The Masonic Bylaws Committee consists of three men. The three men are usually appointed to the committee by the Worshipful Master of the Masonic Lodge. So, the three-man Committee will include a Chairman and two members.
Responsibilities of the Masonic Bylaws Committee
Here are the responsibilities of the Masonic bylaws committee:
- They review the current bylaws of the Lodge and come up with necessary amendments
- They read proposed amendments during meetings
- They provide these amendments to the Masonic Secretary in writing
Since they are responsible for handling the bylaws of the Lodge, the members of the Masonic Bylaws Committee must have a comprehensive knowledge of the bylaws of the Grand Lodge. This will help them in interpreting and amending Lodge bylaws. They need more than a cursory or fundamental knowledge of Lodge bylaw.
Their understanding of Lodge bylaws must be profound and vast. This is a major reason why members of this Committee must be carefully selected by the Worshipful Master.
The Masonic Secretary or Lodge Secretary is typically the most knowledgeable member of the lodge. He is usually someone that has read all the volume books of the Grand Lodge bylaws of the jurisdiction. So, the Lodge Secretary is typically the 3rd or 4th member of the Masonic Bylaws Committee.
But if the Lodge Secretary is not the most knowledgeable person about Masonic Bylaws, the Lodge Master can make inquiries on those that are most familiar with the Bylaws of the Grand Lodge and appoint them to the Bylaws committee.
Every Masonic Lodge should have a library, and the library should contain the most recent copy of the Bylaws of the Grand Lodge. If the library does not contain this copy, you should request for a copy from the Grand Lodge. It is mandatory that the bylaws of subordinate Lodges must be in accordance with the bylaws of the Grand Lodge.
If the bylaws of subordinate Lodges are changed, the Grand Lodge must be notified for approval. So, the Grand Lodge must approve all bylaws amendments.
The most common reason for disapproval of bylaw amendments by the Grand Lodge is because the subordinate Lodge do not understand the Grand Lodge bylaws well. This is another reason why it is important to have members who understand the Grand Lodge bylaws. Once bylaws amendments are disapproved, the process of amending these bylaws must begin all over again.
If the Grand Lodge bylaws are not properly understood, the amendment of lodge bylaws could take a lot of time.
Proposed amendments to the Lodge bylaws are usually read on the 2nd and 3rd stated closed communications. But this could vary depending on the bylaws of a Lodge.
Lodge Ballot: After the 3rd communication, the members vote on the amendments that are to be made. If the Lodge members approve these amendments, the amendments should be typed again with date affixed on them and printed. The modified bylaws should be made available to all the Brothers.
Lodge Annual Review: Bylaws are typically reviewed once a year. Most lodges hold their annual bylaws review at the first annual meeting which is after officers have been installed and before communication with the Grand Lodge.Proposed amendments are mailed to members: The proposed amendments to the bylaws are then mailed to all members along with the due notices. This is better as it saves the expense and effort of mailing the bylaws separately.