Masonic Correspondence etc.
In this paper I want to deal with a topic that came up in a Masonic Education Day I recently attended here in Victoria. The subject was the difference between a “Notice” and a “Summons” and the difference between a “Meeting” and a “Communication”.
The speaker expressed his opinion that the current common practice of the Lodge sending out a “Notice of Meeting” is not in keeping with good Masonic practice and I am in full support of his position. Hopefully this position can be supported by what is about to follow.
Let me begin with selective definitions of each of these words from Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary.
Notice A written or printed announcement
Summons A call by authority to appear at a place named or to attend to a duty
Meeting An assembly for a common purpose
Communication A process by which information is exchanged between individuals through a common system of symbols, signs or behavior, also exchange of information
Now let me relate a quote from our Ritual which states:
“answer and obey all Sns, and Summonses sent to me from a Master Masons Lodge, if within the length of my C.T. and plead no excuse, except sickness of the pressing emergencies of my own public or private avocations”
Brethren, I believe, and I hope you agree, that there is no question that what we should be receiving from our Lodges is “A Summons to attend a Communication”
It is also worth noting, from the quote given above, that we are obligated to heed that summons and make every effort to obey same. In the event of being unable to attend, may I suggest that we as brothers make every effort to contact our Lodge Secretary and inform him of same.
Using today’s technology, this would take only a moment and the effect would be enormous.
Can you imagine the impact it would make on the communication if the Secretary were to read apologies from those Brethren unable to attend. Possibly our Agenda’s could include a section for REGRETS which would follow the reading of the Summons.
I believe this initiative would be very positive as it would indicate that those missing Brethren had the Lodges best interests in mind and would have preferred to be present.
To those Secretaries who have always sent Summonses my congratulations.
Moving on, I have recently been asked by a brother who has progressed to the Degree of the Holy Royal Arch why Chapter meetings are referred to as Convocations rather than Communications.
We have already dealt with the meaning of Communication and, in that I have space, let me quote from Mackey’s Revised Encyclopedia (1958 Edition) on this subject,
“The meetings of Chapters of Royal Arch Freemasons are so called from the Latin convocatio, meaning a calling together. It seems very properly to refer to the convoking of the dispersed Freemasons at Jerusalem to rebuild the Second Temple, of which every Chapter is a representation.”
Comment None seems necessary as the definitions speak for themselves.
Friendship For what you are
“When your friend speaks his mind you fear not the “Nay” in your own mind, nor do you withhold the “Ay”
And when he is silent your heart ceases not to listen to his heart;
For without words, in friendship, All expectations, all desires, all expectations are born and shared, with joy that is unacclaimed
When you part from your friend, you grieve not; for that which you love in him may be clearer in his absence,
As the mountain, to the climber, is clearer from the plain” Kahlil Gibran (1883-1931)
Brethren, it is always my objective to leave you with an Educational piece, something to think about and maybe even be a little provocative, hopefully this edition will provide a little of all three.
Have a wonderful day & God Bless.