Monday, August 22, 2016

‘The Royal Arch Pendant of a Civil War Hero’

The Livingston Library continues its outreach to the Masonic fraternity and the public—on a very regular basis apparently—and not just in the library. This event was announced today. From the publicity:

The Chancellor Robert R. Livingston
Masonic Library,
Proudly Present:

The Royal Arch Pendant of a Civil War Hero:
Sgt. William C. Lilly,

Courtesy George Washington Masonic Memorial

By Catherine Walter, Curator
Chancellor Robert R. Livingston Masonic Library

Friday, September 2
8 p.m.

Museum Village
1010 State Route 17M
Monroe, New York

Free and open to the public.
For information, call 845.476.8784.

Sgt. William C. Lilly was a true life hero of the Battle of Gettysburg, unlike the Friend to Friend myth. Read about him here.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

‘Setting out for the Masonic frontier’

Bro. Ken Davis, president of The Masonic Society, has announced the line-up of speakers scheduled for the Society’s “Freemasonry on the Frontier” conference in California in October. From the publicity:

The Masonic Society Announces
Speakers for ‘Frontier’ Conference

The Masonic Society has announced the line-up of nine speakers for its conference “Freemasonry on the Frontier” to be held October 7-9 in Morgan Hill, California. A registration form and hotel information can be found here.

“We’ve built the event around a particularly distinguished slate of speakers,” said Society President Kenneth W. Davis. “When possible, we’ve arranged topics chronologically and geographically, tracing the growth of Freemasonry from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific.”

Samuel Clemens, better known as “Mark Twain,” will kick off the program with an after-dinner speech Friday evening. Brother Clemens’ talk is made possible by Jefferson H. Jordan, Jr., immediate past grand master of Masons in New Mexico.

Mark Tabbert, director of collections at the George Washington Masonic Memorial, and author of several acclaimed Masonic books, will deliver Saturday morning’s keynote address. His topic will be “George Washington and the Masonic Frontiers of the 1700s.”

Also on Saturday morning, William Miklos, past master of Northern California Research Lodge, will speak on “Masons Pushing or Pulling the Constitutional Convention,” and Moises Gomez, past grand historian of the Grand Lodge of New Jersey, will speak on “Early Traveling Lodges of the Grand Lodge of New Jersey: Bringing Light to the American Frontier.”

Adam Kendall, collections manager and curator of exhibits for the Henry W. Coil Library and Museum at the Grand Lodge of California, and editor of The Plumbline, the quarterly bulletin of the Scottish Rite Research Society, will keynote the Saturday afternoon sessions, speaking on “Pilgrimage and Procession: The 1883 Knights Templar Triennial Conclave and the Dream of the American West.”

Also speaking Saturday afternoon will be Kyle Grafstrom, of Verity Lodge 59, Kent, Washington, and author of articles in both The Philalethes and Living Stones, on “Freemasonry in the Wild West.” Wayne Sirmon, past master of Texas Lodge of Research and instructor and fellow at the University of Mobile, will present “West by Southwest: The Expansion of Frontier Freemasonry in the Old Southwest.”

John Bizzack, fellow and board member of The Masonic Society, fellow of the Rubicon Masonic Society in Kentucky, and author of five books on Freemasonry, will deliver Saturday evening’s after-dinner speech, “The Expansion of Freemasonry into the West: The Pivotal Role of Kentucky, 1788-1810.”

John Cooper, past grand master and past grand secretary of Masons in California and current president of the Philalethes Society, will keynote Sunday morning with “Freemasonry and Nation-Building on the Pacific Coast: The California Experience.” His speech will be followed by a panel of all speakers, discussing with the audience “Freemasonry on the Frontier.”

Sunday afternoon will feature a tour of the Winchester Mystery House, with Masonic connections, and said to be haunted.

The conference is directed by Gregg Hall, member of Morgan Hill Masonic Lodge, California, and The Masonic Society’s board of directors.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

‘Traubenfest date set for October’

This just in: The Freemasons of the Ninth Manhattan District will host their annual Traubenfest on Sunday, October 2 at German Masonic Park in Tappan, New York. Gates will open at 11 a.m. Admission is only five bucks (but free for children under 14), and the event will open “rain or shine.”

It’s a fun day of enjoying German food, German beer, German band music, and all things German, and it is hosted by the German heritage lodges of the Grand Lodge of New York.

They now have a website. Click here for directions and other information.

