McCabe’s longtime friend Rich Baxter had this to say:
Mike McCabe passed away today on March 13, 2018, he was one of my best friends for over 30 years. In our early friendship he took me up to the Grand Lodge in North Jersey for a ceremony – he wanted me to consider joining the Masonic Lodge. I never did join but I always knew that Mike was of the highest standard that a Mason could be, he lived and breathed the Masonic traditions and embraced them. When he saw wrong with this lodge that had shady dealings going on, he reported it. That’s the way Mike was, an honorable man who had character beyond belief. He held himself to a high standard and expected that of others in the Masonic Brotherhood. To be thrown out of the Masonic Lodge was something I never expected that other Masons could get away with. They may have done this to him but I believe the bad karma will eventually come back on them- the cowardice and malice they showed Mike is yet an example that evil and corruption exists in the least expected places. No, the Lodge never voted Mike McCabe back in, but he will always be a good standing Mason and person in my eyes and in the eyes of many who knew him. God bless, Mike, Rest in Peace, my brother.
McCabe was expelled from the Grand Lodge of New Jersey on very minor infractions that did not live up to the severity of unmasonic conduct. He also wrote an expose of his Grand Lodge for pulling the charter of his Lodge, Trimble Lodge, after a vote did not go the way the Grand Master wanted. McCabe claimed that the Grand Lodge confiscated the well-endowed funds of Trimble Lodge to bolster its own shortcomings.
McCabe sought a new trial and/or reinstatement claiming the Grand Lodge did not follow its own Constitution, By-Laws and rules and regulations. He never received one, but he never lost his faith in the Craft which he served so well. His many accomplishments in Freemasonry will live on forever and his legacy as a Freemason will shine brightly as a path to emulate.
” I would like to leave you with this thought: The tide recedes, but leaves behind bright seashells, on the sand. The sun goes down, but gentle warmth still lingers on the land. The music stops, and yet — it echoes on in sweet refrains. For every joy that passes, something beautiful remains.” (quoted from here).
Is it dying? How many candidates have you raised in the last year? Have you analyzed what you are doing wrong and what you are doing right?
How is your retention? Do you raise Brothers that never come back? Or are they gone after about three months?
Are you raising Masons that shouldn’t be there just because you hastily gave them a petition? Are you raising Masons who are applying before they are ready to accept what it means to be a Mason? Are you raising Masons that do not fit into the peace and harmony of your Lodge? Do you have a really good Investigating-Petitioning process that screens out those that won’t fit and those who will quit?
Do you have a good mentoring system, not only for those who are going through the degrees but Master Masons in their first year and beyond if needed?
Brother Rhit Moore
Meet Brother Rhit Moore who suffered through three meltdowns of his Lodge before he got wise. Brother Moore will explain to you what he and other committed members of his Lodge implemented the fourth time around to create a successful Lodge. He will explain how his Lodge raises 20 to 40 new Master Masons every year who stay.
Brother Moore doesn’t have a magic wand. He learned what needed to be done the hard way. But he and other members of Fort Worth Lodge learned from their mistakes and kept on trying. Now they have a system that works for them and Fort Worth Lodge is in a new renaissance.
I am often asked, not only by the public at large but even by some Masons, how does Masonry make good men better? A large proportion of Masons, after a lot of errs and ahs, will finally come out with something like, “Well we do a lot of charity.” A more sophisticated answer would be that Masonry has a peculiar system of morality which, if followed, cannot help but make good men better.
The problem is that after being raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason many Brothers are left on their own to figure out how to exactly accomplish this improvement.
Has anybody set up a school to teach Masons on how to apply the virtues of Masonry to their daily lives? Maybe sporadically here and there, there is such instruction but nothing large enough or popular enough to be noticed by the majority of Masons on a nationwide basis.
Originally starting out as contemplative exercises or practices like prayer, meditation, breath work, chanting, and visualization, Dunning expanded his concept into a primer for those seeking to utilize Masonic symbolism and teachings in a way that is practical, accessible, inspiring, and profoundly transformative.
