My name is Hiram Drummond. I'm Senior Warden of Boaz Lodge, No. 59 in Centerville,
Maine. I've been in line six years now. Next year, if all goes well, I'll
be Master of Boaz Lodge.
As I went through the chairs, I was fairly punctual
in my attendance, tried to do what was expected of me and paid attention
to the advice given me. I also tried to learn from the not entirely complimentary
observations made by a few of the older members about the performance
of some of the Masters in line ahead of me.
I want to do a good job as Master of Boaz Lodge.
I have put too much time into it just to slide through and pick up my
past master's jewel at the end. Sliding through, of course, is the easy
way. Don't stick your neck out. Don't rock the boat. Don't ruffle any
feathers. Do everything just the way it has always has been done in the
past. Well, I'm not that kind of person. Even if I were, that way of doing
things has not brought Boaz Lodge very much success in recent years. No,
my name isn't Hiram for nothing. I'm going to do the job as best I see
it, and as best I can. It is going to be square, level and plumb.
One thing I know for sure. I won't get anything done
unless I set some goals and have a plan. Everyone needs a personal trestleboard.
This is mine.
Budget. The first
thing I need to get a handle on is the lodge budget. I haven't paid much
attention to that in the past. I've noticed that no one else has either.
Dues notices go out, money comes in, and everyone hopes there will be
enough to pay the bills. I don't want to hope. I don't want to be surprised.
I want to know. This is what I'm doing: I have put together an income
statement showing how much I expect the lodge will take in during the
coming year in dues, fees and other sources of income. Then I will itemize
the projected expenses for the year. If the income doesn't equal the expenses,
I've got a problem. If so, I want to know about it before my installation
and not after. Then, if I or someone else comes up with an idea that costs
money, I'll know if we have the money to do it. The outline of my
budget is Item A attached to this trestleboard.
My main goal is to leave Boaz Lodge better than I found it.
A few years ago the Grand Lodge Education Committee prepared a short paper
called The Lodge Leadership Program. It wasn't really a program.
It was a planning tool. The most useful part is the five pages at the
end that gives indicators of lodge activity in the areas of ritual, Masonic
education, fellowship activities, building maintenance and care and share
activities. The Lodge Leadership Program is Item
B attached to this trestle board. I am going to check off the things
that Boaz Lodge does already, and then write down here the things I would
like to do next year in each of the five areas. I know that the District
Deputy and the District Education Representative will want to go over
them with me. I want to be able to show them that I understand the areas
which need work in order to keep Boaz Lodge a living Lodge.
Many Masters have used a document called the Hallmarks
of a Living Lodge which offers some standards for measuring the of success
of a Lodge. These standards are found in Item
C attached to this Trestleboard. I plan to review these standards
carefully because I know that several Masters in my District found them
useful in planning their year.
Betterment Grants. In addition to leaving Boaz Lodge better
than I found it, I want to make sure it has a good reputation in the community.
One of the things I will be able to do is apply for a matching grant to
the Masonic Charitable Foundation. The application form and directions
are attached as Item D.
I need to think about a community betterment project which would involve
members of the Lodge and which we could accomplish. Last year the Foundation
matched Lodge funds dollar for dollar up to $500. This year they plan
to do at least that much and maybe more. These are a few of the community
betterment ideas I will discuss with my officers.
I'm going to start early to setup my line officers. I have seen others
wait until the last minute. Then they twist arms and tell each prospect
there's nothing much to the job, no major commitment. Well, those are
the guys that drop out of line when they find out there is a commitment.
I am going to try to leave behind me a strong line of committed officers.
I'm going to start my list of officers right now.
While I'm about it, I need to line up some other
people. Our rehearsals can get a little irregular and disorganized. During
our Degrees two or three sideliners will often speak out every time someone
hesitates. I want to smooth that operation out. I need a man who knows
the ritual, who is willing to help out at rehearsals and who is willing
to act as prompter. My choice for Ritual Instructor is:_____________________________telephone:_______________
I nave seen too many candidates go through the three degrees learning
little or nothing about Masonry. I suppose they end up thinking this is
fun night with a little hocus-pocus thrown in. They don't learn any of
the valuable lessons of Masonry. They never learn what it's all about.
It's no surprise that many of them don't come back.
