The Lodge Master
Duties of the Worshipful Master
of the Lodge
The greatest honor comes to a brother when
he is elevated to the Chair as the Lodge Master, the Worshipful Master of the Lodge.
However, it is with mingled feelings of
pleasure and anxiety when the gavel of authority is placed into their own hand.
Early preparation is ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY so that you do not become a
Lodge Master in name only. It is very important that you arrive at this chair with
a feeling not only of its authority, but fully confident of your abilities to
handle that authority.
Much like the CEO (Chief Executive Officer)
of any well run corporation, the Lodge Master has many duties to perform. First and
foremost, like the CEO, he must have a strong working group of subordinate
officers to help him carry out the tasks within his Blue Lodge.
While many people’s first
thought is that to call someone “Master” means that you feel you are supposed to
“serve” them, actually, in Freemasonry, the opposite is true. The title of
"Master" signifies that of a well versed "teacher," and not that of the
Elected by the brethren, he is placed in
this special position to serve their needs. In essence, the Master’s job is
much like the Queen Bee’s job in the symbolic Freemasonry beehive.
Many Freemasons wonder what the significance
of the Masonic beehive is to their craft. Let’s take a look at it:
Queen bees develop from larvae, which is
selected by the worker bees. She is specially fed Royal Jelly so that she
becomes larger and therefore, can produce and retain a greater number of worker
bees during her lifetime for the benefit of the hive. Without being chosen by
her “brethren”, to become the “Queen Bee”, she would grow up to become a worker
bee, just like all the rest.
While she is continuously surrounded by
worker bees who meet her every need, her sole function is to serve as the
reproducer of her species. During her life as the Queen Bee, she will usually
only leave the hive once…and that is to reproduce. From this one-time outing,
she will be able to lay eggs for the rest of her life, which is approximately
A well functioning lodge (I mean hive) consists of one Queen bee,
(Master of the Lodge) many worker bees and a few drones. A well functioning
beehive is a very busy place, indeed,…industry being each bee’s highest
virtue…with the exception of the drones.
Drones are larger than the worker bees,
however they do absolutely nothing to promote the welfare of the hive. They do
not gather nectar, make honey or make beeswax. They do not cap off each cell of
honey that has been stored nor do they fan the cell to dry the bees wax. They
also do not perform any housekeeping tasks toward the common good of their
fraternity nor do they educate the younger bees in how to perform the work.
Needless to say, the drones do not worry about having enough honey stored to
take the fraternity through the long Winter. The worker bees must feed the
drones or the drones would starve and die. The only reason the drones are kept
alive by the worker bees is to promote the reproduction within the hive. As you
can see, the hive needs very few drones if it is to function properly.
If too many drones have been produced by the
Queen Bee, their excess numbers drag down the abilities of the entire hive
because each working member has to attempt to care for and feed these
non-working members of their fraternity without receiving anything in return.
In the bee world, their excess numbers are internally counted and when the
drones numbers exceed their usefulness, the worker bees drag these non-working
members of their institution to the front door of the hive where they are left,
alone to perish…not because they feel no charity, but simply because for their
fraternity to survive, they cannot continue to nourish and support non-working
Therefore, Worker Bees understand that:
- They must elect the strongest of the
larvae to become
their Queen (Lodge Master).
- If they do not continue to help the
Queen (Lodge Master)
reproduce offspring; they will die.
- If each worker bee does not work in
unison with the
other members of the fraternity to feed, nurture and
each and every other worker bee member of their
industrious fraternity will die.
Freemasonry is full of allegory. Allegory means
that you are representing one thing, when you’re actually alluding to another
thing. It is a literary style which means you teach by innuendo. Most
allegories include a “moral of the story”. The story of the beehive, above, is
an allegory. The last paragraph beginning with “Therefore, Worker Bees
understand that:” contains the moral of the story.
was man formed for social and active life, the noblest part of the work of God;
and he that will so demean himself as not to be endeavoring to add to the common
stock of knowledge and understanding, may be deemed a drone in the hive of
nature, a useless member of society, and unworthy of our protection as
Freemasons.” … Carl H. Claudy, The Master’s Book, Published by The Temple
Publishers, copyright 1946
While many believe that since they are next
in line to hold the gavel, they may simply perform their duties in the same
manner as the previous Master performed his duties; this may or may not be the
case. You be the judge.
The Loge Master is:
- Elected by the brethren to become their
- The person whom all eyes fall upon for
- CEO of the worker bees.
