NOTICES ; SUMMONSES ETC.
What is the difference between a “Notice” and a “Summons” and the difference between a “Meeting” and a “Communication”
Is the current common practice of a Lodge sending out a “Notice of Meeting” in keeping with good Masonic practice????
Hopefully this position can be supported by what is about to follow.
Let me begin with selective definitions of each of these words from Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary.
Notice A written or printed announcement
Summons A call by authority to appear at a place named or to attend to a duty
Meeting An assembly for a common purpose
Communication A process by which information is exchanged between individuals through a common system of symbols, signs or behavior, also exchange of information
Now let me relate a quote from our Ritual which states:
“answer and obey all Sns, and Summonses sent to me from a Master Masons Lodge, if within the length of my C.T. and plead no excuse, except sickness of the pressing emergencies of my own public or private avocations”
Brethren, I believe, and I hope you agree, that there appears to be no question that what we should be receiving from our Lodges is “A Summons to attend a Communication”
It is also worth noting, from the quote given above, that we are obligated to heed that summons and make every effort to obey same.
In the event of being unable to attend, may I suggest that we as brothers should be making every effort to contact our Lodge Secretary and inform him of same.
Using today’s technology, this would take only a moment and the effect would be enormous.
Can you imagine the impact it would make on the communication if the Secretary were to read apologies from those Brethren unable to attend. Possibly our Agenda’s could include a section for REGRETS which would follow the reading of the Summons.
I believe this would be a very positive step, as it would indicate that those missing Brethren had the Lodges best interests in mind and would have preferred to be present.
To those Secretaries who have always sent summonses my congratulations.
Moving on, I have recently been asked by a brother who has progressed to the Degree of the Holy Royal Arch why Chapter meetings are referred to as Convocations rather than Communications.
We have already dealt with the meaning of Communication, therefore let me quote from Mackey’s Revised Encyclopedia (1958 Edition) on this subject,
“The meetings of Chapters of Royal Arch Freemasons are so called from the Latin convocatio, meaning a calling together. It seems very proper therefore to refer to the convoking of the dispersed Freemasons at Jerusalem to rebuild the Second Temple, of which every Chapter is a representation.”