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Masonic Service Association of North America

Emessay Notes February 2001 

A Shared Spirit

The Grand Lodge of Oklahoma and the Masonic Service Association of North America are jointly publishing a new digest titled A Shared Spirit: Freemasonry and the Native American Tradition. This digest was compiled by Robert Davis and Jim Tresner.

The digest is divided into four sections:

  • Section I provides a history of the Oklahoma Masonic Indian Degree Team.
  • Section II discusses some of the symbols and traditions which are part of Native America.
  • Section III provides examples of parallel symbolism in the teachings and rituals of Freemasonry and those of the American Indian, as well as the story of the formation of the first Lodges in Indian Territory and the leadership roles of many Native Americans in the history of Freemasonry in Oklahoma.
  • Section IV contains synopses of articles and research, now out of print, which are useful in understanding the rich interaction between the Native American and Masonic traditions.

The digest is available at a cost of $4.00 plus S/H. Order from Masonic Service Association, 8120 Fenton Street, Silver Spring, MD 20910. Order Digest #289, A Shared Spirit.

National Conferences to Meet

February 18-20, 2001 will see the annual meetings of several Masonic Organizations; The Conference of Grand Masters of Masons in North America; The Conference of Grand Secretaries in North America; The George Washington Masonic National Memorial; The Masonic Service Association of North America; The National Masonic Foundation for Children; and The Masonic Renewal Committee of North America. The meetings will be held at the Crowne Plaza-Downtown, Phoenix, Arizona

Community Involvement

From the Concord Lodge #307, Vienna, Virginia, Feb. 2001, Trestleboard:

Mayor's Advisory Committee

Vienna Mayor Jane Seeman has asked Concord Lodge to become a member of the Mayor's Advisory Committee. The request is in response to our "Coming Home" theme of becoming involved in our community. The committee meets six times a year to review various town events and is a perfect opportunity for us to learn where we can best contribute.

MSA has long encouraged lodges to become more involved in their communities. Masons used to be the mainstay of community leadership and we need to return to our roots!

St. John's Lodge #1 Bible

This is the bible used by George Washington at the First Inaugural. President Bush requested that it be used in his Inauguration Ceremony. The Bible was present, but because of inclement weather was not used. Another Bible was substituted at the last minute. This was a decision made by the lodge committee responsible for the "Washington" Bible.

What is a Masonic Bible?

Many times MSA is asked this question. Is a Masonic Bible different from other Bibles? The answer is no. There really is no such thing as a "Masonic" Bible, other than its additional use as a presentation Bible. The traditional Bible used in Freemasonry is the King James Version. Several additional pages are added, which usually include a presentation page to be signed by the lodge officers who participated in the degree work, explanations of Bible references used in the degrees, explanation of Masonic terms, and places mentioned in the Bible that are used in Masonic Ritual.

Why has symbolic Masonry three degrees only and not four or seven or a larger number, as have other branches of the Fraternity?

Three is the numerical symbol of the equilateral triangle, which is man's earliest symbol for God. It was the "most sacred number" at the dawn of civilization. Masonry emphasizes it: three degrees, three circumambulations in the Third Degree, three Great Lights, three Lesser Lights, three steps on the Master's Carpet, three Fellows who stood at the gates of the Temple, three who discovered the Master Workman, three principal rounds, three Grand Columns, etc. Evidently the ritual makers of an early age believed that there should be a symbolism of number as well as of object in the teaching of Masonry regarding the fatherhood of God, to instruct that He is present at all times in every ceremony and meeting.

(Source: MSA Digest 101 Questions About Freemasonry)

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