From the East
As I prepare to leave the East, I first want to thank everyone for their guidance and trust in me to lead the Lodge this past year.
The Grand Master’s motto for 2022 was a “Masonic Revival.” In 2020, and especially 2021, due to lodges being closed due to COVID, the fear of the COVID virus, and the newfound comfort of being at home all the time, brothers could not meet, and when they could meet, many brothers were staying away from Lodge and their involvement in Masonry. The Grand Master wanted to bring these brothers back to Lodge and spur interest again in Masonry, including among potential new brothers. I am proud to say that due to all our efforts that is happening for Phalanx.
Membership – Phalanx raised 8 brothers in the past 1.5 years and 2 more are expected early next year. Thereare also 2 Entered Apprentices. Our membership is strong, as there are currently 256 brothers in good standing.
Lodge Visibility – The lodge continues to work on updating its webpage and social media presence (thank you Bro. Garett Latham) with a better landing page, Masonic and Phalanx informational resources, and making it easier (the click of a button) to contact Phalanx if a man is interested in Masonry.
Lodge Experience – Bro. Jaffer Kovic kindly requested to donate food from his restaurant and have his chef (now an Entered Apprentice) prepare the food for our Stated Communications, giving all of us exceptional meals. We bought many new items for the lodge including new staffs and toppers, Bible markers and a checkerboard carpet for our forms and ceremonies (thank you WB Mike Hamrick). The Phalanx coins exceeded my expectations and were a great way not only celebrate Phalanx’s 225th anniversary next year, but also as a thank you to all those brothers who continue to support Phalanx (thank you Bro. Mike Mangum).
Lodge Finances – Phalanx’s finances continue to be fiscally conservative and likely under budget for 2022.
Giving Back – Phalanx supported several Masonic charities this year. We donated money to the Masonic Home for Children so the kids could attend a Carolina Panthers football game. The feedback was nothing but positive and the kids had a wonderful time. We are also working on sponsoring Whitestone brothers and their widows with Christmas and other holiday gifts. The Masonic experience is not all about an individual brother or a lodge, but it must continue to uphold a foundational principle of Masonry which is giving back to the less fortunate, and Phalanx continues to hold that principle near and dear to its heart.
Light in Masonry – I realized firsthand this year how many brothers spend a significant amount of their free time bringing others light in Masonry. Many Phalanx brothers spend time coaching new brothers, leading the practices with Master Masons and officers, educating and mentoring brothers, and teaching brothers the lectures, charges and degree roles. Many brothers also want to receive light in Masonry, get involved in the inner workings of the lodge, and spend their free time learning from these experienced brothers. When some one petitions the lodge (although they do not know it) they are petitioning to obtain light in Masonry. Thank you to all that do so for others, you know who you are!
In 2023, I urge all brothers to stay engaged and think of a way that you can make your lodge and fraternity better. It may be merely calling a brother’s widow to see how she is doing, visiting an elderly brother, donating to a Masonic charity, coming to a Stated Communication, praying for a brother or his family in need, participating in a Masonic funeral or degree, or taking the time to educate one man interested in Masonry about the fraternity (thank you to WB Mike Hamrick and WB Bob Braswell for doing that for me many years ago). That man may be a future Worshipful Master of Phalanx, or even a Grand Master of North Carolina.
I wish everyone a happy Holiday season, and we should all be proud that in 2023, the year of its 225th birthday, Phalanx is in excellent hands with its incoming leadership and will continue its Masonic Revival.
Happy 225th Birthday of Phalanx Lodge No. 31! (Many excerpts are taken from Elbert Fisher’s essay, “The Lodge Unique: Phalanx Lodge No. 31”)
On December 2, 1797, the Grand Lodge of North Carolina adopted the following resolution:
“BE IT RESOLVED that a Charter be issued by the grand secretary to those brothers residing in and about the town of Charlotte, in the county of Mecklenburg, who were heretofore organized by a Charter from the Grand Lodge of South Carolina. That by this Charter they hereafter enrolled as a Lodge under the jurisdiction of this Grand Lodge by the name of Phalanx Lodge No. 31 in the said town of Charlotte, in the said county of Mecklenburg, aforesaid.”