By happy coincidence, Grand Master’s Day at DeWint House, only about a mile away in Tappan, also will take place that day, so do what I do and make a full day of it in that beautiful little town.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

‘Help Masons' Hall survive another 200 years’

Courtesy Masons' Hall 1785.

A treasure of an eighteenth century Masonic historic site in Virginia is in serious need of repair, and a fundraising effort is underway to secure the money needed to restore the building to greatness, and ensure its longevity far into the future. Even $5 donations are welcome.

Masons’ Hall in Richmond boasts a colorful history as both a Masonic and public space, involving historic figures within the fraternity and in American history. A charitable foundation named Masons’ Hall 1785 was established in 1997 to preserve the building, and to educate the public about its illustrious past.

Click here to donate greatly needed funds.

Give what you can. Perhaps induce your lodge and other Masonic groups to do likewise. Another way to give is to buy memorial bricks. Click here to pursue that avenue.

The following text comes from the foundation’s website and is copyright © 2016 Masons’ Hall 1785.


Richmond’s Shockoe bottom is home to a unique historical gem. Built 1785-87, Masons’ Hall, at 1807 East Franklin Street, is the oldest 18th century frame building with large public spaces in Virginia. The unusual heavy beam structure has been studied by architects and engineers.

Masons’ Hall is associated with Richmond’s leaders. The building was designed and constructed under the leadership of Edmund Randolph and John Marshall. Edmund Randolph was a prominent lawyer, governor, first United States Attorney General and Grand Master of Virginia Masons. Richmond Randolph Lodge No. 19 was named in his honor. Other grand masters with offices in Masons’ Hall included John Marshall, lawyer and judge, and Solomon Jacobs, Richmond mayor, businessman, and president of his congregation. The Virginia delegation to the Constitutional Convention met in Masons’ Hall before travelling to Philadelphia in 1787.

The building was a hospital during the War of 1812. The Marquis de Lafayette and his son (named George Washington in honor of the first president) visited Masons’ Hall and were made honorary members in 1824. Richmond City courts and council met in Masons’ Hall. Religious groups unwelcome elsewhere conducted services there during the 19th century. Eliza Poe, mother of Edgar Allen Poe, made her last performance at Masons’ Hall.

There are many interesting stories about Masons’ Hall. One is associated with the end of the Civil War. There was no battle of Richmond in April 1865. As Union armies approached from the southeast along Williamsburg Road, the city was evacuated. Chaos erupted and fires set to destroy military stores raged out of control and laid waste to much of the undefended city. The city fell prey to violence, looting. and rioting. The elderly mayor, under a fluttering white sheet, approached the Union army in a carriage with the urgent request for speed to advance and protect the citizens of the city. The Union army advanced, restored order, and extinguished the fires. Armed Union soldiers were immediately posted to protect three Richmond buildings, one of which was Masons’ Hall. President Lincoln walked near Masons’ Hall on his way to the Virginia Capitol on April 4, 1865, ten days before he was assassinated. Masons’ Hall survived the devastation of war. However, time has taken its toll.

A ceiling beam crack was discovered and a temporary brace installed. Other damage and deterioration were discovered. A comprehensive plan is being developed with the assistance of an architectural firm.

Masons’ Hall should be saved. It is in dire need of repair and restoration. Preliminary estimates exceed $2 million. It should be restored and made available to the public so future generations may visit this exciting and important structure and learn about those who served freedom and tolerance during times this nation was born and strived to survive. Masons’ Hall 1785, a charitable foundation, was established as a tax-exempt foundation by Richmond Circuit Court Judge James B. Wilkinson to preserve Masons’ Hall.

By Matthew Maggy
Richmond Freemasons

This week we will focus on Joseph Darmstadt, a Richmond Freemason, and first savior of Masons’ Hall. Darmstadt, with other Jews, played a vital role in the growth of Richmond, in civic, business, and cultural matters. He was originally a Hessian soldier. Hessians were German mercenaries hired by the British during the Revolutionary War, and nearly 30,000 of them fought against the American Revolution.

Joeseph Darmstadt was captured during the Battle of Saratoga and was taken to Virginia by American forces. Joseph remained in the Commonwealth after the Revolution, and not long after, he renounced his foreign allegiance, settled in Richmond, and became an auctioneer and merchant in Richmond serving the German farmers of the Shenandoah Valley. His morning ritual of serving coffee on the Shockoe Market made his store a favorite meeting place for local merchants to catch up on news and gossip of the day.