I need three Brothers on my Candidate Education Committee
who can help the candidates with their lessons and who are willing to
meet with them and explain their degrees using the materials provided
in the candidate Instructors Manual. I would the five members to divide
up the responsibilities so that each one covers one segment: Accepted
Candidate, Entered Apprentice, Fellowcraft, Master Mason and Fourth Night.
These are my choices for members of my Education Committee.
Member ________________________ Tel:___________
Member ________________________ Tel:___________
Member ________________________ Tel:__________
Member ________________________ Tel:___________
The truth of the matter is that our building looks a little seedy. Nothing
major. A good cleaning, some fresh paint and a little routine maintenance
would help. Some of the guys think these jobs just get done by themselves.
I don't know whether they think their mother's are going to do it or what.
I do know things don't get done unless you tend to them. I need three
men who are handy and have some time - perhaps some retired brethren -
who are willing to make the building a personal project so the place will
be more presentable to the public and especially to prospective candidates.
I don't expect them to do all the work, just to organize it. These are
& Lectures. There always seems to be some confusion at
the beginning of each year about who is doing what lecture. Our Master
almost never assigns lectures. Some men drift into one lecture and hold
on to it for five years. That's not the way to do it. Each officer should
progress through the chairs learning a little more at each step. There
are basically six lectures: three in the EA degree, on in the FC degree
and the two parts of the Master Mason lecture. This is the plan of lectures
that I would like to set up:
on Inquiry. The custom in my lodge has been to appoint the same
members to the Committee on Inquiry year after year. That's not necessarily
bad if they are doing their job. I want to make sure my committee does
its job and checks out each petitioner before recommending him. If there's
any doubt in my mind, I will ask someone else to serve on this committee.
These are my choices:
I'm going to tell my Committee of Inquiry that I
don't want them to
just rubber stamp applications. I want them to meet with prospective
candidates. We try to improve ourselves in Masonry. There are several
ways we do this: We do it through the lessons of our degrees, for sure.
But the most important way we learn Masonry is from each other. A Mason
should be able to sit in his lodge and look to the man on hisright and
to the man on his left and feel confident he can learn something from
the way those men live their lives. The Committee of Inquiry has the job
of making the initial determination about the applicant. I need to make
it clear that I want this committee to do its job. The fact that they
may be older or have more credentials than I will not keep me from making
I will have ten stated communications during my year. One of those will
be the annual meeting. That leaves nine to plan for. Degree work is hard
to anticipate because I don't know how many candidates I will have or
when I will get them or how fast they will progress. In any event, I would
like to do degree work on specials. For my stated meetings I would like
to have programs. I would like three or four Masonic programs and three
or four non-Masonic programs.
For my Masonic programs I will talk to the District Deputy and the District Rep for suggestions.
Here are some subjects that would interest
members of Boaz Lodge.
1. Prince Hall Masonry today
2. Masonry in the thirteen colonies
3. Masonic charities today
4. Blue Lodge Masonry and the appendant bodies
5. Masonry in the Civil War
6. How Grand Lodge works
7. Duties of the District Deputy and the District
For non-Masonic programs I am going to look first to our own
members. If we have a fire chief or a police chief or the chairman of
budget board, he will have something he knows about and would like to
talk about. Any of our members who are involved in businesses or professions
or community activities will have interesting topics. Here are the three
I am going to ask to present short programs:
I want to have some non-Masons as well. The head of our local rescue squad is not a Mason but could give
an interesting talk. A local stock broker is not a Mason but would be
very willing to describe what he does in hopes of getting some new customers.
Here are three non-Masons that I would like to invite to speak.
It is always a little awkward having non-Masons as
they cannot come into our meeting. One way that I can handle this is to
open the lodge early, recess, have the speaker, break for refreshments,
and then have a short business meeting after he or she has left. I'll
have to check my by-laws to be sure they'll let me do this.
I need to set up my pocket calendar for next year
showing my stated meetings and enter as soon as I can the programs I have
for those meetings. I need to note regularly scheduled suppers, Special
Ladies Night and any other special events, such as Past Masters nights
or District Meeting. I need to keep this calendar up to date so that I
can make plans and keep track of inspections, district meetings and schools
of instruction. The first date I have to plan is my installation, and
that brings up my next subject.
