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Masonic Service Association of North America

Focus September 2014

'Stirring Things Up' Good Masonic Practice

A Lodge in Wisconsin began renting a large room in a church building as its meeting place.  A public Grand Lodge dedication service was planned, with the Masonic members and families, plus members of the church, in attendance.

According to an account written by Wisconsin Grand Chaplain David Ritchie in his column in the Wisconsin Masonic Journal, after the traditional dedication ceremony, with corn, wine and oil, the practice of a few speeches ensued. Finally, the pastor of the church was asked if she would make a few remarks.

She told how pleased she was at the ceremony and how closely it followed ancient traditions. She spoke on how she thought the Masons meeting in that place was a good fit.

Then, according to Chaplain Ritchie, "she said something that I wished every Mason could hear. She said that, when the first man approached her about using the space, she knew nothing about Masonry, but she knew this man and that he was someone who 'stirred up good.'"

Then, Brother Ritchie wrote, the pastor told how when looking at the men in the congregation who were Masons, that these men, too, were men who "stirred up good." If these were the qualities of men throughout the fraternity, she thought, she would be glad to work with them.

The pastor based her judgment initially on just one man. She saw someone who "stirred up good." She did what we all do. We use what we know to judge others.

Chaplain Ritchie asked, "Do people see you, as a Mason, as someone who 'stirs up good' at work, as a neighbor, in your place of worship, in the VFW or Legion, as Little League coach, in your sportsmen's club, or elsewhere?"

When you are the person who the public sees as the example of Freemasonry, will your reputation be for "stirring up good?" 

Getting The Word Out

One of the "cornerstone" efforts of the Masonic Service Association over the decades has been the Hospital Visitation Program.

Masonic volunteers provide services to Military Veterans at VA Medical Centers and state veteran hospitals across the country, often not receiving much attention.
To help bring the information of this Masonic service to more persons, MSA has published a new tri-fold pamphlet, "Masonic Service Association Hospital Visitation Program."  It is the first attempt in many years to produce an up-to-date brochure on the program.

The pamphlet is perfect for passing out to all Master Masons, particularly to new members.  It also can be distributed to the public, at open houses, fair booths, or for other opportunities.

The pamphlet may be ordered in quantity from the Masonic Service Association office.  There is no charge for the booklet.

2 MSA Officer Leadership Digests Have Been Reprinted

Two venerable digests produced by the Masonic Service Association have been in great demand in recent months, requiring reprinting.

MSA ordered the Sixth Edition of Tried and Proven, A Lodge System of Masonic Instruction.  The Fifth Edition was printed in 2002.

Also newly reprinted is MSA's Leadership digest, the first reprinting since 1990.

Both digests were part of a "Lodge Officers Package" of nine MSA digests at a sale price when all were purchased as the same time.

Social Media Draws Attention From Freemasonry

 Across the continent, Freemasons have been increasing, substantially, their use of social media, which has become a prime topic for conversation and discussion at Masonic conferences and symposiums.

What guidelines should be utilized by Masonic groups?  When should Grand Lodges get involved in such practices by local Lodges and Masonic members?  Should a Mason's use of social media be different from that of an individual citizen? 

Last year, at the Rocky Mountain Masonic Conference, a "Social Media Code of Conduct for Freemasons" was approved, and since then, several individual Grand Lodges have voted to endorse such a "code" in their jurisdictions.  The conference includes the Grand Lodges of Colorado, Montana, Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, Nevada and New Mexico.

Here is the "code" approved by the Rocky Mountain Conference:

Social Media Code of Conduct for Freemasons

• Freemasons should conduct Social Media activities in a way that reflects membership in the Craft, acting in a way that presents a positive image of the fraternity; avoiding private piques and quarrels; being cautious in behavior; courteous to our brethren and to promote the general good and to preserve the reputation of the fraternity.

• Postings should not bring discredit to Freemasonry nor should they fit within the definition of Un-Masonic Conduct as defined by the member jurisdiction. Conduct contrary to the accepted and customary rule of right and duty between Freemasons, or to society in general, is improper.

• Freemasons need to be aware that postings are a permanent record; and therefore an individual's conduct may influence the world with a positive or negative image about the individual and also about Freemasonry. Postings and actions on the various Social Media outlets should reflect the highest standards of morality and integrity that Freemasons practice within the Lodge.

• Lodge notices, and information contained within Lodge notices beyond the time and place of meetings, should not be discussed. There should never be discussion related to petitions, applications, background checks or investigation of an applicant. There should never be a discussion regarding balloting on an applicant.

• It is improper to identify any Freemason as a member of the Craft unless he has provided his consent or has already identified himself as such. It is improper to post of images, video, recordings, etc. of other Masons without their consent. Posts must comply with the Grand Constitutions, rules, regulations, and edicts of the Jurisdiction.

• Postings that are anonymous or posted by fictitious names should be avoided rather than encouraged. Participation in discussions with those who most often are looking for discussions outside of what is Masonically acceptable should also be avoided.

• To ensure our fraternity represents itself to the high standards we believe in we must regulate our actions by individual restraint and through Brother-to-Brother intervention. As a Freemason, advise a Brother if what he has posted is improper within the framework of our Grand Constitutions, laws, rules, regulations, edicts and the general regulations of Freemasonry.

• Contact and communication with other Grand Lodges or their subordinate or concordant Lodges must be conducted through the Office of the Grand Secretary.

• Freemasonry in North America is governed by independent legislative bodies known as Grand Lodges who exercise absolute Masonic authority within a State or Province. Only Grand Lodges can make authoritative statements, and these apply only to their members.

 

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