Welcome to the Grand Lodge of Southern New England, AF & AM

On April 1st, 2009, the Grand Lodge of Connecticut, and the Grand Lodge of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations announced the upcoming merger of the two Grand Lodges. The new entity will be known as The Grand Lodge of Southern New England, A.F & A.M., reflecting the geographic and historic background of one of the oldest and most established regions in the United States.

The historic building will serve as the new home of the Grand Lodge of Southern New England

The historic building will serve as the new home of the Grand Lodge of Southern New England

The Grand Lodge of Southern New England is located on the scenic grounds of the University of Connecticut Agricultural Center, with plenty of nearby lodging for visitors during future Grand Lodge Communications.


Grand Lodge of Connecticut prepares to unveil internet lodge

The Tao of Masonry

The Grand Lodge Annual Communication is coming up shortly — a little late this year, and hopefully not as contentious as the Semi-Annual session back in October. I expect to be attending the parties and gatherings the previous night, and I’m hoping that I can get enough time from work to attend to actual meeting the next day.

One of the items that has been overlooked in last year has been the quiet success of the first internet-only lodge in Connecticut, and quite possibly in the entire US. Similar to Castle Island Virtual Lodge, our new lodge has no physical presence, which means that it embodies one of the other connotations of the word “lodge:” not the building, but the membership.unmounted07

While you might think that the lack of need for a building would make it pretty easy to set up an internet lodge, it has, in fact, taken…

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Grand Lodge of Connecticut introduces plan for refurbishing buildings and rejuvenating lodges

The Tao of Masonry

WALLINGFORD — One of the items that is being overlooked in the agenda for the upcoming Grand Lodge of Connecticut Annual Communication is a bold initiative to help finance the rejuvenation of the state’s older lodge buildings, a plan that may be the first of its kind in the North America, and which may be the key toward not only rejuvenating the buildings, but revitalizing the lodges, themselves.

Like most of the areas of the northeastern US, Connecticut has a number of older lodge buildings, many of them built in the early 1900s or even before. While many of these buildings are located in the center of their respective towns, these historic buildings were often poorly maintained, and the funds for much needed capital improvements were often neglected by the members from the 1960s until today. Indeed, it’s not unusual for lodges to lack air conditioning or updated heating systems…

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Grand Lodge of Southern New England installs new officers for 2012


Message from MWGM Gary Arseneau:

It is a new Masonic year but the journey itself is not new. My thoughts for this year center around learning and education. Our fraternity, unlike any other, provides the tools to learn to make ourselves better men. Our fraternity is filled with symbols and a great many volumes have been written about these symbols. The hidden meanings, the allegories, do they provide a means to make ourselves better, to work for the common good? We live in a society of instant gratification, moving from event to event. Is this our life’s journey?

I would submit that Masonry and its lessons through its symbolism helps us to realize that we need to continuously learn and improve ourselves. As represented by the ashlars, the rough shows us in our current state, struggling to smooth that rough exterior. By doing so we are improving ourselves to become better men. Men representing that which the public will look at and aspire themselves to the same lofty goals.

This is our journey through life, and for each of us it is a personal journey. I have designed my pin to incorporate the idea of using the tools we are presented with to make ourselves better. The center piece is a man using those tools to break out of the rough stone and make himself whole and smooth. The pillars represent that we, as a fraternity, are established in strength. The three is for the 3rd degree, and the most important title we ever receive, “Brother.”

With this in mind I would like to continue to provide the resources and programs to assist each of us, especially our officers, so that we learn to be resources for our new brothers.

We are implementing programs to assist our brothers. The Perfect Ashlar program, the Traveling Man program (Masonic passport), and the Hiram the Builder program are just a few. We will also be stepping up our Zombie Expulsion Training, and I have instructed the District Deputies to encourage our newest members to attend the seminars.

I have come to realize that we, all of us, are Masonry in Connecticut and the former Grand Lodge of Rhode Island, and that the brothers of both states, represented by their Masters and Wardens, help direct Grand Lodge of Southern New England. But this only gives them a voice at the Grand Lodge sessions. Just how can you as a brother give your individual input to the programs of Grand Lodge of Southern New England? The Deputy Grand Master and I will again be holding a series of town hall meetings to give everyone an opportunity to talk with us directly.

