UPDATE – VW Norman A. Watts Memorial Service

It is with a heavy heart that we inform you that former District Deputy and Grand Lodge Team member Norman A. Watts has passed.

The Memorial Services will be held on Saturday, January 7th, at 11:00 a.m. at the Maple Park Lutheran Brethren Church in Lynnwood.  Service will be a church service only, no Masonic Service. Refreshments to follow.  Norm was the primary chef when large meals were served at the church.

Maple Park Lutheran Brethren Church:
17620 60th Ave W., Lynnwood, WA 98037 – 425.743.2288

Sympathy or “Thinking of You” cards can be addressed to Pat Watts:
1427 100th St SW, No. 151, Lynnwood, WA 98204

Our prayers are with his family and friends at this time.  He will be greatly missed.

 

A Christmas Message from the Grand Master

For me, the Christmas season really begins when I hear Andy Williams singing “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year“. There are two key reasons why I feel this way: One, the Andy Williams Christmas specials were an important part of my childhood. Two, it truly is the most wonderful time of the year.

Masonically speaking, it is the height of the installation season. This is our opportunity as brethren to give thanks to the outgoing Master for all of his hard work, to give best wishes to his successor, and to pledge the support of the Brethren to the new ‘team’. I recall my installation as Master of Frank S. Land Lodge No. 313 as a joyous occasion. The energy in the room was electric. I could feel that no one wanted me to fail. No doubt, others who have made the journey to East feel the same way. What’s not wonderful about that?

This is also a time of religious and moral reflection that inspire many people to reach out to those who are in need. Though Freemasonry is not a charity in the truest sense of the word, charity is an inseparable part of Freemasonry. It is my belief that you cannot be a Freemason if you are not charitable. Being charitable is one way that you can Be the Difference and add to the wonder of the season.

Most importantly, it is a time when those of us of faith – whatever that faith may be – celebrate then the traditions of our faith. For me and my family, that celebration is Christmas. The story of the birth of Christ as related in the Book of Luke, Chapter 2, (most eloquently recited by Linus Van Pelt) is what makes this time of year most wonderful.

I also enjoy the secular traditions of the season – shopping, decorating the house, looking at neighborhood light displays, holiday specials, preparing the meal, and the look of joy on a loved one’s face when a present is opened. Lest I forget, I still visit Santa and get my picture taken.

As I wrap up my Christmas message, I share these words from “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”:

How can they talk about Santa Claus when there is so much unhappiness in the world? Poor, misguided folks. They missed the whole point. Lot’s of unhappiness? Maybe so. But doesn’t Santa take a little bit of that unhappiness away? Doesn’t a smile on Christmas morning scratch out a tear cried on a sadder day? Not much maybe. But what would happen if we all tried to be like Santa and learned to give as only he can give: of ourselves, our talents, our love and our hearts? Maybe we could all learn Santa’s beautiful lesson and maybe there would finally be peace on Earth and good will toward men.

A Very Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and the Best of the Holiday Season to one and all – God Bless Us, Everyone!

An Encouragement for Generosity this Season

Brethren,

As Grand Chaplain for the state of Washington of Freemasons it is my humble honor to focus our attention on the spiritual nature of our craft, reminding each of us during this season of giving that beyond the lofty titles that we bestow upon one another, whether it be Worshipful, Illustrious, Grand, Noble, Sir Knight, Worthy Matron, etc., we must always remember where we have all first been made a Mason, in our hearts. We have not just been given flowery titles but have obligated ourselves to the aid and support of our kind offices to every human being who may have need of our assistance as far as our cable tow can reach.  

We should all take great pride in the amazing good our craft in its many lodges, rites, chapters, assemblies, bethels, courts, shrines, etc, have contributed to those lives that are touched by our efforts and without us, would not have the quality of life they do today. 

As a fraternity, we stand peerless in our generosity in our programs, hospitals, and funding but we must not let the larger fraternity, of which we are a part cause us to become complacent in our individual lives. 

