond with many ducks, the monument would, at first glance, appear to be a jewel in an idyllic setting.

But the very thing that made it an attractive site on paper, the peace and quiet of relative isolation, has also made it easy pickings, especially at night, for pinheads with too much time on their hands and zero respect for Canada's wartime sacrifices.

In 2008, The Star reported that the memorial had been vandalized twice in the previous year, with a granite slab pried from the plinth and smashed in two.

There had also been graffiti and paintball attacks, smashed beer bottles were strewn about and benches had been damaged. Perry said at the time that he was unhappy with the city's lack of maintenance, including its failure to replace dead trees.

Things were fixed. But three years later it remains a soft target. "These juvenile ... holes are using it as a fort," fumed Perry, pointing to green paintball splotches sprayed across the monument's stone walls. "Do they really know what this is? Do they care?"

Perry, a retired federal employee, said he was one of the first paintball fanatics in Windsor in the 1980s, but he and his compatriots would never have considered using a memorial to the dead as a playground for, of all things, war games. He puts it down to ignorance. The schools have been doing a first-rate job in recent years of teaching kids about Remembrance Day and honouring Canada's sacrifices, but he believes an entire generation slipped through the educational cracks and hasn't a clue.

A massive black granite stone, etched with the names of Masons killed in two World Wars, from the Battle of the Atlantic to the raid on Dieppe, and positioned horizontally, is badly scratched and scarred, to the point where names are becoming obscured. "Those are snowboard and skateboard scrapes. They're using it as a ski ramp," said Perry, shaking his head.

He argues that the parks department, which built the monument in 2000 with $45,000 from the Masons, has failed to meet maintenance obligations. He pointed out cracked and crumbling masonry, a foundation that's falling apart and a sinking, eroding walkway. The monument looks way older than its 11 years.

Two small red oaks have been broken off near the base and the two memorial benches are missing. Perry claims one is being used as a lunch bench in the park's maintenance shed. If so, that's truly salt in the wound.

I raised these issues with new city parks boss John Miceli. He told me he wants to meet with Perry as soon as possible and hear his concerns. "If we haven't been doing our part I'll look into it and address it. I'll take care of all of his concerns," said Miceli. That's an offer worth pursuing.

But it might be too late. Perry told me his experience is that the parks department responds when there's media attention but soon returns to pat-terns of neglect. Out of sight, out of mind.

"It was a magnificent concept," said Perry, but he fears the Malden Park location will always be vulnerable because of its isolation and lack of lighting.

At Heritage Village, far from the Malden yahoos, it could be rebuilt on a landscaped site next to King Edward Heritage Lodge, a handmade reproduction of an old Ontario Masonic hall and would be seen by an estimated 40,000 visitors annually. That's tempting.

Bottom line? The status quo isn't working. At the current rate of deterioration the memorial time capsule, which is supposed to be opened on June 24 in the year 2100, won't make it to the next decade.

Still, it's heartbreaking to think of a war memorial, built to honour those who refused to buckle in the face of death, being chased out of Windsor by mindless louts.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

MWPGM Hugh R. 'Skip' Harlan Jr. 2007-2011 Grand Master of the MWGL of KY PHA Passes Away

Hugh R. "Skip" Harlan Jr., 71, passed away Tuesday, November 22, 2011. 

He was a member of Corinthian Baptist Church and retired from General Electric. He became a Prince Hall Mason in 1971 and was a member of Southern Cross Lodge No. 39 where he served as Master of the Lodge. Hugh also served in many other capacities, such as Most High Priest of Holy Royal Arch Masons, Louisville Consistory No. 4, a member of Aurora Chapter No. 96, Order of the Eastern Star, Potentate of Demascus Temple No. 58 and obtained the highest office as Grandmaster of the most worshipful Grand Lodge Prince Hall Affiliated of the state of KY. 

Survivors: wife, Charlene Harlan; children, Teresa Hall, Jeffrey (Joanna) and Chauncey Harlan; 12 grandchildren; six great-grandchildren. 

