Before I started my year in the East, I took some time to talk to some Past Masters to ask for their advice and lessons learned from their year as Worshipful Master. Some of the advice I was able to apply to planning my year, some advice helped me to focus and get my head in the game, and some advice helped me to handle some of the stress of balancing Lodge responsibilities with my work and family life. Many of the Past Masters told me that I could judge my own success by looking back at the end of my year to see what we accomplished as a Lodge, and perhaps what could have been done differently.
In November we celebrate Veterans Day across the country, and this year is particularly special. For this newsletter I won’t go into the full history of Veterans Day, but I will highlight a few specific dates. Major hostilities of World War I ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918, and this armistice with Germany would be celebrated as Armistice Day. This date was celebrated in the United States and was made an official national holiday on May 13, 1938. In 1954, Armistice Day in the United States was officially renamed to Veterans Day and has remained in observance since then.
With their own terminology and structures, Masonic Orders offer new opportunities for growth, development, and friendship in Freemasonry. Over the next year, Freemasonry Today will spotlight the origins, requirements, and beliefs of the other Orders – starting with the Knights Templar.
When did it begin?
The earliest records of the masonic Knights Templar can be found in the minutes of the Chapter of Friendship in Portsmouth dated 1778. At that time, the degree was worked under lodges and chapters warranted by the Antient Grand Lodge using a variety of rituals. Lancashire had 10 of the first 40 encampments (now called Preceptories).
Netflix has started streaming availability of “Inside the Freemasons,” the five-part documentary shown in England on Sky1 network during the United Grand Lodge of England’s 300th anniversary celebration last year. The program was that rarest of television treatments of the fraternity – calm, even-handed, truthful – and features numerous Masons throughout England discussing their membership. It was created with the cooperation of the grand lodge
This year we will be holding our annual blood drive on Thursday, May 17th from 2:00pm until 7:00pm. I see this program as vital, but under appreciated and decided that I would take a short break from more Masonic articles in my newsletter to spend a few minutes highlighting this lifesaving club. Small note, if you attended any of the leadership programs offered this year you probably sat through a 30-45-minute presentation on the Masonic Blood and Organ Club, so this short letter should be a relief.
As we approach our April Stated Meeting I was searching for a Friday the 13th themed article to make light of the date (of course Lou lucked out with two Friday the 13th meetings last year!) but was less than entertained with what I could find. However, I did stumble across an interesting read about a Masonic conspiracy from 1723 that I wanted to touch on briefly in this month’s newsletter. To be fair, there are a few articles written about this topic that go into better detail, but I’m limited by time and space.
In London there was an article posted in a local paper, The Flying Post, which was claimed to be the first published Masonic catechism and is referred to as “A Mason’s Examination” by R.F. Gould in his book History of Freemasonry. This specific article was printed in the April 11-13, 1723 edition (the paper was only printed a few times a week instead of daily, hence the span in dates) and prompted a response from the community. A second and similar article appeared shortly after this in The Post Boy December 26-28, 1723 edition and was referred to as a “sham exposure” of Masonic ritual.