CONTEMPLATIVE MASONRY is a much-needed resource for Masons seeking to undertake the challenging and rewarding work of deep self-knowledge and self-improvement. Dunning provides Masons with a unique system of practices derived directly from the Degrees of Craft Masonry, without reliance upon other religious, spiritual, or esoteric traditions. He also shares the valuable wisdom and insights that come from decades of personal experience with contemplative practices.
Chuck Dunning has been a Master Mason since 1988, and his mother lodge is Haltom City-Riverside #1331, in Haltom City, Texas. He is also a member of Albert Pike #162 in Guthrie, Oklahoma, and also belongs to a number of Masonic research societies. In the Scottish Rite, Chuck is a Knight Commander of the Court of Honor, Director of Education for the Guthrie Valley in Oklahoma, and a Class Director for the Fort Worth Valley
in Texas. In 2012 he became the founding Superintendent of the Academy of Reflection, which is a chartered organization for Scottish Rite Masons wanting to integrate contemplative practice with their Masonic experience.
Chuck has been engaged in various forms of contemplative practice for over three decades. In his career in higher education and mental health, in
Masonry, and with other groups and individuals, he facilitates and teaches mindfulness, meditation, and imagery to enhance peoples’ experiences of life in many ways. Chuck holds a master’s degree in counselor education and a bachelor’s degree in psychology, both from the University of North Texas.
Dunning tells us that Masonic ritual steers Masons into becoming contemplative.
He says early on in the book:
“Our tradition tells us that Speculative Masonry ‘leads the contemplative to view with reverence and admiration the glorious works of creation, and inspires him with the most exalted ideas of the perfections of his Divine Creator.’ It should be recognized that this passage distinguishes the contemplative Mason as one who is guided by the Craft to be more reverent, admiring, and inspired than one might otherwise be.”
“A true contemplative uses the faculties of the psyche as a collection of fine working tools. One learns to employ those tools with the proper measures of force and precision in order to more fully reveal the wisdom, strength, and beauty in whatever matter is chosen. One thus makes of oneself a true philosopher, a literal ‘lover of wisdom.’”
Later he goes on to explain the importance of contemplative practice in making good men better.
“There can be no doubt that a comprehensive and functional psychology is inherent to Masonry. We have seen that our tradition provides us with profound clues and useful information about the structure, dynamics, and health of the psyche, as well as guidelines for holistic maturation and rich rewarding relationships. All of this has been to expand upon the realization that Masonry’s greatest purpose is to assist its members in transforming their lives into wiser, stronger, and more beautiful reflections of the Great Architect’s designs for the human soul and society.”
Echoing my earlier complaint, and I am not the only one Coach John Nagy concurs, that Freemasonic Institutions need to take a bigger part in the life application of its virtues and peculiar system of morality, Dunning has this to say:
“It is one thing to grasp the philosophical basis of an esoteric approach to Masonry, but as with other esoteric pursuits, there should also be a practical dimension. In other words, in order to fully engage Masonic esotericism, we should include practices that are especially fitting in the Masonic milieu. It is therefore interesting, and perhaps frustrating to some of us, that our tradition encourages such things without offering much explicit technical guidance. This fact has undoubtedly contributed to the somewhat popular notion that Masonry is meant to lead to another system of esoteric thought and practice. However, it can be argued that there are elements of our ritual and its teachings that strongly suggest actual practices which require no special knowledge of other traditions or specific systems.”
Half of the book is devoted to the philosophical foundation for contemplative Masonry and the other half is actual contemplative exercises Masons can perform. These exercises are the basis for the life application of Masonry, that sought-after explicit technical guidance. And they are transformative.
But what really sent me into contemplative bliss was the conclusion that Dunning comes to. That is the answer to the question where does this all lead. What will be the end result of this transformation?
It all starts with one of the best quotes from the book:
“It is the position of this book that the Lost Word is indeed the deepest and most profound mystery of the Masonic art, as well as the greatest wage of a Master Mason.”
And then the conclusion:
“Through the practice of Freemasonry, and particularly through a contemplative practice of Freemasonry, we can become more aware of the presence of the Divine within ourselves, and in our lives and around us and become a more capable servant because of that awareness.”