Funeral: noon Saturday at his church, 1916 W. Jefferson St., with burial in Green Meadows Cemetery. Visitation: 6-9 p.m. Friday at the church. Masonic services will be held at 7 p.m. Arrangements by A.D. Porter & Sons, 1300 W. Chestnut St. ,

Published in The Courier-Journal on November 24, 2011

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

More than a meal: Masons’ Thanksgiving Dinner Tradition

For each of the last 25 years, Reedsburg's senior citizens have had a place to gather for fellowship and a home-cooked Thanksgiving dinner, thanks to some generous volunteers and a large helping of human kindness.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the annual senior citizens' Thanksgiving dinner, sponsored by the Masons and the Order of the Eastern Star. Every year since 1986, volunteers have served Thanksgiving meals to more than 100 people each year - for free.
The tradition is based on another born in 1975, when Roosevelt "Rosey" Harden began feeding the elderly and less fortunate out of his diner, Rosey's Dream. When Harden closed the diner in 1985, the Masons took over host duties for the traditional meal and haven't looked back.
"We've been going proud and strong ever since," Past Masonic Master Greg Georgeson said Tuesday. "I don't know if there has been any time since when we've thought of not putting it on."
The dinner, held at Reedsburg United Methodist Church, 833 Third St., feeds 100 to 150 people every year, current Lodge Master Douglas Bentley said. He expects 130 to 140 people to attend this year, enjoying a Thanksgiving meal of turkey, ham, potatoes and gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce and all the trimmings - topped off by homemade pies donated by cooks across Sauk County.
In addition to the sit-down dinner at the church, volunteers deliver about 40 meals to those unable to leave their homes.
For many Masons and other area residents, the meal has become part of their Thanksgiving tradition.
"There are definitely people who come back every year," Bentley said. "Not only the guests that come back, but the volunteers that couldn't imagine a Thanksgiving without going."
Georgeson, who has been involved in the Thanksgiving event for 22 years, said that while the dinners have changed a little over the years, what hasn't changed is the fellowship. He said he remembers serving one woman who told him stories about life in Reedsburg before the advent of the automobile - when traveling from town to town involved much more than a simple 20-minute car ride.
"We say it is a charitable contribution from the Masons to the people of Reedsburg, but in actuality it's a joy and a treat for those of us who are privileged enough to listen to these people's stories and find out where we came from," Georgeson said.
He added that although the dinner primarily is for senior citizens, anyone who needs a free meal is welcome and will be fed free of charge.
"We don't turn anyone away," Georgeson said. "If you come to eat, you'll eat."

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Boise's New Landmark: Masonic Temple Gets Recognition

From the Idaho Statesman

• A swamp cooler built in New York City in 1913, known affectionately as “Bertha.” It still works, thanks to regular oiling.
• Transom windows the size of card tables.
• A kitchen that resembles a set from “Mad Men.”
• A vault that holds the sepia-toned photographs of lodge leaders from the turn of the last century.
• A zigzag-pattern linoleum floor that would not be out of place in a David Lynch movie.

These are just a few of the treasures at the Masonic Temple Lodge on 10th Street in Downtown Boise. The City Council recently approved the lodge as the 33rd building on its list of Local Historic Landmarks. “The building is significant because of the Masons’ role in founding the city, and because it’s been in constant use, under one owner,” said Sarah Schafer, the city’s manager of design review and historic preservation. Of the pioneers who founded Boise, many were Masons.

Nine different Masonic organizations meet regularly at the 10th Street lodge, which was built in 1906, and expanded in 1920. Becoming a city landmark means the lodge will join iconic buildings like the Old Ada County Courthouse and the Boise Depot in future editions of “Shaping Boise,” a free booklet available at Boise City Hall.
Lodge members petitioned for the honor, which comes with a bronze plaque for the outside of the building. Landmark status also means the building owner must notify the city at least 180 days before altering or demolishing the structure.

It’s clear from the condition of the building — it gleams — that altering and demolishing have been the last thing on its owners’ minds. “There’s a real affection for the building. Those who meet there are proud of it. There’s a good energy in the place,” said building manager Matt Laurance. Laurance, an adjunct art professor at Boise State, is one of about 150 members of Idaho Lodge No. 1 AF&AM — Ancient Free and Accepted Masons.

He and the other custodians have done various renovations of the building. His training as a sculptor came in handy for repairing the ornate plaster ceiling in the lodge’s largest meeting room. 

