2020 Campership Application is online!

Scouters Lodge #236 is happy to announce that we are providing up to four $450 camperships to Maryland Scouts in 2020. Please visit our campership page and fill out the application and send it in. Deadline for submissions is April 10th, 2020.

Traveling Gavel case improvements

The attached pictures are of the “casket” of the masonic Traveling Gavel Showing the “embellishments” that have been done to it.  You can see the brass corners, the two brass “locking” hasps, the paracord-wrapped brass handle and the two escutcheons camouflaging two holes from a previous handle.  You can use these pictures at next Thursday’s “virtual” lodge meeting to show our members what was done to leave our “mark” on the Traveling Gavel.  Nothing was done to the gavel itself.

These pictures should illustrate what work was done on the “casket.”  There were several small screw holes where the previous small (utterly useless) brass hasps were located.  These holes have been filled with wood putty that matches the color of the wood (mahogany) used to make the “casket.”  By the way, a “casket” is the term used for a small wooden chest or box used to hold something of importance/value, in this case, the Masonic Traveling Gavel.  Like all good Scouts, we try to leave things better than we found them.  In this particular case, “Leave No Trace” does not apply.

Scouters Lodge Tyler’s Sword

In Scouting, there is no need or use for a sword of any kind.  The “biggest” blade that a Scout might use would be a kitchen knife in the preparation of food.  With Freemasonry, things are a little different and a Lodge had a guard outside the lodge’s meeting place with a drawn sword to keep away “cowans and eavesdroppers.”
In Scouter’s Lodge 236, we have decided to use wood in a way to tie in those skills we learn in Scouting.  I did some research on the internet about the Tyler’s Sword and found that most of the swords being used by Lodges are either military sabers or swords created commercially for use by fraternal organizations.  Masonic tradition says that the Tyler’s Sword is to resemble the flaming sword(s) the G-d placed with angels at the Garden of Eden to guard against Adam and Eve from returning after being expelled.  It would be interesting is we could design a sword that could actually have flames but we know that that would be ridiculous let alone very dangerous to people and property.  Therefore, we have to come up with a “symbolic” flaming sword.  History shows us that “flaming” swords were developed and used.  These swords were, of course, made of steel but the blades, instead of being straight-edged, were made to have wavy-shaped blades.  In Europe, this style of blade was called “flamberge.”  These swords were quite large, sometimes as long as 4 to 5 feet long.  They required a wielder of that sword to be quite large and strong.  In the Far East, wavy-blade swords were also created but the were not so large and heavy as the European Flamberge swords.  These swords are known as “kris.”  The blades are quite lethal-looking and apparently are quite damaging not only when piercing a person’s body but also in the withdrawal of the blade.

Scouter’s Lodge 236 has taken the idea of the flamberge sword and had one created in wood.  Our Tyler’s Sword has a wavy blade, I believe that the blade and hilt is oak and the cross-guard is black walnut.  At the top of the hilt or pommel, we have added a square-and compasses pin.  On the cross-guard, we’ve added  a plain Scout fleur-de-lis pin.  These pins are on both sides of the sword.  Down one side of the blade, I found small wooden letters and have spelled out “SCOUTERS LODGE.”  Our Scouter’s Lodge 236 Tyler’s Sword was crafted by Isle of Man Woodworking of Delta, Pennsylvania.

From the East

First let me thank everyone for electing me as Worshipful Masters of Scouters Lodge #236 for 2020. Second, let me say that I will do my best to not make repeated puns about “2020” and “vision” this year (with one exception that I’ll get to in a bit). I have a number of ideas for Scouters Lodge this year, but I know that I can’t do it alone. I’ve already been at work with the 2020 officers to prepare a calendar of events for the year, which you should see in this trestleboard. Hopefully you will be able to block out many of these dates on your calendar early, so we will be able to enjoy your company. Here are some of the highlights I hope to accomplish this year;
• Handing out our first camperships in 2020. Our rifle raffle did well in 2019, so we should be able to provide 4 camperships of up to $450 in 2020. We are still working on the applications and process, so if you’d like to be involved, please let me know.
• Since that raffle was successful, I’d like to try it again, starting around the April/May timeframe (no later than the semi-annual meeting of Grand Lodge).
• Having a lodge meeting in Western Maryland over the summer. As a traveling lodge, we haven’t really traveled too far out of the Baltimore/Washington area. If this goes well, look for a visit to the eastern shore for 2021.
• A past master’s night/dinner in June.
• I’m also looking into having one or more presentations during our meetings (in a called off state), via teleconference. This is an attempt to reach out to those that can’t physically be at a meeting and also to provide a presentation by a remote presenter. Details and technology are still being worked out for this.
• I’d also like to look into the possibility of constructing a number (10?) portable flag poles, similar to what my son’s pack created, that we could donate to local units.
• Working with the Grand Lodge to have a flag retirement ceremony at Grand Lodge around flag day.
• Having another Open Table Lodge.
• Having a spring and fall “Brotherhood Night”, were we can meet and hang out at a local bar/restaurant and make so others interested in the lodge can attend and get to know us.
In short beyond doing the “regular” activities of a lodge, I’d like to raise the visibility of Scouters Lodge #236 both with Scouting and Freemasonry. (Ok that’s my only “2020-like” reference)
Also, don’t be surprised ifou receive a phone call from me in the upcoming months. I’d like to make sure that I reach out and talk to each of you at least once this year, if not more.
I hope to see each of you at one of our meeting or events this year.

