by BROTHER BRIAN H. NAYLOR
In January 1992, Most Worshipful Brother Jerold J. Samet, Grand
Master of the Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia, issued a
special dispensation for the formation of a new Lodge, Lodge
Sojourner Kilwinning, No. 1798, with the expressed purpose of
serving as a Lodge for foreign Masons living in the Washington area,
and especially to “… permit and encourage the preservation of
cherished Scottish traditions and practices”.
This dispensation is unique in the history of the District of
Columbia, indeed the whole United States, and is the result of many
months of patient work by Brethren living in the area, with the
support of the Grand Master and several Past Grand Masters. There
has also been much support given by the Grand Masters of Maryland
The following April, the new Lodge was invited by District of
Columbia Lodge Hiram Takoma, No.10, to confer the Master Mason
degree on one of their Fellowcrafts. At the same time, the Grand
Master of Maryland, Most Worshipful Brother John McWilliams, issued
a special dispensation for a Brother from Prince Frederick Lodge,
No. 142, to be raised at the same meeting. Brothers Edward Owens II
and Benjamin Dyer became the first American Masons to receive their
degree in Scottish style for over 100 years, and in front of a
record number of Brethren who had turned out for this historic
On 25th July 1992, Most Worshipful Brother Jerold J. Samet
consecrated Lodge Sojourner Kilwinning, No.1798, and installed the
Master, Worshipful Brother Dr Edward Otis Pratt, and Office-bearers.
The Lodge is duly constituted under the laws of the District of
Columbia, and has a special and unique clause in its charter that
permits and encourages the Lodge to work in the Scottish ritual on
four occasions each year. The Office-bearers are already quite
proficient in two rituals, Scottish Modern and District of Columbia.
Why was the Lodge formed?
For those of us who spend a lot of time travelling, either short
trips away from home or for extended secondments, we all know the
pleasure of being able to visit foreign Lodges and participate in
their meetings. Sometimes, however, it is sad that even in this
supposedly enlightened day and age there exist prejudices which
inhibit, or even prohibit, some Masons attending Lodge meetings in
certain areas. This problem notwithstanding, the greatest reason by
far for the formation of our new Lodge was simply the love of
traditional Scottish ritual, that ritual we were initiated into and
grew to love in our mother Lodges. Some of the founders of Sojourner
Kilwinning had not been active in a Lodge for some 17 years. and the
enthusiasm they have for once again working in Scottish ritual is
wonderful to watch.
Who are the founders?
Most of the founder members of the Lodge are from Africa and the
Caribbean, mostly Scottish Constitution, but also English. We also
have a founder from a Scottish Lodge (myself), and several
Americans, of whom some joined Freemasonry when in the armed forces
on tour in Scotland and Korea.
Why Sojourner Kilwinning?
The primary purpose of the Lodge is “to bring together Masons whose
mother Lodges are in amity with the Grand Lodges of England,
Scotland and Ireland”, and the Brethren who have come together to
form the Lodge can certainly be described as sojourners, “those who
stay temporarily in another place”. Kilwinning was chosen because of
the links we all hold with that small town in Ayrshire that holds
such a special place in Scottish Masonic history. The number, 1798,
was the next number in sequence on the roll of the Grand Lodge of
Scotland, and is not a sequential number in DC.
The Lodge was honoured by the presence of several Past Grand Masters
from the District of Columbia and Virginia, many Grand
Office-bearers from those Grand Lodges as well as Maryland, and by
the presence of the Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of India and
the Grand Inspector of the Grand Lodge of Provence, France. There
were also deputations from several Lodges in Maryland, Virginia and
District of Columbia. Of special interest to Scottish Brethren was a
deputation from Fredericksburg Lodge under the jurisdiction of the
Grand Lodge of Virginia, the Lodge of George Washington and the
oldest Lodge in the United States still in existence that was
originally constituted by the Grand Lodge of Scotland.
In good Scottish tradition, the festive board held after the
consecration ceremony was a splendid affair with many Brethren
earning their supper with song or anecdote.
As word of the “Scottish Lodge” spreads in the local area, interest
in international Freemasonry has been rekindled, many visits and
exchanges have already taken place, and many more planned in the
months to come. There is particular interest from many Brethren who
served in the US forces abroad and joined Freemasonry in Lodges with
Scottish or English affiliations. Lodges in the area have begun
having “International Brotherhood” nights, inviting Masons from all
Constitutions to come and join them for an evening of brotherly love
and harmony. Prominent Masons from around the world who have visited
Sojourner Kilwinning so far include Brother Yu Ya Kwong, Honorary
Grand Senior Warden of the District Grand Lodge of Hong Kong, S.C.
One of the founding members of Sojourner Kilwinning is Worshipful
Brother David Baer, who was also a founding member of Harry S.
Truman Lodge. No. 1727 Scottish Constitution. in Korea, from whence
came another founder. Worshipful Brother Pat Lazere. Sojourner
Kilwinning, in the meantime, has already received a number of
applications for affiliation and, most importantly, initiation. The
members are polishing their ritual after long periods in darkness,
and are looking forward to continuing a long tradition of Scottish
Freemasonry in the United States.
Lodge Sojourner Kilwinning, No. 1798, meets regularly on the fourth
Saturday of every month at 7.30 p.m. in the Takoma Park Masonic
Temple, 115 Carroll Street NW, Washington, DC. All visitors are