Preparing For The East
REF:MASONIC LODGE OF EDUCATION
Preparing for the East is best
by beginning early.
If you truly wish to
create a memorable year during your reign as Worshipful Master,
at a minimum, you should begin preparing yourself during your year as
Grand lodges appoint instructors to
teach Masonic ritual. Very few Masters, however, receive training in
how to conduct lodge meetings, how to set up an Audit Committee nor how
to schedule their year.
As a result, many Masters feel over
burdened. With proper pre-planning, you can overcome these obstacles
and make your year into one which subsequent Masters may look to for
Very little is available to assure
that the incoming Master has a grasp of the history, philosophy and the
symbolism of the Craft. The fundamentals of' lodge management and
ongoing lodge programs and events are rarely talked about in detail.
Therefore, lodge operations and lodge administration are areas which few
lodge officers are completely comfortable with when left to educate
themselves. Many never do. Others begin too late.
Preparing For The East: Accumulating
Masonic Reading: Prior to
setting his designs on the trestleboard, the future Master would do well
to spend at least two years becoming a knowledgeable Freemason as he
begins preparing for the East. This is not to suggest that he must
become a Masonic scholar, only that he become familiar with the writings
of learned brethren such as the following.
Joseph Fort Newton, Thomas Sherrod
Roy, H. L. Haywood, Albert Mackey, Robert Gould, Roscoe Pound, Dwight
Smith, Alphonse Cerza, Harry Carr, Conrad Hahn, and Carl Claudy and
The Grand Lodge library is an
excellent source for material, as is the Masonic Service Association.
Your lodge library and even your public library may also be good
resources. In addition, there are many outstanding Masonic publications
in the United States.
Quatuor Coronati Research Lodge:
Membership in the Correspondence Circle of Quatuor Coronati Lodge No.
2076, London, England, the premier Masonic research lodge in the world,
is also very enlightening and recommended. Membership is also
The Master who acquires a background
in the history, philosophy, and symbolism of the Craft better
understands the mission of Freemasonry and his own duties within the
Placing Your Designs Upon Your
Many newly elected Masters err by
attempting to set the craft to work before they have placed their own
designs upon their Trestleboard...believing that they will simply follow
the previous Master's footsteps. However a "special" year is best
produced by having a pre-thought-out and special plan as you begin
preparing for the East.
For the East: Setting the Craft to Work
Setting the Craft to work is more
than the ritual work of initiating, passing, and raising candidates.
The Master should encourage each member to take part in the activity
best suited to his character and abilities and to make sure there is an
activity in which each member can participate.
Preparing For the East: Delegation
Preparing for the East requires delegation/request of duties. This
lightens the load and creates teamwork which both strengthens the lodge
and creates a noticeable improvement in its smooth operation and overall
enjoyment by its members..
Brethren involved in tasks they like
to do value their membership and return more frequently. Requesting
members who possess the correct skill set to help with these tasks makes
everyone's job, lighter, easier and more enjoyable.
This takes a bit of pre-planning on
the part of the Senior Warden, as he looks to the East, several months
before becoming the Master. The easiest way to accomplish this is to
sit down and make a list of the different committees (or begin new ones)
and then match each member's skill set with an appropriate committee.
Don't forget your new members. Ask
them about their special interests and request that they serve on a
committee which fits their interests.
Audit and Budget Committee:
Ask the brethren who among them work as a Certified Public Accountant or
bookkeeper or simply has a "head" for numbers. Perhaps they would enjoy
working on the lodge's Audit Committee or Budget Committee.
Refreshment Committee: For
those who like to cook, help is always needed on the Refreshment
Committee. Ask your members which of them might like to cook for the
Trestleboard Newsletter: For
those with writing and computer skills, writing the Trestleboard can be
an enjoyable task. Ask who among your members might enjoy composing a
couple pages every month, quarterly or however often your trestleboard
Fund Raising: If possible,
choose at least one member with experience in fund raising to help with
the lodge Charity Fund or Masonic Home appeal.
Charitable Event Committee:
This committee could include Adopt a Family, Masonic scholarship,
Send-A-Child-To-Camp or any other of the numerous charitable
Education Officer: Ask a
knowledgeable member to begin mentoring new members and hold classes.
There are also many pages on this website which the Education Officer
can simply print, distribute and discuss, such as my Entered Apprentice
quiz, Fellowcraft quiz, Master Mason quiz and Masonic symbol quiz. Feel
free to print and use them as you begin preparing for the East. The
answers are below the quizzes.
Masonic Mentors Club: Some
members may not feel totally comfortable in the Education Officer role,
but would still like to actively participate in helping new members
learn. This is an excellent role for Past Masters who may contribute
their knowledge to the candidate from initiation through their Master
As you begin preparing for the East, many Masters simply
continue with ongoing lodge programs, however if you would like your
year to be special, not only to you, but to your brethren, take an hour
or so and place all the existing and newly conceived programs onto a
calendar before you begin your year in the East.
Each lodge around the world has a
composition and character which is all its own. Your determining factor
in the selection of lodge programs will center on this composition.
Programs should be developed which keep in mind the aim for common
objectives even for men of dissimilar backgrounds.
The Master who creates Masonic
programs which are of interest to the brethren creates an ongoing
foundation of fellowship and establishes a bond of continued and open
communication necessary to sustain interest and induce attendance.
Social, Cultural and Intellectual
Stimuli: When the Master blends the social aspects of lodge programs
onto his calendar with ongoing cultural and learning experiences such as
Masonic education, Masonic book reviews or a talk about one of
Freemasonry's many symbols each lodge night, members reap the rewards,
This all begins with the Master as he
sets his designs upon his trestleboard.
