Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Halcyon Lodge as a model for the future

Halcyon Lodge as a Model for the Future by Bro. Jeff Peace

Back in 1999 I was dreaming about what the lodge of the future looked like. After seven years of listening to the younger brothers desires I had a pretty good idea of what was needed and as a member of the Scottish Rite membership committee presented my ideas in writing. Needless to say I was laughed out of the room.

“Who cares about education?”

“We’re not concerned with quality; we need quantity.”

“Why would young men want a gym?”

“The lodge as a social center? Are you nuts?”

The brothers at Halcyon Lodge 498 in Cleveland, Ohio didn’t laugh or call me crazy. They actually implemented those “crazy” ideas, and today they have the model of what I honestly believe the future of Freemasonry will look like.

They have a “traditional observance” lodge (although not affiliated with the Masonic Restoration Foundation) complete with a Chamber of Reflection. A billiards room decorated in the Victorian period to reflect the age of their lodge and building. A club house room with a big screen TV, satellite dish and wireless Internet for the brothers to meet after work and relax, and for Super Bowl parties and other fraternal activities. They are installing a modern theater sound system in their lodge room to aid in making the rituals more powerful. They have digital projectors and laptops for the third section lectures in the degrees as well as educational presentations.

Presently, they are installing a gym and work-out room which will also support their charity, an inner city boxing league for underprivileged kids. Most importantly, they had the commitment and spirit of brotherhood to accomplish all of this on their own.

In a word — Amazing!

Masonic education and personal enlightenment through the teachings of Freemasonry is high on their agenda. My talk in April was just the beginning of a series of talks on Freemasonry that will be taking place over the next two years by my self and other Masonic speakers.

These brothers started with a beautiful but deteriorating old lodge building in desperate need of renovations and repair. Working together they repaired the walls, electrical and plumbing systems. The floors are being re-carpeted and tiled and the antique furniture repaired and restored. In the end they will have the lodge that so many young Masons have dreamed about for so many years.

This should stand as an example of what is possible when Freemasonry works like it was intended and brotherly love prevails. As one great brotherhood Freemasons can accomplish anything they set their sights on.

Good work, Halcyon 498 brothers!

— Bro. Jeff Peace

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  1. This is a perfect example of what I have been slowly trying to enlighten some of the 'older' brothers about in terms of improving the Lodge experience. Not only to keep the good men within the Lodge happy but to also consequently spread the word about how the Freemasonry experience is not an 'old man's club' to potential great men of society.

  2. amen, brother
    it is not easy, but with time, patience and perserverance, all things can be accomplshed

  3. wow, i'm considering moving to Ohio now...

    our lodge is just lunchroom tables and plastic chairs - nothing to complain about, but if we had even just a gym - i would be at lodge at least 2-3 hours every night!

  4. Can I join the Masons in Cleveland if I live in Detroit? This is the type of lodge I want to join. All the lodges around here are just GM, Ford, Chrysler retirees.



  5. Makes me want to move to Cleveland :)

  6. 2 of the PM's of Halcyon, brothers, are from Detroit. The one from EMU has frat bro's in Lodge#2, the duece, I believe they call it. If any functions are going down at Halcyon, we'll let you know.

  7. Sounds absolutely awful and a complete detraction of what freemasonry is actually about (to me). It's not about big screen TVs and billiards, it's about fraternal love, charity and improving oneself as a man. Thank God there's none of this kind of thing in England!

    It is, of course, brilliant that you've managed to achieve all this, but definitely not for me.

    Young Mason (aged 21)

  8. Greetings "young mason",
    These things you speak of,the little extra's that we have been able to fill extra space with within the 30,000 sq ft building, is only one part of it. There are two magnificent Lodge rooms dedicated to Masonry. Part of Masonry is also fellowship.
    Fellowship can happen over a game of billiards.
    Fellowship can happen while the Brothers watch a championship game of some sorts.
    It is nice for brothers to be able to stop into the temple between classes and use the wire-less internet to do homework.
    It is nice that a brother can stop into the temple to handle business e-mails as well.

