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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
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.
MSA To Reprint Complete Short Talk Bulletins
The publication of a complete collection of Short Talk Bulletins, the most widely distributed Masonic publication in the world, has been announced by the Masonic Service Association of North America.
The first of five projected volumes, a book of more than 750 pages, will be published in the fall of 2013 in two, hard-cover editions: a leather-bound and gilt-edged "Grand Master Edition," and a linen-bound "Master Mason Edition." The editor of the volumes will be S. Brent Morris, P.M., Managing Editor of the Scottish Rite Journal and Past Master of Quatuor Coronati Lodge in London.
What to do next:
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).
Disaster Relief Appeal for New York and New Jersey
The entire Atlantic Coast of the United States was buffeted in the last few days of October by the winds and waves of Hurricane Sandy, described by the news media as a "super storm." After crossing the shoreline in New Jersey, the storm continued inland. Extensive building and property damage, electrical outages, unhealthy conditions cause by flooding, and widespread disruption of normal living conditions have occurred in a multi-state region.
In particular, New York City and the coastal areas of New Jersey felt the brunt of Sandy. The Grand Lodges of New York and New Jersey have requested a Disaster Appeal to assist their Masonic families who have been injured or who have received extensive damage to their homes.
2012 Green Envelope Appeal Letter Features Medal of Honor Recipient
Brother Sammy L. Davis, a Vietnam Veteran and recipient of the Medal of Honor, 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 was mailed in early November to many friends and associates of the MSA across the continent.
"We are very proud to have a decorated, distinguished, and sincere Veteran to be our appeal author this year," said George O. Braatz, P.G.M., Executive Secretary of MSA.
Brother Davis became a Master Mason in 2003 in Union Village Lodge in Indiana, and received the 33rd Degree in Scottish Rite Masonry from the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction in Cleveland in August, August 2012.
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.
Short Talk Bulletin Subscription Update
The Masonic Service Association has published the Short Talk Bulletin (STB) monthly since 1923, and its reservoir of past issues includes countless topics of Masonic information and education. See the current Catalog for a complete list of past issues, all of which are still available. You can browse the catalog online or download a PDF copy.
MSA has announced that the subscription rate for the STB will be increased to $12 a year, beginning March 1, 2013.
The new rate equals $1 per issue and includes postage costs.
But until March 1, new subscriptions may be obtained at the prevailing rate of $8 per year. Also, current subscriptions may be extended for up to 3 years at the current rate.
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) 588-4010 Fax: