A Middlesex Mason in Texas

W Bro Nick Grossman PProvGStwd being welcomed by a lodge member

W Bro Nick Grossman of Ruislip St Martin’s Lodge, No 9125, has recently moved to Austin in Texas where he’s been trying to pick up his masonic involvement.

This has involved visiting various lodges to see what they’re like and try and work out which he might like to join.

Needless to say the journey has been “different” and a little odd at times.

His first visit was to Hill City Lodge, No. 456 which meets every week (that’s right brethren, weekly!) in the Scottish Rite Temple in Austin.

Once a month they hold a “stated meeting” where a jacket and trousers are required and lodge business is discussed and planned; other weeks are regular meetings for ceremonies and testing – more later.

At the meeting Nick first attended he was advised that the dress code was anything other than shorts, or open sandals !

The meeting starts with an hour of “fellowship”, which is socialising and chatting with fellow brethren and this is followed by the meal, which in this case was Corn Dogs with Chilli. It is the stewards and younger brethren that prepare and cook the meal. There’s no official catering and this keeps the cost down to $7 per meal.

Then it’s off to the meeting which starts at 19.30 hrs.

Members of Hill City Lodge #456 A.F. & A.M. of Austin, TX. A Masonic Lodge chartered under the Grand Lodge of Texas and located in the Scottish Rite building at 1711 Lavaca St, Austin, TX 78701. Chartered on June 10, 1876.

All aprons are plain white.

EA’s have the flap up; FC’s have the corner folded into the waistband and MM’s wear them as we would.

District Grand officers have a blue border and a little decoration on them.

Only officers wear jackets and ties, or collars.

There’s no ritual book and all prose is learnt by rote in a series of oral practice sessions or tests.

Before one accepts any office, or is initiated, passed or raised, they’re expected to know all the ritual off by heart and to understand as much of the floor work requirements that don’t give the game away.

Nick saw a Texas Initiation and the candidate had been well drilled in masonic history, meaning and behaviours before the lodge had approved him for initiation.

There’s no reading his details, or balloting, as that had all been done whilst he was being trained and assessed.

Clearly he didn’t know what to expect but the pattern of some of the verbal exchanges had been rehearsed.

As Nick said, “it’s the only initiation I’ve been to where the candidate knew more than I did !”.

The lodge officers all vacated their seats for the ceremony and a team of younger brethren conducted the entire ceremony, which Nick says was almost recognisable.

Between the Initiation and the Charge (which was somewhat familiar!) the candidate sat through a PowerPoint presentation explaining masonic symbology and meaning.

After the meeting it was off to the bar across the street for beers and margaritas – well it is Texas !

Oh, and yes, the WM wears a Stetson.

See: – http://hillcitylodge.org/

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