Saturday, April 21, 2012

‘See who wants admission’

Two of my favorite people talking
to each other: Bro. Oscar Alleyne,
who helped organize this event,
and Bro. Jason Sheridan, soon
to be Grand Director of Ceremonies
for the Grand Lodge of New York.
It was time for the long awaited evening of Emulation exemplification yesterday, when Wallkill Lodge No. 627 hosted an all-star line-up of ritualists from the Provincial Grand Lodge of Essex under the United Grand Lodge of England, named the Teddies for Loving Care Masonic Demonstration Team, in the Grand Lodge Room of Masonic Hall in Manhattan.

Click here for a little background.

I think it is safe to say the use of ritual in English lodges is misunderstood by most Masons in the United States. Here, for some seventeen decades, we have been enforcing uniform ritual work in each of our individual jurisdictions, concentrating so intently on perfect memorization and recitation that we really have forgotten the principal point of it all. The brethren in England do that also, I am told, but the difference is diversity of rituals within the single jurisdiction. Although Emulation is thought to be the only ritual in England, the truth is there is no standard work for UGLE. There are many rituals employed.

Watching this was my first experience with Emulation, and it was fun. There are many interesting differences from what I know and have seen in my travels, but nothing so distracting or confusing as to be unrecognizable. And of course it helps to have read the ritual a number of times over the years.

The Teddies for Loving Care Masonic Demonstration Team travels and exemplifies ritual work to raise funds for its philanthropy, the goal of which is to provide teddy bears and other soft toys to children being treated by Accident and Emergency Units in order to calm the children and distract them from the distress of their injuries, making it easier for the medical staff to treat them. (We have a similar program here in New Jersey, where we hand Past Grand Masters highballs of single malt to soothe their anxieties caused by the surrender of authority, and I must say, it works like a charm.) Click here to read more about this clever program in England.

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