The Master's Handbook
By Carl H.
Reproduced by permission of
Brother Joe Ohlandt
TABLE OF CONTENTS
PREPARING TO BE MASTER
POWERS OF A MASTER
DUTIES OF A MASTER
MASONIC LAW FOR A MASTER
THE ART OF PRESIDING
ENTERTAINMENT AND ATTENDANCE
"SET THE CRAFT TO LABOR"
SECRETARY, WARDENS, PAST MASTERS
PREPARING TO BE MASTER
greatest honor comes to any brother with his elevation to the Oriental Chair
of a Masonic Lodge. Few Wardens but look forward with mingled pleasure and
anxiety to that day when in their hands will be placed the gavel of authority.
He who early prepares to be a Master in more than name only arrives in the
seat of authority with some confidence.
wise Warden does not wait until elected Master to become familiar with the
official books of his Jurisdiction; the Proceedings of his Grand Lodge; the
book of Masonic law - it has many names, such as Code, Methodical Digest,
Ahiman Rezon, Constitution and By-laws, etc.; the Manual in which is printed
all that may lawfully be put in type of the ritual and ceremonies of the
degrees, and most especially the by-laws of Its own Lodge.
Master is not only leader of his Lodge, but a member of Grand Lodge, in which
august body he represents his Lodge. Familiarity with the Grand Lodge
procedure, questions pending, legislation enacted, etc., gives him a
perspective and enables him to act with intelligence and understanding. In the
Proceedings of most (not all) Grand Lodges is the report of the Committee on
Foreign Correspondence, under which apparently misleading title an official
reviewer summarizes the activities of other Grand Lodges. The Master who
realizes that he is not only an important cog in his own Masonic machine, but
an integral part of a world-wide Freemasonry, early grasps the real importance
and responsibilities of his position. Study of the Proceedings gives a
perspective on the activities of Grand Lodge, with special reference to its
charity, whether exercised in Masonic Home, Orphanage, Hospital, Foundation,
outside relief or other form.
BOOK OF MASONIC LAW
Master of a Lodge is quite different from being president of a club or
society. The Master is called upon to decide questions. of law and practice
which he cannot leave to in which his brethren; the honor of leadership
carries also the responsibility. That his decisions be wise and just, and of
such a character as will draw commendation, not condemnation, from Grand
Master or District Deputy, he must know the laws of his Jurisdiction, his own
powers and limitations. He can obtain this knowledge only from a faithful
study of the book of Masonic law.
some Jurisdictions only the Master may confer the Master Mason's Degree; in
many he may empower either his officers, a Past Master, or a well qualified
brother to fill the East during the ceremonies of the three degrees. Never
will the Master get the best cooperation in putting on a degree if he himself
cannot "do the work." The Master who knows his ritual can lead - he who will
not or cannot - "learn the work" is in a poor position to criticize faulty
performances by others. Hence, an early study is important. The degrees of
Freemasonry are among the beautiful ceremonies of the world. They should be
inspiring, uplifting, heartening, lovely to hear. If they fall short of
perfection the Master is responsible-aye, even if he have only inefficient
helpers, his is the responsibility.
Lodge and Master owe service to those elected to receive the degrees. The
elected candidate has signed his petition, answered the questions, paid his
fees, stood his investigation, come when called, submitted to proper
preparation. Now his brethren-to-be are so to induct him into the mysteries
that he may desire with all his heart to become "a good and faithful brother
among us." He is entitled to a degree which will impress him; he has a right
to hear the grand old words so spoken that they will make a deep and lasting
impression on his mind. What he sees and hears should convince him of the age,
the dignity, the importance, the solemnity of the Ancient Craft.
this is a Master's work. The wise Warden lets no time go by before preparing
himself for those busy days ahead, and regards dignified degrees, well put on,
as important both to Lodge and candidates.
assets are more valuable to a Master than friends. In Freemasonry, as in the
profane world, the art of making friends is encompassed in one phrase: "to
have friends we must be friendly." Millions of men are so at heart; cold of
exterior from no better cause than shyness. Many a man wants to extend his
hand, wishes to say a cheery word of greeting, desires with all his heart to
be one of the fellows" and does not know how,
is so simple! For the root of personal shyness is fear of laughter-and
laughter, like thunder, has yet to hurt anything living! The shy brother need
only assure himself : "I will not be afraid of something which cannot hurt me
- I will not think my brethren are more critical of me than I am of them - I
will not waste time and strength wanting and not doing, when to say a cheery
word and put out my hand needs but a muscular effort!"
Friendliness begets friendliness. The brother who is cordial will find hands
springing out to meet his; will see smiles begetting smiles; will learn that
genuine interest in a brother produces real interest in him. The Warden who
leaves the West for the East interested enough to know all regular attendants
by name will enter his year of responsibility with an asset than which there
is no greater for the leader of a Lodge.
POWERS OF A MASTER
Master of a Masonic Lodge has more power than the presiding officer of any
secular body. The "rules of order" under which business is conducted in other
assemblies apply only partially in a Lodge. The by-laws of a profane
organization may enclose a president or chairman as with stone walls, fetter
him as with chains; in a Masonic Lodge no by-law which restricts the inherent
powers of a Master can be passed, or, if passed, will be sustained by Grand
Master or Grand Lodge.
railroad engine is a potent tool for wise use, but who would ride in a train
pulled by a locomotive at the throttle of which was a ten-year-old child? A
box of matches may kindle the fire, which cooks our food or destroys a forest.
A thirty-eight calibre revolver may defend one's country or commit a murder.
Power is constructive only when used with knowledge. The Master who does not
know his powers cannot use them intelligently. The Master who knows what he
may and may not lawfully do will lead with wisdom, discretion and success.
differ in the forty-nine Grand Jurisdictions of the Continental United States,
but certain powers of a Master are universally acknowledged. The Master is
responsible only to the Grand Master, the Grand Lodge (or the Deputy of the
Grand Master) for his acts; consequently he must have full authority and,
within limits, be the ruler of his Lodge.
while Grand Masters uphold Masters in all lawful exercise of authority, they
are quick to frown upon arbitrary rulings.
one or two exceptions only the Master may call special communications of his
Lodge. In one or two Jurisdictions the Lodge has Power to summons the whole
membership, but these but prove the rule.
but the Master may preside over his Lodge, in his presence (except the Grand
Master or his Deputy) unless by his order.
Masters have full control of debate. A Master may propose a motion, second it,
put it, close discussion, refuse to put a motion, at his pleasure . . . but
let him think carefully before refusing to put any motion. If the proposer of
the motion which the Master refuses to put lays the matter before the Grand
Master, the Master must have a good reason or may be convicted of arbitrary
use of his power and disciplined. During the war an enthusiastic Lodge member
moved that the Lodge sell all its assets and invest in Liberty Bonds. The
Master refused to put the motion. The brother was incensed and complained to
the Grand Master. The Master's reason, that such a drastic performance should
have the advice of the Finance Committee before Lodge action, the Grand Master
thought excellent. In another Lodge a motion to spend a certain sum for
charitable relief was made. The Master refused to put the motion. On complaint
being made, he stated that he needed the money for entertainment! The Grand
Master reprimanded him severely for arbitrary refusal to permit the Lodge to
spend its own mony on its own Masonic business. Good reasons for refusing to
put a motion may be - that there is not time enough to discuss it, when a
degree is scheduled with candidate duly notified and in waiting; that the
motion will disturb the peace and harmony of the Lodge; that the matter
requires the study of a committee before being brought before the Lodge, etc.
appeal lies from a Master's decision, either to the Lodge, to a committee, or
to any Past Master. Some Masters are weak, and afraid they cannot sustain an
unpopular ruling. These have been known to allow some brother to "appeal to
the Lodge" and have then abided by what the Lodge decided.
is subversive of the dignity of the Master's station. It is not John Smith in
the Chair who is thus over-ruled-it is the Master. He is a good Master who
insists on all respect being paid the dignity of the office. The brother with
the gavel is not only John Smith, but Worshipful' Master. To permit
interference with the ancient usages and customs which surround the Master's
Chair decreases reverence for tradition.
motion to "lay on the table," "to postpone," "to adjourn," "to close"; for
unanimous consent for a brother to speak," I "Worchyp," old English for
"the previous question" should ever be entertained, much less put. It is only
for the Master to say whether this subject is to be discussed now or later.
The Lodge is opened and closed at his pleasure (except that he must not do
business at a Stated ,Communication at an hour earlier than that stated in the
by-laws; some by-laws in some Jurisdictions provide a stated time for a Stated
Communication to be opened; in such the Master should not open before that
for the Master to say who may and who may not speak. He can be responsible for
the "peace and harmony" of his Lodge only by controlling its deliberations.
But he is also responsible for the Masonic fairness, charity, courtesy and
reasonableness of his actions; while his brethren may not appeal to the Lodge
for redress for any wrong, real or fancied, they may appeal to Grand Lodge,
Grand Master or District Deputy Grand Master. Where an appeal is to be made
depends on the law in the particular Grand Jurisdiction; consult the book of
Masonic law to ascertain.
appeal, if sustained, may have serious consequences.
Master has the sole right of appointing committees. The Lodge may refer a
matter to a committee, but may not name its personnel. Were it otherwise the
Lodge might control the Master, not the Master the Lodge. Too much care can
hardly be exercised in appointing the personnel of committees and the minor
officers. The sapling of today is the tree of tomorrow; the Master whose
appointments are made with care, forethought and particular reference to the
fitness, by training and education, of certain brethren for certain positions,
will see his appointees grow to greater and straighter stature in the years to
Master fills all vacant offices by appointment; if the Senior Warden is
absent, the Junior Warden does not, of inherent right, assume the West. The
Master sends him there, or puts another brother or Past Master there, at his
pleasure. But if the Master is absent, the Senior Warden does, by inherent
power, occupy the East for that period; the Junior Warden, in the absence of
both Master and Senior Warden.
Master may not alter the minutes nor may he spend Lodge money without consent
of the Lodge. (Note: many Lodges provide a limit in emergency relief to which
the Master may go without authority of the Lodge.) The Master may refuse to
permit minutes which he believes contain improper-to-be-written material to be
confirmed; if any brother insists, it is for Grand Master or District Deputy
to decide. The Master may decline to put the motion to confirm minutes which
he deems incomplete, but he cannot change the account of facts so that they
state that which is not so.
Master controls who may enter and who may leave the Lodge. There is a vast
difference here between power and right. The Master has the power to refuse to
open the door to any one - member or visitor (except the Grand Master or his
Deputy). But he must have excellent reasons or subject himself to discipline.
How far the "right, of visitation" extends is still a moot point. Here the
local law upon the subject will probably be explicit. In some Jurisdictions
the visitor must be admitted (supposing him to be vouched for or passing a
proper examination) unless some member objects; in others the matter is left
wholly to the Master, The Master would run a risk of complaint should he admit
a visitor with whom some member objected to sit.
Master who is conciliatory, smiling, friendly and peaceable; who refuses to
take offense; who does not exercise his great power unless he must; who rules
justly, governing with brotherly love, and who believes that the dignity of
his office is best upheld by that "harmony" which is the "strength and support
of all well regulated institutions" is wise and successful.
DUTIES OF A MASTER
Numerous and diversified, a catalog might easily be a fear-inspiring document!
But with determination to do, and interest in accomplishment, difficulties
smooth themselves away and the multiplicity of duties becomes a pleasant
duties of a Master may be summarized as: duty to the Lodge, duty to the
members (including ill, absent and charity cases) and duty to the dead.
Master's first duty to his Lodge is to lead it to success and prosperity. This
requires a combination of diplomat, financier, adviser, councillor, friend,
Masters consider scheduling the work, getting out a monthly notice, and
conducting the meetings, as "success." But these are but the skeleton; to
clothe sud'L~- a program with flesh the Master must provide entertainment,
instruction, inspiration; his monthly notice should be of sufficient interest
to attract attention and draw attendance. Successful presiding requires far
more than merely answering salutes and putting motions (see Chapter 5).
Variously called "Monthly Trestleboard, Lodge Notice, " " Lodge Bulletin, "
etc., the Craft too often suffers under a plague of dull reading sent out
monthly by Masters who then wonder why attendance is small. Certain routine
matters must, of course, be in all Lodge notices, but to fill up the balance
with alleged humor, pointless personal news and trite platitudes is to consign
the Lodge notice to the waste basket in advance. Make them interesting, make
them snappy, make them say something, and they will be read.
Careful consideration of, and attention to, Lodge finance is a duty too
important to discuss with general statements; some thoughts on financial ways
and means are developed in Chapter 9.
Masonic entertainment, as opposed to singing, music, vaudeville, motion
pictures, lectures on non-Masonic topics, pack the Lodge room whenever fairly
tried. The Master must select the entertainment which pleases his Lodge and
plan accordingly, or appoint a capable chairman of an entertainment committee
to do it for him. Interesting Lodge meetings do not "just happen."_ Success
follows the age-old instruction to Masters---~'first program your work; then
work your program." Plans for six months ahead (with sufficient elasticity to
permit changes for unexpectedly and happily necessary degree work) are wise.
To know that on the first meeting in the year a contest is to be held; on the
third, a debate; on the fifth, a Masonic spelling match, will cause many a
member to plan to attend who otherwise would remain comfortably at home with
the evening paper.
should be emphasized that the duty of a Master is first to the members of his
Lodge; the possibility of much "work" on many candidates should be a secondary
Lodges successfully can compete with picture shows, vaudeville theaters,
concert halls or restaurants. A member can see a better program or buy a
better meal than his Lodge usually provides. The Master who depends only on
amateur, or second rate professional, talent for "entertainment" need not
wonder why he has empty benches.
thing and only one thing a Masonic Lodge can give its members which they can
get nowhere else in the world.
one thing is Masory.
the brethren plenty of Masonry and they won't want expensive and hard-to-get
Worshipful Sir, the author does notOh, most emphatically he does not!-mean
speakers can fill a hall to suffocation, electrify an audience, make the
brethren gasp with the beauty, humor, interest of their talks on Masonry. But
how many such has the average Master on his staff? Too many "Masonic speeches"
are mere words; few men want to be preached at in Lodge. If a speaker has
history, law, symbolism, romance, humor, oddities of Masonry at commandyes. If
all he has is an exhortation to practice brotherly love, better not use him.
there is a way to sugar-coat Masonic instruction; to combine Masonry and human
interest (see Chapter 7). The Master who provides such "good and wholesome
instruction " need never complain of non-attendance.
Master's paramount duty is to preserve peace and harmony, a matter on which no
specific instructions can be given. The majority of Lodges are harmonious,
without cliques or factions. Some are sharply divided; in these, criticism is
often more fault-finding than constructive. Plain sailing usually follows a
sincere effort to steer a middle course. The occupant of the East is Master of
the whole Lodge, not just of the group with which his sympathies happen to
lie. Ingrained in Americans is a love of justice and fair play. The Master
whose rule is just and f air, whether it favors his own convictions or the
opponents of his ideas, will gain respect and support even from those who do
not agree with him.
Master can afford a temper, and should not expect courtesy or consideration
from his brethren if he does not show both from the East. Luckily, few men
attain the Iast without long experience which generates appreciation of the
honor, and creates a desire to rule justly, fairly, impartially, courteously.
The Masterys great Power increases with lack of asserting. The mailed fist is
no less potent that it wears a velvet glove.
at times the velvet glove must some off. For the sake of the Lodge, a Master
should not permit his acts to be questioned, his rulings flouted, his
authority set at naught. When necessary, authority should be used fearlessly
and firmly. The Grand Lodge is behind and will support such a Master. As a
matter of course, a Master will avoid conflicts if it can be done with
dignity; if radicals in Lodge must be controlled, Masonic control will be
gentlemanly but iron like in firmness.
Master's duties to his members - including candidates - are, specifically: to
open on time, to plan interesting meetings, to provide dignified degree work,
to preserve order and harmony, to promote brotherly love.
Brethren who know the gavel will fall at the specified hour soon get the habit
of arriving on time. Those who are morally, certain the Master will be late in
opening are themselves late. An interested Master will arrive early enough to
encourage the Tyler, perhaps to help him arrange the room; to greet by name
and handshake every brother.
Similarly, a Lodge meeting should close early, except when a "large evening"
of unusual entertainment value is planned. An early closing means much to many
brethren who wish to go home to read or retire; those who wish to stay can
have an hour of fellowship after the final gavel falls as well as before.
such small details is success composed!
Masters of Lodges which pride themselves on beautiful degree work have an easy
time. Many Lodges struggle with but indifferent success to attain that beauty,
serenity, perfect co6rdination which makes a degree ideal.
Lodge need be without dignity in its work. Many brethren possess no sense of
drama; some workers can but speak their parts like parrots. The Master who can
inspire his workers with an ideal, so that they are willing to rehearse; who
is willing to step out of the picture whenever he can to let some able Past
Master shine in the work he can do best; who is wise enough to intrigue into
minor parts some brethren from the benches; he can stage a degree which,
whatever it may lack in beauty, will at least be dignified and smooth running.
