From the East
As a reminder, Phalanx’s Stated Communications are now held on the second Thursday of each month (May 12th this month) at the York Rite Masonic Temple, dinner starting at 630pm and the lodge meeting at 730pm.
This month we celebrate Mother’s Day. None of us would be here without our mothers, and for many of us we would not be the men we are today without their love and guidance. Mothers also provide many of us with the blessings of kids, grandkids, nieces and nephews. We should always celebrate and thank the mothers in our lives, including those that are no longer with us, but most especially this month.
We are fortunate to have WB Jim Medlin join us at our May Stated Communication for a lecture on his journey in Masonry. WB Medlin currently serves as Chairman of the Grand Lodge’s Commission on Subordinate Lodges Special Activities where he oversees lodge fundraising activities. He is a Past Master of East La Porte Lodge No. 358 and a member of Fairview Lodge No. 339 in Kings Mountain. He is also a member of Wilkerson Lodge No. 760 and a frequent guest speaker at Wilkerson College, a 33rd degree Scottish Rite member in the Valley of Asheville, a member Oasis Temple, York Rite, and National Sojourners in the Fayetteville and the Raleigh chapters.
I look forward to the fellowship at our May Stated Communication and should you need transportation assistance, please contact WB Mike Hamrick.
This Month in Freemasonry
by WM Nick Voelker
179 years ago this month, from May 8 – 17, 1843, Masons held a Masonic convention in Baltimore, Maryland, known as the “Baltimore Convention”, that changed the face of Freemasonry in America. In the early 1800’s, Freemasonry in America was going through a rough phase in its history. Outsiders were attacking it from all angles. In 1826, a disgruntled William Morgan, a purported Mason who after being kicked out of a Masonic Lodge in upstate New York threatened to publish a book revealing the secrets of Masonry, disappeared and was allegedly murdered by local Masons. This story caught national attention and anti-Masons vehemently began speaking out against the fraternity, vandalizing Masonic Temples, and disgracing brothers whose names appeared on Masonic roles. In 1828, anti-masons formed the anti-Masonic political party (the “Anti-Masons”) which became popular in the Northeast, especially in Vermont. They won various state and local elections, a few seats in the United States House of Representatives, and in 1832 nominated a presidential candidate, William Wirt (a former Mason), who carried 7.8% of the popular vote and won Vermont’s seven electoral votes. They even unsuccessfully tried to pressure WB Henry Clay, then Secretary of State, to renounce his Masonic membership. The Anti-Masons disbanded in the late 1830’s and coalesced with the anti-Jacksonian Whig Party (PGM Andrew Jackson was the Grand Master of Tennessee from 1822-24) with a much broader national political platform and, therefore, the anti-Masonic platform evaporated.
In the early 1840’s, Freemasons were trying to figure out how a fraternity held in such high esteem throughout history led to this treatment in America, so they began holding small conventions to work through this issue. They found at a high level that Grand Lodges were governing their subordinate lodges with no uniformity, including the ritual, and the same being true for Blue Lodges. Finally, in May of 1843, a large convention consisting of 16 Grand Lodges attended the Baltimore Convention, including PGM Robert Strange of Fayetteville on behalf of the Grand Lodge of North Carolina. The objectives were to formulate uniform Masonic work and to implement measures to increase the respect of the fraternity. They implemented resolutions: that to better track annual dues fees, and for visiting brethren to provide further proof of membership (William Morgan visited many lodges as he somehow knew various Masonic words, grips and passes but after his death no one could find his name on a Masonic role anywhere, including in Canada where he claimed he was raised) the Convention implemented “dues cards” for the first time; initiation fees were required to be paid prior to a petitioner receiving the degrees making loans (sometimes evidenced by promissory notes) no longer allowed for initiation and dues fees; business was to be conducted on the Master Mason degree; the ritual was more formalized and; NPD’s (non-payment of dues) were established as a consequence for delinquent dues. Grand Lodges eventually rejected a Grand Lodge of the United States (which are popular in Europe), but the Baltimore Convention did recommend that Grand Lodges should participate periodically in national Masonic conventions to stay aligned as to many issues, which they still do so today. Not surprisingly, in the mid to late 1800’s Freemasonry regained the respect it once had, setting the stage for exponential membership growth in the first half of the 1900’s.
Nick Voelker – Master
From the Secretary
As summer arrives, we continue to be quite busy. We have an upcoming Fellowcraft Degree and expect an Entered Degree in the coming month or two, and we are thankful for the continued ‘growth’ of our lodge.
I do need to mention here, for Temple legacy members, that the May 15 deadline for submitting 2022 dues is on the horizon. Please let me know if you have any questions about that or need me to send you another dues notice.
Lastly I’ll mention that WM Voelker has lined up some very notable guest speakers for many of our Stated’s this year. Please consider joining us on second Thursdays as you are available (Note that we will be dark for the month of July).
Mike Hamrick, PM, Secretary