Each of us who have stood at the alter of Freemasonry have promised that we will demonstrate our masonic ideals in all our actions. Please consider taking personal action by contacting your lodge or chapter secretary, master, or worthy matron. Make contact with your Washington Masonic Charities representative and see what needs have come to their attention where you may be able to assist.

I hope each of you will demonstrate personally your generosity this year. Get involved with your communities and share in their efforts such as angel trees, shelters, food banks, coat and clothing gathering, and on and on. Be the difference in your sphere of influence and let this time of giving and this coming new year be for you the great blessing it can be with your help. Be light and love and let your personal lives and actions contribute to the betterment of others. May the Great teachings of our fraternity shine in every decision that you make.

“…There are those who give little of the much which they have–and they give it for recognition and their hidden desire makes their gifts unwholesome. And there are those who have little and give it all. These are the believers in life and the bounty of life, and their coffer is never empty.

There are those who give with joy, and that joy is their reward and there are those who give with pain, and that pain is their baptism. And there are those who give and know not pain in giving, nor do they seek joy, nor give with mindfulness of virtue; They give as in yonder valley the myrtle breathes its fragrance into space. Through the hands of such as these God speaks, and from behind their eyes He smiles upon the earth….” – The Prophet, Kahlil Gibran

 

May the Great Architect favor all your actions this holiday season and may you be blessed through this coming year.

Grand Chaplain, W. John Lawson

Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Freemasonry and Accepted Masons of Washington

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Secretary, Treasurer & Temple Board Training scheduled for January in Bremerton

A new class has been added to the Secretary, Treasurer and Temple Board Training schedule.  This is a great opportunity for anyone who is currently serving in one or more of these positions or is thinking about making themselves available in the future. We look forward to seeing you there. To sign up for the free training, please call Chantal at the Grand Lodge office (253.625.7891) or click on one of the options below:

Secretary, Treasurer and Temple Board Trustee Training – Bremerton 

DATE AND TIME

Sat, January 28, 2017

11:00 AM – 4:00 PM PST

Add to Calendar

LOCATION

Bremerton Lodge, No. 117

878 5th St.

Bremerton, WA 98337

View Map

Additional dates and locations will be added as they are confirmed.

Brethren, Whence came you?

By W:.B:. Mike Priddy

Over the last few months my blogs have been pretty academic and serious in nature. This time I thought I would throw something lighter out for your consideration.

As young Masons we are told we will get an education in the symbols of Masonry, and to be certain we do get some instructions on some of our symbols during the degrees, but it is truly left to us to seek their deeper meaning. As you no doubt know there is something of a cottage industry around the ‘secret’ symbols of Freemasonry, but what most non-masons don’t know is that the symbols we use are so obscure many of us don’t know what they mean!

I have spoken with many of our brothers about our symbols and am always stumped by the lack of interest in personally investigating their meanings. To be clear I don’t mean reading what someone else has written about them but rather a personal quest for esoteric meaning. Each of us has our own story, with our own experiences and perspective. I encourage each of you to take a moment and look at our symbols, and explore the emotions, ideas and memories they elicit. Other men may know more about the traditional meaning of a symbol, but no one knows more about what it says to you than you!

image-1About 10 years ago I was walking through our preparation room, as I had done many times but on this night I was drawn to the circle, point, and two parallel lines which is displayed in all regularly constituted Masonic Lodges. Now I am sure each of you have had the experience of something that has become routine in your life suddenly taking on special significance and meaning. That night this most common of masonic symbols jumped out at me in a completely new way, with meaning and clarity. I saw in that set of symbols a map! I did not know where it pointed, though I should have, but it was clear to me in that instant I was looking at a symbolic representation of the world.

I’ll explain what I saw later, but first I would like to explain something about symbols. We have language that we use every day, which is composed of, letters, words, sentences, paragraphs, syntax and grammar. This method of communication can be very precise and can relay ideas and thoughts between individuals separated by time and space with a clarity and depth that can be startling. Consider the power of the Bible, Koran or Torah. Volumes written centuries ago can still inspire men and women in today’s modern technological and complex world. But before there was the written word our species used another method to communicate, symbols. Much science has been dedicated to the power of symbols, and how in many cases the power of symbols to elicit meaning across not only time and space but also across cultures. Unlike the precise meaning of a word a symbol has layers of meanings and as we study them they can lead us on a journey toward not just the common truth but to universal Truth that only the soul can experience. Because of the depth and power of symbols we can see different meanings in symbols each time we look at them, and yet the sum of the symbol’s meanings over time can become itself a complex tapestry of enlightenment.