So how did we get here?
In June 1777, the North Carolina Continentals reached WB Gen. George Washington’s camp in Middlebrook, NJ and thereafter participated in the Battles of Brandywine and Germantown and shared the sufferings of Valley Forge in the winter of 1777-78. While camped in Pennsylvania in October 1779, the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania issued the 3rd regimental warrant for “Lodge No. 20.” In early 1780, the North Carolina Continentals were ordered to defend Charleston, SC. Charleston was abandoned in May 1780 by the Continentals and thereafter the North Carolina Continentals fought in many battles including King’s Mountain, Cowpens, Guilford County Courthouse, and were at Lord Cornwalis’ surrender at Yorktown in October 1781. In the years thereafter with the end of the war, the North Carolina Continentals disbanded and Lodge No. 20, a military lodge, “was disorganized” and needed a permanent charter. In 1787, they petitioned the Grand Lodge of South Carolina, which gave them a charter for “Phalanx Lodge No. 7” (for why Phalanx?, see below). Ten years later on December 2, 1797 (225 years ago), the brethren petitioned the Grand Lodge of North Carolina to charter Phalanx Lodge No. 31, and as they say the rest is history.
Phalanx’s first Master in 1797 was MWB Col. William Polk. Col. Polk’s father, Col. Thomas Polk, was one of the first settlors in Charlotte (the great-uncle of President Polk) and a signee of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence (claimed to be the first declaration of independence of the 13 colonies and supposedly signed on May 20, 1775). He is also buried in Old Settlors’ Cemetery uptown and celebrated every year on “Meck Day” (May 20th). MWB Polk was a founding member of Phalanx Lodge No. 31 and the 4th Grand Master of North Carolina from 1799-1801. He served the South Carolina and North Carolina militia in the Revolutionary War from 1775-81 and thereafter was heavily involved in North Carolina politics (including as the Mayor of Raleigh), a trustee of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and the President of the State Bank of North Carolina.
Phalanx has five Past Grand Masters, roughly 140 Worshipful Masters, merged with 3 lodges (Meridian 728, Joppa 530 and Temple 676) and has on its rolls tens of thousands of brothers. It is also the oldest lodge in Charlotte and one of the oldest in the state, founded in 1797.
Lastly, why Phalanx?
By definition, “a phalanx is any compact body or force, derived from the order of battle” and comes from the Macedonian (now northern Greece) King Phillip II’s (Alexander the Great’s father) use of a phalanx battle formation in his great victories over the Greeks in the 4th century BC. The selection of this name seemed appropriate for a lodge originating as a military lodge during a time of battle (in this case, the Revolutionary War period) and is likely why soldiers requested the name Phalanx.
When writing his 1953 essay on Phalanx Lodge No. 31, WB Henry Elbert Fisher could not find (and neither can I as of 2022) any other lodge in history named Phalanx, including in England, Scotland, the United States and even Greece.
Happy 225th birthday to Phalanx Lodge No. 31, a special one-of-a-kind lodge!
Nick Voelker – Master
From The West
I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and I wish all of you a joyous holiday season.
Merry Christmas to our Christian brothers and Happy Hanukkah to our Jewish brothers!
I want to thank the brethren for electing me Master of Phalanx Lodge #31 for 2023. It is both an honor and a privilege to serve as your Master and I will do my best to live up to the trust you have placed in me. This will be my second time in the East as I was Master of Salem Lodge #289 in Winston-Salem in 2001.
Congratulations to Worshipful Master Voelker, the officers, and members of Phalanx Lodge for a terrific 2022! I hope we can build on the 2022 successes in 2023. Toward this end, I will be appointing WB Glenn Sigmon and WB Clayton Wright as Co-Directors of the Work. Our goal will be always to improve our degree work and provide our candidates the most meaningful and memorable degree experiences possible.
