Monthly Archives: July 2012

How are we doing?

Hello Brothers,

I thought I’d share a little information with you about this website. As you can see by the chart above our traffic varies significantly from day to day. The traffic monitoring software tracks unique visitors to the website and shows what page they viewed. It doesn’t identify the individuals but does make sure they are logging in from different IP addresses.

We have been up and running since April with the WordPress site and it’s been received very well as judged by the comments I’ve heard from brothers in my travels around the State. Over the last 3 months we are averaging 1200 visitors a month. One visitor can view the site each day and be counted for each day but only for that day. Our highest day was 165 and that was when we first posted an article and notified the world that we are here. You might wonder how that came about.

When an article, such as the notes from the latest meeting, is posted, I send an email including a link back to our pages to masonicassociationjax@floridamason.org which is then forwarded to approximately 289 people. I then post the URL to Facebook (several Masonic Groups), Twitter & a couple other social networks. This activity brings our website to the attention of several hundred if not a few thousand brothers all over the world, but mainly here in North Florida. There may be a more optimum interval for sharing and email the notifications. Thus far I have just blasted them all out immediately after posting the article.

I tell you this for a couple reasons. First and foremost I want you to understand that it’s not by dumb luck that we share the news about what we do. It takes some planning and action. Second, I’m emphasizing the use of social media. We, as a fraternity, are very much behind the power curve on these technologies. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you owe it to yourself and your lodge to educate yourself. One of the biggest problems we keep talking about in our lodges is the aging membership and therefore the loss of membership. Young men are interested in what we know and what we do. But, they have very little patience for our own fear of change in our communications technologies. It’s not complicated but you have to start somewhere.

To start, you might have to have a reason. What might that be? Well, if you are looking to attract young men into the fraternity it would seem that you have to be able to communicate with them. So, the intelligent course would be to learn how best to do that. Technology is the best method to get their attention. When they are looking for the lodge to learn more, what works better? An aging sign posted near the door with a phone number that leads to an answering machine? Or, shiny new sign with a website or QR code that leads to contact that will respond within hours or even minutes?

Do you have a website for your lodge? Who updates it? Have you looked at it lately yourself? Does it have current information on it? Are there links to Grand Lodge on it? Is there a way to promptly contact someone from your lodge? Does your website have a section to address the real concerns of someone seeking information about our fraternity?

Thoughts? Comments?


Patrick Farrell, PDDGM
2012 Junior Grand Deacon
Secretary, Masonic Association
11th and 12th Districts
“Let’s Learn To Communicate Better Together”

Fraternally,

Pat

Seven Rules For Learning Ritual

The background of this document is currently unknown. Hobasco Lodge was moving and organizing its artifacts when [a] file was found. It was scanned into the Secretary’s computer for archival purposes. This edition of the Seven Rules for Learning Ritual was typeset and formatted by Brother Eric S. Howd of Hobasco Lodge #716, Cayuga-Thompkins District, of the Grand Lodge of the State of New York [and reprinted here with Brother Howd’s permission.

Having spent a few years learning the proper delivery of ritual and striving to find ways to improve my own performance I have sought the advice of many learned brothers regarding their own methodologies and preparations. The wisdom contained in the pages of this tiny pamphlet is immediately apparent to any serious ritualist. I hope you find these rules helpful.

1. Follow the admonition of the Charge of the degree of Entered Apprentice.

During your leisure hours, that you may improve in masonic knowledge, you are to converse with well-informed brethren, who will be always as ready to give as you will be to receive instruction.

Since some of our ritual is in code, learn it correctly the first time through. It is much more difficult to relearn incorrectly memorized material than learning it correctly from the start. It is also more fun to work with another Brother because of the fellowship it promotes. First cardinal rule of learning ritual: Do not work alone!!!

2. Read the piece you are working on in its entirety! Get the gist of what it is that we are trying to teach in the piece. Go over it in your mind. Retell the same message in your own words until you know what the “thought” is behind the ritual piece. Make a brief outline of the piece.* Only when you have a good working knowledge of the meaning of the piece of ritual, should you begin to memorize it. The biggest mistake the beginner makes is to begin the memorization process too soon. What are the “key words” that would remind you of each thought? As you learn the key word or thought, associate those keys as retrieval cues to jog your memory. Second cardinal rule of learning ritual: Know the meaning before beginning to memorize.

* For the esoteric or coded work, make this outline in your mind. The exoteric or monitorial work may be outlined on paper. Look in your monitor for the difference. All the esoteric work has been deleted.

3. Work in short time periods. 15-20 minutes, then take a 2-3 minute break. Do not try to consciously remember what you have worked on. Let it “cook” in your mind for a few minutes. Then go back to the work. Your subconscious mind will do a lot of the work, if you let it. Three time periods would be the most for any one day. Don’t overdo it! Third cardinal rule of learning ritual: Work in short time periods.

4. When you start a new session for the day, never never begin with a recitation from memory. This rule must be followed, with no exceptions! The reason is simple. Since the material is not yet firmly in place in your mind, you are apt to do that first recitation incorrectly. This incorrect recitation will make an impression on your mind. Then you will have to relearn it. You do not want to make more work for yourself. Read the portion of the ritual you want to practice, preferably, out loud. Read it carefully! Then try a recitation. One recitation only! Reread the portion to correct any mistakes. The try another recitation. Keep this alternating process up until you know the piece cold. Fourth cardinal rule of learning ritual: Do not begin a days session with “memory recitation.” Read-recite-read-recite.

