My St. John’s Lodge

Z&F: tradition and innovation

lsupnedAs mentioned earlier I had decided to join a new St. John’s (Craft) Lodge. Well, I have now officially affiliated to St. John’s Lodge Zorobabel and Frederick to the Crowned Hope (Z&F for short). It is the oldest Nordic lodge, hailing from 1745. But it doesn’t rest on its laurels: In recent years a lot of work has been but into a “welfare project” aiming to activate members, and particularly the newcomers (Z&F have approximately 10 new members every year). To mention a few: The lodge publication (which is highly prioritized and very professional looking) has a staff of editors made up of younger brethren; the newly made Masters of the lodge manage the education of the Apprentices and Companions (and are themselves educated in a “Master Class” by moe experienced teachers); in the fall Z&F will present a reenactment of the Rectified Rite as it was performed in 1807, in full costume – this is a huge project that involves fund raising, costumes, video documentation, historical and ritual  research, etc. It is also policy to give those interested a chance to try out an office (as an “assisting officer”) – this is important in a system (such as Swedish Rite) that doesn’t have progression through chairs. In fact, the evening of my affiliation also happened to be election night for offices, and I was confirmed as assisting Junior Warden (more on this later, but I have already touched on this office earlier (see Taking a chair – unfortunately, it didn’t happen at the time).

All this is very nice, but I also feel that I should emphasize that the main reason for moving (which is not something that I or anyone would do lightly) is a matter of following my heart: When I joined, I didn’t know anyone in the Order, and it has simply transpired that I have come to make the majority of my friends in Z&F. So there are no hard feeling towards my old lodge, and in fact I am still active in tying the chain of friendship between the two (see Odin).

Picture: The crest of Z&F with the motto: Ex Uno Omnia.

Taking a chair

When I move back to Copenhagen sometime around new year, I will take the office of assisting Junior Warden in St. John’s lodge Hafnia. The official press officer of the Order has stated this many times, so I am not revealing anything by saying that the JW in Swedish Rite represents Conscience (and SW Reason). The two wardens are seated side by side in the West and mostly act in tandem, without the aid of any Deacons. This makes it a very active office that also offers opportunity to give “free” speeches, small talks prepared by the warden (within the confines of the ritual).

In our system there is no progressive line, and to hold an office one has to have the prerequisite degree. For instance a (Worshipful) Master of a lodge of St. John must have the IX°, and I believe that it is VII° for the Wardens. For this reason I cannot actually hold the office yet – from Initiation until VII° may be as long as 10 years. But a Master (III°) can serve in an assisting capacity. This is like an understudy, where he gets to take the chair and do all the things that is associated with the office, without actually holding the title. One can do this for several years, if everyone is happy with the work. In this way brothers can get involved without a line, and get a lot of practise for a specific office.

This is what I will be doing. Hopefully well enough that I can keep doing it and “breathe” the ritual for a couple of years. Until January all I can do is watch the work done in my temporary lodge and try to get it down. Something to look forward to …