This he owes not only to his members, but to his candidates. Whether he is
taking part, or watching his fellow officers do the work, no Master worthy the
name will permit levity or talking while a degree is being put on.
ceremony of any kind can be well done without rehearsals. The wise Master
calls rehearsals for degrees and makes them so interesting his officers like
them. But the responsibility is the Master's; it is not advisable to ask
officers if they "want to" rehearse or "will rehearse" but to say "There will
be a rehearsal" and expect officers to' come. Most officers will be as proud
of the results as most Masters.
does a Master promote brotherly love? A question impossible to answer except
in general terms. But much may be done by a "glad hand" committee of members
or Past Masters. The enthusiastic Master who wants happy meetings, and can
inspire a committee with the same feeling, will soon see a difference in the
smiles of the brethren. We are simple-minded animals, we humans; it does not
take much to please us! We respond easily to suggestion, and Masons especially
are usually easy to please. Give us a cordial word of greeting; see that we
know by name the brother sitting next us; ask us to sit with a visitor to play
host to him; suggest that we say a word to old Dr. Brown, who is so deaf he
can't even hear himself talk, but who has been in that same seat since the
memory of man runneth not to the contrary, and we respond as men always do
respiond to leadership.
the delightful surprises-and they are many-which the East provides, is the
quick response of brethren to any attempt to make them feel at home, or secure
their help to make others enjoy their evening. Brotherly love is not a
tangible commodity. We cannot touch it or weigh it, smell it or taste it. Yet
it is a reality; it can be created, it can be fostered, it can be made a
dynamic power. The Master who has it for his Lodge and his brethren will find
that Lodge -Lxnd brethren give it back to him. The Master too worried over the
cares of his office to express friendliness need never wonder why his Lodge
seems so cold to his efforts.
before been written, to have friends we must be friendly.
Problems presented by the ill, the absentees, the charity cases, are so
different in city and small town Lodges that only the fundamentals, the same
for all Lodges, may here be considered.
Freemasonry has a standing in the community, and the general public respects
it. Respect and standing are predicated largely on the few points of contact
which the profane world has with Freemasonry. One of these is the attention
given to the ill.
is too often properly called the Sick Committee'~-which should be a healthy
Committee for the Sick-is frequently the reliance of a Master who thinks thus
to eliminate from his busy days a duty not always pleasant. As such committees
do not always function, the Master is well advised who insists on weekly
end of the year he will be better satisfied if he has personally called on
every brother reported ill. This is not always possible in a big city and a
Lodge with a membership in four figures; it is possible in most Lodges. Only
the Master who has devoted his spare Saturday afternoons, Sundays, and many
evenings to calling on the ill knows how it redounds to the credit of his
Lodge. The sometimes pitiful surprise, the invariable pleasure, and the often
lasting joy given by an unexpected fraternal visit are Master's Wages, pressed
down and running over. The Master who has the fraternal care of his ill
heavily upon his mind and often practiced will join the ranks of Past Masters
tried and proved plan is to call for volunteers for the Committee for the
Sick, with the assurance that no member need make more than one visit per
month. If the Master has twelve committee members, and four brethren ill, to
each committee member he assigns a sick brother, with instructions to call at
two day intervals. If he also calls, the ill brother receives four visits in
eight days. Such diversifying imposes a burden on no one, yet assures the
Lodge that the ill are properly comforted.
certain Master appointed six young and enthusiastic members as a Committee on
Attendance. The Master divided the Lodge roster into six parts (this Lodge has
a membership of three hundred, two hundred and forty nine of whom are
resident), crossing off the regular attendants. He instructed his committee to
call up, go to see, or write a letter to, every man on his list, advising of
the next Lodge function, and asking assistance.
difficulty in seating the crowd, which responded.
Master of a large Lodge (1200), with some three hundred brethren out of town,
made it his business to write four letters during the year to every absent
brother. These letters were individually typed, and all personally signed
(this Master was a work horse!). The response to the first letter was
interesting, to the second encouraging, third enthusiastic and to the fourth
amazing. Many brethren said they had never heard from a Master before. Half a
dozen had been considering dimitting to join Lodges in their then locations,
but changed their minds because of the touch with the Mother Lodge. Absent
members wrote letters of greeting, of homesickness, of appreciation; one
brother sent a beautiful gavel as a token of thanks for the brotherly
attention. All, apparently, were highly gratified that the Master had
remembered them. The Master quoted briefly from many letters in his Lodge
Bulletins, that all might recall the absent. One unexpected result of this
publication was the bringing together in large cities of several brethren of,
this Lodge, who did not know any fellow Lodge members were in the same
Lodge is - and should be - a law unto itself in its methods of charity and
relief. Some have special charity funds; others have a Committee on Relief;
others leave such cases in the hands of the Master; still others want to act
in stated meetings on every case. The essential thing from the Masonic
standpoint is speed. No charity call should be put off; if a Lodge-has "called
off" for the hot months (common practice in many Jurisdictions) it is obvious
that a widow who has lost her job and needs food cannot wait for the Lodge to
decide whether to spend five or ten dollars for flour and eggs! The Master may
decide or call a special communication to consider the case. Whatever he does
should be done as soon as possible.
Freemasonry is NOT a relief society, and no brother, or his dependents, is
promised charity by the Lodge. But Masons are charitable, and he belongs to a
poor Lodge indeed who goes hungry or shelterless while his Lodge is in funds.
Here, as in the profane world, "he gives twice who gives quickly. "
not here presumed to give advice to Lodges; the statement which follows is
merely the result of nation-wide experience. Lodges which loan money to their
members usually get in difficulties. Relief as an outright appropriation
rather than a loan is in the end far more satisfactory to a Lodge. A
generously inclined Lodge, which might be willing to "loan" a brother a
hundred dollars, may hesitate to "give" more than twenty-five. Many Grand
Lodges frown decidedly on a Lodge acting as a private bank.
Whatever the attitude of Grand Lodge, the Master's position will be sound if
he personally investigates relief calls, and then so guides Lodge action that
the Lodge does not suffer, while the brother receives the aid he needs.
almost every Lodge is to be found the overly sympathetic brother who sees only
the immediate present. With mistaken but sincere zeal he wants to spend all
Lodge funds on relief. He thinks it "wasteful" to spend Lodge money on a "big
feed" or "an entertainment" when "hungry mouths need food and the widowed and
the fatherless have no homes." Such pathetic appeals not infrequently move
other brethren to action which saner counsels would prevent.
Lodge is not held together with steel bands, but by the silken ties of
brotherhood, woven of interest, friendliness, good times, wholesome fraternal
intercourse. A Lodge which spends all its money on charity and -none on
fraternal meetings will soon have no money to spend on anything. During the
war battleships needed oil. Had the railroads given all their oil to the navy,
the trains which had to carry the oil to sea ports could not have moved. The
same principle applies here; relief must be proportioned to read and reread,
so that in public there is no treasury, and a fair allocation made to all
hesitation over a difficult word, no misplaced legitimate Lodge expenses.
important public contacts with the Fraternity are at cornerstone layings and
funerals. Many a brother has never seen a cornerstone laying, but to all
Lodges and to all brethren comes at times the sad duty of laying away the
mortal remains of a brother of the Mystic Tie, under the Sprig of Acacia of
important to the family that the Master conduct an inspiring service; because
of the many who thus see Freemasonry on public view, it is of interest to
Lodge and Master that the ceremonies be dignified.
words read from a book are never so impressive as those spoken from the heart,
the Master who takes the small trouble to learn the funeral services "by
heart" just as hp learns the work of a degree, embraces an opportunity to help
the families of his departed brethren, and impress the general public with the
solemnity of Masonic ideals.
ceremony has not been committed to memory it will be easier performed if it is
read and reread, so that in public there is no hesitation over a difficult
word, no misplaced emphasis, no halting delivery.
Lodges so fortunate as to have little or no calls for funerals, it is wise to
rehearse the funeral exercises at least once, preferably early in the year;
the call may come at aziy time. The dignity and beauty of Masonry, in one of
its few points of public contact, is the better exemplified after such
one of the privileges of a Master Mason to be laid to rest by his brethren. To
perform this last duty well is to be brotherly; to offer what small comfort
may come from a noble service, nobly rendered, is to succeed in making
Important duties of a Master, in addition to these specified, include:
obey, enforce, defend, the Ancient Landmarks, the laws, rules, edicts of Grand
Lodge and Grand Master, and the by-laws of his Lodge.
enforce and defend the prerogatives that belong to his office; never to permit
any brother to encroach upon these, no matter what feeling of personal modesty
may dictate to the contrary. The Master has a duty to those who follow him to
hand down the office with its dignity and its rights, its privileges and its
preserve order in his Lodge at all times; it is disagreeable to call a brother
to order, but it is unthinkable that any brother be allowed to interfere with
the solemnities of a degree.
that his officers learn, and perform, their work in a proper manner. The
Master is responsible; it is the Master's part to demand and receive
enthusiastic co6peration from his officers.
train all his officers, and familiarize even the minor ones with Lodge
affairs. A weekly meeting of all officers, at lunch or some officer's home in
the evening, is a splendid way of getting opportunities to "talk things over."
Where this is not practical, a half hour officers' meeting before or after a
Lodge meeting is a means of providing unity of effort and ideals in conduct of
preserve the secrecy of the ballot. This, not only that the statutory mandates
be observed, but to lose no chance of impressing members with the importance
of this bulwark of the Fraternity. In some Jurisdictions Lodges have a by-law
regarding the secrecy of the ballot, which itself makes its reading mandatory
after any unfavorable ballot. For the benefit of those in whose Lodges is no
such by-law, one is quoted herewith:
one shall inspect the ballot of any petitioner for the degrees or for
membership except the Master and Wardens. No member shall make known to
another the manner in which he intends to cast or has cast his ballot. No
member shall question another respecting the manner in which he intends to
vote or has voted, and in case a petitioner is rejected, no member or visiting
brother shall inquire into or by any means whatever attempt to discover who
opposed his election, under penalty, if a member, of such punishment as the
Lodge shall determine; if a visitor, of his never more being admitted to the
Lodge. That none present may remain ignorant of this by-law, the Master shall
cause it to be read immediately after the rejection of a petitioner."
MASONIC LAW FOR A MASTER
the business of every Master to see that his Lodge abides by the laws,
resolutions and edicts of his Grand Lodge, its own bylaws, and maintains and
supports the Landmarks and "ancient usages and customs of the Fraternity. "
laws of Masonry, like the laws of nations, are both unwritten-the "common law"
- and written. The written laws, based on the "General Regulations" and the
"Old Charges," are the Constitution and by-laws of Grand Lodge, its
resolutions and edicts, and Lodge by-laws. The Ancient Landmarks are written
in some Jurisdictions; in others they are a part of the unwritten law.
foreign Jurisdiction a Mason is amenable to its laws as well as to those of
his own, just as an American residing abroad is amenable to the laws of the
nation in which he lives, while also expected to obey the laws of his own
nation; for instance, an American residing abroad is not exempt from the
United States income tax laws. Neither is a Mason from California exempt from
the laws of the Grand Lodge of that state, merely because he happens to
sojourn in Maine.
"General Regulations" set forth in "Anderson's Constitutions of 1723" were
adopted shortly after the formation in 1717 of the Mother Grand Lodge in
England. The work was first published under date of 1723. Unquestionably it
embodied the laws of Masonry, as they were known to the members of the four
old Lodges which formed the first Grand Lodge, and hence have the
respectability of an antiquity much greater than their printed life of two
hundred and twelve years.
general, the "Old Charges" are concerned with the individual brother and his
relations to his Lodge and his brethren; the "General Regulations," with the
conduct of the Craft as a whole. The "General Regulations" permit their own
alteration by Grand Lodge-the "Old Charges" do not.
Masonry is so much more a matter ~of the heart than of the head, so much more
concerned with setting forth conduct than in assessing penalties, that,
thoroughly to comprehend it, a Master must be willing to revise his ideas of
law as created by the enactments of legislatures.
civil laws are provided with measures of enforcement and penalties for
infringement. Masonic law knows but four penalties: reprimand, definite
suspension, indefinite suspension, and expulsion. These -Masonic penalties for
serious infractions of Masonic law may be ordered after a Masonic trial and a
verdict of guilty, but mercy is -much more a part of Masonic than of civil
law. Infractions of Masonic law resulting in trial and punishment are rare,
compared to the number of Masons, the vast majority of -whom are so willing to
obey the laws that .9 'enforcement" is seldom required.
is no universality in Masonic law in all Jurisdictions. Different latitudes,
different characters of people, different ideas, have all left their marks
upon our forty-nine Grand Lodges and their enactments. In the majority of
essentials, they are one; in some particulars, they hold divergent views. A
large majority of Grand Lodges in the United States adhere to the spirit of
the "Old Charges," and-so far as modern conditions permit-to the sense of the
"General Regulations. "
therefore, of real importance that a Master desiring to understand the laws by
which his Lodge is governed, and the legal standards by which Grand Lodge
measures its "laws, regulations and edicts, " should read both the "Old
Charges" and the " General Regulations of 1723." When he reaches the last
(thirty-ninth) of the " General Regulations, " he will read: "Every Annual
Grand Lodge has an inherent Power and Authority to make new Regulations, or to
alter these, for the real benefit of this Ancient Fraternity; provided always
that the old LandMarks be carefully preserv'd, " etc.
"old landmarks" or the "Ancient Landmarks " as customarily called, are those
foundations of the law of Masonry which are not subject to change. Had the
Grand Lodge which first adopted these "General Regulations" formulated the
"Ancient Landmarks" it would have saved much confusion in subsequent Grand
Lodges. Apparently, however, the unwritten law of Masonry-the common law-was
so well understood and practiced that it was then not thought necessary to
great body of unwritten law which Masons customarily observe--" Ancient usages
and customs'~--are not 'specified in print. But the Landmarks have been
reduced to print and made a part of the written law in many Jurisdictions.
Mackey's list of twenty-five Landmarks has been adopted as official in many
American Masonic Jurisdictions; others have condensed his list into a lesser
number, still keeping all his points; a few Jurisdictions have a greater
number of landmarks, including some not specified in Mackey's list. Those
Jurisdictions which do not include a printed list of the Ancient Landmarks in
their written law, usually follow and practice them as a part of their
unwritten law. In a few instances, some of the Landmarks as listed by Mackey
are not recognized as such; for instance, Mackey's Eighth Landmark, the
inherent right of a Grand Master to "make Masons at sight" was specifically
abrogated by an early Grand Lodge in California. In general, however, whether
written or unwritten, Grand Lodges adhere to the spirit of all of Mackey's
Landmarks may be regarded as bearing the same relation to Masonic law in
general, including the "Old Charges" and the "General Regulations," as the
provisions of Magna Charta bear to modern constitutional law. Just as Magna
Charta specified some of the inherent rights of men which all laws of all
governments should respect, so the Landmarks crystallize the inherent
characteristics of Masonry-those fundamentals which make Freemasonry
Freemasonry, and without which it would be something else.
these as a foundation, the "Old Charges" for precedent, the fl-rst "General
Regulations" for organic law, Grand Lodges write their Constitutions and
by-laws and particular Lodges write their by-laws, which are usually subject
to approval by Grand Lodge, a Grand Lodge Committee, or the Grand Master.
Grand Master, ad interim, formulate edicts and make decisions; often these are
later incorporated by Grand Lodge into the written law of the Jurisdiction.
All of these together, except where they conflict (as some of the early
"General Regulations" necessarily conflict with later enactments made to
supersede them) form the legal structure of Freemasonry, to understand which
is a duty all Masters should be eager to perform.
Undeniably it is much looser than the similar body of law for the government
of a nation. If a Master interpreted Masonic law wholly by the letter-as is
necessarily the case in civil law-the government of his Lodge might often be
as loose as Freemasonry's statutes. But as a matter of fact, the Craft is well
governed. Its "ancient usages and customs" so soon win their way into the
hearts of -new brethren that there is a great resistance to any attempt to
change the old order, unless necessity shows that it is inescapable. Masons
much prefer to whisper good counsel to an erring brother, than to subject him
to Masonic trial.
Fraternity in this nation deals yearly with very large sums of money. The
Craft erects and maintains numbers of expensive Temples, and Homes for the
helpless Mason and his dependents. The Institution disburses a large amount of
charity. The majority of its executives serve long and arduous apprenticeship.
These very practical matters are all conducted in accord with a more or less
loosely woven body of law, and yet the Fraternity as a whole can take great
pride in the undoubted fact that it is orderly, well governed, almost
completely law abiding, and very reluctant to make any more new laws for
itself than are absolutely necessary.
a capable Master who recalls the answer to the classic question:
were you first prepared to be made a Mason?" and delves enthusiastically into
the sources of Masonic law of his Jurisdiction, that he may rule wisely,
decide justly and lead his Lodge with real authority.
