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Masonic Service Association of North America

Emessay Notes January 2013

A Worthy New Year's Resolution

"Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, 
and let each New Year find you a better man."

- Brother Benjamin Franklin

Can You Match Lincoln's Full Plate?

            The popular movie playing around the country, Lincoln, portrays new insight into the life and challenges of this great man.  The movie focuses on his efforts to pass the 13th Amendment, permanently ending slavery in the U.S.

            But he was not a one-issue President.  Dr. Carla Knorowski, Chief Executive Officer of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation, of Springfield, IL, recently wrote about the amazing accomplishments of our 16th President in one year.  In 1862, Lincoln:

  • Established the Department of Agriculture.
  • Approved the Morrill Land Grant Act that led to the establishment of land grant colleges and universities in each U.S. state.
  • Signed the Pacific Railroad Act allowing for the construction of a railroad line from Nebraska to California, thereby creating a transcontinental system of railroads.
  • Signed the Homestead Act providing federal lands west of the Mississippi free-of-charge to farmers to develop.
  • Signed a bill creating a medal of valor for army personnel, known today as the Congressional Medal of Honor.
  • Wrote the Emancipation Proclamation, an executive order freeing slaves in Confederate-held territory, the precursor to the 13th Amendment.

And these occurred, Dr. Knorowski writes, while President Lincoln was serving as Commander-in-Chief during the Civil War.  They were also accomplished the same year his son, Willie, died in the White House.

"Lincoln has been described as honest, intelligent, insightful, strong, witty, a great writer, leader, debater, politician.  You can add to the list: multi-tasker – a veritable plate spinner par excellence," she wrote.

As Masons, do we sometimes let minor annoyances ruin our productivity?  Do we let a huge workload diminish our accomplishments?  As Lodges, Grand Lodges, and individual Masons face the challenges of a new year, may we look to the example of Abraham Lincoln as we strive to accomplish great things in 2013.

(Excerpts from Four Score and Seven, a publication of the Abraham Lincoln President Library Foundation, Summer, 2012.)


Disaster Appeals For New York, New Jersey

          The Masonic community has been very generous in coming to the aid of the Grand Lodges of New York and New Jersey, following the devastation from Hurricane Sandy.  As 2012 ended, the Masonic Service Association had collected more than $250,000 in donations as part of its Disaster Relief Appeal.
A total of $125,000 has been sent to each Grand Lodge to assist their members. The MSA Disaster Relief Appeal, however, continues into 2013 as need in both states persists.

           Please make checks payable to MSA Disaster Relief Fund and send to 8120 Fenton Street, Suite 203, Silver Spring, MD 20910-4785.  MSA is a 501 (c) (3) charitable organization.

            One surprising gift came from the Grand Lodge of Japan. It donated $50,000.  Japan is not a member of MSA. In 2011, funds were collected by MSA to assist Japan after being hit by an earthquake and tsunami, and their Masonic generosity to help in the U.S. now is a very kind and welcome gesture.


Will A Lodge Secretary Go To Heaven?

            This is an often-repeated poem, most frequently by Grand Secretaries, but it contains a message for all as we enter a New Year.

If a secretary writes a letter, it is too long.
If he sends a postcard, it's too short.
If he doesn't send a notice, he is lazy.

If he attends a committee meeting, he is butting in.
If he stays away, he is a shirker.
If he duns the members for dues, he is insulting.
If he fails to collect dues, he is slipping.

If he asks for advice, he is incompetent.
If he does not, he is bullheaded.
If he writes his reports complete, they are too long.
If he condenses them, they are incomplete.

If he talks on a subject, he is trying to run things.
If he remains quiet, he has lost interest in meetings.
If he goes on an errand and someone comes to the office,
he is taking time off from work and never does his job.

If the phone rings and he doesn't pick it up, he is never there.
If he picks it up on the first ring,
he has nothing to do but listen for the phone to ring.
If it rings a few times, he is trying to look important.

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust; if the others won't do it, the Secretary must!

Impressed By Masonry's Charity 

            "The more I come in contact with the Masonic Fraternity,
the more impressed I am with our great charitable work."

                                                                        - Brother Franklin D. Roosevelt

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