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Freemasonry in Troubled Times – Adam C. Newsome

I didn’t know what to expect when I joined the Valley of Dayton at the Fall Reunion of 2019. I was happy to find a welcoming community that values Ritual, Masonic Education, and lives up to its Core Values. I was raised to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason in 2014, however, at the time of the Fall Reunion, I wasn’t active in Freemasonry. An email invitation to this reunion led me to submit a petition.

My positive experience at the Fall Reunion reignited my passion for Freemasonry. It was the perfect way to reconnect with the Fraternity and inspired me to become active in my Blue Lodge. To continue my Scottish Rite education, I enrolled in the NMJ’s Hauts Grades Academy, which I highly recommend. It has been enlightening to delve into the history of each degree and study the meaning of the ritual. As a veteran, it was an honor to be recognized at the Fall Reunion by the Sovereign Grand Commander along with so many Brethren. The reunion is one of my all-time favorite Masonic memories. 

I’m thankful the Valley of Dayton is still active and vibrant during this shutdown. At the onset of coronavirus, the Valley instituted a calling program to check in on its at-risk members. It was time to put our Core Values into action. It was important to connect with these Brethren and it was a therapeutic experience to take part in. Additionally, the Supreme Council’s online video degrees and the Valley of Dayton’s online discussion groups have been a wonderful outlet. An outlet that I would not have had if I didn’t act upon that invitation to join the Scottish Rite. The lessons of Freemasonry can guide us during troubled times, I’m reminded to always be faithful and keep my hope in God. Be safe, Brethren.

“Spes mea in Deo est.”  

Norm Crosby

Illustrious and Most Worshipful Brother Terry W. Posey, 33°, shares the following memory of Brother Crosby, whose brief Masonic biography appears below:

On October 15, 2010, I presented Comedian Norm Crosby, 33°, with the Rufus Putnam Award in the auditorium of the Dayton Masonic Center.  The highest award of the Grand Lodge of Ohio was given for Brother Crosby’s lifetime of charitable works for the hearing impaired. “

From the website of the Scottish Rite, Southern Jurisdiction:

Ill. Norm Crosby, 33°, Grand Cross, is a Boston-born American comedian known for his use of malapropisms and often called The Master of Malaprop. He has been a Freemason since 1956, receiving the Grand Cross from the Supreme Council in October 1997. He is a member of Ionic Composite Lodge No. 520 in Los Angeles, California.

Bro. Crosby went solo as a standup comedian in the 1950s and adopted a friendly, blue collar, guy-next-door attitude. He refined his standup monologues by throwing in malapropisms. In 1968, he co-starred on “The Beautiful Phyllis Diller Show,” and from 1978 to 1981, Crosby hosted the nationally syndicated series, “The Comedy Shop,” aka “Norm Crosby’s Comedy Shop.” In the late 1970s and early 1980s, he became a spokesman for Anheuser-Busch Natural Light Beer. Since 1983 Norm Crosby has co-hosted and contributed to the annual Jerry Lewis MDA Labor Day Telethon. He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Some links for your enjoyment:

Some of Bro. Crosby’s best known lines https://www.azquotes.com/author/3436-Norm_Crosby

Norm Crosby appearing on the Dean Martin showhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fnX-EPaAIdU

Freemasonry in Troubled Times- C. Michael Watson

Is Your Personal Ledger In Balance?

The Grand Lodge Charitable Foundation, an IRS-approved 501(c)3 charity, was founded in 1994 by then Grand Master, Most Worshipful Brother Thomas D. Zahler. Since then, the Grand Lodge has been able to assist over 600 Masons, widows or nonmembers with over $875,000.00. I have read some very heart breaking pleas for assistance, wishing we could do more for the requester. Our ability to help is limited by the fund’s balance.

The Grand Lodge Officers will attest that I tend to whine a lot about pittance received from all the lodges as donations into the charity foundation. Thank goodness for a good investment over the years so the fund could grow. But, I recently received a letter from a member which made my day.

A new Brother Mason sent a personal donation for the Grand Lodge Charitable Foundation. Attached, was a note. He stated that he received his Master Mason Degree only a few months ago, and how proud he was to be a Mason. Our lessons and ethical teachings had made a lasting impact on him and his life. He said in these uncertain difficult times he knew that he would remain working and have an income. But, he was certain that others, particularly Brother Masons, would lose their jobs and find themselves in financial straits. So, please accept the donation and he would continue to help as much as he could. The amount of his contribution is irrelevant. It was his attitude. I showed his note to everyone in the office and to the Grand Lodge Officers. He made my day and for a short time, I stopped whining.