“The most important way that this manifests in the life of a Mason is in how loving he becomes once he recognizes that the Divine is in himself, the Divine is all around him, that the Divine is in his Brothers, that the Divine is in every human being. That is one of the most powerful catalysts for a life transforming experience of love.”
“Love is at once the prime motive force, the most desirable sentiment the most admirable action, and the worthiest product of our work.”
Chuck Dunning founded the Academy of Reflection within the Scottish Rite and is its first leader. This newest addition to Scottish Rite practice was
chartered by the Guthrie Valley in Oklahoma and is now spreading to other Valleys throughout the United States. It is a place for the formal practice of contemplative Masonry.
Masonic filmmaker Tristan Bourlard and his groundbreaking global film, Terra Masonica, interviews on Phoenixmasonry Live! Special appearance by The Prince Hall Think Tank co-host, Dave Gillarm, who is featured on the film.
Brother Tristan Bourlard
I have often wanted to see Freemasonry in foreign lands, to travel and enjoy the Craft around the world. Unfortunately, I do not have a budget that will accommodate my desires.
Yet I have just made this wonderful world-wide excursion through Freemasonry from the comfort of my home, thanks to Tristan Bourlard’s movie, Terra Masonica.
I traveled near and far. Here in the United States I was able to visit the oldest Lodge in America. Have you heard of St. John’s Cemetery in Pennsylvania that has been reclaimed from the jungle? That is a story in itself.
Starting in the Mother Lodge Number Nothing in Scotland I toured the U.S.A., South America, the South Pole, the North Pole, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, the Ukraine and India. I was actually able to be at the installation of a new Worshipful Master of the Mother Lodge of Scotland and to see the joy of the whole community expressed at this event.
These travels showered me with the history and MEMORIES of Freemasonry here and abroad. There was, in Phoenixmasonry’s Live Interview, the appearance of special guest Brother Dave Gillarm from Mt. Pisgah Lodge No 53, Columbus, Georgia, The Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Georgia. He recounted having Bourlard live with him while filming Georgia. The Memory came when Bourlard filmed a woman, over 100 years old, who was present at Martin Luther’s King’s speech given at Gillarm’s Lodge in 1958.
Masonic Memories continued when Bourlard filmed in Jerusalem and we saw shots of King Solomon’s Temple from a different angle. The there was the persecution of Freemasonry in Spain under Franco exposed. We learned about Estela Lodge No 1, Antonina Village in Brazil that purchased slaves in order to set them free.
The chance to experience Fin Del Mundo, The End of The World Lodge in Antarctica and Hele Bjorn, the Lodge at the North Pole, Grand Lodge of Norway was a once in a lifetime visit.
Terra Masonica shows us places where practicing Freemasonry is still difficult. In Mali, Africa and in the Ukraine we visited places where Masonic Meetings were held in secret locations or met under armed security.
Above all we learn about the Universality of Freemasonry. Bourlard recounts that one of his purposes in making this movie was to break down the barriers that exist in Freemasonry and to bring Brothers together. Realizing that there is a big Masonic World outside your Lodge is a step in that direction. The roofless, walless Masonic Temple in the wilds of Parana Brazil was built by a Mason who was tired of all the bickering and who wanted a place for Freemasons of any Jurisdiction to meet. In India we witnessed Freemasonry dedicated to educating young people and teaching them how to interact with people of different cultures and beliefs.
Bourlard reports to us that while many parts of the World, such as North America, are lamenting a marked decrease in Masonic membership, Freemasonry is doing well in France and Germany and growing by leaps and bounds in Brazil and India. He predicted that the Grand Lodge of India would be the largest Grand Lodge in the world in just a few years.
Many stories have been left behind in this brief account of this Masonic journey across the Globe. One thing is for sure. While we look at Globalization taking place in civil, political, religious, economic and entertainment undertakings, we should not overlook the fact that Globalization is taking place in Freemasonry also. And Terra Masonica is just the movie to educate you and thrill you on this subject.
