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Who are We?
The Masonic Service Association of North America (MSANA) was formed in 1919 to provide services to its member Grand Lodges that they would find difficult to provide for themselves. Thus the national voice that the MSA has is dedicated to Service to the Masonic community.
The Green Envelope Appeal raises funds for the Hospital Visitation Program.
The primary functions and activities of the MSANA are:
Latest News from the MSANA
Vol. II, Complete Collection of Short Talks, Ready for Orders
The second of a projected five-volume set of The Complete Collection of Short Talk Bulletins can now be ordered at a special, reduced pre-publication price.
Vol. II, with more than 700 pages, will cover all Short Talk Bulletins for the years 1938 through 1952. It follows the successful launch last year of Vol. I of the series. When the series is completed, all 90 years of Short Talk Bulletins will be published in this attractive, re-edited, re-typeset, and indexed version.
Orders will be taken at the reduced, pre-publication price until September 1, 2014, after which, prices will be raised. The Vol. II book will be sent to all buyers in the Fall, 2014.
The Short Talk Bulletin, described as the "most widely distributed Masonic publication in the world," has been published monthly for more than 90 years, with nearly 1,100 separate issues available. It is an invaluable treasure of Masonic education and inspiration, and a great source of topical material for Lodge meetings.
The editor of the volumes is S. Brent Morris, P.M., Managing Editor of the Scottish Rite Journal and Past Master of Quatuor Coronati Lodge in London.
A limited supply of Vol. I of the Collection is still available for sale.
Read a detail flyer about Vol. II, including all pricing information, as well as directions for ordering.
Historical Glimpse at "God Bless America"
The song, "God Bless America," written by Masonic Brother Irving Berlin, was a "hit" from the start, and continues to instill perhaps the most patriotic and emotional feelings for the U.S. than any other tune. Here is a little of the song's history, with a YouTube link at the end to hear Kate Smith first introduce it. The clip has been modified with some additional film footage of the era. (Look for Ronald Reagan at the end.)
Subject: A Little Patriotic History
This is a very interesting bit of history and music.
Frank Sinatra considered Kate Smith the best singer of her time, and said that when he and a million other guys first heard her sing "God Bless America" on the radio, they all pretended to have dust in their eyes as they wiped away a tear or two.
Here are the facts...
The link at the bottom will take you to a video showing the very first public singing of "GOD BLESS AMERICA ". But before you watch it, you should also know the story behind the first public showing of the song.
The time was 1940. America was still in a terrible economic depression. Hitler was taking over Europe and Americans were afraid we'd have to go to war. It was a time of hardship and worry for most Americans.
This was the era just before TV, when radio shows were HUGE, and American families sat around their radios in the evenings, listening to their favorite entertainers, and no entertainer of that era was bigger than Kate Smith.
Kate was also patriotic. It hurt her to see Americans so depressed and afraid of what the next day would bring. She had hope for America, and faith in her fellow Americans. She wanted to do something to cheer them up, so she went to the famous American song-writer, Irving Berlin (who also wrote "White Christmas") and asked him to write a song that would make Americans feel good again about their country. When she described what she was looking for, he said he had just the song for her.
He went to his files and found a song that he had written, but never published, 22 years before - way back in 1917. He gave it to her and she worked on it with her studio orchestra. She and Irving Berlin were not sure how the song would be received by the public, but both agreed they would not take any profits from God Bless America . Any profits would go to the Boy Scouts of America. Over the years, the Boy Scouts have received millions of dollars in royalties from this song.
This video starts out with Kate Smith coming into the radio studio with the orchestra and an audience. She introduces the new song for the very first time, and starts singing. After the first couple verses, with her voice in the background still singing, scenes are shown from the 1940 movie, "You're In The Army Now." At the 4:20 mark of the video you see a young actor in the movie, sitting in an office, reading a paper; it's Ronald Reagan.
To this day, God Bless America stirs our patriotic feelings and pride in our country. Back in 1940, when Kate Smith went looking for a song to raise the spirits of her fellow Americans, I doubt whether she realized just how successful the results would be for her fellow Americans during those years of hardship and worry and for many generations of Americans to follow. Now that you know the story of the song, I hope you'll enjoy it and treasure it even more.
Many people don't know there's a lead in to the song since it usually starts with "God Bless America ....." So here's the entire song as originally sung.
MSA Hospital Visitation - Examples of Impact
Here are two recent examples of the nationwide MSA Hospital Visitation Program making an impact for U.S. Military Veterans or those injured during Active Duty. They also show the value of online communications and social media.