The state has an impressive collection of historic lodge halls, said Dan Everhart of Preservation Idaho. They include the brick, store front-like Arco Lodge, the Challis Lodge that resembles a rural Grange hall, and the two-story lodge in Kamiah that’s tall and narrow clapboard, almost colonial in style. But membership in fraternal organizations isn’t as popular as it once was. Many are closing their doors. When lodges close, new owners aren’t always sensitive to the historic significance of the buildings. Masonic lodges are an at-risk architectural genre, Everhart said.

“In some parts of the state that’s right,” said Laurance, who blames the advent of television for dwindling membership in fraternal organizations. But he’s seen a shift in recent years. “It used to be that you’d go to a lodge and see guys in their 70s and 80s. If you walk into a lodge in Boise, you’ll find people in their 30s and 40s,” said Laurance, 47. “There’s been a real revival of interest,” Laurance said. His lodge has welcomed 20 new members in the last few months. According to the Grand Lodge of Idaho website, there are 4,000 Masons in the state. “The wars make a lot of difference, with guys returning home. They want to be part of something,” said Laurance.

The popularity of writer Dan Brown, whose last book “The Lost Symbol,” focuses on Masonic lore, hasn’t hurt the organization either, he said. The philanthropic aspect of fraternal organizations is also a lure. The groups that meet on 10th Street raise money for children’s hospitals, people with learning disabilities, and more. Everhart, whose work with Preservation Idaho frequently involves raising the alarm when historic structures are threatened, commends the Masons for their efforts to preserve their lodge and keep it as a home for its members. When the city began the landmark project in 2010, some owners of historic properties weren’t interested in taking part. “Knowing that the Masons requested it shows a commitment to the history of their own building, and to the city” said Everhart.

Niagara Free Masons Bring Hope to Children

"Everyone talks about the secrets of the Masonic Lodge; The secret is to keep your mouth shut and do your good work," said Very Worshipful Brother Michael Palmer, a Dunnville resident.

Palmer and Right Worshipful Brother Paul Shaver lead the Niagara 'A' District, which runs from Dunnville to Niagara-on-the-Lake, in order to raise funds and awareness for the The Children's Wish Foundation of Canada at their Charity Project for the Niagara 'A' District Free Masons.

Palmer explained that he and Shaver had a "long history of raising funds together," and their experience shows.

This fall, Palmer, a Dunnville resident, had the honour along with his fellow Free Masons to present a cheque for $19,200 to Laura Mullet-Koop, a representative of Children's Wish and Wish Mom, on behalf of the Foundation.

The $19,200 raised was the most money ever raised in the history of the Niagara 'A' District Charity Project.

"It was so easy to do," said Palmer, "so many people are touched by the illness of a child."

Each year the District Deputy Grand Master (DDGM) of each District, of the 44 districts, selects a charity of their choice to raise Funds for.

This Charity was the choice of Shaver, as he was the elected DDGM and Palmer was his District Secretary for the Charity Project.

When Shaver and Palmer sat down to decide their charity, it was an easy choice, since Shaver's daughter had a brain tumour in the back of her eye when she was a child and received a wish from Children's Wish to meet Jodie Sweetin, who played Stephanie on Full House.

The $19,200 is part of a whopping $7,225,258 that has been donated to the Children's Wish Foundation in the 2011 fiscal year so far, and the year doesn't end until March 31.

The funds raised will go a long way in helping us grant the wishes of children coping with life-threatening illnesses.
Children's Wish is currently experiencing a record number of wish requests and referrals and the generosity of the Masonic Lodges of Niagara has come at a much needed time.

"Our wish children and families are extremely grateful for their support," said Sandra Harris, Director for the Ontario region.

The Children's Wish Foundation of Canada has granted almost 90 wishes in the Niagara Region. Currently there are 27 pending wishes in the Niagara area.

Anyone looking for information regarding fundraising for the Child Advocacy Centre of Niagara or Freemasonry can contact Right Worshipful Brother Doug Madill, Secretary of Amity Lodge No. 32 in Dunnville at 905-774-6866.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Masons Award Family for Heartfelt Work

The Masons of San Jacinto Masonic Lodge 1330 surprised Judy and Barry Lynch Saturday with the Community Builder Award.

Six years ago, the Lynches had a son. Thomas Lynch was born with mental retardation and other birth defects. As many parents of special children do, the Lynches kept asking 'why?' Why was Thomas born to be different? How were they going to get by? Could they give their little boy the care he needed? But soon, the question of 'why?' was gone. And the Lynches decided to put together a fundraiser that would help their son and other children like him. The root of their idea?...

