The Suffolk District Traveling Gavel
The Traveling Gavel was implemented for the sole purpose of encouraging Brethren of the District to travel and visit other Lodges and to promote Brotherly love and affection. The Gavel should be a source of pride for the Lodge that possesses it and equally so for any Lodge that successfully captures and takes the Gavel back to their own Lodge. Above all, it is all in good fun.
THE “SIMPLIFIED” RULES
- The Lodge that wishes to capture the gavel will communicate with the Lodge that has possession of the gavel at least prior to the Lodge opening on their intentions to try and capture it.
- Any Lodge meeting is open to a Lodge to attempt capture the gavel (so long as it does not interfere with the Lodge’s business).
- The Lodge that wishes to capture the gavel must have at least 4 members of their Lodge present prior to the opening of the Lodge. If additional members show up after the start of Lodge opening, they will not be counted.
- If more than one Lodge wishes to capture the Suffolk District Traveling Gavel the lodge with the most members present at the start of opening will obtain it.
- In the event of a tie, the gavel will go to the Lodge that is physically most distant from the current possessing Lodge.
- Each successful capture of the gavel will earn the Lodge one (1) point.
- At the Suffolk District Dinner in April each year the Lodge with the most points will be awarded a plaque for the most captures of the traveling gavel.
- Addendum – In the case of dual membership, members may claim an alternate Lodge for purposes of obtaining the gavel unless they are currently serving as duly elected or appointed officers of the Lodge in possession of the Suffolk District Traveling Gavel.
**Hints – The Lodge that currently possess the Traveling Gavel will have a Blue gavel displayed directly below the Lodge on the Suffolk Lodges page for quick reference.
- Click on the Blue Gavel at the top of the page to go to the Lodge page that currently has possession of the Suffolk District Traveling Gavel.
Successful Captures LeaderboardAlcyone Lodge #695 – 0 Amityville Lodge #977 – 0 The Lodge of Antiquity #11 – 0 Babylon Lodge #793 – 1 Connetquot Lodge #838 – 4 Dongan Patent Lodge #1134 – 0 Jephtha Lodge #494 – 0 Meridian Lodge #691 – 0 Old Town Lodge #908 – 0 Peconic Lodge #349 – 1 Potunk Lodge #1071 – 0 Riverhead Lodge #645 – 5 Smithtown Lodge #1127 – 0 Star of the East Lodge #843 – 1 Suffolk Lodge #60 – 0 Wamponamon No.437 – 0
THE “TRAVELING GAVEL” IN FACT & LEGEND
MORE FACT than legend has it that the “Masonic Traveling Gavel” originated in the Middle
Ages through social activities by the masters of trades or guilds. When these masters met
socially, the host of the gathering presided over the evening with a specially designed Gavel. The
very same Gavel was handed over to the guild whose number was the highest in attendance.
Since these informal social meetings were mostly held in a tavern, drinking became an integral
part on the list of events for the evening’s activities. It was a time to relax and unwind from days
of hard work. Drinking, singing and merrymaking became the focal point of these gatherings.
The “Gavel” in time was replaced by a Grail, Chalice or Goblet. Whatever one preferred to call
it, it became the centerpiece displayed at the table. It was to remind everyone that it was not for
business that they had gathered. These trade and guild masters enjoyed a tremendous amount of
respect not only within their own community but beyond the borders of their own regions.
Depending on their choice of trades, it took up to twelve years of rigorous learning and training
to achieve the rank of Master. Since Fellowcrafts and apprentices were still in the states of
acquiring the skills and knowledge of their trades, they were not permitted to join in or
participate in these social “activities”.
Coral singing became one of the Masters best known social functions. The chorus was comprised
of men of the highest caliber in the art of singing who traveled through-out the land entertaining
others and themselves. In time other groups from different regions emerged and contests were
held in numerous places to determine who was best. An elaborately decorated Goblet was the
prize – to keep until won or reclaimed by another guild. The most famous chorus of all was that
of Nuremberg, which still practices the art of choral singing today. It is immortalized by Richard
Wagner in Die Meistersinger von Nuremberg.
Freemasons, whose system of advancement is copied from the trades and guilds of the
stonemasons of the Middle Ages, also adopted, in general, the idea of A “Traveling Gavel”. It is
that Gavel which symbolizes fact and part of the legend of the “Traveling Gavel” or “Goblet” of
the Masters in the Middle Ages. The Masonic history of the “TRAVELING GAVEL” and the
“Meistersinger” are forever intertwined and will live on for all time.
Reprinted from an article submitted by;
R: .W:. Joseph T. Loeb, DSA;
Published in the Empire State Mason Spring 1993 issue, Vol. 41 No.1
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