Thursday, February 23, 2023

‘An opportunity for enlightenment’

New Jersey Lodge of Masonic Research and Education 1786 now meets in the home of Union Lodge 19 in North Brunswick. 

Just a quick Happy Anniversary greeting to my first research lodge. On this date in 2002, New Jersey Lodge of Masonic Research and Education 1786 was constituted at the Trenton Masonic Temple by grand lodge officers led by MW David A. Chase.

“This was placed high on my objectives as Grand Master,” said Chase to the grand lodge during its annual communication in Atlantic City on April 24. “This lodge is intended to be a means of educating ourselves through research in Masonic history, with an emphasis on New Jersey. I encourage the brethren of New Jersey to look for meeting notices, [and] attend and participate. Consider this an opportunity for enlightenment.”

It hasn’t exactly become the most popular activity in the jurisdiction. Research lodges everywhere, as best as I can determine, are obscure. The Freemasons who enjoy reading and writing about Freemasonry comprise probably the tiniest of Masonic minorities. And that is nothing new. Mackey and Pike wrote despairingly a century and a half ago of the problematic dearth of curiosity about Freemasonry among Freemasons. I’ve been pretty outspoken about this myself because I never could understand how men can put years of their lives into this fraternity without ever feeling any appetite for learning about its endlessly intriguing history, or about what it all means.

Okay, not everyone will author a book (I won’t), but how about wanting to know the stories of this fascinating and busy institution?

“LORE,” as this lodge came to be nicknamed, does its best. Only a handful attempt the labors, and that “emphasis on New Jersey” hardly ever is emphasized, but to our credit, we have maintained a quarterly meeting schedule, minus the pandemic months, for twenty-one years, always with something worth hearing.

We’ll do it again March 11 at 10 a.m. in Freemasons Hall in North Brunswick. And we just enjoyed a fantastic meeting Sunday in the George Washington Masonic National Memorial, which I’ll tell you about in the next edition of The Magpie Mason.

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