|Volume LIV||November 2007||Number 4|
Strengthen Your Bonds Through Masonic Clubs
Members of the fraternity share a common thread; an interest
in an organization known for its ritualistic traditions, principles of
conduct and a history of philanthropy. With more than 125,000
members across Pennsylvania, and millions more across the world,
Masons have formed niche groups, combining the time-honored
camaraderie of Freemasonry with everyday interests, hobbies
and activities. Some clubs are organized nationally with local
chapters; others are exclusive to specific districts.|
Read on for more information on some examples of clubs already flourishing throughout the fraternity, some of which might interest or inspire you.
The National League of Masonic Clubs, Inc.
More than 100 years ago, Masons who wished to expand the sphere of Masonic influence by uniting as a national group to do the things that will bring the most good to the most people, formed this organization of clubs. They encourage the study of the fundamental principles and ideals of Americanism in hopes of inspiring others to protect and defend the country honorably. The group, which meets three times a year, recently awarded scholarships to six graduating seniors who are related to a member of the fraternity (child or grandchild) and have committed to attending a college or university. For more information, visit www.hometown.aol.com/JSchofi863.
An organization of military Freemasons, National Sojourners aim to foster appreciation of our American heritage of freedom of life, liberty, religion and free expression. In addition to meetings, they recognize outstanding members of the ROTC and JROTC programs with an Americanism award and sponsor young men and women to attend the yearly Spirit of America Youth Leadership Conference. The group has placed 3,100 American flags at the entrance of Fort Indiantown Gap Military Cemetery for each military person who gave his/her life to keep America free during recent conflicts. Pennsylvania is home to seven chapters of the National Sojourners. Interested Masons may obtain additional information from the Membership Committee, 2007 Columbia Avenue, Camp Hill, PA 17011.
Masonic Motorcycle Club International
The Masonic Motorcycle Club International brings together Master Masons with a common interest in motorcycle riding, promotes good fellowship and encourages membership in the fraternity. There are several chapters throughout Pennsylvania, including Chapter 38, which recently hosted the 1st annual MSG Sean M. Thomas Memorial Benefit Ride. The event raised more than $4,000 in four hours, with 200 bikes and about 250 people in attendance. All money raised was given to the wife of Sean, a soldier killed in Iraq, to help with an education fund for his young daughter, Alexa. For additional information, please visit www.masonicmotorcycleclub.org.
Widows Sons Masonic Riders Association
Similar to the Masonic Motorcycle Club International, this group is open to all Masons who enjoy motorcycles and have a desire to ride with their fraternal brothers. They hope to introduce motorcycling to other Masonic brothers, as well as raise Masonic awareness amongst motorcyclists. They sponsor and participate in charity runs and events to contribute to the relief of Masonic widows and orphans. For more information, visit www.widowssons.com.
Masonic Poets Society
The sentiments of Freemasonry are often universal, which is why any member of the craft may submit a piece of work to the Web site, www.masonic-poets-society.com. Work already posted reflects the tenets of Freemasonry, through craft members' wisdom and emotion.
National Camping Travelers
Great for families, this organization includes individual chapters that meet throughout the summer months, and an annual state and national rally. Penn West Chapter #23, one of 10 chapters in Pennsylvania, holds weekend campouts each month that feature crafts and pot luck dinners, and sometimes include a tour of a local attraction. The group encourages fellowship and the formation of new friendships. Visit www.gonct.org for more information.
Masonic Postal Chess Club
Since 1975, Master Masons have joined this club to play chess by postal mail, and now also via e-mail, with brothers across the country. All levels of play are encouraged, and participants may have as many opponents as they desire. Yearly dues are $20. Contact Secretary Bro. Dennis Plymette via e-mail or 304 Longmeadow St., Mechanicsburg, PA 17055.
International Law Enforcement Officers' Square Club
The commonality of this group lies in the member's career choice. The purpose is to allow networking, information transfer and general conversation between members of the law enforcement profession over the Internet. For more information, visit www.angelfire.com/ny/lazaruslong/.
Pennsylvania Masonic Shield and Square Club
Membership of the Shield and Square Club comprises brethren who are active in, or retired from, Pennsylvania law enforcement, but limited to those who have held arrest powers granted by the Commonwealth. An associate membership is also offered, although those members may not vote. Under the guidance of James L. Ernette, R.W.P.G.M., the club formed in response to the need to unify those brethren in law enforcement to work with the Grand Lodge in providing security at special events across the Commonwealth, to assist symbolic lodges in creating interesting education programs and provide a forum for brethren with common interests to interact. They also present awards to officers who have served their communities well or made outstanding arrests. Information about the club is available by writing to the Masonic Temple, c/o Shield and Square Club, One North Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107-2598.
Pennsylvania Association of High Twelve Clubs
This club consists of Master Masons, from many different lodges, who desire an hour of Masonic fellowship independent of the formal ritual of lodge, but dedicated to service to the fraternity. Internationally, it boasts more than 300 clubs and 25,000 members. Statewide, representatives from each of Pennsylvania's 21 clubs meet regularly to coordinate efforts. Individual clubs typically meet monthly, at noon, for a meal and a guest speaker or entertainment. The group supports the Wolcott Foundation, Inc., a master's degree program at George Washington University, as well as DeMolay, Job's Daughters and Rainbow Girls. A list of High Twelve clubs in Pennsylvania may be found at www.pagrandlodge.org/pahigh12/.
