Monday, August 12, 2013

A Report on Unfinished Business: Addressing the Negligence of our Widows, Orphans, Sick and Distress

"If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not Charity, I gain NOTHING."
1 Corinthians 13

The very soul of Freemasonry is Charity; there is no way to deny it. On every charter, and Article of Incorporation we read that we are a BENEVOLENT SOCIETY or CHARITABLE ORGANIZATION. Our REASON FOR EXISTENCE or PURPOSE is to extend charity to the distressed.

Part of the Obligation and Ritual reminds us of this aim, and we hear it spoke in EVERY LODGE MEETING. We pride ourselves on the renovation of a Lodge Hall or how many members or Past Grand Masters we have in our lodges, the money we can raise with our dances and parties, but failing to understand one of the reasons that the Community has lost respect and honor for the Craft as a whole.

It is because the community members, whose mothers, fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers were promised by our lodges that we would care for them when they fell into sickness or distress; that we would care for the families of the fallen Master Masons who served until they poured out their lives for our lodges-we made promises that upon their death that their families would be left in the reliable hands of the lodge, to be cared for as if they were still alive, and those brothers died believing with a firm resolved that the Lodge would uphold that obligation.

Yet, we have found that after a short period of time those widows, orphans, sick and infirm brothers have been forgotten, victims of a forgetful Craft who have traded in their REAL PURPOSE for the title chase and politics of the day. The families of this forgotten promise sit and watch as they witness these very same brothers and their wives, who served tirelessly for the good of the Craft, have their hailing sign UNREGARDED!

Within the compasses of the spirit of Freemasonry, no action goes without its recompense. This means that we sometimes, as leadership, attempt to place a finger on the core issues of why the Jurisdiction is in a decline, or why the lodges are looking like ghost towns. It is the unseen "karma" of neglecting why we exist.

I had a Past Master of my lodge tell me that I am the ONLY person that calls to check on him or come by to see him, and he has dedicated 50+ years to our Lodge. Yes, it is a shameful thing to put out there, but there is a lesson to be gleaned here. That we can NEVER TRULY MOVE ON WITH UNFINISHED BUSINESS IN THE HOUSE!

They are God's business, and we aren't handling God's business, so how can we invoke the name of Deity in our meetings and then neglect His business?

Our rebirth and reemergence is not complete UNTIL WE CAN RECTIFY THIS NEGLIGENCE. Believe it or not, Our rise includes our Widows, Orphans, Sick and Distress, because when the Community sees us taking care of OUR OBLIGATIONS, they will see that the length of our cabletow will extend past the very lives of our members. That our promise is as Eternal as the God before whom we made it.

Message to the Craft:

I make a motion that we go back and complete ALL UNFINISHED BUSINESS...God smiles and says, "I second that motion".

Written by WB John L. Hairston #53, Grand Chaplain
MWPHGL of Washington and Jurisdiction

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Saturday, August 3, 2013

The Grand Tapestry of Washington State Fraternal Relation on Display at Open Air Degree in Granite Falls, WA

Entrance to the Masonic Family Park, site of the Open Air Degree Work, Granite Falls, WA

It was a common call and annual tradition that drew a multitude of Freemasons in the State of Washington and the country of Canada to the heart of Granite Falls, Washington, at an exclusive Family Park for Masons and their families to witness the raising of two Fellow Craft to the sublime Degree of Master Mason. The site of the Open Air Degree was a display of the majesty and light of nature, making the affair a more surreal experience. The Masonic Family park, according the history on their website:

The Masonic Park is the property of the Master Masons Club of Snohomish and Island Counties. It consists of 245 acres of beautifully wooded land on rushing Canyon Creek and is located in the foothills of the majestic Cascade Mountains. This beautiful park was donated by Jacob Anthes, Mathias and Johanna Quist, the Soundview Pulp Company, and the Des Moines Timber Company in four separate bequests between 1922 and 1948. It was donated for the purpose of constructing a park for Master Masons and their families. The Park has been developed entirely by donations of time, effort, money, and materials from many devoted brethren and many of the surrounding lodges. Membership in the Master Masons Club is maintained by an annual fee to all Master Masons belonging to a lodge in Snohomish and Island Counties and is the primary source of revenue for maintenance of the Park. In recent years, the use of the Park has been extended to other Master Masons belonging to lodges outside of Snohomish and island Counties, who wish to maintain an annual associate membership for the same fee per year. Planned development of the Park, inaugurated several years ago to protect this tremendous resource, has made possible the development of timbered portions and the expansion and beautification of picnic and camping areas. For the first time it has a water system and electric power. Provisions for future development of the Park have been made by the adoption of a Memorial Trust Fund form life memberships that will one day provide income for the perpetual maintenance of the Park. Donations to this fund can be made directly to the Master Masons Club or at the entry gate."

It was here, under a most glorious and monumental canopy of an open heaven...

That we, a most grandiose expression of the universality of Freemasonry, gathered for fellowship and the imparting of brotherly cement, that joined fitly, brothers of every hue, complexion and Lodge. Couched in the scenic beauty of the handiwork of the Supreme Architect of the Universe, provided an intimate setting that further charged an atmosphere of Divine unity.

I was reminded of a Surah in the Al-Qur'an that states:


Indeed there were many signs and symbolism to behold;  a southwesterly breeze cascaded the event giving the allegory of the breath of the Grand Architect of the Universe making known his presence among such a noble and harmonious collective of Men. In light of the degree itself and the legend of Hm Af, I found the creative story of Adam a most intriguing analogy.

The open space itself, the crowning jewel of the Park was made into a lodge room using the very element of nature itself. Stations made of wood, embedded in patches of a type of Acacia....

This was the Junior Wardens Station in the South.

The Worshipful Master's Station in the East.

The Altar in the midst of the Open Lodge  Room.

The Senior Warden's Station in the West.


Notice the covering of Acacia that shields each station.                                                                                                                                                                   

Equipped with guards at the entrances like Cherubim bearing flaming swords, it gave the appeal of being transported to the Garden of Eden, at the Raising of Adam. This was our Masonic corner of the earth. We were a nation of diverse tribes unified under the banner of this Ancient and Honorable fraternity of Freemasonry...Reminding me of an Ode written by Bro. Robert Burns...

"Adieu, a heart warm, fond adieu,
Dear brothers of the mystic tie!
Ye favored, ye enlightened few,
Companions of my social joy!
Tho' I to foreign lands must hie,
Pursuing fortune's slidd'ry ba',--
With melting heart and brimful eye,
I'll mind you still, though far awa'."

 "Oft have I met your social band,
An' spent the cheerful, festive night;
Oft, honored with supreme command,
Presided o'er the sons of light;
And by that Hieroglyphic bright,
Which none but Craftsmen ever saw,
Strong memory on my heart shall write
Those happy scenes, when far awa'."

"May freedom, harmony and love
Unite you in the grand design,
Beneath th' omniscient Eye above,
The glorious Architect divine; --
That you may keep the unerring line,
Still rising by the plummet's law,
Till order bright completely shine,
Shall be my prayer when far awa'

 "And you farewell, whose merits claim
Justly that highest badge to wear,--
Heaven bless your honored, noble name,
To Masonry and Scotia dear!
A last request, permit me here;
When yearly ye assemble a',
One round, -- I ask it with a tear
To him, the Bard, that's far awa'."

Or the great words of an anonymous Freemason... 
"There is a place that you can find
Where everyone is always kind,
Where everything is harmony,
Where every man is always free.
No politics are spoken there,
No arguments to rend the air,
Where smiles glow bright on every face,
A joyful and a friendly place. "
 "A place where men can do good deeds
And share their lot with those with needs,
But still have fun in all they do
While being good and firm and true.
A place where God is still revered
And tyranny is never feared,
A place there virtues still are taught,
Where goodness is not sold or bought."
 "A Shangri La?" you say to me,
"Why such a place can never be!"
Untrue, my friend, there's one I know,
A place where good men often go.
And not just one, but many more,
Both here at home, on distant shore,
Thousands and thousands, I would guess;
There might be more, but never less."
                                                                         "They've been around hundreds of years,
These places where men need have no fears,
So now you ask, "Where do I go?"
All right, my friend, I'll let you know.
Look for a sign with compasses and square,
Easily found, they're most everywhere,
Just note the number and the street
To know where Masons go to meet."
L to R: MW Patrick L. Hughes [MWPHGL of WA], MW Bruce Vesper [MW Grand Lodge of Wa], MW Donald E. Stutts [MW Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon]

