Article by Right Worshipful Brother Larry Sprague, Senior Grand Deacon
I became a member of Cheshire-Mt Vernon Lodge No. 23 (then Cheshire Lodge) in 1995, at the time there were 38 members. It’s small Lodge in a small town, we had no running water, a 160-year old building in need of major repairs and our restroom facility was an outhouse. Like all Lodges today we’ve faced many challenges over the years. Declining membership, involvement and dedication of the members and the effort and cost it takes to maintain and improve an old building took its toll.
Things started to change with the efforts of just a few members. We got involved with the community by having a booth at the local Cornish Fair each year. One of our Past Masters contacted the town and asked if there was anything the Lodge could do as a service to the community. They said a cemetery fence needed to be painted. The town provided the paint and the pizza, the Lodge provided the manpower. We got it done in one day. The town was very appreciative, and it was great publicity for us. About a year ago we started having monthly community breakfasts at the Lodge. The cost is by donation, there’s no required fee. We’ve now had hundreds of people come into our building who never would have before. This community service has not only become our best fundraiser but our best open house too! We’ve even had 1 man and his wife come visit us to find out more about Masonry and he has asked for a petition.
As our financial situation started to turn around, our building started to become a better place to visit. The first thing to go was the outhouse! A septic system along with a modern kitchen and bathroom were installed. The hundred or so year old asbestos shingles were removed and standing seam roof put on. The old single-pane windows were replaced with new energy-efficient ones.
So, what will work for your Lodge? There is no single answer, it varies from town to town and city to city. But my suggestion is to take advantage of everything you have. Participate in the annual open house. Advertise it, combine it with something else. One suggestion is free pumpkin carving for kids, their parents have to bring them. Contact the town and find out what you can do to help the community. All it takes is the effort and dedication of an individual member to make a difference. Be the spark that ignites the flame in others. In the DeMolay Ceremony of Light, the closing line says, “If you can reach into the innermost depths of his soul and set his flame afire then therein lies the purpose of the Order of DeMolay and therein lies your purpose for living.” Apply that line to Freemasonry and be that spark.
Article by Richard Thompson, © 2019, Richard Thompson
A question Masons often ask themselves is, “How long is my cable-tow?” Since the length of a cable-tow changes each day, the more proper question is, “How long is my cable-tow — today?”
In most cases, when we talk about the length of our cable-tows, it is a figurative expression — there is no length in a real sense. But for three New Hampshire Masons, on this last June 28, their cable-tows had an exact length — 259 feet. Actually, it is more proper to say their cable-tows had an exact height — 259 feet.
Right Worshipful Robert Porter and Brother Roland Petersen of Rising Sun Lodge No. 39 in Nashua and Worshipful Brother Jerry Becker, our Grand Marshal and a member of Rockingham Lodge. No. 76 in Candia, stood at the top, on the edge, of the Brady Sullivan Plaza building in Manchester, a full 20 floors above the ground. They were ready to rappel down the face of the building to raise money for the Children’s Dyslexia Center in Nashua.
The three were part of the Greater Nashua, United Way “Over the Edge” event. Each participant raised a small amount of money for the United Way and a larger share for a charity designated by the participants. The three Masons raised more than $5000 for their charity.
Before R∴ W∴ Porter took the plunge he got a reprieve. A team from the Hudson Police Department lost their sponsor, so it appeared they would have to sit it out. R∴ W∴ Porter surrendered his place so at least one police officer, Capt. David Cayot went “Over the Edge.”
The three were presiding officers of the Scottish Rite bodies in Nashua and decided as presiding officers they should participate. All I can say is I’m quite happy there is the word past before my Scottish Rite title.
To say I have a fear of heights is an understatement, a gross understatement.
My wife and I took our daughter and son to New York City to do the tourist thing. We went to the observation tower at the Empire State Building and all I could do was keep my back to the building and look out over the crowd. All I saw was the sky over New York.
My son and I went to Gettysburg at a time the observation tower was still there. He was out at the edge and I was sitting, again with my back to the tower.
I congratulate our brothers on their willingness to swing over the edge of a building and look to the ground so far below. They know rappelling down the face of a building made a difference for some children who need our help.