Joseph played a role in the establishment of the first Jewish Congregation in Richmond about 1789. Kahal Kadosh Beth Shalome was the sixth and westernmost congregation in the colonies, and one of the six that congratulated George Washington upon his inauguration as first president. The 1790 census shows Richmond with the fourth largest Jewish population, following only New York, Charleston and Philadelphia. The first Jewish burial ground in the state was established on Franklin Street in 1791 and, the first synagogue was dedicated on Mayo Street in 1822.

He was also an involved Freemason and active member of Richmond No. 10, an original owner of Masons’ Hall, and as a Grand Lodge officer, after he played a vital role in the establishment of the Grand Lodge of Virginia.

Joseph Darmstadt is likely the first person who should be credited with first saving Masons’ Hall.

In 1791, a considerable sum was owed to the contractors who had erected Masons’ Hall and the contractor had filed a lien that would have forced the sale of the building. Joseph, a generous man, assumed the burden and soon after advanced the money to meet the debt of 247 pounds. Calculated for inflation that would equal $53,000 in 2016. His generosity stopped the sale of the building and has allowed for the building to be used without interruption for the last 227 years!

Sadly Masons’ Hall needs your help today. Five dollar donations are being collected. Please help save this original piece of American history.

If you are interested in more information on the history of Jews in Richmond, please visit Beth Ahabah Museum and Archives.

For more on Masons’ Hall, visit Cornerstone of Richmond here.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

‘Art, Science, and Spirituality’

I think I see a pattern emerging: On the last Thursday of the month, the Chancellor Robert R. Livingston Masonic Library is the place to be. On the evening of Thursday the 25th, the library will host Armin Kuljiš who will present “Art, Science, and Spirituality.” From the publicity:

Art, Science, and Spirituality
Presented by Armin Kuljiš
Thursday, August 25
6:30 p.m.
Chancellor Robert R. Livingston Masonic Library
of the Grand Lodge of New York
71 West 23rd Street
14th Floor

Based on three key elements: art, science, and spirituality, Armin Kuljiš’ mission is to “awake consciousness” of the miracle and beauty of life, from the simplest to the most complex events. He seeks to transmit this combination of thoughts, feelings and knowledge through his artwork, which includes painting, drawing, engraving, urban art, digital design, and photography. Armin’s art flows by either combining techniques or applying each one of them separately. Within its abstract, nature many of his pieces have a strong spiritual content amalgamated with miscellaneous shapes, colors, and architectonic designs. Through his photography, enriched with light, shade, and beautiful reflections, Armin invites us to focus our attention on the magnificence of simple daily life images.

“Serendipia” represents the way Armin Kuljiš—through lines, strokes, and highlights—lets and makes things happen to share his gratefulness for life. It is also an invitation to enjoy art from different perspectives.

Armin Kuljis was born in La Paz, Bolivia in 1981. He graduated as an Architect Summa Cum Laude from Universidad de Aquino in La Paz in 2005. Later, his passion for art and culture brought him to Mexico City, where he also earned a Master’s Degree in Architecture with an honorable mention at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México in 2009. In order to enrich his techniques, Armin studied painting, drawing, and composition, screen painting art and engraving at the Real Academia San Carlos in Mexico City. In addition, he worked as a professor at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels at the Universidad La Salle in Mexico.

From 2007 to 2015, Armin has participated in several collective and individual art exhibits in Bolivia, Mexico, and the United States. As an artist, his main source of inspiration is nature in all its manifestations, and he devotes an important amount of time studying and teaching architectural biomimechry and sacred geometry.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

‘New book on Masonic art and architecture’

A new book concerning Freemasonry in New York is just out. Symbols in the Wilderness: Early Masonic Survivals in Upstate New York is co-authored by Christian Goodwillie and Joselyn Godwin, and tells the story of the fraternity’s art and architecture during the Federal period. From the publicity:

Symbols in the Wilderness: Early Masonic Survivals in Upstate New York by Director of Special Collections Christian Goodwillie, began with a chance glance at a building as he drove to Cooperstown, New York. Intrigued by the structure, Western Star Lodge chartered in 1797 and now the Bridgewater Masonic Lodge, he became even more interested in the artwork it once housed. Thus Goodwillie’s exploration of Masonic symbols – expressed in paintings, murals, textiles, and graphics – began.