The MSA Office in Maryland received an email from a U.S Serviceman and Mason, Brother Jeremy Moak. It said,
George Braatz, MSA Executive Secretary, contacted Jack Norton, MSA Hospital Representative in San Antonio (who is himself a disabled vet in a wheelchair), and with his Deputy Rep, Charles Whetstone, made plans and set up some visitations for Brother Moak. In addition, MSA contacted Tommy Guest, Grand Secretary of Texas, and sent out a note via the e-mail distribution chain of Carl E. Jones, seeking San Antonio area Masons and Lodges to make some visits.
A little over a day after the initial request, Brad Kohanke, Worshipful Master of Davy Crockett Lodge, made the first visit. Plans for numerous other visits are in the works to give this injured military man and Mason a taste of what Masonic brotherhood really is.
About the same time, Brother Braatz posted on the MSA Facebook site the following message:
This message produced more comments, "likes," and sharing than any other message thus far posted on the Facebook page. Comments included: "This is the kind of news I like to hear, and I'm sure the Vets appreciate it." "HOOORAH !!! What a great way to display Masonry in action." Even Jeremy Moak from #1 (above) made a comment: "Had a visit today from Worshipful Master Brad Kohanke. I'm thankful to this organization fore being around and getting me in contact with fellow Masons in the area. So nice to have fellow Masons coming to visit me."
Online Special: 2 Great Digests Available at Bargain Price
Dwight L. Smith was one of the most influential and well-read Masonic writers during the middle of the 20th Century. He was a Past Grand Master and Past Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of Indiana, and a long time Editor of the Indiana Freemason.
In the 1960s, the Masonic Service Association published two writings of M.W. Brother Smith -- "Whither Are We Traveling?" and "Why this Confusion in the Temple. Because of their appeal, several reprints were necessary over the years.
He writes about numerous issues that remain topics for improving Freemasonry today, and his insight is just as valuable as it was 50 years.
Get both volumes for $5.00 (regular price is $7.00), plus $3.00 for shipping and handling. Click here to visit the MSA store.
2013 Green Envelope Appeal Features Thurman Pace, Jr.
Brother Thurman C. Pace, Jr., a distinguished Mason from New Jersey, is the featured writer in this year's Green Envelope Appeal, which helps fund the Masonic Service Association's Hospital Visitation Program.
This year's appeal has been mailed to many friends and associates of the MSA across the continent.
"Brother Pace is from a family of U.S. Military Veterans and the perfect Masonic example to speak to the needs of veterans who must seek the services of VA Medical Centers in the country," said George O. Braatz, P.G.M., Executive Secretary of MSA. "We are proud to have him as our spokesman."
Disaster Relief Appeal Summary During 2013
So far during 2013, there has been much generosity shown by the Masonic world in assisting in relief for others. Here is a summary of what MSA has been doing:
Disaster Relief Appeal for the Philippines
Masonic Service Association has established a Disaster Relief Fund for the Philippines, with all donations to be transferred directly to the Grand Lodge of the Philippines for distribution to those in need.
The news media has communicated the enormous damage caused by Typhoon Haiyan to the Philippines on November 8. While it is too soon to determine the final extent of the loss of life and destruction of buildings, we know the suffering is extensive and will be long lasting.
Read more and contribute to the Appeal for the Philippines.
Masonic Service Association Moves To New Location
The new office is modern, less costly, and will better meet the future needs of MSA as it serves our Fraternity in the 21st Century. The new offices are about 10 miles away from its long-time headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland.
The new address is:
The relocation has required New Contact Numbers and Addresses. Our new telephone numbers are:
Please note: The phone number has changed from what was publicized as "new" in recent mailings. The telephone company gave MSA one number then changed it after we had sent out the information.
Also, we have a new email address:
Please adjust your records with this new information.
Maryland Masons Aid Boston Marathon Bombing Victim
Successful St. John's Day Service in Fort Wayne, IN
Each year, on the closest Sunday to St. John's Day in June, Trinity Episcopal Church in Fort Wayne, Indiana, invites the Masons and their families to attend their 10 a.m. Eucharist Service.
This year, Indiana's Grand Master Mark A. Genung and Deputy Grand Master Daniel J. Barenie participated.