MASTERS SHOULD KNOW
Specifically, the Master must familiarize himself with Grand Lodge Law upon
applications, amendments, ballots and balloting, burial, candidates
(residence, qualifications, physical perfection, etc.), charges,
correspondence with other Lodges, degrees, dimits,
dispensations (especially as to when they are necessary), dual membership (if
authorized by Grand Lodge or not authorized by that body), dues, education,
elections, examinations, finances, installation, jurisdiction, membership,
minutes, motions (when not in order), objections to candidates, offenses,
petitions, processions, proxies, rejection, returns of Lodges, special
communications, summons, Sunday observances, trials, visits and visitors,
votes and voting (when paper ballot required; when majority; when two-thirds
and when unanimous needed, etc.), waiver of jurisdiction.
Learning all this is not easy, but being a good Master is not supposed to be
easy. To have been elected Master presupposes a willingness to labor, and here
is labor and plenty of it.
Masters never look at the law, to their shame be it said! Grand Master after
Grand Master reports decisions in his annual message, plaintively adding: "If
Masters would only look up the law in the books provided, ninety percent of
the questions need not have been asked."
know the law may plunge the Lodge into real difficulties; knowing the law is
like knowing the currents and the channels; the mariner who knows does not run
his ship on the rocks.
study of the book of Masonic law of his Jurisdiction will satisfy almost all
need for knowledge, the Master who will read a good volume on Masonic law and
practice will have a much clearer vision of his problems (see book list at end
of this volume).
OUT OF ORDER
THE ART OF PRESIDING
"Preside - to sit in authority over others." (Standard Dictionary.)
first principle of successful presiding is to use authority without any one
being conscious of it!
presiding officer elected by a secular organization is amenable'to its
dictates, and may be removed by the electorate; an appeal may be taken from
his decision to the body over which he presides; generally he is supposed to
conduct its meetings according to the rules of order (usually Robert's).
of this is true for the Master of a Lodge. While elected, he is not controlled
by the dictates of his Lodge; he can only be removed by Grand Master or Deputy
under authority of the Grand Master; no appeal to the Lodge may be taken from
his awards; "rules of order," while followed in general, are actually the
Master's will and pleasure.
secular body a motion to adjourn, for the previous question, to lay on the
table, to refer to a committee of the whole, are always in order; in a Masonic
Lodge, never. Only the Master can decide these questions, and even a Master
should never permit the Lodge to resolve itself into a committee of the whole,
since a committee presupposes a Chairman, and a Chairman is the servant, not
the ruler, of the Committee.
the usual business of Lodge: confirming of minutes, accepting petitions,
ordering a ballot, putting motions to expend, etc., Masters have little
trouble. It is when difficult questions arise; hard fought battles to raise
dues; revision of by-laws; putting standing resolutions on the books;
accepting and confirming a report which reflects on some officer, etc., that
the Master must temper justice with mercy, and authority with discretion.
rule is usually wise which avoids heated debates. When debaters become so
personal as to forget brotherly acts in the warmth of partisanship, a Master
is justified in closing debate for the time, to act on the question when
cooler moments arrive. A Master may always call from labor to refreshment, to
permit "cooling off." If he does this with a smile, and some remark about his
own need for a little reflection, lie will offend no one.
Masonic gavel in the hinds of a Master is all powerful. Brethren must - and
with practically no exceptions always do - obey its mandate. Grand Lodge
frowns upon the brother who flouts the authority of a Master; a brother not
willing to cease speaking when "rapped down," or who insists on speaking when
not recognized, is subject to Masonic trial and punishment. Because of the
power of the gavel the good Master uses it sparingly; he will never "rap down"
a brother if it is possible to avoid it. If a brother insists on doing
something illegal, the Master must, of course. But there is a vast difference
in the way this is done by different Masters.
certain Past Master was offended at the adverse report of a committee on
investigation of a petitioner. Securing recognition he began: "I think we
should disregard this committee report unless we know why the committee
reported unfavorably; I demand their reasons. . . . "
Master could have brought his gavel down with a bang and said: "Brother Past
Master, you are out of order; a Past Master ought to know better!"
he did do was bring his gavel down with enough decision to be heard, then
said: "Brother Past Master, I regret exceedingly to rule out of order one of
my illustrious and learned predecessors. But my understanding of Masonic law
is that the reasons for reporting, unfavorably by a committee are as sacred as
the ballot. I am sorry-"
seems almost too simple to chronicle, and yet it is just this difference
between the hard and fast exercise of undoubted power which men are apt to
resent, and the patient brotherly courtesy which Masons appreciate, which
marks the successful from the disliked presiding officer.
finance committee brought in a report which severely criticized a Master's
administration, practically accusing him of running wild with the Lodge
finances. Shocked but game, without a word of defense he put the question as
to the disposition of the report. Brother after brother arose to discuss the
report, to delete this and strike out that, to remove that offending phrase
and to soften this one. After some ten minutes' debate, one brother, a loyal
partisan of the Master, moved rejection of the whole report and appointment of
a new finance committee. "I am sorry not to entertain that motion," the Master
said with a smile. "I think the committee has rendered a fine report. I do not
refer to their opinions, but to the hours of labor and the results in this
excellent financial statement. I would be ungrateful indeed if I discharged
this committee, or failed to express our appreciation of its efforts."
Lodge applauded vigorously, and the result was the acceptance of the financial
part of the report, with all criticism stricken out. Most important, the
members of the committee, sincere and honorable gentlemen, felt that the
Master had been just; thus any schism was avoided, the Master was protected,
the Lodge satisfied and the committee content.
wrong word, and a first class Lodge quarrel might have started!
SNAP AND SPEED
men think like a lightning flash and others think slowly. Even the slow
thinker can speed up his business meetings by having previously written notes
before him. The Masters who depend on their Secretaries to tell them what to
do next are legion - what would some of us do without those hard-worked and
loyal officials! But the Master who lets the Secretary do it all rarely has
the respect or veneration of his members.
LET THEM TALK!
Master remembers that he is Master of all the Lodge-not just those members
with whom he is in sympathy. He knows that what is unimportant to him may be
vital to some other brother. The member who insists on a bowling match or a
golf game with a sister Lodge may feel it just as important as the Master's
plans for a Masonic evening - let him talk about it! Of course, there is a
limit to all things, and a scheduled degree should not be delayed so as to
keep the few faithful up half the night, sending the rest home without seeing
it. But, within reason, the Master -who encourages his members to speak, who
calls on Brothers Smith and Jones for a few remarks about some question, will
have a more unified and interested Lodge than he who is anxious to shut off
are as different in different Lodges as chalk is from cheese. Some Lodges
extend no special welcomes; in others a word of greeting to all visitors is
customary, especially those vouched for by a committee after an examination.
In some Lodges the Past Masters are known only by their jewels; in others the
Master calls on each. by name, says a pleasant word and offers him the pretty
courtesy of a "seat in the East." Now and then a Master is so anxious to be
courteous that he offers the "seat in the East" to every visitor, which rather
destroys its value as a mark of special consideration for those who have borne
the heat and burden of the day. (The reader, of course, will take this with a
grain of salt, remembering it is a Past Master who writes this book!)
small error many a Master makes with ,only politeness in his mind; taking off
his hat whenever be speaks, especially when he extends a welcome.
"hat snatcher," however well-intentioned, displays a fundamental ignorance of
the meaning of the Master's hat. It is not, strictly speaking, a hat at all,
but a badge of office. There is no more reason to remove it when speaking than
there is to take off apron or jewel. A Master need remove his hat on but four
occasions; when speaking of, or to, Deity; when speaking of a death; when the
Grand Master or his Deputy comes into the Lodge room wearing a hat, or when
tendering the gavel of authority to another to preside.
emphatically the Master's business to insist upon profound respect for his
office. Many a modest man refrains from correcting a wrong Lodge action in the
mistaken idea that brethren will think he is "high hat." A brother may be
plain John Smith, but when John Smith is Master, he should receive the respect
which that office demands.
brother who makes the wrong salute should be smilingly corrected-but he should
not go unchallenged. The brother so careless of his manners as to salute with
a cigar in his mouth may be privately admonished, but he should hear from the
East. The brother who crosses between Altar and East should learn that
brethren do not use the space between Master and Great Lights for a passageway
because, as the Great Lights are in the Master's charge, he is entitled to
keep them always in view. The brother who speaks out of turn, the brother who
tries to leave the room during a ballot, the brother who forgets a proper
salute when addressing the East-all should receive some word of friendly
counsel. Whether it be done before the Lodge, or by sending a message by the
Senior Deacon, is for the Master to decide. His brethren in the end will think
the more of him if he passes his high station to his successor with its
Nothing succeeds in the East like a smile. Two Masters reigned in sister
Lodges at the same time; one a brilliant lawyer, smart as a steel trap, wit
like a rapier . . . and cold and austere as a lump of ice. The other Master
was a railroad conductor; he had not one-tenth the education, wit or
brilliance of the lawyer, but he knew the gentle art of making friends.
Whatever pleasant he had to do, he did as if he liked to do it-with a smile.
Whatever unpleasant was his task he did as if it pained him, but with a smile.
The railroad brother's Lodge was crowded and the brilliant lawyer's all but
empty, most of the year.
Smiles, alas, cannot be made to order. Set smiles, machine smiles, mere facial
contortions won't work. Effective smiles come from a smiling heart. By all of
which it may be seen that the art of presiding successfully has its foundation
in sympathy and understanding, and its cornerstone in good nature and
tolerance. With these a Master can hardly fail to be a beloved presiding
only three steps from the Lodge floor to the Master's platform-but what high
steps! The brother presiding for the first time in a Masonic Lodge who says he
is not nervous is fooling himself, but no one else.
there is no need to continue to be nervous. In a traffic jam the motorist can
always stop-the worst he will get is a lot of horns tooted at him, and perhaps
a 4 'bawling out" by the policeman. In a parliamentary jam the Master can
always stop to look up the law or precedent, or call to refreshment while he
consults some one; he will hear neither horns nor bawlings out. Go
slowly; consult the agenda; depend on the Secretary for help; use the gavel
sparingly; smile . . . and presiding becomes a pleasure and a Master a joy to
ENTERTAINMENT AND ATTENDANCE
Master whose entertainment program is strictly Masonic has to send to the
basement f or extra chairs for most of his meetings.
Masters find the attendance problem vexatious; especially is this true in a
Lodge in which the members have to some extent lost interest. But attendance,
in itself, is of no value if nothing is given those who attend. Ten thousand
Masons may stand before a world series score board, but receive no Masonic
light. Attendance is not an end, but a means. Any Lodge room can be packed by
advertising to exhibit a pair of Siamese twins, or a tattooed man from Borneo,
but merely "packing them in" is of no Masonic value. It is when the Master
packs his Lodge room with brethren eager for Masonic entertainment, which
conceals instruction and information beneath a covering of pleasure and
amusement, that attendance is important.
average, an attendance of ten percent of the membership is looked upon as a ,,
good" turnout. Yet there are Lodges which have a much greater number at almost
way to arouse interest is to do something different from what is normally done
in Lodge. A Lodge overburdened with degree work can increase attendance by
holding special meetings for social and fraternal purposes. A Lodge in which a
speaker from another Lodge and better, another Grand Jurisdiction-is seldom
heard may increase its attendance by making such addresses a feature. A Lodge
in which Masonic education is unknown may increase attendance by putting on an
speaker is secured from another Lodge or Jurisdiction, particular
consideration should be given his comfort. Such entertainers usually sacrifice
time and energy for their brethren; Masonic hospitality should see that
everything possible is done for their comfort. Particularly if a speaker is
brought from a distance with a promise to pay his expenses, should the check
for those necessary expenditures be given to him promptly.
EXTRA LODGE ACTIVITIES
Masters meet, in one way or another, proposals that the Lodge do this or that,
support this or that, take part in this or that. And it is often difficult to
decide where the line should be drawn between what a Lodge may do, and what
its individual members may do.
safe tests to apply to any such proposal which involves Lodge activities are
these; will acceptance of the invitation cause a difference of opinion among
members which may disrupt the harmony of the Lodge? Will it be a precedent
which may cause embarrassment in the future?
either question may be answered in the affirmative, the wise Master will avoid
Master is faced at the start with two conflicting principles; the more of his
own members he can persuade to take part in entertainment, the more interest
he can arouse among them and their friends; the more he goes outside the Lodge
for amusement, the more he is apt to interest all its members, most of whom
have heard the home talent before.
program of entertainment or instruction is best put in the hands of a
competent chairman of a committee. Give him plenty of assistance, and then let
him run it without interference. Some Masters appoint a chairman and then
attempt to do all his work, or dictate how it should be done. A chairman
should be a willing worker, and in sympathy with the Master's ideas, but
unless he has ideas and initiative of his own, he is not qualified to be a
chairman; if he has ideas and initiative, he is not properly used unless
allowed to employ them.
small committee is better than a large one; if the plans are elaborate, the
committee may divide itself into sub-committees with sub-chairmen, who may
call to their assistance all the help they need. But a large central committee
is difficult to handle; too many ideas and conflicting desires prevent
success. An entertainment committee of three, or five at the most, is
Masonic dignity and honors are not the first requisite in an entertainment
committee chairman. The senior Past Master has not necessarily the most
original mind; the Senior Warden may be an excellent officer and a prospective
Master of charm and ability, without being constituted by nature to be a good
chairman. Use the brains and enthusiasm of the younger members. It is easy to
gain the co6peration of the older members, and of those the Lodge has honored,
by asking them to give way to the young and untried that these may show their
plans which have been tried and proved successful in increasing attendance:
A SURPRISE MEETING
Advertise to the membership that a surprise awaits them. Tell them there will
be "something doing" which they have never seen before. Then arrange with a
capable committee to exemplify a dozen or more matters of law and behavior.
Have a new brother deliberately cross the room between Altar and East. Call
him down for it. Have a Past Master explain why this is not good Masonic
usage. During a ballot have a brother enter the room by way of the West Gate.
Declare the ballot illegal and take it over again. Have a Past Master explain
why it is illegal. Let some brother move that the Lodge adjourn. Have some one
else explain that parliamentary procedure which governs most assemblages
cannot apply in a Masonic Lodge because of the powers and prerogatives of the
Master, at whose pleasure alone the Lodge convenes and is closed. Get a debate
started on something, anything, and have a brother appeal from the decision of
the Master to the Lodge. Rule him out of order, and explain that the only
appeal lies to the Grand Master, and why. Have some brother give the wrong
salute on entering or leaving; correct him, and have some one make a short
talk on the reasons for the salute and how the brother may always know by an
examination of the Great Lights upon what degree the Lodge is open. Think up
half a dozen more matters in which the customs, the etiquette or the law of
Masonry may be violated, and have an explanation and an answer ready for each
one. The interest of such a practical demonstration is surprising.
A MASONIC EXPERIENCE MEETING
Lodge some brethren have had some pleasant, different, unusual experience of
Masonry. One has had to borrow money in a strange city, and did it through
Masonic connection. Another has discovered a Masonic impostor. A third has
made a pleasant friend in another city through mutual Masonry. A fourth has
found interest in the manners, customs and usages of Masonry in a sister Grand
Jurisdiction. Another has seen a funeral service in another Jurisdiction,
quite different from his own. Get a committee to ascertain the names of half a
dozen such brethren, and persuade them to give their experiences. Advertise it
in the Lodge circular and see the increase in attendance.
A LODGE DEBATE
some interesting Masonic subject, on which opinion is divided, appoint two
teams of debaters, of two brethren each, and stage a contest to run not over
forty minutes. A is given eight minutes for the affirmative, B eight minutes
for the negative, followed by C with eight minutes for rebuttal and D, eight
minutes for rebuttal. Each is then allowed two minutes to close. The decision
is to rest on the vote of the Lodge. A few suggested topics are: "Resolved,
that Masonry would be more effective if all Lodges were limited in size;"
"Resolved, that perpetual jurisdiction over rejected candidates is unjust";
"Resolved, that a Master's powers should be limitable by a Lodge," etc.
should be explained that these subjects are debated purely for the information
such discussion may bring out, with no thought of attempting by Lodge action
to alter existing law or practice. A Lodge debate may be humorous in
character: " Resolved, that business should not interfere with golf ";
"Resolved, that the Worshipful Master should pay the Lodge a salary for his
privilege"; etc. If debaters are ready speakers, such simple entertainment can
be made very effective and interesting.
PAST MASTERS' NIGHT
the chairs with the Past Masters, in order of seniority, for the conferring of
a degree. If no candidate is available, and there is no local regulation
against the practice, use a dummy candidate from among the members, or have
the degree conferred on the oldest Past Master. Officers who have borne the
heat and burden of the day are usually proud of the opportunity again to get
into harness, and the membership is usually interested in the performance.
US WHAT YOU THINK')
ten brethren, each with an idea, give four-minute talks on what the Lodge
needs. This does not mean a new hall, or new equipment, or more money, but
what it requires to be better, more alive, more interesting. Such a discussion
will bring out many ideas. Throw the meeting open to the membership as soon as
the arranged speakers have finished; often the unprepared speech will be the
most illuminating of the evening.
