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Masonic Service Association of North America

Focus December 2000

Great Preachers Who Were Masons

At least three of the 20 greatest preachers of the 20th Century were Masons. The list was created by The Preaching, a magazine for preachers, and the editors based their criteria on a preacher's influence on church and society and on their fellow preachers.

The following Masons were on the list:

  • George W. Truett (1867-1944) pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas and president of the Southern Baptist Convention and Baptist World Alliance. (Member Dallas Lodge #760, Dallas, TX)
  • Norman Vincent Peale (1898-1993), pastor of Marble Collegiate Reformed Church, New York City, editor of Guidepost magazine, and author of such books as The Power of Positive Thinking. (Member Midwood Lodge #1062, Brooklyn, NY)
  • Peter C. Marshall (1902-1949), a Presbyterian pastor of churches in Georgia and Washington, DC, chaplain of the U.S. Senate, and author of such books as Mr. Jones, Meet the Master. His biography is entitled A Man Called Peter. (Member Old Monkland St. James Lodge #177, Coatbridge, Scotland, and honorary member of Temple Noyes Lodge #32, Washington, DC)

(Source: Beacon, Summer 2000, Vol. 7, Issue 3
published by the Grand Lodge of Ohio and the Ohio Masonic Home)

TV Programs with Masonic Interest

History Channel

On Sept. 20, 2000 the History Channel presented a show titled Histories Lost and Found which included a segment on the St. John's Lodge Bible on which George Washington took his oath of office. The entire program is available for purchase by calling 1-888-423-1212 and ordering Histories Lost and Found, Episode #29. Cost is $19.95 plus s/h.

ABC News

The program mentioned in the Sept, 2000 Focus about Volunteerism is still under production at ABC News. No air date has been set.

Fact Sheets

In the March 1999 issue of FOCUS, the MIC called attention to several Fact Sheets that have been prepared concerning various aspects of Freemasonry. In this issue we are highlighting the Fact Sheet The Organization of Freemasonry.

The Fact Sheets cover such topics as Freemasonry and Brotherhood; The History of Freemasonry; Freemasonry and Secrecy; and Freemasonry and Religion. Copies may be obtained by writing or faxing your request.

The Organization of Freemasonry

Freemasonry is the oldest fraternal organization for men in the world, and its organizational structure shows its age. The basic organizational unit of the fraternity is the lodge. We believe the term comes from the lodges (shelters) constructed at the building sites of cathedrals and castles during the Middle Ages. Masons worked and lived in these shelters.

Each lodge is headed by an officer called the "Worshipful Master." "Worshipful" means "highly respected" or "honored." The term comes from the judicial system of England and carries no religious implication. "Master" means "leader," or "best qualified," as in "Concert Master" or "Master Architect."

Each officer of a lodge has a title that originated during the Middle Ages. These titles may vary somewhat from state to state, but in general the officers and their contemporary equivalents are:

Worshipful Master = President
Marshall = Master of Ceremonies
Senior Warden = 1st Vice President
Deacon = Messenger
Junior Warden = 2nd Vice President
Steward = Page
Treasurer = Financial Officer
Tiler = Door Keeper
Secretary = Recorder
Chaplain = Chaplain

Until 1717, each lodge of Masons was autonomous. On June 24, 1717, four of the lodges operating in London met together to form the first Grand Lodge of England. It became the first administrative or policy-making body of Freemasonry.

Masonic lodges still retain autonomy over their finances, activities, officer election, fundraising, and joining ceremonies. But administratively, each State or Province has a Grand Lodge which co-ordinates activities, serves as a central source of record keeping, and performs other administrative and policy functions for the fraternity. The state president is called the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge. He has broad powers in overseeing the progress of the fraternity, and while there is no national spokesperson for the fraternity, within his own state (Jurisdiction) he is the chief spokesman.

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