As the Masonic lodge's leader, the Worshipful Master wears many hats. His duties and responsibilities include everything pertaining to his lodge during his elected year.
Are you soon to become your lodge Master?
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 Almighty.
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 members.
Therefore, Worker Bees understand that:
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.
“Thus 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:
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 IDEAL LODGE MASTER
The Ideal Lodge Master performs all of the following tasks throughout his year:
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.
Simon-Sez: 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:
Masonic Education Committee
Masonic Board of Relief
Committee for Suspension for Non-Payment of Dues
Masonic Home Information Representative
MASONIC LODGE COMMITTEE MEMBERS:
Balance 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 committee.
LODGE COMMITTEE INTERACTION:
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 entire lodge.
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.
Having this 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.
Not 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 chair.
LODGE NOTEBOOK ITEMS:
Here is a partial list of the items your lodge notebook should contain:
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:
...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.
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