Sunday, April 10, 2011

Quinta Essentia Lodge U.D. - Connecticut's First European Concept Lodge


At the Grand Lodge of Connecticut Annual Communication on April 4th, 2011, a dispensation was granted for the formation of Quinta Essentia Lodge. This dispensation is the product of two years of hard work by brothers in the Southern Connecticut Region to create a European Concept Lodge. These brothers have been meeting as a dinner club during these two years and discussing their plans for the formation of a new lodge.  The structure and format of the lodge is similar to Lodge Vitruvian and other highly successful European Concept Lodges.


R:.W:. Brother Brandley K. Cooney will serve as our first Worshipful Master and I will serve as our first Secretary. Although our by-laws are not yet set, here are some of the concepts that the new lodge will be based on:
  • Meetings and festive boards will take place at a local restaurant with high quality food in a private dining space, instead of a Masonic Building.
  • The lodge will meet only six times a year and each meeting will be an outstanding event.
  • Every lodge meeting has an accompanying cocktail hour, festive board and open discussion topic during the dinner.
  • Our discussion topics are typically philosophical in nature.
  • We require excellence in dress.  All brothers are required to dress in tuxes or dark suit and dark tie.  Lodge paraphernalia will exemplify simplicity in an effort to symbolize the equality of our brotherhood.
  • The dues structure of the lodge will be significantly higher than most blue lodges.
  • There will be no long introductions of past masters, officers from other lodges or appendent bodies. The only brothers to be recognized are the District Deputy, the Grand Master and his suite.
  • The lodge will never have a large, inactive membership.  Brothers are required to regularly attend meetings unless there an acceptable reason not to attend determined by the Worshipful Master.  Brothers who do not regularily attend will be required to demit and join another lodge.   We will cap membership at about 35 members. Once we hit the maximum, a new lodge should be formed.
  • We will demand ritual excellence.
  • We will not elect officers based on a "progressive line". Brothers will be elected based on their abilities and may repeat several terms in the same chair.
  • We will actively participate in community service. This lodge will not simply write a check. The mason's place is in the world, not separate from it.

The list of petitioning Brothers are as follows:

  • Bro. L. Scott Brand
  • M:.W:. Bro. Charles A Buck Jr.
  • R:.W:. Bro. Bradley K Cooney
  • W:. Bro. Paul L Chello
  • R:.W:. Bro. Theodore J Doolittle
  • W:. Bro. Martin Ede
  • R:.W:. Bro. Kenneth I Greenhill
  • M:.W:. Bro. Alfred J Lobo
  • Bro. Kristian Maiorino
  • W:. Bro. Randy S Stevens
  • R:.W:. Bro. Charles H Tirrell
  • W:. Bro. James A Tirrell
  • Bro. Howard D Turner
  • W:. Bro. Jordan T Yelinek

The date of our first meeting has not yet been set and will be publicized once it is.  We are currently working on a lodge web site that will have more details.

For more information about Quinta Essentia Lodge U.D., email Charles Tirrell (chtirrell at gmail dot com)

7 comments:

Simon LaPlace said...

What obstacles will you have to overcome?
How can you structure yourselves and not unduly impact other lodges?
What change in the Rules and Regulations do you anticipate?

Best of Luck!

Charles Tirrell said...

RWB Simon,

All great questions!

First, I'd like to comment on the general philosophy of the brothers behind this lodge. All fo these brothers are dedicated members of their local lodges and sincerely enjoy the fellowship within their Mother Lodges. Not a single one of us plans to leave our mother lodges and will continue to be active in it. However, we recognize that Freemasonry is a "big tent" and allows for lodges to be structured in many different ways. Unfortunately, most of the lodges got locked into an operating structure to meet the needs of 1950's Masonry (lots of meeting, low costs, 30-40 candidates a year, etc). This resulted in lodges across the state and across the US to become almost the same with very little differences.

The brothers that petitioned for this lodge do not believe that our way is the "right" way to have a lodge operate. It's just another way it can (and does in the UK). We want to promote true diversity in the look and feel of Masonic lodges. The structure that we're promoting is something that works for us, but it might not for everyone and that is ok. Masonry is a big tent and has room for everyone.

One of the items that I didn't write about is how education will be structured for candidates. The ideas that we're currently discussing will require us to take our time with our new brothers and will be focused on one-on-one work and getting to know all the brothers of the lodge. Imagine a lodge where you know every brother in it personally. In a lodge of 25 brothers, it is possible!