Every participant in the service was a Mason or member of a Masonic Family. This included Trinity's Rector, the Rev. Dr. Thomas P. Hansen (a member of Wayne Lodge and now serving as 1st Lieutenant Commander of the Scottish Rite Valley of Fort Wayne), the Deacon Rev. Gordon Samra (a member of Waynesdale Lodge), the Thurifer, 2 servers at the communion altar, 2 lesson readers, the greeters and ushers. Even the Associate Rector, the Rev. Betty Frolich, is a former Rainbow Girl from Athens, OH.
The Grand Master read the prayers of the people, and he and the Deputy Grand Master carried the communion elements.
Click here for a larger picture of those who stayed afterward for coffee and rolls.
According to one active Mason in the congregation, James DeMond, "Father Tom's sermon related some of Saint John's life and values to what he would expect us to carry forward. There are 22 Masons in the Parish; they are counted among the most active parishioners."
Back By Popular Demand: Founding Fathers Membership
Masonic Membership of the Founding Fathers, originally published in 1965, was allowed to go "out of print" a couple of years ago, but customer demand for the publication has resulted in a 2013 reprinting. It is now available from MSA for $9, plus shipping, and can be purchased online as well.
This 164-page book, written by Ronald E. Heaton, had been reprinted earlier in 1974, 1988, and 1997, prior to this year's reissuing.
It examines the evidence of Masonic membership of 241 Revolutionary-era patriots.
Queen of Sheba Visits King Solomon in Famous Painting
The current Short Talk Bulletin (June, 2013) relates many factors surrounding the often-told story of the Queen of Sheba visiting King Solomon.
Of the dozens of paintings that have been drawn depicting this event, perhaps the best is the painting by Sir Edward John Poynter in 1890. Please click here to see that full painting.
The author of this Short Talk Bulletin, Ronald Gale, of Australia, notes that 7 films, 16 books, 1 operatic musical, 1 television program, 1 ballet feature, 3 poems, 21 songs, and about 70 paintings have used the theme of Queen of Sheba visiting King Solomon.
Oklahoma Continues To Be Target of Bad Weather; MSA Disaster Relief Appeal Continues
The ferocious weather that has been hammering Oklahoma continues. After the tornados that caused much damage and loss of life a few weeks ago, more storms, including more tornados, and flooding have occurred.
Noted Masonic writer James Tresner, of Guthrie, OK, describes what happened this past weekend at a meeting, with the Grand Master present:
Author Dan Brown Comments on Freemasonry
Dan Brown, author of the Da Vinci Code and more recently The Lost Symbol, was interviewed recently by The Independent, a publication in the United Kingdom, in which he makes some very interesting comments about Freemasonry. The interview actually took place in London in Freemason's Hall, the headquarters of the United Grand Lodge of England.
Brown's latest book, Inferno, is now on sale.
Popularity of 'One Hundred One Questions' Continues
The MSA Pocket Digest, "One Hundred One Questions About Freemasonry" – reprinted this year for the 31st time – has proven itself as a Masonic education guide that can seamlessly move through generations.
According to its Foreword:
As a Pocket Digest, it was copyrighted in 1955. Its 8th printing was in 1962 and its 30th printing was in 2009.
This year's 31st printing, a 70-page digest, is now available by mail from the MSA office or online using a credit card at MSA's Online Store at shopping.msana.com. ($3.50 plus $3.00 shipping and handling for each copy.)
Carl Claudy, Executive Secretary of the Masonic Service Association from 1929 to 1957, was the original author of "One Hundred One Questions About Freemasonry," among his many Short Talk Bulletins and other writings.
The digest's basic Masonic information is perfect for Lodge education meetings, or as filler material for Lodge newsletters.
The Foreword, written more than 50 years ago, says, "The book is designed for any Mason of an inquiring mind, but should be especially useful to instructors in the ritual."
"Who Are The Masons" Hits 1 Million Copies
A new reprinting of the brochure, "Who Are The Masons? And What Do They Do?" has pushed total distribution for that item to 1 million copies.
Since it was first printed in 1999, it has become the most popular publication ever issued by the Masonic Information Center.
It is a colorful brochure that gives an overview of Freemasonry, and lists dozens of famous persons who are or were Masons.
"Who Are The Masons" is perfect for handing out to non-members at open houses or "friendship dinners." It is available for purchase. Visit out "Online Store" for full information.
MIC Ends Mark Twain Award Competition
New Initiatives in Masonic Awareness Planned
In 2006, the Masonic Information Center, an arm of the Masonic Service Association of North America, launched the Mark Twain Award for Excellence in Masonic Awareness, planning to sponsor the Award for three years. With growing Lodge participation, the competition was extended for an additional four years. Now, having completed its 7th year and having recognized 129 winners, MIC feels it is being pulled to serve new initiatives, and no Twain Award will be offered in 2013.