When Thomas was in the hospital as a baby, his father would run more than four miles round-trip to visit him. And as Barry, who then weighed more than the healthy average for his height, began to shed the pounds, an idea sparked in his head. Why not get people to sponsor him to run in triathlons? He did just that, and people traveled hours to watch him run in a triathlon in Dallas. Barry then decided that instead of people driving to see him, he would put together an event in Amarillo. Hence the Lake Tanglewood TRI To Make A Difference Triathlon was founded. The event raises money for children like Thomas through the Children's Miracle Network.

"I think, for us, it's really just turned into a celebration of Thomas' life and just how God brings good from every circumstance and He works through people," Judy Lynch said. Thanks to the support of their family and friends, the Lynches were able to take some good out of a bad situation to help other people- something that is sometimes rarely seen in today's world. "We feel like Thomas' life and his condition, it is with purpose," Barry Lynch stated. "I think in the beginning you struggle with the 'why?' When you can move past the 'why?' and focus on the purpose, things just seem to start to fall into place."

The devotion of the Lynches did not go unnoticed. They were given the Community Builder Award, a once-a-year recognition given by the Masons of Amarillo. And according to one Mason, rewarding people for heartfelt work is what Masonry is all about. "It's helping people without the hope of reward, and that's what I saw in the Lynches," 10-Year Mason Gary Freedman said. "I've watched them every year. I've seen them grow this thing to beyond their imagination, beyond anybody's imagination. Raising hundreds of thousands of dollars is amazing, especially for such a good cause."

The Masons also presented the Children's Miracle Network with donations taken up from all the lodges. The Lynches walked into the Masonic Lodge Saturday morning thinking they were there simply to give a speech. They walked out with honored recognition and support from even more people in the Amarillo community- support for their hard work, warm hearts and unconditional love for their special son.

UK Author Richard Jaffa Releases New Book on Rudyard Kipling and His Involvement with the Freemasons

The new book, Man and Mason - Rudyard Kipling, by Richard Jaffa is not just a biographical account of the life of Rudyard Kipling, but centers around his Masonic background.

Washington, DC, November 20, 2011 --( New Book Release Focuses on the Freemasons and Rudyard Kipling

The new book, Man and Mason - Rudyard Kipling, by Richard Jaffa is not just a biographical account of the life of Rudyard Kipling, but centers around his Masonic background.

Rudyard Kipling remains one of the most intriguing and elusive personalities in English literature. As a 20 year old he became a Freemason and this is the first book that analyses the influence that made on his writing for the rest of his life. It affected the young Kipling and his early stories and also his darker stories that he wrote after the First World War. The book has been praised by the Kipling Society and welcomed on both sides of the Atlantic. It looks at his life history and examines the individual works where Freemasonry has played a major influence.

Book Information:
Man and Mason - Rudyard Kipling
Author: Richard Jaffa
Publisher: AuthorHouse
ISBN: 978-1456781347
Pages: 260
Published: May 2011

About The Author
Richard Jaffa worked as journalist after leaving University but later qualified as a lawyer. He has held senior rank as a Freemason and has lectured on Masonic history. Apart from writing he is a regular book reviewer and travels widely.

For more information, review copies, or interviews please contact the author at:

Richard Jaffa

Man and Mason - Rudyard Kipling is available for purchase online through the author’s website, from the publisher,, and other online retailers.