Some symbols are natural, ingrained in all people. Carl Jung, a 20th century psychologist called these symbols ‘archetypes’. In our common unconscious for example we all experience symbolic images of Mother, Father, and Shadow and many times they speak to us in dreams as characters representing fundamental human meaning. Other symbols are created, like the US Flag, the square and compass and a red octagon (Stop!).

image-2So, the circle, point and parallel lines are in the rudimentary sense a symbol of moral compass. We all learn this early in our practice as Masons. Let’s say that is a surface meaning, and that there might be another meaning, in this case a map. So how can that be a map? That night when I looked at the parallel lines what jumped out at me was the images of the Holy Saints John standing next to the parallel lines. They were the first clue. You see each Saint in the Catholic tradition has a feast day. Many old churches in Europe face sun rise on the feast day of the Saint they are named after. The early churches like our Lodges are aligned toward the east and since the sun rises in a different place each morning, east was assigned at sunrise on the day of the Saint’s feast. The interesting thing about the two saints John is that their feast days fall very close to the two solstices, approximately June 21st and December 21st, the longest and shortest day of the year. The feast days of the Saints John are June 23rd and December 27th. On Solstices the sun is as far north or south as it travels in the sky, and the lines that represents that southern and northern most point are two parallel, horizontal, lines on maps and globes. These are called the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn. The fact that the feast days of these two saints fell near the dates of the solstices, from which the tropics were derived, and that they were standing next to two parallel lines seemed to great a coincidence.

The obvious problem with this idea is that the lines, while parallel, are vertically aligned setting them 90 degrees off. In fact, in my research I discovered that someone had approached Albert Pike years ago with the same idea as mine and Pike had dismissed it for exactly that reason. So for a time I let it go, but I was not satisfied. You see there was another part of the symbol that caught my eye. The Bible at the top of the circle was key to decoding the symbol. As in our Lodges the east is considered, symbolically, to be the direction from which enlightenment comes. That Bible on top seemed to say, “look at me dummy, I’m the east!” If that was true the lines would be oriented correctly, but why would someone draw the symbol on its side? There was an answer and eventually I found it.

When you look at a map you usually turn the map until North is at the top. We call this “orienting” the map. BUT the word orient is Latin for EAST. Why would turning the map to a north alignment be called “easting” the map? Because in medieval times maps had east on top! That’s right, and on those maps the tropics would have been aligned vertically!

image-3These maps were called O and T maps because a circle, the O, represented the earth, and the continents formed a rough T. Now it get’s really interesting. O and T maps sometimes have a dot in the center that represents a city. Do you care to guess what city? It seems the Holy Saints John are pointing us to Jerusalem!

So, while I have no proof that this ancient Masonic symbol is in fact intended to be a map to Jerusalem I think I have shown that it could be. Even if it never was intended to be a map to Jerusalem for me this symbol now is a reminder of our Masonic mythology as well as a reminder to live with in a certain moral and ethical compass. Like many symbols this one has depth for me, and I hope perhaps its does for you too.

Now Brethren I challenge you. Go to Lodge, pick a symbol that speaks to you and explore it, stare at it, research it, meditate on it and listen for that quiet voice in the still parts of your heart. Bring our symbols to life again and you will breathe new Light into your Lodge.image-4

Freemasons in Spokane move headquarters after nearly a century

Originally published on Spokesman.com

A group of men are huddled in a half circle inside the cold walls of the decrepit Selkirk building downtown. Many of them are wearing ornate aprons embroidered in different colors and patterns. One man talks from behind a podium with a broadsword stuck in a piece of wood in front.

A large stone sits to his right – a ceremonial cornerstone in dedication of the new-old building that will soon house several chapters of Freemasons, called “lodges.”