There was a definitive sentiment of a new beginnings as three Jurisdiction were represented, of which all were under the administration of new Grand Masters. I sat and watched with heightened expectation as they forged relationships and contemplated ways to strengthen ties and build bridges. These two Grand Masters pictured with my Grand Master, were both made honorary members of our Jurisdiction [MWPHGL of Wa] at our past Annual Communication. MW Bruce Vesper in his space to speak to the Craft requested earnestly the exchange of Grand Representatives, signalling a progressive and dynamic shift in relations between the State Grand Lodges.

I was stuck with an exuberant pride and confidence in the direction of the Jurisdiction in the hands of MW Patrick L. Hughes. It was the first time that I had the opportunity to have an extended time in his presence to observe him and watch how he interacts as a leader. I am a spiritual person, prophetic and apt in measure of discernment, and there was a moment when I caught the face of a visionary, a man dedicated to the rebuilding of the Prince Hall Freemasonry in Washington State...

It was in that moment I heard the words in my spirit as clearly as the music nature orchestrated, "QUALIFIED". 
The Prince Hall family represented well, our delegation came uniformed and unified, love and peace prevailing, a fresh paradigm and a knowing consensus that WE are the chosen to roll up our sleeves and bring a Jurisdiction back to a former greatness and prestige...

Past Grand Masters of the MWPHGL of Wa
L to R
MW Charlie Walker, III
MW Daniel Lunsford
MW Wendell O. Hutchinson
MW Jasper Warren
MW Julian Harris

Past Grand Masters of the MWPHGL of Wa

L to R
MW Hank Sheegog
MW Charlie Walker, III
MW Daniel Lunsford
MW Wendell O. Hutchinson
MW Jasper Warren

The Current Administration of the MWPHGL of Wa
L to R
RW Gregory Wraggs, Sr [DGM]
MW Patrick L. Hughes [GM]
RW Rev. Jimmy Jordan [GJW]

L to R
RW Lee T. Carrol [DDGM #1]
RW Gregory Wraggs, Sr [DGM]
MW Patrick L. Hughes [GM]
RW Rev. Jimmy Jordan [GJW]

 Worshipful Masters of the Jurisdiction
L to R
WM Tony Rice #44
WM Eddie G. Griffen #101
WM Tony Hargrove, Sr. #61

WM Jerry Linear #17

GSS WB Gregory McNair #37

PM Orson Williamson #44

GJW Jimmie Jordan
DGM Gregory D. Wraggs, Sr.

RW Antonio Grahm [DDGM #2] 

RW Richard Montes [DDGM #14] 

PM Willie Lowe #53 [ADDGM #1]

JW Raymond Trice #17

 SW Dwight Berry #17

Past Grand Masters out in full force, notice some faces?

MW GM Patrick L. Hughes with 
DGM RW Gregory D. Wraggs, Sr.
                GJW RW Jimmie Jordan                                                                                  

There is a portion of our sacred science that teaches the symbolism and allusion to the three burning tapers...Here is a thought of those that caught my attention today. The three burning tapers are INDIVIDUALIZED portions of the three Greater Lights. As we were gathered in that great amassing of light, each of us, like burning tapers were to take the principles of the VSL, the Square and Compass, the great Unity and Brotherly fellowship back in to a current masonic world of darkness as a beacon for the rest of the Nation, an example of a MASONIC STATE and Jurisdiction. I don't know what any one else saw there today....BUT I SAW THE FUTURE!
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