Food For Thought
Freemasonry at Christmas
Lt. Col. Archibald Henry Buchanan-Dunlop.O.B.E. 1874 - 1947

On Christmas day 1914 on the front line at Ypres in Belgium through the early morning mist, strains of  Teenebaum can be heard coming from the German trenches, some less as 100 yards away from the British side. The mixture of Scottish, English Welsh and Irish troops respond with O' come all ye faithful and throughout the morning different Christmas carols from both sides waft across the space between them. Some shouts of, Merry Christmas Fritz and "Merry Christmas Tommy" fill the air until a few pockets of soldiers in the lines decide to climb up from their mud filled trenches and tentatively wave to their opposite numbers. The stalemate is broken and the start of the Christmas truce has begun! More and more soldiers rise from their ditches and move towards that piece of land halfway between the two warring factions called 'no man's land". Hands are clasped, cigarettes are exchanged and photographs of loved ones are passed about, soon a ball appears and an impromptu game of football between the British and Germans begins, the latter eventually winning the kick about 3-2! All to soon the day ends and with a quick shake of the hand both sides retire back to their respective slits in the earth. No shots would be fired the rest of that day, but on the 26th, the hostilities would recommence when the friends of yesterday would become the enemies of today! A fanciful piece of fiction? The vivid imagination of some Hollywood scriptwriter? No, this actually happened on Christmas day 1914 only 4 months after the beginning of the Great War, and one of the men who played the leading part in this amazing piece of history was the then Major Archibald Henry Buchanan-Dunlop later to become a Lt. Col. He had been a professional soldier years before in South Africa serving for 15 years and retired back home to Scotland to take up the position of arts teacher at Loretto school in Musselburgh, of which he was a former pupil. When the call to arms came, he volunteered and soon found himself at the front line in Belgium where this extraordinary event took place. The Daily Sketch in 1915 said of him, ' One of the moving spirits in this wonderful Xmas truce.'

Initiated into Freemasonry whilst serving before the war in South Africa, Buchanan-Dunlop joined and became a Past Master of both Lodge St.John No.112 and The Loretto Centenary Lodge No.1373.


a great list of Famous Scottish Freemasons

and an excellent Scottish Lodge newsletter

A Masonic Poem

A Masonic Christmas Card

Twas the Night before Christmas,
And down at the lodge
Not a gavel was stirring,
And in the hodge podge
Of aprons and jewels
And chairs East and West
You could savour the silence

Read all the poem

Food distribution in Ohio

On Sunday, December 18, 2006, 63 Freemasons from lodges in Summit County assembled and delivered 120 food baskets and certificates to area families in need as part of the charitable work of The Grand Lodge of Freemasons in Ohio. The Masonic Assistance Program is a year-round charitable outreach designed to assist those in need. As part of this effort, a special holiday food delivery program provides groceries to families who might otherwise have very little food with which to celebrate the holidays. Families were nominated by Jewell Cardwell and caring staff at The Akron Beacon Journal, area churches, The Salvation Army, social service agencies and members of the Masonic fraternity and include returning military veterans who require assistance. These holiday groceries were delivered to families in Summit, Portage, Medina, Cuyahoga, Stark, Wayne and Tuscarawas Counties.

"This effort, which began 15 years ago as a Christmas food basket program, has been expanded to a larger year-round helpful initiative," states Thomas Spencer, secretary of The Symbolic Lodge Officers' Association in the 21 st Masonic District. " It is consistent with the foundational beliefs of Freemasons, which are brotherly love, relief and truth." Masons not only helped assemble and deliver these baskets but every area Lodge supported the effort by donating hundreds of dollars to fund the project.

Masons gathered at Acme Lodge No. 8 F.& A.M. on Tallmadge Avenue at 12:00 noon on Sunday, December 18th to assemble baskets and to deliver the baskets. " The Masons of Summit County are most grateful to the Acme Stores for their support of this event," said Spencer. "They have supported this program since the beginning and play an invaluable role in assembling the baskets. Invaluable assistance was provided by Wiley Brooks and his magnificent staff at The Acme." Gerry Sawyer, Past Master from Hudson Lodge participated with his daughters Caroline and Kimberly. "We are especially mindful of the need all year round and Lodge programs are designed to help those in the immediate area throughout the year," explained Sawyer. "During the holidays, we make a special effort to assist those in need in the larger area." Kimberly commented that it was very rewarding and brought out the true meaning of the season. "It feels good to help those in need."

In addition, providing the food baskets is an important part of the charitable work led by The Grand Lodge of the State of Ohio since its founding in 1808. Continuing this nearly two-century tradition of giving is this year's Grand Master, James M. Williamson. Williamson's program is a comprehensive effort to continue to be visible in the community, to shine a light on the charitable work of Freemasonry and to work to make good men better. Charity is an important tenet of the Masonic fraternity. In addition to food donations, the 120,000 Freemasons in Ohio provide approximately $15 million in charitable giving annually. This year they gave $94,000 in college scholarships, contributed $125,000 to Special Olympics Ohio Summer Games, and funded $70,000 in free training for hundreds of Ohio school teachers to recognize students at non-academic risk. They also provided $12 million in elderly care and helped many needy Ohio families and individuals through their Charitable Foundation.

Courtesy of the Grand Lodge of Ohio