MASONIC Digest Friday, 26 Jan 1990 Volume 2 : Issue 4 Today's Topics: Administrivia Educat

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MASONIC Digest Friday, 26 Jan 1990 Volume 2 : Issue 4 Today's Topics: Administrivia Educating line officers. Formality in English (Carribean) Lodges. Send all submissions and requests to ptrei@asgard.bbn.com. (From enet: DECWRL::"ptrei@asgard.bbn.com") MASONIC digest is moderated. Please remember: THIS IS A PUBLIC FORUM - YOU MUST ASSUME THAT MOST READERS ARE NON-MASONS. Please include a relevant subject line, and cover one topic per message. If you require anonymity, say so at the top of your message (and give a nom-de-net). All contributions remain the property (Copyright 1990), and responsibility of the authors, and may not be diseminated beyond the list without their express permission. My own comments remain mine (Copyright 1990 Peter Trei), and represent only my views at the time of posting - not neccesarily those of my employer, or of any Grand Lodge. ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Fri, 26 Jan 1990 From: Peter Trei (ptrei@asgard.bbn.com) Subj: Administrivia. This is a short issue to hold us over until next week, when I hope to post the responses for Tom Albrecht's message. So far I've received only two for publication, not counting my own. I hope to find some more come Monday. yours fraternally, Peter Trei ------------------------------ Date: Mon, 15 Jan 90 09:06:03 -0500 From: steven Gatton Subj: Educating line officers. Our Lodge is currently assembling for general distribution to its membership a pamphlet containing the By-Laws, Standing Resolutions, and committee assignments and duties. The idea behind this is to ensure that the brethren, particularly new members and new officers, can get an idea of how our Lodge is governed and how the parts are supposed to function. I know that other Lodges put out something of this nature (perhaps signing for or on the ByLaws as part of the degreework at some point). If your Lodge is doing some of the sort, I would like to hear how it is arranged, anything especially effective, etc., that you use. Either post your reponse to this newsletter, or if long send to me at gatton@andy.bgsu.edu. The specific problem that we are having that this effort is attempting to handle is the placing of new members in line offices before they really know how the Lodge functions on a local level. From my own experience, I was only SD, SW, and then WM because of line drop-outs, and sitting as a PM before I had been in Lodge 4 years! (Note to junior officers- Try to resist large line jumps unless it is absolutely necessary. You may get your PM apron or watch or whatever faster, but you'll a better year and more enjoyment if you go through the right way.) Any suggestions on how your Lodges are dealing with this problem, I'm all ears. Steve Gatton, Secy Wood Co. 112 F&AM Ohio ˝PT: I have a couple of books which treat this topic in a general way. I'll get the authors and publishing data if anyone's interested; my books are at home and I want to get this out before the weekend. 1. "Our Stations and Places", by a PDDGM in NY, deals mainly with the ritualistic and formal aspects of the offices. The author's a bit of a stuffed shirt, but otherwise good. 2. "The Worshipful Master's Companion." I *think* this is from California. It leans much more towards the administrative aspects of running a lodge - how to run a business meeting, etc. Both these books are in print - at least the shop in the NY GL has them. Your lodge's idea of a guide to how the lodge is run is a good one - I could certainly use one myself! This year I entered the line as Senior Steward, and have been bumped up to Senior Deacon.| ------------------------------ Date: Mon, 15 Jan 90 21:23 EST From: BLISSLB%APPSTATE.BITNET@VTVM1.CC.VT.edu Subject: Formality in English Lodges Peter: I have never attended an English lodge outside of the Carribean, so I am not really qualified to speak about English masonry in England, but I can tell you that in the Carribean the craft is not at all as upper class an affair as you may think it to be. In fact, my experience is that Masonry was the great leveler of social class in an area of the world where social class is, otherwise extremely important and much more structured than here in the good old US of A. My brethern included the governor's lawyer, the chief of police, a number of territorial senators, policemen, firemen, street cleaners, merchants, bartenders and even a university professor (me!). At lodge there were no class distinctions and you would see very wealthy professional men defer appropriately to sanitation employees who held the chairs. As I mentioned in my last posting, dinners after meetings were the height of brotherly love and companionship. I did visit other lodges in places like Tortola (British Virgin Islands) and St. Kitts and found the mixed social makeup of these lodges to be a heterogeneous as ours on St. Thomas. Dress at a number of these lodges was even more formal. All members wore tuxedos and top hats! The thing that impressed me most was the complete absence of any form of racism in these lodges. To understand why I was so impressed, you must understand that Carribean islands tend to be incredibly race conscious, even more than they are class conscious. The U.S. Virgin Islands is downright racist with the majority Blacks (85%) often making it difficult for the white population to get anything done with government or the court system. There is not a whole lot of social mingling between blacks and whites ("continentals", as we were called) on the island. One way to get elected to the territorial legislature was to appeal to Black racism and this was very effective. I found this atmosphere of racial distrust and hatred totally absent the moment I stepped into my lodge and it is a testimony to the craft that such an atmosphere could exist it the midst of what was going on around it. I sorely miss this feeling now that I am in North Carolina where our Blue Lodges and Scottish Rite consistories are lily white and I have been told, in private, that a Black person could never survive a vote for membership. This, of course, gets us back to the existence of Prince Hall masonry and makes me suspicious of Grand Lodges which refuse to communicate with it. Finally, to wind up a long winded posting, I think I should point out that English Blue Lodges use York Rite ritual which is very different from the Scottish Rite ritual used in most continental US Blue Lodges. Since this is an open forum and ritual IS one of the few secret things about our organization, suffice it to say that the ritual is simpler, but with language that is so rich that it boarders on the poetic. I hope that all of the brothers on this mail list will someday have the pleasure of attending an English lodge. Fraternally, Len Bliss ˝PT - I've never seen an English lodge at work, though I hope to do so on my next trip to Britain (I went to school and university there, long before I became involved in the Craft.) Speaking of the richness of the language in the ritual - have you ever seen a New York State lodge at work? My mother lodge is there, and when I moved to Massachusetts one of the things I immediately noticed is how "streamlined" the ritual here seems to be in comparison to NY. I find the social leveling of Freemasonry one of it's most enjoyable aspects. I get to befriend many people whom I would I would *never* meet socially otherwise. It's broadened my horizons, and caused me to become much more aware of the local community than I was before. (If it were'nt for the fact that most of my books are still in (63!) cartons in the garage, I'd quote Kipling's "The Mother Lodge" here, which addresses this topic.) The lack of racism in the Carribean lodges is very encouraging - even here in "liberal" Massachusetts black Masons in regular lodges are pretty unusual. I hope and believe this situation will improve soon.| ------------------------------ End of MASONIC Digest *********************

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