These meeting are a set up as a casual conversation with the Grand Master for you to express your thoughts, brother to brother, about you concerns, improvements, programs, and resources that will help your Grand Lodge plan for our future. I welcome and greatly appreciate your input.

I plan on doing my best to keep Masonry in front of me, and with your help make our fraternity the best it can be. I would like to humbly thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve the brothers of Connecticut, and, by the grace of God, and with your help, we will succeed.

Masons reveal Zombie Preparedness Plan

Okay, the post title is a bit sensationalized, but we finally have proof of our theory that high-ranking Masons really have codified the methods that they have used since the Middle Ages  for killing revenants (i.e., zombies and vampires) in their secret rituals. What we have discovered is not so much a preparedness plan as a procedure manual that describes the methodology.

I’d like to say that I hacked the secret files to the Grand Lodge of Connecticut, because it sounds so dramatic, but the truth is more mundane. When I was down at the offices recently, one of the admins had left his PC on, and I noticed the passwords on a sticky note at the top of his monitor. When he stepped out for coffee, I just copied them down. Yeah, so not Kim Possible, but it worked. When I got home, I fired up my laptop and started browsing the folders. I skipped over the usual stuff on the Kennedys, the NASA/Zeta-Reticuli connection, public water flouridation, and found it hiding at the very end under Zombies.

Here is a link to a PDF file right on the Grand Lodge site that describes the ancient Masonic zombie-killing techniques.
EDIT: The higher-ups at the Grand Lodge have taken down the link, but I saved a copy which I’ve uploaded to my Google Docs. You can see or download it here: Zombie Expulsion.

For those of you who are reading this on your phones and can’t open the PDF file, I’m reprinting the text below.





Applicability and Responsibility
This document is applicable to all Constituent Lodges of the Grand Lodge A.F. & A.M. of
Connecticut, and may be of some use to coordinate and appendant bodies.

Responsibility for maintaining this document rests with the Committee on Masonic
Information, and with the approval of the Grand Master.

The purpose of this procedure is to discern appropriate strategies for responding to a zombie infestation that might affect the officers, members, and support staff of the Grand Lodge of Connecticut, A.F. & A.M., or its related appendant Masonic bodies. Methods for permanent expulsion are discussed.

A number of resources are available on the subject of revenants, and it is not the purpose of this Grand Lodge to offer scientific explanations or theories as to the origin of what are popularly known as “zombies”, nor to speculate upon the habits of those stricken with the syndrome. Rather, our intention is to concentrate on maintaining the ancient and traditional methods of eradicating zombies, should an outbreak or infestation occur.

While the media continue to treat the possibility of a zombie infestation with humor, the fact is that most organizations and local governmental agencies are quietly developing contingency plans to deal with potential outbreaks. The Grand Lodge of Connecticut encourages other Grand Lodges to use this procedure as a guideline in developing their own emergency preparedness plans.

Throughout history there have been reported cases of attacks by revenants; creatures that were once human, and who have for unknown reasons been reanimated. While such cases are rare, it is important for Freemasons to understand the dangers and learn how to defend themselves; living persons caught mentally and physically unaware by these are generally either killed and eaten, or will fall victim to the same syndrome.

Since the disease affects 100% of the victims, often within 24 hours, it is important for Masons to be aware of the signs of a potential zombie outbreak, or indications that an area is, or is about to become infested.

Typical indications of outbreaks or infestations in an area are generally accounted for by:

– unexplained disappearances of people with whom one had been in frequent contact.
– unexplained violent deaths.
– deaths by apparent animal mauling.
– sudden news blackouts immediately following reports of unusually violent activity in rural areas.

Note that such outbreaks are frequently accompanied by:

– repeated assurances from government and authorities that zombies do not exist, or that there is no cause for alarm.
– increasingly reported sightings of random individuals that meet the typical descriptions of those in a zombified state.

