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Masonic News & Views - What's up with the rappety, rap, raps?
May 07, 2012
Greetings Brother,

Please see the News portion below for changes to the scheduled events since last I pestered you with one of these e-mails. Thanks.

So, I received some questions recently and in answering them it occurred to me that there may be others who could use some clarification on certain things. For instance...

What's the deal with the Masonic gavels and the rappety, rap, raps?

The gavel is the symbol of authority by which the Worshipful Master governs the lodge. One rap of the gavel calls the Brethren to order; two raps calls the Officers of the lodge to their feet; three raps will cause all the Brethren to arise; one rap will seat the Lodge or any Brother thereof. According to our Masonic ritual that authority passes to the Senior Warden or to the Junior Warden at certain points at which they then wield the gavel of authority. The authority itself, though, and the responses to the number of raps remains the same.

I was in a meeting and a member was asked to cross from one side of the room to the other, but he walked halfway around the room to do so. What's up with that?

Brethren do not pass between the Altar at the center of the lodge and the Master who sits in the East while a Masonic Lodge is at labor (except when Masonic ritual prescribes that they do) because the Master is supposed to have the Great Lights constantly in view. In the U.S. the Great Lights consist of the Holy Bible, Square and Compasses. In other jurisdictions the holy book of the predominant religion may replace the Holy Bible on the altar, but the theory and symbolism is that the Master draws inspiration from the Altar to preside over the Lodge and must not, therefore, be prevented from seeing it at any time.

The custom is but a matter of courtesy. It is rooted in a fundamental conception of the Craft that the Altar is the Center of Freemasonry, and that from it and from the Great Lights it bears, flow all that there is of Masonic inspiration, truth and light.

During Degree Work the other night the Master said, "The Lodge will be at ease..." What does that mean?

At certain times, such as during the preparation of a candidate, the Master will put the Lodge at ease until the preparations are done. While at ease it is proper for the Brethren to converse with each other, or even to move about the lodge room if they have reason to. However, when the Lodge is at labor the door is symbolically sealed and being at ease does not unseal the door. Therefore, it is decidedly improper for Brethren to leave the lodge room without permission of the Master. Think of a Masonic Lodge being put at ease as similar to a military formation being put at ease. You may relax but you are not dismissed.

Have a great week, and please say a prayer for someone. It'll make you both feel better.

Fraternally yours,

Tim Couch

And now, on with the news........................

Monday, May 7, 2012: The 33° Ritual Degree Team of the Scottish Rite Valley of Joplin will be conferring the Master Mason Degree at Granby Lodge No. 514, Granby, MO. Refreshments at 6:00PM...Lodge will be duly Opened at 7:00PM.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012: Mansfield Lodge No. 543 will have work in the 2nd Degree of Freemasonry in conjunction with their regular stated meeting. Two candidates will be presented for advancement to the degree of Fellow Craft. Lodge will be duly Opened at 7:00 PM.

Saturday, May 12, 2012: Solomon Lodge No. 271 will meet in Special Communication for work in the 3rd Degree of Freemasonry. Four candidates will be presented for advancement to the sublime degree of Master Mason. Lodge will be duly Opened at 10:00 AM.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012: Friend Lodge No. 352 will meet in Special Communication for work in the 3rd Degree of Freemasonry. Brother Ed Rooker will be presented for advancement to the sublime degree of Master Mason. Dinner will be served at 6:30 and Lodge will be duly Opened at 7:00 PM. All Master Masons are invited in.

Thursday, May 17, 2012: Gate of the Temple Lodge No. 422 welcomes the Widow's Sons to their regular communication. If you have an interest in motorcycles or just want to see what this fun and energetic band of Brothers is up to come to supper at 5:30 and the Lodge will be duly Opened at 6:30 PM.

Thursday, May 17, 2012: Henderson Lodge No. 477 invite all Freemasons to a celebration of Past Masters. Dinner will be ready at 6:30 and Lodge will be duly Opened at 7:30 PM.

Please note this change:
Saturday, May 19, 2012: A C2A (Chance to Advance)
one day class to confer the Fellow Craft and Master Mason degrees will be held in Springfield, MO. The location of this class is still being confirmed and will be in next week's newsletter. Registration and breakfast at 6:00 and Lodge will be duly Opened at 7:00 AM.

Saturday, May 19, 2012: Lamar Lodge No. 292 will host a Regional School of Ritual Instruction. RWB Tim Couch, Region 'F' Grand Lecturer, will instruct. Lunch will be ready at Noon and the school will begin at 1:00 PM. All Master Masons are invited in.
The Lamar Lodge building is located at 200 East 11th Street in Lamar, MO.

Please note this change:
Wednesday, May 30, 2012: The Region 'F' Ritual Round Robin Competition and School of Instruction has been rescheduled to take place on Wednesday evening, May 30, at 7:00 PM.
I apologize for the confusion. I didn't realize I had wandered into the Memorial Day weekend when I originally scheduled it for the previous Saturday.

I further apologize if this new schedule, being on a Wednesday, interferes with anyone's plans to attend Church services. Saturdays are so incredibly busy for everyone these days, and Wednesday evenings are the only days when no Lodge in the Region has a regular stated meeting. I appreciate your understanding.

The Round Robin and School of Instruction will still take place at Henderson Lodge No. 477 located at 127 East Center in Rogersville, MO. Instruction will begin at 7:00 PM. Dinner will be ready at 6:00 if you can make it. If you have any questions please contact me by clicking here, or feel free to call.

Thanks and I hope to see you there.

Friday & Saturday, June 1 & 2, 2012: The Spring Ceremonial of Abou Ben Adhem Shrine will take place this weekend. All Nobles are encouraged to attend. All Master Masons are eligible to join. For more information on being a Shriner visit For more information on Abou Ben Adhem Shrine in Springfield, MO visit

Saturday, June 9, 2012: The Brethren of O'Sullivan Lodge No. 7 proudly present the 9th Annual Pickin in the Park Bluegrass and Country Music Festival. This event will be held in the City Park in Walnut Grove, Missouri. Bring your lawn chairs and enjoy fourteen Country and Bluegrass Bands playing from 11am to 10pm. Come out for a great day and night of music. Adults $6.00; Family $15.00. All proceeds go to charities in the area. For more information call WB Steve Gilkey or contact any member of O'Sullivan Lodge No. 7.

Saturday, June 9, 2012: It's time for the annual Good Times BBQ & Music event on the grounds of Sparta Lodge No. 296, 7702 State Hwy 14 East, Sparta, MO. Music will be provided by:

  • Uncle Fudd
  • Alta and Bob Courtney
  • The Lucky Boys
  • The music will begin at 2:30 PM so come early and bring lawn chairs.
The Good Times officially kick off at 3:00 PM and the menu will include Pork Tenderloin or Beef Brisket sandwich with fresh cut fries, baked beans, dessert, and tea or lemonade for a donation of $7.00 and kids under the age of 5 years eat for free. Things will wrap up around 6:00 PM.
There will be a small auction somewhere about the middle of the event. Several new hand tools and power tools along with various other items. Please plan on attending; don't forget mark this down on your calendar. Tickets can be purchased that day or you can call John Van Slyke to purchase in advance.

As you can see there's lots of Masonry going on in Missouri. See the links below to keep up with the latest or to submit information for your upcoming meeting or event.

For more news of upcoming events and special communications visit the Upcoming Masonic Events page on

For a calendar of Stated meetings for many of the Lodges and Masonic bodies visit the Masonic Calendar page on

For help locating a lodge building visit the Missouri Masonic Lodge Map page on

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