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Masonic Service Association of North America

Emessay Notes January 2015 

Freemasonry: Diversity Of Opinion; Unity Of Purpose 

"How interesting it is to see brothers so diametrically opposed on issues, but united in the principles and purposes of Freemasonry."

These are the words of the Rev. and Right Worshipful Brother Bruce R. Bellmore, Grand Chaplain of the Grand Lodge of Connecticut, in his regular column, "Grand Chaplain's Pulpit," in the July-August, 2014, issue of the Connecticut Mason.

His comments followed two recent Supreme Court decisions, in which the social media, as well as many ordinary citizens, made strong comments on both sides of the issues.

"What I found particularly interesting was the wide range of opinions expressed by my brothers on these rulings," Brother Bellmore wrote.  "Some of my brothers felt that these decisions were vindications of the Constitution while other brothers felt that this was a very dark day for American jurisprudence."

We meet in the Lodge on the level of equality, united in the principles of brotherly love, relief, and truth, he stated. 

Whether differences of opinion exist in political or social situations outside the Lodge – or by opposing beliefs even on matters of importance within a Lodge or Grand Lodge – we, as Masons, should remember our obligations and keep our principles ever before us, Brother Bellmore said.

The United States was founded on the belief that, in spite of our differences of opinions, we are united.  As Masons, the Connecticut Grand Chaplain concluded, "Let us ever stand united in the bonds of brotherhood."

God's Plumb Line, Straight

Many times each year, in churches around the world, the words to a popular hymn catch the ears of Masons with its familiar phrases.

Jane Parker Huber wrote the words to Let Justice Flow Like Streams, and in her third stanza, these words are sung:

                        So, may God's plumb line, straight
                        Define our measure true,
                        And justice, right, and peace pervade
                        This world, our whole lives through

MSA'S Hospital Reps On '60 Minutes'

When the new Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Robert A. McDonald, visited the VA Medical Center in West Roxbury, Massachusetts, a camera crew from 60 Minutes filmed the event, for a show later broadcast on the Sunday before Veterans Day.

Volunteers from the hospital were invited to greet the new VA Secretary on his arrival.  Among those invited were Brother Harvey Simons, MSA Hospital Representative, and his wife, Lillian Simons, Deputy Representative.

Not only was this meeting of MSA Representatives and the VA Secretary shown on 60 Minutes, but pictures and references to their encounter have been published in several magazines, including the Winter, 2014, issue of the Trowel, the official publication of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts.

The Wardens

The name, "Warden," is derived from the Saxon word, "weard," meaning warder or guard.  The "gu," instead of "w," comes from the Norman French, where the "gu" sound usually replaces the English "w."

In the lodge at York Minster in the 1300s, there were two principal officers, principal and secondary masons, who were responsible for notifying the building owner of any defects in the work and of any absences, which needed deductions from wages. 

The agreement between the lodge and the Dean and Chapter refers to them as Masters of the masons.  In 1370, the Chapter records show a mason had to be approved by the common assent of the Master and Wardens of the work and by the Master Masons before he could be employed.  During the 1400s, there are regular references to a Warden or Wardens of the lodge.

Other records show that, by the 1500s, there were two Wardens and that they were supervisors of the work.  In some places, there appear to have been wardens for each of the three classes of masons – those who prepared stones, the setters who put them in place, and the roughlayers who were responsible for the rubble filling the walls. 

In was not uncommon for the Warden to be promoted to Master to fill a vacancy.

In English practice, the Master appoints Wardens.  In Scotland, New Zealand and most American jurisdictions, the Wardens are elected.

(From the Beginners' Corner in the September, 1999 bulletin of the United Masters Lodge No. 167, New Zealand, and later from the September, 2000, Southern California Research Lodge Fraternal Review.)

The Gift Of Light


            "We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark.  The real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light."

                                                            -- Plato (a wise man, but not a Mason)

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