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From: Prosper the Art, by J. Sullivan. Chapter 15.

Developed by W.Bro. Kent Henderson
Dip. T., B. Ed., Grad. Cert. Ed., Grad. Dip. Ed., M. Ed, Diploma of Masonic Education (Sth. Aust.)
Past Junior Grand Deacon, A. F. & A. Masons of Victoria, Australia.


From comments made to me by many brethren during open forums and at other times, it seems clear that master masons would take a greater interest in Masonic matters and be more regular in attendance at lodge meetings and other functions if they could be given the chance to participate more actively in lodge activities.

The future of our order will depend to quite an extent on the interest and dedication of master masons and every effort should be made to stimulate the enthusiasm of these brethren. Masters, in particular, should be constantly looking at ways and means of affording their master masons the opportunity of achieving a greater degree of involvement in Masonic affairs.

As a guide to Masters in this task of seeking to involve master masons (and these proposals can also be addressed to lodge wardens en route to the chair), the following suggestions and ideas are



Appointment as lodge steward


After a candidate has taken his third degree, fairly early consideration could be given to offering him appointment as a steward. The Master should explain the general duties attached to the position and indicate the advantages to the brother of such closer involvement in the operations of the lodge.

In describing the various duties or responsibilities that can be allotted to stewards, the Master should ascertain whether the brother has any particular interest or ability in respect of any of the various activities of the lodge. As an exercise in developing keenness, it will also be helpful for the Master to make reference to other activities relating to the wider world of Freemasonry.


Appearance Book and welcoming visitors


Masters can arrange for a steward or other master mason to be in charge of the appearance book at all meetings of the lodge. Brethren who are given this responsibility should receive clear guidance regarding the manner in which visitors should be welcomed and it should be emphasised to them that, in carrying out this task, they are acting as the representative of the lodge and of the Master.

Visitors will be impressed to receive the hand of friendship as soon as they arrive at a temple and to be engaged in conversation with someone who displays a personal interest in them. Appropriate questions can be asked concerning the name and meeting place, etc, of the visitor's lodge, whether the lodge has had the pleasure of the visitor's company previously, the reason prompting the present visit and other relevant matters.

If he so desired, the Master could, of course, arrange for the preparation of a roster of master masons to take charge of the welcoming function from meeting to meeting.


Register of lodge members


A master mason could be nominated by the Master to be responsible, in collaboration with the secretary, for the maintenance of a register of members containing general information relating to each member. The register could be in the form of a book with alphabetical tabs, or it could be kept on a loose leaf basis.

The register, which could serve as a most helpful ready reference for the Master, could contain such data as the member's full name and address, wife's name (if applicable), home and business telephone numbers, date of initiation, date of joining the lodge and name of previous lodge(s) if the member is a joining member, list of offices held in the lodge or other lodges in different years, details of other Masonic associations, information regarding personal skills, interests or hobbies and other appropriate matters.


Masonic anniversary scheme


At some lodges a toast is proposed at each meeting to those members whose initiation into Freemasonry took place in the same month in a past year. The Master can appoint a master mason to control such a scheme.

As part of the arrangement, the brother responsible for the register of members would supply the anniversary scheme "controller" with a monthly list showing those brethren who will celebrate the anniversary of their initiation during each month (irrespective of the lodge in which it took place) and the number of years of membership in the Craft in each case.

The brother handling the anniversary scheme can advise the secretary and the Master on a monthly basis of the names of the brethren who will celebrate their initiation anniversaries at the next meeting, so that appropriate arrangement can be made to remind personally the brethren concerned of the occasion and to seek their attendance at that particular meeting. The reminder can be in the form of a letter, telephone call, personal call, or by suitable endorsement on the lodge summons.

Arrangements can be made for a list to be supplied for each month to the brother who is selected by the Master to propose the toast at the next meeting to those celebrating anniversaries. From experience, it is suggested that the proposer of the toast can develop greater interest by commencing with the newest member celebrating an anniversary and finishing with the brother with the longest period of membership of the order.


Appointment as lodge transport officer


A Master should give consideration to the appointment of a brother to take charge of transport arrangements in the lodge and this is an obvious area where a master mason can be involved. A transport officer is particularly concerned with Providing a means by which elderly or infirm members, or brethren who may be without transport facilities (permanently or temporarily) may be called for and brought to and from lodge meetings. To ease parking problems and transport costs, there could be value in extending the transport plan further and encouraging some of the regular members to travel to meetings and rehearsals in groups of two or even three or four.