The resulting book, co-authored by Colgate University Professor of Music Emeritus Joselyn Godwin, provides documentation and analysis of Upstate New York’s hidden heritage of Masonic buildings and material culture from the 18th and early 19th century. It is co-published by Hamilton College’s Richard W. Couper Press and Colgate University’s Upstate Institute. Hamilton’s Digital Imagery Specialist Marianita Peaslee produced the volume’s many color images.

Freemasonry played a vital role in the social development of New York State. Its Lodges provided a trusted place for newcomers to meet and for friendships and business partnerships to develop, free from political, professional and sectarian differences. During its explosive growth from 1790 to the end of the 1820s, Masonic brethren produced iconic architecture, as well as extraordinary examples of folk art. Most of these have remained entirely unknown outside the Upstate lodges that, against all hazards, have preserved them. Their symbolism seems mysterious and confusing to outsiders, but once explained, offers insight into a period and place unique in American history.

A presentation and book-signing is scheduled with the co-authors on Sunday, August 21 at Johnson Hall in Johnstown, New York at 1 p.m.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

‘Flag waving at Nutley Lodge’

Being that it’s been a month and a half since this event, I’d better stop procrastinating and get to it before my memory is old enough to qualify for a Flashback Friday post, but I had a great time at Nutley Masonic Lodge No. 25 in New Jersey on June 20. Having been invited to speak by Worshipful Master Joel (I think I’ve appeared at Nutley as a guest speaker more often than at anywhere else) in proximity to Flag Day, I presented a review of the symbolism displayed in a number of U.S. state flags. Not all 50, but about 20 of the most interesting. Needless to say several of these flags are most conspicuous to the initiated eye.

There is no reasonable claim of Freemasonry influencing these flag designs in any way, but I hoped to illustrate how instructive images Masons use are found in major and official public symbols also. I didn’t prepare much in formal remarks, so what follows are simply some notes concerning each flag.

Bro. Dave, Master of the local Rose Croix Chapter and a member of Nutley Lodge, was instrumental in bringing me back to the lectern, so of course I was sure to begin with this flag: Louisiana.

One of the alternate names of the Rose Croix Degree is Knight of the Eagle and Pelican, and one of the key symbols of the degree shows the pelican in her piety, a metaphor for love and sacrifice. For the purposes of Louisiana, the flag’s symbolism is Roman Catholic, but if you’ve read Manly Hall’s The Secret Teachings of All Ages you probably recall the above illustration, a full-page, by Augustus Knapp, showing the full Rose Croix imagery.

Utah – The Beehive is one of my favorite Masonic symbols, and it is not uniquely Masonic. It is widely understood as a symbol of industry, but considering Freemasonry’s significance to Mormonism, which begat the State of Utah, it is an apt choice for the flag.

Alabama – St. Andrew’s Cross: St. Andrew is the patron saint of Scottish Freemasonry. This X-shape is the cross on which Andrew was crucified.

Alaska – Astronomy: the North Star and the Big Dipper.

Arizona – “As the sun rises in the East,” or sets in the West as the case may be. Thirteen rays = the original states. The colors are from the flag of Spain. The star symbolizes the copper mining industry.

Maine – We see the North Star again. “Dirigo” means “I lead.” For the Masonic eye, we have the anchor at right. The symbol of Hope.

New Jersey! – Liberty holds a staff topped with the red cap. This hat was presented to freed Roman slaves, and it appears in several state flags. The shield shows three plows to symbolize the agriculture of the Garden State. At right is the ancient goddess Ceres (grain) holding none other than the cornucopia.

New Mexico – Sometimes simple is best. What we have here is another sun symbol. There are four angles of a square. Four parts of a circle. This is a sacred symbol of the Zia tribe of Native Americans. Four is the sacred number denoting the circle of life; the four cardinal directions; four seasons; four elements.

New York – Another radiant sun. Justice stands at right with the scales—another Scottish Rite symbol. There’s that Roman slave cap again at left. The body of water is the mighty Hudson River.

Oklahoma – I included this because it has a smoking pipe. Lots of Native American symbolism built into this. That’s an olive branch.

Rhode Island – The anchor of Hope most prominently.

Virginia – Left breast bared! This is Virtus, goddess of virtue. Sic Semper Tyrannis means Thus Always to Tyrants—what John Wilkes Booth shouted after shooting President Lincoln. This was designed by George Wythe, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, but not a Freemason.

