Friday, November 25, 2016

The Chapter Penny and Book of Marks

The Chapter Penny and Book of Marks
By Tom Hendrickson-P.G.M.

The Mark Master degree is the first of the Royal Arch Degrees. It is the completion of the Fellow Craft Degree, adding considerably much more insight and detail about our ancient craft.
There are many valuable lessons in the Mark Master Degree, but this paper will cover the areas surrounding the Chapter Penny and the Book of Marks.
The Mark Master degree is believed to have been originated by the ancient operative masons as a ceremony whereby the craftsman selected his unique personal mark which was recorded in the Chapters Book of Marks.  This unique mark would be the masonic signature for the mason’s lifetime and the operative stone mason would place his mark on the stones he prepared.  The mark would identify his work, served as a means of quality control and allowed the mason to receive his wages for the work he performed.
During the building of King Solomon’s Temple there were two classes of Fellow Crafts. The advanced masons were promoted based upon their diligence and skill level to the Mark Master. The Mark Master was paid in coin by the Senior Warden instead of being paid with corn, wine or oil. A week’s wages were a Penny or a half-shekel.
It is tradition in the Royal Arch Chapters that they create their own uniquely designed Chapter Penny. Each candidate who completes the Mark Master Degree is presented with the Chapter Penny as a worthy token of the rites of friendship and brotherly love. No, it’s not just another piece of Masonic Bling.
The new Mark Mason then selects a distinctive mark that he will keep for his lifetime and register’s the mark in his Chapter’s Book of Marks. This mark is then inscribed on his Chapter Penny within the Keystone side of the coin.
The remainder of this paper will examine many of the common characteristics of various Chapter Pennies and half-shekels from Minnesota Chapters.
I will also review some registered marks from various the “Book of Marks” from Royal Arch Chapters and look at the designs from the simple to ornate and beautiful works of art.
Now let’s take a look at some examples of Penny’s and Marks.
The most common Chapter Penny is having the obverse side-the front of the coin (in Minnesota we call that heads) is divided into three spaces by two circles. The inscription found in the outer most consisting of the name, number and location of the Chapter. The middle space contains the date when the charter was granted. The center space contains the word One Penny using two lines.
The reverse side(tails) will have the keystone bearing the letters H.T.W.S.S.T.K.S arranged in a circle. The center of the keystone is reserved for the Mark of the owner.
The letters represent the Mark of our ancient Grand Master. On the right a mallet, on the left a chisel.

This version of the Chapter Penny is fashioned to appear like an ancient half Shekel. The Chapter information is contained on the reverse side. 

Each Royal Arch Chapter maintains a Book of Marks. This is the master registry of all of the members Marks or their masonic signatures. As our ancient brethren before us. It is very possible to leaf thru the pages and gaze upon the marks of all of your Chapter members going back to the very founders themselves. This is a great place to look at what your Father or Grandfathers Mark may have looked like.
These books come in all shapes and colors. From the handmade leather bound to a three-ring notebook.

When you examine the individual Marks you will see, some were made by an artist directed by the member or some scratched out by the member himself.
I have elected to show you a few ordinate Marks from the mid-1800s.
The form that each Mark Master is presented with to complete.

 Completed Forms.



The Chapter Penny and the Chapter Book of Marks are just a few of the interesting and valuable lessons in the Mark Master Degree.
The lessons in the Royal Arch completes and fulfills the degrees that we received in the Blue lodge. It is often said that the Master Mason doesn’t fully grasp the whole story until he has completed his journey through the Royal Arch.

If you are interested in learning more about your ancient craft and wish to participate in its long traditions the Royal Arch is the only place where you can do that. 

I would like to say Many Thanks to the Minnesota Masonic Heritage Center and Doset Mark Anderson for helping me with this project

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Honoring All Who Served

Some thoughts about my Dues Card


Its about that time of the year when we are all getting our dues cards. He is a poem that I have published before. The poem also is attached to my dues card every year. I hope you enjoy it.

Masonic Membership Card
Author Unknown

I hold in my hand a little scrap of paper
2 1/2 x 3 1/2 inches in size.
It is of no intrinsic worth,
not a bond, not a check or receipt for valuables,
yet it is my most priceless possession.
It is my membership card in a Masonic Lodge.

It tells me that I have entered
into a spiritual kinship with my fellow Masons
to practice charity in word and deed;
to forgive and forget the faults of my brethren;
to hush the tongues of scandal and innuendo;
to care for the crippled, the hungry and the sick,
and to be fair and just to all mankind.

It tells me that no matter where
I may travel in the world,
I am welcome to visit a place where good fellowship prevails
among brothers and friends.

It tells me that my loved ones, my home,
and my household are under the protection
of every member of this great Fraternity,
who have sworn to defend and protect mine
as I have sworn to defend and protect theirs.

It tells me that should I ever be overtaken
by adversity or misfortune
through no fault of my own,
the hands of every Mason on the face of the earth
will be stretched forth to assist me in my necessities.

And finally, it tells me
that when my final exit from the stage of life has been made,
there will be gathered around my lifeless body,
friends and brothers who will recall to mind my virtues,
though they be but few,
and will forget my faults,
though they may be many.