THE QUESTION BOX
small box with a slot in it in the Lodge, and invite the brethren to submit
questions regarding anything Masonic; assure them that as many of the
questions as possible will be answered the next meeting. See that half a dozen
brethren, instructed in advance, drop questions in the box. As the Master will
probably get a number for which he has not arranged, he can have prepared half
a dozen answers to the questions he has inspired and these answers delivered
to the Lodge in five-minute addresses. Questions and answers both, of course,
can be obtained from books. Some questions interesting to most Masons are:
old is Masonry, and how do we know its age ?
are the ten most Masonic verses in the Bible, not including those quotations
from the Great Light used in the ritual?
was William Morgan and what happened in the Morgan affair?
wearing a Masonic ring, should the points of the compass point towards the
wearer or towards his finger tips, and why?
is the origin of the Masonic use of the word "profane," meaning one not a
member, and why is he so called?
England permits dual membership. What American Grand Jurisdictions permit it
and what are some of the arguments for and against it?
and where is the oldest Lodge in the world, in the United States, in this
THE SONGS OF MASONRY
Masonic poetry is scarce. But there is enough to furnish a pleasant and
interesting hour of instruction and entertainment. Pick out half a dozen of
the best known Masonic poems, and half a dozen brethren who will memorize
them, and prepare a little talk upon them. Let each brother recite the poem of
his choice, and then comment upon its significance. Good poems for an evening
of this kind are Kipling's "The Palace" and "Mother Lodge," Burns's "Masonic
Farewell," Goethe's "Mason Lodge," Leigh Hunt's "Abou Ben Adhem," Carruth's
"Each in His Own Tongue," Burns's "On the Apron," Meredith's "Ebony Staff of
Solomon," Bowman's "Voice of America," Malloch's "Father's Lodge" and Nesbit's
"I Sat in Lodge with You."
often possible to awaken interest in a Lodge by the formation of a glee club,
a dramatic club, a study club, all good ways to increase attendance.
little "stunt" which always holds the attention of the members is having some
part of the Masonic ritual-it may be the charge to a candidate in one of the
degrees, a section from the Middle Chamber lecture, - or perhaps the prayer
from the third degree committed to memory by half a dozen brethren. These
brethren then deliver the same work to show how different the appeal
idea which produces results is the sending of letters to brethren on their
Masonic birthdays reminding them " On such and such a date you were raised to
the Sublime Degree. Our nearest meeting to your anniversary is such and such a
date. Will you not come to Lodge that night, to join the other brethren whose
Masonic birthday is the same, and give us the pleasure of offering you our
good wishes?" The same is true of real birthdays, especially those of the
incurably curious; his desire to know and to understand is the mainspring of
invention, discovery, civilization, progress; the driving force which leads
men to learn.
Masters can make use of this desire to know to make better Masons of the
"sugar-coated" Masonic educational meeting is interesting, intriguing, alive,
vital, satisfying a great curiosity. Lodges which have tried the educational
experiments here listed usually repeat them, and almost invariably the
repetition is to a "packed house. "
DISSECTING A DEGREE
Especially recommended for Lodges which have little work to do is the
dissection and explanation of the first section of any degree. A dummy
candidate is initiated, and the ceremony interrupted at each stage by some
brother who offers a little explanation of the symbolism of the part of the
degree under discussion; entry, circumambulation, rite of destitution, the
antiquity of the apron, origin of the Lesser Lights, etc. Such dissection and
exposition require some little study by those who take part, but giving each
brother who offers an interruption only one subject minimizes the work of
preparation and increases the variety by having many take part.
Inquiry should first be made of the District Deputy, or the Grand Master; in
some Jurisdictions the practice of using a dummy candidate has been frowned
upon, as derogatory to the dignity of our ceremonies. When it is explained
that the purpose of the idea is- educational, however, it is probable -that no
difficulty will be experienced in obtaining enthusiastic co6peration from
those in authority.
MUST - YOU MUST NOT!
average Lodge member knows little about Masonic law. The very term
"Jurisprudence" seems repellent. Yet Masonic law is intensely interesting, and
may be made to appear so to the Lodge by any brother who will devote a little
time and attention to developing a talk on those parts of our legal system
which most intimately touch the brethren. Masonic law is vastly different from
civil law; most Masonic law is a matter of "thou shalt" rather than "thou
shalt not. " A few salient points chosen for their interest to the average
Mason, and explained, first as to their origin, and second as to their use or
necessity, will interest any Lodge. It is not an arduous task for a clever
brother to arrange such a talk; he may use any good book on Jurisprudence as a
foundation, Mackey or Pound for choice, as both are complete and concise.
more brethren take part in an educational meeting, the greater the enjoyment.
No scheme for an educational meeting yet developed exceeds the Lodge contest
in this respect, since it gives every one an opportunity to participate.
educational contest is conducted by a Master of Ceremonies asking a series of
questions, carefully prepared in advance, the correct answers to which can be
given in one or two words, a date, a name. Supplied with paper and pencils,
the brethren write and number their answers to the questions, as they are
asked. Then they exchange papers, the correct answers are read ' and the
brethren mark the replies "right" or "wrong" according to the facts. The
winners, of course, are those who have the greatest number, next greatest
number and third greatest number answered correctly. Interest in such a
contest is increased by offering prizes. These may be very inexpensive; a good
Masonic book, a subscription to a Masonic magazine, a Masonic lapel pin are
questions should not be complex; answers should be facts, not opinions. For
instance "In what Lodge was George Washington raised?" "Who is Grand Master- '
in this State I How old is this Lodge I
many Lodges in our Grand Lodge I" are all questions needing but a word or two
to answer with facts, Such questions as "Do you think Masonry is a religion?"
should not be included, since any answer must be an opinion, not a fact.
Questions like "Explain the part Freemasonry played in the Revolution" should
not be asked, as they require lengthy replies.
giving out the correct answers, a clever Master of Ceremonies will offer some
"good and wholesome instruction" of Masonic value; for instance, if the
question be "How many landmarks are recognized in this Jurisdiction?" and the
correct answer is "Twenty-five," the Master of Ceremonies may explain that
some Jurisdictions have less, others more; that many Jurisdictions have
adopted Mackey's list, while others have condensed Mackey's twenty-five into a
less number, which nevertheless contains all of Mackey's points, and so on.
Lodge entertainment, whether purely amusement or Masonically instructive,
arrange the program to reach a climax; when it culminates, close the evening.
If the program includes a principal speaker, have him come last. After he has
spoken, do not call on half a dozen brethren to talk about the speaker and his
address. Nothing makes a fine talk f all flatter than far less able speakers
giving. short resumes of what has been said and telling the Lodge how good it
was. Past Master John Smith and Brother Henry Robinson are good men and true,
beloved of the brethren, listened to with respect, but unless they are orators
of high calibre, their supplementary remarks on a thought-provoking address
usually throw a cold wet blanket which is very chilling to enthusiasm 1
old adage for speakers: "Stand up, speak up, shut up 1 " may well be applied
here; when a program is ended, consider it -finished! Far better that the
brethren go home wishing the evening had been longer, than with the feeling
"I'm glad that's over! "
Master may largely increase interest in his meetings by departing from the
custom of previous Masters, doing what they did not do! This does not mean a
criticism of previous Masters; what they did may also have been interesting
and different. The new is always interesting; that which is interesting
usually stimulates attendance. With good reason, depart from the usual order
of business; it is a Master's privilege. Have some brother, the more obscure
the better, who has done something, anything, escorted to the Altar, and thank
him, congratulate him or comment on his work; the more unexpected this is, the
more interesting to the membership. Extend a special welcome to the oldest
Past Master, or most beloved brother. If the Lodge has no regularly appointed
chaplain, or if he is absent, call on some brother to take over the simple
duties of Lodge chaplain. Encourage debate; ask for comments on any question
which comes up on which no one voluntarily has anything to offer; the more
members get on their feet the greater interest there is in the meeting, always
providing they are not long-winded about it.
SET THE CRAFT TO LABOR
enthusiastic Master usually heads an enthusiastic Lodge
can inculcate enthusiasm in others if he does not possess it. But many a
Master is enthusiastic over his Masonry, his Lodge and its activities, who
does not know the few parlor tricks of the East which inspire others
trite but true: men like to work when they don't have to
Master who puts many brethren to work at something-just what is not important
- will have enthusiastic meetings.
Brethren may be interested in dozens of activities. A glad hand committee, not
only for visitors but to greet every member as he comes in, is always an
asset. Rival committees--perhaps as many as six-may be asked to provide
entertainment, each for one meeting. A prize may be given the committee
staging the most popular evening. (Note: different Lodges have different
methods. In a Lodge which must count pennies, the Master may offer the prize
personally. Suitable prizes are: an evening at the theater for all the members
of the committee; a Masonic book for each member of the committee; a Masonic
button for each member.)
successful are large committees to call on delinquent members; committees to
call on the stay-at-home brethren with personal invitations to attend;
sojourners' committees, to call on brethren of foreign Lodges temporarily
within the jurisdiction of the Lodge; committees on the sick; rival degree
teams for each degree.
Master may thus put a hundred brethren to work, often with amazing results in
the new interest brethren take in Lodge when they have definite tasks.
laborer is worthy of his hire. The only pay a committeeman can receive is
Master's Wages. Pay them, pay them generously, pay them often. Make them stand
up, tell the Lodge what good workers they have been and thank them. In
especially meritorious cases have the brother-to-be-thanked conducted to the
Altar, and speak to him there. In the Middle Chamber the workmen received
their wages in corn, wine and oil. Do not leave all the oil in the oil fields!
A little poured from the East is good Masonic diplomacy.
Grand Jurisdictions have some pet project-a Home, a Hospital, an Orphanage, a
Charity Foundation, a Library-all excellent pegs on which to hang garments of
enthusiasm. Get some brother who can talk to visit the institution and tell
the Lodge about it. Organize a bus pilgrimage to the Home, at special ~ates,
advertise it well, make a ladies' picnic of it if the Lodge likes to bring its
better halves along. Find a successful graduate of the Home School and ask him
to tell the Lodge about it. Has the Home a band? Organize a "Concert
Committee" to raise funds to bring it to Lodge; invite the neighboring Lodges.
Probabilities are the Lodge room won't be big enough.
Lodges have a sister Lodge, in their own or a neighboring Jurisdiction, with
which the ties of union are unusually close.
visits between such Lodges result in large attendance and fraternal evenings.
If no such sister Lodge is tied to a Master's by special bonds, hunt up one
and start the ball rolling by inviting that Lodge to visit yours. Pick the
newest Lodge, the oldest Lodge, the most historic Lodge, the biggest Lodge,
the smallest Lodge; a Lodge with a Master who has your name; a Lodge with the
same name as yours-anything will do for an excuse.
rules of Grand Lodge permit, ask a sister Lodge in another Jurisdiction to put
on a degree. Before sending such an invitation be sure your Grand Lodge looks
with favor on such interchange of work; consult District Deputy, Grand
Secretary or Grand Master.
your State some nearby historic place, marker, monument, park, house,
battlefield? Organize a visit of your Lodge. Especially is this worthwhile if
there is a Masonic significance to the place visited. A journey to your local
Yorktown, Williamsburg, Valley Forge, Custer's Last Stand, Fort Dearborn,
Meeting on the Mountain, etc., can always be hooked up with Masonry, since all
such have some associations with great men who were Masons.
are not " men with pins on their coats." Masonry is a vital force in the lives
of many; one touch on the right key and Masonic enthusiasm simply pours out of
brother was injured and a blood transfusion necessary. The Master of his Lodge
learned it on the night of a third degree. It was his custom to make a little
talk before each ceremony on one of its significances. An opportunist, the
Master junked his prepared speech and spoke for five minutes on the Five
Points-then called for volunteers for the blood transfusion.
Fifteen brethren rose to clamor for the chance to show their Five Points meant
something to them.
Master of a small mid-western Lodge, poor in finances, had a pressing relief
case; a brother had lost his home by storm. He had told the Lodge about it.
The Treasurer arose to say: "But we have no money, Worshipful."
said anything about money?" retorted the Master. "I want volunteers with
tools, who will give each a day's work,-,two days, whatever you can spare. We
can't buy Brother Jones a new home, but we are sorry sons of pioneers if we
can't build one!"
Thirty-four men rebuilt Brother Jones's home for him, and then pleaded with
the Master for "another happy time and good day's outing like that!"
the brethren a chance to do something, anything, no matter how small or
unimportant. A brother convinced that he is helping is enthusiastic. One
Master appointed a young brother as assistant to an old, feeble and forgetful
Tile r -who was much beloved. The young assistant did no more than bring out
the aprons, sort out and put away the officers' jewels, but he was company for
the old man for the half hour before and after the meeting. At the end of the
year, thanking the lad, the Master said: "Doubtless you'll be glad that a new
Master - will give your thankless job to some one else.
I'll be all broken up if he doesn't reappoint me! " was the answer. The boy
had never missed a meeting and now that he has the habit, probably never will.
certain old Past Master came only once or twice a year. It was said that
"Brother Smith was a very active Master and now that he has nothing to do,
feels lost in Lodge."
give him something to do!" determined the new Master, then offered the old
Past Master the Chaplaincy of the Lodge. The old Past Master protested that he
was too old; the Lodge had a minister (who could seldom attend) ; he had not
done any work for years . . . the Master overrode him. The Past Master took
the position, and the storm does not blow that can keep him away from his
Lodge. Flagging enthusiasm was aroused by a small job, with something
constructive to do.
there be a "big night"? Appoint half a dozen assistant stewards to lug in
chairs and benches. Is there a "big feed" for some special occasion? Plenty of
brethren will gladly give up that evening in Lodge to help prepare the tables
and serve the meal. Have you a semi-invalid who cannot easily get to Lodge?
Responses will be generous to a request for volunteers to call for him and
take him home. The Master may urge many members to watch for opportunities to
furnish transportation to brethren residing in their neighborhood; the Lodge
member without a car will appreciate a lift from his more fortunate brother.
Master does not need much imagination to think up a thousand and one ways to
interest his members in Lodge work, nor will he need more than two or three
meetings to demonstrate the effectiveness of this simple and easy way to
create enthusiasm, increase attendance, and swell to delightful proportions
the pride and joy which men thus set to labor for the common good will find in
their Lodge. Try it - you'll be surprised!
SECRETARY, WARDENS, PAST MASTERS
Master's greatest asset is a competent and loyal Secretary. A good officer to
his left is a balance wheel, a toueh with the past, a compendium of knowledge,
a very present help in the time of trouble. Per contra, a lazy, indifferent or
incompetent Secretary, or one antagonistic to the Master, is a severe
usual to depend on a good Secretary for much,, but it can be overdone. It is
not the Secretary, but the Master, whom the Grand Master holds responsible for
his Lodge. The Secretary writes the minutes, the Lodge confirms them, but the
Master must shoulder the responsibility of seeing that they contain all things
proper to be written, nothing not proper to be recorded, are accurate,
Master may not confirm minutes. Nor may he alter, amend, delete or add to
them, except as any brother may, by suggestion that something was left out
which should have been put in, something put in which had better be
the Master may refuse to put a motion to confirm improper minutes, and Grand
Master or Deputy Grand Master will invariably sustain him if he is right.
are human beings, and therefore not perfect. Occasionally a Secretary
stubbornly refuses to record what should be written, or wants improper minutes
confirmed. Here the Master can use a Big Stick or the smooth oil of diplomacy,
but he must see that his minutes will not draw censure from higher authority.
the Master's duty to oversee the Secretary's books, records' and receipts. No
good Secretary resents this; on the contrary, he knows that the responsibility
shared is a responsibility halved.
WHO RUNS IT?
are Lodges of which it is said: "Oh, the Secretary is really the Master - he
true, it is because too many Masters -have been content to slide through their
term of office in the easiest way. The Master tells the Secretary: "You
suggest the names of the - committee on that petition," or "Tell me the best
arrangement of the work for the -next two or three months." The Secretary
obliges.' After a while he does not wait to be asked-petitions are handed to
the Master with the committee names already written; a ready-made schedule of
work is handed to the Master. In a few years it is really the Secretary, not
the Master, who controls the Lodge.
Master who avoids responsibilities because the Secretary is willing to
shoulder them hurts the Lodge, spoils a good Secretary and must leave the East
with the feeling that he has done little.
Master who is Master; who aids his Secretary 7herever possible, asks his
advice and receives his suggestions, but who makes his own appointments,
schedules his own work, conducts his own Lodge as he sees fit, and lives up to
all the responsibilities of his office, will increase respect for the Oriental
Chair and finish his year knowing he was what he was supposed to be-a leader.
sometimes difficult for a new Master, perhaps a young man, to take from the
hands of an old and respected Secretary work which generations of predecessors
have shifted from their fingers to his. But the Master has always the comfort
of knowing that Grand Master (or Deputy) is behind him in "all his laudable
undertakings" and that a good Secretary respects a Master who lives up to his
job. Here, as elsewhere in Lodge, tact, diplomacy, the soothing oil of
flattery and good nature, work wonders. While occasionally it is the
Secretary's fault if the relations between his desk and the East are strained,
as a general rule it is the Master who must be blamed if he cannot " get along
with" a faithful and tried officer to his immediate left.
