The General Pershing Lodge N° 166 at the Great East of Maastricht in Holland has sounded the retreat. A GLNF Lodge created during the NATO years, General Pershing has decided to leave the GLNF and has joined the ranks of the Grand Orient of the Netherlands, a Regular Grand Lodge Recognised by the UGLE.
The NATO Lodges have an interesting history little known to today’s GLNF Brethren. The first English speaking “military” Lodges were established in France during World War I. A further 22 joined the GLNF during the interval between the 2 world wars. With the American military presence in Europe following WWII things accelerated, particularly with the creation of NATO. **
In fact, at one time there was an entire “military” Province within the GLNF, called the Continental District. For the most part, these Lodges were English speaking, made up of numerous nationalities. General Pershing was created with an initial membership of American, Canadian, English, Welsh and Germans. When President de Gaulle withdrew France from NATO the death knell sounded for most of the “military” Lodges in the GLNF. A nagging question is what happened to their Warrants ? With François Stifani’s habit of reviving old Lodges in slumber to get a couple more votes at Grand Lodge and the AG it is to be hoped there aren’t a heap of Warrants lying round in a cupboard on the 3rd floor.
The history of General Pershing Lodge began in Fontainebleau with its consecration on October 31st, 1959. It was granted the N° 62 and laboured under the Nova Scotia Rite, also called the California Rite (similar to York). In 1967 half the members of the Lodge found themselves transferred to a military base in Maastricht, Holland. The Dutch-based members requested a Warrant from the Grand Lodge of Holland. But they refused , not wanting a military Lodge labouring under a different Rite on their territory. The GLNF allowed the General Pershing Lodge to split in two, both holding the same name, but with the new N° 166 for the Maastricht one. Both Lodges continue to exist today, both using the Nova Scotia Rite.
It is regrettable to see an entire Lodge leave the GLNF, but given the geographical difficulty and the current crisis it is understandable. It will be tempting for other distant Lodges to take the same road, a road which can only help François Stifani when he counts the numbers.
Any GLNF Brother who finds himself in a Lodge thinking of leaving the GLNF, be the Lodge here in France or at the other end of the world, the ULRF has all the facilities to enable you to remain in the GLNF and to attach yourself to a Lodge that will be ony too happy to welcome you. link
** Many thanks to Arturusrex for supplying the historical information taken from a paper prepared by Bro. Nat Granstein “Les Loges Militaires à la GLNF”.