Richard Thompson is a past master from Massachusetts, a member of Rising Sun Lodge No. 39 and someone you won’t find at the top of a building.
Why Masonic Education?
Article by Paul C. Smith, Grand Education Officer
We saw a video last month from our Grand Master in which he stated the reason why Masonic Education is one of his pillars: “A knowledgeable Mason is a respected Mason…an informed Mason is an impactful Mason.”
How true indeed.
Masonic education goes hand in hand with the ritual. One is useless without the other. An expert orator can deliver the most well-rehearsed, flowery, and emphasized ritual during a degree, but if he doesn’t understand what is he saying, is it as impactful? How many times has a candidate heard a great performance and then asked, “what does that part mean?” I’ve only seen it a handful of times in recent memory, but we should be able to answer and answer well.
That is why, in great part, your Grand Lodge Education Committee has spent the past many years working on programs for your lodges to get into some of the meanings and histories of the words we use, and WHY we use them.
Beyond that, the Mason who knows some of our histories and mysteries will be better enabled to answer questions from the profane about the why’s, what’s, when’s, where’s, who’s, and how’s of Freemasonry. You’ve heard it said that many approaching the Craft these days are doing their homework and have many questions prepared for when they start to ask. We do them and ourselves a great disservice if we are unable to answer.
From a broader sense, let’s mention briefly Masonic Education IS: Masonic education is a discussion on the ritual; it’s a discussion on what lessons or meanings are conveyed; it’s a discussion on the use of the Holy Bible and the scriptures therein (NOT religion in specific terms); it’s reading books and talking about them; it’s writing our thoughts down; it’s seeking LIGHT.
As you see, education can be a broad thing in the Craft. Education should be a fundamental focus of every lodge, just as performing ritual is. We are fortunate to have wonderful men serving you as District Deputy Grand Education Officers whose chief focus is to deliver and assist you in delivering education at your meetings.
While it is wonderful to have guests come and talk about the community, their experiences, historical events, etc., that is NOT Masonic education in the sense that we are able to assist you. But we will be able to assist you greatly very soon.
In the coming months, on our Grand Lodge website, a new feature will be added whereby a Speaker’s Bureau will highlight many offerings by Masons throughout our jurisdiction that you can contact to speak on a variety of topics that may be of interest to your lodges.
I will close with the words of our Grand Master, “an informed Mason is an impactful Mason.” YOU can make a difference not only in your own Masonic education path but perhaps others as well. Freemasonry is counting on you.
Article by Christopher J. Busby, District Deputy Grand Lecturer, District #2; Dad Advisor, Nashua Assembly #9 IORG; and Past State Dad Advisor, NH Rainbow and Daniel R. Hotchkiss, Senior Grand Warden; Past Dad Advisor, Goffstown Chapter, Order of DeMolay; Past Dad Advisor, Goffstown Assembly #22 IORG; and Past State Dad Advisor, NH Rainbow
In 1919, Frank Land, as Master Mason, visited with Louis Lower, the son of a Lodge member who had passed. Following their initial meeting, Frank Land invited Louis and eight of his friends to meet at the Masonic Temple in Kansas City, MO where they founded the Order of DeMolay for boys ages 13-21. In 1922, Reverend Mark Sexson, a Master Mason in McAlester, OK, having worked with the Order of DeMolay saw a similar need for young women and founded the International Order of the Rainbow for Girls ages 12-20. These two Masons led the way in establishing the greatest youth organizations for young men and women in the world. Reverend Mark Sexson, in particular, began Rainbow recognizing the strength, intelligence and leadership capability of young ladies during an era in which women had, only three years prior, won the right to vote.
Frank Land, Mark Sexson and countless other Masons and Eastern Star members have paved the way in providing our Masonic youth organizations with the mentorship needed to succeed in the world. Who better than Masons and the other adults in our appendant and concordant bodies to be the role models for our youth? The lessons taught by our Masonic Fraternity are far-reaching and impactful to not only the Brothers in our great fraternity, but also our sisters in Eastern Star; the young men in DeMolay and the young women in Rainbow. The world will benefit from the lessons that we can impart to our children, and our Masonic youth organizations are a way to directly accomplish that. This does not diminish what we do as Masons, but rather strengthens us.
