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October 23, 2020
Note from the Editor: Sorry about last week. I was locked out of our newsletter email service, but we got it sorted. - Gar

A Few Words from the Grand Secretary...

by MWB Woody D. Bilyeu, PGM
Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of the State of Louisiana
Craftsmen, I extend to you a Fraternal Greeting and pray that each of you are managing to safely navigate the uncertain waters of 2020. This has certainly been one of the strangest periods of time that I and most others I have spoken with have experienced. We are all praying for a return to some semblance of what we believe to be normal. 

In the situation that we find ourselves with this pandemic there are opposing schools of thought about how we should proceed. One school is that we need to move quickly to reopen businesses and other activities and pay little regard to the effects of COVID-19. Another school of thought is that we should remain on or near a lockdown so as to limit the spread of this disease. What our government and health officials have done is to try and strike a compromise by slowly, and in stages, reopening businesses, schools, churches and other aspects of society while keeping certain mandates in place to protect ourselves from escalating the spread of this disease. 

Sometimes we wonder how these restrictions are affecting other areas of the country. We question if we are the only Grand Jurisdiction that is limiting Masonic activity in concert with the mandates of our state government, as well as question the extent of the effect elsewhere. 

Earlier this week I was invited to a Zoom meeting (who even knew about Zoom before COVID-19?) that included participants from every region of our great nation. Listening to the reports from different areas was an interesting and enlightening experience. Please allow me to give you a brief rundown of some of the reports that were given. From the Northeast, specifically from Connecticut, we heard that although cases had dropped enough a few months ago and some meetings were resumed, that now cases are on the rise again and they are down to zero meetings resulting in The Grand Lodge of Connecticut holding its annual Grand Communication via Zoom (virtually). 

In Pennsylvania, they find themselves still limited to no more than twenty-five (25) members per meeting and masks/face coverings are required at all times, especially during degrees. The Grand Lodge of Georgia is getting ready to hold its Annual Grand Communication on October 27, 2020. All of the usual banquets and activities normally held in conjunction with their Grand Lodge Session have been cancelled. They are planning to use Zoom (or a virtual tool) for their Elections and Business Sessions. They will not consider any resolutions and those submitted will roll over to their 2021 Session.

We were informed that the Grand Lodge of North Carolina held its Annual Grand Communication virtually, as well. Their Lodges are still limited on the number of members that may assemble. It was reported that The Grand Lodge of Illinois was held via YouTube and they either have modified their ritual or are in the process of modifying it to allow for degrees to be conferred virtually.

The Grand Lodge of California is still under lockdown and there are no Lodges or Appendant Bodies meeting at this time.The city of Seattle, Washington is currently scheduled to host the North American Conference of Grand Masters in February 2021. A decision on cancellation of this event is set for November 1, 2020, with the requirement of being in Phase IV in order to hold the event. The state just moved to Phase II within the last few weeks so it is all but official that the conference will be cancelled. 

These are just a few examples of what other Grand Jurisdictions are experiencing. Suffice it to say that there are various levels of Masonic activity, depending on the state, but none are operating without some amount of restriction. With the knowledge gained from this Zoom conference, we can consider ourselves here in Louisiana, very fortunate to be allowed to meet and conduct business and even confer degrees with minimal restriction. Our Grand Masters have basically mirrored the various Proclamations issued by Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards. We have gone from no meetings, to being allowed to assemble with up to 250 members present or 50% of the capacity of the facility (whichever is less) and we hope to see additional reductions in those restrictions in the near future. 

We can only accomplish moving to fewer restrictions if all members remain vigilant about following the restrictions that are in place. Please allow me to reiterate our current restrictions, and encourage all to follow them so hopefully, sooner rather than later, they will be eliminated.

•    Limit the number of members to 50% capacity of the Lodge or 250, whichever is less.
•    Meals will be allowed with the following guidelines:
•    Buffet style service is discouraged and a designated server(s) is recommended.
•    Servers will use gloves and masks for food and beverage service.

• Strict social distancing rules, as established in Governor Edwards' "Open Safely", will be followed, including the following:

All Masons will maintain social distancing:

1. Masons are strongly urged, but are not required, to wear face masks.
2. Lodges are encouraged to have hand sanitizer available in the Lodge building.
3. Temperature checks are highly recommended before each meeting.
4. Most importantly, all Louisiana Masons are strongly encouraged NOT to attend Lodge meetings if they have any signs of illness or do not feel comfortable, at the present time, with attending. Masons must self-screen for any signs or symptoms of COVID-19 before attending any Lodge meeting. 

Those individuals considered to be "at-risk", including those who are 65 or older, and especially those with chronic lung disease; moderate to severe asthma; chronic heart disease; severe obesity; diabetes; chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis; liver disease; weakened immune system or other risk factors are encouraged not to attend Lodge. You are the sole decision-maker as to whether you should attend Lodge.

Finally, thank you for all of the hard work and vigilance each of you have exhibited in following the guidelines laid forth by our Grand Masters. That sort of dedication is what has allowed us to advance to this point and will allow us to eventually return to some semblance of what we believe to be normal.

The Grand Master's Challenge Coin has sold out online!
Thank you to all the brethren would bought one. 

There are still ways to support the
Grand Master's 2020-21 Charity Appeal.

CLICK HERE to find out how you can donate.

Do you know where your donations go?
Here is one of our Grand Lodge charities that needs your support...

