There is no greater honor for a Freemason than when he becomes elevated to the Chair as the Lodge Master or Worshipful Master of the Lodge.
Most Brothers elevated to this Chair feel pleased and anxious at the same time. They receive the gavel of authority with trepidation.
The Worshipful Master has various tasks and duties to perform. He has various subordinates to help him carry out this duty. The Worshipful Master office can be likened to the role of a CEO in a company. The Worshipful Master is essentially responsible for the smooth running of the Masonic Lodge.
Before becoming Worshipful Master, the Brother must be well prepared. It is essential to be well-prepared for the role, so you are excellent at what you do. You must be confident of your abilities to interpret your role and carry out your duties well.
Outside the Masonic Lodge, the word ‘Master’ is often taken to mean someone that should be served. But in the Masonic Lodge, the Master is a teacher and not someone that should be served.
The Worshipful Master assumes the role to serve the Brethren and see to their needs. The Worshipful Master is like the Queen Bee in a beehive.
The Worshipful Master is carefully selected for the role, and he is someone that has been groomed for the Chair during his tenure as Senior Warden, Junior Warden and other Masonic positions.
The Worshipful Master oversees everyone in the Lodge and ensures that they are carrying out their duties efficiently. It is the duty of the Worshipful Master to admonish those that are not contributing their part in making the Masonic Lodge functional.
Not every Freemason will eventually become a Worshipful Master. Only those that have been deemed worthy will ascend the Chair. The Lodge Master is the one that everyone in the Lodge turns to for direction.
Members of the Lodge must do all they can to help the Worshipful Master oversee the affairs of the Lodge successfully. The Worshipful Master must play his part in helping to gather new members, nurture them and retain them as Brothers in the Lodge. The Worshipful Master must understand that if members are not well nurtured, the Lodge will become smaller and may even be forced to merge with another lodge.
Duties of the Worshipful Master
The following are the duties of the Worshipful Master:
- He represents the Lodge at the Grand Lodge
- He is responsible for scheduling Lodge functions
- He performs Degree and Ritual work
- He updates the Lodge By-Laws as necessary
- He oversees the financial issues of the Lodge as necessary
- He takes time in learning various Masonic allegory and symbols, and he shares his knowledge with others as necessary
- He educates the Brethren
- He delegates duties to Lodge committees
- He delegates duties to Lodge officials
- He is responsible for the Trestleboard communication
- He is in charge of the maintenance of Lodge regalia
The Exemplary Worshipful Master
The exemplary Worshipful Master exhibits the following during his tenure:
- A living force: The exemplary Worshipful Master must live an honorable Masonic life so that the Brethren see him as a strong living force and figurehead that all can see as a role model.
- The Master’s Hat: The exemplary Worshipful Master must be humble. He must realize that the honor belongs to the hat and not the person wearing the hat. He must never think of himself alone, and he must think of honorable duty to the brethren alone.
- Dignity and respect: The exemplary Worshipful Master brings dignity and respect to the office.
- Honorable person: The exemplary Worshipful Master is an honorable person that takes delight in behaving honorably when discharging his duties.
- Knowledgeable person: He gains knowledge of Masonic literature and recommends the right books for Brothers in the Lodge.
- Tireless worker: The exemplary Worshipful Master serves the Lodge tirelessly. The Worshipful Master gives no thought to his rest, his personal engagements, his recreation or social engagements when the Lodge calls. The Worshipful Master puts the need of the Lodge above his needs. He puts the Lodge above all other things apart from his family and God.
- Punctual person: The exemplary Worshipful Master is always punctual and never late to meetings in any circumstance. He is not someone that wastes the time of other Brothers. He values time the same way he values the Lodge’s money.
- Peaceful person: He promotes peace and harmony in the Lodge. The exemplary Worshipful Master relieves tension in the Lodge and brings together Brothers that have issues with each other. The ideal Worshipful Master avoids having issues with any Brother as he is a friend to every brother, officer and Past Master in the Lodge.
- Finances: He promotes the financial wellbeing of the Lodge. He ensures that the Lodge is in a better financial state than when he met it. He maintains the Lodge in a way that he spends less money and get optimal value for every penny spent. He has a good understanding of the Lodge financial status and account balance, and he keeps good records.
- Grand Lodge liaison: The ideal Worshipful Master is a liaison with the Grand Lodge. He pays attention to his duties in the Grand Lodge. He attends Grand Lodge meetings, and he votes, participate actively in deliberations and does all he can to see the Jurisdiction progress.
