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Requirements To Become Master

CHAPTER Iv

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:

1. To congregate or assemble his Lodge.

2. To preside over his Lodge when congregated.

3. To represent the Lodge with the Wardens at the communications of the Grand Lodge.

4. To control admission of both members and visitors to his Lodge.

5. To have control of the charter or warrant of the Lodge.

6. To appoint all committees and temporary officers.

7. To have one vote in Lodge and in the event of a tie to cast the tiebreaker even though he has already voted.

8. To be exempt from trial by his Lodge.

9. To compel by summons the attendance of members and the right to issue the summons.

10. To stand for re-election to office as often as the Lodge may choose to confer that honor upon him.

11. To receive the Past Master's Degree upon election to the office of Worshipful Master and before his installation.

12. To sign all orders upon the Treasurer for payment of disbursements ordered by the Lodge.

13. To install his successor.

What the Master May Not Do

(Pages 191-193 of the Code)

The Master may not:

1. Suspend an elective office, but he may suspend an appointive officer. The Grand Master may suspend any elective officer pending the examination of charges preferred against him in his Lodge. (Proc. 1892, pp. 33-38)

2. Draw money from the Treasury of the Lodge except by vote of the lodge.

3. Confer degrees except by the full consent of the members of the Lodge. (Sec. 103, G.L. Code)

4. Inflict penalties or grant dimits these can only be done by the Lodge.

5. Make or admit, pass or raise a member in less than one month, except by dispensation of the Grand Master.

6. Declare the minutes to be approved or confirmed, but may refuse under certain circumstances to put a motion to confirm (Proc. 1892, pp. 33-38). If the minutes contain something that is not proper, he can refuse to put the motion to approve them.

7. Order stricken from the minutes anything proper to be written. (Sec. 75, G.L. Code.)

8. Convene his Lodge on Sunday before noon, except to attend the funeral of a brother or divine service. (Sec. 77, G.L. Cons.)

9. Initiate, pass or raise more than seven at the same communication, unless by dispensation of the Grand Master. (Sec. 80, G.L. Cons.)

10. Receive a petition over the protest of the Lodge, but may refuse to receive it if it is irregular or violates the Grand Lodge Constitution. The petition being regular, the Lodge is the judge of whether it shall be received.

11. Ask another Lodge to confer the degrees without permission of the Lodge. (Sec. 100, G.L. Cons.; Proc 1890, pp. 5-6, 50)

12. Permit the reception of a petition for the degrees from anyone who has not resided in the District of Columbia for the 12 months next preceding its presentation, unless by dispensation of the Grand Master. (Sec. 110, G.L. Cons.)

13. Permit the reception of the petition or the initiation, of any candidate who is under twenty-one years of age. (Sec. 102, G.L. Cons. and Form of Petition)

14. Withdraw a petition for the degrees or affiliation after it has been received by the Lodge and referred to a committee, unless it has been irregularly or erroneously received. (Sec. 109, G.L. Cons. and Proc.. 1895, p. 17)

15. Declare a "No Lodge" to exist between the time of opening and closing. A Lodge must always be in one of three conditions at labor, at refreshment, or closed. (Proc. 1873, p. 39; Proc. 1900, p. 37)

16. Call special communications without giving "due and timely notice," if within the Master's power to give it. A special communication called immediately after the close of a stated communication without giving "due and timely notice" is irregular. Candidate advanced at such must be reobligated. (Proc. 1899, p. 23; Proc. 1902, p. 30) The Master may not, at a special communication, permit any business to be transacted other than that for which the communication was called.

17. Demand, as a matter of right, a disclosure to him of the grounds on which an objection is made to an elected candidate receiving the degrees. (Proc. 1875, p. 14)

18. Change the time or place of stated meetings which have been fixed by the by-laws of the Lodge.

19. Permit the reconsideration or annulment of the vote of the Lodge granting a dimit.

20. Permit the Lodge to suspend its by-laws.

21. Resign his office, or dimit from the Lodge, during his term of office. No vacancy can occur in the office of Master except by death or expulsion.

22. So conduct the business of the Lodge as to mislead or deceive the brethren. For instance: If the business is balloting on petitions and the brethren are led to believe that that order of business is finished, and the Master, without announcing that another petition will be taken up and balloted on later in the evening, proceeds later in the evening to take up such petition for the purpose of ballot, he will subject himself to possible discipline by the Grand Master or the Grand Lodge. The Master, above all others, should commit no wrong.

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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Last modified: March 22, 2014