Since the days when Freemasons traveled across England and Europe to build the castles and cathedrals of the Middle Ages, they have learned much about how to deal with small, localized cases. Accordingly, it is the duty of modern Freemasons to prepare for such contingencies, and to deal with them appropriately.

Before Masons can manage instances of zombie outbreaks, they must be able to identify them. Although folklore, current literature, and media reports are very descriptive (and often wrong), there are several common elements in identifying an actual revenant.
In general, zombies can be identified by their:

– long periods of apparent inactivity.
– seemingly random attempts at movement.
– lack of physical coordination, especially when walking.
– slow, but deliberate locomotion in the direction of food (or potential victims).
– little or no apparent reaction to new stimuli (loud music, bright lights, etc).
– frequent inarticulate moaning sounds.

With the understanding that new Masons may have difficulty discerning zombies from some of the current living members of the fraternity, and with an eye to avoid repeating some of the sad, but understandable mishaps experienced in the past, it is recommended that zombie investigation committees include at least one experienced Past Master.

Once a revenant has been identified, it is imperative that it be terminated, or in Masonic terminology, suspended or expelled from the fraternity as soon as possible, before it has the opportunity to infect other members. Despite the various methods displayed in the popular media, most of those seen are only Hollywood special effects, and are not particularly effective in the case of actual zombie infestations. While flame throwers, chainsaws, and heavy automatic weaponry look dramatic on the big screen, their suitability is extremely limited, their fuel and ammunition requirements are high, and the possibility of mechanical components breaking down in the middle of an expulsion makes them much more risky than traditional implements.

It is not widely known that our ancient rituals contain within them a time-proven method for the expulsion of zombies; indeed, in order to avoid panic in the cities, Freemasons have worked closely but quietly with local and national governments for centuries. The industrial revolution of the early 1700s saw a fast rise in the populations of cities, and with it, the potential for more frequent zombie outbreaks. Masonic scholars will not be surprised to learn that the addition of the Hiramic drama to the third degree ceremony shows the ingenious manner in which our early speculative brothers dispatched such infestations.

Lodges in the midst of infested areas should form the Craft into teams of three men each, with each team preferably having an experienced Past Master.

Individuals that have been positively identified as zombies should be expelled according to the customary methods. As most younger Masons have probably not been educated in the old traditions, it is imperative that senior officers provide more detailed instruction. However, the basics are outlined in the next section.

Individuals that have been only potentially identified as zombies should, if possible, be isolated or tracked until the Past Master, or the most experienced Master Mason available, ascertains that the creature actually is a zombie and not, for example, a District Lecturer, a Past District Deputy, or an appointed Grand Lodge officer, as such misidentifications by inexperienced Masons have been common in the past, even in the best of circumstances.

Masons have always defended their lodges and other nearby buildings, such as pubs and restaurants, from zombie infestations. As the revenants appear to be oblivious to pain, the safest, and most effective methods of expulsion require a team of men. Traditionally, they divided up into parties of three, each Mason carrying one of the tools as described by custom. The easiest way for the team to expel a zombie is to have each member step in for his particular station, and then to remove himself from the situation so as to allow space and time for the next team member. By the time the third member has finished, the zombie should be completely expelled.

The time-honored methods is as follows:
The first team member utilizes a rule, or better, an edged weapon, and strikes as hard as possible across the throat of the zombie. While tradition holds that swords were used in the past, such implements are difficult to acquire, let alone to have within easy reach. However, good quality machetes are common enough, and having such in one’s home or car would give little cause for questions. The team member should try for decapitation, but realizing that cutting through sinew and bone is much more difficult in real life than in the movies, the objective should be to slice across the entire throat, in order to avoid having the machete or other instrument become lodged in the neck of the zombie.

He should then step aside and allow for the next Mason to strike the zombie as hard as possible in the chest or midsection. This creates a shock to the body and causes them to slow down. Tradition indicates that cudgels may have been used (although current research suggests that such weapons were probably too short to be effective), however baseball bats, axe handles, and crowbars are probably better substitutes. Crowbars have the advantage of the curved, hooked end which would be sharp enough to tear open the body cavity.