Several districts and lodges have organized PM, or Past Master, clubs. The idea is to promote fellowship by meeting at different locations throughout the lodge or district's membership. Watsontown Lodge No. 401 formed a Top Hat club for Past Masters just last year and has found it to be very successful. Past Masters share a common desire to lead and after their tenure is complete, can continue to enhance their commitment through shared ideas and communications at club meetings. For more information, contact Bro. Doug Rickards at (610) 259-0427.
Masonic Reading Society
This society was established to promote the study and discussion of Freemasonry among Masons and non-Masons who are interested in the history and purpose of the craft. According to Bro. Mark Stavish, Wyoming Lodge No. 468, one of the group's founders, members hope to improve the quality of Masonic education for Freemasons, as well as assist in placing Freemasonry in the public eye as a valuable vehicle for personal, cultural and community enhancement. Meetings, held twice a year, consist of an introduction of the pre-selected topic or author-speaker, open discussion and dinner. For more information, contact Bro. Stavish via e-mail.
Upper Darby Township Square Club
Founded by caring police and firemen affiliated with Freemasonry, this group promotes good and helps the needy. Since its inception, they have raised more than $200,000 for charitable endeavors including food certificates for hundreds of hungry families, life vests, bomb-sniffing dogs, and scholarships for Upper Darby High School students. They are ambitiously in the process of organizing an Emergency Response Vehicle which will supply water, soup, etc., as needed by local emergency units. For more information, contact Bro. Roy Parker at (610) 626-3350 or (484) 557-5774.
CHIP Team 36
District 36 wanted to get involved in both the Child Identification Program and the annual Grand Master's Charity Mini Grand Prix race held at the Masonic Village at Elizabethtown, so they decided to do both at the same time. CHIP Team 36 was formed to create a racing team that was fun, taught fundamental racing skills, built character and raised money for the CHIP program. Members of every lodge in the district, including their ladies and children, helped with different aspects, from learning racing fundamentals to volunteering to staff CHIP events. The race car was recently sold, but they continue to focus on the CHIP program, having identified more than 6,000 kids and raised thousands of dollars.
801 Compass Club
Members of this club are identified by their large pins with a purple 801 on it, which stands for 801 Ridge Pike, the location of their residence at the Masonic Village at Lafayette Hill. The club was started for Masonic members of the community and follows the by-laws of the Square Club. This group meets the third Friday of every month and features a guest speaker and happy hour. They also discuss various topics, such as former presidents, and take trips to local places of interest. Residents may contact President Bro. George Gilson at (610) 941-7726.
William Slater II Master Mason's Club
Residents of the Masonic Village at Sewickley began the Master Mason's Club to foster fellowship and welcome new Master Mason residents to the campus. They named it in honor of the Grand Master at the time of the club's inauguration, William Slater II, R.W.P.G.M. The group organizes weekly bingo games to raise money for recreational game equipment and other campus needs, as well as the Masonic Charities. They also host guest speaker monthly and hold an annual barbeque in the courtyard for members, their wives, guests and Masonic widows. Residents may contact Bro. John Haught at (412) 741-9751 for more information.
HAM Radio Club
When one Worshipful Master realized how many members of his lodge were interested in amateur, or HAM, radio, he thought it would be a good opportunity to increase fellowship amongst brothers, as well as offer assistance to those members looking to receive their licenses. A license enables an operator to receive call letters and communicate over the airwaves. The club is in the process of being organized, and Bro. Doug Rickards, W.M., Lansdowne Lodge No. 711, expects to start meetings in January. He hopes to include non-members as well, increasing community involvement and spreading Masonic awareness. For more information, contact Bro. Rickards at (610) 259-0427.
Every Tuesday, this group informally gathers for breakfast as a way to increase camaraderie and introduce the fraternity to new members. Masons, widows and non-Masons are invited. The meetings consist of an opening devotion or prayer, discussion of Masonic activities and updates on any members who are ill or may have been placed in a nursing home. The group started in Lancaster, but several spin-offs have started throughout the state. For more information, contact Bro. Tom Reimensnyder via e-mail or (570) 966-2640.
The BROMAS, or Brother Masons, Club was formed in 1958 by members of Shidle Lodge No. 601, Irwin, looking to socialize through events and sporting activities. A bowling and golf league were formed. Social events have included a Queen for a Night in honor of Masonic ladies, square dances, bus trips, holiday parties and visits to other lodges, the Masonic Temple and the Masonic Village at Elizabethtown. For more information, contact Bro. Russ McCullough at (724) 863-2120 or via e-mail.
A group of Masons from King Solomon's Lodge No. 346, Connellsville, formed the COMAS (Connellsville Masons) Club in 1924, meeting during the three summer months for picnics and in February for a George Washington Banquet. The banquets ended a few years ago, but thanks to the joint effort and funding of King's Solomon Lodge No. 346; Marion Lodge No. 562, Scottsdale and James Cochran Lodge No. 614, Dawson, a new Masonic Center will host the banquet again this year. The banquet, open to brethren and their ladies, will feature entertainment and fellowship opportunities. For more information, contact Bro. Rich Bigley at (724) 547-2637 or via e-mail.
Bro. Basil Veiga, New London Lodge No. 545, would like to form a Spanish Club. Interested members may contact him at 610) 255-0134.
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