One by one, the tools of Freemasonry – the square, level and plumb – are used to measure the stone and inspect its worth. Then, corn, wine and oil are poured on its surface.

“May the all boundless offer nature bless the inhabitants of this place with abundance of the necessaries, conveniences and comforts of life,” says Jim Mendoza, Grandmaster of the Freemasons of Washington. “And grant to us all a supply of the corn of nourishment, the wine of refreshment and the oil of joy.”

Upon hearing these words, the masons cross their chests with their arms, their hands outstretched; they look like mummies. They bow their heads: “so mote it be,” they say in unison. The stone is perfect.

Sometimes, this is what being a Freemason is – fraternity, with a little pomp and circumstance. It’s much less exciting than the pop culture image of Freemasonry: Nicholas Cage in the “National Treasure” film franchise hunting down a fabulous hidden treasure stashed by the Founding Fathers – many of them Freemasons.

In reality, Freemasons are closer to a college fraternity (without all of the “buffoonery,” they jokingly say) than an all-powerful secret society. There are rules, expectations, a strong sense of community, and a deep history spanning as far back as the 14th century.

There are also many powerful and historical figures among their ranks: George Washington, Paul Revere, Theodore Roosevelt, John Elway and Steve Wozniak, the Apple co-founder, to name a few.

In Washington, Freemasonry began in 1858, and in Spokane, around 1880 – when settlers first arrived to the area. The first lodge was formed not long after. In 1910, there were enough masons to warrant their own building – the Masonic Center on Riverside Avenue (Theodore Roosevelt was present for the groundbreaking).

They stayed there for a century, until it was sold in 2013. The center was too large, and the amenities in too much disrepair to afford. The lodges headquartered there moved in with other lodges, with a plan to move out once the new center is complete. The ceremony Saturday was one of the last steps before construction and repair go into full swing at 506 W. Second Ave.

Many of the windows are boarded, and the walls have large, gaping holes exposing the outside. Several sections of the first floor are unfinished, showing the earthy foundation sitting underneath. Rather than move into a finished building, tradition is to either build a new one or find one that could use some tender love and care.

“We like to fix things up better than we found them,” said Richard Coffland, a deputy grandmaster.

By early next year, the space will look a lot different. The plan is to knock down the rusted metal beams on the first floor; the space will be shared by Spokane Lodge 34, Oriental 74 and North Hill 210. On the top floor will be a masonic museum and library preserving the storied history of Freemasonry in Spokane.

The second floor will be shared by the Scottish Rite, another branch of masonry, and Early Life Speech and Language clinic, which provides free research-based therapy for children ages 2 to 7.

Ashley Miller, the clinic’s development officer, said half of the second floor of the new masonic building was offered as a permanent home to the nonprofit. For the past two years, Freemasons have remained one of the clinic’s top supporters, having just put on a large golf tournament to raise funds.

“They’re always looking for ways to help us grow,” Miller said.

It’s self-improvement and improving the community, Freemasons say, that is the essence of being a Freemason – not necessarily the complex ceremonies or ornate dress codes. For hundreds of years, masons have donated to their communities, helped construct new buildings and repaired old ones. And all the while, they’ve lectured the fraternity is more about building human character than anything.

“In that sense, we are all architects,” Mendoza said.

As for conspiracy theories about Freemasons controlling the United States government, having ties to the Illuminati, or stashing treasure as portrayed in Hollywood blockbusters?

“I find it to be very humorous,” Mendoza said. “I look at it this way: I attend many of the lodge meetings where they argue over who’s going to bring condiments to the barbecue.”

Cornerstone Laying Ceremony of Spokane Masonic Center

October 22, 2016
Spokane, Washington

Most Worshipful Grandmaster, Grand Lodge Team, Distinguished Guests, Friends, Ladies, Gentlemen, Brethren All,

It is not the aesthetics of this building that matters, but the proper construction of its foundation that will bear the test of time.

Our Ancient Craft’s history can be likened to a pond, where a ripple effect can impact the entire ecosystem from one mere pebble thrown, though it’s rings in the water will cover a distance far mightier than its density. That’s how mankind’s history works – simple events influencing other events as it significantly produces one milestone after another.