A good Master realizes that if he does not
help the brethren to gather new members, feed (teach), nurture (socialize) and
retain each member of their fraternity, his lodge will dwindle in size or by
necessity must merge with another lodge.
THE WORSHIPFUL MASTER:
As the lodge's leader, the Worshipful Master wears many hats. His
duties and responsibilities include everything pertaining to his lodge during
his elected year.
- Ability to perform Ritual and Degree
- Masonic knowledge of Masonry’s science
symbols and allegory.
- Delegation of duties to his officers
- Delegation of duties to Lodge
- Lodge regalia maintenance and upkeep
- Trestleboard / Tracing Board
- Scheduling of all functions
- Provides ongoing Education to the
- Provides necessary updates of the Lodge
- Oversees all Financial issues of the
- Represents his Lodge at Grand Lodge
THE IDEAL LODGE MASTER
The Ideal Lodge Master
performs all of the following
tasks throughout his year:
- KNOWLEDGE OF
Knows something about Masonic literature and which books to recommend to his
- PROMOTES PEACE
to promote peace and harmony within his lodge. The Lodge Master soothes the unhappy and
brings together friends who have quarreled. He avoids all jealousies. He
is a friend to every Past Master, every officer and every brother.
his lodge better off financially than he found it. He spends less of its
income and receives full value for the money he spends. The craft's Lodge
Master knows at any given time what the lodge’s account balances are and
keeps the Lodge’s records, so as to draw commendation.
- GRAND LODGE:
As Lodge Master, he pays full attention to the duties with which he has been
bestowed in his Grand Lodge. He faithfully attends, intelligently
takes part in the deliberations, votes with the interests of his
Jurisdiction at heart and is a constructive force within the governing body
interesting meetings. He is willing to work and work hard to arrange
programs and plan events which are not only interesting, but instructive to
the brethren. He knows that basic ritual degree work is necessary, but
every other week, he provides something containing instruction and education
to his brethren.
EDUCATION AND INSTRUCTION:
Provides continuous, good and wholesome
instruction and education. No brother should ever leave one of the meetings
without learning something or experiencing something said by its Master
that does not leave a higher thought of Masonry in his heart.
RITUAL, DEGREES & KNOWLEDGE OF THEIR MEANINGS:
His degrees are dignified and well put on.
His candidates have not only ritualistic instruction, but are told something
of why and what the ritual means so they, too, may “become good and faithful
brethren among us”.
- LEADERSHIP AND
Provides leadership in helping his officers
learn Masonry, so that when their time comes to sit in the Lodge
Master’s chair, they, too are well prepared.
- THE ILL:
The Lodge Master
considers the ill and the sorrowing as his personal care. No brother should
take to his bed but that the Master sees to him to bring what cheer he may.
No widow or fatherless child of one of the brethren should ever go
uncomforted from the leader of the lodge.
Knows the facts about the needy
brother, or family of a brother and makes it his business to bring a
sympathetic report to his Lodge brethren.
Brings dignity to his office.
The Lodge Master of the symbolic lodge
counts not his personal pleasure, his social engagements, his time of rest,
recreation or even his sleep when his Lodge calls.
During his year as Master, he puts his Lodge and
its needs before anything and everything of a personal nature (excepting God
and family) in his life.
in his service to his lodge, knowing that men view his position to be
Is punctual. He has no more
right to waste the brethren’s time than he has to waste the Lodge’s money.
- A BALANCE
Never takes sides but is a balance wheel.
Rules firmly and justly; but
knows that “firmly” must be tempered with kindness and “justice” must be
tempered with mercy.
The Lodge Master of his
blue lodge is enthusiastic about his work.
Conscious of his own
Quick to seek
counsel and advice and take his time to map the right course.
- LISTENS TO
confident enough that he is eager to listen to suggestions and intelligent
enough to follow only those suggestions which he deems wise.
- POLICIES, NOT
The Master of
the Lodge is primarily concerned with policies rather than details so he
does not lose his way.
The ideal Lodge Master
delegates the details to carefully chosen committees and not only requests
their reports at each meeting, but expects to hear each committee’s issues,
their findings, and their determinations so that both he and the brethren
are continually kept up-to-date on their work.
- LIVING FORCE
AMONG THE LODGE'S BRETHREN:
Is an ideal Lodge Master because he is an ideal
Mason. He strives to live the Masonic life so that all his brethren may see
him not as a mere figurehead, but a vital and living force for good in their
- THE MASTER'S
The Lodge Master is
humble, knowing that it is to the hat, his elected position, that the
brethren honor and not to the man under the hat. While he has both power
and place, he may never think of self, but only of an honorable duty to his
Like any good CEO, the Ideal Lodge Master delegates.
