Sophia Lodge Small Logo FlowerFlourish
The History of Sophia

The idea of a Traditional Observance style lodge first came to my attention in 2009 when I read an article by WB Cliff Porter entitled Fast Food Freemasonry. I contacted WB Porter, and a friendship developed. WB Porter was a founding member and the sitting WM of Enlightenment #198 in Colorado Springs, Co. I arranged for him to be a guest speaker for Wilkerson College Lodge in (I believe) 2010. This meeting of WCL was held at the Children’s Home. Over the course of the weekend he was here for that speaking engagement, we had much discourse on the idea of the T.O. style lodge.

This further developed into Wilkerson College Lodge having WB Robert Herd as a guest speaker in 2011. This meeting was at James B Greene Lodge #xxx. He is also a founding member of Enlightenment #198. The discussions from that weekend further developed my interest in the T.O. style lodge.

The friendship with Cliff and Rob continued, and in September of 2012, I visited Enlightenment #198. This was the most profound experience of my Masonic career, and solidified my belief in the T.O. approach to Freemasonry.

Independent of this, in 20xx WB Andrew Hammer wrote a book entitled Observing the Craft. This book is a treatise on the state of the craft and makes the case for an Observant style of Freemasonry. I was quite taken with this book, and secured WB Hammer to lecture at Wilkerson College Lodge. This WCL meeting was at Bula #xxx. Prior to his visit, a group from Statesville Lodge #xxx chose this book for their book study group. Included in this group were WB Kevin Combs and RWB Doug Caudle (the sitting SGW of the GLNC). They were both members of WCL and were present when WB Hammer visited. WB Hammers presentation was powerful and exceptionally well received. Following this meeting, a group from WCL took dinner at The Italian Table in Burlington.

As this dinner was wrapping up, RWB Caudle approached me and asked my thoughts on North Carolina having its own T.O. style lodge. Having been a disciple of this idea for some time, I jumped at the opportunity. We decided to take a few days to think it over, and departed. A few days later, I sent an email suggesting several options. These included taking over a failing lodge, flipping an existing lodge like WCL, or starting a new lodge from scratch. RWB Caudle was in favor of starting from scratch, and I agreed. We arranged a meeting to discuss this in person. This meeting included RWB Doug Caudle, myself, WB Kevin Combs, and WB Larry Thompson. This meeting was held at WB Thompson’s residence in Concord on 5-2-13??.

The goal of this meeting was to see if we had enough common ground to begin the process of starting our own lodge. We discussed many topics in general terms. These included, but not limited to

  • the use of music, candles, incense
  • the idea of Marshaling in the membership
  • the idea of the focus of degree work being wholly on the candidate
  • the necessity of a dress code, and that it should be tuxedos
  • a rough dues structure
  • a declaration so new members know the unique nature of this lodge
  • the Chamber of Reflection
  • a membership cap
  • a location to meet
  • If there was general support of the idea within the Grand

This meeting resulted in more general consensus than I expected. There was actually very little we did not agree on, and so the decision was made to move forward. We set the next meeting for 5-13-13. Everyone was assigned duties to perform and report on at the next meeting. One of RWB Caudle’s duties was to talk to Grand Master Dewey Preslar about this proposition. GM Preslar was both in favor of the idea, and suggested we use the Masonic building in Salisbury for our location. This is the same building used by Andrew Jackson #xxx, which is his home lodge. This was one of the locations we had discussed at the first meeting, and so this is where we elected to hold the second meeting. Meeting #2 was attended by RWB Doug Caudle, WB Kevin Combs, WB Dwight “Mack” Sigmon (the sitting JGS of the GLNC), and me. WB Larry Thompson could not attend. WB Sigmon was brought in due to his expertise on ritual (he was chairman of the board of custodians). It turns out that he was instrumental in helping to establish the proper solemnity. I thought his insights were especially helpful and thought provoking.

This meeting involved more “detail work” than the first one. We discussed budgets, meeting nights, ritual, and the like. The only thing that changed from the original idea was that of a membership cap. We decided to dispose of this and just let the membership find it’s on limit. We decided to hold the next meeting on 5-30-13, also at the Salisbury Masonic Temple.