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Masonic Service Association of North America

Emessay Notes March 2009

Vermont Veterans Memorial Cemetery

         During the District Meetings this last year (2008) Masons attending the meetings enthusiastically made personal donations to the Grand Master’s project to raise enough money to donate a Welcome Building at the Vermont Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Randolph Center. Recently the new building was delivered culminating a year long project in which hundreds of Vermont Masons participated.

The Welcome Building, which stands at the very entrance to the cemetery will house maps of the cemetery, informational literature on the services of the facility and will serve as a welcoming point for those conducting and coming to funerals. A stone plaque commemorating our fraternity’s support for Veterans will be placed on the building at a dedication ceremony planned for this spring.

         Bro. Calvin Keyler, GM said:

         “Your Grand Master sincerely thanks every Mason and the number of lodges which donated to this very worthwhile project.
         It will demonstrate to all who enter the beautiful grounds the support of Vermont Freemasons for Veterans.
         It certainly will add another reason for all of us to be Proud to be Masons in Vermont.”

See a picture on the Grand Lodge of Vermont web site.

The Source of Personal Power

         Fortitude and faith are the words. That is what keeps a man going when he seems defeated. Believe that if you put your trust in God and keep at things with unremitting energy and intelligence you, too, can build a solid foundation beneath you upon which you may mount up to victory. Therefore, train your mind never to accept the thought of defeat about anything. That verse from the Bible makes an unbeatable inspiration in any situation: If God be for us, who can be against us? Hold it habitually in mind and it will train you to believe in yourself by constantly reminding you that you have extra power available.

Norman Vincent Peale

(Source: A Treasury of Masonic Thought, edited by Carl Glick)

Some Thoughts on Our Fraternity

Value of Self Improvement

         All institutions change over time. Knowing this our founders felt that the original aim of Masonry was so important that they established, over time, what came to be called Landmarks, which were never to be infringed upon in the hope that the fraternity would always be recognizable. Though charity was probably always an important part of the fraternity with regards to fellows, widows and orphans the true charity was for us to develop a charitable attitude towards all mankind by learning and eventually living a virtuous life as instructed by all of our works. For some this is old fashioned Masonry, the Masonry which no one is interested in.

As we pursue the new Masonry our lodge rolls will become inflated with those who place alms to the poor and less fortunate above the challenge of self improvement. When this occurs we will become common place, just a bunch of nice guys that have a nice charity within the community, and without hard work that could be the only one of our principles which our members exemplify.

(Source: Rocky Mountain Conference 2008 – Paper by Bro. Will Alexander, JGW (MT)

Change in Freemasonry

Our fraternity, where we once thoroughly enjoyed each other’s company, met around festive boards, engaged in huge public events, opened never before seen homes for the aged and orphanages, built magnificent Masonic buildings with stages the quality of professional theatre—then turned ourselves into a fraternity looking inward, far less conspicuous in the community, and far more apt to isolate ourselves in our lodges because we became afraid of criticism. This resulted in making us a fraternity almost totally unwilling to listen to new ideas, thoughts, or approaches to Masonic issues.

         Now we are hearing many of our members saying it’s time to “Put fun back into the fraternity.” But let’s be very careful how we define fun. Fun and frivolous are oftentimes intertwined as having the same meaning, when in fact they have very different meanings. In the Masonic sense fun means enjoyable. Do we enjoy our fraternity? Do we like being an officer in lodge? Do we like working on committees? Do we like doing ritual? Do we like working on community projects? These are enjoyable activities. They are part of our commitment to the fraternity. So when we ask ourselves: Do I find my work in Freemasonry satisfying, rewarding, fulfilling—we are really asking if the work we do is enjoyable.

         As we define Masonic change in the 21st century it’s obvious that there are only two major aspects in Masonry that truly need to be changed. Simply put, we need to change our attitude and strengthen our commitment to the fraternity. In fact the real change the fraternity needs is a return to the dedication and commitment that made us such an integral part of the community in the past.

(Source: Richard E. Fletcher, PGM (VT) Exec. Sect. MSA)


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