The Dyslexia Training Program is a multi-sensory program of instruction that emphasizes phonics and is taught by a teacher/facilitator to classes of limited size using a number of teaching aids including video recordings, workbooks, writing frames, linkage paper, three dimensional letters, flash cards, wall charts, dictionaries, and other items.

The primary program consists of 350 hours of classroom time which is conducted one hour per day, five days per week, excluding holidays. In order that the students may all be age appropriate and comply with the elements of the disorder, we accept only those children who are in grades 4, 5, or 6; who have not yet attained the age of 13; who are free of other impeding conditions; and who have a full-scale I.Q. of at least 90 as determined by the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children,3 rd Edition.

There is also a 160-hour program for youth older than the age of 13. This one-year program provides instruction for students in the 7th grade through 11th grade. Each class is conducted by a teacher/facilitator who is certified to teach in Louisiana. The location of each class is hosted in various physical facilities, including: Masonic Lodge buildings, churches, schools, or other specified entities.

The average cost per student in a training period is $2,368.

Please note that services are provided to the student at ZERO COST to the parent, or guardian for testing, materials, or instruction. Donations from pillars of the community such as you help make this possible!

CLICK HERE to make a donation and receive a gift. 

Does your lodge need financial aid from the Grand Lodge Hurricane Relief Fund?

If you are a member of a  lodge in need of assistance,
you may request funds directly to the Grand Lodge.

Completed applications for Lodge Relief from Hurricane Laura may be mailed to :

The Grand Lodge of Louisiana, F. &A.M.
Attn: Masonic Relief
5746 Masonic Drive
Alexandria, LA  71301        

You may also email the completed application to or
If you would like to donate to aid lodges through the Grand Lodge, you may send donations to the address above. For Checks: Tax-deductible donations can be made through the Masonic Library/Museum Foundation
(501 (c)3 / Fed. I.D. #27.1366610) -. Please include "Hurricane Relief" in Memo section. 

October Masonic Web Presentations

Josef Wäges: The Early Scot Masters
Wednesday, November 04, 2020 / 9 pm CST

One of the earliest, if not the first, true high degrees in Freemasonry, that of Scots or Scotch Master, has always proved the most intriguing and elusive. Join us while Josef Wages shares cutting edge research into one of the most enigmatic rituals in the history of the Craft.

Josef Wäges is the editor of ‘The Secret School of Wisdom – the Authentic Rituals and Doctrines of the Illuminati’;  ‘L’École secrète de sagesse, Rituels et doctrines authentiques des Illuminati: Une école secrète de Sagesse’; and for ‘On Materialism and Idealism and A Treasury of Coën Texts in Two Volumes’. Josef is currently preparing the forthcoming books, ‘Ecossais Masonry: A History of the High Degrees from the Scots Master to the Order of the Royal Secret’ for SRRS, and ‘The Columbian Illuminati, The Improved System of the Illuminati’. Masonically, Josef is a member of Plano Lodge No. 768, Fate Lodge No. 802, the Dallas Valley of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry (32º, Southern Jurisdiction). He is a Fellow of the Grand College of Rites, a full member of the Texas Lodge of Research and the Michigan Lodge of Research, is a life member of the Missouri Lodge of Research, and is a member of the Blue Friars. 
Register Here

Dr. John L. Cooper: St. John the Evangelist in Freemasonry
Sunday, December 27, 2020 / 9 pm CST

St. John the Evangelist is one of the two most prominent patrons saints of the Craft. Join Dr. John L. Cooper as he explores the story, symbolism, and enduring relevance of this figure. 

John L. Cooper III is a past grand master and grand secretary of the Grand Lodge of California. He has also served as senior councilor of the Southern California DeMolay Association and is an honorary member of the International Supreme Council. Much of his Masonic career has involved researching and writing on the history and symbolism of Freemasonry.
Register Here
Below is a selection from The Grand Lodge
of Minnesota's Weekly Webinar Series.

Click the topic to register, attendees are limited to 100 per session.
10/28/2020 /  7:00 PM            Caring for your Masonic Treasures         WB Jeremy Nienow
11/4/2020 /  7:00 PM     Build a Better Beehive; Tyler     MW John Cook & WM Larry Lyman
11/11/2020 /  7:00 PM     Build a Better Beehive; Marshal     RWB Rolf Widstrand & WB Chris Wendover
11/18/2020 /  7:00 PM     Build a Better Beehive; Stewards     WB Shawn Carrick & WB Brad Phelps
11/25/2020 /  7:00 PM **Holiday Break**  
12/2/2020 /  7:00 PM     Build a Better Beehive; Chaplain      WB Jerry Oliver & WB Brad Phelps
12/9/2020 /  7:00 PM     Build a Better Beehive; Deacons     WB Foster Solem & WB Shannon Krecklau
12/16/2020 /  7:00 PM     Build a Better Beehive; LEO     WB Andy Niemyer & Bro. Hans Neisz
12/23/2020 /  7:00 PM *Holiday Break**  
12/30/2020 /  7:00 PM     Build a Better Beehive; Secretary     RWB Keith Reierson & WB Justin Thompson     
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featured here in future issues, please use this submission form

Letters to the Editor

Write us a letter*. Tell us how you're doing as lodges begin to meet once again. Tell us what is is like to be meeting again. Send us a photo or two, or anything else you'd like to submit to The Louisiana Freemason!

Email and "Send a letter to the Editor" just like the old days. Submissions will be considered for an issue of the Weekly eEdition so the brethren can see what you're up to. 

*The Editor reserves all rights to publish any letter sent to him.

If you have an upcoming lodge event you would like 
featured here in future issues, please use this submission form


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