It tells me that, and a great deal more,
this little card,
and makes me proud yet humble,
that I can possess this passport
into a society of friends and brothers
that are numbered in the millions.

Monday, October 24, 2016

York Rite Video

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Rest of the Story

                                 By Tom Hendrickson-P.G.M.

Have you ever not received all of the facts?  Not heard the entire story on something?  Have you only heard part of the story?
I can say that I have sure have been in that situation, and I believe you may have as well.
I used to have season tickets for the MN Gopher Hockey games.  There were times I would miss the first minutes of the game because of work.  After I would arrive and plop down in my seat, all of my friends around me would try to catch me up on the game or would say ahhh Tom, you missed all the action or you missed a great goal.  So of course I would rush home from the game to try and catch the highlights on the 10 o clock news.
I love to read.  I find reading to be a great stress reducer, especially after a tough shift (I am a retired cop).  I was reading a Tom Clancy novel and was riveted in the story.  Just as I got to a major plot development spot in the story I discovered that the printer had made a grave error in the printing of my book.  When I arrived on page 377 I discovered that every page thereafter was a repeat of page 377.  The book had 100 pages of page 377, like a never ending loop.  I had to know how the story ended, so of course, I had to buy a new book to read the ending.
Some years ago my buddies and I went to see a movie at the theater (remember those days when you only could see movies in the theater).  I cannot recall the title now, but I remember that it was a fantastic movie until three fourths of the way through the movie it stopped and we saw nothing but a blank screen.  The movie theater did not have the last reel of the film to finish the movie.  I had to see the ending, so another night I had to go back to the theater and watch the ending.
When the entire story is missing or it feels as something has been missed, this can lead to feeling a little lost, a little confused, or even a little frustrated.  
This same thing happens to those of us who receive the first Three Degrees in lodge and are now are Master Masons.  We did not get the whole story
After completion of my third degree I asked myself---first they lost the Word….then they gave me a substitute!!!  There were some big gaps and there were big pieces missing.
I knew with the months of studying and memorizing that I had to find the rest of the story which I did and you can too.
You will find the completion of the story only in the Royal Arch. Nowhere else.
If you are interested in getting the rest of the story and completing your Masonic journey you should consider talking to a member of the Royal Arch to learn how.
Get the rest of the story - don’t accept a substitute.  Join the Royal Arch.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Royal Arch Quiz-1

This is the first of five installments of questions and answers that will be posted covering all the degrees of the Royal Arch. At the beginning of each month I will post the quiz, and at the end of the month the answers will be posted. For a complete description of my thoughts. Please see my September 15th posting.

Royal Arch Quiz Night
General Information
P.G.M. Tom Hendrickson

1.    Name the four degrees of the Royal Arch Chapter?

2.    Define the word Capitular

3.    The first three Masonic Degrees are often referred to as the Blue Lodge degrees.
In the York Rite the four Capitular degrees are often referred to as the ________ Degrees. Often referred to as _____ Lodge.

4.    In the United States the York Rite is a series of degrees that were collected together into a progressive system. It is also known as the _____________Rite.

5.    Where in the United States and what Lodge is the first Royal Arch recorded in the United States in 1753? I’ll give you a hint….it was George Washington’s Lodge.

6.    In the 1700s Grand Secretary Lawrence Dermott of the Antients Grand Lodge characterized the Royal Arch as “the root, heart and marrow of masonry and the capstone of the whole masonic system.

In your own words what do you think he meant by that?

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Royal Arch Education

I have had the wonderful opportunity this Summer to sit and study the Degrees in the Royal Arch.
During this time of study I thought of a way to share it in a easy format and can be fun to learn.

Its a five part learning that takes the form of a Trivia Test...I don't like the word Trivia but I think you'd better understand the concept. There are five parts Introduction-covers general Royal Arch Trivia to get you started, Mark Master, Past Master Virtual, Most Excellent, Royal Arch.

I meant it to be used in your Chapter Meeting as a form of Educational instruction. It should take about 15 to 25 minutes depending how spirited the conversation gets. You can break up into teams, appoint  a Quizmaster and keep score. Or you can have someone give the question and everyone shout out the answer. Id encourage having your Ritual handy and look up the ones you don't know.

Its a very good way for the new Companion to learn in a friendly environment, and for the older Sages a good way to stay sharp.

I plan on placing the Quiz on my blog at the start of the month. The answers will appear at the end of the Month. This way if you are wanting to do this at home or your office you can do your own research and wait to see how you did.

Now...I have not reveled anything that we consider the secrets. I used publish materials, and I checked my Minnesota Ritual which is in compliance to the Grand Chapter. Believe me as a lover of the Craft I believe and live my Obligation.

The quiz has a different number of questions on each quiz. Anywhere from five to nine. Some you may find easy others you may have to look up. This is not a PH.D or the Companion Adept or even the Master Craftsman, its a simple  way for you to  learn more about the Royal Arch without buying an expensive book and spending hours of your time.

I hope you enjoy it and Good Luck...Oh by the way tell me how you did!