Practice for Fall Festival

Sam TishCHANGE PRACTICE DATE:   Now 4 AUG–(vs. 21 JUL).  Scheduling conflict requires this change.

Additional guidelines–see APPENDIX D (red softbound–pp. D-8 thru D-11)–are available for use when conducting the York Rite CHAPTER degree for Past Masters scheduled during our 2011 Fall Festival.  This information will be especially useful for the SD and RWM.  [Use your spare time to review the ritual and guidelines prior to our first scheduled rehearsal now on 04 AUG–6:30 p.m., at EOLA Lodge].  We would like to do this degree from memory.  “The CHARGE is to be read.”  Bring your CHAPTER books.

Dress is casual for all rehearsals.  Companions who have experience with this DEGREE are encouraged to attend and provide guidance.

To our Degree TEAM:  (Jerry FAVOR has RE-scheduled us to “practice” at EOLA Lodge at 6:30 p.m., 1ST THURS of AUG).  Bring your York Rite friends as sideliners.
We have scheduled our first practice at EOLA Lodge (6:30 p.m.–on 4 AUG).   Let’s try to work without books on 4 AUG when we practice our parts for the Degree of Past Masters.

We believe we have a solid team for the DEGREE OF PAST MASTERS (see pp. 43 – 53–RED BOOK).  Volunteers [5 CHAIRS + TILER] are listed below.

SW SOARES, Leibnitz
SD RUDD, Michael
Sam Tish, KYCH

What Is Freemasonry?

Square & Compass LogoProbably the finest definition ever devised for Freemasony is: “It is a beautiful system of morality, veiled in allegory, and illustrated by symbols…”

This system of morality, or ethics, is as old as civilization. One must penetrate the allegorical veils, with the aid of symbolical emblems, and practice the moral precepts which have been therein revealed to prepare ourselves, spiritually, “as living stones for that house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” Freemasonry is “a Way of Life”.

Freemasonry is a progressive science. A Mason can only advance by taking every step. He must acquire and apply the knowledge available to him on each level and perfect his skills so that each stone designed for that Spiritual Building might be square, level and plumb.

Candidates for Freemasonry must come of their own free will. American Grand Lodges prohibit the solicitation of members. The applicant must have a sincere desire to unite with a fraternity dedicated to “Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth”.

Many centuries ago the craft so successfully protected its trade secrets, consisting primarily of architectural and geometrical lore, that it became known as a secret society. Centuries later, when the fraternity had developed strong attachments to the precepts of Truth, Justice and Liberty, and the religious establishment instituted the “Inquisition”, the Freemasons became a secret society in fact. Today this description no longer applies. What Freemasonry teaches is written out for all to read. Masonic halls are listed in local directories. The members wear emblems publicly. The only secrets of the craft today are the manner in which the degrees are conferred and the means of recognition among the members.

Freemasonry is neither a religious nor political organization. It has been called the “handmaiden of religion” as it encourages all members to be active in the church of their choice. No theological dogmas nor creeds exist in Masonic practice, other than a reverence for God and a spiritual concern for our fellowman. While the Masonic craft does not support political candidates nor issues, it inspires each member to fulfill his civic responsibilities as an American citizen. The discussion of sectarian religion or partisan politics is prohibited in all branches of Freemasonry in the United States except the Christian Orders which are not denominational.

The annals of Freemasonry reveals two parallel lines of development; one is based upon historic fact with documentary support, and the other, an allegorical account that begins with the creation of the world. Many centuries ago the allegorical thread began to interweave with history and produced the fabric of modern Freemasonry.

It is appropriate to mention here that Freemasonry has grown directly from the small bands of builders who erected the first stone buildings on the continent of Europe. At a later date, expert European Masons were brought to England to construct the early castles and churches. They also brought with them the ancient legends, traditions anmd charges (rules) of their trades. These small independent groups acquired the title of “lodges”. Each lodge modified the ancient legends, traditions and charges, with which they were familiar, to suit their own purposes, with the result that no real standards existed within the craft. While no documents remain from the 10th century, we receive a glimpse oth the moral aspects of the ancient craft from the Regius Poem.

