The Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Arkansas explains what this day is all about:
“As the Christian has a revival, the Moslem has a pilgrimage to Mecca, so do Prince Hall Masons have revivals, and they are called Prince Hall Americanism Day, celebrated on or as close to September 12th each year. It is a time for the Prince Hall Mason to take stock of his life, renew his faith in God, Country and Fraternity, which will include his neighbor. It is a time to renew his faith in God, his patriotism to his country and his duty to mankind. It is in the truest sense a Masonic Revival.”
September 12th is chosen because it is alleged that Prince Hall was born on September 12, 1735
Many Prince Hall Jurisdictions , like Texas, celebrate over two or three days, most often a weekend. This year , as in most, Texas scheduled a dance Friday night 9/11, a picnic 0n Saturday 9/12 and a church service on Sunday 9/13. The picnic got rained out this year as we had two solid days of rain and flooding here and there. I didn’t make the dance but I did participate in the church service.
Prince Hall Masons worship often together and they bring the whole Prince Hall Family. Individual Lodges will schedule a church service at least once per year whereby all members of the Lodge, their families, and Sisters in the Prince Hall Family attend. Not only will Blue Lodges do this but also York and Scottish Rite Bodies will do the same. Districts will also call for a church service at least once per year. And OES and the Heroines will also do likewise and invite the Brothers. Unlike Mainstream Masonry, Prince Hall Masons will openly celebrate their Christianity together. Some outside PHA then form the mistaken impression that Prince Hall only accepts Christians. That is not true. It accepts men of every Faith. In my Lodge we raised two Muslims last year. But when 99% are one religion it is not unnatural for there to be fellowship along religious lines within the fraternity.
This year Prince Hall in my area combined the celebration by uniting Districts 10, 11 and 20 within the Dallas-Fort Worth area. And that was also Districts 10, 11 and 20 from the Heroines of Jericho and OES. There were as many Sisters present as Brothers.
Grand Lodge representatives led us in most phases of the worship held at Central Pointe’ Church of Christ in Dallas, all phases except for the sermon. This message was delivered by Pastor James M. Hutchins of the New Life Community Church of Frisco, Texas and a rousing message it was. Pastor Hutchins used the Scripture of Exodus 3: 1-14, the story of Moses and the burning bush, to bring us the theme of Being Prepared and Being Ready. He told us that Moses was once a powerful man in Egypt, the #2 man behind the Pharoah. But then he killed a man when he was 40 and fled. Now at 80 he just wished to live out his life in quiet obscurity. When called on by God his attitude was who me? I’m 80 years old what can I do? Give me something to make my mission believable to those whom you want me to lead, Moses ended up requesting. Who shall I say is sending me? Pastor Hutchins then , poised for the dramatic moment, proclaimed, – Tell them “I Am That I Am” sent you. And then the Pastor reminded us the difference between I Am That I Am and I AM What I Am.
I loved it when Pastor Hutchins said God could have sent a 45 foot tall Angel with a booming voice and scared the Egyptians half to death or gone Himself. Instead he chose 80 year old Moses. Which goes to show you that one needs to be prepared and be ready.
The Pastor’s message concluded with his reminding us that God sees us, hears us and knows all about us and still loves us unconditionally. “You mean God knows that I lie awake worry about how I am going to pay my bills,” exhorts Pastor Hutchins. His message brought to us the reality that God is always with us and always loving even when we are not.
Many times Brothers and Sisters stood up and applauded during the sermon. It was a great message for the Prince Hall Family for a great man of history who in the sands of time has made an important and lasting impact on the African American community.
Afterward we gathered in the dining room for some soul food and some great fellowship. I had some good conversations with Brothers and Sisters I do not get a regular opportunity to mingle with.
As I left the church and drove out of the parking lot I thought about what I had just experienced – the warmth of “comrades in arms,” the ringing words of Pastor Hutchins and the great stature and example of Prince Hall who was supposed to have his monument on the Cambridge, Massachusetts Common dedicated today but as its fund raising and construction is running behind there was a service of dedication instead. But all these components running through my mind had me thinking – Well done good and faithful servants.