Wardens should be a Master's right and left hands. Perhaps no ancient usage
and custom of the Fraternity is more universal than the government of Lodges
by a Master and two Wardens. Mackey lists this requirement as his Tenth
Landmark; whether they have adopted Mackey's twenty-five landmarks or not, all
Grand Lodges recognize the Wardens as essential in the formation, opening and
governing of a Lodge.
only are the Wardens essential to every Entered Apprentices', Fellow Crafts'
or Master Masons' Lodge, but they have certain inherent powers, duties and
responsibilities. Mackey sets these forth substantially as follows:
a Master may use others than the Wardens in the conferring of the degrees, he
cannot deprive the Wardens of their offices, or absolve them of their
government of a Masonic Lodge is essentially tripartite, although Lodges may
be legally opened, set to labor and closed by the Master in the absence of the
installed Wardens, the chairs being filled by temporary appointments. The
Senior Warden presides in the absence of the Master, and the Junior Warden in
the absence of both Master and Senior Warden.
other brethren in the Lodge have this power, privilege or responsibility. The
Warden who presides in the absence of his superior officer may, if he desires,
call a Past Master to the chair to preside for him, but no Past Master, in the
absence of the Master, may legally congregate the Lodge. That must be done by
the Master, the Senior Warden in the absence of the Master, or the -Junior
Warden in the absence of both.
further states that while the Senior Warden takes the East by right in the
absence of the Master, the Junior Warden does not take the West by right in
the absence of the Senior Warden. Each officer is installed with a ceremony
which gives him certain duties; a Warden in the East is still a Warden, not a
Master. It is the Master's privilege to appoint brethren to stations
temporarily unffiled. The Master, when elected and installed, or Senior Warden
acting as Master in the real Master's absence, may appoint the Junior Warden
to MI an empty West. But the Junior Warden cannot assume the West without such
appointment. In the absence of the Master, the Senior Warden, when present, is
the only brother who can assume the East and congregate the Lodge.
runs the general law, generally adhered to. Grand Lodges may, and not
infrequently do, make local regulations contrary to the Old Constitutions, the
Old Charges, even the Landmarks--the fundamental law of Masonry.
Grand Lodge rules that in the absence of Master and both Wardens, the oldest
Past Master present may congregate, open, and close the Lodge, that law is
correct for that Grand Lodge, but it is not in consonance with general Masonic
Wardens are found in all bodies of Masonry, in all Rites, in all countries.
its derivation, and its translations give the meaning of the word. It comes
from the Saxon weardian, to guard, to watch. In France, the second and third
officers are premier and second Surveillant; in Germany, erste and zwite
Aufseher; in Spain, primer and segundo Vigilante; in Italy, primo and secondo
Sorvegliante, all the words meaning to overlook, to see, to watch, to keep
ward, to observe.
Government of the Craft by a Master and two Wardens cannot be too strongly
emphasized. It is not only the right but the duty of the Senior Warden to
"assist the Worshipful Master in opening and governing his Lodge." When he
uses it to enforce orders, his setting maul or gavel is to be respected; he
has a "proper officer" to carry his messages to the Junior Warden or
elsewhere; under the Master, he is responsible for the conduct of the Lodge
while at labor.
Junior Warden's duties are less important; he observes the time, and calls the
Lodge from labor to refreshment and refreshment to labor in due season at the
orders of the Master. It is his duty to see that " none of the Craft convert
the purposes of refreshment into intemperance and excess" which doubtless has
a bibulous derivation, coming from days when "refreshment" meant wine. If we
no longer drink wine at Lodge, we still have reason for this charge upon the
Junior Warden, since it is his unpleasant duty, because he supervises the
conduct of the Craft at refreshment, to prefer charges against those guilty of
importance of the Wardens has been set forth at length that no Master plead
ignorance of their vital importance in Lodge affairs. The Master who considers
his Wardens as only less valuable than himself will leave his Lodge a legacy
for which it may thank him for years to come.
natural course of events, Wardens become Masters. Failing some unusual upset,
some local condition different from the general rule, the Senior Warden
succeeds the Master, the Junior Warden attains the East the following year.
kind of Masters will they make?
responsibility is not theirs alone, but that of the present occupant of the
Oriental Chair. If he is so swelled in the cranium with the dignity of his
position that he is unwilling to consult with his Wardens, they will have the
less opportunity to become familiar with important Lodge affairs. If the
Master takes counsel with his Wardens on every occasion, asks their advice in
regard to Lodge policies, sees that they have all possible information of
charity, relief, finances, membership, and puts a reasonable amount of outside
work on their shoulders, they will arrive in the East with a broad vision of
Lodge work and a Master's responsibilities.
dignity of the office of Master adds to the stature of any man; no man is so
important that he can add to the dignity of the office. No man may take from
the dignity of the office of Master, although he may abuse it. Therefore no
consultation with Wardens, no sharing with them of the problems of the East,
can in the slightest take away from the importance, the dignity, the solemnity
of the Master's position. The Master who plays a lone hand because he fears
that Wardens other than figureheads will detract from his leadership displays
a fundamental ignorance of the invulnerability of his position. He who uses
his Wardens as they were intended to be used not only has secure props for his
administration on either hand, but benefits his Lodge by providing well
instructed, - educated if you will - candidates for the East a year, two years
Fortunate the Lodge which has many; poor that body of Masonry in which Past
Masters have lost the interest with which they once presided in the East!
honorable station of Past Master is generally considered as second in
importance only to that of the presiding Master. He is a good Master who sees
that the brethren in his Lodge understand that "Past Master" is no empty
title, but carries with it certain rights and privileges, certain duties and
Master has no inherent right of membership in the Grand Lodge, such as is
possessed by the Master of a Lodge. But in many American Jurisdictions, by
action of the Grand Lodge, Past Masters are members of the Grand Lodge. In
some Jurisdictions they are full voting members; in others they have but a
fraction of a vote, all the Past Masters of a Lodge having one vote between
them on any Grand Lodge question to be decided by a vote by Lodges. That a
Past Master may receive such recognition at the hands of his Grand Lodge must
be considered as one of the rights and privileges of a Past Master.
RIGHT TO PRESIDE
Masters are said by Mackey to possess the tight to preside over their Lodges,
in the absence of the Master, and on the invitation of the Senior Warden, or,
in his absence, the Junior Warden.
According to the ancient laws of Masonry, any Master Mason may be called to
the Chair by a Master. Here the question is as to who may be called to the
Chair by a Warden, who has congregated the Lodge in the absence of the Master.
The great Masonic, jurist gives unqualified endorsement to the idea that under
such circumstances only a Warden, or a Past Master with the consent of the
presiding Warden, can preside over a Lodge, and counts this as among the
rights of a Past Master. However true this may be in this specific case, the
practice and the law in many Jurisdictions give to the Master the right to put
any brother in the Chair for the time being, remaining, of course, responsible
for the acts of his temporary appointee, and for the acts of his Lodge during
RIGHT TO INSTALL
right to install his successor is inherent in the office of Master; the
privilege of delegating that duty to another is within his power. He should
not delegate the installing power to any brother who has not himself been
installed, in order that the succession of the Oriental Chair be unbroken,
from regularly installed Master to Master-elect, regularly to be installed.
Therefore, in most Jurisdictions, the installation power, which is a right of
the Master, may be considered also a privilege of Past Masters.
RIGHT TO ELECTION
important right of all Past Masters is that of being elected to the office of
Master, without again serving as Warden. Perhaps no regulation is more
jealously guarded by Grand Lodges than this, which dates in print from 1723
(Old Charges), that no Mason may be elected or installed a Master who has not
been regularly elected, installed and served as a Warden. There are
exceptions; when a new Lodge is constituted, a brother who has not been
elected and installed as Warden may be elected and installed as Master.
Past Master has the right to wear a Past Master's jewel, or a Past Master's
apron. He may possess neither, but he has the right to wear both, and these
rights cannot be taken away from him except by Grand Lodge or as part of an
act depriving him of other rights, as when he may be suspended, expelled,
excluded from the Lodge, or dropped N.P.D. The giving of a Past Master's jewel
by the Lodge is a beautiful custom, a recognition of devoted service, but it
is not mandatory on a Lodge to present such a jewel if it does not desire to
do so. No Lodge, however, would take from a Past Master the right to wear such
a jewel if, for instance, he bought it for himself! But a Grand Lodge may rule
against either or both.
SPIRIT GIVETH LIFE"
Much for law and custom. Far beyond these go the spiritual rights and
privileges of the Past Master, great or small as the man is small or great.
These are valued by the brethren as the Past Master values them; and he must
value them by a plumb line, like that which the Lord set "in the midst of my
people Israel," erected within himself.
has been a hard-working, able, conscientious Master, sincerely desirous of the
welfare of his Lodge and its brethren, thinking only of their good, of his
opportunities for service, of the humility with which he should assume the
East and the dignity and wisdom with which he should preside, the honorable
station of Past Master will be honored by its possessor, honored by those who
know that he has earned it.
has been but a "title hunter," a Master who has "gotten by" with the least
effort, his work poor, his presence in the East a brake upon the Lodge, he can
hardly look with real pleasure upon his Past Master's jewel nor can his
brethren give him much honor in his station.
the unwritten usages of the Fraternity, it is well known to all the Craft that
the honors of Masonry are in the wearer, rather than in the conferring. The
Past Master who has earned his title by loyal, faithful service will be
honored for it all his life, though, he wear no apron or jewel to show his
rank. He who has failed to earn it may wear the largest and most expensive of
jewels, the most be-decorated of Past Master's aprons, and receive from his
brethren no recognition beyond that of formality.
are - whisper it! - Past Masters who come to Lodge only to sit like buzzards,
looking for what they may devour, ready to pounce on any act of the present
administration, critical and fault finding. David Harum's famous saying "A
certain number of fleas is good for a dog; keeps him from broodin' on being a
dog," may be applicable; perhaps one or two such Past Masters are good for any
Lodge. As a general rule, however, brethren who have served long years in the
chairs, presided in the East and stepped forward to join the ranks of Past
Masters, have a broad tolerance, a humility, an understanding to add to their
experience, which makes them very present helps in times of trouble.
Master who makes it his first business to pay due honor to his predecessors,
who consults with them, uses them, puts them on committees, works them, is
reasonably certain of success.
A PAST MASTER SPEAKS
a jealous lot, we Past Masters! But our jealousy is not of the Master but for
the Lodge we have loved and served. We want to see her succeed, go forward,
grow bigger, better, finer, more useful to our brethren. Most of us count no
personal sacrifice comparable to the good of the Lodge; most of us will go to
great lengths to serve again in any capacity, if by so doing we can help the
old Lodge another mile forward on what we hope will be always an honorable
path to glory.
Therefore, Worshipful Sir, use us, we who have had our little hour in the
East. We have experience-make it count for you. We have learned to work-make
us work for you. We have understanding of Lodge and membership problems-make
it yours. Give us a job to do, a committee membership, a minor appointment;
aye, give us the hard and unwanted jobs, and most of us will jump at the
chance. And if you are reasonably gentle about it, and treat us with even &
modicum of fraternal courtesy--such as the young should always offer the
old!-some day we will welcome you as Immediate Past Master and make you one of
the charmed circle without which no Lodge can function at its best I
Lodges had charity funds; if all Lodges put all fees for the degrees in
special funds, and had dues sufficient to ran the Lodges without recourse to
fees; if all Lodges .had budgets and lived within them; if all Lodges had
members, all of whom paid their dues in advance, Masters would have little
-need to consider finances. Needless to say, all Lodges do not have such
Lodges are so well-provided with high dues and large fees that they do not
have to worry about money. The majority of Lodges, like other organizations,
must plan expenditures to be within income.
Master can do much in these matters; even with a wise and experienced
Treasurer, a capable Board of Trustees, a hard-headed Finance Committee, a
Lodge may spend more than it should if the Master does not keep his hand on
the tiller which guides the ship in between the Scylla of parsimony and the
Charybdis of extravagance.
Consider the advisability of a Lodge budget. The Master who goes into office
knowing, what the Lodge faces in fixed expenditures-Grand Lodge dues, rent,
heat, light, taxes, salaries, average charity appropriations, average
entertainment appropriations, and so on-can calculate just where he must cut
corners, if any. It is some trouble to make a Lodge budget-but a Master gets
accustomed to trouble. Most Masters have either a Finance Committee, or a
Board of Trustees, or both; usually these are wise old Past Masters, who will
like nothing better than to help prepare a budget! The wise Master, of course,
will see to it that the budget is advisory, not mandatory, since sudden calls
may come to any Lodge.
Particularly is this true of the charity and relief calls. An average of what
has been spent in relief for the last ten years as the sum budgeted for
charity may be upset past all righting with one unusual case.
Freemasonry is not a mutual benefit society, insurance organization,
institution for relief of the indigent. In no words of the ritual, in no law
nor edict, is a promise given or implied that the Lodge give relief to the
needy. Charity is an individual matter.
a right to be demanded, but as a free gift gladly offered, does a Lodge
disburse its funds in helping members in need. As this is one of the real
privileges of Freemasonry, no budget should be so iron-clad that it cannot be
changed when the need arises.
Methods of handling charity are as different as the some sixte6n thousand
Lodges in the nation. In the main, however, Lodges may be divided into those
which handle relief from the general fund, and those which keep a special fund
for the purpose.
not here presumed to advise which is better, since circumstances alter cases.
But it may be noted that Lodges occasionally have to resist a well-meant raid
on the treasury of charity funds.
brethren like to spend first and think from whence will come the money
afterward. The Master can rule such motions out of order, or he can use a
little device familiar to most presiding officers. John Smith gets the
brilliant idea that because the Lodge will be twenty-five years old next
month, it should take five hundred dollars from the charity fund and stage a
big "home coming night" for all members. If the Master refuses to entertain
this motion, he may-probably will offend John Smith and his friends.
Instead, try this: "I am in sympathy with my brother's idea of a celebration.
I think, however, we should have advice from wise financial heads on such an
important matter. I refer this motion to a special committee on celebration,
which I will appoint later in the evening."
Master appoints three brethren in whom the Lodge has confidence, and whom he
knows will report adversely on the idea of throwing charity money away on a
"big feed." When that committee reports at the next meeting, the Master has
support for his contention that conservatism is more important than filled
stomachs. As he appoints all committees he will entertain no motion that the
proposal to spend be referred to a committee composed of Brothers Jones, Smith
importance of payments of dues and assessments to Grand Lodge can hardly be
over-emphasized. In some Jurisdictions the Lodge pays dues or assessments to
Grand Lodge; in others, the financial responsibility is direct from brother to
Grand Lodge, the Lodge acting only as a collection agency. In either case, out
of what Grand Lodge receives, that body finances the Grand Charity of the
Jurisdiction-Home, School, Orphanage, Hospital, Foundation, what have you,
pays its salaries to its employees, prints its Proceedings, pays all expenses
of the upkeep of Freemasonry in the Jurisdiction.
occasionally get in arrears in Grand Lodge payments, sometimes through
misfortune, sometimes through mismanagement. The Master who inherits such a
condition may not be popular, but he will be brotherly, if he bends every
effort to get his Lodge out of debt to Grand Lodge. The Master who comes to
the East of a Lodge which does not owe Grand Lodge, and leaves her in any less
comfortable position, must have a real reason or a troubled conscience.
which have Temples to pay for have problems all their own. Like Grand Lodge
dues, this should come first in Lodge finances. The credit of Masonry before
the public is of greater importance than entertainment, aye, even than most
charity and relief disbursements. A Lodge which defaults on its interest on
real estate notes to the bank is no breeder of community respect. A Lodge
which pays its obligations on the nail, no matter how it hurts, is doing a
real Masonic service in the interests of Freemasonry. He is a good Master who
puts his shoulder to this wheel, even if it makes his muscles sore!
Masters are plagued by the dues question; collection, on the one hand,
remission on the other, often trouble sleep. A few Lodges have such by-laws as
make both problems easier, but it is a Master's part to take the by-laws as he
finds them, not remake them to his heart's desire.
are just two classes of brethren as regards dues; those who can, and those who
cannot, pay. Those who won't pay until compulsion is exerted are still members
of the "can" class.
Master who continually emphasizes to his Lodge that Masonry is a privilege,
that Lodge membership is a valuable property which members have bought and
which is well worth preserving, will have less "won'ts" among his "cans."
Lodge wants to drop brethren for N.P.D. Most Lodges make strenuous efforts to
make this unpleasant duty unnecessary. At times Lodges lean too far backward
for the good of the brother being "carried." A brother suspended for one or
two years N.P.D. does not face an insurmountable obstacle when he wants to
return; he who has been "carried" for longer periods owes so much that it is
often impossible for him to ask for reinstatement.
Master who goes over his delinquent list with a fine tooth comb and the help
of all his Past Masters can usually determine which brethren, because they are
really unable to pay, deserve to have dues paid by the Lodge, and those who
could pay but are just careless, indifferent, or need drastic treatment.