"We deeply appreciate the participation of hundreds of Lodges and the positive Masonic journeys that entrants have traveled with their Brethren and their communities," said George Braatz, MSA Executive Secretary. "Across the country, I have personally met with and heard from dozens of participants, telling stories of how the Twain Award guided their Lodges back to a position of strength in the community. Time and again, I heard that the Twain Award guidelines provided simple processes through which their Lodges rekindled their enthusiasm for our Masonic identities and respect for our historical Fraternity."
"In our seven years of experience with the program, we witnessed how the principles and procedures used by Mark Twain Award competitors have proven themselves as successful avenues to greater Masonic awareness. These practices can be easily perpetuated without the necessity of an award program," Braatz said. "We encourage Lodges to continue to use these methods for their own success, even though there will be no trophy at the end."
Although the contest ends, its resources will remain archived online and available to Lodges needing examples of success stories and tips on moving forward.
Much has changed throughout the world since MIC released its 2004 report to the Grand Masters, "It's about Time," in which MIC proposed that moving Masonry into the 21st Century meant making a call to action and moving away from lethargy. Research led to the proposal of the Mark Twain Award as an incentive, geared primarily for Lodges looking for extra tips on how to break free of old habits that inhibited both Masonic participation and Lodge potential.
In this different world of global cyber communications, MIC plans to focus on Masonic awareness and Masonic service in new ways, such as our recent offering of Masonic information publications in an online store.
22 New Mark Twain Award Winners Announced
The Masonic Information Center has named 22 new recipients of the Mark Twain Award for Masonic Awareness for 2012, representing 16 different Grand Lodge Jurisdictions.
The announcement was made at the Annual Conference of Grand Masters in Kansas City on February 17.
Winners were chosen after they provided detailed submission information to MIC's Task Force. Lodge programs that provide improved Masonic awareness, both to the Lodge's own members, as well as to the community, are the basis of the judging.
The winning Lodges receive an impressive award for their success.
This concludes the 7th Annual Mark Twain Award program. The 8th Annual Program will be discussed on this webpage soon. The MIC is a communications arm of the Masonic Service Association of North America.
MSA Official Appointed to National Veterans Advisory Committee
George O. Braatz, Executive Secretary of the Masonic Service Association of North America (MSANA), has been appointed to represent MSANA on the National Advisory Committee for the U.S. Veterans Administration Voluntary Services.
It will be the first time in many years for a Masonic representative to serve in an advisory capacity for the VAVS.
Brother Braatz said that during his two-year term he would work to strengthen the relationship between Freemasonry and our military Veterans.
The Masonic Service Association for more than 50 years has administered a Hospital Visitation Program at virtually all VA medical facilities in the country, as well as at a variety of state Veterans homes or military hospitals.
MSA is one of 57 national groups – and the only Masonic one – certified by the VA to work in and provide services to our military Veterans in VA facilities.
MSA coordinates about 184 certified Coordinators and Hospital Representatives in the U.S., plus works with more than 1,000 other Masonic volunteers who assist at VA hospital and medical centers.
Brother Braatz is a Past Grand Master and Grand Secretary Emeritus of the Grand Lodge of Ohio.
Annual Disaster Appeal Summary
The generosity of Masons and Masonic Lodges shined brightly in 2012 as more than $316,000 was received and distributed as part of Masonic Service Association Disaster Relief Appeals. MSA appeals are only issued when requested by a Grand Lodge. All monies received are returned to that Grand Lodge for local distribution.
Here is the 2012 breakdown:
The Hurricane Sandy relief effort is continuing into 2013, and there will be more distributions to New York and New Jersey.
The entire list of MSA Disaster Relief distributions of donations since 1923 can be viewed here.
In 2013, MSANA celebrates three milestones
Within a few years after its creation in 1919, the Masonic Service Association began to implement more avenues of service to the Fraternity. One was supplying educational materials. Thus was formed the Short Talk Bulletin. Volume I, Number 1 was published in January 1923, on the subject, "Paul Revere."
Over the past nine decades, MSA has issued 105 Disaster Appeals and distributed some $9.5 million in relief. The full listing of all disaster appeals in the 90 years can be found on by clicking here.
The full story of these milestones is detailed in the January 2013 Short Talk Bulletin. Download the subscription order form (PDF).