But, his action gave me pause to reflect. “Is my personal lodger in balance”? Over my years as being a Mason I have received so much in terms of “income” from the fraternity. Income not in terms of money, but in terms of values, ethics, morality, fellowship, and opportunity. These are all assets in my personal ledger. What have I done on the “expense” side of my ledger?

Hmmm, have acts of generosity and compassion been offset by episodes of greed or intolerance? To strike a balance, have we asked for forgiveness? Do we turn toward, and not away from, those in need? Is the weight of our acts of virtue heavier than the burdens and heartaches possibly imposed on others?

What have I done with that which has been given me? Now, in this time of uncertainty is a good time to reflect on that question.

May our personal ledgers be in balance when that “final audit” is performed.

Until we meet again, God Bless.
C. Michael Watson, PGM
Grand Secretary, Grand Lodge of Ohio

Freemasonry in Troubled Times – the 14th Degree Ring

These truly are unprecedented times. I know that we have lost Brothers in the past few months and many of them did not receive a Scottish Rite ring service. These are our Brothers and they deserve to be honored. The Lodge of Perfection would like to offer the ring service to any family of a Brother who has passed during the Covid-19 Pandemic.

Hopefully you recall your 14th degree where you received your Scottish Rite ring from the Valley of Dayton. During that ceremony you were instructed as to your rite to receive a ring service upon your demise.

The Lodge of Perfection would like to remind you to share this information with your family or another Brother. Make sure they know where to locate your white apron and 14th degree ring. Upon a Brother’s death, an informed funeral director, family member or Brother should contact the Scottish Rite office as soon as possible. They will need to provide as much information as possible, at least the funeral home and a phone number for someone with arrangements.

A brief explanation for those that are not familiar with our service; typically the Brother’s Blue Lodge will perform a service, usually at the end of the visitation. The Scottish Rite ring service immediately follows the Blue Lodge service and lasts just a few minutes. At the end of the service the Brother’s Scottish Rite ring is presented to a family member, with a brief lesson on how it is to be kept. We can perform the Scottish Rite ring service without the Blue Lodge service. The ring service can be performed at the funeral home or at a graveside service. We are flexible and will make every accommodation we can to honor our Brother.

Many times these services are the only exposure to Freemasonry that a man may experience. Often our Blue Lodges receive requests for petitions as a result of this experience. For this reason alone, we need to take our funeral and ring services seriously. My first exposure to Masonry was my grandfather’s funeral service. I was 10 years old and decided then that I wanted to be a part of this fraternity. Please take part in your lodge’s services, whether you know the man or not. Our services truly provide comfort to the family and you will be known for your affiliation to our craft. Remember that society only knows Masons by the actions of the individuals. Stand up for our brethren.

If you know of a Brother who did not receive his ring service, and the family would like for us to perform it at their Celebration of Life or Memorial service, please contact the office with the information.

E. Duane Wooton

Thrice Potent Master

Gabriel Lodge of Perfection

Freemasonry in Troubled Times – Alfred C. Butler (2)

Each week at work, one of my senior managers shares a Sunday night email with other managers  – typically it’s a newsy email with interesting articles from business journals that may guide people on leadership or something that may be relevant to the current climate at work. Right after the quarantine began, he shared a Harvard Business Review article titled “The Restorative Power of Ritual.”

The article uses the word ritual as in a routine. It’s human nature to create certain routines and rituals for ourselves to deal with stress, grief and other emotions or to add order and stability to our lives. It helps us find deeper meaning and purpose – even those simple rituals as the order we brush our teeth or get dressed in the morning. When something like death or a global pandemic happens, we turn to rituals – either existing or new ones – to help guide, support and thrive through these uncertain times.

As soon as I read the article though, I thought of our Masonic rituals. Not just the words of the ritual, but of the customs and of the behavior of Masons. I was reminded of our core values to take care of each other, be respectful and serve with integrity as we live our virtues and to support our brethren. And the truly restorative power of those rituals to give comfort in this uncertain time or any time. Having these to rely on may help add stability and provide understanding when we’re feeling anxious and stressed.

And the beauty of rituals is that you can always create new ones that provide more personal meaning as well. Take this time during quarantine to rediscover the old ones that we favor and have deep historical ties, but ensure that you establish new ones meaningful for you if they give you solace and comfort – maybe  join a virtual lodge meeting even if your home lodge isn’t having them, form a ritual of having dinner together or if you’re like me, establishing a virtual game night with friends several times a month. Make a ritual of going on family walks together.

As many Masons already know, rituals can truly have restorative powers.

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