Does this sound forbiddingly
difficult? It really isn't.
Possible Programs Throughout the
Past Master's Night
Founder's Day Observance
Father and Son Banquet - Short Speech: "What I Receive
By Being a Member of This Lodge"
Mother's Day Breakfast - with a special card given and
signed by several or all of the lodge's members
Scholarship Award Dinner
Widow's Support Program
Preparing For The East: Masonic
It has been said many times over the last century that the
prime reason for poor attendance in the average lodge is the ongoing
lack of Masonic education.
Masonic Education: Masonic
education is an educational meeting for enlightenment and fellowship.
Lodge business is not discussed. Allow plenty of time for those present
to ask questions and make comments. Meetings of this type usually last
one hour and often the discussion continues in the dining room at
Ask your Grand Lodge what Masonic
education program media, such as films, videos and slide presentations
that are available. You can also simply print one of the pages from
this website about one of Freemasonry's many symbols to discuss with the
Worshipful Master's Duty:
Masonic education shouldn't be dull or boring. There are many
fascinating aspects and topics within Freemasonry's history which your
members are hungry to learn. Your prime duty as Worshipful Master is to
Preparing For the East: Minimizing Your
Control the Meeting: The Master who is ill-prepared looks
ill-prepared. If a Past Master must whisper each and every move to the
Master, the Master does not have control of the meeting. If the Master
does not have a planned agenda each meeting, how can he carry it out?
A lodge senses devotion and
understanding from the Master. The Master who has studied his work and
outlined his plan for each meeting can relax, smile and enjoy the
proceedings. Conversely, the opposite is also true.
Ask The Secretary To Summarize
Correspondence: Meetings can quickly become unraveled when
correspondence and Grand Lodge communications are read word for word.
Kindly speaking to the Secretary to request a
short summarization creates a tighter, more positive meeting and one
which is easier to control.
No one likes to stay late because the Secretary
had an hour's worth of mail to read to the lodge. In the interests of a
positive experience and increased peace and harmony, seriously consider
asking your Secretary for short summarizations.
Some lodges guard against lengthy
meetings by convening two stated meetings each month...the first is held
to conduct lodge business and the second for a program. Of course, this
depends upon the amount of degree work needing to be performed.
Degree work should also be placed onto the
Master's calendar for all to be informed. One easy way to create and
utilize the lodge calendar of events for members to be able to check at
the last minute (without calling other members) is to create a public
calendar as part of a Yahoo! (or other) e-mail address.
Set up a Yahoo! (or other) e-mail
address as "ABC_Lodge_No_123@yahoo.com" The contents of the e-mail
address is only viewable by those who need to use it to disperse group
e-mails to members. The calendar, however, can be made public for all
members who have internet capabilities.
This reduces wasted time on the part
of certain members who receive excessive calls from other members
attempting to ascertain the details of scheduled meetings, degrees,
Lodges which have a website may also
choose to create such a calendar on their site for quick and easy
access. This is also helpful for family members who can check the
calendar and integrate event dates and times into their own personal
calendars. This helps to increase attendance at open meeting events, as
well as keeps family members "in the loop" as to schedule planning.
Preparing For The East: From Planning
to Execution of Duties
Well thought out preparation and planning result in good
execution and control.
Good execution results in stimulated
interest in lodge affairs.
Good attendance is the natural result
of stimulated interest...all of which begin with Preparation and
Good Execution and control do not
just "happen". They are pre-planned. You can choose to run your
meeting or can choose to let the meeting run you.
Preparing for the East does not mean
"iron fist" control. It means by planning each meeting intelligently,
choosing topics diligently, being conscious and ever vigilant of
time-wasting activities and communicating effectively with each
committee that is in charge of segments of the necessary lodge duties,
each member feels and exerts a responsibility for the overall well being
of the lodge.
Organization: Once this
organizational aspect is put into place, it reduces the pressure on the
Master to be responsible for each and every facet of the lodge's
Masonic Education: Once
ongoing Masonic education is put into place, the lodge becomes a
dynamically empowered "beehive" of activity with each member knowing,
understanding and seamlessly executing their functions within it.
What About Next Year?
Continuity among line officers is required to sustain an increase in
attendance. Nothing kills the momentum of a great year quicker than the
failure to follow up with another up-tempo year and then another. This
is where the inception of a Warden's Club can be very beneficial. More
on it in a moment.
This regenerated enthusiasm from year
to year becomes contagious. Word spreads about the positive experiences
enjoyed in lodge. This results in increased attendance which feeds on
itself. The Masonic light of Freemasonry burns ever brighter because
the Master spent his time wisely preparing for the East.
Keep the Momentum Flowing:
How can you, as Master, help your line officers begin preparing for the
East and keep the momentum which you started, snowballing forward into
the next year...and the next?
Here is a suggestion to help lodge officers begin preparing for the
Preparing for the East...The Warden's
- To help and assist Junior and
Senior Wardens in learning the ritual associated with the higher
- Develop and improve
relationships between lodges by facilitating knowledge and
communication between officers sharing the same duties.
- Provide the Senior Warden with
the necessary knowledge (ritual & charge) for ruling efficiently
on Day 1.
- Develop interest and
participation within the district.
All Senior and Junior Wardens within a district and all Past Masters
who would be willing to share their experiences.
A small group of Wardens with at
least one Past Master or ritualist assembled around a table or close by
each other, cipher book in hand. Each Warden assumes a role in a play
of “Ping Pong Ritual".
By hearing and repeating ritual back and
forth, (ping-pong) over and over, ritual can be learned more quickly by
everyone who participates...and everyone benefits.