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Masonic Service Association of North America

Emessay Notes July 2016


President And Brother William Mckinley Has Advice Of Value To Us Today

The May, 2016 issue of The Northern Light, the publication of the Scottish Rite, Northern Masonic Jurisdiction, has an excellent feature story on William McKinley.

McKinley, of Ohio, a Master Mason, was first elected President of the United States in 1896, and then, shortly after re-election to his second term, was shot and later died.  He was one of four U.S. Presidents assassinated in our country's history.

The Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library in Lexington, MA, owns many artifacts related to McKinley's involvement in Freemasonry, his death and his public life.

The magazine article relates numerous incidents in his life.  However, two specific stories seem to have current relevance in today's world:

  • In McKinley's own story, he decided to become a Mason, when, during the Civil War, he witnessed a friendly exchange between a Union doctor and some wounded Confederate soldiers.  When the doctor imparted to McKinley that they were "Brother Masons," McKinley reportedly stated, ". . . if that is Masonry, I will take some of it myself." He soon joined the Fraternity.  Also, throughout his presidency, he continued to meet with military veteran groups and advocate for their issues.   Today, service and assistance to our military veterans continue to be a need, presenting a wonderful volunteer opportunity for Masons everywhere.
  • The 1896 presidential election, dubbed the "battle of standards," is known as one of the most important elections in America's history.  Changing voting patterns, a realignment of party politics, and technology had transformed the dynamics of the political landscape and the way that politicians campaigned. (Sound familiar?)  McKinley implemented his legendary "front porch campaign."  He did not travel, but invited delegates, visitors and the press to visit him at his Ohio home.  He easily won the election.  What a contrast to the presidential campaigns going on this year in the U.S.!


An Aussie Look At The Evolution Of American Masonic Philanthropy

Our thanks to Brother Ronald Gale, of Australia, a longtime friend of the Masonic Service Association, for sharing this description he found in his Masonic files "down under."  It is different country's view of changes in Masonic charities in North America, and very clearly expresses our evolution.

A study of America Masonic charities is essentially a study of evolving needs of a western society.

  • When food and shelter were both immediate and regular concerns, Masons responded with firewood and the fruits of the harvest.
  • When care of widows, the aged and orphans were worries, Masons erected retirement homes and orphanages.
  • When education was needed, Masons built schools and established scholarships.

And, as these requirements became improved upon, Masons turned their philanthropy to more specific needs within the community: to crippled children; cancer patients; burn victims; those with speech, language, sight or hearing impairments; the homeless; the mentally ill; and many others.


The True Wages Of A Volunteer

Thomas Dowman is a longtime Masonic volunteer at the Wisconsin Veterans Home and serves as the Masonic Service Association's Hospital Representative.  He recently was awarded a certificate from Wisconsin Veterans Home Volunteer Service for 3,000 hours of time given to the Military Veterans there.

While the certificate is an honored, but routine acknowledgement, a line at the very bottom makes a thought-provoking point:

Volunteers are unpaid not because they are worthless, but because they are priceless!


Education Game Helping Kentucky Lodges

On February 21, 2016, a large group of Brothers gathered at Kentucky's Robert M. Sirkle Lodge for a friendly competition of "Constitution Quiz."     

The questions were developed to help Lodges review their understanding of the Grand Lodge of Kentucky Constitution.

The group was assisted by Brothers Darren Wilson and Bobby Griggs, who are available to help Lodges that would like to host the same type of fun event for their members.


A 'Sign' That The Lord Was There

In June, Donald W. Hensiak was installed as Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Wisconsin.  As part of the meaningful ceremonies, the Senior Warden of Most Worshipful Brother Hensiak's home Lodge opened the Bible on the altar.

No particular Bible book or chapter was selected, as the Senior Warden randomly performed his duty.

The incoming Grand Master knelt at the altar during the ceremonies.  Later he commented to the crowd that the Bible had been opened to one of his favorite passages, Proverbs 3:5:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not unto your own understanding.  In all your ways, acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths.

In front of everyone, the Grand Master asked his Senior Warden if he had precisely selected the page.  The response was, "No."

To which Grand Master Hensiak said, "The Lord is obviously with us today."


Some Great Mentoring Advice

The new brochure from the Masonic Service Association, "Masonic Mentoring – Providing a Helping Hand to New Members," contains outstanding advice to Lodge members, who are working with candidates and new members.

Here is one particular nugget of information:  "I believe the key to being a successful mentor is to take everything one step at a time.  Just as Masonry is a progressive science, so should be the process of mentoring.  Understand that the candidate will have presented to him a great deal of information and ideas to assimilate.

"It will be presented in a manner that is totally new to him and in a form of language that, outside our doors, is almost never used in today's communication."

More information about the mentor brochure can be found at – -- MSA's webpage and the brochure can be ordered online.


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