Fast forward through a typical airport experience, to the point where I'm picking up my checked baggage at Logan Intl. airport in Boston, MA. The first thing I see while approaching the baggage carousel is WB. Jon Ruark peeking forward, wearing his TMR t-shirt. We greeted each other, and I also met Bro. Sec. of Ezekiel Bates Lodge (the hosts of Masonic Con 2017), Bro. John.
Bro. John then proceeded to drive Jon Ruark and I to the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts. If you followed my Instagram feed, you can see all the pictures. It was fantastic. A highlight was meeting the Grand Historian, Walter Hunt. The work RW Hunt has done for archiving the lineage of the fraternity is awe inspiring.
|Grand Lodge Massachusetts|
Next it was off to "Media Night" at Ezekiel Bates. It was at this point I was able to meet the architect of the event, Bro. Bryan Simmons and his entire crew. To say that these guys worked hard is an understatement. Another highlight of the trip was to meet Bro. Greg Kaminsky of the Occult of Personality Podcast. I turned into an instant cheeseball, shaking hands with the Brother who's led me down some deep rabbit holes, and more importantly who's also kept me grounded at times.
|Being interviewed for the YouTube channel.|
Oh, and did I mention Frater O was there? So Greg, Frater O and I all were on a quick excerpt style interview for Greg's podcast, being interviewed by Greg's cohost Rudolf, all the way in Europe. It was "Media Night" after all. I was also able to see Bro. Ryan Flynn as well (who is hilarious by the way). In short, the precursor to Masonic Con 2017 was a memorable one. I'll never forget it, especially being interviewed by Bryan Simmons for the YouTube channel.
The next morning started off by pulling up to the lodge and having to find parking. Walking up to the huge edifice might seem intimidating, except I was struck by the amount of people in attendance, giving it a feeling of being almost too small! Tons of people were there. I made my way upstairs to see the first presentation, "Kabbalah and Freemasonry" by Greg Kaminsky. Greg basically blew our minds with facts and interesting things to ponder. Of all the presentations this was my favorite.
I was up next. I think mine went okay, at least I hope it was, you never quite know. I was
greeted by so many Brothers who listen to the podcasts, I was overwhelmed with gratitude. It was so very humbling.
|Brothers Blend Coffee|
Next up was Bro. Angel Millar who gave an edifying talk on the Upright Man. This was followed by Richard Cassaro who spoke about Secrets in Cathedral Architecture, and an excellent presentation by Illustrious Brother Piers A. Vaughan on the depiction of Solomon's Temple within the KJ Bible used by Washington. More great presentations followed including, Paul Smith on Masonic Music and Oscar Alleyne on Clandestine Masonry.
Later on we had a Master Mason panel discussion, which was a tyled event. Panelists included, Bro Jon Ruark as our moderator, and on the actual panel; Aaron Sherman, Greg Kaminsky, Oscar Alleyne, Frater O, Angel Millar and myself. Unfortunately the panel did not go as long as hoped but I think we were able to convey some good information.
|The Master Mason Only panel discussion.|
All throughout the day, there were vendors galore. I think I spend about $200 on wears. A highlight here was Bro. Andy Chase of Grip and Word Handmade Haberdashery. I was able to get some very nice bow ties, cuff links and lapel pins. Upon the Point was also there selling some exquisite pieces. My favorite was the Chamber of Reflection coin, which has a rather mirrored and polished finish...I wonder why? ;)
The night capped off with a amazing dinner at an undisclosed location with several Brothers mentioned above as well as a few Brothers of Ezekiel Bates and one of my new good friends, Alex Powers of the Historical Light Podcast.
The next morning we all said our good bye's but not before traveling to the Grand Lodge of Rhode Island for a tour and some history lessons from Bro Rick Lynch. Amazing, is the only way to describe what I was seeing and hearing. We all then went to lunch and headed back to the airport.
|Grand Lodge Rhode Island.|
In short, Masonic Con 2017 was literally the best Masonic conference I have ever attended. My enormous thanks go out to the Brothers of Ezekiel Bates, the vendors, the fans, the Grand Lodges for opening their doors and also to the other presenters.
Thank you! I can't wait for next year!!!
RWB, Robert Johnson is the Managing Editor of the Midnight Freemasons blog. He is a Freemason out of the 1st N.E. District of Illinois. He currently serves as the Secretary of Waukegan Lodge No. 78 where he is a Past Master. He also serves as the District Deputy for the 1st N.E. District of Illinois. Brother Johnson currently produces and hosts weekly Podcasts (internet radio programs) Whence Came You? & Masonic Radio Theatre which focus on topics relating to Freemasonry. He is also a co-host of The Masonic Roundtable, a Masonic talk show. He is a husband and father of four, works full time in the executive medical industry and is also an avid home brewer. He is currently working on a book of Masonic essays and one on Occult Anatomy to be released soon.