Friday, October 9, 2009

Master on the March

I had a chance to chat with my lodge's Worshipful Master today via Facebook messenger. I wrote about W:. Brother Dan and his trip to Australia this afternoon in the post entitled "Our Worshipful Master Down Under." He gave me a quick update on how things are going and forwarded me an email that he's submitting to the Connecticut Freemasons Publication discussing a recent visit to an Australian Lodge. Here is a copy of the text of his upcoming article for your reading pleasure.

Master on the March

During my travels in Australia I managed to visit Lodge Kiama in the state of New South Wales (NSW) in Australia. The commonwealth of Australia was formed in 1901, and the lodges of Kiama formed a single unified lodge in 1889. Prior to that there were a number of small lodges operating in Kiama from 1871 under a Charter issued from the Grand Lodge of Ireland.

I was surprised to find the differences in our signs as quickly as my examination before I could enter the lodge. There ritual work was also far different from ours, including the placement of some lodge officers. I had gone in anticipating finding the Junior Warden located in the North instead of the South because of the hemisphere change, but that was not the case (their ritual work explains the difference); nor does their floor work take them counterclockwise about the altar.

It was nice to see that they had adopted some of the more modern plans for Masonic meetings such as posting the minutes instead of reading them and shortening the business meeting in order to have guest speakers or a presentation. Worshipful Brother Chris Huer, the Master of Lodge Kiama welcomed me warmly and presented me with a History of Freemasonry in Kiama and a book called the Centenary of Lodge Kiama. Due to the comparative youth of Australia to other countries they hold a special reverence for the enduring nature of Lodge Kiama.

During the period of fellowship that followed the meeting I was honored as a guest and requested to speak. There is a concern in Lodge Kiama as there is in many other lodges, regarding a lack of youth in the fraternity. Since I am from a younger lodge they asked how we keep younger members involved. I also asked about how they normally stay relevant throughout their community. I was pleased to find out that the Grand Lodge of NSW wants lodges to focus on local charity rather than donations to larger national charities. The way the Grand Lodge reinforces this precept is by matching the money a lodge raises for the community. As an example, Lodge Kiama wanted to help a local non-profit community group purchase a small bus for transporting children and they managed to raise $10,000 for this project. The Grand Lodge of NSW then matched the money for a total donation of $20,000, cementing the bond between Lodge Kiama and the local population.

My favorite part of the evening was really the exchanging of stories and of ideas. I hope to continue a relationship between Adelphi-Momauguin and Lodge Kiama for years to come in hopes that we might continue to exchange ideas and plans, forging a bond of fellowship though oceans apart.

DW Hawthorne

Please make sure your check out W:. Brother Dan's blog and follow his further adventures in Australia.

Our Worshipful Master Down Under

One of the new directions that I plan to take this blog in is talking about how Freemasonry truly brings people together. Never have I seen an organization that allows men of all walks of life to come together, labor with each other and become much more than mere acquaintances. Our brothers are brought together regardless of politics, religion, creed, race, profession or class. Within the walls of the Masonic Lodge, you can meet men that you would never have had the opportunity to meet in their regular lives. This post will be one example of the new direction of this blog focusing on this concept.

Earlier this year, Carl Ek, a Past Master of my lodge and past District Deputy (and my chaplain during my two years as master) spoke to the members of our lodge about a great opportunity. His chapter of the Rotary club is funding a group study and exchange program to Australia, where non-Rotarians are chosen to travel to Australia for a month with all expenses paid. While in Australia, the members of the program will be required to make presentations about their profession to other professionals in their field and to learn more about their industry abroad. Additionally, they will be given the opportunity to explore the country and meet new people.

Our Worshipful Master, Dan Hawthorne, who was currently serving in his second year as master, applied for the program and was accepted. About two weeks ago, he and his other companions traveled to Australia and began their mission. Dan has been reporting on his adventures on his blog and the full details can be found here:

Dan and I have been close friends since high school and I am excited that he will have this opportunity to explore the land down under. But what does this have to do with Freemasonry and bringing different people together?

If it was not for our Masonic Lodge, Dan and I would probably never have met Brother Carl and gotten to know him. Carl is a Yale Graduate, in the advertising profession and is thirty years our senior. The typical social circles that Dan and I run in rarely intersect with the circles that Carl would frequent. However, our lodge bridged this gap and allowed us all to become friends and brothers. This is just one of the countless examples of brothers who we would probably not have known and become close with. Dan's friendship with Carl led the way to Carl recommending him for this group exchange, which is now allowing Dan to explore another continent on the other side of the world and to meet even more people. Freemasonry is a far more powerful than any social networking site and far more diverse than any typical social club.

Let us never forget that the most important part of Freemasonry is bringing men from different stations in life together upon the level of equality.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated

As was recently reported by Brother M.M.M. over at the North Eastern Corner, we had a chance meet-up of several of the CT Bloggers at our Grand Lodge Worshipful Master's Seminar. I came to the seminar, not to attend, but to act as chauffeur for my lodge's Senior Warden (also my younger brother). Brother M.M.M. and I had a chance to chat outside the seminar and we briefly spoke about how things have changed in the Masonic Blogosphere and several of the more active online brothers have become silent, myself included. I assured him that I wasn't quite dead yet and that perhaps I had a second wind in me. So after encouragement from Brother M.M.M. and invoking the spirit of Brother MacArthur, I can now declare "I have returned."

But what have I returned as? Do I go back to blogging about gmail, leadership diagrams, email formats, websites, etc.? Mayhaps at times, but I'd like to change the focus of this blog.

In the past year, I've done a lot of Masonic traveling. I've enjoyed some great company, experienced truly enjoyable fellowship and seen a much brighter Masonic mosaic. I'd like to record and share this inspiration and focus more on what is right about Masonry, then what needs to be fixed. I am a member of the greatest fraternity in the world and I'd like to talk about what makes it great.

Welcome to a different path for the Masonic Renaissance.