Washington, DC – Taken from the coat of arms of the Washington family–not just George Washington, but his ancestors dating to the 12th century. Benjamin Franklin said this emblem partially inspired the look of the U.S. flag. It also appears on the Purple Heart.

Magpie file photo
Washington State – Kind of speaks for itself. This Grand Lodge of New York apron is worn by RW Bro. Bill Mauer, a noted historian and trustee of DeWint House, the Washington Headquarters in Tappan.

West Virginia – The Latin motto means “Mountaineers are always free.” On top of the crossed rifles is that slave’s red cap again. To the left we see an ear of corn and also a bushel of wheat. June 20 is today: the anniversary of the state’s admission to the Union.

Wisconsin – Masonic symbols: the anchor, the cornucopia, the spade & pickaxe, as in Royal Arch Masonry.

Flag images courtesy

Monday, August 1, 2016

‘Looking to October in Tappan’

Magpie file photo
DeWint House historic site, owned and maintained by the Grand Lodge
of New York for the enjoyment of the public, located in Tappan, NY.

It’s hard to think of October right now, but Grand Master’s Day will take place Sunday, October 2 at DeWint House in Tappan, New York.

Masons, family, and friends are invited to take part in what I consider to be one of the most enjoyable afternoons on the Masonic calendar. I have been attending since, I think, 2009, and the weather has been perfect all but once, and even that was just a little brief rain.

A terrific buffet brunch (the most important meal between breakfast and lunch!) at The ’76 House (110 Main Street, Tappan) begins at 11 a.m. Seating is very limited, so advance payment is required to hold your place. Those details still to come.

At 1 p.m., the festivities at DeWint House (20 Livingston Avenue, Tappan) will begin. The program details are still to come.

Click here to see more of this wonderful historic site and museum, but better yet, get there some time to visit. If you cannot attend Grand Master’s Day, go to DeWint House during its regular hours and see this treasure for yourself.

Friday, July 22, 2016

‘Follow me: Freemasons walking tour’

I probably shouldn’t even post this—I learned of this New Jersey event just now, practically accidentally through social media, so I’m sorry for the too late notice. I believe registration was closed yesterday, although tickets seem to remain available still. I don’t know how, where, or if the lodge has publicized this at all, but here’s the word from the Morris County Tourism Bureau:

The Freemasons in Morristown
July 23, 1 to 2:30 p.m.
Masonic Lodge

Jacob Arnold’s Tavern on Morristown Green
George Washington was among 68 officers in attendance at a December 27, 1779 Masonic meeting held in Morristown at Jacob Arnold’s Tavern celebrating the Festival of St. John the Evangelist. The American Union Lodge was meeting locally to select a grand master, and General Washington was one of the choices. It is estimated that of the 10,000 officers who served during the Revolution, 2,000 were Masons.

The Freemasons formed their own local lodge, Cincinnati No. 3, in the early 1800s. Many of the most prominent residents throughout the town’s history have been members. Here’s a chance to tour their building (c. 1931) on Maple Avenue with Masons and view the displays and artifacts in their onsite museum and library which opened in 2015.

If you’ve ever wanted to learn more about the “secret society” of the Masons, here’s your opportunity.

Saturday, July 23 at 1 p.m. The tour will be held at 39 Maple Avenue, Morristown. Tour size is limited to 30. Cost: $15. Metered parking is available on adjoining side streets.

The Summer 2016 Historical Walking Tour Series from the Morris County Tourism Bureau is being generously sponsored by AAA Northeast and Whole Foods Market, Morristown.

The Morris County Tourism Bureau is a Destination Marketing Organization that positively affects the economy of Morris County by promoting the area’s exceptional historic, cultural, and recreational opportunities by providing services to residents, business travelers, and tourists.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

‘CANCELLATION: Masonic Stamp Club of New York’

After posting yesterday about the George Washington Masonic Stamp Club’s latest news, it occurred to me to have a look at the website of the other Masonic stamp club I know, and I found this sad announcement of the pending controlled demise of the Masonic Stamp Club of New York:

Click to enlarge.

It’s a sorry sign of the times that speaks to, yes, the shrinking of Masonic membership, as this announcement notes, but also to the indifference of society beyond the lodge doors toward philately. And frankly, the U.S. Postal Service does neither itself nor anyone else any favors by producing too many stamps today that lack artistry and that pander to short-term attention to fads.

