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Masonic Service Association of North America

Focus June 2014

Do You Have A Masonic Elevator Speech Ready?

An elevator speech is one that you can deliver to one or more persons while taking a brief elevator ride.  It may be 30 seconds, or 1 minute long.  It must summarize and provide an important message in a minimum of words.

For example, you step onto the elevator with a business associate, who says, "What is that lapel pin you have on?"  By the time you reach his or her destination on the 3rd Floor, you should be able to say it is a Masonic pin, and state a few positive things about your membership or about the organization. 

How many times has an opportunity similar to that happened to you, but you quickly answered and hoped the other person would change the subject?

How often, when you thought about the opportunity later, did you wish you would have been ready to produce a short, intelligent response?

The time to prepare your "elevator speech" and explain Freemasonry and what it means to you – is now – before that chance arises.

The opportunity may come on the street corner; it may occur as you are departing from church; it could materialize in a fast-food line as you are waiting to order.  

Some Masons believe the lack of having such an "elevator speech," is why membership is not advancing as it should.  Too often, Masons are reluctant to speak up about their Masonic membership.  Too often, they are not prepared to say something positive, and so don't say anything.  Too often, they just feel unqualified to be that needed "public relations" representative for our Fraternity.

In the Indiana Freemason magazine in 2013, George Burkley, a Past Master of Tyrian Lodge #12 in Goshen, IN, presented his views on the need for an "elevator speech."  If someone would say to Brother Burkley, as they were entering an elevator, "I hear you are a Mason.  What's that all about?" here is what he might say:

Freemasonry is the world's oldest and largest fraternal organization for men over the age of 18.  We are dedicated to serving our members and their families through building relationships, social networking, and activities with our members and in the community.

Freemasonry is not a religion but it is an organization where every member must profess a belief in God.

Freemasonry is not a charity but it is an organization that sponsors numerous charities, for example (and here he names charity endeavors that his Lodge, Grand Lodge, or one of his appendant bodies in Freemasonry supports).

And finally, Freemasonry is not a volunteer organization but it is an organization where its members voluntarily bind themselves together to make themselves, and their community, a better place.  Personally, my closest friends outside my family are members of the Masonic Fraternity.

Cover of Guide 'Masonic Funeral Services' Guide Revised, Updated

A new version of this venerable brochure is now available.  The full title is, "An Open Letter Concerning . . . Masonic Funeral Services," and it is aimed at clergy of all faiths. It promotes understanding of Masonic funeral practices. 

The brochure, however, is also great for the education of Masons, whether new members or those seeking more information regarding the Masonic funeral procedure.

This pocket-size pamphlet has been a popular item for many years for MSA, and not long ago supplies had dwindled.  The newly designed and edited version is a more contemporary communication tool, but with the same traditional understanding of our Fraternity's views of the subject.

  • Single copy, $1, includes shipping, and must be ordered by mail from MSA.
  • Package of 50 brochures - $14, plus shipping (from MSA or online)
  • Package of 100 brochures - $27, plus shipping (from MSA or online)

 

New MSA Disaster Relief Milestone Reached

The Masonic Service Association, which has been providing disaster relief assistance for more than 90 years, has surpassed the $10 million plateau in funds contributed.

In May, MSA wired $42,500 to the Grand Lodge of the Philippines and THAT action elevated MSA above the $10 million mark. To see the entire 90-year history of this service provided by the Masonic Service Association. Go to MSA's webpage on "Disaster Relief."

The latest donation of $42,500 brings to $185,000, the total of relief that has been given to the Philippines, following the typhoon that struck the island nation last year.  That appeal has now ended and all the contributions have been sent to help our brothers in the Philippines.

Since 1923, when Masonic Service Association issued its first appeal to help Japan, the MSA has become the recognized and credible Masonic group in North America, trusted by all Grand Lodges to forward disaster aid when it is needed.  This has been one of MSA's key services for nearly a century.

Also, remember that this is not MSA money.  The funds are donations from YOU – from individual Masons, Lodges and Grand Lodges. Not a penny of it is kept by MSA for administrative costs.  All disaster appeals are initiated by a Grand Lodge, and all money collected is forwarded to that Grand Lodge for local distribution.

The Masonic Service Association of North America is registered with the Internal Revenue Service as 501(c) (3) non-profit organization, and all donations are tax-deductible.

Community Awareness Of Freemasonry

Since its creation more than two decades ago, the Masonic Information Center (MIC) has led the effort to expand community awareness of our Fraternity.

The overriding thought in all of MIC's programs, brochures, and news media contacts, is for the general public to have a better understanding and appreciation for the activities of Freemasonry. 

For seven years, ending in 2013, MIC conducted a Mark Twain Masonic Awareness Program, with Lodges being awarded for their efforts to increase awareness, both among their own members and it the community.  Even though the award program ended, some of the recipients' entries are still maintained on the MSA webpage, as examples for other Lodges to follow.

One particular Lodge, in its entry for a Mark Twain Award, gave the following statement of what it believes is the value of such awareness:

Our Lodge is located in a relatively small coastal area of Maine.  Although we are not large is size, we believe that success, as a fraternity, can be measured more relevantly by the strength of our community than by the volume of our members.

Our experience has been that community itself can be infectious, and that one of the best ways to attract new and motivated members, and keep them as such, is to have a strong presence in that community, and be outwardly involved beyond our monthly meetings.
Encompassing all we do in that goal, and being active, has been our most successful way of creating awareness.  The more involved we are in our community, the more aware that community becomes of us.

This was part of the entry for Alna Anchor Lodge #43, located in Damariscotta, Maine.

 

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