Prince Hall Texas Winter 2009 Grand Lodge Session

The room is quiet in anticipation.

The Senior Deacon goes to the door, “Let them enter.

Spontaneously 53 Fellowcrafts break into song,

Send it on down

Send it on down

Lord let The Holy Ghost come on down

Heavenly Father hear our call

And let your Holy Spirit fall

Send it on down

Send it on down

Lord let The Holy Ghost come on down

You are Holy

Oh so Holy

Send it on down

Send it on down

Lord let The Holy Ghost come on down.

…as they march in and perambulate around the Lodge room

The ceremony of the 3rd degree had begun.  It was Friday night at Grand Lodge Session and the business of the hour was a mass raising at Grand Lodge.

If you are a Mason and you haven’t seen this done before you have missed a sight to behold. There is electricity in the air as the questions are asked in the First Section and 53 answers returned whose volume of response rattle the Square & Compasses on the altar. And when all is done in this first part of the degree, 53 voices ring out with “Come Along and Get on Board and Ride This Train” as they march around the Lodge and then back out.

And if you haven’t seen 53 Brothers all supine at the same time spread across the Grand Lodge Room, you haven’t felt the power of spiritual community.  Then your heart knows that you are in a place of oneness, of unity, of peace, harmony and accord.

That was the main course and if that’s all there was we would have concluded the evening well satiated.  But desert was on the menu and a scrumptious one at that.  Prince Hall in colonial dress capped off the ceremony with a charge he first gave in 1797 to the African Lodge in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

“Beloved Brethren of the African Lodge:

“It is now five years since I delivered a charge to you on some parts and points of masonry. As one branch or superstructure of the foundation, I endeavored to show you the duty of a mason to a mason, and of charity and love to all mankind, as the work and image of the great God and the Father of the human race. I shall now attempt to show you that it is our duty to sympathise with our fellow-men under their troubles, and with the families of our brethren who are gone, we hope, to the Grand Lodge above.”

“We are to have sympathy, but this, after all, is not to be confined to parties or colors, nor to towns or states, nor to a kingdom, but to the kingdoms of the whole earth, over whom Christ the King is head and grand master for all in distress.”

“Among these numerous sons and daughters of distress, let us see our friends and brethren; and first let us see them dragged from their native country, by the iron hand of tyranny and oppression, from their dear friends and connections, with weeping eyes and aching hearts, to a strange land, and among a strange people, whose tender mercies are cruel,—and there to bear the iron yoke of slavery and cruelty, till death, as a friend, shall relieve them. And must not the unhappy condition of these, our fellow-men, draw forth our hearty prayers and wishes for their deliverance from those merchants and traders, whose characters you have described in Revelation xviii. 11-13? And who knows but these same sort of traders may, in a short time, in like manner bewail the loss of the African traffic, to their shame and confusion? The day dawns now in some of the West India Islands. God can and will change their condition and their hearts, too, and let Boston and the world know that He hath no respect of persons, and that bulwark of envy, pride, scorn and contempt, which is so visible in some, shall fall.”

“Now, my brethren, nothing is stable; all things are changeable. Let us seek those things which are sure and steadfast, and let us pray God that, while we remain here, he would give us the grace of patience, and strength to bear up under all our troubles, which, at this day, God knows, we have our share of. Patience, I say; for were we not possessed of a great measure of it, we could not bear up under the daily insults we meet with in the streets of Boston, much more on public days of recreation. How, at such times, are we shamefully abused, and that to such a degree, that we may truly be said to carry our lives in our hands, and the arrows of death are flying about our heads. “

“My brethren, let us not be cast down under these and many other abuses we at present are laboring under,—for the darkest hour is just before the break of day. My brethren, let us remember what a dark day it was with our African brethren, six years ago, in the French West Indies. Nothing but the snap of the whip was heard, from morning to evening. Hanging, breaking on the wheel, burning, and all manner of tortures, were inflicted on those unhappy people. But, blessed be God, the scene is changed. They now confess that God hath no respect of persons, and therefore, receive them as their friends, and treat them as brothers. Thus doth Ethiopia stretch forth her hand from slavery, to freedom and equality. “

I was very proud that my Lodge, Pride of Mt. Pisgah #`135 had three new Master Masons raised at this Grand Lodge Sessions, three Brothers we all in the Lodge had worked hard with and who had in turn applied themselves assiduously.

But we weren’t done yet.  That was only day one of Winter Session which is half as long as the four day Summer Session.  Saturday morning’s Grand Session reconvened and the Grand Master was escorted in and received in proper fashion. The Grand Lodge conducted its business and heard reports from many of its committees.  Almost all of that is private information that cannot be shared.  But I can tell you that Prince Hall Texas voted favorably on mutual recognition with Mainstream California and Mainstream Connecticut.

After the business of the Grand Lodge was completed we broke into workshops and presentations.  I viewed four interesting informational presentations.  One was on Real Estate and mortgages.  The second was a demonstration of a Masonic burial service.  The third a presentation of a new data base system being developed for Grand Lodge whereby we would be operating our own servers.

The fourth workshop was given by a member of my Lodge.  PM Kazar LaGrone gave us a lecture and Power Point slide show on the Masonic Library of Iowa

After lunch we had a presentation by the Deputy Grand Master Michael T. Anderson on Masonic catechism. He tuned us all up.

We topped off the day with two stirring presentations.  The first was given by the Grand Chaplain.  His theme was  The whole is greater than the sum total of its parts. He told us that the key word was SYNERGY, working together to achieve a greater good.  The problem is, he said, that we have steam shovel ability but we are doing teaspoon work. He left us with the thought that we can achieve much when we don’t care who gets the credit.

The second and final address to the Grand Lodge was by the Grand Historian who led us in a journey, bringing us down from Boston, Providence and Philadelphia into Kansas and from Kansas into Texas where Prince Hall Texas was born. Lodges were chartered by Captain W.D. Mathews, Most Worshipful Grand Master of Kansas and after the Civil War Norris Wright Cuney, who had been mentored by Mathews, was elected the first Grand Master of the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Texas when it was formed in Brenham, Texas. Cuney was a noted community leader and Republican politician in the Galveston area and our Grand Historian also intertwined the political and economic conditions into the journey noting the contributions of Black Freemasons in freeing the bonds of slavery, addressing the needs of Reconstruction and paving the wave for a new vision of a day when we all work together with the very same tools.  When he finished we all felt as if  we had been on that 40 year trek.  There was really nothing left to be said and to thunderous applause and the love of his Brothers, the Grand Historian retired upon which the Grand Lodge promptly closed.

Afterward many of us gathered in the lobby to take pictures of the massive collection of toys for Christmas children and the members of the Prince Hall family who were responsible for this heartwarming program.

Another year has gone by in Freemasonry, one of great inspiration and the development of good men and the introduction of many new ones.   The job is never completed.  We enter the 2010 year again spreading light, one man at a time.

Posted in The Bee Hive and tagged .

Fred is a Past Master of Plymouth Lodge, Plymouth Massachusetts, and Past Master of Paul Revere Lodge, Brockton, Massachusetts. Presently, he is a member of Pride of Mt. Pisgah No. 135, Prince Hall Texas, where is he is also a Prince Hall Knight Templar . Fred is a Fellow of the Phylaxis Society and Executive Director of the Phoenix Masonry website and museum.


  1. Please share with me who,where,or how can I become a freemason in the state of Texas or Louisiana ? contact # 318 541-3939

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