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Masonic Service Association of North America

Emessay Notes August 2014  

Water Moans Its Eternal Requiem

The Smithsonian Magazine (June, 2014) included an article highlighting the "singing" of whales, which produces recollections of Masonic ritual.  The article stated:

"Millions of years before we humans came along, the earth's oceans were a vast, unbroken web of whale song.  The complex courting arias of humpbacks, the distinct clicking dialects of migrating sperm-whale clans, the congalike poundings of Pacific grays, the multi-thousand-mile moans and blips of massive blue and fin whales conversing across oceans at octaves well below our range of hearing, the nearly nonstop Arctic chatter of belugas . . ."

These phrases are reminiscent of the Fellowcraft Degree, its explanation of the Seven Liberal Arts and Sciences," and these words:  "Music is the use of pleasing notes and harmonies . . . the water moans its eternal requiem upon the sea."  The Smithsonian article makes some of these ritual words come alive.

'Academic' Lodges Assemble

In April, the North American Masonic Academic Convocation convened, bringing representatives of 13 Lodges from 7 jurisdictions to Boston.

An "Academic Lodge" is one that has a university or college affiliation.

Three Boston area Lodges – Richard C. Maclaurin (MIT), The Harvard, and Boston University – hosted the gathering.  Others in attendance included Apollo Lodge, affiliated with Oxford University in the United Kingdom; Patriot Lodge from Virginia; St. John's Lodge in Rhode Island; and Samuel Crocker Lawrence Lodge, Marlboro Lodge, Charles A. Welch Lodge, John T. Heard Lodge, and Amicable Lodge, all in Massachusetts.

The weekend festivities began with a fraternal reception. A joint communication of the three host Lodges and the convocation itself were held in Corinthian Hall at the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts.  Numerous breakout sessions were offered on a wide range of topics.

The keynote address was presented by Bro. Rev. Dr. Lawrence Edward Carter, Sr., a moving and inspirational message about the principles of the Fraternity and how academic lodges will play a pivotal role in passing them on to the next generation of Masons. 

(Trowel, the official publication of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, Summer, 2014.)

New Website For Masonic Philatelist

The Masonic Stamp Club of New York, which publishes The Masonic Philatelist, has created a new website –  Quarterly publications will be posted there, as well as other news about Masonry on postage stamps.

Christopher L. Murphy, president of the club, commented, "The astounding number of Freemasons depicted on postage stamps is a major factor as to the integrity of the Masonic Order.  It is one thing to simply list famous people who are or were Freemasons, but quite another to show a postage stamp depicting the person, because this is one of the highest honors a country can bestow on a citizen."

Ohio-Pennsylvania Brotherhood Night

The two largest Masonic jurisdictions in North America (together claiming approximately 200,000 members) are planning their 5th Annual Brotherhood Night on September 16 in New Castle, PA.

Grand Master Robert J. Bateman, of Pennsylvania, has invited Grand Master Norman J. Mick, of Ohio, and his brethren to an evening of "fraternal fellowship," at the Lodge of the Craft Westminster at the Valley of New Castle.

In 2010, the two Grand Lodges began the tradition of visits, alternating annually, with locations always fairly close to the state line.  An exchange of remarks and mementoes between the Grand Masters highlights the evening, which also includes introductions, pictures, and refreshments.

Impressive Fort Wayne St. John's Observance

Indiana Grand Master Daniel J. Barenie, with a group of Grand Lodge Officers and 50 Masonic families from Trinity Episcopal Church, Fort Wayne, participated in a Eucharist Service for St. John's Day on June 29.

Every participant in this service was a Trinity parishioner and a Freemason, including Rector and Presiding Pastor, Rev. Dr. Thomas P. Hansen.

The Communion elements were presented to the altar by the Grand Master and Senior Grand Warden Carey Carter.  The deacon, readers of the lessons, prayer leader, chalice servers, acolytes, and ushers were all Masons. This is the sixth annual St. John's Day service of this style and magnitude.

The opening prelude was Fantasy in F Minor, composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, a Mason.  The lyrical text of the processional hymn, set to Pleyel's musical score, was written by Rev. and Brother Matthew Cowden, Rector of St. Michael's and All Saints Episcopal Church in South Bend, IN.

20th Annual Nebraska High School Band Camp

The 20th Annual Nebraska Masonic All-Star Marching Band Camp was held in June at the Kearney campus of the University of Nebraska.  Since its creation, more than 3,000 high school students – sponsored by countless Masonic Lodges, Eastern Star Chapters, Shrine, Scottish Rite and York Rite bodies, businesses and individuals – have participated.

This year, to commemorate the event as a reunion, all former band members were encouraged to march behind the band and were honored during the performance.

The 2014 edition of the band included 195 musicians, selected as the "best of the best" band students from the 77 high schools in Nebraska.  They spent 5 days in musical and marching practice.  Then, the band performed a free public concert, marched in a Nebraska Shrine Bowl parade, and presented the half-time entertainment at the football game on June 7.

(The Nebraska Mason, Summer, 2014).

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