What is a Masonic Symposium?

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
WB Gregory J. Knott

WB Steve Harrison presents
One of the most exciting developments in Freemasonry of late is the growing amount of lodges, research societies and others that are hosting a Masonic Symposium. But what exactly is a Masonic Symposium?

The Greeks seem to be the origin of the symposium “The Greek symposium was a male aristocratic activity, a tightly choreographed social gathering where men drank together, conversed, and enjoyed themselves in a convivial atmosphere. Bedecked in garlands, participants reclined—one or two to a couch—in a room designed to hold seven to fifteen couches with cushions and low tables.”

I was privileged to recently attend a symposium hosted jointly by The Masonic Society and The Philalethes Society. The event was held at the Valley of Chicago Scottish Rite Cathedral in Bloomingdale, Illinois.

An all-star line-up of presenters was on tap for the day. Leading off was The Midnight Freemasons very own WB Steve Harrison who gave an amazing talk on “The Mystery of Oak Island: Masonic Connections to a Real National Treasure Site”. Brother Harrison was followed by WB Shawn Eyer whose presentation was entitled “The Role of Song and Music in Traditional Freemasonry”. Many of you know may know Brother Eyer with his role as Director of Communications at the George Washington Masonic National Memorial and as Editor of The Philalethes Journal.

Returning after lunch, WB Mark Robbins gave his talk, “Freemasonry and Law Enforcement: Compatible or Conflicting?” that delved into some of the laws that have been passed over the years in the United Kingdom, trying to force members of the judiciary and law enforcement to register if they were Freemasons.

Next was WB Alton Rountree, who is Editor of The Phylaxis Society magazine. Brother Rountree focused his remarks on how to conduct quality masonic research “Masonic Historical Research and Presentation: Intricate and Acceptance”.

We finished up the evening with a fine dinner and an excellent presentation by WB Andrew Hammer, whose talk “Observing the Craft: The pursuit of excellence in Masonic Labour and Observance”, who has also published a very popular book by the same title.

I believe it is extremely encouraging to see so many of these events popping up across the country. It is starting resurgence of interest in masonic research. Has your lodge considered hosting such an event? You could start simple, by even having just one speaker. Masonic education should be a part of every lodge meeting, even if it is simple as reading the Masonic Short Talk Bulletin that is sent to every lodge by the Masonic Service Association.

Who knows, perhaps sometime you will see “The Midnight Freemasons Symposium” coming to a town near you.

WB Gregory J. Knott is the Past Master of St. Joseph Lodge No. 970 in St. Joseph (IL) and a plural member of Ogden Lodge No. 754 (IL), Homer Lodge No. 199 (IL) and Naval Lodge No. 4 in Washington, DC. He’s a member of the Scottish Rite, the York Rite, Eastern Star and is the Charter Secretary of the Illini High Twelve Club No. 768 in Champaign-Urbana. He is also a member of ANSAR Shrine (IL) and the Eastern Illinois Council No. 356 Allied Masonic Degrees. Greg serves on the Board of Directors of The Masonic Society and is a member of the Scottish Rite Research Society and The Philathes Society. Greg is very involved in Boy Scouts—an Eagle Scout himself, he is a member of the National Association of Masonic Scouters.

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