A Worldwide Fraternity of Upstanding Men
What is Masonry?
Masonry (also known as Freemasonry) is possibly the oldest, largest, and most charitable men’s fraternal organization in the world today. Freemasonry is based on the belief that each man has a responsibility to help make the world a better place. For those who choose it, it is a path of self-discovery and shared beliefs that make good men better sons, husbands and fathers. It is walking upright and proud, in the same tradition as the long list of giants who did so before us. Through our culture and philanthropy, we make a profound difference for our brothers, our families, our communities, and our future.
The mission of the Grand Lodge of the State of New York – to foster personal growth and improve the lives of others – is carried out through Masonic principles and tradition.
Our mission is guided by the enduring and relevant principles of our fraternity:
We value respect, freedom, kindness, tolerance, and our differences – religious, ethnic, cultural, social, generational, and educational – and strive for harmony in our individual lives, in our lodges, and in the global community.
We take responsibility for the well-being of our brothers, our families, and the community as a whole. We provide relief through philanthropy, community involvement, and delivery of excellent care.
We stay true to our personal code of conduct and ethics – honor, integrity, personal responsibility, and the continuous pursuit of knowledge.
About Our Members
Masonry in our state represents the entire spectrum of diversity. Masons believe in the importance of religion; men of all faiths are members of the organization.
Masonry is a brotherhood of like-minded men who genuinely care about each other. We develop lifelong friendships with fellow Masons and their families, and are welcomed at Masonic lodges throughout the United States and the world.
Through this universal brotherhood, Masons learn to be better husbands, better fathers, better brothers, and better citizens. By appreciating our differences, we learn to focus on what unites mankind. In this way we strive to live up to the centuries-old aim of our fraternity: to unite men of every country, sect, and opinion and cause true friendship among those who otherwise would have remained at a distance.
The satisfaction of being part of a centuries-old fraternity whose traditions and core values are relevant today, and will endure for centuries to come, is important to Masons.
What We Do
Masons are committed to personal growth and making a profound difference in the lives of others.
We are committed to engaging and retaining members and their families through an enhanced, sustaining, and relevant membership experience. Fellowship, family, and lifelong learning are important to us. Leadership development and Masonic education are offered in a variety of formats to assist members in their continuous pursuit of knowledge, helping them excel both inside and outside the fraternity.
For Those In Need
Relief is one of our enduring and relevant values. We take responsibility for the well-being of our brothers, our families, and our communities. It’s our obligation. Our philanthropic causes are supported entirely by our members’ generous contributions.
The Masonic Care Community of New York, excellent care and critical services are provided for Masons and their wives and widows at our residential communities for seniors and through our statewide outreach programs for members and their families who are struggling with life’s challenges and transitions.
The Masonic Medical Research Laboratory is a not-for-profit institute dedicated to improving the health and quality of life for all. The Laboratory’s primary mission is to conduct high quality basic and clinical research aimed at generating knowledge and information necessary for development of the medical cures and treatments of tomorrow. The Laboratory is also committed to providing education and training to basic scientists, clinical researchers and students who will perpetuate and extend the fight against disease.
Camp Turk is committed to a tradition of giving children the opportunity to establish lifelong friendships, learn new skills, gain an appreciation for the outdoors, achieve independence and be a contributing member of “our” camp community.
The Origins of Freemasonry
In the Middle Ages, the term “freemason” was awarded to highly skilled stonemasons who were hired as free agents to build castles and cathedrals in England and Scotland. Because of the inherent danger of their work, stonemasons formed local organizations, called lodges, to take care of sick and injured members as well as the widows and orphans of those who were killed on the job. Eventually, men who were not skilled stonemasons wanted to join the group for the many advantages it offered. These men were known as “accepted masons.” This is how the group began to shift from a craft guild to a fraternity.
The first Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons was established in 1717 in London. In 1718, English Freemasonry spread to France and Spain, and after 1729, to India, Italy, Poland, and Sweden. Freemasonry spread to other parts of Europe and eventually made its way to the American colonies. In 1733, the first American lodge was established in Boston, under the authority of the Grand Lodge of England. The United States now has grand lodges in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Freemasonry in the State of New York
The Grand Lodge of the State of New York has a long history dating back over 228 years and is the governing body of Freemasonry in the State of New York. Like many organizations, Masons elect their leaders. The Grand Lodge of the State of New York is headed by the Grand Master who is aided by a team of officers, both elected and appointed.
