Grand Lodge of Alberta Bulletin
Vol 54, No. 9, November 1989
Promoters of the Art
In every age, Monarchs themselves have been promoters of the art; have not thought it derogatory from their dignity to exchange the sceptre for the gavel, have patronized our mysteries and joined our assemblies.
King James I, also James VI of Scotland, was the son of Mary, Queen of Scots, and was proclaimed King of England when his mother was forced to abdicate in 1603. Although she was a Catholic, James remained through his life, a staunch Protestant. Under his patronage, a group of scholars prepared the authorized version of the Holy Bible which is also known as "The King James Version" in his honour.
He was initiated into Freemasonry in the Lodge of Scoon and Perth No. 3 under the Grand Lodge of Scotland, in 1601, and became a Fellow of the Craft, but could progress no further as the Master Mason Degee had not yet been established. His reign ended in 1625.
Ken Stocks, "Creating a Masonic Thematic Stamp Collection"; The Tasmanian Mason, Vol. 1, No. 8, March 1989.
Past Grand Masters
The Past Grand Masters of Alberta met for dinner in Red Deer on September 5 for a time of fellowship and also to become better acquainted with the Grand Lodge Officers. The M.W., The Grand Master, the Deputy Grand Master and Senior and Junior Grand Wardens were all present.
This is the second meeting of the Past Grand Masters: the first being held last fall. There was no set agenda for the meeting, and the group enjoyed a dinner and a relaxed time of fellowship. It was generally agreed that such meetings should be held once or twice a year. Another dinner will be planned for the spring of 1990.
— Submitted by M.W. Bro. J. Collett, PGM.
Picked up in Passing
The late W.Bro. Bill White, a Charter Member of Lodge Renfrew No. 134 in Calgary, set a standard of dedication and ritualistic perfection that would be difficult to beat.
As a young man he worked with the railway company during the early days of Canada's West. He was frequently moved from place to place across the Prairies during his employment. This separated him from his Lodge even as early as the period of his initiation ceremonies.
Not to worry; Brother White didn't ask for postponements or search for excuses for delay. He used to travel over twenty miles just to prove up his work. One might ask, What's so unusual about that? Well, the unusual part was that he made the long trip both ways by pumping a heavy railroad hand car alone all the way to his Lodge, and he made his return in the blackness and cold of a winter's night.
That was dedication! Do they make them like that any more?
By the way, when asked about the difficulties of night travel in this day, Bill White said that the only danger he considered was that due to the presence on the right-of-way of prairie porcupines. He pointed out that they were in the habit of climbing onto the track, and a fifty-pound animal such as that lying unseen on the track could throw the whole machine off the rails. . . at risk to life and limb of both porcupine and operator.
— Proceedings of Fiat Lux Lodge of Research No. 1980.
Some men take a stand,
Others hide their head in sand.
Some men stand straight and tall,
Others seem to stop and fall.
Some men see in darkest night,
Others never see the light.
Some men see need for change,
Others fear to rearrange.
Some men seem born to lead,
Others never see the need.
Some men seek truth in thought,
Others wonder but stand for naught.
Some men always take a chance,
Others seem afraid to dance.
Some men preach the gospel truth,
Others think this is uncouth.
Some men look before they leap,
Others follow like unthinking sheep.
Some men see each little tree,
Others only forest see.
Some men seek the cause,
Others only live by laws.
Are you the one that sits the pole,
Or do you take a leading role?
Do you watch the world drift by,
Or do you let imagination fly?
We know we can't all leaders be,
Some must watch while others see.
— Palestine Lodge No. 46, April '89.
The Travelling Mason
The Grand Master of Colorado visited every one of the 147 Lodges in his jurisdiction. In doing so he travelled 36,000 miles, apparently in his own car. He spent only $1,500 of the funds of his Grand Lodge. (Proceedings of Grand Lodge of Alberta, 1938, p. 10, Appendix.)
Our greatest danger is that we become so absorbed in the mechanics of Freemasonry that we forget its real meaning.
Freemasonry was founded to serve a human need. Are we losing sight of this human need as we become absorbed in its formalism?
Our Lodges should be centres of inspiration in the interest of good will and Brotherliness. They should be the central force that will stimulate the spirit to inspire men to become more vital and constructive in the life of their communities.
Let us see to it, then, that they do not just become mills for the making of Masons; that they are not more concerned with the conferring of degrees than the inculcation of the spirit of Freemasonry in the life of the candidate, and through him, in the life of the community.
— M.W.Bro. W. J. Burris, P.G.M., Texas. Quebec Masonic Journal, Vol. 2:1, Summer 1989.
From the Past Membership
Some time ago one of our leading Masonic journals held a prize contest asking the best possible answer to the question, "What does my Mastership mean to me?" In the two hundred or more replies submitted the following was judged the best:
A high honor, honored [sic] by the traditions of all time, and superlative in its dignity; a grave responsibility, that my authority shall be wisely exercised, and that my conduct shall increase, rather than diminish the dignity and happiness of my office — a joyous opportunity, to give willingly of my best in thought and deed to the service of mankind, that true Brotherhood may become more of a reality and less of a platitude and by such services to be greater value to my fe llow men and to myself as well — these are the things that Mastership means to me."
— Grand Lodge Bulletin, March 1945.
Lodge Discussion Topic
What are we doing for our widows and orphans this Christmas and throughout the year? Is it enough? Should it be changed?