You may view Terra Masonic on ITunes. Soon it will be available for purchase on Amazon. Right now you can buy it here: http://www.matsol.info/
We last visited Patrick Craddock in June of 2013 with an article on Freemason Information that you can see HERE. Since that time Craddock has increased his product line.
While he may not make all his accessories personally they are his design. Everything on Craddock’s Site for sale has been personally designed by him and for him. They cannot be found elsewhere.
“Throughout the early 1990’s to 2009, Patrick produced aprons in the evenings and on weekends as a sideline business. From a hobby born of necessity, The Craftsman’s Apron has become the foremost purveyor of quality Masonic regalia in North America. Today our aprons are worn in twenty-seven States and two foreign countries. In addition to our aprons we have increased our product line to include custom ties, Lodge banners, cuff links, t-shirts, officer jewels and collars.”
Of course, Craddock’s mainstay is still his handcrafted, hand painted aprons. A large portion of the aprons Craddock makes are custom designs special ordered. Whether you want to design your own apron or just give Craddock some of your favorite Masonic symbols and let him work with them to make a one of a kind creation, you will be hard pressed to find anybody else in the United States that can do that for you.
Craddock also delivers lectures, most often a power point presentation of the Evolution of the Masonic Apron in the United States. He travels to many Jurisdictions to their Grand Session and he is available to speak anywhere upon request.
Brother John “Coach” Nagy recently sat down with Phoenixmasonry Live and talked about his Masonic mission of informing members of the Craft about its history, origins and how to learn more about the Society to which they belong. It was a session where even greater Light was transmitted to all the Brethren.
Each and every time I talk with Coach Nagy I never fail to learn something new. His research is thorough and far reaching into History, Religion, Masonry, Archaeology, Semantics and Etymology. He has a unique ability to bring all these fields of study together into one coherent whole, thus enabling him to relate to his readers the meaning of the symbolism, origin, sources, and meaning of our great Fraternity.
His book “The Craft Unmasked” is a seminal work that breaks new ground in the understanding of the origins of Freemasonry. That book has been reviewed on Freemason Information and can be viewed HERE.
The Beehive has always admired multi-talented Masons who are experts in many different fields. We can learn so much from such people. And if you follow Coach Nagy he will be your Socrates, asking you one question after another until you “learn how to learn.”
I hope you will enjoy the video above and that it will offer you new insight into Masonry.
Building Janus is another catechism primer from Coach John Nagy. Building Janus is where the Master Mason builds insight. Nagy tells us that, “in Roman Mythology, Janus is the god of Bourne, Passages and the rising and setting Sum. In general, he was the patron of all beginnings, concrete and abstract.”
What does the Third Degree do for Masons? Well, Nagy tells us that it directs Masons into “learning how to learn.” He says that it “assists them in recognizing things that most ordinary thinkers would not.” “Men are prepared to see things that unprepared men cannot.”
Nagy speaks about the Bourne, the passage, and how Masonic study opens doors. “Masters (Master Masons) perceive Doors unseen by others, “he says. He goes on to say, “Masters open Doors locked to others. Masters Pass through Doors impassable by others.”
But to make this journey, to travel in foreign lands, to experience new ideas, a Master Mason must prepare himself for travel. “Improperly prepared Masons venturing into such lands are likened to individual hands making effort to clap against nothing.”
Nagy explains to us the eight foreign lands a Mason is introduced to. To make these journeys a Master Mason needs to “pay attention to the ritual and do the Work required of him.”…for those who are Properly Prepared and who possess suitable proficiency, Traveling never ends.”
From there Nagy tells us, “The working Tool that is my favorite is the one that exists within a truly Raised Mason. That Working Tool is his Ordered brain.” Nagy speaks strongly here about bringing men to Order from Chaos. He tells us of the benefits of the three degrees:
“Masons trained by Entered Apprentice Work are less likely to strike out personally at other people when it is pointed out that the quality of their work lacks Integrity.”
“Masons trained by Fellow Craft Work are less likely to accept the illogical, irrational and unsound premises and conclusions that lesser trained people offer up as credible.”
“Fully trained Masons recognize specific Patterns that denote others who have been brought to Order from Chaos. They also recognize those people who are still in Chaos.”