The Grand Lodge of the State of New York acts as the coordinating body for many functions undertaken throughout the state. Its various committees organize blood drives, Child ID programs and charitable events around New York.
The Grand Lodge of New York was organized on December 15, 1782 under a Provincial Grand Warrant dated September 5, 1781 from the “Athol” or modern Grand Lodge of England. Our Grand Lodge declared its independence on June 6, 1787 and assumed the title “Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of the State of New York.”
As early as the mid 1730’s, Freemasonry was present in the American colony of New York. Daniel Coxe was appointed by the Duke of Norfolk as Provincial Grand Master for the provinces of New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. As no authenticated records exist of his tenure as Provincial Grand Master, it seems doubtful that he exercised any authority in Masonic endeavors.
The last of the Provincial Grand Masters was Sir John Johnson who assumed office in 1771. The new Grand Lodge of New York elected Reverend William Walter as the first Grand Master. He served for almost three years.
In 1784 Robert R. Livingston was appointed Grand Master and was elected to the office for the next sixteen years. He presided at the swearing in ceremony of the only President of the United States to take the oath of office in New York City. The Bible (published in 1767) that was used at the swearing in ceremony of Brother George Washington as the first President of the United States, is owned by St. John’s Lodge No. 1 and is still in use today at the swearing in of the Grand Master and, by request, at the swearing in of the President of the United States.
applying for membership
Becoming A Mason Starts With A Conversation… So Let’s Talk!
Requirements for Membership
We believe men are first made Masons in their hearts, then they ask to join our Fraternity. Freemasonry will take these men — already good men in our community — and help make them better men.
Each man brings something different into the Fraternity — as different as the types of men who become Masons. However, each shares a core of common beliefs and dreams; each brother believes that, even in a small way, by every one of his actions he helps make his world, his community and himself better.
There are few other requirements. You must:
- be a man age 18 or older;
- believe in a Supreme Being;
- believe in the immortality of the soul;
- live an ethical life; and
- have a strong interest in the Fraternity with a desire to participate in our charities & activities.
One of Masonry’s customs is not to solicit members; men must seek membership on their own through a Mason they know or a local lodge. Therefore, to become a Mason, you must ask one – hence the statement above, “To Be One, Ask One.” If you are interested in joining Abravanel Lodge, or obtaining more information about Masonry, please contact us.
Some men are surprised that no one has ever asked them to become a Mason. They may even feel that the Masons in their town don’t think they are “good enough” to join. But it doesn’t work that way. For hundreds of years, Masons have been forbidden to ask others to join the fraternity. We can talk to friends about Masonry. We can tell them about what Masonry does. We can tell them why we enjoy it. But we can’t ask, much less pressure, anyone to join. This is slowly changing in some Jurisdictions.
There’s a good reason for that. It isn’t that we’re trying to be exclusive. But becoming a Mason is a very serious thing. Joining Masonry is making a permanent life commitment to live in certain ways: to live with honor and integrity, to be willing to share with and care about others, to trust each other, and to place ultimate trust in God. No one should be “talked into” making such a decision.
So, when a man decides he wants to be a Mason, he must ask a Mason for a petition or application. He fills it out and gives it to the Mason, and that Mason takes it to the local lodge. The Master of the lodge will appoint a committee to visit with the man and his family, find out a little about him and why he wants to be a Mason, tell him and his family about Masonry, and answer their questions. The committee reports to the lodge, and the lodge votes on the petition. If the vote is affirmative — and it usually is — the lodge will contact the man to set the date for the Entered Apprentice Degree. When the person has completed all three degrees, he is a Master Mason and a full member of the fraternity.
We need your partnership
Freemasonry is the world’s first and largest fraternal organization, and is based on the belief that each man has a responsibility to help make the world a better place.
Through our culture of philanthropy, we make a profound difference for our brothers, our families, our communities and our future.
Contact us today for more details!