QUOTATION OF THE MONTH
"If a brother in sorrow or trouble or perplexity instinctively turns to a Lodge officer for comfort or counsel, and finds them, there is a successful officer even if he cannot make a glib speech or recite his ritual with fluent perfection. If the impact of the Lodge on its members and on the community is wholesome and helpful, its officers are a success however unspectacular their performance."
— Masonic Craftsman
QUESTION OF THE MONTH
What is "eleemosynary and where is this word used?
Answer to September's Question
Two responses were received to the Question of the Month published in the September Grand Lodge Bulletin: "Where is Joppa and what is its current name?"
Joppa was a small biblical seaport and is still located about 50 km northwest of Jerusalem on the Mediterranean Sea, and was an old Canaanite city in the 15 century B.C. The town named Joppa can also be found just northeast of Baltimore, Maryland as well as in southern Illinois in the U.S.A.
Sometimes also written as 'Jaffa'. it now forms part of the city known as Tel Aviv — Yafo, in the state of Israei. Tel Aviv was founded in 1909 and in 1950, the neighbouring area of Joffa Jaffa, (Yafo) became part of Tel Aviv.
Tel Aviv is the second largest city in Israel and is the cultural, social and commercial centre of the state.
It was from Joppa that Jonah departed for Tarshish and was swallowed by a giant fish (Jonah 1:3, 14 and it was the place where Dorcas was raised to life by the prayers of Peter (Acts 9:36-41). Joppa was also the destination of one of the groups of F.C. who were attempting to determine the fate of H.A., and consequently found his murderers.
— Submitted by W.Bro. A. James Friesen, I.P.M. Hinton Lodge No. 178 and W.Bro. Stan Wheatley, Jubilee Lodge No. 173.
One of the better Western movies of past years was 'HIGH NOON' featuring the late, great Gary Cooper. It seems to have exerted a strong influence on some people.
Evidence to support this conclusion was provided by the Junior Warden of Lodge Renfrew No. 134 G.R.A. who developed, and found it hard to break, an odd habit.
Until he managed to kick this habit, whenever the Master asked him 'How stands the time?", the only answer he could think to give was "High Noon."
— From the Proceedings of Fiat Lux Lodge of Research No. 1980.
Proverb of the Month
Do not forget little kindnesses and do not remember small faults.
— Chinese Proverb
The Common Pool
Deep in the poppies of Flanders field,
At the close of a gory day,
With prayers said — and courage steeled
Three dying soldiers lay.
On the breast of one was the York Rite Crest
On another, just the Compass and Square,
While the stiffening hand of the other pressed
The Scottish double eagle en flare.
All-for-one and one-for-all
Each had fought for his country's good.
They smiled as their Blood formed a Common Pool,
They smiled — for each understood.
Thomas Willing Hicks
Wetaskiwin Lodge No. 15
November 17, 1988
From the Notices
A man doesn't 'Join Masonry.' It as an act of will; a- deep desire to be more than an 'ordinary man' and be willing to undergo close scrutiny of character. This act of will, his own free will, is the indication that something within has responded to a desire to 'become' a Mason. No one asked, suggested, begged or promised some kind of inducement.
Rev. R.E. Anderson. Indiana.
Summit Lodge No. 30
EXCERPTS FROM A CRITIQUE OF FREEMASONRY'S CRITICS
By V.W. Bro. J. Roberts
I am certain that none of us labours under the illusion that what goes on in the Craft is not known to others. All of that which is written in rituals, as well as our oral tradition is available from the nearest public library. Not all information is correct, but it comes close though. Where did it come from? Masonry has always been blessed — or cursed — with its disgruntled ex-members, for whom any previous obligations are inconsequential, and as Stephen Knight so clearly indicates, they will stretch the t ruth into a lie and what they produce is a caricature of Freemasonry — a parody of the real thing. Our obvious response is to say nothing to critics of this kind, for they will not listen anyway. However, when there are families that are divided because of this false publicity and there is strong urging on the part of a family to have a Mason leave the Craft he dearly loves, then it can become a real problem. And sad to say, more than one Mason has left the Craft to keep peace in the family. H .L. Haywood sa ys that there are many theories that have been put forward to discredit Masons — all the way from being assassins or Mayan Indians in disguise, or have taken Druidic obligations — (whatever they are) — and Haywood says that despite the multiplicity of backgrounds, the critics all have one point in common: "that they ask a Freemason to believe that Freemasonry was never itself — but was always something else in disguise". What we as Masons need to do is to get that message across to the loved ones of Masons who are under pressure, i.e. we are a fraternity. It's not easy, but we ought to give it a try!
Lest We Forget!
Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,
And danced the skies on laughter-slivered wings;
Sunward I've climbed and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds — and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there,
I've chased the shouting wind along and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long delirious, burning blue
I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace,
Where never lark, or even eagle, flew;
And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.
John Gillespie Magee
John Gillespie Magee was killed in action at the age of 19 on December 11, 1941 while serving with the Royal Canadian Air Force. Despite his young age, he was a Brother. He was also the son of the Rev. and Mrs. John Magee of Washington, D.C.
A strong call of duty and adventure took him to Canada to fight before America became involved in the war. Yet, despite the horrors of war, he never lost his sense of wonder and his faith.
Magee's poem, High Flight, joins In Flanders Fields by (another Brother) Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae of the Canadian Expeditionary Force (1914-18) to rank among the best poems to come out of the two world wars of this century.