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Masonic Service Association of North America

Emessay Notes January 2001

Appeal for Alabama

Tornadoes have again struck the state of Alabama. We have been advised that hundreds of homes, businesses and churches were destroyed or damaged. It is known that several Masonic brethren and many, many others have lost their homes or suffered damage.

The need for Disaster Relief help in Alabama is very great.

Please forward to the MSA such funds as you feel will be appropriate to help our devastated Brethren in this stricken jurisdiction. Please make checks payable to the MSA Disaster Relief Fund and send to 8120 Fenton Street, Suite 203, Silver Spring, MD 20910-4785.

Thank you very much for your help!

St John's Lodge Bible

St. John's Lodge #1, New York City, has the Bible on which President and Brother George Washington took his oath of office. Four other Presidents including George Bush have used this Bible in their inauguration ceremony.

President-elect George W. Bush has requested the St. John's Lodge Bible be used in the inauguration ceremonies on January 20, 2001.

Three members of St. John's Lodge #1 will accompany the Bible to Washington for the inauguration.

Oklahoma Masonic Indian Degree Team

The year 2001 marks the 50th Anniversary of the founding of the Oklahoma Masonic Indian Degree Team. To celebrate this event the "Team" will confer the Master Mason Degree, for the 800th time, on March 3, 2001. The degree will be conferred at the Scottish Rite Temple in Guthrie, Oklahoma.

Bannack Lodge History

The Community of Bannack is considered the birthplace of Freemasonry in Montana. The details of the death and subsequent Masonic Funeral of a Master Mason which revealed the presence of 76 Masons in the camp are well known. These brethren petitioned for a charter from Nebraska, which was granted, but before it could be used virtually the whole town had moved to Alder Gulch. This resulted in Virginia City being chartered Number 1, Bannack Lodge was chartered in October of 1871 as Number 16, and fifty years later, in 1921 it consolidated with Dillon Lodge Number 23. The new lodge kept the Dillon name and took the Number 16.

The brethren of Bannack Lodge erected a two-story building in 1874 which housed one of Montana Territory's first public schools on the first floor, and the Lodge on the second floor. After consolidation and the closure of gold mine operations in the area, Bannack became nearly a ghost town, and all fell into disrepair. The brethren of Dillon Lodge took upon themselves the job of caretaker, and attempted to maintain the building and use it on special occasions.

The community of Bannack is now a State Park, maintained and governed by the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

Members of Dillon Lodge and other interested brethren came up with the idea of creating an Historic Lodge. They produced a resolution, which was passed at the 134th Annual Communication of Grand Lodge in June. They then proposed that Bannack become such a lodge and offered Charter memberships in Bannack Lodge as a means of raising funds for the necessary restoration of the building, and the Lodge room.

(Source: Montana Masonic News, December 2000)

Catalogs Are Free

The Masonic Service Association/Masonic Information Center, 2001 Catalog is at the printers. Those who receive the Short Talk Bulletin will have a copy included with the February issue. If you do not receive the Short Talk Bulletin and would like a catalog, please send a note requesting one.

Did You Know? Why do the stairs in the Second Degree wind?

In I Kings VI:8 appears "The door for the middle chamber was in the right side of the house: and they went up with winding stairs into the middle chamber, and out of the middle into the third." The Fellowcraft climbs the winding stairs to reach the middle chamber where are paid the wages he has earned, in corn, wine and oil. Symbolists find an especial significance in the "winding" of the stairs, denoting the necessity for a courageous ascent. Stairs which wind do not disclose what is ahead as does a straight stair. He who climbs a winding stair in confidence does so because he is a man grown, no weakling, but one able to face even an unknown future with courage. The Fellowcraft degree as a whole is a symbol of manhood, so it is appropriate to its teachings that winding stairs denote courage. The Entered Apprentice degree as a whole is a symbol of youth and the Master Mason degree as a whole a symbol of age.

(Source: MSA Digest 101 Questions About Freemasonry)

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