Installation. I need to start planning now. This
is the date I have selected _____________________.This is the time ______________________
There are some people I need to line up early:
The person helping me with the refreshments is:____________
The person helping me put the program together is:__________
The person helping me set up is:_______________
I plan to give little mementos to my installing suite. This is what I
Frankly I get bored with business meetings. Most people get bored with
them. Ours seem to last forever. That is going to change. I am going to
use the recommended agenda attached as Item D to this trestleboard to
keep me on track.
I'm not getting bogged down in meetings. I'm going
to avoid getting
bogged down by doing two things: First, when I want to present something
at the meeting, I'm going to make sure that my officers know about it
and that one of them makes a motion to get it on the floor for discussion.
Second, whenever it looks like we're not going to make a decision easily,
I am going to appoint a committee and ask them to report back with a recommendation
at our next stated meeting. I want a reputation for short, crisp, business
Past Masters Night.
This is a tradition in Boaz Lodge and probably in most lodges. I plan
to do what many presiding Masters do: I will ask my predecessor, the most
junior Past Master, to organize the evening. The way most people go about
this is to start with the oldest Past Master and come forward asking each
in turn his choice of Chair for Past Masters Night. If no one takes the
Masters Chair, the junior Past Master does it. It he is clever he can
fill all the chairs before it gets to him. I don't know exactly what I
will have for candidates, but I would like to have Past Master's night
My District Deputy will pick the date for the Annual Inspection. I have
the procedure for receiving the District Deputy in HIRAM'S HANDBOOK. Some District Deputies like to come
around a week early or on rehearsal night to check the secretary's records
and the treasurer's books. I will offer to do that. I will remember to
tell the ticket taker that our custom is to give supper tickets to the
District Deputy and his Marshal. I would like to schedule my inspection
Special Ladies Night. This has become a tradition at Boaz Lodge and most other
lodges in Maine. Some lodges schedule this event in the evening and some
prefer luncheon meetings, on a Saturday in May for example. Luncheons
are popular because some widows don't like to go out after dark or when
it is icy. We always invite the widow and a guest. This is important because
a few of them like to have someone bring them, a friend or a daughter.
Musical programs are good. Sing-a-longs are especially popular. This is
my plan for the special ladies:
Person in Charge of Invitations: __________________________
Person in Charge of the Meal: __________________________
I have seen many Masters work very hard at the Special
Ladies event - but they spend all their time in the kitchen. I know that
it is important for me to speak to each one of the ladies individually.
They are guests of my lodge, and this year I am the host.
Night. We need to give better recognition to our Brothers
who mark Masonic milestones. My grandfather received his 50 year medal
several years ago. My grandmother found it in his drawer after he died.
It was the first time she had ever seen it. I plan to invite family members
to be present when we recognize Brothers for long years of service to
our lodge and to the fraternity. Also, I want pictures for the local papers.
A Fellowship Night.
Every Lodge needs new members. Boaz Lodge is no exception. I have attended
a couple of Fellowship Nights and notice that over half of the guests
submitted applications. Fellowship nights have proven themselves to be
a good way to introduce Masonry to a prospective member and his wife.
The steps for setting up a Fellowship night is found in Section 17 of HIRAM'S HANDBOOK. I am going to talk to the
District Deputy about holding a District-wide Fellowship Night.
If others are not interested, I will hold one right here for Boaz Lodge.
My goal is to have a number of candidates equal to five
percent of my total membership. That is what the figures say we must have
each year to maintain our membership. I am not going to wait and see if
any petitions come in. I am going to speak to two or three of my own friends
about Masonry. I am going to give them information about Masonry and point
out that our tradition is that a man must ask for an application. There
are several reasons for this: First, if we stick to this rule it prevents,
or should prevent, arm twisting. A man should not submit an application
under pressure. Second, it puts the pressure on us where it should be.
If we are good Masons, do what Masons should do, and have a reputation
for being good men, then non-Masons will be eager to submit applications.
I need to talk to my District Deputy about a Fellowship
Night. This is a tried and true formula. Men and their families learn
a great deal about Masonry at Fellowship Nights. A significant percentage
of them submit applications. The yield is good, and I'll want to take
advantage of this way of introducing some prospective candidates to Masonry.
Just to get it straight, I am going to write this whole process down.
After I have read a petition, the proper motion is to receive the
petition and refer it to the Committee of Inquiry. I am going to
make sure that someone makes this motion correctly.
