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Masonic Service Association of North America

Emessay Notes June 2005

Traveling Gavel

The Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of the State of New York, Bro. Edward R. Trosin received a "Traveling Gavel", on May 2, 2005. The Gavel, which originated in 1992 in Australia, has been traveling all around the world.

On May 3, 2005, the NY Grand Master presented this traveling Gavel to the District Grand Lodge of Syria-Lebanon, District Grand Master, Noureddine Kabbani to bring with him to Lebanon to pass on to another lodge.

For a short period the gavel was on display in the temple of Syria-American Lodge No. 1. Later in May the District Grand Master Kabbani, presented this gavel, in the name of Grand Master Trosin, to Totos Theodossiou, the District Grand Master of the District Grand Lodge of Cyprus (under the United Grand Lodge of England). This presentation was made during their Annual Communication in Limassol (which was also their Silver Jubilee). (Source: Grand Lodge of New York News Release)

Filming the Stars

A Touchtones Pictures feature film, Hitchkiker's Guide to the Galaxy, opened in movie theaters at the end of April. Its significance to Masons? Some scenes were filmed at Freemasons' Hall in London.

John Malkovich plays the role of Humma Kavula, a character from another planet. The London building is featured as Humma Kavula's temple and one of the lodge rooms is his office. The Grand Master's throne appears in some scenes.

Hitchhiker's Guide was written by Douglas Adams as a BBC radio series in 1978. It was then transformed into a novel, a television series, and several stage adaptations. Adams died in 2001 while working on the screenplay for the feature film version.

(Source: Footnotes - The Northern Light - May, 2005)


Freemasonry in Iraq

Some Masons from North Carolina who are on military duty in Iraq have been meeting in a tyled tent in an Iraqi desert. Masons from other states have also been participating. The effort is organized by Sam Lee, who was serving as Master of Hiram Lodge No. 40 (North Carolina) when he was dispatched to Iraq by the military.

The transplanted Masons do not confer degrees or conduct business, but the meetings provide an outlet for men with a common interest. The group presents educational programs and shares personal accounts of Freemasonry. 

(Source: Footnotes - The Northern Light - May, 2005)

The Grand Lodge of Nebraska has instituted a program for Brethren in the military deployed outside the United States. The program features a "Lodge In A Briefcase" and is called a Swisher Kit, named in honor of S. Sgt. Christopher Swisher. Sgt. Swisher, a member of Lincoln Lodge #19, Lincoln, NE, was killed in action in Baghdad on October 9, 2003. This program was described in detail in the January 2005 issue of Emessay Notes.

(Source: Emessay Notes - January 2005)

The Grand Lodge of New York approved forming a lodge, U.D. in Iraq at the Grand Lodge Session in May 2005. Further details will be given to our readers in a future issue of Emessay Notes.

(Source: Grand Lodge of New York)

Why is Masonic Ritual Regarded as So Important?

Truth may be taught without ritual, but truth taught by ritual is always taught as the original teachers desired and makes a lasting impression upon the mind of the learner.

Man has always devised ceremonies of initiation for his organizations; the Men's House of the Indians had them; savage tribes bring their young men officially to manhood by rites which are sometimes rather terrible; ancient religions admitted to the temple only those who could quality by successfully completing a course of initiation; many modern churches-especially those denominated "high"-have set forms for religious worship; crafts and guilds of all kinds in all ages have had certain preparatory rites.

A ritual which becomes sacrosanct in human belief tends to stabilize truth and to keep it uncontaminated by "modern" ideas. Many a man has thought he could "improve" the ritual of Freemasonry. None has succeeded in making better that which was already "best," since its consent was and is living, breathing, sentient truth, conveyed in words, actions and symbols which by their very antiquity prove that they are "best" for the purpose.

Dr. Joseph Fort Newton, beloved teacher of the spiritual aspects of Freemasonry, said: "Ritual is the dramatization of belief, hope and spiritual dream. It assists imagination by giving form to what otherwise would remain formless, presenting vivid mental images which lend a reality-feeling to what is often abstract and unreal. It is picture philosophy, truth visualized, at once expressing and confirming the faiths and visions of the mind."

(Source: MSA Digest - 101 Questions About Freemasonry)

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