Sunday, July 15, 2007

Open letter to the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of New York

Dear Most Worshipful Grand Master of New York, and Brothers, I was asked to help with this masonic project, in November of 2005. After 20 months of waiting, it appears that we are no closer to having permission for Land, Sea, and Air lodge to meet, that we were when I agreed to assist.I am somewhat confused at the situation, but since I am not a member of any New York lodge, and just an outsider, who is trying to help, it really does not matter.I propose that all agree to re-apply ourselves, to the task of re-establishing Masonry in the Republic of Iraq, at least for the US Military and civilian forces who are risking their lives here in this place.The Masonic Veterans of New York purchased $3500 worth of masonic lodge equipment and regalia, and it has been sitting in a secured storage locker since it arrived, in December 2005. I do not understand how you, as grand line officers can justify the expenditure of this amount of money, for the equipment just to sit, unused for all these months. But that is between you and the Masonic Veterans of New York. If we just "shuck it right down to the cob", as we say in Kentucky, the problem is that the Grand Lodge of New York has been sitting on this project, ever since I was directed to send the lodge charter back to New York in December 2005. I was promised that a new charter (or dispensation, or some other written authority to operate), would be issued "next year". I assumed that would be January 2006. It is now July 2007, and the equipment still sits in the locker, we have no authority to operate, and we are no closer to having masonic labor here, than when I sent the document back by certified mail.The solution is simple. I request that the Grand Lodge of New York, immediately, and without delay, issue a charter/dispensation/warrant, so that Land, Sea, and Air lodge #1 UD, can begin Masonic labor. There are many hundreds of Masons here in the Republic of Iraq, both civilian and military, who need and deserve to have masonic fellowship in a tyled lodge. These men work in miserable conditions, 12 hour shifts in 120 degree heat, wearing 75 pounds of body armor and equipment. They have not seen their families in months, and many are on their second or third tour here. I myself, have been in Iraq for 22 months, and I will be here for a total of 36 months. I have not been able to attend a masonic lodge meeting since July 2005. Iraq is a land of extreme danger, as you well know. But it is also a land of loneliness, boredom, separation from family and friends, and melancholy. How you can deny these fine men, who endure all this for your freedom, is beyond me. I have lived in a communist dictatorship, where Masonry is illegal. I have lived in an Islamic Kingdom, where Masonry is illegal. I have attended lodge in Russia, with men who risked prison to keep our craft alive during the communist years. I cherish Masonry. I believe that the military and civilian masons in Iraq deserve the quiet retreat of Masonry. Back in the summer of 2006, a Brother Mason who was a Navy SeaBee, was killed outside of my base. He was riding in a vehicle, and they hit a roadside bomb. He was torn in half from the crotch to the neck, and it took him a long time to die. The masons here wanted to perform a lodge of sorrow for our departed brother. But because we did not have permission to operate, we did not. I just hope that the Masons back in Texas have more respect for his sacrifice than the Grand Lodge of New York. During this entire time on this project, I have done everything I can to get authority to operate. Masons from all over Iraq, have asked me, when there will some chance for activity, and all I can tell them is to be patient.Although I am not a New York mason, I certainly respect your protocols and procedures, although I am by no means an expert on New York jurisprudence. I started a lodge website, under the explicit directions and guidance of the 2005 Grand Lodge webmaster, and the lodge website was in total conformance with the rules and procedures received from your webmaster. The website was donated free, and neither cost any money, nor generated any revenue. We received over 12,000 hits on the website, often congratulations from masons world wide for our starting a lodge here in Iraq. Then for no reason at all ,we were directed to de-activate the website.As I explained in my previous letter, there is no money or revenue from any source for this lodge. There is no bank account in New York, Virginia, New Jersey, or elsewhere. The balance is ZERO. Here is what we need to do:-Immediately issue written authority for Land,Sea, and Air lodge to begin masonic labor. We have a number of experienced masons from several US and foreign Grand Lodge jurisdictions. I have experience with military traveling lodges (I served in Saudi Arabia, where there are four masonic lodges). I can whip us into shape, and we can perform rituals and opening/closing ceremonies.-Immediately issue written permission to re-open the website for Land,Sea, and Air Lodge. We get the website for FREE, and no revenue is generated. We will keep the website in full conformity with applicable New York website policies. The site will be hot-linked to the Grand Lodge of New York website, and we request that the lodge website be similarly linked back from the Grand Lodge website.-Since it is a requirement for a New York Mason to be present, I request that the Grand Master direct Master Builder lodge #911 (or any other New York lodge of your choosing), to proceed to interview me by telephone or video conference, so that my application for dual membership can be duly balloted on. I applied with Master Builder #911 in December 2005 ,and they happily accepted my check for $75, but after all this time, I have never been interviewed, and no proper ballot has been made. Is it standard procedure for a New York lodge to accept dues payment from individuals, and then not act on their applications? My brothers, the problem is simple, and the solution is simple. Let's all work together, and move forward on this project. Masonically Thine,Charles E. MartinTall'Afar, Iraq


Iaan said...

Undoubted confidence and a well-behaved dedication!!

This also applies to a grantmaster

Anonymous said...

Wow, what is the prob with the GL of NY? It seems to me that they should want to extend masonic regularity to the troops and civi's in Iraq! It doesn't take much to issue a UD charter. Maybe you guys should contact another US GL, I am sure there is at least a dozen that would be interested in the cause. I am sure you have them, but if not, I can send you a complete list of US GL web sites.

PM Billy Wilde MWPHGL of NV & Jurisdictions Inc., 32*

Anonymous said...

Bro Martin - It's a shame your selfless work in the quarry continues to go un-answered by the GLofNY! Patience and perseverence may accompish all things, sure, but it's gotta run out eventually. I pray the GLofNY doesn't let that happen! Stay safe, Brother.

Anonymous said...

I totaly agree with the other comments! I have a friend who is being installed next month as a Grand Officer of California and I will bring your plite to him. Perhaps this is something that he would be willing to bring to our Grand Lodge.
I am just now going through my degrees and will be raised on Sept 12th 2007, so I am still very unsure of the protocols involved in this, but I am sure that my friend will know or at least be able to get some answers.
Hang in there!
Donald Bright F.C.
Sacramento CA.

The Ranger said...

Brother Charles, I like others see no reason why the Grand Lodge of New York would have a problem with what you are doing.
Try a Military friendly lodge like Lodge # 919 in the great state of Ky. They will be glad to help I am sure.
Stay Safe Brother. Patrick Hendrix