I happen to be one of those few Freemasons who recognize the need, justifications, and advantages of Masonic groups voluntarily closing down. Look at one of those diagrams of the “Masonic family tree” and see where you’d start pruning. And where you might stop. The Sciots was founded in San Francisco to help Masons recover from the earthquake and fire that destroyed the city. Why it exists eleven decades later, and has spread to locales far beyond California, is beyond my abilities to explain. (I’m always picking on the Sciots—and offered a small joke at its expense yesterday in The Past Bastard comments—but there are others worthy of being taken off life support.)

But a stamp club is something that ought to appeal to all kinds of people. To collect stamps is to collect art. A collection may be as large or small as desired, just as a stamp club can be intimate and portable as its members please. Participation requires no formal education; collecting imparts an education. It’s not necessary to spend much money; depending on what is collected, there could be great value to have in the future. Philately is a pursuit one may enjoy solo; it also lends itself wonderfully to a club setting. To see this club—the Masonic Stamp Club headquartered in New York City—go dark is to witness a eulogy that laments much more than the decline of interest in a hobby. It is a cancellation of what was a cultural cornerstone in our society.

Monday, July 18, 2016

‘Freemason Sibelius and his Opus 113’

The George Washington Masonic Stamp Club will meet in September in Baltimore. The keynote speaker for the meeting will be Walter Benesch, past president, who will discuss “Jean Sibelius: The Great Finnish Composer and Mason and the Strange History Behind His Opus 113.”

From the publicity:

George Washington Masonic Stamp Club
Meeting at the Baltimore Philatelic Exhibition
Saturday, September 3
1 p.m.

Wyndham Hunt Valley Inn
Salon C
245 Shawan Road
Hunt Valley, Maryland

Summer 2016 message from the President

For those who missed the Annual Meeting in February, it was a delightful meeting.

There were four new candidates for the Degree of Philately. This was followed by our election. Yours truly was re-elected President for another two years. Our new First Vice President is Ralph E. Olson. Dr. Rudy Krutar continues as our Second Vice President. John Allen and Sherrill Watkins continue as Secretary and Treasurer, respectively. Michael Aulicino was re-elected as our Cachet Maker-Cover Chairman. But what is good, we now have an official Assistant Cachet Maker, Casey Polowitch. Hopefully Casey will be ready to take over at the next election in 2018. It is always great to see our younger members step up to help out.

Our summer meeting will be at BALPEX on Saturday, September 3 at 1 p.m. in Salon C. The program will be Part Two of last year’s presentation on Jean Sibelius, the great Finnish composer and Mason, but this talk will be on the strange history behind his Opus 113—his “Masonic Opus.” You will hear brief excerpts, and learn one of the strangest histories of any musical composition, including why the Grand Lodge of New York holds the copyright. There will be the traditional door prizes and sale items. Your President is attempting to lessen his collection, so there will be several valuable binders offered to Club members.

BALPEX is held at the Hunt Valley Inn. There is plenty of free parking and a quality restaurant in the hotel, with other restaurants down the road. If there is enough interest, we may go as a group for an early dinner at around 4 p.m. I want everyone to have enough time to review the exhibits at BALPEX, to talk to the vendors, and add to your collections.

Remember, the Club depends on new members, so talk up the George Washington Mason Stamp Club at your lodge and other Masonic bodies. If you don’t have an application, click here.

The next Annual Meeting will take place Sunday, February 27, 2017 at the George Washington Masonic Memorial in Alexandria, Virginia.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

‘Metro Masonic webmasters conference to be planned’

The Digital Square Club of New York enjoyed a successful conference during St. John’s Weekend in Utica last month. Masonic webmasters and other online publishers met in person and by teleconference to learn from each other about the nuances of online communications.

Courtesy Thomas J. Fuzia
I wasn’t there (I don’t know if bloggers meet the criteria), but it seems the real highlight of the meeting was the presentation of the new Digital Cornerstone Award to RW Ron Steiner, who has labored long in helping New York Freemasonry with both public relations and encouraging the use of the web years ago, when hardly anyone in the fraternity knew how to maintain a competent web presence for their lodges. Congratulations, Ron!

