While still under Dispensation to Form a Lodge, even before a Charter was issued, the Churchill group seized an opportunity to bring thousands of dollars and a half ton of aid to the impoverished island of Cuba, distributing it directly to the people of that island via Cuba's well-organized Masonic Lodges. Virtually none of the proceeds went to the government.
All told, six of us met with members of some 25 lodges and with representatives of the Scottish Rite.
This endeavor, though not on the surface “Churchillian“ or “British,“ nevertheless opened our eyes to the opportunity to make Churchill Lodge internationalist in focus. This concept is still a hot topic of discussion.
Several of our members served as interpreters. We were blessed to travel with former US Ambassador Curt Winsor and his wife Ann, and Past Grand Master Akram Elias of the Grand Lodge of DC and his wife, Lou. As sitting Grand Master for our jurisdiction, I was immensely proud of our volunteers, who, with me, made the first crossing of the Florida Straits by a state Masonic jurisdiction from the US in 50 years.
We will be back.
Later, Ambassador Winsor and PGM Elias both stressed to us the value we could bring to 'citizen diplomacy' by making such international work an occasional but important part of the lodge's program. Winsor and Elias both particiate as members of Cincinnatus Lodge of DC, a group with a similar international focus.
Travelers, what did you learn from the visit to Cuba? How does this fit in with your vision for Churchill Lodge?