Bookstores should contact Ingram for wholesale orders.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Mt. Nebo Lodge No. 91, a Masonic lodge in Shepherdstown, will celebrate its bicentennial with a public open house on Dec. 11 where people can come view George Washington's Masonic apron.
The lodge, which is located at 121 E. German St., will be open to the public from noon to 3 p.m. The apron will go on display at 1 p.m. and Laura B. Simo, associate curator at Mount Vernon Estate, Museum and Gardens in Virginia, will give a presentation about the apron's history. Following that, the lodge's current Master, George Alwin, of Shepherdstown, will present a history of the Mt. Nebo Lodge, which was chartered in Shepherdstown on Dec. 11, 1811.  The apron it owns was given to Washington in 1784 by the Marquis de Lafayette, who was also a Mason, and worn regularly by Washington until his death in 1799.  After Martha Washington died in 1802, the apron was purchased from her estate for $6 by Thomas Hammond, husband of George's niece, Mildred Washington. She was the daughter of George's brother Charles, who founded Charles Town, WV.  Hammond was a member of the Mt. Nebo Lodge, and he gave the apron to the lodge before he died in 1820.  
Since then, the apron has been displayed in public only on rare occasions.  Its first public appearance was in 1844, at the 90th anniversary of the first Masonic meeting in what is now West Virginia, in Charles Town. Subsequently, the apron was displayed at the laying of the cornerstone for the Smithsonian Institution in 1847 and the cornerstone ceremony for the Washington Monument in 1848. Until recently, its last major public appearance was at the 100th anniversary of Washington's death at Mount Vernon in 1899.  In 2010, in preparation for its bicentennial, the Mt. Nebo Lodge lent the apron to George Washington's Mount Vernon and the George Washington Masonic National Memorial in Alexandria, Va., for conservation and study. Mount Vernon subsequently displayed the apron from Feb. 22, 2011, Washington's 279th birthday, until May 2011. Today, the apron remains on loan to Mount Vernon for preservation. By mutual agreement, it will be displayed publicly there only one day a year, on President's Day. Also by mutual agreement, it is being returned to the Shepherdstown Lodge for Dec. 11, as part of the commemoration of the Lodge's bicentennial. For information about the lodge and the apron, visit
Courtesy of WorldNow and WVSTATE

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

More people with nothing better to do with their time.

Prayer rally organizers target Muslims, Freemasons

From the Michigan Messenger By Ed Brayton | 11.09.11 | 7:32 am

The organizers of Friday’s prayer rally at Ford Field have targeted not only Muslims but also Freemasons, claiming that the group’s practices allow the Biblical false god Baal to control parts of the United States.

Rachel Tabachnick at Talk2Action has been listening to the frequent conference calls that Transformation Michigan, the key local organizing group, has been hosting and reports on a pre-rally planning call from September.

Anita Christopher, a West Michigan apostolic preacher affiliated with the group, and John Benefiel of the International House of Prayer said on the call that they had been going to all 377 Masonic temples in the state to initiate a “divorce” proceeding with Baal, an ancient Semitic god mentioned in the Bible as a false idol. The Detroit prayer rally, he said, would break the spell of Islam over the nation:
I believe this is going to result in the biggest harvest of souls we’ve ever seen. I know because you’ve told me in your state there, in the Dearborn area in particular, that’s probably the biggest stronghold of Islam in our nation. Well, in going to the masonic lodges, I believe that we are earning authority from God. And that’s correct, we do earn authority from God. Just like the parable of the talents and the parable of minas. When you handle what God has given you in the right way, he’ll multiply your authority.
… I believe we’ll earn authority to pull down the spirit of Islam over our nation. And here’s why I say that. When you study it out, you find that freemasonry and Islam are very very tied to the same root.”
Benefiel has published a decree divorcing America from Baal. On this call he implied that while Islam is currently protected by the First Amendment in the U.S. because of the influence of Baal, but that the prayer rally would allow Christians to take over and eliminate such protections:
“Now, I believe that Islam has a legal, spiritual right to be in our nation. I believe that when we worship Baal in the, you might as well say churches of freemasons, because that’s what they are. Freemasonry is a religion and when you have a lot of pastors and lot of deacon boards that are full of freemasons that worship and swear to Baal, then we give a legal right for those that worship Baal to stay in our nation. And I’m talking about Islam in particular.
And when we practice sexual perversion and pornography, which is all under Baal and the Queen of Heaven, we give this legal right. But when we divorce Baal and we declare that we remarry the Lord, we take away the legal right for the Baal worshippers to stay in our land and I’m talking about Islam.

We are not against Moslems – we are for the people. We want them to know the Lord Jesus Christ. And in order to bring down that strongman behind Islam, we have to earn that authority by bringing down that spirit that we’ve allowed in the United States. I believe that God is going to give us the authority to address the spirit behind Islam after we’ve gone to the masonic lodges across our nation. By the way what you’re doing there in Michigan is going on in all the states and we’re coordinating this.”
Benefiel is known for making head-scratching statements, like claiming that the Statue of Liberty is a “demonic idol.”
The conference call also featured Cindy Jacobs, who has previously claimed that God used the earthquake in Japan earlier this year to break the “grip of idolatry” over that nation. She has also said that God killed off thousands of birds in Arkansas because the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy in the military was repealed.
Here is audio of that conference call, which also features Benefiel saying that he was allowed to go into the chambers of the Michigan Senate by two unnamed Senators so they could “decree the Baal divorce decree” which “puts the enemy on the run.”