With this time and effort required for new candidates, we will probably only raise one brother a year. So, we won't impact other lodges by taking their candidates. In addition, we only meet six times a year and on Saturdays, so we won't cause conflicts with scheduling with other stated communications in the district.

We've attempted to be very accommodating in an effort to not impact other lodges. However, there will always be brothers that view a new lodge as competition. For brothers that view a new lodge forming as competition, I only have a few things to say. If we're a threat, make your lodge better. When someone raises the bar, step up to the challenge, don't sit there and complain. The world is changing and brothers want more than just minutes, bills and stale donuts twice a month. They want fellowship, quality and Masonic spectacle. Keeping the status quo by forcing a Masonic Monopoly on the way a lodge can form and operate is counter-productive and will destroy the fraternity. If you want a lodge that is different then the way we are doing it, that's great, form one!

As for rules and regulations changes, the only one that we see as an issue is the following:

Section 3401. Stated Communications for Regular Lodges; Minimum Number of; Certain May Be Omitted; How Changed. Lodges shall hold at least one stated communication in each month, except that by special vote of a Lodge, communications may be omitted during July and August, upon legal and religious holidays, Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve, and upon the week of the annual Session of the Grand Lodge. Any stated communication may be changed by a vote of the Lodge upon due notice being given to all of the members of the Lodge at least two weeks in advance of such changed dates.

Currently, our dispensation allows us to meet only six times a year, but to continue in this fashion, we would need to amend the rules and regulations. The Committee on Legal Affairs is aware of this issue and is currently investigating a proposed change that would allow us to operate with a reduced number of meetings.

cleanwake said...

RW Charles,
I am quite familiar with what is know as Traditional Observance lodges as are chartered all over the USA. What I don't know is what a "European Type Lodge" is? Is it French style, English style where they may use any of 30 different rituals, Swedish, that requires the petitioner to be a Christian. Most TO Lodges are a bit more formal and require candidates do Masonic Research as part of their advancement. Just where does your lodge differ from other TO lodges. Next question; What will be the difference for a Mason to affiliate with your lodge than a regular lodge in CT?

Charles Tirrell said...

Dear Cleanwake,

Thanks for the questions!

There are a lot of similarities between Traditional Observance Lodges and European Concept Lodges. The primary difference is that the definition of a TO lodge is heavily governed by the Masonic Restoration Foundation (http://www.masonicrestoration.com/) and a EC Lodge is more loosely defined. Check out http://www.masonicrestoration.com/traditionallodges/europeanconcept.html for more information about this difference.

The ritual of this lodge will be the exact same as standard Connecticut ritual and there will be no specific religious requirements, like in the Swedish Rite. The main focus of our lodge will be ritual excellence, establishing a focus on Masonic Fellowship, the Festive Board, simplicity/formality in dress and philosophical discourse. American Masonry has grown very large and separate from the world at lodge. The members of this lodge wish to emulate the early beginnings of Masonry in England where the experience was intimate and embedded within the community (typically at a local tavern).

The name of our new lodge reflects this. We wish to bring Masonry down to the bare essentials; fellowship and ritual. Much of the additions to Masonry (business meetings, monetary philanthropy, recognitions, etc.) will be minimized.

Currently, we are a lodge under dispensation with the Grand Lodge of Connecticut, which precludes us from affiliations while under dispensation. However, we hope to become a fully chartered lodge within the year at which time we will welcome petitions for affiliations, in the normal fashion within our Grand Jurisdiction. Our labors will require increased activity, study and financial responsibilities compared to a standard blue lodge and we will be very direct with brothers wishing to petition. Although the responsibilities required of our brothers will be increased, we are a standard blue lodge and follow all the standard rules and regulations of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Connecticut (with the exception that we meet six times a year per our dispensation).

As said in the above article, the details regarding this lodge are not set in stone yet. Over the next few months, we'll be ironing out our bylaws and getting down to specifics. Within the next few weeks, we'll be publishing a website with more details, as well as announce our first stated communication.

We welcome further questions from interested brothers!

masonic lectures said...
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Bro. Michael Kelley said...

Bro. Charles, I'd first like to say that I love this. I am a firm believer in many of the things you and the Brothers are attempting to accomplish. Making new the traditions of old. I unfortunately don't see myself joining this Lodge in the near future as my time is severely limited now, I DO however find myself hoping to attempt some of the 6 meetings held during the year. A couple generic questions. Will guest Brothers be welcome? How do you plan to keep meetings and degrees tiled in such an environment?

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