I am very proud to be a member of Phalanx Lodge. The consolidation of Temple Lodge with Phalanx Lodge has been most successful, and I feel that we are one Masonic family. Thank you for your support during 2022 and I look forward to another great year in 2023.
John Hulla, PM, SW
From the Secretary
As you can see here, we are finishing out 2022 with just two more opportunities to gather. Please plan to join us as your cable-tow allows.
Note that the Dec. 15 Installation is a non-tiled event observable by non-Masons, and a perfect opportunity to perhaps invite a friend who you feel may be both a benefit to the fraternity as well as benefit from joining the fraternity.
Lastly, if you have not received a 2023 dues notice, please contact me. This payment is due by Dec. 31, 2022.
Mike Hamrick, PM
From the West
Thanks to the brothers who were in attendance at the November stated for their vote of confidence in electing me Senior Warden for the coming year.
For those of you who do not know me, I was born and raised in West Central Ohio and enlisted in the Navy after high school. I served as a propulsion engineer aboard the USS Coronado in San Diego from 1991 to 1996 and as a staff member at Service School Command Great Lakes, Illinois from 1997 until my discharge in January 2001.
Since leaving the Navy, I have worked as a reporting analyst in the financial services industry. First in Chicago for Bank One and later JPM Chase after that merger until 2006. I then moved to Charlotte and have worked for Wachovia, later Wells Fargo since.
I am divorced with no children. My older brother, his wife, and my mother all live here in Charlotte.
I was initiated, passed, and raised in Temple Lodge in October 2010, December 2010, and January 2011. I served as Master of Temple Lodge in 2015 and as Secretary in 2021. I have been a member of Mizpah Chapter 36, Order of the Eastern Star since 2011 and have served as Worthy Patron in 2014, 2019, and 2020. I am currently the Secretary of the chapter. I am a member, although not very active, of both Scottish Rite and the Shrine.
For this coming year at Phalanx Lodge I hope we continue great fellowship, excellent ritual work, and make progress towards a permanent home for the Lodge, be it at the York Rite Building or elsewhere. I am very pleased that the members and traditions of both Phalanx and Temple Lodges have meshed together so very well.
Unfortunately, I will be unable to attend the Installation on December 15th due to a trip I planned months ago, but rest assured I will always do my very best to attend Phalanx functions.
Please feel free to call me with any questions, concerns, or needs.
Have a wonderful holiday season and I look forward to seeing you in the New Year.
Eric Cable, JW, PM
As we close the Lodge of Sorrow at the December Stated Communication, we remember our Brothers
|Brother Darren E. Brown|
Born – October 18, 1963
Raised – April 29, 1997
Died – March 23, 2022
|Brother K. Ray Morris|
Born – February 2, 1934
Raised – July 12, 1963
Died – July 12, 2022
|Brother W. Norman Manning|
Born – October 30, 1943
Raised – May 30, 1975
Died – April 3, 2022
|Brother C. Wayne Crump|
Born – September 27, 1947
Raised – October 2, 1976
Died – July 14, 2022
|Brother Dick Armstrong|
Born – May 23, 1937
Raised – May 14, 1971
Died – April 22, 2022
|Brother DF Presley|
Born – January 4, 1931
Raised – November 12, 1955
Died – August 4, 2022
|Brother Bobby Golibart|
Born – June 11, 1955
Raised – August 31, 2010
Died – June 5, 2022
|Brother Bobby M. Lloyd|
Born – February 24, 1937
Raised – February 25, 1972
Died – October 21, 2022
|Worshipful Brother Fred K. Pasour|
Born – June 28, 1933
Raised – March 30, 1978
Died – June 12, 2022
|Brother R. Mike Ousley|
Born – May 2, 1948
Raised – December 6, 1980
Died – November 7, 2022
|Brother Larry G. Jacobs|
Born – March 2, 1939
Raised – February 8, 1974
Died – June 24, 2022
|Brother Joe E. Smith|
Born – December 17, 1942
Raised – September 26, 1970
Died – November 18, 2022