Collection of dues is too often left entirely to the Secretary; that official
usually does his best and his best is often very good indeed. But with a large
Lodge and far-flung membership, the Secretary can do little personally. The
Master, through a committee, can do much. One Master appointed his Senior
Warden as Chairman of Dues, Suspensions and Remissions, gave him twenty
assistants and had the smallest number dropped N.P.D. and the smallest number
of remissions of any year in the history of the Lodge, and this in the middle
of the depression.
personal contact will work wonders with the man who has not paid his dues but
who really can pay. Of course, it all depends on the kind of contact. This
Senior Warden Chairman's idea is set forth for what it may be worth. To his
committee members he said:
are not to go to brethren in the attitude of bill collectors. We are not to
demand, coerce, threaten, turn up our nose." We are going to those who owe
dues as one brother to another, for help in our mutual problem. Tell him of
some of our charity cases (no names, even if you know them). Tell him of some
of our members who are much worse off than he, whom we are helping. Ask him to
help us by paying his dues promptly-if he can't pay them all, let us get what
we can now and the rest later. Let's remember we are all brethren, and talk as
if we were. . . . "
Whatever his method, dues collection is of real importance, and he is living
up to his obligations in the East who takes his share of this often hard and
Occasionally comes the problem of raising dues. Conditions change; what was
enough in the past is no longer sufficient; Grand Lodge has raised the per
capita; charity demands have become too heavy for Lodge income; fees have
fallen off with a dearth of candidates. Whatever the rationale of the
practice, it is a melancholy truth that many Lodges do depend partly on fees
for current expenses!
Raising dues is always a hard job. But it can be done.
easiest, least painful way is that of education. Ascertain what brethren,
influential preferred, Past Masters doubly preferred, are in favor of the
raise. Appoint them all on a committee. Meet. Describe the problem. See that
all understand that unless the dues are raised from six to eight, or sixteen
to eighteen dollars, or whatever the sum may be, the Lodge will suffer,
charity will suffer, brethren will suffer. Then divide the roster of the Lodge
among the committee members, giving to each the -names of brethren he knows
committee honestly works, calling on, calling up, writing to, the names on
their lists, they will persuade enough to come to the meeting at which the new
by-law will be passed or the old one retained, at least to make a good
with this problem, one Master had the raise in dues by-law introduced three
,times in his year. It requires two-thirds majority in that Lodge to change
the by-laws. Forty percent voted for the change the first time, fifty-two
percent the second and seventy percent the third, showing that education and
pertinacity will win.
Sometimes when a permanent raise cannot be passed, a five-year plan can; that
is, the by-law is made to read that the dues shall be raised from the present
to the increased amount for the succeeding five years, the increase to be
applied to some particular purpose; retirement of a note, payment of back
taxes, whatever the need may be'
Lodge in which this was done, near the end of the five years a far-sighted
Master appointed a committee to revise the bylaws. The committee brought in
revised by-laws with the dues stated as those then being paid. Accustomed
after five years to the larger sum, no one questioned the old bylaw or asked
to have the amount reduced.
owed a bill of seven dollars which the store to which it was due could not
collect. A bright collection man sent him a bill for seventeen dollars. A
wrathy customer appeared at the store to complain, protest, declaim! He owed
no such sum. He owed only seven dollars. That*was what he owed and that was
all he was going to pay.
collection man apologized: "Very sorry, mistakes will happen!" He mollified
the debtor. The debtor then paid what he owed-human nature.
certain Lodge it was necessary to raise dues from seven to nine dollars. The
Master persuaded the proposer to make it ten dollars. In the midst of the hot
discussion in which most brethren were against the drastic change, a planted
brother amended the proposed by-law from ten to nine dollars. The Lodge of
course passed the amendment; with this as a background, and feeling it had won
a victory, it then passed the raise. Human nature.
ought to be a law" is a national belief. In Lodge it often expresses itself in
a new idea, plan, scheme, which its proponents think financially desirable.
not the province of these pages to discuss the pros and cons of life
membership, sustaining memberships, perpetual rolls, remission of dues to all
who have been in good standing for twenty-five or any number of years. Ideas
which are good for Lodge A, will fail in Lodge B. But it is the province of
any Master who faces a sudden proposal to do something different and drastic
with Lodge funds, or who is opposed to some life membership or remission idea,
to know how to meet it.
let him postpone action until "further light" can be had. Second, let him
-write to his Grand Secretary to learn what, if anything, Grand Lodge has said
on the subject, and what other Lodges in the Jurisdiction have tried this or a
similar plan. Third, let him learn the nation's experience; :recourse to his
Grand Lodge Library is indicated, or correspondence with those who will know.
The Fraternal Correspondent of Grand Lodge will doubtless be able to put any
inquiring Master immediately in touch with information regarding any one of
dozens of financial schemes which have been tried in various Grand
general rule, Punch's advice to those about to marry applies to any proposal
which has, as even a remote possibility, the reduction of the income of a
Lodge. A new Lodge, just chartered, in the enthusiasm and ignorance of youth,
proposed a by-law that, when it was twenty-five years old, all who were
charter members should become exempt from the payment of dues. It appeared
very easy to what was then "today" to remit the dues of loyal brethren
twenty-five years in the future. It was supposed that some would have died,
some dimitted, some be dropped, and that only a few of the original eighty-one
charter members would be eligible for this reward for fidelity.
counsels and good advice prevailed and the Lodge did not adopt this by-law.
The Secretary was among the charter members who survived, and at the end of
twenty-five years made a calculation. Of the original eighty-one members,
forty-three were living. The Lodge had grown but slowly, and its total
membership on its twenty-fifth birthday was one hundred and thirty-seven. Had
the original proposal gone through, more than thirty-one percent of the
members would have gone on the free list, reducing the Lodge income by much
more, than one-third, since the Grand Lodge dues would still have to be paid.
the Master faced by any revolutionary or startling financial proposal put it
off, refer it to a committee, say he does not wish to consider it at the
time-then let him get competent and fact-filled advice; then, and only then,
should he let it come before the Lodge. Sentiment should never interfere with
properly safeguarding Lodge funds. The same audits, bonding, double
signatures, familiar to good business, are also indicated as wise protections
for Lodge funds.
the important items in a Master's list of duties is to act as a brake upon the
runaway enthusiasms of the well-intentioned!
ideal is the perfection towards which we stretch eager hands - but never
ideal Master has never presided in any East, for the ideal Master would be
perfect and perfection is not given to human beings.
the clearer and more attractive is the ideal before us, the more strenuously
we may strive towards it, and the nearer we may approach it.
ideal Master knows his Masonry. He has spent many years with many books. To,
him the romance, the history, the high lights of adventure, the great men who
are Masons, the great Masons who have led the Craft are familiar. In spirit he
has stood beside the king's Master Mason at the construction of one of the
great cathedrals of Europe. He has supped with Ashmole and breakfasted with
Sir Christopher Wren. He has sat in Lodge with Preston, Desaugliers,
Hutchinson, Jeremy Cross, a thousand others. He has assisted at the
initiation, passing and raising of Washington, and knelt with him at Valley
Forge. He has learned Masonic wisdom at Ben Franklin's feet. He has traveled
westward with Freemasonry, from its first beginnings in Massachusetts and
Pennsylvania, to the Pacific coast. Through Revolution, War of 1812, the
Mexican campaigns, the Civil War, the Spanish War, the World War, he has seen
Masonry work her gentle miracles.
knows something of Masonic literature, what books to recommend to his
brethren, where to find the answer to the questions which will be asked him
the ideal Master has had a Masonic book in his pocket or at his bedside for
years before he attained the East.
ideal Master looks at his Lodge and sees it wholly harmonious. No rifts or
schisms develop under him; peace and harmony prevail. He soothes the unhappy
and brings together the parted friends. He caters to the cranky and makes them
content; he avoids all jealousies. He is friends with every Past Master, every
officer, every brother.
ideal Master leaves his Lodge better off financially than he found it; he
spends less than the income and for what he spends the Lodge receives full
ideal Master pays great attention to the duties which are his in Grand Lodge;
he faithfully attends, intelligently takes part in the deliberations, votes
with the interests of his Jurisdiction at heart, is a constructive force in
the governing body of Freemasonry.
ideal Master has interesting meetings. He is willing to work, and work hard,
ar-ranging programs, planning events, which will not only interest but
instruct the brethren. They are better Masons and therefore better men because
of the hours they spend within the tiled doors of the Lodge, over which he
Craft the ideal Master gives "good and wholesome instruction." No brother goes
from one of his meetings without something done or said which leaves a higher
thought of Masonry in his heart. His degrees are dignified, well put on. His
candidates have not only ritualistic instruction, but are told something of
"what it is all about" that they, too, may "become good and faithful brethren
among us." His officers are given a mark at which to shoot when the slow wheel
of time turns them, too, into the Oriental Chair.
ideal Master considers the ill and the sorrowing as his personal care, as well
as that of the Lodge. No brother takes to his bed or calls the doctor but the
Master sees him to bring what cheer he may. No widow or fatherless child
grieves for one gone to the Great White Lodge but has the comfort of a word, a
tear, from the leader of his brethren. As much as a man may do, he does for
those bound to him and to his Lodge by the Mystic Tie.
brother or family of a brother in want but is helped, so far as the Lodge may
help. It may be that the only help is suggestion, advice, counsel-but it is a
friendly touch in the hour of need. If it is food, clothing, medicine for
those too poor to buy for themselves, the ideal Master makes it his business
to know the facts and to bring a sympathetic report to his Lodge.
ideal Master has no trouble preserving the dignity of his office, because
brethren respect Masters who respect the East. He hands on the gavel of
authority unsullied by defiance to the brother who succeeds him in the East.
ideal Master counts not his personal pleasure, his social engagements, his
hours of rest, recreation, aye, even his sleep, when his Lodge calls. He puts
his Lodge and its needs before anything and everything in his life for this
year, save only his family and his God. He is Master of the Lodge, but, in a
very real sense, is servant of his brethren, and takes pleasure in his
service, knowing it to be honorable before all men.
ideal Master carries a watch and uses it. If fifty brethren wait ten minutes
past the hour for a late Master, he wastes more than eight hours of fraternal
time - which he has no more right to do than to waste Lodge money. His degrees
start at a reasonable hour that they may be conducted unhurriedly, and he
requires promptness of his officers as he himself is prompt.
traditions of his Lodge and of the Fraternity are hallowed in his mind and
practice. The Ancient Landmarks are preserved, the laws, resolutions and
edicts of Grand Lodge lived up to, the by-laws meticulously observed. The
records of his Lodge are kept so as to draw commendation from authority.
ideal Master is guide, philosopher and friend to many brethren for many
troubles; friend to many brethren for many troubles; brethren turn to a
Master, at times, when they will go to no one else. He is, perhaps, mediator
in a domestic trouble, he counsels -with a father over a wayward boy, he helps
a widow invest her money wisely, he obtains employment for those without work;
he does almost everything for every one, aye, even to washing a child's face
and painting a porch, one Master's contribution to the household of a sick
ideal Master keeps constantly before him the need for seeing his problems
through a tolerant smile of understanding. If he ever had a temper, he lost it
for the year before he entered the East. He has constantly before him the
thought that many men have many minds, and that two brethren of directly
opposite views may both be honest and sincere. He does not take sides but is a
balance wheel; he rules firmly and justly, but the firmness is tempered with
kindness and the justice with mercy.
ideal Master is enthusiastic about his work, and prayerfully conscious of his
own limitations; hence he is quick to seek counsel and advice, and as slow to
take it until he has thought it through.
ideal Master is eager for suggestions - but he does not follow those which
seem to him unwise, no matter how important the brother who makes them. His is
the responsibility, therefore his must the decision be, but he knows that two
heads are usually better than one, and welcomes counsel when it is offered,
seeks it when it is shy.
ideal Master is primarily concerned with policies rather than details, and
delegates the latter to carefully chosen committees. But he keeps ever before
him his responsibilities, and knows what is going on. Too many Masters have
become bogged in details, and thus lost the path to success. The ideal Master
does not lose his way!
ideal Master is an ideal Mason; Masonry is a part of him, as he is a part of
Masonry. With all his heart and soul and strength he strives to live the
Masonic life that the brethren may see that here is no mere figurehead, but a
Finally, the ideal Master is humble minded. Not for him the arrogant pride of
place and power, though he has both power and place. Not for him the big
stick, though it is his to wield, but the silken string which leads where
ropes may not haul. The ideal Master keeps ever before him the knowledge that
although elevated to the most honorable position within the gift of his Lodge,
he can really fill the Oriental Chair only if he thinks first, last and all
the time of the Lodge and brethren, never of self.
Of course it is high! All real ideals are too high to reach until we can reach
out and touch the stars. But we can make the effort to reach. . . .
the Past Master's head, which lies on a sleepless pillow, thinking sad
thoughts of opportunities missed, of duties undone, of work which now can
never be his to do. Happy the Master who lays down his gavel at the end of his
year knowing he has done all that in him lies; mortal man may do no more. He
it is who may stand in the East for the last time, just before he installs his
successor, wearing a sprig of rosemary in his lapel.
"Rosemary-that's for remembrance."
flittle Masonic Library, twenty volumes, $2.95
National Masonic Library, ten volumes, $13.45
Introduction to Freemasonry,* Claudy, $2.00
Concise History of Freemasonry, Gould, $5.30
Freemasonry in the Thirteen Colonies, Tatschp
Beginnings of Freemasonry in America, Johnson,
"Foreign Countries,'~ Claudy) $1.35
Thoughts on Masonic Symbolism, H-t.,
olical Masonry, Haywood, $2.15
Builders, Newton, $2.65
Religion of Masonry, Newton, $1.90
Speculative Masonry, McBride, $2.15
Maekey's Encyclopedia, two volumes, $16.75
may be had either in a one volume edition, :for library use, or in three
smaller volumes, for presentation to Entered Apprentices, Fellow Crafts and
Master Masons as they receive the degrees; for this purpose these books are
used by ten Grand Lodges and countless particular Lodges. t Express charges
CORNER TENTH AND G STS., N. W.
WASHINGTON, D. C.
Managing Your Lodge
us need to examine our current behavior and see how well we are equipped to
handle the future. Retirement, a change in careers, a change in marital status
or "empty nesting" all cause change in our lives and for some of us this
change is unsettling, to say the least.
leaders looking at their organization's role in the 21st century and beyond
have decided that they must revisit their charter and mission to determine if
the organization will be relevant in the years ahead. For most that means
change and change
often mean look out!
it alone is tough
are few organizations where one individual has been able to effect all of the
changes of the type your lodge or Masonic organization may be facing. Clearly,
change appears easier when the effort is shared by a team. So it makes good
sense to learn how to get people on your team and on your side.
to begin the process
must first understand that this is going to be a more difficult process if
your lodge has been resistant to change. And many have been! If your lodge
exhibits all or most of these characteristics, you may need to plan carefully
majority of active members are very elderly.
lodge resists most new ideas.
There is some conflict between younger and older members The lodge is much
the same as it was 5 to f years ago.
Membership in the lodge is declining steadily.
have difficulty attracting younger members or retaining the interest of those
have difficulty involving the lodge with youth programs and events.
Members insist that events be the same at every meeting.
lodge, has become increasingly removed from the community.
Family events are not well attended by younger families.
willing to change or else
change? The members of most organizations ask that question all too
frequently. Sears' leaders asked that question nearly a decade ago and came
within a hair's breath of not making it to the 21st century because they had
not paid attention to changes in who was doing the shopping in America. "Come
see the softer side of Sears" was part of their answer aimed at attracting
women into the store.
in the classic case of the 201 century, Detroit refused to listen to Edward
Demming who was telling America automobile manufacturers that the American
people wanted cars that would not only look good but run well. When they
failed to listen to his prediction for the future, lie took his ideas to Japan
and for the next decade the Japanese owned the American car market.
think you're looking at change?
Clearly, you are not only going to have to consider change in your role as the
leader, but you're also going to need to get people on your side.
following organizations face enormous changes - many every day! Imagine how
ready they must be for change and how they get employees who can live with
and Microsoft bring to market 25 new products every day!
typically makes 23 changes in the new model car
Boeing has put all aircraft drawings on a computer because manuals could not
keep up with the pace of change
changes more than 123,000 numbers every day
Girl Scout and Boy Scout manuals have changed every 10 years
all this change was happening all around us, dues for most lodges have
remained nearly the same for 40 years.
do Changes Come From?
Usually forces for change come from outside the organization. These outside
forces can be events, planned or unplanned occasions, the views of one or more
influential men or, as is unfortunately often the case, the bad news an
organization can receive in the press. Information the Masonic Renewal
Committee of North America has been publishing about changes lodges must
consider should inspire change.
Masonry, some Grand Jurisdictions as well as Michigan, have begun to offer
one-day classes as an alternative because nonmembers told them they needed to
consider this option. Lodges are offering more involvement in the community
and with the family, not because the members said this was correct, but
because nonmembers and others in the community have said these are important
considerations for the lodge to review.
consider first things first. Change what? Masons say all to frequently, "It
was good enough for my father and his father, so what's wrong with the way it
do the membership records for you lodge show? Here are
Membership is down 50% from 40 years ago.