Ken Stuczynski, webmaster of Grand Lodge and chairman of the Communications Committee, reports the likelihood of another conference in the Metro area later this year or early 2017 specifically to help the region in most need. (You’d think lodges in the media capital of the world would be more hip, but maybe that’s not the case, although Stuczynski does praise “incredible, cutting-edge work” being done here.) Stuczynski and Grand Master Jeffrey Williamson will speak. I’m sure others will too. I will attend that one.

The Digital Square Club website is being revamped too.

Monday, July 4, 2016

‘Don’t Be a Sucker’

Listening to the radio for some Independence Day rock & roll, the program currently tuned in mixes an occasional odd sound bite amid the tunes, including a minute or so of a U.S. War Department film titled “Don’t Be a Sucker.” Released in 1943, and revised after the war, this short partially explains how the Nazis rose to political power in Germany and drove the country to ruin in the Second World War. The story is told by a Hungarian-born university professor (Paul Lukas) who had fled Europe for the United States in the nick of time, and became an American citizen.

After an introductory segment explaining how political rabble rousers are akin to con men in their common strategies for duping the public, the film uses one character’s membership in Freemasonry to make the emotional connection for the viewer to realize that bigot demagogues typically are talking about them when blaming society’s ills on members of ethnic, racial, and religious minorities. “What’s wrong with the Masons? I’m a Mason,” the startled onlooker wonders before reappraising his opinions on American society.

Freemasonry is an odd choice of vehicle to cross that bridge, but that’s how it is in “Don’t Be a Sucker.”

It has been a number of years since Bro. Sal Corelli was mentioned on the Magpie, and I figure these photos he sent me five days ago would be perfect to share on Independence Day.

Sal was in Queens, New York and visited the site of the 1964-65 New York Worlds Fair, which boasted an impressive Masonic pavilion, some of which remains standing.

I close this Independence Day edition of The Magpie Mason with a look at Bro. George Washington: General of the Continental Army, President of the United States, and Freemason.

Courtesy Sal Corelli

Courtesy Sal Corelli

Courtesy Sal Corelli

If the likeness of Washington looks familiar, it is because the sculptor who created it was a prolific replicator of Washington in bronze. New York artist Donald De Lue’s other Washingtons stand at the New Orleans Main Public Library; the George Washington Masonic Memorial in Alexandria, Virginia; Valley Forge, Pennsylvania; George Washington Memorial Park in Paramus, New Jersey; the Masonic museum in Lexington, Massachusetts; Mariners Church in Detroit; the Masonic Home in Indianapolis; and elsewhere.

Gotta go! The Nerds are playing some little suburban town soon, before the fireworks.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

‘2016 Esoteric Book Conference’

The organizers of the Esoteric Book Conference have announced their plans for 2016. The eighth annual will be in Seattle on September 10 and 11.

Regular Magpie readers will recognize names of some of the presenters, sponsors, etc. Click here for all the news.

‘The buzz about The Beehive Club’

There is a Freemason named Burx, who recently relocated to Idaho from Virginia, bringing with him an idea for Craft Lodge education he calls The Beehive Club. On May 16, he discussed this practice on The Masonic Roundtable.

He describes it as a study group he had introduced at Herndon Lodge 264 in Virginia where the brethren would devote two hours per month to various topics. No membership dues, no meeting minutes, no fuss, no muss—just discussion to profit everyone in attendance. But no sideliners either. Eventually, all who attend participate in the talks to contribute to the common stock of knowledge. On occasion there even is room for Apprentices and Fellows to keep them engaged and on the path.

Click here to listen. The chat gets moving at the 15-minute mark.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

‘Much Ado about Threefold Center’

The Anthroposophical Society’s Hudson Valley campus, the Threefold Educational Center, hosts an amazing variety of programs aimed at infusing spiritual values into the arts, education, and community life, and the gentle people there have been doing it for 90 years.

While I have been enjoying the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival’s 30th season already this summer, I’m going to make time for this Threefold presentation too. From the publicity:

Babbling Brook Players Present
Much Ado About Nothing
by William Shakespeare

Sunday, August 14 at 6 p.m.
Admission: Free
($20 suggested donation)

Green Meadow Waldorf School, Rose Hall
307 Hungry Hollow Road
Chestnut Ridge, New York

Come spend an evening with Rockland County’s own Babbling Brook Players and a cast of characters that are sure to make you laugh and feel great in one of Shakespeare’s best comedies of love that triumphs over any gossip and mischief.

Courtesy Babbling Brook Players

Sponsored by Threefold Educational Center and the Green Meadow Waldorf School.