Finally, the third member strikes the coup d’etat — a hard blow to the head with a heavy, blunt instrument. The human cranium is surprisingly durable, but if the previous blow across the neck was cut deeply enough, the head should separate from the neck. Alternately, striking from the side would have the effect of breaking or smashing the thinner bones of the skull. Circumstances will indicate which will be the better option. Appropriate tools would be setting mauls, small sledge hammers, or brass-faced dead-blow mallets.

After the expulsion of a revenant has been successfully performed, it is important for the team to submit a report to the secretary of the lodge, who will need to include it in the monthly records submission to the Grand Lodge.

Please note that if the subject of expulsion was a member of that particular lodge, it is important to note this in the records so that he can be stricken from the rolls, and the lodge not be charged for his annual portion of the Grand Lodge dues.


State of Rhode Island to shorten official name.

AP – FILE – In this Jan. 21, 2000, file photo, the seal of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations …

FILE - In this Jan. 21, 2000, file photo, the seal of the State of Rhode Island

By RAY HENRY, Associated Press Writer Ray Henry, Associated Press Writer
Thu Jun 25, 9:53 pm ET

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The country’s smallest state has the longest official name: “State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.”

A push to drop “Providence Plantations” from that name advanced farther than ever on Thursday when House lawmakers voted 70-3 to let residents decide whether their home should simply be called the “State of Rhode Island.” It’s an encouraging sign for those who believe the formal name conjures up images of slavery, while opponents argue it’s an unnecessary rewriting of history that ignores Rhode Island’s tradition of religious liberty and tolerance.

The bill permitting a statewide referendum on the issue next year now heads to the state Senate.

“It’s high time for us to recognize that slavery happened on plantations in Rhode Island and decide that we don’t want that chapter of our history to be a proud part of our name,” said Rep. Joseph Almeida, an African-American lawmaker who sponsored the bill.

Rhode Island’s unwieldy name reflects its turbulent colonial history, a state that consisted of multiple and sometimes rival settlements populated by dissidents.

Banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony for his unorthodox religious views, minister Roger Williams set out in 1636 and settled at the northern tip of NarragansettBay, which he called Providence Plantations. Williams founded the first Baptist church in America and became famous for embracing the separation of church and state, a legal principle enshrined in the Bill of Rights a century later.

Other settlers made their homes in modern-day Portsmouth and Newport on Aquidneck Island, then known as the Isle of Rhodes.

In 1663, English King Charles II granted a royal charter joining all the settlements into a single colony called “The Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.” The name stuck. Rhode Island used that royal charter as its governing document until 1843.

Opponents of the name charge argue that “plantations” was used at the time to describe any farming settlements, regardless of slavery.

Rhode Island merchants did, however, make their fortunes off the slave trade. Slaves helped construct Brown University in Providence, and a prominent slave trader paid half the cost of its first library.

Still, Stanley Lemons, a professor emeritus of history at Rhode Island College, said changing the state’s name ignores the accomplishments of Williams, whose government passed laws trying to prevent the permanent servitude of whites, blacks and American Indians.

“There are different meanings for this word,” Lemons said. “To try to impose their experience on everyone else wipes out Roger Williams.”

No word as yet on how this will impact the Grand Lodge of Southern New England.

Grand Lodge merger on hold until further notice

On Thursday, April 2, 2009, the Grand Lodge of Connecticut and the Grand Lodge of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations announced that plans for the merger of those Grand Lodges were on hold until further notice.

Unforseen circumstances having to do with the tax and corporate status of the new organization on the federal and state levels have caused the respective lodges to review the strategy for such a merger. At the moment there is no news on how long this will take.

We appreciate the support from the members, the Freemasons of both of our great states, and will keep the Craft informed of any change in this status.

Connecticut and Rhode Island to merge Grand Lodges

News item: Connecticut and Rhode Island to merge Grand Lodges

Special to The Hartford Times
Dateline: Farmington, CT.

