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Masonic Service Association of North America

Emessay Notes September 2016

The Tradition Of Masonic Cornerstone Laying

This month marks the 223rd Anniversary of the Masonic cornerstone laying of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., with President and Brother George Washington participating.  It took place on September 18, 1793.

On the 200th Anniversary of the event, the Scottish Rite, Southern Jurisdiction, published a book, Cornerstones of Freedom, A Masonic Tradition, which includes perhaps the best description of Masonic cornerstone laying and its traditions available.  It contains 195 pages of enjoyable reading and great pictures.

Copies of this book are now available from the Masonic Service Association as part of a new special offer.  In addition, S. Brent Morris, author of the book, has agreed to autograph all copies of Cornerstones of Freedom purchased as part of this offer.

This special offer also includes a brochure, Cornerstones – a Mason Tradition of Dedication . . . That Makes Sense Today, which examines more recent Grand Lodge ceremonies and their significance.  The brochure, written by James Tresner for the Grand Lodge of Oklahoma, was subsequently published by MSA's Masonic Information Center.

You may purchase both the book and brochure for $12.00, including shipping and handling.  (Out-of-U.S. purchasers should contact MSA for shipping costs.)

More details are available at the MSA online store– -- where you may purchase items using a credit card.

Or, send a check, marked "Cornerstones #SPCF" to:  

Masonic Service Association
3905 National Drive, Suite 280
Burtonsville, MD 20866

Hurry.  Quantities are limited.

Disaster Appeal For Louisiana Flooding

The Masonic Service Association has established a Disaster Relief Fund for Louisiana, following drenching rainstorms and massive flooding.  Thousands of homes and buildings have been damaged or destroyed, with 70,000 persons reportedly displaced.

The magnitude of the storm was described by the America Red Cross as the "worst natural disaster in the United States" since Hurricane Sandy in 2012.  Recovery is expected to take months, and the lack of communication in flooded areas continues to cause issues in finding information and victims.

The Grand Lodge of Louisiana reported that two Lodge buildings have been heavily flooded, and the building of the Scottish Rite Valley of Baton Rouge, which houses three additional Lodges, incurred significant amounts of flooding and damage.  Many Masons and Masonic families are among the 70,000 displaced.

Any donations you feel appropriate will help our devastated Brothers, their families and others in this stricken jurisdiction.  Please make checks payable to MSA Disaster Relief Fund and send them to: Masonic Service Association, 3905 National Drive, Suite 280, Burtonsville, MD 20866.  Please mark checks, "Louisiana Appeal."

Also, donations may be made on MSA's webpage -- with the use of a credit card.  This allows funds to reach their destination faster.

MSA is a 501 (c) (3) charitable organization.

Masonic Pictures In Washington Post

A group of Masons from Annapolis Lodge, attired in colonial outfits and Masonic aprons, marched from their Lodge building in Annapolis, MD, to the U.S. Naval Academy for a memorial service for John Paul Jones.

A picture of the group of Masons, carrying flags and proudly displaying Masonic regalia, appeared in the July 31 issue of the Washington Post Magazine – not once but twice – one above the other.

This was part of a regular newspaper feature where a dozen details in the first picture were changed for the second picture, asking the reader to identify the differences.

It turned out to be colorful, patriotic, and Masonic picture – twice.  Attention was particularly drawn to the Masonic square and compasses emblem, clearly shown on four aprons in the picture – because one of those emblems was shown upside-down in the "touched up" picture.

In all, this was a very good public portrayal of Freemasonry.

Community Outreach In Kentucky

Several examples of Masonic community charity were recognized in recent issues of the Masonic Home Journal, the publication of the Grand Lodge of Kentucky.  They included:

  • Yocum Lodge in Evarts, Kentucky, held its annual appreciation dinner for Harlan County Honor Guard, a group of Veterans and Masons that perform last Rites for fallen heroes.  To date they have performed more than 750 funerals in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia, all at no cost.
  • Kentucky Grand Master Cloyd J. Bumgardner recognized Lodges that gave 906 bicycles to schools across the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
  • Members of Robert M. Sirkle Lodge, Devotion Lodge, and Buford Lodge, served pizza to 130 hungry kindergarten students at Picadome Elementary School as a service project.

Annual Membership Data Available

The Annual Membership Report of the Masonic Service Association shows that Masonic membership in the United States and Canada continues to decline. For 2015, there were 1,161,253 Masons in the U.S. and 73,007 in Canada.       

Each year, MSA surveys the Grand Lodges for their membership statistics, and each Grand Lodge receives all the statistical results.

Membership reached its peak in 1959 in the United States, with 4,103,161 Masons, and statistics have declined each year since.

The full reports – Membership in the United States, Membership in Canada, and Membership Totals since 1924 – can be found on the MSA webpage –

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