All Aboard for Masonic Bonding
Herbert A. Cook, P.M.,
Jordan-Martin Lodge No. 673, Allentown
From Jan. 16 through Feb. 1, the Masonic Village at Elizabethtown Travel Club hosted a cruise aboard the ship Emerald Princess. This cruise initiated in Los Angeles, Cali., and ended in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, after a journey through the Panama Canal using the new Locks.
This cruise had many shore excursions, but also had many days at sea. My wife, Helen, and I had been on a trans-Atlantic Cruise several years ago and met some Masonic Brothers from California. During this cruise we came up with the idea to have a gathering of Masons on board. When we approached the cruise director about having this gathering, we were told it would not be possible, which surprised us because there were meetings of other groups publicized in the daily newsletter. Naturally, we were disappointed.
This idea of having Masons gather to get to know each other has stuck with me since then and I decided to try again on a Princess Ship. The cruise director and his staff were contacted about having the gathering, and they were more than cooperative by publicizing the gathering in the daily newsletter and providing a lounge where Masons could gather and socialize for a couple of hours.
The first gathering was scheduled in the middle of the cruise when we had a day at sea and to my surprise, we had 18 Masons and guests attend. Many of the Masons were from Masonic Village, so most knew each other. The others that attended were four Brothers from the United Kingdom, one Past Grand Master from Nevada, one Brother from Maine and a Brother from Australia. In addition, there were four Ladies from the Order of the Eastern Star, two of whom were Past Worthy Grand Matrons. Brothers from 13 lodges were present. There were also two men who came who had an interest in being a Freemason, one of whom has now submitted a petition for membership in the new Elizabethtown Day Lodge No. 816.
The most wonderful part of this gathering was to witness how well the bonds of Masonic Brotherhood were evident and allowed the conversations to flow freely while friendships were being made.
Based on the success of the gathering, I decided to hold a second gathering the day before we disembarked with the hope we would stay in touch with our newly found Brothers. Again, the Bonds of Brotherhood were evident even more so. With the help of Helen, we were able to gather the email addresses of our Brothers and took a photo of those present (see above).