Membership is declining by nearly 3.5% each year and will continue to do so.
Deaths and demits exceed new initiates.
average age is 66.6 up from 62.5 five years ago.
than half of the members are over 66.
Losses due to deaths will accelerate for several more years.
Interest among younger men is almost nonexistent.
new Masons do not proceed past the EA Degree.
people do not know or understand what Freemasonry is all about.
this list of problems is too long and overwhelming for you, don't worry. You
will only have to make progress on several fronts for your efforts to be
decisions about what to change is one of the skills of the leader. The choices
you in make will probably affect your organization for years to come so you
need to consider what to change very carefully.
you look at change, what are you really doing?
Degree in his excellent book Leadership is an Art said it this way: "The first
responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you.
In between the two, the leader must become a servant and a debtor."
the current reality of your lodge? Determining this, together with creating a
powerful vision, will enable you to begin the change process in earnest. To
create this current reality, imagine that you could view your lodge from
space. By doing so, you could observe events without being emotionally
involved in them. Auditors and consultants do this for organizations all the
time, so give it a try. Be very careful that you do not become emotionally
involved with your observations, or the change process will be all that more
Prioritizing your list
your lodge is like most lodges, you will have quite a list of required
changes. Clearly, there are too many items to tackle at one time. Go through
your list of observations. Prioritize them by listing them in categories as A,
B and C. Your A list will be the critical changes you will want to begin right
away. Your C list can wait and your B list is somewhere in between. Some
leaders prioritize them by years indicating which changes they expect to
complete in year 1, year 2 and so on. Most Masonic leaders are only in a
position as the leader for one year. Therefore, the A list is most important,
making it imperative to involve the junior officers to ensure the B and C
lists are part of their plans.
Change, Change, Change. Does Everything Have to Change?
course not. No organization has to change every aspect of its products or
customers. The process of re-engineering (a popular idea today) is usually
focused upon several important changes at first. As progress is made, more and
more changes are made as more and more problems are solved. In the lodge, many
things do have to change. What many Masons who have been thinking about
change, but who have not actually started the process say:
don't need to change the ritual.
don't need to change the fundamental tenets.
dont need to change what Masons stand for.
correct; these need not change. But if you want to make your lodge more
interesting and inviting, you should make sure the time devoted to each, and
the demands you make upon your new members are also in keeping with their
Change: It All Has to Do With Paradigms
often ask ourselves why change is so difficult and why we are so resistant to
change? Joel Barker, a futurist, claims to have the answer to why we so often
overlook the changes that are needed or why change is so difficult. He claims
it all has to do with paradigms.
Paradigms are rules or boundaries in our life that guide our decision-making
and problem solving. Change is more difficult, he claims, because we sometimes
need to break the rules to make something different happen. Barker thinks
these rules often keep us from seeing future opportunities for our
as though we have blinders on. He says that not long ago agreed:
products will always be junk
TV will never catch on
Cornputers are just a toy
boy were we wrong!
too, can change the rules. Masons who resist change by saying "we've never
done it that wav" need to get out of the way of those who are making change
Skills Required for Managing Change
are many ways in which change affects the lodge. And, as a leader there are
specific skills to manage the change process. Five very good skills include:
Tackle the easiest changes first and make success happen.
Build a team of advocates and set them to work on a problem.
things that benefit members early in the process.
Communicate carefully, with your members.
Build constituency with your newest members.
many new Masons, one important reason for joining was to be in an organization
that was well led. They pointed out that too often the Master of the lodge is
a wonderful Mason, but missing the skills of the enabled leader. To move the
Fraternity into the 21 st century, leaders of our Masonic organizations must
learn that making decisions about what to change is one of the most important
skills of a leader. The choices made will probably affect the organization for
years to come.
it comes to change in the lodge, many leaders fear that change will disrupt
tradition or change the ritual. Nothing of the sort is suggested. In fact,
from everything we have learned, the ritual is not the problem; having allowed
the ritual to become all the lodge has to offer a member - that is the
where can you "safely" begin? The answer is painfully clear. Begin with the
fundamentals. Good Fellowship.
However, improving great fellowship in a lodge is no different from planning
for an event. You need a plan. Here is a plan for improving the levels of
fellowship and friendliness in your lodge. It begins with an assessment of
where you are today and uses that information to help you forge a new future.
become Masons for many different reasons. However, research clearly shows that
making new friends and enjoying the fellowship of the men they meet are high
on their list of needs. When they find good fellowship and make new friends
they remain active. When they do not, they leave. Good fellowship is the
leader's responsibility together with every man in the lodge.
correctly, what does good fellowship mean? Clearly, some Masons have lost the
meaning because nationwide, Masons seldom give their own lodge grades higher
than a C+ when it comes to this fundamental lodge behavior. Rather than focus
DON'TS, let's consider a few DO'S.
your officers into greeting all members.
your meeting elsewhere so you are available for fellowship.
sure your newest members get acquainted with their peers.
discourage groups of the same guys telling the same stories or old jokes.
mixer activity to get men speaking toone another.
the members know what your goals for fellowship are.
your members about the progress you make.
your newest members how they feel.
the more amazing statistics are those which show that among the 90% of new
members who lose interest in their lodge inside of one year, poor fellowship
and an unfriendly lodge atmosphere were the two most frequently stated reasons
why they said they were not going back.
are going to correct this problem we need a plan of action and need to install
this plan in our lodges. There are three steps you need to consider:
Form a lodge fellowship team and ask them to put together a plan for the lodge
with the objective being 100% new member satisfaction with the way they were
welcomed to the lodge.
Make every member aware of his role in creating a favorable, friendly and warm
reception for new members.
new members, or existing members, how well you are doing in creating a warm,
friendlier climate in the lodge. Use the information you receive to revisit
and revise your plan.
Practical Solutions to Assist the Lodge
of these ideas will cost money, and most will take commitment. I do realize
the average age of the Fraternity, but all it takes is two or three dedicated
Brothers to be the catalysts to excite and involve others. What we are trying
to accomplish is to restore Masonry to its preeminence among the community,
political, social, civic, and educational leaders. And, as a result, to
attract increased numbers of good men to the Fraternity and to hold and engage
them in the work of Freemasonry.
Lodge should make a survey of its members, capturing:
Officer positions held
for the member
file should also contain the name of the member's spouse, if applicable, the
profession of the member (or what his profession was), hobbies/special
interests, and such other information as the Lodge may deem to be useful and
appropriate in finding ways to "activate" that member and connect him to a
program the Lodge will start or has started. The ideal software to capture
this data is available to you. WinMason has been developed for the Lodge
Secretary to assist in the management of the Lodge.
Lodge should make full and effective use of materials developed by or for the
ACACIA+ Program. In practical terms, this means that such materials will not
"sit on the Secretary's desk," rather they will be explained to the Lodge
members and implemented. Materials such as the Masonic Membership Development
Kit published and available from the Masonic Renewal Committee of North
America. Included in this kit are three very good video tapes.
are several things we can do to improve interest and attendance in our Lodges:
Focus on Fellowship.
Encourage those who attend regularly to give you their ideas about improving
Stress the importance of fellowship, and get their good ideas on how to make
someone the job of greeting all members as they enter the lodge.
sure this person knows that it is his job to make the members feel welcome
when they enter and to steer any new member or guests to someone so he is not
NEVER allow a new Mason to sit alone in the Lodge room.
sure the WM and officers circulate among the members before Lodge is opened.
all introductions during Lodge warm and personal.
the time after closing lodge to reinforce the fellowship that was present
before opening lodge.
Thank your members for attending.
for feedback. How satisfied were the members and guests with the quality of
fellowship they received.
Follow up with a personal note to a new member or guest thanking him for being
with you in lodge.
Include the names of new members in lodge communications with a brief summary
of their interests and the names of their wives and children.
Place a suggestion box in a prominent place in the lodge. Give members a
questionnaire they can use to evaluate the level of fellowship or lodge
leading cause of dissatisfaction with a lodge among members is that the
meetings were boring and that too much time was wasted. A lot of our senior
members come to lodge for relaxation, fellowship and fun. The reason to be
concerned with the use of time has more to do with future members as it does
with those you already have. If your lodge is typical, more than 85% of your
members are not active. We all strive for better lodge attendance, and since
we do not necessarily want longer meetings, then we must pay attention to the
importance of time. By shortening the amount of time required for minutes,
reports, etc. we have more time to be committed to programs such as Masonic
education, or special programs.
Summarize minutes, correspondence and communications that are not of major
importance to the lodge.
Begin your meetings at the time they are scheduled. Increase the overall pace
by which events occur. There is no reason why responses to questions from the
Master to the Wardens should be dragged out.
sure each presenter is prepared to act in an efficient and professional
manner. Being prepared saves time, increases the responses of members, keeps
their interest and adds to the satisfaction.
or publish the minutes and Treasurers report. Only read a summary in lodge.
introductions to a minimum. Most members see long introductions as a waste of
time. Recognition of new members and guests should be warm and personal - make
them feel welcome. Limit remarks at the end of lodge. Call on one Past Master
to speak as opposed to calling on each one.
making your lodge meeting more of an event, adding some excitement and
interest to the meetings will help bring members back. Consider the interests
of the youthful and mature members equally. When you plan for a meeting keep
the needs of both in mind. The older Mason may want things to remain
unchanged; the youthful member may expect variety and excitement. Try to plan
your evening to accommodate both. Remember that newer members are determining
whether they did the right thing in joining. They will evaluate your plan for
the evening on their terms. Make sure you know what they expect.
on quality. No matter what you do, do it well. Nothing works as well as high
quality to achieve member satisfaction. Force yourself to plan in detail for
the meeting. By doing this forces you to consider the needs of members.
something special happen at least six times a year during a meeting. Plan at
least six months in advance so you have your choice of a good speaker or
guest. Involve your members in the program and in the planning. Call on
individuals in your community who can help you provide excellent programs for
the lodge. The principle of an elementary, middle, or high school can speak
about the scholarship needs of students or ways the lodge can help improve the
school. A financial planner can help members discover the important financial
or retirement services available to them and answer their questions. A travel
agent can speak about trips that are available to individuals or groups and
how to save money. etc. Show any number of video tapes that will interest the
lodge. Arrange through a local library, a local university or a lending
library. Good films are: I've Heard the Name, What does it Mean? (part of the
membership development kit), Getting the Most From Your Fraternity - produced
by the Masonic Renewal Committee, and For Many Reasons - produced by the
Shrine. Invite a strategic planning expert or futurist available through a
local college or consulting firm to meet with your lodge to talk about how the
needs of men will have changed by the year 2000. Ask every member to be
involved by accepting an assigned date to lead a discussion on Freemasonry.
MSA Short Talk Bulletins are one source for help. Have fun.
Communicate with your members.
Dress-up and spruce-up your existing publications and communications to
members. Consider at least a quarterly publication mailed to the member and
his family. Develop a list of men who have been raised to Master Mason in the
past three years and ask the officers or volunteers in the lodge to contact
each by phone and invite him to a special meeting, a dinner, or a friends
night. Members will respond to a personal invitation from a Brother quicker
than you might expect. Mail to members and their wives on behalf of the lodge
on significant holidays, or birthdays.
Remember every time a communication comes into the home from the lodge, it
raises the awareness of the member. Maintain an attractive bulletin board, and
keep it current with member related news and information. Improve the quality
of the photographs you use. Find a member who may be a designer or graphic
artist with desktop publishing experience and let him review all lodge
communications. Listen to his recommendations.
Attendance is directly related to the good feelings a man has about being with
other men in a fraternal setting. Attendance is also related to him having a
good time. !f they do not find fellowship, friendship or the connection they
expected in lodge, they will not come back.
every man who is elected to the lodge a buddy. This can be his recommended or
a fellow Mason about his same age who agrees to be at each stated and special
meeting for six months. To personally call and invite the new member to each
meeting. To provide transportation if required. To follow-up after each degree
to answer any questions. To personally introduce the new Mason to men in the
lodge. To contact the family and answer any questions they may have. Introduce
the new Mason to other Masons. A new Mason should be introduced to more and
more Masons who are encouraged to become part of his circle of friends. This
way he might connect with others of his age, career, interests in sports,
family, children, etc. Buddy-up outside of lodge also. Ask a new member to a
ball game or other sporting event. Keep it light, only discuss the lodge or
Freemasonry if he raises the question. Get to know him as a friend. If he
agrees, take his photograph and post it on the bulletin board along with his
hobbies and interests. Watch for any loss of interest. If attendance starts to
lag, get in touch with him right away and determine the cause. Don't let more
than several meetings pass before contacting him. Nothing works as well with
members as personal contacts. If you can't meet face to face, then the
telephone works best.
each of the newest Masons. Men who were raised during the last three to five
years, but who have been absent from lodge.
Reacquaint them with the lodge and with the last time you know they were
there. (check the lodge registry)
to them tell you reasons why they have appeared to lost interest.
with them your intentions to rebuild interest in the lodge and your goals for
attendance and membership.
Determine if there are reluctant to attend because they cannot recall the
proper signs and words and offer to assist them.
joins an organization with the expectation that he will somehow be involved
with the members, involved in the leadership, and involved with the community.
Identify the skills, talents and interests of each of your members (this is
where the database you created, comes in handy). Understand that involvement
means using a man's talents. Match their involvement with their gifts and
talents. Ask new members how they want to be involved when you visit them
during the home visitation (investigation). Ask again following each degree.
Make the new member feel that involvement is expected.
Provide new and existing members with more information about the plans and
goals of the lodge. Solicit their input. Make the request genuine and sincere.
Listen to what they say. Use their ideas in the decision making process. Let
members know who contributed and how important that contribution was. Hold a
meeting and invite those members who are usually not part of the decision
making process. Seek their advice and get them involved. Seek their
involvement by asking them to join a team or committee. Give them assignments
that matches their needs to their talents. Empower them and hold them
accountable. Reward real performance and real contributions in some meaningful
any lodge that is not connected with its community needs to consider becoming
involved for the following reasons:
Future members are in the community and when the lodge is involved, they will
discover what Masonry is all about.
Future members demand that any organization they join be active in community
community is the responsibility of everyone - including Masons. The lodge is a
perfect community-service organization.
Masons will be proud of their role in the community.
organization, to grow, needs to be able to involve all its members in some
way. Community involvement is one way to do this.
best way to get members involved is to respond to a need in the community.
Here are some ideas:
Library needed a computer. Hold a special dinner in the lodge and accept
contributions from members. Members can also man a booth outside the local
supermarket and raise money as well as distribute information and answer
questions regarding Masonry.
a Scholarship. Host four events during the year on weekends for members and
guests. Members can prepare food, run games and hold a collectibles auction.
on Wheels route. The lodge can adopt a route that would serve two meals a day
for eight families for a year.
Roadway beautification. Masons can join with youth groups (DeMolay, Rainbow,
Jobs, etc.) to maintain a section of the roadway in town.
Fix-Up a playground. The lodge could take on the fix-up, paint-up , clean-up
of a local playground.
not saying to turn Freemasonry into a service club. The real importance is not
to change what the lodge is doing, but to increase member interest,
participation, awareness and pride through family and community involvement.
Local government is trying to establish partnerships with organizations in the
community that can solve community-related problems without a lot of fuss.
Individuals in the community tend to evaluate the relevance of organizations
by the degree of their involvement.
you say we have a smaller lodge. These are things that a small lodge with less
than 100 men can accomplish.
Sponsor the 4th of July celebration and picnic every year.
Sponsor a grade school basketball tournament.
Provide medical supplies for a local EMS unit.
Provide funds and labor to renovate a local ball field.
Sponsor a local youth to a Shrine Bowl Band Camp.
Raise funds to assist a public library.
Adopt a needy family at Christmas.
that are larger can:
Adopt a local elementary school, meet with the PTA to determine a schedule of
volunteer events and other support you can provide the school.
Volunteer to raise $10-20,000 for three to five significant awards for
teaching excellence in a school where the lodge is located. Present the awards
at an assembly that includes teachers, students, parents and the local media.
Partner with another civic organization in the community to solve a problem
that may be larger than the resources available.
Develop ten $500.00 awards for learning excellence and make these
presentations during the school year.
Develop a major senior-center volunteer effort to help the aged in some area
are but a few of the many ideas that will establish your lodge as a relevant
force within your community. The idea is to create favorable public awareness
of our Fraternity, who we are, and what we do. This in turn will begin to
attract good men, who will want to join an organization committed to making a
though your Lodge may not be very active during the summer as men and their
families take vacations, it's a perfect time to get some team building started
and some initial plans made so that you and your Lodge can hit the ground
running in the fall. Imagine you could find only 12 hours between now and the
fall to undertake a team building effort and get preliminary plans ready for
the Lodge in the fall. You'll find the steps necessary to do so in more detail
in the fifth guide of The Essential Skills of Leadership but here are the key
need to be formed around specific goals. So if you form a team for fellowship,
give the team a specific goal to achieve 100% member satisfaction for
fellowship as an example.
working as a team with a team leader. See if you can function without electing
a team leader, at least for a while. After an hour or so, you'll know who to
every person on the team to contribute to the suggestions on how to achieve
the goal of 100% member satisfaction with outstanding fellowship.
as a team on the course of action. Get total agreement on direction.