Coach Nagy is a very spiritual man. He shows us that in his Ordering Catechism.
John “Coach” Nagy
“The second task is understanding how both the internal and the external worlds interrelate. The foundation of this understanding is also laid by doing the Work spoken of in the first two degrees.”
“How do Masons benefit from this knowledge? They accurately perceive the interconnections of both worlds and between both worlds.”
“The third task is to apply these understanding Metaphorically toward worlds conceived by imagination that lie beyond those known by humankind’s physical experience. Such ability allows Masons to obtain and communicate deep and profound truths with others who are likeminded.”
Now that is most profound.
But, “Ritual provides to Masons only the barest of bones. What is received by one’s efforts is only the beginning of Mastery.”
More Work is required, says Nagy. What follows in the book is explanations of The Widow’s Son and The Master’s Word.
Nagy tells us, “The more I explore the Allusions offered by Masonry, the more expansive and interconnected I find my world.”
A most interesting chapter is the one on the symbolism of the Lion in Masonry. And again Nagy urges his reader to pause and meditate on the meaning of such symbolism.
“Masons pausing to Perpend what is before them have an advantage over those Masons that don’t. It takes a certain amount of discipline to remove oneself from the game and reflect upon its different aspects. Insight into any game often depends upon Perpending elements not considered by those who do not take the time to pause.”
The history of the symbolism of the Lion in society through the ages is most interesting and reflects on why Masonry has included it in its ritual.
Nagy points out, “During the Greek and Roman period, the Lion was the Symbol of the fallen hero. It also was often used as a guardian figurine for Gates, Temples, and Buildings. In Christian art, the Lion represents the Redeemer. The Lion is also Emblematic of the Gospel writer Saint Mark the Evangelist. The Lion symbol was also used in medieval heraldry and is still currently used on seals, flags, shields and banners and is also depicted on the flag of Jerusalem.”
The fallen hero, eh? Now refer to the Legend of Hiram Abiff! How do we raise the fallen hero?
Nagy goes on to further catalog the use of the Lion during the Lion period in the 1700’s. “During this time, British artisans and craftsmen took to carving Lions’ masks on the knees of cabriole legs and the arms of chairs and settees, and Lion’s paws on furniture feet. This was the same period when the ‘Lion’ was carved into the foot of the Third Degree.”
But Nagy isn’t through with the lion. He points out the popularity of Sphinxes in ancient Egypt. “In ancient Egypt, Sphinxes were placed at the entrances of Temples to guard the mysteries, by warning those who penetrate within, that they should conceal the knowledge of these mysteries from the uninitiated.”
This Lion symbolism goes a long way to explain the meaning of the strong grip of a Master Mason.
Nagy concludes his book with a chapter on Speculative Masonry and why the term Speculative may be a misnomer.
I have to say that this is my favorite Building book by Coach Nagy so far. This is where the Master Mason gets down to the nitty-gritty. This is where our request for some meat is answered.
Nagy reminds us that Masonic Ritual is just a road map. It is up to us to take the road map and explore all the ramifications and applications that can broaden our world and truly make us better persons. This is where true Mastery begins.
Once again Coach Nagy advises us to think, to contemplate, to explore and ask questions and seek answers. Building Janus is the GPS to new discoveries. But we, as Master Masons, must learn how to learn and do the Work necessary to obtain the prize – those deep and profound truths that enable us to travel to foreign and uncharted venues. This is the real secret or mystery of Masonry, and Building Janus is the book for every Master Mason to take on his journey.
You can order your copy of Building Janus at the link below:
There is a Past Master in Boerne, Texas who is a master craftsman. He is probably the only one you will find that designs and creates Masonic knives, knives of many different sizes and styles. His name is Jim McBeth and he is McBeth Knives.
His house is in a sparsely populated area called “The Hill Country” in Texas, an area steeped in American Cowboy, Native American and Mexican heritage. McBeth’s office reflects that heritage with western art and sculpture everywhere. And on the wall is his membership in The Former Texas Ranger Foundation for the support he has given that organization.