Arrangements of a similar nature could be made in relation to lodge social functions, particularly in relation to the transport of lodge widows.


Social Committee membership


Social activities are an indispensable part of the life of a lodge. Stewards and other master masons should be encouraged to support the social committee by attending committee meetings and taking part in the discussions at those meetings. This active interest in all social functions will give master masons an increased sense of participation in the life of the lodge.


Masters can arrange for individual master masons to be given responsibility or part-responsibility for specific aspects of the organisation of particular social events.


Appointment as lodge officers


Masters have the authority and opportunity to appoint master masons not only to the "floor-work" posts of inner guard, deacon or warden, but also to the positions of secretary, assistant secretary, chaplain, almoner, choirmaster or organist. In addition, master masons may be elected to the posts of treasurer, tyler or auditor. In many lodges, of course, provision exists in the by-laws for several master masons to be appointed as master mason representatives on the lodge committee of general purposes.


Appointment of brethren to assist Almoner


Lodge membership may be such that the almoner is unable, by himself, to look after the interests of all brethren in an adequate manner. In such circumstances, a Master could appoint an almoner's committee including several master masons, or, alternatively, could nominate several master masons to act as assistants to the almoner as required.

Action could be taken to divide the total membership either alphabetically, geographically by age, or in some other appropriate way, and to have the almoner and his assistants each responsible for a section, thus splitting the responsibility into a more manageable one. The assistants would provide information to the almoner who would keep the Master fully informed and submit a report to the lodge at each meeting.


Appointment as understudies for lodge officers


Worshipful Masters can appoint master masons as understudies or "stand-ins" for some of the lodge officers, including wardens, deacons, inner guard, chaplain and tyler. Understudies would be encouraged to attend rehearsals regularly to develop proficiency in ritual and ceremonial practices pertaining to their "substitute" posts, and to be ready to act for an absentee officer at short notice. It would follow that understudies would need to be in attendance at lodge meetings before the time of tyling to facilitate the making of substitution arrangements where required. Similar arrangements, of course, could apply in relation to rehearsals.


Lodge newsletter


It is of great benefit to lodges and members to have a lodge newsletter prepared and issued with each lodge summons and a Master can invite an interested master mason (or, perhaps, two brethren) to undertake this lodge function.

The newsletter can contain information relating to matters such as:

· the proceedings of the last lodge meeting and the program planned for the next meeting (and, perhaps, future meetings);

· happenings of interest at the festive board at the last meeting;

· proposed future social events;

· personal snippers of news concerning members and their families,

including reference to matters such as illnesses, marriages, engagements,

· births, retirements, deaths, interstate and overseas trips and honour awards;

· other Masonic matters of interest such as Grand Lodge functions and including, if desired, a short informative reference to some aspect of Freemasonry for the enlightenment of members; and activities of the lodge ladies' committee.


Lodge Ritual


Following recent rule changes, Master Masons can now deliver any charge in any of the three degree ceremonies, except the obligation and communucation of the Secrets.


Tracing board lectures


The first and second degree tracing board lectures may be presented by suitably qualified brethren below the rank of warden. This provides an opportunity to involve a master mason, or, because of the length of the lectures, several master masons who may make the presentation as a group. These lectures may be given as part of an actual degree ceremony (when they should be delivered after the working tools have been presented) or separately at another regular meeting. It is suggested that both lectures should be given at least once per year for the instruction of brethren.




Apart from the tracing board lectures, other lectures covering a variety of Masonic subjects can be obtained from the Grand Lodge Librarian or from the Grand Lecturer. These can be presented at regular meetings by master masons -- either by an individual member or by a group of brethren operating as a team. Or, a number of master masons could be employed in presenting on a group basis "The Charges of a Freemason" as set out in the Book of Constitutions. Again, a number of master masons could, under the control of an experienced brother, present a questions and answers session in lodge based on matters dealt with in the Book of Catechetical Lectures available at the Masonic Centre. This book is, in effect, an instructional system in Freemasonry related to the ritual of the degrees but having a more comprehensive application. Master mason members could be also encouraged to prepare their own lectures on Masonic topics, but these should be submitted to the Grand Lecturer for approval before presentation in lodges.




A large number of lecturettes of approximately five minutes' duration covering numerous aspects of Craft activities have been developed for the enlightenment of brethren, and these are available from the Masonic Centre. Masters can arrange for master masons to present these lecturettes at lodge meetings .

