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Requirements To Become Master
THE WORSHIPFUL MASTER'S HANDBOOK
Grand Lodge, F.A.A.M. of the District of Columbia
Ideally, the Master should be appointed in line and progress through the chairs to the Master's station in the East. This allows the Mason who is travelling towards the East to develop the skills and experience which will enable him to become a good Master. The incoming Master must be elected by the Lodge and installed as Master.
Certificate of Proficiency — The Master must receive a Certificate of Proficiency from the Grand Lecturer to open and close the Lodge. To receive this certificate the person must know all the parts to open and close, including all floorwork and purging the Lodge, and stand examination by a member of the Work and Lectures Committee of the Grand Lodge.
Past Master's Degree — The Master must receive the Past Master's degree either in a Provisional Lodge of Past Masters, usually given in December, or in a local Royal Arch Chapter.
Leadership Exam by Grand Lodge — The Master must complete a written leadership exam developed and administered by the Grand Lodge Committee on Masonic Education and Service prior to his installation.
Powers, Authority and Duties of the Worshipful Master
The Master is responsible to the Grand Lodge and the Grand Master for the government of his Lodge. It is therefore necessary and proper that he should have a large discretionary authority in its government and control and not be subject to the control and direction of the members. His authority must be commensurate with his responsibilities. The Master is, however, circumscribed and bound by the obligations of his office and his promises and agreements at the time of his installation.
Prerogatives of the Master:
What the Master May Not Do
(Pages 191-193 of the Code)
The Master may not:
The Master should consider himself responsible:
To the Candidate - The Master should see that the new candidate receives proper Masonic instruction. The Master should make sure that the new candidate feels welcome in the Lodge. This can be done many ways, including the appointment of a Past Master or other member of the Lodge to act as a sponsor for the new brother.
For the Ritualistic Work - This does not mean that he must do any of it himself, but it does mean that he must plan every degree which is conferred in his Lodge. Such planning involves the decision as to which of the officers will occupy the stations during the degrees. Some Lodges have developed systems to insure that the line officers will confer all of the various parts and lectures by the time that they arrive at the East. This is a decision for the Master.
To his Officers - The Master should explain to his officers the business transactions of the Lodge as a matter of information and should seek to impart a degree of training to them to carry on the tradition, the ritualistic excellence and the business of the Lodge.
For Lodge Programs - Few, indeed, are the Masters who are not confronted with the problem of stimulating attendance at Lodge communications. However, a Master who can arouse and keep interest of his members through well planned programs and other activities will soon overcome this vexing problem and find his meetings well attended. The Master should not overlook the use of talent which may be available to him within his own membership.
For Harmony in the Lodge - One of the most important responsibilities is to maintain harmony in the Lodge. This is not to say that authority should be sacrificed for the sake of egos, but that the overall success of the Master will be greatly influenced by how well harmony is maintained among the members. The key to harmony is the manner in which each member of the Lodge is handled by the Master. A Brother who feels that he has a contribution to make to the Lodge will be a willing participant in the Lodge's activities.
For Masonic Funerals - The funeral ceremonies of Freemasonry are almost as old as the institution itself. If properly rendered, the ritual can be impressive and comforting to the family of the deceased and marked with impressive lessons for our own brethren. They have, because of a favorable impression, been the impetus of members of the family and friends to seek Masonic membership. The Master of a Lodge, therefore, has the responsibility to make these services both a credit and a comfort. The Master's first duty, on being informed of the death of one of his brethren, is to call on the family. In making the call he should do so merely for the purpose of conveying to them the sympathy of the brethren. This is in no sense a solicitation on his part to be allowed to conduct the funeral rites. If the rites are wanted by the family, they will make their wishes known.
For Masonic Education - The responsibility for Masonic education in the Lodge must rest by law and custom on the shoulders of the Master. To promote the general good of the order and to tie the individual Mason closer to it by giving him a sense of pride in its accomplishments, its history and its philosophy requires an educational effort beyond mere instruction in the ritual. Freemasonry is intended to build better men and to send them forth to build a better world. This requires that the universal ideal and philosophy of Masonry be inculcated into the hearts and minds of every Mason.
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