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Masonic Service Association of North America

Emessay Notes September 2013


Only 1 Person Signed 4 Major U.S. Documents

The history of the United States tells us that only one person signed our nation's four major early documents: the Articles of Association in 1774; the Declaration of Independence in 1776; the Articles of Confederation in 1777, and the U.S. Constitution in 1787.

That person was Roger Sherman, of Connecticut.

Was he a Mason?  His Masonic apron is on display in the Museum at Yale University, a gift from his descendants, and his two sons were Masons.  However, there is no other historic record of his membership in a Lodge.  All records seem to have been lost.

 Brother Sherman was born in 1721 in Newton, Massachusetts, admitted to the bar in 1754, served in the Connecticut assembly in 1755-1766 and in the state senate in 1766-1785, elected as Congressman from Connecticut in the 1st Congress in 1789 and was a U.S. Senator from 1791 until his death in 1793.
He was chosen as a delegate to the Continental Congress, was on the committee to draft the Declaration of Independence with Brothers Benjamin Franklin and Robert R. Livingston, and Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. (He is pictured with the others in the famous painting that hangs in the Capital Rotunda.)  Brother Sherman helped draft the Articles of Confederation, made 138 speeches during the Constitutional Convention, helped draft the New Jersey Plan and the Connecticut Compromise, and authored a major section of the Constitution.

Patrick Henry described him as one of the three greatest men at the Constitutional Convention.

(Source: W. Martin Myers, District Education Officer, Grand Lodge of Virginia, and member of the Virginia Lodge of Research.)

Masonic Works Compared To Space Program

Historically, the innovations and new procedures developed by our Operative Masonic ancestors may be compared to new processes created by the U.S. Space Program.

According to Andrew "Drew" Elson, of Kerrville, Texas, "Through the centuries, our Craft evolved into a science.  Just as today's Space Program created new inventions like Velcro and Teflon, the increasing complexities of the work our ancient brethren were engaged in was only made possible by their development of mathematics and geometry."

He explained that, as builders, they established rules of order and chains of command, made suitable plans and carried them out exactly.

"That gift cannot be overstated."

The architect began to design, and the plans which he laid down, improved through time and experience, have produced works which are the admiration of every age. 

Brother Elson has been active in Masonic education, writing, and public relations activities both in his original Masonic home in Florida and now in his adopted Texas.

In the 21th Century with modern technology, he said, "the special role of the Masons as a society of builders of buildings has shifted into a fraternity of builders of men, and is as relevant and important in today's society as it was in theirs."


Circumambulation – What Is It?

Masonry veils its teachings in allegory and symbolism.  One part of each degree is the "circumambulation" of the lodge room.

Circumambulation – the act of moving around a sacred object – is practiced by many religions.   Hindu, Zen Buddhism, Bahai, and Islam all contain a ritual of walking.

In Western Judeo-Christian teachings, there is the circumambulation of Jericho by the Israelites in the Book of Joshua, as well as the practice of Catholic priests walking around the altar with a thurible incensing the altar with the fragrance held within, which is a practice that falls back to the priestly rites of Moses and Aaron.

Masonic candidates begin each degree, walking clockwise around the room, in the presence of Stewards and Senior Deacon, while listening to readings from Bible.

(Source:  Article by Justin Winbolt, Past Master of Garfield Lodge in Enid, Oklahoma.)


Lodge Open Houses Set For October 19

Grand Lodges in most New England and North Atlantic States will be having Lodge Open Houses on Saturday, October 19.  This is a continuation of a successful region-wide program over the past several years.

While the precise program may differ from one Grand Lodge to another, the basic plan is to encourage non-Masons and their families to stop by the local Masonic Lodge and have a tour on the set date.

Lodges can talk about Freemasonry, pass out literature, answer questions, and in general take away the "mystery" of what is inside that building that many people have passed.

The program gives Lodges the opportunity to paint and spruce of the building and property, work with other local groups that are part of the Masonic family, and to generate some positive local publicity about Freemasonry.

Some Grand Lodges are calling this, "Square & Compasses Day."  Others have produced banners to call attention to the event. Still others are utilizing radio and newspaper advertisements and news stories to promote the open houses.

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