Determine which team members should do the tasks.
the team carefully if you do not have all of the bases covered.
Identify the work to be done and identify specific benchmark dates.
you can agree on the consequences of nonperformance so that everyone takes his
started and have fun.
Cabinet Position: Leadership Development
Reports to: Board of Trustees
ability to identify or train men to be leaders of Masonic lodges is
fundamental to the renewal of Freemasonry. Too often, the leadership of the
lodge is left to chance, and men who have skills in areas related to ritual
and memorization become leaders with only minor skills in other important
areas. These skills can be developed in most Masons, and training in these
important areas have additional benefits related to the individual's career
and to life in general. The successful applicant will be responsible for the
identification and delivery of skills development programs in areas such as
leadership, management, and strategic planning.
Principal Duties and Responsibilities
Develops annual leadership development objectives
Conducts lodge training needs assessment and member skills inventory
Identifies existing leadership and management skills development programs
Conducts assessment process to identify individual leadership and management
skill levels of all lodge officers
Develops lodge leadership development strategic plan, i.e., identifies members
with leadership potential
Organizes and develops a cadre of trainers who can deliver identified training
Preferred Experience -
be a Mason
resources management, selection and development experience
adult teaching/training experience, including curriculum development
Supervisory/managerial experience in industry, services or education Previous
assessment and/or counseling experience
Experience in an organizational "change" effort
required include planning, effective listening, facilitation, problem solving,
team building, time management, and supervisory development
Performance Will Be Thoroughly Satisfactory
lodge has a system for developing leadership and management skills in Masons
who would aspire to the East
lodge has scheduled training and development in critical result areas The
lodge has identified those with abijities in training and development The
lodge has a skills inventory of all new members
Cabinet Position: Community and Family Relations
Reports to: Board of Trustees
man who becomes a Mason does so with the expectation that his lodge will be
involved in the community and that he, with his family, will be involved
together in lodge programs and activities. The lodge in the future must
promote significant community outreach initiatives and maintain a high profile
in the community. By becoming actively involved with both the community and
the family, the lodge takes an important step in bringing satisfaction to all
Principal Duties and Responsibilities
Develops, directs and coordinates the lodge's public relations
Develops plans, programs and extended projects and activities in which the
lodge, other community agencies and the appendant bodies collaborate in
serving the community together Organizes and directs the lodge's participation
of leadership in community projects with other agencies and appendant
lodge leaders and others in teamwork, technologies and methods for community
and family relations
Develops and oversees specific programs that involve the family in lodge
activities and programs
Contacts the local or regional press to develop a relationship and determines
the need for news and how the lodge can help
Preferred Experience -
Knowledgeable with direct experience in community relations, public relations
or family relations
Existing personal contacts within the community or press/media Experienced
and/or comfortable with media and press relations Excellent written and verbal
communications skills Interest in identifying, developing and supervising
programs or projects that involve members of the lodge, the family and the
Performance Will Be Thoroughly Satisfactory
family is involved with the members in meaningful activities at least three
times a year The local press carries news about a lodge event or its
involvement in the community The lodge is actively involved with other Masonic
or non-Masonic organizations for the good of their community
Cabinet Position: Trustee of Fraternal Relations
Reports to: Board of Trustees
Excellent fellowship and fraternal relations are at the very heart of the
successful lodge. When members enjoy the company of other members and guests,
the basic reason and need for a man becoming a Mason is satisfied. Fraternal
relations as described here include assisting in the development of positive
relationships between members and their families, with appendant
organizations, with other lodges in the area, and with other fraternal and
service organizations for the purpose of good fellowship and fraternal
partnerships. Works closely with the Trustee responsible for Membership
Principal Duties and Responsibilities -
Interacts with the leadership of the lodge and all appropriate standing
committees Develops and interconnects with other appendant bodies, local
Masonic lodges and area organizations
Initiates activities, events and programs that involve members with their
families, the community, and other Masonic and non-Masonic organizations
Coordinates all internal and external fraternal relations activities Regularly
surveys membership to determine level of satisfaction
Coordinates the use of all materials and programs related to fellowship and
Preferred Experience -
Mason and a member of the lodge for at least three years Demonstrates an
outgoing, compassionate and fraternal nature Skills or training in customer
service or other human resources area Familiar with the fraternal
opportunities in the appendant bodies and willing to learn about opportunities
in other organizations.
Performance Will Be Thoroughly Satisfactory -
Masonic lodge becomes a preferred choice for members seeking fellowship
Members frequently interact with other organizations in the community Surveys
of member attendance and interest indicate quality fellowship The lodge is
significantly more involved with the family and community in a way which
promotes good fellowship and fraternal affairs
Cabinet Position: Business Manager
Reports to: Board of Trustees
of Responsibility -
small lodge needs to run smoothly with its operational and financial house in
order. Budgets need to be prepared and monitored, capital assets need to be
managed, and the information on membership needs to be kept current, accurate
and reliable. The business manager provides financial management and
operational assistance for the Masonic lodge. He works with lodge officers and
staff to prepare and finalize an annual budget and an annual and strategic
plan for the lodge. The business manager works with lodge leadership to insure
the financial and operational stability of the lodge.
Principal Duties and Responsibilities -
Prepares the annual budget, all financial reports and statements for the lodge
Assists with preparation of the annual plan and consolidated budget for the
lodge Assists with the development of a strategic or long-range plan for the
lodge Oversees the development of a membership management information system
Coordinates activities with the lodge treasurer and the independent auditors
Insures the lodge's compliance with appropriate tax codes and laws
Prepares reports for lodge leadership
Provides oversight to all capital property and lodge investments
College degree with major or minor in finance and/or administration A minimum
of three years of related business experience
Interest in assisting the lodge in areas of finance and operations
Performance Will Be Thoroughly Satisfactory -
lodge has an annual budget and plan
finances and investments are managed professionally
Information and reports on membership are timely and accurate Lodge leadership
has the tools to make business and related decisions Lodge operations are
efficient and well-managed
Cabinet Position: Director of Membership Development
Reports to: Board of Trustees
of Responsibility -
importance of managing membership is fundamental to the renewal and growth of
the Masonic lodge. Members represent the important assets of the lodge and, as
such, membership needs to be carefully managed. The Director of Membership
Development will direct and coordinate the activities of the lodge's
Membership Services Committee, assure the realization of high-quality,
value-added relationships, and promote attractive, desirable products that are
sought by men of quality.
Principal Duties and Responsibilities -
Assists the Membership Services Committee in developing a pool of probable
candidates and the ways and means to approach them.
Identifies potential skills and experience in the membership and develops them
as resources for the lodge Supervises new member programs and insures their
quality and consistency Monitors closely the attendance and activity of
members and coordinates plans with Fraternal Relations.
Develops an approved membership development and retention plan for the lodge
consistent with the lodge's strategic plan and vision.
Surveys member satisfaction periodically Maintains membership information
Directs use of the Membership Kit and other tools available to the lodge
Provides orientation and initial new member training and information.
Preferred Experience -
lodge and Blue Book and is well-versed in Masonic history Active in the lodge,
well-liked and personable.
interviewing and related management skills Demonstrates he is sincere,
outgoing and enthusiastic.
Performance Will Be Thoroughly Satisfactory
new man who becomes a member reports on the quality of the joining process All
lodge information on membership is computerized or automated
Membership growth increases according to lodge goals and objectives
is no loss of members between the initiation and Master Mason Degree
Greet him upon arrival by name; introduce yourself and other members of his
same age, or without someone to talk to.
Watch his actions to make sure he is never alone.
Make sure he meets someone his own age or with the same interests.
all members to recognize your newest member or guest and act accordingly. 5.
Make a point of introducing him during the meeting.
you are serving a meal, make sure he sits with someone he can talk to.
Make a point of staying behind after the meeting and thanking him for
Write a letter to him after the meeting thanking him for attending.
the Master and the Secretary to speak with him personally.
Write a letter to him at his home if the event was a significant one.
may consider these ideas as too basic. Yet, these are the simple but important
behaviors we once may have had and lost as we became wiser and perhaps stuck
in a rut of sameness. Breaking out of a mold can be great, especially if the
results include a warmer and more friendly lodge where members return because
going to lodge is an event.
Doyle Freeman, P.M.
Slidell Lodge No. 311
role of a leader in a volunteer organization is a special challenge. It
requires thoughtful understanding of the group to be led. This is especially
true in a Masonic organization, because the lodge in most instances is
composed of some members who have proven capacities for leadership, and others
who may have had no training or experience in any type of leadership role.
Your role also requires an understanding of Masonry, its tenets, its
teachings, its practices, its organization, and the authority and
responsibility of the Worshipful Master and other officers of the lodge, both
elected and appointed.
leadership is discussed regarding the Masonic lodge, it is extremely important
to understand the authority and responsibility of the Worshipful Master.
Because of the Worshipful Master's sovereign authority and power within the
lodge proceedings, a person with little or no leadership qualities or
training, will be very ineffective in conducting the lodge affairs and
accomplishing the many objectives and tasks that must be done during the year.
However, a Worshipful Master who can organize his plans for the year, can
envision the obstacles of manpower, monetary needs, time restraints, etc. and
can enlist the help of other lodge, members to work in a unified force toward
achieving the goals, will have a very successful and enjoyable year as
Worshipful Master, and the lodge will benefit.
these general precepts, you must understand the unique composition of your own
lodge. Is it a young lodge? An older lodge? Does it have specific areas of
weakness that you should address in your year? Knowing the needs of your lodge
will help you define your role as the lodge's chief executive. So, when do you
begin to think about your year as Worshipful Master and begin to plan for it?
Obviously, it should start long before you are actually installed. You should
start to prepare yourself as soon as you get elected or appointed to your
first station and have hopes and ambitions of serving in the various chairs
and eventually becoming Worshipful Master. The junior Warden station in some
lodges becomes the first real "test" of a person's leadership and planning
example, in the Slidell Lodge, the Junior Warden is responsible for all
refreshments at each meeting and meals for all open meetings - working within
the budget, providing the food, preparing the dining area, serving the members
and guests, cleanup, etc. A lot of preplanning, preparation and coordination
of many people are involved. After this initial test, the Senior Warden's
position has relatively little outside responsibility, because it is here that
the Senior Warden develops his plans for his year as Worshipful Master and
begins to consider the most qualified, dedicated, and promising members for
the appointed positions. This is perhaps the most critical year in the short
career of a Worshipful Master.
an effective leader of the lodge, you must set realistic goals that may be
implemented during the year. You must also evaluate your position relative to
the other members of the lodge. Are you involved in any clique that might make
it difficult for you to lead effectively? It is essential to know where you
stand with others in any administrative position, but particularly one in a
kind of Worshipful Master do you want to be?
way you view your leadership role will go a long way toward shaping the
decisions you make as Worshipful Master. In any case, there is one quality you
will need to demand of yourself as leader - flexibility - because you will be
leading volunteers. You cannot overly reprimand or terminate them if they fail
to perform. That is to say you cannot be so critical and harsh in your
dealings with your fellow officers and or members that you begin to alienate
them from acting as a team. Tack, consideration for another's feelings, and
common courtesy are always good rules to follow.What are the various styles of
flexibility as the key, we can say that there are three fundamental modes of
leadership in a volunteer organization: The leader who shares responsibility;
the leader who reconciles differing functions; the leader who builds on what
has been done before. An unusually gifted leader may be able to use all three
styles as the occasion demands, but most people will tend to favor one style
over the other.
The sharing leader. Shares responsibility with the other lodge officers. The
sharing leader may receive less public attention, but will surely achieve
greater results than the Worshipful Master who has difficulty delegating
authority. The role of this type of leader is that of delegator in the midst
of personal interaction. NOTE: As a point of information, it must be noted
that while authority may be delegated, you cannot delegate responsibility. You
may assign responsibility to the person to whom you have delegated authority
so that person may effectively accomplish the task assigned. Although you may
delegate authority and assign the responsibility for performing, you as
Worshipful Master are still ultimately responsible for all that happens in the
lodge during your year.
The reconciling leader. Even within the fellowship of Masonry, there are times
when pressures and tensions create factions in the lodge. No greater
contribution to a lodge can be made than by a Worshipful Master who strives to
restore harmony and friendship. Reconciling leaders may not see their
cherished projects realized during their year in office, but will undoubtedly
pave the way for growth in many areas for the Worshipful Masters who follow
him. During the term of such a Worshipful Master, a lodge can solve thorny
The building leader. A Worshipful Master should know what to change and what
to build on. Much energy is lost when a project is launched one year and
dropped the next, before it is completed, and another is started in its place.
However, it is not an example of good leadership to allow something to
continue just because "it's always been done that way."
Outstanding leaders of volunteers are realistic people who can measure
themselves and their goals for the lodge in relation to the facts around them:
i.e., the resources and manpower they have to work with, chiefly their
committee chairmen. Such leaders are able to keep their forces in balance and
to work to increase their assets and diminish their liabilities.
fashioned leaders have a "heroic" concept of their role. They must be
everywhere at once and do everything themselves. This is unfortunate because
it stifles their committee members initiative. On the other hand, successful
leaders in a volunteer organization are friendly and understanding;
communicate frequently and openly with their committee members; provide
frequent encouragement and motivation; praise lodge members for a job well
done; harmonize differences; attempt to enable team members to work to their
full potential; take pleasure in developing the leadership talents of younger
members in the lodge.
number of books have been written on how an executive should manage time, but
there is one sure pathway to more efficient use of time, and it can be simply
Because of your unique position and complete authority as Worshipful Master of
your lodge, you are the only one who has ALL the relevant information and
resources to know the difference between which matters are truly important for
your lodge and which matters are merely "urgent to the person who brings, them
to your attention."
phone rings constantly, or will immediately upon your installation in the
East, and you know that certain matters are critical for you to accomplish in
a given time period., And you know what should be deterred no matter how
urgent it seems to the person who brings it to your attention. The rule:
unless an emergency interferes, keep your eye on the larger goals and let the
"merely urgent" wait - not too long - but let it wait while you get the truly
important things done.
continue your year in your present position' and especially to those who will
assume positions of responsibility in' their lodge next year, please remember
this little phrase, and perhaps pass it along to your new officers: Realize
that you, in essence, have volunteered to serve the lodge in either an elected
or appointed capacity.
Remember, you are a volunteer until you volunteer. Once you volunteer, you
then are a Mason with a job to do.
MASONIC LODGE No. __ - MEMBER'S HISTORICAL RECORD AS OF:
PM: Installed: Tel: ( ) SSN:
Petition Received: Ballot:
FC: MM: Proficiency:
Demitted from Lodge: Located:
Record / Name;
Card No: VISA: MC: Expires;
paid for current year?:
Members Masonic Record
PROFESSION / RETIRED:
Initiated as Entered Apprentice in ____ Lodge No. ___,
to Fellowcraft in ____ Lodge No. ___,
to Master Mason in ____ Lodge No. ___, Date:
Worshipful Master of ____ Lodge No. ___, From ______ - _____
Warden of ____ Lodge No. ___, From ______ - _____
Warden of ____ Lodge No. ___, From ______ - _____
Treasurer of ____ Lodge No. ___, From ______ - _____
Secretary of ____ Lodge No. ___, From ______ - _____
Chaplain of ____ Lodge No. ___, From ______ - _____
Deacon of ____ Lodge No. ___, From ______ - _____
Deacon of ____ Lodge No. ___, From ______ - _____
Marshall of ____ Lodge No. ___, From ______ -
Steward of ____ Lodge No. ___, From ______ - _____
Steward of ____ Lodge No. ___, From ______ - _____
of ____ Lodge No. ___, From ______ - _____
LODGE OFFICES: DATES:
LODGE 1: Located:
LODGE 2: Located:
LODGE 3: Located:
Master in ____ Chapter No. ___, Date:
Master in ____ Chapter No. ___, Date:
Excellent Master in ____ Chapter No. ___, Date:
Arch Mason in ____ Chapter No. ___, Date:
COMPANION ___________._ __ A.D. I9_ A.L._ - A.D. 19- A.L.
I9_ _ A.L.
_ A.D. I9..._ A.L. _A.D. 19- A.L.
Master in Council No. ___ Date:
Master in Council No. ___ Date:
Excellent Master in Council No. ___ Date:
KNIGHTS TEMPLAR RECORD
of The Red Cross in Commandery No. ___ Date:
of Malta in Commandery No. ___ Date:
Templar in Commandery No. ___ Date:
SCOTTISH RITE RECORD
OF EASTERN STAR
Sentinel of ____ Chapter No. ___, From ______ - _____
Assistant Patron of ____ Chapter No. ___, From ______ - _____
Patron of ____ Chapter No. ___, From ______ - _____