A historic Masonic temple in Vallejo finds new life as artists’ lofts.
“As with any good family, you have to learn how to share and how to be there for each other.”1 of 7
“When I joined Masonry, it was like Round Table. People were engaged, we did things. A lot of lodges got away from that. In a regular lodge routine, you do the meeting, you do the business, you leave thinking that you didn’t feel connected. The Round Table is fun, with good food, good fellowship. We make it a very special night.”
— Freddie Davis
BACK TO BASICS
“We are not here for titles or to be praised. We are not here to be worshiped or honored. We’re here to practice Masonry at its core. That is the most important lesson that the rest of the lodges should follow. Come back to the reality of what Masonry is all about.”
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“Masonry unites men from every country, sect, and opinion. Round Table embodies that. It was started by Armenian members. I’m from Lebanon. Alex is from Egypt. We have different opinions, different backgrounds, but we get together and practice Masonry.”
—HAMLET KHATCHERIAN, PAST MASTER4 of 7
ON THE LEVEL
“We don’t care if you
are rich or poor, a
doctor or a mechanic.
We only care that you
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“If we see a conflict between two people, we ask them, ‘Why aren’t you interacting?’ If someone says, ‘I don’t like that he likes Trump’ or something like that, the secretary says, ‘That’s not what we’re talking about here. Don’t bring that here.’ ”
—ALEX A SHJIAN, LODGE SECRETARY6 of 7
WE ARE FAMILY
“We bring in our wives
twice a year. We became
more like a family,
involved in each other’s
lives, visiting and doing
events. We brought toys to
Shriners Hospital… I still
don’t know if my brothers
are religious or not, or are
Democrats or Republicans.
The positive aspects overshadow
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nights at the
By Lily Young
It started as dinner among friends. A decade later, Round Table No. 876 is a fully chartered, 40-member lodge that’s known for its deep camaraderie. That focus on friendship is intentional: A meeting of the Round Table Lodge is specifically crafted with relationship building in mind. Guests are vetted closely, but once in, they’re all the way in. Families are invited. Conversation is lively. The atmosphere is elevated but unpretentious. Drinks are poured, plates passed. It’s kind of like, well, a dinner with friends. And therein, members say, lies the secret of creating Masonic harmony.
“If you want to feel at home, you go out and make your home,” says charter member John Yemenidjian. The result, for Round Table No. 876, is a lodge where egalitarianism is the fiercely guarded rule, disputes are snubbed out collectively, and deep engagement with one another is the norm. Says Alex Ashjian, the lodge secretary and one of the men most responsible for its founding, “We love one another. I talk to them more than I talk to my own biological family. That’s the bond that we set.” We caught up with some of the original members of the group to learn what keeps the lodge so close. —Lily Young
Hover over the icons above to reveal members’ quotes.
From left to right: Rafi Kureghian, Freddie Davis, Hamlet Khatcherian, Alex Ashjian, Armen Janian (past grand master of the Grand Lodge Of Armenia), Emil Joseph (past grand secretary of the Grand Lodge Of Iran In Exile). Out of frame: John Yemenidjian
Russ Hennings/moonbeam Studios
Special thanks to Tam O’Shanter, Glendale