Excerpted from: A History and Handbook, The York Rite of Freemasonry, by Frederick G. Speidel


The reference to “Free Masons” occurs in the earliest documents. There are several suggested explanations for the meaning of this term. One is that they were workers in free stone and had the ability to shape it as they desired. The more logical meaning is that the workmen were free to move from one building project to another as they wished.

Upon completion of a particular building, each fellow of the craft would seek employment wherever it could be found. An apprentice was bound to a particular Fellow or Master and accompanied him to the new location. Prior to securing new employment, the Fellow would be examined on his knowledge, and have to exhibit specimens of his skill. It is very probable that he also would have to impart some sign or token of a secret nature to prove the Master that he had secured his knowledge and ability in a lawful manner, and was a worthy brother of the craft.

Excerpted from: A History and Handbook, The York Rite of Freemasonry, by Frederick G. Speidel

Legendary Foundations for the Craft

Through the centuries, working lodges in Germany, France, and England developed traditions explaining the origins of their particular trade.

The medical profession traces its ethical standards from Aesculapius, the mythological Greek God of Healing, and Hippocrates (died 377 B.C.), the father of modern medicine. The legal profession claims descent from Hammurabi, king of Babylon (circa 2000 B.C.), who developed an early traditional example of excellence in their field of endeavor.

There are two reasons for this practice; first, to establish a level of proficiency from which they will attempt to advance, and second, to establish a fixed time from which all knowledge of the art should be preserved, thereby insuring that all pertinent discoveries are retained for future use by the craft.

Freemasonry, in the middle ages, had a dual concern. They were attempting to build the highest, lightest, most magnificent cathedrals within their capabilities, for the Glory of God. In addition, they were concerned for the moral and spiritual development of their members as expressed in the ancient documents.

In a search for an early tradition to exemplify their dual concern, they acquired the account from the Holy Bible of the building of King Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem as a foundation for the future development of the craft.

The stones for Solomon’s Temple, after being shaped in the quaries, fitted together so perfectly at the building site, “so that, there was neither hammer, nor axe, nor any tool of iron heard in the house, while it was building”. (I Kings 6:7) This account of perfect wormanship, together with the proven excelence of Solomon’s organization, has been selected by the fraternity as a fitting example to follow for future generations.

A number of legends or traditions have been superimposed upon the Biblical account of building the Great Temple. The stories explain additional events of value, or interest, to the various grades or classes of workmen employed in the construction of the temple. Many of those legends have been selected by modern Masonic organizations to exemplify additional moral or spiritual values.

In addition to events surrounding the building of the Temple in Jerusalem, other occurrencies in religious history have found their place in Masonic ritual and teaching.

Excerpted from: A History and Handbook, The York Rite of Freemansonry, by Frederic G. Speidel

The Charitable Objectives of Symbolic Freemasonry

From “time immemorial” it has been the custom and practice of Masonic Lodges to relieve human distress wherever it existed. The principle tenets of Freemasonry are: Brotherly Love, Relief, and Truth.

Some may consider that Relief means to extend Charity. However, when Relief is extended to a worthy individual it is an act of Brotherly Love, rather than Charity. Freemasonry endeavors to impress this fact upon the members. There are many ways to extend Relief rather than financial… a friendly word in time of distress, a visit, a sounding board for problems, etc. Many Lodges and Grand Lodges have permanent programs for extending aid to those in need.

The Symbolic Lodges maintain a Charity Committee which oversees local needs. Their activity would include alleviating short term distress. For example, a particular Master Mason died of cancer while quite young. His daughter had one semester of college to complete for her degree. His widow has little money. His lodge took up a collection and in two weeks had secured the means for the girl to complete her education. Hundreds of similar acts of Masonic Charity are extended by the Symbolic Lodges weekly. In addition, the Lodges maintain permanent committees to sponsor the Charitable Objectives of their Grand Lodges.

A great number of Grand Lodges maintain homes for the elderly. They also operate and support homes for orphan children. In our world today, social orphans far outnumber biological orphans and the Masonic fraternity is dedicated to improving the future of the next generation. Additionally, many Grand Lodges are supporting medical research programs and medical centers.

The national youth organizations of The Order of DeMolay for Boys, The Order of Rainbow and The Order of Job’s Daughters for Girls, are sponsored and/or supported by the Masonic Fraternity.

Excerpted from: A History and Handbook, The York Rite of Freemasonry, by Frederic G. Speidel