The Former Texas Ranger Foundation
But it’s not the office where knives are made. McBeth has transformed his garage into a large workshop with many heavy pieces of machinery that he uses to craft his knives. It is a labor of love for McBeth. He insists that only the finest, high-grade materials be used for his knives.
He makes his own knife pins making sure that there is a design inside them. He uses pins” with “Mosaic” patterns when possible. The material used for these pins include rods of Brass, Copper, Stainless Steel and Aluminum. McBeth often arranges the various sizes of these rods in patterns to create a ‘mosaic’ for each particular knife.
McBeth only works with the highest quality steel knife blanks, ordering only high grade 440c stainless steel “blanks”. Damascus patterns include Ladder, Raindrop, Twist, Herringbone just to name a few. The “blanks” that he uses are made from multiple bars of 1095 Carbon steel and multiple bars of high Nickel 15N20 steel creating between 175 and 250 layers in whatever pattern the “maker” decided.
The handles are crafted from various types of exotic woods. Some of these “Exotics” include Cocobolo
Scottish Rite Knife
Rosewood, Zebrawood, Canarywood, Red Heart, Bocote, Leopardwood, Amboyna, Rosewood Burl, just to name a few. You can have a Masonic Emblem embedded in the Handle.
McBeth takes scrupulous steps, as you can see in the video, in the sanding and buffing process. Each knife must meet his high standard of appearance, quality, and use.
And let’s not forget about the sheath. A High-quality leather sheath, hand-crafted and hand-tooled by
Damascus Steel Masonic Knives
professional leather workers here in the U.S., comes with each knife and a Concho of your choice, Masonic or otherwise, is added if you wish.
A McBeth knife is one of a kind. You won’t find anything like it in stores or flea markets. It makes a wonderful display item as well as a working tool. Many McBeth knives are purchased for gifts and if you need a further custom touch to a gift, McBeth will take that additional step needed to see that your gift is extra special. In a request for a gift for Past Grand Master Jerry Martin of the Grand Lodge of Texas, he made a special carrying case which uniquely displayed the gifted knife and sheath.
Grand Master Gift
To contact McBeth knives or place an order you merely need to go to http://www.mcbethknives.com/
Once again we visit the great Masonic artist Ryan J. Flynn. There is little that you can write anymore that does justice to what this Brother is doing with and for art. You have to see it to believe it. So Phoenixmasonry Live’s December 2016 program SHOWS you what words cannot do justice to. And as he shows us his creations, his description of how he does it will truly amaze you.
“Freemasonry is not a brand name; it is not Nike, it is not Starbucks. Freemasonry is an ideal, an organization of men who, when gathered together, strive for the absolute best in all of us, and they settle for nothing less. I fervently believe that Masonic works of art should strive to meet the same ideal.”
“I pledge that you will never see me settle for average, plain or quick. I will never brand something with a square and compass and call it “Masonic.” To call something “Masonic” means that it is a direct representation of the Craft, and thus should be educational, symbolic and meaningful; something that I strive to do in all my work. Of course, having a shirt embroidered with my lodge is something I would love to wear, but this, although adorned with our symbols, is merely Masonic in name and not substance.”
“Substance is what drives good art, and it is what drives me to create works that truly honors the Craft that I so love dearly.”
Phoenixmasonry hopes that this video will be a permanent part of your library and that you will carry Flynn’s message of appreciation of Masonic art to your Brethren.
On November 17, 2016 Deputy Grand Master of the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Texas F & AM Michael T. Anderson spoke at Jewel P. Lightfoot Lodge No. 1283, Grand Lodge of Texas AF & AM upon the invitation of Worshipful David Bindel. Worshipful Bindel remarked that he thought this could be a historic moment being that this might be the first time a Prince Hall Grand Lodge Officer addressed a Lodge of the Grand Lodge of Texas.
The Lodge opened on the Third Degree at 7:15 PM with a procession of Lodge officers and visitors marching into the Lodge. The Lodge was promptly taken from Labor to Refreshment whereupon Worshipful Bindel announced that this Special Communication was one of a series labeled “Building The Temple,” whereby the Lodge focuses on engaging in dialogue to construct something useful and grow together in Masonic light and in our appreciation of each other.
