Friday, May 29, 2009

Items for the Grand Lodge Website Calendar?

Hello Grand Lodge,
How can we get our lodge's events on the Grand Lodge website calendar?

A Brother.

We welcome postings of lodge special events such as degree work, table lodge events, anniversary celebration, just about any event other than stated communications. Other Masonic related bodies are also welcome to post their special events too. Any lodge or other Masonic body can add items to the Grand Lodge calendar anytime, just go to the calendar page, and in the upper right corner you will see a link “Submit your event.” Follow that link and you get a few brief instructions on a page where you simply fill in the information for your event. Each event must be approved before it is posted and that process takes place behind the scenes, automatically, usually within 24 hours.

Please pay particular attention to the date and time formats; the date must be entered in exactly this format mm/dd/yyyy and if you use anything else it won’t take it. Same on the time formats, they must look like this: 06:00PM or 09:30AM

Special Dispensation for Summer Degree Work?

Good morning R. W. Brother Doug,
Since our Lodge has gone dark for the summer months, do we need special Dispensation from the Grand Master to hold a First Degree later this summer? If so can you get us the dispensation?
Thanks in advance.

Hello W. Brother Secretary,
Even though a lodge traditionally goes dark for the summer months (or in some cases in the winter months), you do not need a special dispensation from the Grand Master to do degree work. Degree work is one of the defined purposes for which a special communication of the lodge may be called by the W. Master at any time, with the exception of Sundays. So presumably the Master wants to call this particular special communication for the purpose of putting on the Entered Apprentice Degree and no further permission from the Grand Master is needed.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

By-law Changes

RWB Doug,
As a follow up to a conversation we had about a month ago about us possibly changing our by-laws to raise the application and degree fees, we have the following questions:
  1. Does this require approval from the Grand Lodge.
  2. If so, what is the protocol (i,e, between the first reading and second or before ever officially presented) and is there a specific format to use?

Dear W. Brother L. P.
Once you have the bylaw changes ready to submit, it must be proposed in writing at a stated meeting of your lodge. If it is approved at that time by the majority of those present, then it is sent to the Grand Lodge office. We get it approved by a member of the Jurisprudence committee and send it back back to the lodge, with a cover letter containing some additional instructions. The lodge then reads it at the subsequent stated meeting and takes no action. Then the lodge publishes a copy to all of the members telling them that a final vote will be taken at the third of this three stated meeting process. At that time, if the change is approved by 2/3 majority then it is sent back to the Grand Lodge office for the Grand Master’s final approval.
The actual Minnesota Masonic Code language is below.
So the short answer is yes, the change does need to be approved by Grand Lodge, using the procedure outlined here.

Here is the section from the Minnesota Masonic Code dealing with bylaw changes:
SECTION G13.32 Neither by-laws of Constituent Lodges nor amendments thereto shall be effective unless approved by the Grand Master and should follow the suggested form in the Masonic Handbook for "Forms and Petitions." They, or any part of them, may be amended at any Stated Communication, but only in the following manner:

(a) Any proposed change must be in writing, by Article and Section, and read to the Lodge a first time. If the Lodge favors the change, it must be by a majority vote of those present.

(b) After it has been read and a majority vote favors the change, the Lodge Secretary will send it to the Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge for transmission to the Grand Master and one of the members of the Committee on Jurisprudence for approval as to form only, or correction. The Grand Secretary shall divide the submissions between the members of the Committee on Jurisprudence.

(c) Upon its return by the Grand Secretary with the Grand Master's approval, it shall be read to the Lodge a second time at the next Stated Communication, but no action should be taken at this communication other than to lay it over until a subsequent Stated Communication.
(d) At least five (5) days before the subsequent Stated Communication when action is to be taken, notice by mail to every member at his last known address shall be given, with a sufficient summary of the change to enable him to understand the proposed action.

(e) At the Stated Communication when action is to be taken, the proposed change is to be read a third time; and upon receiving a two-thirds (2/3) vote in favor by those members present, the change shall be declared adopted.

(f) The Lodge Secretary will attach one (1) copy each of the original and the amended Article(s) and one (1) copy of the notice of proposed action sent to the members of the Lodge, and mail these to the Grand Secretary, together with a copy of Certifying By-Laws For Approval, as found in the Handbook For Forms And Petitions.