When it is time to ballot on a petition, I am going
to read it and say, We are now going to ballot on the petition of
John Doe to receive the degrees of Masonry. Brother Senior Deacon, you
will prepare the ballot. I will then take it to the Junior Warden,
the Senior Warden and back to me.
Each of us will take the drawer out of the box, turn it upside down
and put it back in. I will then say, We are now going to ballot
on the petition of John Doe to receive the degrees of Masonry. Remember,
white balls elect, black cubes reject. Vote wisely and vote for the good
of the Order. I will then vote.
The Senior Deacon will take the ballot box to the
Senior Warden, the Junior Warden, the Chaplain and then clockwise around
the lodge. The Senior Deacon will vote last and then appear before me.
I will say, Have all voted who are entitled to do so?
If there is no objection, I will say, I now declare the ballot
closed. Brother Senior Deacon you will present the ballot South, West
and East for EXAMINATION. That being done, I will ask, Brother Junior Warden, how find you the ballot in the South?
and then ask the same question to the Senior Warden in the West. If both
report that the ballot is clear and I, too, find the ballot clear, I will
say, Finding the ballot clear in the East, you have elected
John Doe to receive the degrees of Masonry.
If there is one black cube the ballot should be called
cloudy. On the basis that there may have been a mistake, I
will destroy the ballot and repeat the procedure. If the cube appears
a second time I will announce, Finding the ballot again cloudy
in the East, you have voted to deny John Doe the degrees of Masonry. If there are two black cubes , the ballot will be called dark
and I will announce, Finding the ballot dark in the East, you
have voted to deny John Doe the degrees of Masonry.
I will not forget to see that my Tyler has an opportunity
to vote. If he wishes to vote, I will have the Junior Deacon step outside
the tiled door while the Tyler comes in to vote.
This is the custom in our Lodge. I understand in
some Lodges the ballot is not sent South and West for examination because
a Master has to declare a ballot dark if an absent Brother has previously
made his objection known to the Master. If that happens to me, I will
drop a black cube myself.
First impressions are important. It is important to give the prospective
candidate information about Masonry. It is important for the investigating
committee to speak positively about Masonry. It is important for the man
who proposes him tell him about the ballot. It is important for the Secretary
to send him a letter announcing a favorable vote in the form found in Section 9 of the HANDBOOK. It is important for the Chairman of the Education
Committee and his proposer to meet with the prospect prior to his first
degree. The information to be covered in such a meeting is listed in the
Instructor's Manual. All of these things are designed to make a candidate
comfortable in a new and potentially awkward situation. I need to talk
to the proposers, the Secretary and the Chairman of the Education Committee
about these things.
Progress Chart. I know that if a candidate is to complete
his three degrees and feel comfortable about it, comfortable enough to
come back and comfortable enough to visit another lodge, he needs to know
some of the basics. These basics are listed on the candidate progress
chart, which I am attaching as Item F.
This chart will be useful to the Chairman of the
Education Committee to mark each candidate's progress. More directly,
it will be useful to me. My most important job as Master is to make sure
that a basic knowledge of the craft is passed on to each new Mason. I
am going to have that chart in front of me when I ask the Chairman of
the Educational Committee if the candidate is ready to go on to his next
I've seen a lot of Masters stumble on the simple matter of changing from
one degree to another. This is my note so that I will do it correctly.
To change from Master Mason to Entered Apprentice, for example, I will
say, Waiving the usual signs and ceremonies, I declare labor
suspended in a Lodge of Master Masons a Lodge of Entered Apprentices opened
for work. Brother Senior Deacon will arrange the lights, Brother Junior
Deacon will inform the Tyler.
After the work is completed in the lower degree I
will say, I declare work concluded in a Lodge of Entered Apprentices
and labor resumed in a Lodge of Master Masons. Brother Senior Deacon will
rearrange the lights, Brother Junior Deacon will inform the Tyler.
Letter to a Wife.
After a candidate has been initiated as an Entered Apprentice, I am going
to send a letter to his wife to ease any concerns she may have. The form
letter I will use is in Section 9 of the HANDBOOK.
Once a candidate takes his first degree, I want to start right in making
him feel a part of Boaz Lodge, involving him in the life of the lodge.
There is a list of simple things I can do as presiding Master to arrange
a simple apprenticeship. That list is in Section
7 of the HANDBOOK. If
I don't get him involved right away I may lose him. I am going to try
to involve each candidate in all 12 of the activities on that list.
