The newest constituent lodge of the Grand Loge of Ohio, USA, was created on Sunday March 31, 2019 with the essential assistance of members of Internet Lodge 9659. The Installing team, which put RWBro Caid McKinley (also a member of our Lodge) in the chair of King Solomon, consisted of five of our members viz. WBro Steve Gregory as Installing Master, WBro David Starbuck as SW, WBro Kai Hughes as JW, WBro Rob Allen as IG and WBro Alan Tibbetts.
As background about this unique lodge, the resolution creating it by the Grand Lodge of Ohio, was passed in October 2018. The work prior to that had started more than a year before by RWBro McKinley assisted by brethren from Ohio and WBro Gregory who became a Charter member. Normally, urgent Resolutions to Grand Lodge never pass the first time they are put forward, as only 25 negative votes out of several thousand are required to defer them for a year. Only19 negative votes were recorded. RWBro McKinley had created an impressive display booth at Grand Lodge to support the effort, and all supporters talked up the concept to attendees. This is the only lodge in Ohio authorized to work the English Emulation ritual.
Approval resulted in the work to get things going being compressed into a very short time period, but these brethren were up to the task. There are 20 Charter members and a further 40 Founding members (first joiners) who signed on to this effort. A great advantage was the presence of the current Grand Master, MWBro Jess Raines and two Past Grand Masters among the Charter members. There are also Masons from California, Alabama and Ontario among the members.
Prior to the big event, the Internet Lodge brethren from England, Bros Starbuck, Gregory (and Ellen his wife) had arrived a few days early after a horrendous trip across the Atlantic including a four hour ordeal at US Customs in Atlanta. Bro Allen arrived from Phoenix and Bro Tibbetts from Tucson Arizona on Friday, and Bro Hughes from Washington DC on Saturday.
Some members of Internet Lodge (Left to Right) WBro Kai Hughes (U.K.), RWBro Caid Mckinley (Ohio),
Bro Ronald King (Alabama), WBro Stephen Gregory (U.K.). Many others were present.
Saturday include a rehearsal by the Installing team at the Masonic Hall in Sandusky, a huge 100 years old stone building in the middle of town. As a matter of interest, the city was laid out by a Freemason in the 1800’s, with a street plan in the form of a square and compasses. Saturday evening was the annual visitation to the 16th Masonic District by Grand Master MWBro Jess Raines and his Lady Kelly. A banquet was held for several hundred Masons and wives where community service awards were presented to a teen boy who is a member of the Masonic Order of DeMolay, to a teen girl who is member of the affiliated Order of the Rainbow for Girls and a further award for a man, who is not a Mason, who was reminded by the Grand Master that “it is never too late to join”.
Sunday morning included another rehearsal with some of the members of the new lodge also participating, with some being co-opted in to do the perambulations. Teaching them the Fellowcraft salute was quite comical to see! The initial WM of the lodge had arranged to have made a beautiful banner made for the lodge, as well as a Goose and Gridiron statue on a gold crown. As it is intended to be a travelling lodge, he had made an engraved metal tube to hold the Charter of the lodge. He also took his obligations on a 1599 Geneva Bible.
The meeting started with the opening of the Grand Lodge of Ohio by the Grand Master. He was supported by over a dozen of his Grand Officers, who were all formally introduced. The Grand Secretary then read out the Charter of the Lodge, which was presented by the Grand Master. Individual miniature certificates along with inscribed goose quill pens were given to each Charter member and to each Founder present.
After a brief break, the Installing Master, WBro Gregory opened the lodge with the Internet Lodge brethren in the chairs. WBro Tibbetts had the honour of presenting the WM-elect. The Installation ceremony was carried out in an exemplary manner, with the IL brethren bringing great credit to our Lodge. The brethren of Ohio, including the Grand Line were most impressed with the quality of our work and expressed their enthusiastic appreciation.
The Festive Board, also a new experience for our Ohio brethren, was held at the Sandusky Yacht Club on the shores of Lake Erie. A choice of steak or salmon was on the menu, and after all the work we did, a fair amount of wine also flowed at our table. Table centre pieces, a goose and gridiron in a tin bucket, were raffled off, and David Starbuck, who won at our table, was a gentleman in giving his to Ellen Gregory. Engraved wine glasses were given to every attendee.
In his speech, Worshipful Master Caid McKinley paid tribute to his experiences with his membership in Internet Lodge as well as his attendance at the celebration of the Tercentenary of UGLE at Royal Albert Hall in 2017 as being his inspiration in forming an Emulation ritual lodge back home. He spoke of being so impressed by what Internet Lodge stands for and what we do in very warm terms.
The weekend was a wonderful experience for all the members of Internet Lodge who took part, and we were very happy to be part of this unique undertaking. It is a continuation of our earlier work in assisting Sir Winston Churchill Lodge in Minneapolis get established several years ago, and our help to new lodges in former communist countries in eastern Europe, as a part of our lodge’s original purpose in supporting Freemasonry Universal.
For your information, Goose and Gridiron Lodge will be holding its second Installation next March in Salford Manchester on the Sunday after Internet Lodge’s Installation, and members of Internet Lodge are especially invited to stay over an extra night and attend the ceremony. The Master expected to be installed there is WBro David Wilkinson, who was born and grew up in Salford before moving to the states, and if all goes to plan, we will be installing WBro Steve Gregory into the chair of Internet Lodge the day before !!
The Installation Team (Left to Right)
RWBro. Alan Tibbetts, WBro David Starbuck, WBro Kai Hughes,
RWBro Caid McKinley, WBro Stephen Gregory, WBro Rob Allen