However, without Masonic support both Rainbow and DeMolay will struggle. There is a group of very dedicated Brothers that do an incredible amount of work for these young men and women, and a much larger group of dedicated advisors both inside and outside of the Fraternity. Our hope is that in meeting the young men and young ladies, and seeing how incredible they are, that you will also be moved to participate, even in the smallest of ways. While there is somewhat of a renaissance happening in Rainbow right now, DeMolay is struggling with Advisor support and members. Rainbow Assemblies across the state are growing, but the girls still need your support.
Having been advisors in both DeMolay and Rainbow, we can honestly say there is no better feeling than watching a young man or young woman grow into adulthood with the love, care, strength, and intelligence to make a difference in the world, and knowing that we had at least a small part in their development. Active involvement in our youth organizations provides benefits beyond comprehension, including developing a better understanding of Masonic Family, how crucial this is to the success of our organizations, and how wonderful it feels to be a part of it. It will make you a better Mason and a better man and ultimately, isn’t that the goal of our Masonic teachings?
Brethren: The One Hundred and Sixty Second Semiannual Communication of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of New Hampshire, F.&A.M., will be held at the Masonic Temple, 1505 Elm Street, Manchester, NH on Saturday, November 16, 2019. Grand Lodge will open at 9:30 A.M.
Masters and Wardens in the regalia of office and the Lodge Representatives must attend. If a Master, Warden or Lodge Representative is unable to be present, he should designate a member of his Lodge as his Proxy. The combined Credential/Proxy forms are in the possession of and will be distributed by the Lodge Secretary.
It is the expectation of our Grand Master that all Masters, Wardens, and Representatives (or their proxies) will be in attendance. This is important, because your Lodge will not have voting representation, nor will it receive pertinent and beneficial information to report back to the Lodge. The attendance of voting members will be determined by Voting Cards which will be issued at the time of registration and will be turned in at the close of the afternoon session. Lodges must be represented at the Opening and Closing of Grand Lodge in order to receive credit for the day.
The Credentials Committee will be located in the first-floor lobby. ALL DELEGATES FROM LODGES, ALL MEMBERS OF GRAND LODGE, AND GRAND REPRESENTATIVES ARE REQUIRED TO REGISTER WITH THE CREDENTIALS COMMITTEE BEFORE THE 9:30 A.M. OPENING OF GRAND LODGE.
Admission to the Semiannual Communication will be by presenting a current Dues Card. Dress for Line Officers will be Morning Suit and dress for Grand Lodge Officers will be Tuxedo with full regalia.
8:30 A.M. Registration, lunch ticket, and EDCOMM Sales – first floor lobby 9:30 A.M. Opening of Grand Lodge Election of Grand Lodge Officers Election of NH MasoniCare Board members 12:00 P.M. Lunch – $10 (A fundraiser for NH Rainbow Grand Assembly) 1:00 P.M. Resumption of Business NH MasoniCare Corporation Meeting (all voting members of Grand Lodge are voting members of NHMC Corporation)
Article by Right Worshipful Brother Dennis Sheridan
The Order of Knights of the York Cross of Honour (KYCH) first met on March 13, 1930 and formed the Convent General of the USA on June 6, 1930 by some diligent brothers from Monroe, North Carolina. The requirements for membership are the strictest of any other Masonic Body. One must have served as the Presiding Officer of the Lodge (Blue), Chapter (Royal Arch Masons), Council (Cryptic), and Commandery (Knights Templar) and then must be invited to join. An invitation is not automatic. Your peers must have faith in you as they ballot on you before you are invited to join.
I was initiated in 1980; Master in 84; District Deputy Grand Lecturer in 1988 and District Deputy Grand Master in 1989-90. I served as a Presiding Officer in the three Scottish Rite Bodies in the 1990s. I became Valley Secretary in 1994 and still am to this day. I was coronated a 33rd Degree Mason in 1995.
At that time, I was just getting very active in York Rite, having served as Excellent High Priest in 1993-94 and as Eminent Commander in 1995-96. I had served all but the Council as they were the farthest from me. My good friend and Brother David Edwin Lewis, now of Colebrook, called me and asked to me to join the Line and informed me it would qualify me for the KYCH. After some discussion, I said yes and was elected as Illustrious Master of Evening Star Council in 2001-02.
