Wednesday, October 1, 2014

‘Yesterday, today, and tomorrow in the new Journal’

Issue No. 25 of The Journal of The Masonic Society is reaching members’ mailboxes now, so here is my latest reminder to you to join the Society and start enjoying the benefits of being part of a dynamic Masonic fraternity that thinks highly enough of you to publish the best magazine in the English-speaking Masonic world.

Of course I cannot be unbiased.

In this issue of The Journal:

In “Worthy of Being Worn: The Importance of Masonic Regalia,” Patrick Craddock—a one-man cottage industry in the design and manufacture of Masonic aprons and other textiles—renders an illustrated history of the evolution of what we call “the badge of a Mason.” Patrick, whose apron enterprise has been so successful he has been able to make it his livelihood, explains the artistry and industry of 19th century aprons, and takes us to the present day with the importance the “Observant Mason” assigns to this highly personal ritual garment.

In his “From the Editor” Column, our Executive Editor, Michael Halleran, who happens to be Grand Master of Kansas in his spare time, suggests “colonization” be employed to save struggling lodges that are short on manpower. In colonization, participating brethren of nearby lodges petition for affiliation in the troubled lodge “with the express purpose of revitalizing it.” Once elected to this plural membership, the “colonists” take up the labors of remedying the problems the lodge faces. It won’t work in every case, Halleran concedes, but it can be a more attractive option than consolidation or, naturally, going dark.

Checking in from Down Under, Kent Henderson brings us up to date on “How Masonic Education Has Transformed Freemasonry in Australia,” in which he notes real life examples of how the Craft there made candidate comprehension of Masonic ritual and symbol key to his advancement to the next degree. Not sweaty haste to push through as many as possible to prop up lodges with fresh blood—which we all know does not work—but instead thoughtful instruction and measured progress. Kent knows about such things. If you are keen on these European Concept and Traditional Observance movements, you owe Ken and his brethren at Lodge Epicurean a round of drinks, because they pioneered it all at the close of the last century. Get the magazine to read exactly how man-made miracles are wrought in the Land of Oz.

Speaking of Masonic education, those of us who may not be able to visit San Francisco any time soon have the benefit of hearing from Adam Kendall, Collections Manager and Curator of Exhibits at the Henry Wilson Coil Library and Museum at the Grand Lodge of California, for his highlight of the upcoming exhibition there titled “The Masonic Art of Education.” This will showcase historic tracing boards, modern tracing boards painted by Angel Millar, floor cloths, Magic Lantern images, and other visual arts the fraternity has embraced over the centuries to explain this thing of ours to initiates.

And speaking of timeless customs, author John Bizzack of Kentucky remembers “Nine Lost Traditions in Freemasonry,” in which he guides us through elements of lodge life that recall a much larger time. Some of these you may have seen (Chain of Union); some you may have heard of (Purging the Lodge); and others may be news to you.

In the back of the book, José O. Diaz of Ohio State University leads us on a tour of the library of Lancaster Lodge No. 57 in Ohio. This ain’t some locked barrister bookcase of untouched 100-year-old Mackey books. Lancaster Lodge’s library has survived inundations and conflagrations to pass to posterity its treasures, and Diaz tells a most inspiring story.

Throughout the pages, this issue of The Journal delivers Letters to the Editor, Book Reviews, Masonic Collectibles by Yasha Beresiner, and other attractions that make The Journal of The Masonic Society the most accessible periodical you’ll find. Membership in the Society confers much more than the quarterly Journal. Check us out. Everybody says it’s the best $39 you’ll spend in Masonry.

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