    I appreciate your concern of "Sounds absolutely awful and a complete detraction of what freemasonry is actually about (to me). It's not about big screen TVs and billiards, it's about fraternal love, charity and improving oneself as a man. Thank God there's none of this kind of thing in England!"

    The Brother in this Lodge practice all of those things every day, especially when it is time for masonic meetings, lites low, classical masonic music playing, all in dark suits, and all discussing the wonders of masonry.

    It is ok for ones temple to offer more than just a place to meet masonically, eat and leave.....
    To make a temple so attractive and useful, that masons are flowing in and out at a regular pace, always interacting with each other, trying to lighten the load of each other along the way....

    so masonry is practed at all times down at the temple, not just within a lodge meeting.
    I look forward to keeping in touch with you and hearing about your masonic progress over the next few years.

    Brother, the glass is either half full or half empty..... we do not see these things as detractors, more means for fellowship and growing to love and tolerate our brethren, discuss philosphies and perceptions in a casual environment.

    It's all good brother.....
    They have a charity, building a boxing gym for a local boxing club, training local youths, lecturers and artists being able to use the building....

    Ah, my brother, your concern is well founded, but beleive me, we all know none of thei would be possible without the craft....

    the craft is the #1 priority.
    God bless you and your brethren!

  9. It would seem to me that having social activities for the brothers would actually promote the spirit of brotherly love among Masons. No?

    People who come together on a regular basis tend to form long and lasting bonds of friendship. I think Halcyon has the right idea of how to accomplish this in the modern world.

    They have done what few lodges are capable of; utilizing their building for the purpose of charity with the inner city boxing league to help aid inner city youth.

    When it comes to bettering one's self what better way to do so than learn from the high and lofty philosophical ideas of the Craft. Halcyon actively promotes Masonic education and study. Very few lodges in America do this.

    I think your concerns young brother are due to a lack of understanding what Halcyon is actually doing.

  10. It really is sad that the average UGLE Mason that posts on the internet is a total asshole. Freemasonry in England under the UGLE is just as fucked up as MS Masonry in the States

  11. It's not about big screen TVs and billiards, it's about fraternal love, charity and improving oneself as a man. Thank God there's none of this kind of thing in England!

    Actually, YM, that's because you tend to do a lot of things differently across the pond. I understand that many English lodges don't meet as often as the ones in the US, and for the most part do not even own their own buildings, or will have many lodges meet in one building. They also tell me that you tend to limit your memberships, which when you think about it, makes sense in this context.

    Conversely, in the US it's common for lodges to own a building (although many urban lodges will band together to have one large building). In the suburban areas, lodge activities tend to be more family oriented; indeed, it probably accounts for the rise of OES - which you don't really have over there.

    The idea about having facilities to make a lodge more "club-like" makes sense here, in the US, where clubs and such are not as common. It especially gives some of the men a place to come for enjoying some fraternal camaraderie, without going to, say, a local pub where the focus might be more on the consumption of lager than on the discussion of the esoteric.

    Our lodge has a small office attached to the building that I would love to turn into a small library and lounge; unfortunately we need to lease that space in order to use the revenue for the upkeep and maintenance of the building.

  12. Very impressive!
    I am almost without words.
    I should visit your Lodge some day myself.
    I live near Dowling Michigan and am SW of Ira A. Beck Lodge #503 and as of this Tuesday will hold a seat on our Masonic Temple (Center) board.
    Best Fraternal Wishes,
    Gerald Gibbons

  13. destroy it and change it rules the day

  14. Change is inevitable except from the vending machines...

    Halcyon is open to change.

    Bro. Howard
    Master Rocky River #703
    Plural member Halcyon #498
    Scribe, Cunningham Chapter #187 R.A.M


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