This qualified me and I received the invitation to join KYCH following that service. I went through the Line and was elected Prior (Master) in 2009. The day I performed as Prior was the day the Personal Representative of the Grand Master General asked me to replace him in that capacity in another year.
I also presided over three of the York Rite Grand Bodies and was elected as Grand Secretary-Grand Recorder of the three in 2009. I was also invited to belong to the other Appendant York Rite Bodies including the York Rite College. I served as Grand Governor for the College in 2006-2008. It was there I met the current Grand Master General Knight L. Alvin Hill, Sr. and began a lasting friendship.
When I was first installed as Personal Representative, I got my first taste of hosting the group from Convent General that annually attends the Norris Cotton Cancer Center at the end of June. The main organizer for that event was Alvin Hill. He remembered me and asked me to find entertainment for those traveling to Lebanon for the off nights. The history of Convent General’s support of the Norris Cotton Cancer Center shows 40 years of donating to this charity as of 2019. Convent General currently donates $75,000 annually. I was amazed to learn that they were so supportive of a charity right here in New Hampshire. It seemed that no one here was even aware of this!
I served as a Personal Representative for three years. My experience as a Past District Deputy Grand Master helped me immensely in performing the job, as well as holding the elected positions in the York Rite Grand Bodies. I thoroughly enjoyed the job, but thought traveling to Connecticut during the week for their meetings a little beyond the length of my cable-tow. I had to take vacation time to pull that off and I had other plans for that.
In the meantime, Brother Charles J. Kennedy from the Manchester York Rite Bodies passed away and I was asked to take on the job of Intendant General for the Red Cross of Constantine in N.H. This is an extremely highly sought-after position most members only dream of. It is another National Organization and I was the in-state Representative. I thought I would give up the KYCH Representative job to do this. Two days after I announced that I was seeking to retire from that Convent General job, I got a call from Past Grand Master General John R. Stracener, asking me to consider going into the Grand Line. I reiterated my earlier objection about week-day travel and was told as a Line Officer I could do whatever I thought was necessary to get the job done. They made it very hard to turn it down.
After conferring with my wife, I got into the Line in 2014. I still helped at the Cancer Center and started bringing more top personnel from NH there to visit with the Grand Officers at their June visits. I attended the Annual KYCH Conclave in Pennsylvania and got elected to the Line. Since then, the sessions have moved around to where the Presiding Officer wants to hold his session. I went to Florida, Georgia, Texas, Tennessee, and Iowa going through the Line. At the time of this writing, I am looking forward to hosting my Session in Nashua in October. We determined that any profit gained from our session would be donated to the Medical Research Foundation.
One of my first duties was to appoint a Grand Prelate to serve during my administration. Most Worshipful Past Grand Master Paul M. Leary agreed to serve in that position. I am most pleased that he took the position. I also appointed RW Brother Robert Sutherland as the District Representative for this year.
Last night, our beloved Brethren from Morrison Lodge No. 90 and Sisters from Crescent Chapter No. 45, Order of the Eastern Star lost their Masonic Temple in Northwood to a devastating fire. While the building and its precious contents are gone, the generations of memories made and the spirit of those that have occupied it will always endure.
The Grand Lodge and the Brethren of New Hampshire offer our deep and sincere sympathy to our Northwood Masonic family for this tragic event. Even more, we extend our assistance and love to our Brothers and Sisters to assure that Masonry and Star in Northwood will arise from this adversity stronger than ever.
We are aware of a firefighter that was medically treated during the efforts to extinguish the blaze. We humbly thank that individual for their service and hope for a quick recovery. We are aware of no other injuries.
Additionally, we thank all of the first responders from the many towns that met the call of duty and tried desperately to save the Temple.
The Lodge is working through the process of a claim with their insurance company and we would ask the public and our Masonic family to withhold any financial donations at this time.
We will keep everyone apprised of the process of rebuilding but rest assured that the spirit of Freemasonry is alive and well in Northwood.
“Freemasonry, notwithstanding, has still survived.”