On Saturday May 19th, the brethren of a "new" Masonic lodge in Topeka were called to their second meeting, which I was privileged to attend once again. They've become good friends during my time here and am proud to call each of them my brother. I say "new" lodge because they are in the process of simply trying to continue the charter of dormant Auburn Lodge #34, but are now looking at taking over the charter for Mt. Zion Lodge. These things in Masonry are a convoluted process, and take time to get done.
This small group of dedicated Masons are basing their lodge on the Traditional Observance (T.O.) model as part of the Masonic Restoration Foundation. This model ensures that lodge meetings have substance, no minutes are read, educational presentations are made and discussed by the brethren, ritual is performed with dignity and grace, tuxedos or dark suits are worn, and post-meeting fellowship is encouraged with a dinner in a private room at a fine restaurant. There is much flexibility to this and it's up to the brethren what traditions they wish to maintain.
This lodge is the only one that meets at the Grand Lodge of Kansas building in downtown Topeka. We had an excellent presentation made by a brother on the five orders of architecture--the Ionic, Doric, Corinthian, Tuscan, and Composite and how they might correspond to the five ancient mystery schools--the Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Hebrew, and Christian. This discussion continued at festive board, which we had in a private room at Frances O'Dooley's Irish Pub (where else!).
Here are some pictures of the Grand Lodge of Kansas building, inside the lodge room, me with some of the brethren, and dinner and fun at O'Dooley's.
Update: The mosaic pavement "checkered floor" is a rarity to find in American lodges, but commonplace at all four lodge halls back in Edmonton, so this ornamentation made me feel like I was back in my own lodge room. In the picture below right, the gentleman on the front right, Brother Chad, is the artisan who designed and put the floor together.
Oh, and I met Drew Carey ...