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September 2000

BY Guest Sojourner- RWB Michael A. Himes- Jr. Grand Deacon (State of Ohio)

     Holding Hands

     On a recent Sunday, I saw a broad sampling of the ways that people express their affection for each other. This brought to mind some thoughts about our fraternity.
     During Sunday church service, our minister asks the children in the congregation to come forward for a special message.  After he has finished, he then instructs the children to hold hands and form a circle for prayer.  The young boys and girls have no trouble holding hands with each other, but there seems to be an invisible barrier when it is time for a boy to grasp the hand of a girl, or vice versa.   Heaven forbid!
     Later, at the shopping mall, I witnessed a young couple, obviously in love, holding hands while they walked through the crowd, oblivious of everyone but each other.  I then saw a middle-aged couple walking along together, but without any visible signs of affection for each other.
     While leaving I saw an elderly couple, walking slowly, hand in hand, with the look of contentment that comes only when each partner knows the other so well that they almost know what the other is going to do or say before it happens.
How does this relate to the Fraternity of Freemasonry?   How many of us are unwilling, even afraid, to extend the right hand of fellowship and friendship to those who are not members of the fraternity, and give to them the same information that was given to each of us, whereby we were able to make our own decision about joining Masonry?  We now have an advantage in being able to say to a worthy friend  "You would make a good Mason."  Let’s use this golden opportunity to enhance our Fraternity.   If every Mason would replace himself, and add one more, we would not have a membership problem.
     The young couple reminds us of the new Mason, filled with enthusiasm, who wants to learn everything he can about the fraternity, and take part in all of its activities.  Whether he stays enthusiastic, or turns into the Masonic equivalent of the middle-aged couple cited earlier, is up to us.  As long as we can offer interesting programs, meaningful family activities, and a reason for being with us, he will remain.  Make him a participant in the organization, and not just a part of the organization, and he will stay.
     The elderly couple, you ask?  They remind us of the Mason who has labored in the fields of Masonry, who is comfortable with his knowledge of the Fraternity, and who is willing to use his experience to help those who are learning, as he was so many years ago.  Take advantage of this member by using his skills and wisdom to help educate the next generation of leaders in your Lodge, Chapter, Council, or Commandery.  Thus you will perpetuate the ideals and tenets of our profession while preparing for the future.


Michael A. Himes

**RWB Himes is currently serving the Grand Lodge of Ohio as the Junior Grand Deacon
Mike is a very active Mason. He is a Past Master of Northbend Lodge #346,
Past President of the 1st Dist. Officer's Assoc., Past Sovereign Prince of Dalcho Council Princes of Jerusalem (AASR) & a 33rd Deg. Mason.  Mike also is a Past Dist. Deputy Grand Master of the 1st Masonic District. He is also active in the York Rite Bodies.  There is more, this is just a small sampling to let you know this Brother is a very BUSY Mason.  All of us at Hanselmann Commandery want to thank RWB Himes for taking some time out of that busy schedule to contribute to the Soapbox.  I am sure h you'll see a few more in the future.

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