A Very Special Night in the Grand Jurisdiction of Rhode Island
By: M∴W∴Wyman P. Hallstrom, Jr., PGM
March 30, 2015 something very special happened in Rhode Island. I have seen many lodges merge since I became a Mason. This is the first time I have seen a new one chartered. It was a very good feeling.
The idea for a research lodge actually came up a few years ago. Right Worshipful Andre Gregoire had brought up the possibility and even had some By-laws drawn up. Evidently it was not the proper time because it did not happen. Jump ahead to about three years ago and now the idea surfaces again. We have younger men joining Masonry, men who want more knowledge, men who want to look deeper into our beloved Craft. The time has come to provide them with a place where they can explore Freemasonry and satisfy their curiosities, or maybe create more questions to be looked into. Wanting more knowledge is a never ending quest.
Our Brothers started visiting other Research Lodges in other jurisdictions. They went to Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts. Each visit reinforced their desire to start a research lodge in Rhode Island. These brothers worked very hard. They tweaked the By-laws of several research lodges in other jurisdictions. They looked at things the other research lodges did and made some changes that would fit in Rhode Island. Some of the titles of the officers were changed to fit a Research Lodge. The duties of the officers are different. The clothing of the top three Officers has been changed. They took the dress and titles from Oxford University. They had informal meetings many times and finally they presented a petition for a Letter of Dispensation to the Grand Lodge of Rhode Island.
Most Worshipful Russell R. Davis Sr. studied the paperwork submitted and on April 29th at the Grand Lodge in East Providence, he installed the officers of the Lodge now called COLLEGIVM LVMINOSVM, (College of Light). Most Worshipful Brother Davis presented the Chancellor with the Letter of Dispensation. Imagine, a new Lodge forming in R. I. The Chancellor then presented Most Worshipful Brother Davis with an Honorary Membership in the Lodge.
Now they had their work cut out for them. They were to meet four times a year at various locations. Members are expected to present thought provoking papers, which is the basis of a research lodge. Applications will be accepted for affiliation. (you must already be a Mason of another lodge to join) This lodge will not do degree work which is why there is no lodge number after the name. The Secretary was to keep regular minutes so the work may be examined should the request come in for a Charter.
Jump ahead to January 17, 2015. The minutes of COLLEGIVM LVMINOSVM’S meetings along with a petition from the founding members requesting a Warrant or Charter be granted to COLLEGIVM LVMINOSUM making them a fully Charted Lodge. The Founding Members are; R∴W∴Peter Iacobucci, R∴W∴Richard F. Lynch, R∴W∴David C. Lavery, W∴Marcus Channell, Brother Andrew C. Daigle, and Brother Jeffery A. Desmarais. After studying the paperwork submitted, Most Worshipful Wyman P. Hallstrom, III decided to grant the Charter. The date was chosen as March 30, 2015.
We have not presented a new charter in Rhode Island since May 1965 when Daylight Lodge No. 48 received its Charter. Feeling that this was something special I looked at the Charter of Thomas Smith Webb Lodge No. 43 who merged with St. Johns Lodge No. 1 Providence in 2012. Thomas Smith Webb being a very prominent Mason in Rhode Island. There are a lot of things on a charter and if you have not looked at one closely, you should. We changed some of the wording, put things into it and took some things out of it. When we finished, the Grand Master gave his approval. Through the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts I found a calligrapher in Quincy, MA, who does charters for Massachusetts as well as many diplomas for colleges and universities, time for a road trip. R∴W∴Richard Lynch and I went to see Bob Godwin and told him what we wanted and that we needed it before March 30, 2015. Bob did a great job and I have to say that I am proud of that Charter. It looks very impressive.
On March 30, 2015, a large crowd gathered at Manchester Hall in Coventry, RI for the Annual meeting of COLLEGIVM LVMINOSVM. The Lodge was opened and The Most Worshipful Grand Master, Brother Wyman P. Hallstrom, III, was received. The reports of the Secretary, Treasurer and Chancellor were received. The Grand Master installed the officers. The Chancellor then presented Honorary Memberships to Most Worshipful Simon LaPlace, PGM, Connecticut, and Most Worshipful Wyman P. Hallstrom, III, in honor of the help they both provided in the formation of this Lodge.
The Chancellor then presented the Grand Master with the gavel of the lodge. The Grand Master inquired of the Grand Secretary if he had all the necessary paperwork from the lodge. The Grand Secretary answered in the affirmative and he read the petition for the Charter. The Grand Master then read the Charter in it’s entirety. He made the formal presentation to the Lodge. The first charter presented in Rhode Island in 50 years! I wish you could have been there.
I am sorry if this sounds like the minutes of the lodge meeting, which by the way, I hate articles to sound like. It is difficult to get the whole picture without sounding that way. I would like to see more lodges formed and that may not be entirely out of the question for the future. If anyone wants to know what is involved, you need only ask those that worked so hard to accomplish this task. My congratulations to you all my Brothers.