It has been suggested that one of these lecturettes be presented at each lodge meeting (or, at least, at some lodge meetings during each year) either just before the first time of rising, or after the second time of rising.


Proposition of toasts


In connection with the allocation of toasts at the festive board, including those concerning newly initiated brethren, visitors to a lodge and those celebrating initiation anniversaries, Masters should ensure that master masons receive a fair share of this responsibility.

Care should always be exercised to see that adequate notice is given to the proposer of any toast in order that he may have sufficient time in which to prepare a presentation which will give pleasure to the recipient and satisfaction to the proposer. This is especially necessary in the case of master masons, many of whom may be lacking in experience in speaking in public.

Brethren should be informed that there is no need to present lengthy propositions. Indeed, verbosity should be firmly discouraged. As a guide, few of the toasts at the monthly festive board need be of more than three to five minutes' duration.


Harmony at the festive board


From among lodge members, including master masons, it may be possible to build up a choral group which can provide an harmonious and impressive backdrop not only to the degree workings but also at the festive board. If instrumentalists are available, they could add to the pleasure and enjoyment of the South either in solo presentations or in combination with the choral group. Reciters of poetry and artists in other areas of entertainment could also be incorporated in a lodge harmony group.

As part of "harmony" at the festive board, master masons, as well as other brethren, could be encouraged to prepare and deliver short talks pertaining to their occupations, hobbies, crafts, travels or other interests. This type of presentation can be both interesting and educational to brethren generally and represent an outward example of the application of the symbolism of the chisel. At the same time, brethren speaking on matters of this nature on which they are well versed can gain confidence in appearing before an audience which could assist them in carrying out ceremonial work in the lodge room.


Lodge of Instruction


Masters should stress to master masons the undoubted benefits which can be derived from their attendance at a lodge of instruction, particularly guidance and instruction in the delivery of ritual and performance of ceremonial from experienced and dedicated past masters. Attendance at a lodge of instruction, coupled with normal lodge rehearsals, can do much to assist brethren to develop confidence in their ability to play an effective part in actual lodge workings.


Special instructional lodges and groups


Master masons should be informed of the value to be gained by their attendance at meetings of the Rhetoric Lodge of Communication No 831and the Lodge of Research No 218, both of which meet as regular lodges at the Masonic Centre. The Rhetoric Lodge of Communication serves to train brethren effectively in the various Masonic communication processes, while the Lodge of Research provides general enlightenment for brethren in the presentation of lectures on a wide variety of Masonic topics by leading speakers. Further information on both of these lodges will be included in a later chapter.

Other research groups in Victoria include the Holden Research Circle which meets at the Camberwell temple, the Chisel Lodge of Research No 434 which is a regular lodge meeting at Kerang, and the West Gippsland Research Group at Warragul.

Master masons could also be encouraged to consider seeking membership of the world-wide Correspondence Circle attached to the Quatuor Coronati Lodge No 2076, English Constitution, meeting in London. This lodge, which is regarded as the principal research body in the Masonic world, will also be referred to in more detail later.


Use of Grand Lodge library


Brethren, especially master masons, should be made aware of the service provided by the Grand Lodge library at the Masonic Centre. The Grand Lodge librarian and his assistants are available to discuss any aspect of the Craft in which enquirers may be interested, including such areas as history, philosophy, symbolism, administration, ritual, degree workings, universality and other facets of the order.

Brethren may become members of the library at a normal subscription and this enables them to borrow books and other material. The library, which also embraces a museum of Masonic regalia and other artefacts, will also be dealt with again in a later chapter.


Visits to other lodges


Masters should arrange for newly-admitted brethren to visit other lodges as soon as possible and to accompany them on these visits. Arrangements should also be made for a new member's proposer and seconder and/or the lodge mentor, if there be one, also to attend and provide support on these occasions. When official visits are made to other lodges, Masters should make a special effort to interest master masons in joining the lodge party.


Quarterly Communications


Masters should endeavour to interest master masons in attending Quarterly Communications of Grand Lodges to enable them to gain a wider view of the operations and general activities of the craft.


Meeting with Grand Master


At periodical intervals, invitations are issued to new members of the order and their ladies to attend a short informal meeting at the Masonic Centre at which the Grand Master and other senior Grand Lodge officers will be present. Masters should recommend to brethren concerned that they make every effort to attend these meetings, first to meet the Grand Master personally and, secondly, to have the opportunity of learning something of the purposes of Freemasonry right at the very beginning of their Masonic careers.

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