Monday, November 14, 2011

Stamford Freemasons Open Their Doors

Courtesy of the Stamford Connecticut Patch - October 20, 2011

Last weekend, Stamford’s Union Lodge No. 5 joined lodges around the state of Connecticut to host open houses to help educate the community about freemasonry and offer potential new members a chance to come in and ask questions. On Saturday, Masonic Lodges around Connecticut hosted community open houses. At Stamford’s Union Lodge No. 5 located near the Glenbrook Station, Shriners’ miniature cars were parked out front, clowns visited with children, and the grill was going strong.

“The Connecticut Grand Lodge asked us to do this,” Jon Ringel, Master of Union Lodge No. 5, told Patch. “It's to increase interest, just let people know we’re here.”
By noon, they had already seen greater turnout than expected, people wandering through to ask a question or see what they were about. With an open house comes a certain tightrope walk. The Freemasons historically do not “recruit” new members, but view the open house as simply a chance to invite the community inside — perhaps demystifying the lodge a bit for some people.
“They want to know “What’s it about?” “What do you people do?”” Ringel said.
Of course, it’s tough to have an open house without inviting questions — after all, if you’ve ever sat through a History Channel special, you surely have a laundry list of them.
“We have our secrets, but we’re not a secret organization — 95% of what we do is not secret.” Ringel explained. “We’re in the phone book!”
“People think it’s a secret because it’s old,” Thomas Burke said.
Old indeed, while no one knows just when Freemasonry in general originated, Stamford’s Union Lodge No. 5 was founded in 1763 — that’s 25 years before Connecticut became a state.
“We’re here every Wednesday — the first and third Wednesdays are meetings, but we have dinner at 6:30 beforehand. In between, we’re here and it’s open to the public,” Ringel said. “There are people that hang around for awhile before meetings — there was one who was coming to the lodge for a long time and finally asked, “So what do I have to do to join you guys?” and I was like, “That’s all you had to do!””
“There was a commuter from New Canaan who had gone past here on the train for years — one day he got off the train and walked up here,” Odell added. “He’s been a member ever since.”
It’s hard to imagine an organization as steeped in tradition as the Freemasons keeping pace with the times, but they are constantly evolving new ways of keeping their traditions intact. For example, 90-95% of their membership inquiries now begin on the internet. Open houses like the ones held over the weekend across Connecticut are another way of opening the doors to let the community know that it’s okay to come on in and ask.
For the people asking "What do you do?" there's plenty to talk about. Stamford’s Freemasons participate in a variety of charitable activities throughout the year, from blood drives to fundraisers and a scholarship for a Stamford High School student.
“It’s sometimes referred to as a silent fraternity — we do it, get it done, don’t make a lot of noise about it,” Digger Odell, Past Master at Union Lodge No. 5, said.
One of their main philanthropic events is the CTCHIP program (Connecticut Child Indentification Program) and the very next day, Union Lodge No. 5 was headed to Stamford Museum & Nature Center's Harvest Festival for an event. CTCHIP is recognized by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children as one of the most comprehensive child identification programs available free to families. CTCHIP creates a kit for parents including their child’s vital information, voice recordings, dental information, current photos, and other identifying information — providing an important resource if their child ever goes missing.
“All that information goes to the parent, hopefully they never need to use it,” Odell said.
While taking steps to raise their profile in the community, what remains a secret? Only the details of the meetings and the ways that Freemasons identify each other.
“That goes back to the masons — the actual stone masons. They would travel around and say you had a project, you had to be able to identify one, be able to know if he had the skills, if he knew his trade,” Odell said.
Union Lodge No. 5 recently gave out fifty year veteran pins to some of their members and every brother has a story of how he first came to the lodge and what it has meant to him in his life. The answers are at once poignant and simple.
“It gives you an avenue, an easy way to help the community,” Ringel said “The fellowship,” Odell replied almost instantly. “An opportunity to become a better man.”
About this column: "About Town" records the neighborhood chatter of Stamford. Let us know if you've heard anything that should be included. The opinions expressed in this column do not necessarily reflect those of Patch or its editors.