What activities can I take part in as a member of Scottish Rite?
The opportunities for active participation are almost unlimited. The 110 Valleys of the Northern Jurisdiction are continually seeking the variety of talents necessary to the work of the Rite. Degree presentations not only require ritualists and those with dramatic abilities, but choirs, orchestras, stage crews, make-up men and service committees of all kinds. This is also true of plays and other entertainment programs, such as the November “Family Week” events, that many Valleys present for members and families. Scottish Rite Bodies search constantly for officer material, many Valleys have publications which welcome the help of those with a literary bent, membership committees seek personnel to maintain the flow of candidates, and publicity committees need the help of those experiences in this specialized field.
It is the aim of Scottish Rite to provide a suitable place for every member who wishes to have an active role in the advance of the Rite.
What is meant by the terms “Reunion” and “Convocation”?
These words are frequently used to refer to Scottish Rite meetings where degrees are conferred. As distinguished from routine business meetings of the Rite, Reunions and Convocations involve the use of degree casts, committees of all types, musical units, costuming and make-up personnel, stagehands and others. In some large Valleys, as many as 700 members take active parts in Reunions and Convocations.
How can I keep in touch with Scottish Rite after initiation if I live many miles from Valley headquarters?
In an effort to overcome the problems of distance, the majority of Scottish Rite Valleys which cover large geographical areas have encouraged the formation of county or regional Clubs, Associations or Societies. These organizations enable members to meet regularly between Reunions or Convocations and to keep up their Scottish Rite contacts and friendships. Responsible to the parent Valley and its officers, Scottish Rite Clubs carry on business meetings, social programs, and ladies’ nights at convenient locations for out-of-town members. Some Clubs have also adopted local charitable projects to add to their worthwhile activities.
Each Scottish Rite member receives regular issues of “The Northern Light”, a jurisdiction-wide magazine published by the Supreme Council. “The Northern Light’, supplemented by many existing Valley publications, is a source of up-to-date and accurate Scottish Rite information for all members wherever they may reside. The Supreme Council has produced five motion pictures, “The Quest for Light”, “What Came You Here To Do?”, “Song of America”, “Courage to Lead”, and “Turning the Tide”. These together with a carousel slide tape presentation entitled, “Serving The Nation – Strengthening The Rite” are available to interested groups and organizations through Valley Secretaries, in a continuing endeavor to explain Masonic origins, principles, purposes and benevolences.
What are the principal charitable activities of Scottish Rite?
Since 1934, Scottish Rite in the Northern Jurisdiction has directed and financed the first coordinated research program into the cause of schizophrenia—the most widespread and serious form of mental illness. This research activity—of benefit to all mankind—is carried on with the cooperation of an advisory committee composed of leading medical scientists, psychiatrists and psychologists. Scottish Rite to date has appropriated more than $12,750,000 for this purpose.
As a Masonic contribution to the Bicentennial observance, Scottish Rite constructed and opened a Museum and Library devoted to our national heritage. The attractive facility at historic Lexington, Massachusetts, has been erected by Scottish Rite members and friends for the purpose of disseminating knowledge of the country’s history, purposes and ideals among all the people—especially our youth.
Scottish Rite sponsors the Leon M. Abbott Scholarships, named for the former Sovereign Grand Commander who by a generous legacy founded the Supreme Council Education and Charity Fund. Originally, Abbott grants when to university schools of journalism and schools of international service. Now, scholarships are allotted to the 15 states and in turn awarded to the offspring of Scottish Rite members and to young men and women who have participated in such youth organizations as DeMolay, Rainbow, and Job’s Daughters. Recipients may use grants at universities of their choice. More than $790,000 in scholarships has been awarded since 1952.
A number of local Valleys also maintain charitable projects of their own, contribute to the operation of Grand Lodge Homes and provide special relief assistance to distressed brethren and their families.
Will I be assessed for charitable or benevolent endeavors?
There are no such assessments either by the Supreme Council or by local Valleys. The Supreme Council does make appeals for voluntary contributions from individual members to its Benevolent Foundation, the Abbott scholarships and the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum and Library, Inc. Some local Valleys solicit voluntary gifts for their hospitaler or similar funds. In all cases, response is entirely voluntary, and the Supreme council and its subordinate bodies are content to rely on the judgment of the individual member in this respect.
Scottish Rite needs the active participation of every Master Mason who is sincerely trying to practice the honored, time-tested principles of the Fraternity in his daily life and, particularly, in his relations with his fellow men.
And the world, in turn, needs, more than ever before in history, the example of such men—men who are dedicated to these great moral precepts and to the preservation of human dignity.
Never has there been a greater or more urgent need for men who are striving to practice true brotherhood—and nowhere will you find a greater opportunity to increase your capacity for enlightened service than in Scottish Rite Masonry.