Without further ado, Worshipful Bindel introduced DGM Anderson reciting his brief Masonic biography after which he gave him the floor.
DGM Anderson began his address by admitting that he had not prepared a formal presentation. He then proceeded to speak from the heart starting his remarks with the importance of the Altar in the Lodge. He went through the meaning and moral teachings of the Three Lessor Lights and the Three Great Lights. Anderson asked those assembled where else could they find an organization that taught such high moral standards.
Anderson spoke about how when he was young, he was a bit on the wild side, and that it was the lessons of Freemasonry that made him into the man he is today. He told us all that he rarely read the Bible when he was young and rarely went to church, but that Freemasonry and the study of its morality, not only made him a better man but led him to studying the Bible and a regular attendee at church.
Anderson stressed the importance of the Masonic philosophy that it is the internal not the external characteristics that recommend a man to be made a Mason. He was emphatic that this one tenet of Freemasonry was responsible for bringing together men of many different walks and stations in life. Can you not see how much more peace and harmony there would be in this world if this tenet was universally adopted, he asked?
He spoke briefly on Prince Hall Freemasonry saying if you want to know about us look at me. I am a product of what we are all about. In contrasting the number of years Masters and Grand Masters serve in each Grand Lodge, he said that he thought five years was the right number for the time of service. The first year, he said, the Master tip toes around not wanting to offend anyone. In the second year he begins to formulate his programs and the stamp he wants to put on his Lodge. Then he has three years to implement his vision. Anderson said he served ten years as Master of Pride of Mt. Pisgah No. 135 but he only intended to serve five. But after five years, some of the Brethren of the Lodge came to him and implored him to continue otherwise many would become inactive.
Taking questions from the Brethren, he articulated the importance of the 24” Gauge. He remarked that eight hours in the service of God did not involve going to church, but rather was all about helping others, doing God’s work in the world. He further expounded that if a man doesn’t work he doesn’t eat. Anderson told us that he had taken a lot of jobs in his life he didn’t much care for but that it put food on the table.
Another question had Anderson expounding on the symbolism of the Point Within A Circle. Anderson said that the point was you and I and the circle was God, that which had no beginning and no end. In our journey through life, if we listen, if we have an open mind, if we are attentive, then we will touch God and God will touch us as we venture out to the outer edges of the noble life.
There were a couple of questions that followed about what can we do as Masons to promote peace and harmony in the world. It seems to many that we are becoming more and more divided and at odds with each other. Anderson went right back to the theme that it is the internal not the external that a Mason looks at in another. It was at this point that Past Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Texas, Elmer Murphy, rose and came out to Anderson and put his arm around him and related an old story in his family about a Black man who helped his father to pick up body parts after an explosion at a chemical factory. He was a big man, Murphy said and then something about his being in the Navy. I loved that man, I heard him say.
I don’t even know if I have that story right since I was concentrating on what I saw before me rather than what was being said. Here was a PGM of the Grand Lodge of Texas and the DGM of the most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Texas arm in arm reinforcing the concept that it is the internal not the external part of a man that is important. And when PGM Murphy completed his tale he hugged DGM Anderson, whereupon every Brother in the room rose to give them both a thunderous applause.
Back in 2006 both Grand Lodges did not recognize each other. In 2007 a Compact of Recognition was signed, but without intervisitation and Masonic intercourse. Just last year those last barriers were removed. And this evening witnessed further progress in Masonic closeness.
The speech being over introductions of all visiting Brethren were made. It was duly noted that we had a Brother from the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Maryland, and a Cuban Brother who was a member of a military Lodge in South Korea.
Worshipful Bindel then presented DGM Anderson with a gift of a gavel and a certificate that made him an honorary member of Jewel P. Lightfoot. Lodge was left to expire at midnight and we all took off for the Komali Mexican Restaurant.
At the restaurant, we satisfied ourselves with good food and libation. But most of all we experienced that Masonic tenet of Brotherly Love and Affection. There were many toasts offered and many new friends made. When we finally parted it was midnight and I returned home with the knowledge that this had truly been a historic occasion.