Citing a budget shortfall due to a lack of membership and the bad economy, and the resultant inability to fund various programs, the Freemasons of the Grand Lodge of Connecticut, and those of the Grand Lodge of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, jointly announced at the Grand Lodge of Connecticut’s Annual Communication their intention to merge into a single entity: The Grand Lodge of Southern New England, A.F. & A.M.

The news was first announced earlier this week at the March 30th Connecticut Grand Lodge Annual Communication in Farmington, and will be officially announced in Rhode Island very shortly. 

“It seemed a perfect opportunity,” said William Rogers, spokesperson for the former Grand Lodge of Rhode Island. “Attrition from old age, death, and retirement have reduced our numbers to a quarter of what they were back in the 1950s. Likewise, mergers and lodge closings have reduced our lodges to about two dozen. It’s becoming an administrative nightmare.”

“He’s not kidding,” said Thomas Ludlow, the Grand Master’s representative from Connecticut. “We have fewer lodges and fewer brothers, but we somehow have a growing number of officers and district officers. In business parlance, you might say that our workforce is shrinking, while middle management has become bloated. So, we’ve decided to merge our Grand Lodges and make some long-overdue staffing cuts.”

Ludlow went on to describe the cutbacks: “The first positions to be eliminated will be the District Grand Lecturers and Assistant Grand Lecturers,” he explained, “We’ve outsourced ritual instruction to college students who are making Youtube videos, which we will then embed on the Grand Lodge website. Anyone who wants instruction can just watch the videos.”

Rogers agreed. “You’ll be able to download those videos to an iPod or Zune, your iPhone, or a netbook,” he explained, “and then you can watch as much instruction as you can handle during your free moments. In traffic, in the bathroom, on plane trips – it’s perfect. There won’t be any excuse for people not to be more improved in their ritual workings.”

Other Grand Lodge dignitaries will also be downsized, said Rogers. “Do you know we’ve managed to acquire more District Deputies and Associate Grand Marshals than we have lodges? These guys are tripping over each other, and we can’t find anything more for them to do. It’s time to start consolidating our resources.”

“Same thing with all these Grand Line officers,” agreed Ludlow. “You can’t swing a dead cat without hitting a couple of Grands or Past Grands. There’s way too many of them nowadays, and we figure that nine or ten guys should be able to cover the two state area more than adequately.” When questioned about how well the two states could be covered by so few Grand Officers, he responded. “Hell, lodges in those big square states out west sometimes don’t see a Grand Officer for years; our lodges have gotten spoiled around here. We simply can’t afford to have District Deputies showing up at every other meeting anymore.”

Both spokespersons noted that rumors about spinning off one of the districts into New York were merely persistent, but unfounded rumors. “Those rumors pop up every few years, usually right after we raise our Grand Lodge dues,” explained Ludlow.

Noting the progressive nature of the plan, interviewers asked about whether other states would follow suit.

“Massachusetts has taken notice, and we’ve already begun talks to include them on the merger, but they’re funny up there. News in Boston doesn’t reach the Berkshires for years, if ever,” explained Ludlow. “Besides, we don’t want to wait too long on this – our two states have been ready to merge for a couple of years now. But when Massachusetts is ready to merge, we’ll already have the infrastructures in place for them. The way we see it, it’s not a question of ‘if‘, but of ‘when‘.”

Do any other states have an interest?

“New Hampshire and Vermont are going to be discussing the topic at their next Annual Meetings,” said Rogers. “We sent some snowmobile and dogsled messengers up to Maine in December, and we’re hoping to hear back from them by spring, when they get the power lines back up.”

Both Grand Lodges will close for July and August, during which time they will be packing and moving. No word yet on the location of the new Grand Lodge building, but speculation is that it will be one of the old University of Connecticut agricultural buildings. “I can’t confirm this,” said Ludlow,” but it’s definitely one of the possibilities. Obviously we’d like someplace centrally located. Since most of the people living west of the river think that UConn is in Rhode Island anyway, it seems like a good spot.”

“Yes, it’s perfect,” quipped Rogers, “it’s equally inconvenient for everybody.”