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Friday, October 16, 2020

Masonic Service Association Relocated to Iowa

by Christopher Hodapp

For over a year, the current commissioners of the Masonic Service Association have expressed their intention to move the MSA from their longtime Washington D.C. headquarters in suburban Maryland back to its original home in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Yesterday, I reported that the msana.com website had vanished into the aether. Now today, the MSA has issued the following press release officially announcing their new location.

MSA Relocates to Iowa

Now in its 101st year, the Masonic Service Association of North America (MSA) has relocated its headquarters to Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
In effect, this is a return to its roots, because MSA was created at a meeting of Grand Masters of the United States in 1919 in Cedar Rapids. Most of MSA’s life has been in the Washington, D.C., and nearby Silver Spring and Burtonsville MD, areas.

For the past year, MSA has been restructuring its organization, to provide a more functional and cost-savings method to serve Freemasonry across the continent. A primary goal was to move out of the costly rent area of the nation’s capital.

MSA’s new address and contact information:
813 1st Avenue SE Ste 357 Cedar Rapids, IA 52402-5001
Tel: 319-365-1438 Fax: 319-365-1439

MSA now will be operating out of the building housing the Iowa Masonic Library and Museums, which is regarded as one of the best facilities in the world to perform Masonic research. The large marble structure houses the library, several museums, special exhibits, and the offices of the Grand Lodge of Iowa. “What an outstanding location for the Masonic Service Association and its variety of service and information-producing responsibilities,” said Lanny Sanders, Chairman of the MSA Board of Commissioners. The Library houses more than 250,000 volumes, of which thousands are rare Masonic books for the serious researcher and a circulating collection for the casual reader. The Library also collects materials dealing with non-Masonic topics. In 1884, the first Masonic library building anywhere in the world was opened to the public in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The building was supposed to last 100 years, but nobody predicted the impact a building would have on the collections which grew so quickly that the building housing them proved too small and crowded. Thus, in 1952, the old library was demolished and, in 1955, the current white marble, four-story building was opened on the same site. Last year, as part of the reorganization, Craig Davis was named Administrator for the Masonic Service Association, its chief operating officer. He also serves as Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of Iowa.

 In its new home, MSA will continue its variety of services to Freemasonry in North America, including:

  • Service to military veterans at approximately 150 U.S. veterans hospitals and clinics in the country. MSA is the only Masonic organization represented on the Veteran’s Administration’s Voluntary Services Organization Advisory Board.
  • Preparation and dispersal of Masonic information to assist Lodge education efforts, general Masonic content for the public, and useful data for the benefit of any Mason. These efforts include monthly distribution of the Short Talk Bulletin and Emessay Notes publications, operation of the Masonic Information Center, and periodic development of brochures and digests.
  • Gathering and dispersal of Disaster Relief Funds to Grand Lodges in times of need.

 Millions of dollars over the years have been collected and provided to assist in times of trouble. MSA has become the key organization trusted by Grand Lodges and Masons to filter such relief to needed areas. Every penny donated through MSA for disaster relief is sent to those in need.

1 comment:

  1. This is not positive news. Perhaps the Washington location could have been used to more advantage, finding ways to interact with the many social service and government agencies in the capital. The MSA has not had the prominence it deserves. As for rent, there are so many underused Masonic buildings in the area that one wonders why rent was ever necessary. Now the ignored chances for personal contact become unlikely. And the MSA does not include African-American grand lodges, although one doubts if Hiram was Scandinavian in appearance.


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