If he does this well, his job becomes very manageable, indeed
and he may obtain the abilities of the Ideal Master.
If he does not delegate
well, his year will be continually filled with fires to put out until he becomes
over-burdened, tired, unhappy…and remembered as a drone.
Don’t let this be you.
WEAPON OF THE LODGE MASTER:
The man in whose hand holds the gavel, wears many hats, however his secret
weapon lies in his powers of delegation to his committees....and his notebook.
MAKE A LIST OF LODGE
COMMITTEES AND COMMITTEE MEMBERS:
It is best to
begin in your year as Senior Warden to make a list of lodge committees and
choose the members who you feel would best be able to serve upon them. If
you are currently the Lodge Master, it’s not too late to start.
Do not simply choose your friends, as you may not be
best served. While your Junior Warden should serve as the Chairman of your
Refreshment Committee, choose 2 other members of the brethren to be on the
Refreshment Committee who like to cook.
Choose someone with a head for numbers, a bookkeeper,
accountant, etc. as the Chairman of your Auditing and Budget Committees.
Choose someone whom you feel is somewhat conservative, but fair, as the head of
your Charity Committee.
To make your year go more smoothly, you
should delegate / assign 3 members to each of the following committees.
Each committee should have a Chairman and 2 members with the exception of the
Masonic Home Representative, which entails just 1 member:
Outside Charities Committee
Masonic Education Committee
Masonic Board of Relief
Committee for Suspension for Non-Payment of
Masonic Home Information Representative
your choices of committee members between the need to place the Lodge’s officers
as chairmen of as many committees as possible because they need to learn these
duties for the day when they become Worshipful Master AND choosing a member with
the knowledge, skill or desire to perform their duties within a specific
Do not let
these Committees languish because you do not request their genuine help with
As Lodge Master, do not request their reports and
continually allow their answer to be: “We have nothing to report.” If this
continues often, ask about specific items within their scope which the brethren
of the lodge have an interest in. Draw them into each lodge meeting as the
important members with important duties that they are.
When each Committee is
asked for their report, they should be fully able and fully ready to speak to
the brethren about items that have come to their attention which affect the
a 1” notebook. Place your name on the cover and the spine. Into this notebook,
you will place the items that you will need at your fingertips during each and
every lodge meeting. With this notebook in hand, you can confidently make
decisions, ask and answer questions and vote in good conscience when requested
to do so.
While each and every lodge member should be
in possession of their own notebook, it is crucial that the Lodge Master and all Officers of the Lodge have this information readily at hand so
they may perform their tasks to the best of their abilities.
notebook with them at each lodge meeting also saves them a ton of
personal time in having to dig out the Budget from their home or office
desk, finding the latest copy of the By-Laws for the By-Laws meeting the next
week, knowing the exact date of a function when someone asks you, etc.
only does it save you time, but you are perceived as a member of the brethren
who is prepared for your duties and obligations and prepared to progress to the next
LODGE NOTEBOOK ITEMS:
Here is a partial list of the items your
lodge notebook should contain:
- Up-to-date Lodge Name and Address
Officer names and phone numbers
- List of Committees, Committee member
names and phone numbers
- Copy of the most up-to-date By-Laws of
- List of social functions for the year
- Copy of your Grand Lodge Achievement
Application (if applicable)
- Blank notebook paper for notes about
issues that you have been asked which you must
you return to lodge with an answer.
Make sure you keep a pen with your notebook
or in your shirt pocket when you go to lodge.
With your notebook in hand, you are now
fully prepared to become a fully functional worker bee in the hive (I mean
lodge). You can:
- Vote your conscience because you know
lodge's budget and check book contain.
- Call any member, when necessary, not
members which you've made your Fave 5 in your cell phone.
- Answer questions asked of you
on-the-spot, because you
have all the pertinent data right with you.
...And...you, the Lodge Master, like all good CEOs...Chief
Operating Officers...are confident of your personal abilities, have delegated
the details to your committees and are truly living up to and deserving of your title as
Master of the Lodge.
Here is a fill-in-the blank form for the
Lodge Master Committees
to whom the Lodge Master delegates to and
presides over. Feel free to print it out and insert your specific brethren’s names to place into your notebook.
Lodge Officer Duties
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