Author Archives: Bro. Ed Batewell

The First of the Old Charges

A Mason is obliged by his tenure to obey the moral law; and if he rightly understands the
art, he will never be a stupid atheist, nor an irreligious libertine. But though in ancient
times Masons were charged in every country to be of the religion of that country or
nation, whatever it was, yet ’tis now thought more expedient only to oblige them to that
religion in which all men agree, leaving their particular opinions to themselves; that is, to
be good men and true, or men of honour and honesty, by whatever denominations or
persuasions they may be distinguished; whereby Masonry becomes the center of union
and the means of conciliating true friendship among persons that must have remained at a
perpetual distance.

“Concerning God and Religion” – The Old Charges, 1723.

What is Masonry?

BY Bro. Walter H. Bonn, Victor, Iowa

It’s not a sign or handshake, a hall where tilers sit,
It’s not a guarded building, where passwords will admit,
It’s not a place of symbols, which Wardens oft display,
It’s not a lodge of members, who meet in white array.
It is the home of justice, of liberty and truth,
Of loyalty to country, of sympathy for youth,
Of succor for a brother, of gentleness and cheer,
Of tolerance for neighbors, whose life is often drear.


The Masonic Compact

Because I am a Freemason…. freemason_compass_n_square

…..I believe that freedom of religion is an inalienable human right and tolerance an indispensable trait of human character; therefore, I will stand in my Lodge with Brothers of all faiths, and respect their beliefs as they respect mine, and I will demonstrate the spirit of Brotherhood in all aspects of my life.

…..I know that education and the rational use of the mind are the keys to facing the problems of humanity; therefore, I will bring my questions and my ideas to my Lodge, and strive to advance the growth of my mind alongside my Brothers.

…..I know that the rich tradition of Freemasonry and its framework of Ritual are important platforms for growth and learning; therefore, I vow to stand upon these platforms to improve myself as a human being, and I vow to help in the mission of the Craft to provide tools, atmosphere, challenges and motivation to help each Brother do the same.

…..I know that charity is the distinguishing human virtue, and that personal community service is the best demonstration of one’s commitment to humanity; I acknowledge that words without deeds are meaningless, and I vow to work with my Lodge to provide service to the community, and to promote charity, frienship, morality, harmony, integrity, fidelity and love.

…..I know that my obligation to community extends beyond my local sphere and is partly fulfilled in my patriotism; love of my country, obedience to its laws and celebration of the freedoms and opportunities it symbolizes.

…..I know that leadership is best demonstrated by commitment to serving others; I will therefore participate in, and help work at improving individual leadership skills, and serve my Brothers of my Lodge to the best of my ability.

….. I know that friendship, fidelity and family are the foundations of a well-lived life; I therefore vow to be a faithful friend to my Brothers, as I expect my Lodge to respect my personal obligations, and to treat my family as though my family were their own.

…..I know that the last great lesson of Freemasonry- the value of personal integrity and the sanctity of one’s word-is a lesson for all people in all times; I therefore vow to be a man of my word.

…..I know that Masonry’s power is best exercised when its Light is shared with the world at large; I therefore vow to bring the best of myself to my Lodge, in order that my growth might be fostered and nurtured, and to present myself to the world as a working Freemason, on the path to building a more perfect temple.

Because I am a Freemason, these values and aspirations are guideposts for my progress through life.

Message from the East – November 2013

In November, we celebrate the holiday of Thanksgiving. All too often, many think that it is a day off to watch football. It should be a time of reflection of all the good that we have in our lives such as family, friends, good health, etc. It is important for us to realize what is truly important. For me, having the family together is the best part of the day. With everyone’s busy schedule, getting together is harder and harder. For those whose parents are still alive, get in touch with them and let them know how important it is that they are a part of your life and how grateful you are for everything that they have done for you. The values they instilled in you. The sacrifices they made for you. These are things that you do not realize until you are grown or until you have children of your own. When you grow up having only one parent as I did, then you realize how important it is to have both parents. If you are a parent of grown adults, call them, let them know that you are thinking about them and how proud you are of them. If you are a parent of children, sit down and talk to them. Let them know that you want the best for them and their wellbeing is important to you. Give them an extra hug. Tell them how much you love them. Do not take life for granted. Let those that are important to you know it. You never know what is going to happen tomorrow. Make the most out of every day.

Also, in November, we have Veteran’s Day. After thinking about it, it really does make sense to have this in the same month as Thanksgiving. We should give thanks to all those servicemen who have served or is serving our country. They have made sure that we have the freedoms that we enjoy today. So during Thanksgiving, include them in your prayers and when you see a serviceman go up and thank them for their service and all that they do for this country.

Stephen Ruch, Worshipful Master

The new Masonic Renewal site has been launched

From the conference of Grand Masters:

The new Masonic Renewal site has just recently been launched. The Masonic Renewal Committee is charted by the Conference of Grand Masters of Masons in North America.

The new site has been 4 years in the making and is the largest collection of Masonic development programs, books, images and videos on the net. The current content is only a fraction of the information slotted to be put on.

I was perusing the library and found a huge collection (even podcasts!), more than enough to keep a seeker of light very, very busy.

Message From The East – June 2013

Message from WM Stephen Ruch for June 2013:

The summer is upon us. Just because the Lodge will not be meeting from the middle of the month of June until the beginning of September, it does not mean that Masons go “dark”. Keep in mind that the Craftsman’s club will still meet the first Monday of each month as well as breakfast with Hiram will continue on the third Saturday of the month. We hope to do some things around the lodge (maintenance and cleaning) so please come and help as much as you can when asked.

However, just because the lodge does not meet, that does not mean that our responsibilities as Masons go dormant. Remember that “Freemasonry is founded on the purest principles of Morality, Brotherly Love, and Charity”. By “Morality”, as Masons we should do what is right. Do not be persuaded by others but do what is proper for the situation that confronts you.  By “Brotherly Love”, we should do onto others as you would want them to do unto you. By “Charity”, we are to help others. It is not always monetary, although that sure helps those in financial need, but it can be in other ways. Help a sick friend by doing some chore for them or even just visiting them to lift up their spirits, donate some time and volunteer your services.

The principles of Masonry are always with us and should be practiced at all times. By acting on the square, you make yourself (and hopefully those around you) better “Making good men Better”. Remember when you were put in the Northeast corner and told that “as you now stand before us to all appearances an upright man and a Mason, I give it to you strictly in charge ever to act, walk and conduct yourself as such before God and man”.

Come out and join your brothers at the 20th Masonic District dinner and dance on June 1st and at the annual picnic at A. Paul King Park in Manahawkin in July. Both of these events should provide a great time.

I wish you and your family a healthy and happy summer.


Stephen Ruch, Worshipful Master