Program to Help Homeless Military Veterans
The Masonic Service Association is cooperating with the Veterans Administration in its effort to eliminate homelessness of military veterans by 2015.
In early, January 2011, it was reported that more than 65,000 veterans were homeless, and while this number has been decreasing, MSA agrees with the VA that this total is still "unacceptable."
MSA is helping by trying to spread the word. If you are a veteran in need of assistance, or if you know a veteran who is homeless or at risk of homelessness, there is help available.
The National Call Center for Homeless Veterans hotline, toll-free, is 1-877-424-3939. Make this call if you know of someone in need. Also, go to www.va.gov/homeless for more information and other assistance in organizing local programming for this effort.
Veterans nationwide are eligible for comprehensive, coordinated access to health care, housing, employment, education, job counseling and training, and justice system assistance and benefits.
Remember, the words "homeless" and "veteran" should never be used together.
New Brochure Highlights Masonry’s Historic Contributions To Society
Key historical trends, which were either initiated or advanced by Masonry, are described in a new brochure published by the Masonic Information Center. “What Has Masonry Done for the World?” is aimed at both Masons and non-Masons.
The societal innovations influenced by Masonry include Individualism, Democracy, Human Rights, the Rights of Workers, the Arts and Architecture, Public Education, Health, and Personal Development and Fulfillment.
The pamphlet is an excellent tool to build pride and respect for the Fraternity in the heart of any Mason, regardless of the length of their time in the Craft.
“What Has Masonry Done for the World?” also is perfect for reading by families and friends of Masons, or for handing to non-Masons who may show an interest in Masonry. It is great for giving to visitors at open houses, fairs, and other public events.
The brochure was written by noted Masonic author James Tresner, of Oklahoma. MIC gives thanks to the Grand Lodge of Oklahoma for permitting adaptation of its previous pamphlet.
This brochure will be sold only in lots of 50*.
50 @ .27 = $13.50
Send orders to Masonic Service Association, 8120 Fenton St., Suite 203, Silver Spring, MD 20910-4785.
Historic Book Now a Bargain for Stamp-Collecting Enthusiasts
The Masonic Service Association is offering a bargain for an historic stamp-collecting book.
The 50-page publication, "Masonic Philately," traces all postage stamps of the U.S. and Canada that relate to any Freemason during a 141-year period, from 1847 to 1988. The book was written by Christopher Leo Murphy, an active Mason from British Columbia, and was published by the MSA in 1990.
Since its publication, the books have been sold by MSA for $3.50 per copy, but it is now on sale for $1.00 per copy, plus shipping and handling, as long as the supply lasts.
According to author Murphy, the booklet is a good "starter" for those interested in Class II U.S. and Canadian stamps (those that show a Freemason or the name of such). "It provides a good foundation," he said.
The publication is filled with names, dates, identifying information, and artwork of the stamps.
Anyone interested should send a check to the Masonic Service Association, 8120 Fenton Street, Silver Spring, MD 20910. For single copies, the cost is $2.00 ($1.00 for the book and $1.00 for S&H). For the cost of shipping and handling for multiple copies, add $3.00 for orders up to $5.00; add $6.50 for orders up to $10.00; and add $7.50 for orders up to $20.00.
For more information, email MSA at email@example.com or call at 301-588-4010.
Annual MSA Membership Statistics for 2011
The 2011 Membership statistics have been received and there are 1,336,503 Masons in the United States. This represents a decrease of 36,950 from 2010, or about 2.7 %.
In addition, there are 84,182 Masons in Canada.
The Masonic Service Association has been gathering these membership statistics since 1924 and sharing the results with the Grand Lodges in the United States and Canada.
The full reports, showing 2011 and 2010 figures and the gains or losses, for all U.S. and Canadian Grand Lodges can be reviewed by clicking below. The complete list of U.S. membership statistics since 1924 is also available.
2.5 Million Reached by MIC Pamphlets
Since 1993, the Masonic Information Center (MIC), the information arm of the Masonic Service Association, has been educating Masonic members and the public with accurate explanations of what Freemasonry is.
A recent tally shows that 6 major pamphlets published over the years by the MIC have been distributed to more than 2.5 million individuals.
The publications, and their printing quantity over the years, are:
All of the pamphlets are still in print and available in quantity from MSA.
For more information about the MSANA,
Masonic Service Association Tel:
(301) 476-7330 Fax:
(301) 476-9440 Toll-free: 855-476-4010