Friday, April 20, 2007

Email from a South African Mason

I got the most interesting email from a South African Mason who is here in Iraq.

W.Bro. CharlesJust read your notes on the uphill battle to open a lodge 'in country'. I wouldlike to say, "jolly good show and good luck".I'm a private security contractor in / out of country since mid 2003 and currently in the IZ, quite some way from your location, I believe.My background is law enforcement and international private security so it doesnot seem that I would 'qualify' to become an affiliate member of the proposedNew York Military traveling Lodge structures, here in country.Like you, I have no official mandate to make statements, comments, etc. but Iwould like to re-iterate my previous comments of encouragement. I'll pass thison to my Provincial Grand Master, as a matter of interest and for his insight.Good luck and if I can be of any minuscule assistance, do not hesitate toshout.My mother lodge is the Sharman Crawford Lodge No. 608 I.C. - Constituted on 16May 1927 in Cape Town and named after a member of the British Military topstructure of Cape Town, a British Colony at the time - The Right Honorable, SirSharman Crawford CBE. Our lodge is a member of the Most Worshipful, the GrandLodge of Ireland and we meet in the De Goede Hoop Lodge Room (oldest masonicbuilding in SA - built in 1752 by the Dutch), within the Cape TownParliamentary Complex, on the 2nd Thursday of each month.Maybe you will find the time to copy me with your progress, every so often.You stay safe and take care.Fraternal GreetingsStephen van DiggeleRt. W. Past Provincial Deputy Grand MasterProvincial Grand Lodge, Southern Cape Provinceof the Cape of Good HopeRepublic of South Africa

and my response:

How very wonderful to hear from you. Of course, we would be delighted to have you participate with our traveling military lodge. ANY MASON in good standing may participate. We have American civilian and military personnel now participating, and we had one Kuwaiti national petition our lodge.A traveling military lodge is a "lodge without walls" set up by a Grand Lodge, (In this case, the Grand Lodge of New York USA) to serve (primarily) a group of military Freemasons. Our lodge was first established in World War 1, in 1917. This is our 90th year of operation. I am currently at Forward Operating Base Sykes, near the town of Tall'Afar. the lodge is at Al Asad Air Base, but we hope to "franchise" out smaller lodges elsewhere in country. If there is no informal masonic fellowship at your current base, then I encourage you to begin one. We have a "Masonic square and compasses club" here.If you are interested in the story of our lodge please see Fall 2005 issue page 32For a journal of our progress, and my personal journey to get Masonry in Iraq please seehttp://www.cemab4y.blogspot.comMy home lodge is Bowling Green #73, Bowling Green KY, Grand Lodge of Kentucky Free and Accepted Masons. I lived in Maputo, Mozambique 1984-1986, and I spent many fine times in Nelspruit and the Eastern Transvaal. I took a wonderful holiday in Sun City Bophuthatswana. Please feel free to email anytime, I love to get correspondence from Freemasons here or anywhere!

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