Welcome to St. Paul’s Lodge Newsletter. This regular monthly communication is intended to keep you, as well as friends of the Lodge, informed of recent activities and upcoming events. Your input and feedback is welcome and appreciated.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
MAJOR TRANSITIONS IN LODGE LEADERSHIP
As we move forward in 2019, we will be proceeding without the valuable assistance of two long-standing lodge officers. MWB Arthur Carlstrom, Lodge Treasurer for the past eight years and WB Philip Birkett, Lodge Secretary since 2008, chose not to be re-elected to their respective positions. The brothers of St. Paul’s Lodge are most grateful to brothers Art and Phil for their deep and unwavering commitment to the success of our lodge. Brother Matt Sweet was elected Treasurer for 2019 and WB Chuck Harrell was elected Secretary. We wish them both the very best in their new positions.
TOWN OF LITCHFIELD TRICENTENNIEL
During 2019, the town of Litchfield will celebrate the 300th anniversary of its founding. Brother Ken Buckbee, Senior Deacon, has been appointed chairman of St. Paul’s Lodge’s participation in this year-long event. If you have any suggestions as to specific programs or events that St. Paul’s Lodge can contribute to this celebration, please contact Ken (firstname.lastname@example.org).
UNITED METHODIST CHURCH RELOCATES TO ST. PAUL’S LODGE
The United Methodist Church of Litchfield is planning to sell its 139 year-old place of worship at 69 West Street because it can no longer afford to maintain the structure. The board of trustees of the church approached the brothers of St. Paul’s Lodge about the possibility of holding services at our lodge building, which had been the United Methodist Church from 1830 to 1880, after which it was acquired by the brothers of St. Paul’s and converted into our Temple. The brothers enthusiastically agreed to the trustees’ request. It is anticipated that church services will begin to be held at the lodge sometime during January. This is not the first time that St. Paul’s Lodge has provided space for the congregation. In 1980, following a fire at the church, services were held at the lodge for several months while repairs were being made.
• January 2nd: Stated Communication. Potluck Dinner 6:30 pm. Meeting 7:30 pm.
• January 9th: Entered Apprentice Degree rehearsal 7:00 pm.
• January 16th: Entered Apprentice Degree 7:30 pm
• January 23rd: Entered Apprentice Degree (Snow Date)
A LITTLE MASONIC HISTORY
ST. PAUL’S LODGE CHARTERED
Ashbel Baldwin was the first master of St. Paul’s Lodge. He was born in Litchfield on March 7, 1757 and graduated from Yale in 1776. He was ordained Deacon of the Episcopal Church, being the first Episcopal ordination in the United States. The following year he was ordained Priest. He eventually became the rector of St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in Litchfield where he served for eight years.
At the time of the founding of St. Paul’s Lodge, there was no Grand Lodge of Connecticut. However, there were two competing Grand Lodges in Massachusetts, One was based at St. John’s Lodge, which had been chartered by the Grand Lode of England in 1733, and the other was centered at St. Andrew’s Lodge, which had been chartered by the Grand Lodge of Scotland. Both were located in Boston. The following notation regarding Reverend Baldwin is from notes taken from the minutes of the meeting at St. Andrews Grand Lodge, on May 22, 1871.
“Brother Baldwin presented a petition to this Grand Lodge, signed by himself and others from Litchfield in the state of Connecticut requesting a grant of a constitution under this jurisprudence.”
The petition which Brother Baldwin presented to the brethren at Boston was signed by fourteen men, under the leadership of the Reverend James Nichols, then Rector of St. Michael’s Episcopal Church. The frequent travel between Litchfield and Woodbury in those times is reflected in the fact that six of the petitioners were members of King Solomon’s Lodge of Woodbury. The charter was signed by Grand Master Joseph Webb and other Grand Lodge officers on June 1, 1781. One signature of which the lodge is extremely proud of is that of Paul Revere, then Senior Grand Warden of the St. Andrew’s Massachusetts Grand Lodge.
Detailed instructions for instituting the lodge were drawn up, and a list of sixteen lodges under the jurisdiction of the Massachusetts Grand lodge was made. Wooster Lodge at Colchester was the only other Connecticut lodge under this jurisdiction at the time, other Connecticut lodges being subservient to St. John’s Grand Lodge or the New York Grand Lodge.
As there was no post office, the charter was sent to Litchfield by special messenger as a military dispatch. The messenger arrived in Litchfield about the 10th of June, 1781, and no time was lost in establishing the lodge.
It is interesting to note that St. John’s Grand Lodge was considered to be of the “modern” orientation to masonry, which practiced a more relaxed or informal ritual than the “antients” of which the St. Andrews Grand Lodge was a part. It is even more interesting that the brothers from King Solomon’s Lodge, which had been chartered by St. John’s Grand Lodge, united with the Litchfield petitioners to approach the St. Andrew’s Grand Lodge rather than St. John’s for St. Paul’s charter.
The two Massachusetts Grand Lodges eventually merged in 1792.