I hope I don't have any memorial services during my year, but the odds
are that I'll have several. There are some things that I must remember
First, I need to remember to read the text through
several times before each service. Just reading it over will make it go
Second, I need to remember it is important for me,
as Master, to go speak to the widow/or family after the service. This
is always a difficult situation, but it's not necessary to say a lot:
it is only necessary to say (1) that we appreciate being asked to do the
service; (2) that Brother Doe was a good Mason and will be greatly missed;
and (3) if there is anything we can do to help, please let us know. There
is not much more that can be said. If I need to say more, I will say those
same things again in a slightly different way and leave the family to
speak with the others that are present.
Third, after the service I will send a letter to
the new widow in the form found if Section
7 of the HANDBOOK.
Dues. Unfortunately, we have a few members who are chronically
late in the payment of their dues. Our rules call for formal notification
by Certified Mail followed by a vote on suspension. Before all that happens
I would like to send a less formal letter to the delinquent brother to
see if we can help the brother out and to see if we can avoid a
suspension. The form letter found in Section
9 of the HANDBOOK.
I will have two tasks at the Annual Meeting. I need to get all the reports
approved and I need to get a new slate of officers elected. First are
the reports: The Secretary and the Treasurer will read their annual reports.
After each report the Motion should be To lay the report on the
table pending the report of the Finance Committee. After the report
of the Finance Committee, the motion should be to approve the report
of the Finance Committee, report of the Secretary and the report of the
Balloting for a new slate of officers is tricky,
since everyone advances one chair with a few newer men being added as
Stewards. Simple enough. But the rule is that each officer is to be voted
on individually by secret ballot, yes or no. There is a good reason for
this. If it appears that a man is deemed to be inappropriate to advance
to a new office the members have an opportunity to prevent it. Some lodges
follow this rule scrupulously. In the past we have taken some short cuts
at Boaz Lodge. That works as long as no one objects. If any one objects
I will be in hot water. I will keep my eyes open prior to the May Annual
meeting. If there is even the hint of dissatisfaction, I will conduct
the balloting strictly by the rules and not follow any past short cuts.
Sometimes, the hard way is the best.
are two awards that each lodge is eligible for. The first is the Raymond
Rideout Award for Masonic Education. The criteria for that award is attached
as Item G.
The second award is the Grand Lecturer's Award for
excellence in ritual. I owe it to my Lodge to do whatever I can to put
Boaz in competition for these two awards. It's a year long process to
do the things necessary to qualify. I will start planning now.
Starting now and continuing right through to my successor's installation
as Worshipful Master, I have to remember that for one year I will be the
voice of Boaz Lodge. One of the most important parts of my job, if not
the most important, is communication. There are several groups that I
must reach out to.
I need to communicate to my officers. I need to tell
them what I expect of them, what lectures I would like them to be responsible
for and what committees they will serve on.
I need to communicate with the Brethren. I need to
speak individually with each brother who attends a Lodge meeting to let
him know that I notice him and I appreciate the fact that he is there.
I need to remember that my trestleboard is the only way I have to communicate
with 90 per cent of my members. I need to make it informative, telling
the brethren what is going on. I need to mention names
and give credit. My trestleboard is a way to let absent Brethren know
there is activity at Boaz Lodge and that they are missing it.
I need to communicate with my Past Masters and make
them part of my team. I know they are the backbone of Boaz Lodge. They
have invested a lot of time over the years and I know they will be willing
to help if they see that others are making an effort.
I need to communicate appreciation on behalf of the lodge to everyone
who helps out on a project, from the chief cook to the bottle washer.
They are all important. I need to thank them in public and give them credit
in my trestleboard. Everyone likes to know that his effort is recognized.
One of my most important tasks is to offer that recognition on behalf
of the whole lodge.
I need to communicate with the elder Brethren and
the widows. A visit is important. A telephone call is almost as good.
I have to remember that I communicate not only my personal concern but
the concern of the whole lodge.
I need to recognize and chat with each wife that
comes to a lodge event. I know that today both husband and wife usually
work. Their time is valuable. It is important for wives to feel that their
husband's membership is important. I want to make sure that any fellowship
activities or recognition evenings include wives so that lodge membership
offers an opportunity to participate.
This is my trestleboard. It is a tall order. It won't
be easy. It won't be simple, but it can be done. My name isn't Hiram for