En:Andrew Hammer

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Review by Julian Rees "the SQUARE" December 2011, The Independent Magazine for Freemasons, Lewis Masonic .

Andrew Hammer

Source: W:.B:. Andrew Hammer, Master of Alexandria-Washington Lodge No. 22 has written a new book, Observing The Craft: The Pursuit of Excellence in Masonic Labour and Observance.


Written by Andrew Hammer, Master of one of the world's most prestigious Masonic lodges, Observing the Craft is a manifesto of sorts for the observant Mason, who seeks quality over quantity in every aspect of Freemasonry. It is a stringent argument for the Symbolic Lodge as being the whole of Masonry, calling for nothing but the utmost effort and commitment to be put into the operation of a Masonic lodge and its meetings.

Observing the Craft

Source: http://observingthecraft.com/


Observing the Craft is a manifesto of sorts for the observant Mason, who seeks quality over quantity in every aspect of Masonry.

It is a stringent argument for the Symbolic (Blue) Lodge as the ne plus ultra of the Craft, asking that Masons put actions behind their statements that 'nothing is higher than the third degree.'

It is a book that calls for nothing but the utmost personal effort and commitment to be put into the operation of a Masonic Lodge, and the experience of a Masonic meeting, in search of the transformational experience which Masons define as 'making good men better'.

Praise for Observing the Craft:

Source: http://observingthecraft.com/


'In an engaging and balanced style, Andrew Hammer presents a compelling rationale for a more thorough observance of Masonry's best traditions within today's lodges. At a time when Freemasons are clamoring for education and quality events, Observing the Craft is an ideal sourcebook for lodge leaders who desire to realize positive and lasting change.'

Shawn Eyer, Editor, Philalethes: The Journal of Masonic Research & Letters

'Brother Hammer has issued an extraordinary call to arms. Brethren young and old who believe that there must be more to lodge than paying bills and approving the minutes need to read his compelling argument. The future of the Craft is in good hands with those who advocate such excellence.'

Robert Wolfarth, Editor, The Plumbline: Journal of the Scottish Rite Research Society

'Andrew Hammer’s new book Observing The Craft – The Pursuit of Excellence In Masonic Labor and Observance is a celebration of the preeminence of Craft Masonry. This book describes the elements of an Observant Lodge and how implementing those elements yield a transformer experience for each of its members. Observant Masonry has its distractions and Brother Hammer points out that Freemasonry is diminished when emphasis is focused away from its mission of promoting self awareness and self improvement. Observing The Craft is a must read for those men who value Craft Masonry and are seeking a method to restore its greatness.'

M:. W:. John 'Bo' Cline, Past Grand Master of Alaska

'This treatise, written with passion and conviction, leads the reader back onto the true Masonic path, one from which he will never again be tempted to stray. Every Lodge should read it, and have a copy available for study. The results could lead to re-generation of the Craft, and to richer and more meaningful Masonic pursuits for all.'

Julian Rees, Past Junior Grand Deacon, United Grand Lodge of England; Contributing Editor, Freemasonry Today; Author, So You Want To Be A Freemason?

'If "blessed are the peacemakers", there is surely also a blessing for those who nudge us out of our zone of comfort and encourage us to think and re-evaluate. Such an one is Worshipful Brother Hammer. This book is edgy in some ways, controversial in others; but no one can doubt the pure and bright sincerity which shines through its pages. It is well written, thoughtful, and even genteel in its tone. Above all, it fulfills the highest challenge of a book. It makes you ponder.'

Jim Tresner 33º, Grand Cross; Book Review Editor, The Scottish Rite Journal

Review

Source: Amazon reviews

"An ideal primer for lodges that wish to realize positive change."

By S. Eyer (Berkeley, CA USA)

As reviewed in Philalethes: The Journal of Masonic Research & Letters:

From time to time a book will appear that truly advances the discussion of a topic. In recent decades, much ink has been spilled in Masonic publications on the mighty question of how to improve our lodges, reinvigorate our meetings and enhance the Craft's relevancy in the lives of its initiates. Many good suggestions have been put forward about including Masonic education in the lodge, or creating programs to appeal to younger members. Most of these, however, while valuable, do not address the problem systemically. Observing the Craft dares to.

The author, W. Bro. Andrew Hammer MPS is a Past Master of one of America's most distinguished and historic lodges, Alexandria-Washington No. 22. As such, he addresses the strange mental divide that we have in the Fraternity between knowing how important our heritage is, and really treating our lodges with the dignity that this very heritage must demand. This book recommends that we can improve the situation when we view the Craft as "a philosophical society which demands of its members the highest standards in all areas of its labour." Bro. Hammer does not recommend that all lodges do so, but he expresses the wish that the Fraternity accomodate those lodges that wish to more formally observe the traditions of the Craft, and calls for mutual toleration and respect among those who may not agree.

Throughout, he recommends the view that Craft tradition is worthwhile in itself, and should be respected and preserved, rather than casually altered. "Observing the Craft matters," he argues, "because if we do not do so, then we will lose it in its true fullness of form, and not even know what it is we lost."

Bro. Hammer deals with important cultural topics within Freemasonry such as education, ritual, dress code and festivities---always with impressive erudition and clarity. In an engaging and balanced style, he presents a compelling rationale for a more thorough observance of Masonry's best traditions within today's lodges. At a time when Freemasons are clamoring for education and quality events, Observing the Craft is an ideal primer for those lodges that wish to realize positive change.

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