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Masonic Service Association of North America

Focus December 2006

The Twain Award

With the introduction of the Twain Award in 2006, the Masonic Information Center took a major step forward toward its goal of “Moving Masonry into the 21st Century.” This was a challenge put forth in our MIC Report: It’s About Time!

Having just reviewed the entries for the 2006 Twain Award competition, one of our Task Force members said, “I’m just so impressed by the quality of the entries.” Obviously the lodges that entered the Twain Award Program took their participation seriously. In both content and presentation style, the entries represent a dynamic move on the part of lodges in MIC’s reach.

We had entrants from North - South – East - West. All areas, all regions showed great eagerness to become part of the network of lodges that are working brother by brother – lodge by lodge – to bring new levels of energy and enthusiasm into our identity as Masons both within the lodge and throughout our communities.

The Twain Forum

As part of the Twain Award Program, each lodge that enters becomes part of the “Twain Forum” created so that lodges can see and hear what is being done for Masonic Awareness in other areas. A network of interested lodges will be sharing information and will have access to ideas and programs being used throughout the country. Please go to www.msana.com and click on the Twain Award links. These links will connect you to the Twain Award site that provides additional navigation links from the left column and from within the text. Look for and click on to the Grey colored titles for each section.

The Task Force

In 2004, the Conference of Grand Masters requested the Masonic Information Center to address the need for Masonic Public Awareness. A special Task Force was formed, consisting of John Boettjer (Editor, until his retirement in 2005, of The Scottish Rite Journal); consultant Carolyn Bain (principal in Bain, Pugh & Associates, Inc.); Richard Curtis (Editor, The Northern Light); consultant William Feingold (public relations specialist); Richard Fletcher (Exec. Sect., The Masonic Service Association); and James Tresner (Editor, The Oklahoma Mason). This Task Force wrote the report It’s About Time! Moving Masonry into the 21st Century, and initiated the Twain Award Program.

All of the Task Force members want to thank the Grand Lodges, lodges and individual members for their outstanding co-operation and participation in the Twain Award Program. You have made our efforts truly rewarding. Thanks!

Masonry in the News

New York Times 10-4-06

The Metro Section of the New York Times featured a story on Page I about the Freemasons. Appearing on Oct. 4, 2006 the front page of this section printed a photo of a statue of George Washington standing, as the caption read, “in the New York Grand Lodge Headquarters.”

The article – and it was positive – went on to point out some famous American Freemasons, gave a brief description of the interior of the Grand Lodge Building (located on West 23rd Street), but mostly talked about what Masons are doing to attract new members.

Neal Bidnick, Grand Master, was quoted as saying “New York Masons are heavily involved in community service, underwriting medical research and supplying 29,000 American flags – one for every public school classroom in the city.”

The Grand Lodge reports that the article generated an enormous amount of positive interest in New York Freemasonry.

Boston Globe 10-15-06

The NorthWest Section of the Boston Globe featured a story on Page 1 about the Freemasons on Oct. 15, 2006.

A prominently displayed front page picture in the NorthWest section shows a delighted Jeffrey Hodgdon, Grand Master, pointing to a young visitor (5 years old) sitting in the “ceremonial chair.”

G.M. Hodgdon has been very instrumental in creating a program for attracting new members in Massachusetts. Opening Masonic buildings to public view (240 open houses around the State on Oct. 7) had an amazingly positive response.

 The article spoke about several individuals who attended and then went on to characterize the present generation as people who are “much more likely to seek out community.” Certainly Freemasonry addresses that need.

Meditations on Masonic Symbolism

For those interested in an explanation of many of the symbols employed by Freemasonry, Bro. John Heisner has written a book titled Meditations on Masonic Symbolism. A brief, concise explanation of their meaning that makes for a very good read. ISBN #1-4241-4781-6

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