The year was 1905 in this city of Spokane when a masonic temple was built to accommodate the growing interest in Freemasonry.
The same temple was expanded in 1925, which coincided with the peak of the fraternity, especially in this country during which time over 12% of the adult male population were members of the craft. The numbers generated by the strong interest produced enough dues that allowed many Grand Lodges to build on truly magnificent Masonic proportions.

As for the original Spokane Masonic Temple, now known as Riverside Place, it may not come as a surprise how Spokane Lodge #34 membership had grown from 16 members in 1880 to over 1200 by the year 1925. The total number of Masons in the State had grown from 1089 in 1880 when the Lodge was formed, to 46,409 by December 31, 1925. In addition to the growth of the Spokane Lodge itself, a number of new Lodges had been formed by the end of 1925 bringing the total Masonic population of the City to a total of 3,725 Master Masons.

Considered one of the grandest fraternal lodges in the western part of the Unites States and a principal structure in the Riverside Avenue National Historic District, the Spokane Masonic Temple was representative of the City Beautiful Movement as it was applied and adopted in this city.

After extensive research, other wise known as a Google search, I learned that the City Beautiful Movement was a reform philosophy of North American architecture and urban planning that flourished at the tail-end of the 1800s. The intentions behind this movement were to introduce beautification and monumental grandeur within cities, thus creating moral and civic virtue among urban populations. Advocates of the philosophy believed that such beautification promoted a harmonious social order that would increase the quality of life. However, some critics were apprehensive, recognizing the movement as overly concerned with aesthetics at the expense of true social reform.

On the contrary, most of the influential and prominent citizens of this city drew on their talents during its construction and period of development. This was a true reflection of the need and importance of the fraternal and social organizations to the mainstream community to keep up with the growing demand for added social interactions.

After a century of fraternal existence in the community, we decided to part ways with the famed structure that exemplifies the disciplined classicism that evolved from the Beau-Arts movement and the influence of other architectural styles of that period.

This morning we brought with us the same Landmark as before, a synthesis of virtues of the Ancient Craft in its genuine form by bringing it under the same hat of none splintered way of thinking, all in harmony together as we solemnly lay the cornerstone for this New Masonic Temple. A building whose masonic identity resides within its tiled recesses with the spirit animatedly flowing from those emblems as it typically expressed the individuality of our temples.

As we cheerfully conform to the ancient usages and established customs of the fraternity, we are presented with the three precious jewels of each station in the lodge, the square, a level and a plumb to constantly remind all present of its Moral & Masonic uses in our daily lives such us virtue, equality and rectitude.

This was followed by the Masonic Consecration of the lodge, a deeply symbolic ceremony during which the lodge following ancient custom, was anointed with corn, wine and oil: corn representing abundance and plenty,
wine the symbol of strength, and gladness and oil representing peace and joy.

With a continued desire to be the difference in promoting the honor and interest of the craft agreeably to its ancient forms and usage, allow me to share with you an excerpt from the original oration given by W. H. Ludden, Grand Orator, at the Cornerstone Laying of the Spokane Masonic Temple on October 6, 1904:

As the square angles of this stone symbolize virtue and its cubical form represents truth and perfection, so the foundation of Masonry and the perfect character of every Mason is based on virtue and truth.
With pleasure and gratitude, we meet here today to lay sure and lasting this cornerstone that there may be erected upon it a Masonic temple from which shall go forth a brotherhood of men to spread everywhere the eternal principles of truth and brotherly love. It shall be their purpose to smooth the rugged places in life, provide for the widow and orphan, and point out every man the right way. This stone will last for ages, but when the temple reared upon it has decayed and the stone itself crumbled to dust, the sublime principles of our order will still exist in their sublime significance.
A temple is reared upon a foundation rock, but the Masonic life and character is founded upon the principles of truth. No one shall enter here except he place his trust in the supreme architect of the universe, and the Holy Bible, the chief cornerstone of our order. How true it is that within this temple when completed will be cherished those virtues which adorn society and make the work a heaven even to those who cannot enter.
There are many temples of art in which we can cultivate our tastes, there are temples of science in which we can familiarize our minds with the works of nature and nature’s God, there are temples of religion in which we can prepare our hearts for the sacred communion of saints. But in all these, ambition may stir the passion or differences of opinion create contention and discord, destroying that peace without which earth has no joy and heaven can have no existence.
In the temple of Masonry only those human qualities which lie at the foundation of human brotherhood are called into action. Before the altar all animosities are laid aside. If man is to learn anywhere faith in his fellow men, careful scrutiny of his own conduct charity, liberality, fraternal love, kind consideration, it is in the courts of that temple.
It is because they who enter in pass on to good influences and noble purposes and kind associations that this temple of ours becomes like that ‘not made with hands.’ The completion of this building will be a permanent addition and ornament to our city and the lessons taught within its walls will bring and influence to our citizens that will be an eternal benefit.
The foundation of our temple we have now laid. With solemnities suited to the occasion, with prayers to Almighty God for his blessing, and in the midst of this assembly we have begun the work. We trust it will be prosecuted and that springing from a broad foundation, rising high in massive solidity and grandeur it may remain as long as heaven permits the works of man to last, a fit emblem of Masonic thrift and of the gratitude of those who have reared it.
We know, indeed, that the record of progress is most safely deposited in the universal remembrance of mankind. We know that if we could cause this structure to ascend, not only till it reaches the skies, but till it pierced them, its broad surfaces could still contain but part of that which, in an age of knowledge, hath already been spread over earth, and which history charges itself with making known to all future times.
We know that no inscription less broad than the earth itself can carry information of the principles we commemorate where it has not already gone; and that no structure which shall not outlive the duration of letters and knowledge among men can prolong the memory of our order.
But our object by this edifice is to show our own deep sense of the value and importance of the achievements of brotherly love and truth, and by presenting this temple to the eye to keep alive similar sentiments and to foster a constant regard for the principles of Masonry.
Human beings are composed not only of reason, but of imagination and sentiment; and that is neither wasted nor misapplied which is appropriated to the purpose of giving right direction to sentiments. Let it not be supposed that our object is to perpetuate a mere building, or even to cherish this particular spot. It is higher, purer and nobler.
We consecrate our work to the spirit of eternal truth, and we wish that the light of peace may rest upon it forever. We come as Masons to mark a spot which must forever be dear to us and our posterity. We wish that this structure may proclaim the magnitude and importance of the principles of Masonry to every class and every age.
We wish that infancy may learn the purpose of its erection from maternal lips and that weary and withered age may behold it and be solaced by the recollections it suggests. We wish that labor may look up here and be proud in this midst of its toil. We wish that in those days of sadness and sorrow that must come on us the desponding hearts may turn hitherward and be assured that the foundations of truth and brotherly love will stand strong.
We wish that this temple rising toward heaven among the pointed spires of so many temples dedicated to God may contribute also to produce in all minds a pious feeling of dependence and gratitude. We hope that this structure will stand years and years like the lighthouse on the shore, warning all who behold from danger and leading all with a pure and holy light to a life of peace and brotherly love.

On behalf of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Washington we thank you for being a part of this auspicious event and we wish you all the success.
God Bless.

Respectfully Submitted,
W. George Franco – Grand Orator 2017

Ernest R. Hazelwood 1927-2016

Affiliated Past Grand Master MWB Ernest R. Hazelwood passed to the Grand Lodge Above on Friday, October 21st at 8:01 p.m. He was surrounded by his Family, Wife – Dorothy, Daughters – Carol Ann and Debbie, and four of his Lodge Brothers. Ernie was 89 years old.

MWB Ernie will be buried at the Willamette National Cemetery in Portland, Oregon. A memorial service will be held in Albuquerque at a later date.

 

Address:

Dorothy Hazelwood

86 Riverview Rd.

Edgewood, NM 87015-6719

 

Fred B. Frye, Secretary

Edgewood Lodge No.82

612 Granite Point Trail SE

Albuquerque, NM  87123

505-263-6248

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