Masonry (or Freemasonry) is the oldest fraternity in the world. No one knows just how old it is because the actual origins have been lost in time. Probably, it arose from the guilds of stonemasons who built the castles and cathedrals of the Middle Ages. Possibly, they were influenced by the Knights Templar, a group of Christian warrior monks formed in 1118 to help protect pilgrims making trips to the Holy Land.
In 1717, Masonry created a formal organization in England when the first Grand Lodge was formed. A Grand Lodge is the administrative body in charge of Masonry in some geographical area. In the United States, there is a Grand Lodge in each state. In Canada, there is a Grand Lodge in each province. Local organizations of Masons are called lodges. There are lodges in most towns, and large cities usually have several. There are about 13,200 lodges in the United States.
The Grand Lodge is over 220 years old, having been founded December 15, 1782. GLoNY acts as the coordinating body for many functions undertaken throughout the state. Its various committees organize blood drives, the New York Masonic Safety Identification Program – (NYMSIP) and charitable events around New York. The GLoNY has jurisdiction over approximately 60,000 Freemasons, organized in more than 800 Lodges, most of them located within New York State.
The Masonic Service Bureau is another source of information and relevant activities and projects relevant to the Lawyers Square Club. The mission of the Masonic Service Bureau of the Erie Districts is to promote Masonry in the Erie Districts and support the Grand Lodge Officers and Lodges in the District. The Service Bureau is to publish The Masonic News newspaper at least five times a year containing a calendar of activities of Masonic Lodges and Concordant bodies, articles on Masonic activities and Masonic education. Publish a directory containing name and addresses of the Grand Line, officers in the Master’s and Warden’s Associations, School of Instruction, Erie County Masonic Foundation and Chairman of the Masonic Board of Relief.
The directory also includes a listing of all Masonic Lodges and Concordant bodies, their meeting location, meeting dates and officers. The Service Bureau maintains a mailing list of members of supporting lodges and Concordant bodies to assist these organizations in mailing communications. The Service Bureau also assists with the preparation and printing of bulletins, post cards, invitations, programs, tickets, etc. The Service Bureau also maintains an inventory of Ritual Books, Bibles, aprons, and books of interest to Masons. The Service Bureau also supports the School of Instruction.
The Chancellor Robert R Livingston Masonic Library represents another valuable masonic resource. The mission of the library is to collect, preserve, interpret, and make available for education and research, to both members of the Fraternity and others, such materials as relate to the history, philosophy, culture, and organization of Freemasonry, in its social and historical contexts, with a special emphasis on Freemasonry in New York State. The Livingston Masonic Library is a non-profit institution chartered by the New York State Board of Regents.
As one of the world’s foremost repositories of Masonic books, artifacts, and ephemera, the Livingston Masonic Library maintains a vast collection of materials which are available to visitors and researchers.
The Masonic Care Community also represents a highly successful masonic outreach program. Founded by the New York State Masonic Fraternity and led by the Trustees of the Masonic Hall and Home, their services are available to everyone.
The Masonic Care Community is the center diamond in a crown of properties owned and managed by the Trustees of the Masonic Hall and Home and the Members of the Masonic Fraternity. The effort to build a home for Masons, their wives, widows and orphans began in the mid 1800’s.
The Masonic Care Community opened its doors in May of 1893 as the Masonic Home. It was built with pride and purpose and over the years, has been a safe haven and welcome place for tens of thousands of people.
Today, this first class facility is open to everyone and more than 500 elders call MCC home. These 400 magnificent acres are close to city services and area attractions, and also offer our residents a safe and secure country setting complete with a pond, stream, woods and a variety of wildlife.
The Masonic Research Network is another invaluable resource for masonic information. The Masonic Research Network (MRN) is a free online Masonic education social networking community. It was established in the summer of 2007 by the Valley of Sioux City, Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, Southern Jurisdiction, U.S.A, located in Sioux City, Iowa, with the purpose to foster a renewed spirit of Masonic education and fellowship among Brethren of the Masonic fraternity.
The MRN includes free access to numerous historical, esoteric, philosophical, and symbolic publications mostly published before the year 1917. On a monthly basis, the MRN re-releases articles for members to review as they partake in their Masonic studies.
Members are offered the opportunity to vote for the next article that they would like to have added to the MRN digital archives. The Masonic Medical Research Laboratory (MMRL) is an internationally recognized biomedical research institute. For its size, there are few institutes worldwide whose cutting edge research is as productive and influential in the field of experimental cardiology.
In recent years, the MMRL has become an international center for genetic screening of cardiac arrhythmia diseases, especially those contributing to sudden death syndromes, including sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). The MMRL is blazing new trails in the development of safe and effective drugs for atrial fibrillation, addressing one of the greatest unmet medical needs facing our society. With its recent inauguration of a Stem Cell Center, the MMRL is making rapid progress in the creation of human models of disease focused on development of innovative therapies and cures.