(g) If a member of the Jurisprudence Committee, when requested, finds the proposed amendment(s) to be correct and proper for final approval, he shall so certify to the Grand Master. A quarterly report shall be made to the Grand Master by a member of the Jurisprudence Committee of all proposed by-law amendments which have been found incorrect and improper for final approval.

(h) When a new set of by-laws is proposed for adoption, the foregoing procedure as to amendments shall apply.

(i) This section may be suspended by any constituent Lodge for the purpose of amending their by-laws for:
1) changing the annual dues to pay increased per capita to the Grand Lodge for its operations and its assessment to the Minnesota Masonic Foundation, Inc. or
2) amending the Lodge by-laws to change isolated single words or numbers, or
3) to act upon a motion made from the floor to change isolated single words or numbers following the third reading of an amendment insofar as receiving approval as to form only from the Jurisprudence Committee of the Grand Lodge and the Grand Master.
All other provisions of this section must be strictly complied with regarding notice and voting, and upon completion of the amendment, a certified copy thereof shall be filed with the Grand Secretary to become effective.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Mentor Program

A Past Grand Master informed me that if we contacted Grand Lodge with a list of candidates and their respective mentors, there was a package of things that would be sent to the candidate. We will make sure this occurs before initiation with our next candidate (who we are voting on at our next stated meeting). We are assigning mentors to each of our four raised brothers. Is it too late for them to get the material?

W. Master

As our Most Worshipful Brother mentioned, the way the Grand Lodge of Minnesota Mentor Program works is for the lodge to let us know in advance as to who the candidates are, who the mentors are and when they will receive the Entered Apprentice Degree. We then pend them until a day or two after the Entered Apprentice Degree and we send them a welcome letter from the Grand Master and a copy of Freemasons for Dummies. If you can assure me that these four will all be mentored for at least the next several months, getting them to attend meetings and participating in lodge activities, then I can go ahead and send them each the welcome letter and the book. But I would still need all of the information for the database (full names, addresses, phone numbers, e-mail addresses, dates of birth, employment, spouse and earlier degree dates)? The lodge secretary should send us all of this information for the database when the petition is balloted on and then we add them to the database as they take their Entered Apprentice Degree. The complete information for the database is part of the deal to receive the package.

Masonic Meeting Do's & Don'ts?

RWB Doug,

Is there a Manual, link to our Web Page, or somewhere where I can educate myself on some Information on Meetings?

Here is where I'm going with this. Are there certain things that can only be done on the Master Mason Degree . We read a petition a couple of weeks ago and we were open on the Fellowcraft Degree . Someone leaned over to me and said we can't do that on this degree, it has to be done on the Master Degree.

I elected not to interrupt the meeting as I wasn't sure that was the case. Can you read petitions, vote, etc. on any degree as long as only Master Masons discuss and vote?

Other things have come up over the years that escape me right now, but I'm looking for information to educate myself so that I can speak confidently on it when it comes up and better serve our Lodge.


Hello W. Brother,
There is a book called the Minnesota Masonic Manual, which has a chapter on opening and closing the lodge includes sections on stated communications and special communications for degree work. We made the change about 10 years ago to allow for business on any degree at the Master’s discretion, so many of the brothers who are more involved with the running of the meeting prior to that time probably remember how it was when they ran their meetings, and of course everything was done the Master Mason Degree. So that may be why they are telling you that you couldn’t do that a couple of weeks ago. But we do now allow business to be conducted on any degree and if you’re open on the Entered Apprentice Degree you can read petitions, ballot on petitions and any other type of business you might normally do on the Master Mason Degree. Should you have other Masons present who are only of the Entered Apprentice Degree or the Fellowcraft Degree, they would not be allowed to vote but they would be allowed to be present, they do not have to leave the meeting.
The complete Minnesota Masonic Manual is on our Grand Lodge website as well as a printed version being available from the Grand Lodge office for $10. Here is a link to the website and if you desire a bound copy in a little book the same size as the cipher just let me know and I’ll get one to you.
There is a lot of good information in the Minnesota Masonic Manual so if you do not have one, you should probably get one, or read it on line.