Secrets of Freemasonry

The common question is why is Masonry so “secretive”?

It really isn’t “secretive,” although it sometimes has that reputation. Masons certainly don’t make a secret of the fact that they are members of the fraternity. We wear rings, lapel pins, and tie clasps with Masonic emblems like the Square and Compasses, the best known of Masonic signs which, logically, recall the fraternity’s early symbolic roots in stonemasonry. Masonic buildings are clearly marked, and are usually listed in the phone book. Lodge activities are not secret — picnics and other events are even listed in the newspapers, especially in smaller towns. Many lodges have answering machines which give the upcoming lodge activities. But there are some Masonic secrets, and they fall into two categories.

The first are the ways in which a man can identify himself as a Mason — grips and passwords. We keep those private for obvious reasons. It is not at all unknown for unscrupulous people to try to pass themselves off as Masons in order to get assistance under false pretenses.

The second group is harder to describe, but they are the ones Masons usually mean if we talk about “Masonic secrets.” They are secrets because they literally can’t be talked about, can’t be put into words.
They are the changes that happen to a man when he really accepts responsibility for his own life and, at the same time, truly decides that his real happiness is in helping others.
It’s a wonderful feeling, but it’s something you simply can’t explain to another person. That’s why we sometimes say that Masonic secrets cannot (rather than “may not”) be told. Try telling someone exactly what you feel when you see a beautiful sunset, or when you hear music, like the national anthem, which suddenly stirs old memories, and you’ll understand what we mean.
“Secret societies” became very popular in America in the late 1800s and early 1900s. There were literally hundreds of them, and most people belonged to two or three. Many of them were modeled on Masonry, and made a great point of having many “secrets.” Freemasonry got ranked with them. But if Masonry is a secret society, it’s the worst-kept secret in the world!

So, what is a Mason?

A Mason is a man who has decided that he likes to feel good about himself and others. He cares about the future as well as the past, and does what he can, both alone and with others, to make the future good for everyone.
Many men over many generations have answered the question, “What is a Mason?” One of the most eloquent was written by the Reverend Joseph Fort Newton, an internationally honored minister of the first half of the 20th Century and Grand Chaplain, Grand Lodge of Iowa, 1911-1913.

So, what’s a Mason? When is a man a Mason?
When he can look out over the rivers, the hills, and the far horizon with a profound sense of his own Littleness in the vast scheme of things, and yet have faith, hope, and courage — which is the root of every virtue. When he knows that down in his heart every man is as noble, as vile, as divine, as diabolic, and as lonely as himself, and seeks to know, to forgive, and to love his fellowman.

When he knows how to sympathize with men in their sorrows, yea, even in their sins — knowing that each man fights a hard fight against many odds. When he has learned how to make friends and to keep them, and above all how to keep friends with himself. When he loves flowers, can hunt birds without a gun, and feels the thrill of an old forgotten joy when he hears the laugh of a little child. When he can be happy and high-minded amid the meaner drudgeries of life. When star-crowned trees and the glint of sunlight on flowing waters subdue him like the thought of one much loved and long dead. When no voice of distress reaches his ears in vain, and no hand seeks his aid without response. When he finds good in every faith that helps any man to lay hold of divine things and sees majestic meanings in life, whatever the name of that faith may be. When he can look into a wayside puddle and see something beyond mud, and into the face of the most forlorn fellow mortal and see something beyond sin. When he knows how to pray, how to love, how to hope. When he has kept faith with himself, with his fellowman, and with his God; in his hand a sword for evil, in his heart a bit of a song — glad to live, but not afraid to die! Such a man has found the only real secret of Masonry, and the one which it is trying to give to all the world

The word “lodge” means both a group of Masons meeting in some place and the room or building in which they meet. Masonic buildings are also sometimes called “temples” because much of the symbolism Masonry uses to teach its lessons comes from the building of King Solomon’s Temple in the Holy Land. The term “lodge” itself comes from the structures which the stonemasons built against the sides of the cathedrals during construction. In winter, when building had to stop, they lived in these lodges and worked at carving stone.

While there is some variation in detail from state to state and country to country.If you’ve ever watched C-SPAN’s coverage of the House of Commons in London, you’ll notice that the layout is about the same. Since Masonry came to America from England, we still use the English floor plan and English titles for the officers. The Worshipful Master of the Lodge sits in the East. “Worshipful” is an English term of respect which means the same thing as “Honorable.” He is called the Master of the lodge for the same reason that the leader of an orchestra is called the “Concert Master.” It’s simply an older term for “Leader.” In other organizations, he would be called “President.” The Senior and Junior Wardens are the First and Second Vice-Presidents. The Deacons are messengers, and the Stewards have charge of refreshments.

Every lodge has an altar holding a “Volume of the Sacred Law.” In the United States and Canada, that is almost always a Bible.

This is a good place to repeat what we said earlier about why men become Masons:

    There are things they want to do in the world
    There are things they want to do “inside their own minds.”
    They enjoy being together with men they like and respect.
    The Lodge is the center of these activities.