5. Some time before the degree, go to the lodge room and practice the piece in the actual place in the room that you will be giving it. If during the degree you will be moving from place to place, then practice reciting your part while moving about. Suit the action to the word. There is no substitution for this important rule. Performing in an unfamiliar place makes it more difficult to do a good job. Practicing in the actual Lodge room will aid and allow your memory to do its best job. Fifth cardinal rule of learning ritual: Practice in the Lodge room in the very place you will be during the degree.

6. Have confidence that you will do a good job. Remember, no one is perfect. Anyone can have a momentary loss of memory. That’s why we have prompters, and while on the subject, have the Master announce that only one person is to prompt. Also, have an agreement with the prompter, that he is to cue you only at your request. You can use a verbal or hand signal. It gives an authoritative impression when you are the one to request a prompt, but don’t overdo it.Sixth cardinal rule of learning ritual: Have confidence but also back yourself up with a well-informed and well-rehearsed prompter.

7. Relax! Always remember the most important rule of doing ritual: have fun! This will be contagious to the new Brother for whose benefit you are giving the work in the first place. Both learning and teaching are best done in a relaxed atmosphere. Seventh cardinal rule of learning ritual: Relax and have fun!

These simple rules are to help you learn and teach the important tenets of our fraternity. Ritual should never be a tortuous process. There is so much value in our teachings that we must never cloak it in the image of difficulty and too much solemnity. Keep in mind our watchwords …

let there be light!

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The author also recommended a reading list for learning about Mnemonics. You might find them helpful. Through the magic of modern technology I have turned these APA style references into hyperlinks to the Amazon.com book.

Buzan, Tony. Make the Most of Your Mind. New York: Fireside, 1984

Buzan, Tony. Use Your Perfect Memory. New Your: Plume, 1991

Lorayne, Harry. How to Develop a Super Power Memory. Hollywood: Frederick Fell Publishers, 1989

Lorayne, Harry and Jerry Lucas. The Memory Book. New York: Ballantine Books, 1975

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I found this to be insightful wisdom. Now, what do you think? Do your experiences confirm or discount this advice? Is there something you’d like to add? Perhaps as you sit there thinking you will recall to mind a time in your own life that illustrates this wisdom? Care to share? See the comment link below and tell us all about it. Thanks for reading.

Fraternally,

Pat

Need help with some Child ID events.

Brothers,

Your Masonic Child ID Program needs your help. We have been invited to participate with Jax Parks Summer Enrichment Program. What this means is that we are being allowed access to 18 different summer camps with at least 40 kids per location during the month of July. As you can imagine, this is going to take some volunteers. We need people who can volunteer in the morning 9-11, and afternoons 1-3. The dates and locations are listed below — the first two opportunities are July 2. If we can count on your help, just email us with the preferred times and dates, or locations for which you can help @ cidnfl@gmail.com

 

Volunteering is easy, fun, and a great way to show the public what it is to be a Mason.

 

East Jacksonville
Enrichment and Kids Camp – R.F. Kennedy, 1133 Ionia St., 630-0933

13-Jul

 morning
North Jacksonville
Enrichment – Carvill, 1302 Carvill Ave., 764-0513

9-Jul

 afternoon
Enrichment – Clanzel T. Brown, 4545 Moncrief Road, 765-5282

9-Jul

 morning
Enrichment – Dinsmore, 1726 Civic Club Drive, 924-5330

11-Jul

 afternoon
Enrichment – Emmett Reed, 1093 W. Sixth St., 630-0958

13-Jul

 morning
Enrichment – Legends, 5070 Soutel Road, 924-5351

11-Jul

 afternoon
Enrichment – Oceanway, 12215 Sago Ave. W., 751-3386

2-Jul

 afternoon
South Jacksonville
Enrichment – Balis, 1513 LaSalle St., 306-2148

16-Jul

 morning
Enrichment – Blue Cypress, 4012 University Blvd., 745-5466

18-Jul

 afternoon
Enrichment – Burnett, 3740 Burnett Park Road, 268-7510

20-Jul

 morning
Enrichment – Cuba Hunter, 3620 Bedford Road, 858-1366

20-Jul

 afternoon
Enrichment – Henry T. Jones, 3856 Grant Road, 399-0615

16-Jul

 afternoon
Enrichment – Windy Hill, 10540 Anders Blvd., 565-2669

18-Jul

 morning
West Jacksonville
Enrichment – Cecil, 13611 Normandy Blvd., 573-3157

23-Jul

 afternoon
Enrichment – E.B. Ford, 2839 W. Beaver St., 388-2640

2-Jul

 morning
Enrichment – Julian Barrs, 10151 Crystal Springs Road, 693-4909

23-Jul

 morning
Enrichment – M.L. Gibbs, 6974 Wilson Blvd., 573-3153

25-Jul

 morning
Enrichment – McGirts Creek, 8453 118th St., 573-3183

25-Jul

 afternoon

Bill Crime

Zone 3 Chairman

Masonic Child Id Program of Florida

cidnfl@gmail.com

Updates to the District 11th and 12th Calendar

Brothers,

All Official Visits of our District Deputy Grand Masters for the 11th and 12th Districts through October 2012 have been added to the District Calendar. Each even includes start time for dinner and a map to find the lodge in case you need it or to share with a visiting brother.

I strongly encourage you to make as many of these visits as you can and enjoy the great fellowship as well as some good Masonic Education.

Fraternally,

Pat