- Interesting and relevant meetings: The exemplary Worshipful Master holds interesting Lodge Meetings. He works hard to organize events and arrange interesting programs that will benefit everyone in the Lodge. He understands that basic ritual degree is interesting, and he provides education and instruction to his brethren.
- Masonic education: The exemplary Worshipful Master provides good instruction and education to his Brothers. He ensures that no Brothers leave Lodge meetings without having gained a better understanding of Freemasonry through his words, acts and conduct.
- Preparation for leadership: The exemplary Worshipful Master prepares other Brothers in the Lodge for when they will in turn ascend the east. He helps them learn as much as possible about Freemasonry.
- Comfort: The exemplary Worshipful Master plays a huge role in comforting members of the Lodge who are going through one thing or the other. He tends to the ill and the ones going through moments of sorrow.
- A person of balance: The exemplary Worshipful Master is a person of balance. He is fair to all and acts as a balance wheel.
- Masonic ritual: The exemplary Worshipful Master carries out well thought out degrees and ritual. He teaches candidates about ritual work and what they mean. In doing so, he ensures that they become faithful and well-enlightened brethren.
- A fair person: The exemplary Worshipful Master is a fair person. He rules fairly and justly. He understands that justice must be tempered with kindness and mercy.
- Acknowledge his limitations: The exemplary Worshipful Master must acknowledge his limitations and work within them.
- Seek counsel: The exemplary Worshipful Master must seek counsel and advice where necessary.
- Policies ahead of details: The exemplary Worshipful Master must be focused on policies ahead of details.
- Suggestions: The exemplary Worshipful Master must be ready to listen to suggestions and wise enough to follow only those suggestions that are appropriate.
- Enthusiastic person: The exemplary Worshipful Master must be an enthusiastic person. He must be enthusiastic about his duties.
- Proficient delegator: The exemplary Worshipful Master must be skilled at delegating tasks. He must realize that he can’t do everything on his own. He must delegate details to committees and request for reports at meetings. He requests for their issues, findings and determinations for him and the other Brothers. Delegation is necessary for his job to become manageable. If he does not delegate well, his job will be unmanageable, and he will be tired, overburdened and unhappy.
Lodge Committees as Helpers for the Worshipful Master
As stated earlier, the Lodge Master must continually delegate to Lodge Committees. He must make a list of all Lodge Committees and Committees members. He must select members that he feel will best serve each committee.
Do not be tempted to choose your friends or high-ranking officials alone. Your Junior Warden and Senior Warden can head some Committees, and you can choose interested members to serve in these committees too.
You can appoint members that like to cook to the Refreshment Committee. You can select an accountant or a bookkeeper as the head of the Budget and Auditing Committees. Assign at least three members to each committee to make them more effective. The committees should have a Chairman and two members. Only the Masonic Home Representative committee may have one member alone. Here is a list of committees in the Masonic Lodge:
- The Refreshment Committee
- The By-Laws Committee
- The Auditing Committee
- The Budget Committee
- The Funeral Committee
- The Grievance Committee
- The Sickness Committee
- The Masonic Board of Relief
- The Outside Charities Committee
- The Committee for Suspension due to Non-Payment of Dues
- The Masonic Home Information Representative Committee
- The Masonic Education Committee
- The Ritual Committee
- The Preparation Committee
Members of the Masonic Lodge Committees Members
Create a balance when selecting members of the Masonic Lodge Committees. Do not select Lodge officers alone. Lodge members must learn committee duties in preparation for them to be officers. Members that are selected for committees must be committed, skillful and knowledgeable. Lodge officers should be committee chairmen where possible to prepare them for when they will become Worshipful Master.
Interaction with Lodge Committees
Seek the contribution of committees during meetings. Committees should present their report in a concise manner that shows that they are fully prepared. Even if they don’t have anything to report, draw them into meetings by asking relevant questions in which other Lodge brethren will be interested in.
It is advisable that the Lodge Master has a Lodge Notebook that he uses to note down relevant things and areas of focus. The notebook can guide you during meetings and serve as a reference point. It can be used to jot down questions to ask during meetings, date of meetings, budget agenda and some by-laws. The notebook will save you a lot of time, and it will make you look more prepared and in control of things. The Lodge notebook will help you answer questions well since you have all Lodge data with you.
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