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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
National Anthem – 200 Years Old -- Changes Our 'Flag' to the 'Symbol of Liberty'
September, 2014, marks the 200th anniversary of the writing of the words of the Star Spangled Banner. It was penned as a poem by Francis Scott Key on September 13, 1814, as he watched the British bombard Fort McHenry at Baltimore. The poem was later attached to the tune of a British song, popular in the United States, "The Anacreontic Song," and soon became a well-known American patriotic song.
According to Wikipedia, "The Star-Spangled Banner" was recognized for official use by the Navy in 1889, and by President Woodrow Wilson in 1916, and was made the national anthem by a Congressional resolution on March 3, 1931, which was signed by President Herbert Hoover. That process from Key's words to becoming the U.S. National Anthem took 117 years.
However, the writing of the words and the creation of this tribute to the American Flag 200 years ago significantly changed the way citizens viewed the nation's flag.
According to USA Today (July 3, 2014), "Before the night of Sept. 13,1814, the flag was mostly thought of as a utilitarian marker, raised at military installations and used to identify government buildings." But after the successful battle at Fort McHenry and the words written by Key, the American flag, "became the symbol of liberty and perseverance and the life of the nation," according to Jeffrey Brodie, deputy director of the Smithsonian Institution's Lemelson Center, quoted in the USA Today article.
The words of the song, at a perilous moment in U.S. history, "helped stir Americans' imagination about their future," the newspaper said.
Brodie, the project manager and one of the curators for the Smithsonian's Star-Spangled Banner preservation project, said that "Key's poem and the song that emerged were the first important works to infuse the flag with qualities of resilience and liberty," USA Today wrote.
2 Addition Weeks Added to Pre-Publication Deadline To Buy Volume II, Complete Collection, at Reduced Prices
The deadline for Pre-Publication purchases of Volume II, Complete Collection of The Short Talk Bulletins, has been extended two additional weeks – to September 15, 2014, from September 1.
With many Lodges in the country not meeting during the summer, months, it was decided to give some addition time for individuals and Lodges to order Volume II at the reduced prices.
Volume II will be printed in the Fall, 2014, for delivery before Christmas. It is a book of more than 700 pages and includes all Short Talk Bulletins published from 1938 until 1952. You may select a Grand Master's Edition, Master Mason's Edition, or Lodge Edition.
Grand Master's Edition of Volume I, Complete Collection Has Been Depleted and Sales Have Ended
Good News: The popularity of Volume I of the Compete Collection of the Short Talk Bulletins has continued well after the book was published last Fall.
Bad News: The available stock of the Grand Master's Edition of Volume I has been depleted and sale of that edition has now ended.
Good News: A limited quantity of Volume I, Master Mason's Edition, remains in stock, at least until it is depleted.
Thanks for your interest in this book
Package of 9 Digests to Help Lodge Officers/WMs
This collection of 9 digests, which – individually -- have been helping Lodge officers for years to prepare for their duties, is now available – together in one package – for a substantial savings.
Order all nine together and save 30 %. Orders may be mailed to the Masonic Service Association with a check, or can be placed at our Online Store using your credit card. For more details on the digests, click here to read a complete information sheet (PDF).
Such a package would be a great investment for any Lodge, to keep in its library and share with each new set of officers moving through line. Individuals may also want to acquire their own personal set of the booklets for study and review.
2 Popular Items Added to Online Store
Two popular items – both written in an excellent manner by Jim Tresner, of Oklahoma – have been added to MSA's Online Store, making them more easily available.
Disaster Relief Appeal for Grand Lodge of Serbia
Torrential rains and massive flooding have caused thousands of families to be evacuated from homes in Serbia and surrounding regions. One comment regarding the areas affected is that "Everything is destroyed." News reports say that the equivalent of three months of rainfall occurred in three days, creating the "worst floods since records began being kept 120 years ago."
MSA Surpasses $10 Million in Disaster Aid
The Masonic Service Association has been distributing disaster relief assistance for more than 90 years and this month has gone over the $10 million plateau in funds contributed.
In May, MSA wired $42,500 to the Grand Lodge of the Philippines and THAT action elevated MSA above the $10 million mark. See the entire 90-year history of this service provided by the Masonic Service Association.l
The latest $42,500 brings to $185,000, the total of relief that has been given to the Philippines, following the typhoon, which struck the island nation last year. That appeal has now ended and all the contributed donations have been sent to help our brothers in the Philippines.
Since 1923, when Masonic Service Association issued its first appeal to help Japan, the MSA has become the recognized and credible Masonic group to which all the Grand Lodges trust in forwarding disaster aid when it is needed. This is one of MSA's key services.
Also, remember that this is not MSA money. The funds are donations from YOU – from individual Masons, Lodges and Grand Lodges, and not a penny of it is kept by MSA for administrative costs. All disaster appeals are initiated by a Grand Lodge, and all money collected is forwarded to that Grand Lodge for local distribution.
The Masonic Service Association of North America is registered with the Internal Revenue Service as 501(c) (3) non-profit organization, and all donations are tax-deductible.
'Masonic Funeral Services' Revised and Updated
A new version of this venerable brochure is now available. The title actually is, "An Open Letter Concerning . . . Masonic Funeral Services," and it is aimed at clergy of all faiths. It promotes understanding of Masonic funeral practices.
The brochure, however, is also great for education of Masons, whether new members or those seeking more information regarding the Masonic funeral procedure.
Distribution of Masonic Brochures Surpasses 3.3 Million
As the Masonic Information Center (MIC) begins it third decade of service to the Masons of North America, its distribution of Masonic materials has reached some astounding numbers.
More than 3.3 million copies of brochures published by the MIC – the information arm of the Masonic Service Association – have been distributed.
The seven major printed pieces from MIC are listed below, with their totals.
Only the "Get a Life" brochure is now "out of print," with no plans for republication. The other six brochures are still available in quantity, and are appropriate for giving to new members, prospective members and their families, to visitors to Lodge open houses or fair booths, and to just have available when someone wants information.
The MIC, created in 1993, has evolved into a force for improving the knowledge of Masonry among Lodge members and increasing the awareness of the Fraternity in the community.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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, 3905 National Drive, Suite 280 Burtonsville, MD 20866.
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, 3905 National Drive, Suite 280 Burtonsville, MD 20866. 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.
For more information about the MSANA,
Masonic Service Association Tel:
(301) 476-7330 Fax:
(301) 476-9440 Toll-free: 855-476-4010