15 Comments
May 23, 2021Liked by Cameron M. Bailey

This literally happened to me a few months ago. We had a newly initiated Brother who was sitting all alone waiting for the lecturer to get the computer fired up for the slideshow that goes along with the lecture. I noticed he was sitting there all alone as the rest of the Lodge was sitting together. I got up and took a seat beside him so he would not feel alone.

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I commend you for your action Brother. I'm certain that by doing what you did you made our new Mason feel a lot better. I think it is easy to forget how nervous we were on the night of our Degree, and a bit of human connection can make us feel a lot calmer.

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May 23, 2021Liked by Cameron M. Bailey

YES!!!! This type of innovative thinking, that diretly confronts weaknesses in our system, is exactly the kind of out out of the box intervention that we need. Thank you, Bro. Cameron!

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Thank you Brother! I appreciate your kind words, and I'm glad that you enjoyed the essay.

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May 23, 2021Liked by Cameron M. Bailey

In Silverdale Lodge No. 311, the Senior Deacon sits next to our newly obliged Entered Apprentice Mason as he receives the Lecture.

The Worshipful Master assigns a coach and mentor when giving his instructions, and that coach and mentor will give weekly progress reports on our EA’s proficiency. Our brother will have the same coach and mentor until he is Raised. This approach seems to work well for us.

Have a blessed Sunday.

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Worshipful Brother: I think that Silverdale's excellence in the work clearly shows. In fact, Silverdale, and the great work you do there came up on our Emeth zoom call this evening. The fact that your Lodge strives for excellence is I think one of the primary reasons that every time I've visited, your Lodge room has been packed with Brothers. Last time, as I recall, it was almost to the point of standing room only.

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My Lodge takes a "village" approach to mentoring. We hold regular informal meetings where candidates can come and work on their lessons with any and all Brethren who are also in attendance. Typically the candidates will gravitate to one Brother to be his primary mentor, however, with so many other there it's rare that others aren't pulled into the conversations and lessons.

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I tried to see if something similar would work in my own Lodge years ago, not simply for candidates, but for us to practice parts of our ritual and the like too. I'm not sure why, but my Lodge never seemed to take to it. We would end up with the same small handful of guys each time, and they were the guys who didn't really need the practice.

We were though able to really interest Lodge members into this kind of thing when we would go 'camping.' If we had guys in the process of getting their Degrees, they would get a great deal of assistance over the weekend. Likewise with guys wanting to practice ritual. Perhaps it was just a matter of being somewhere different.

In Washington we also have something called the Proficiency in Lodge Management, the first half of which is a tested demonstration that one knows the Washington Masonic Code. I think we were able to get six or eight guys through that pretty major bit of work one weekend.

Other than on those getaways though, we have stuck with Degree mentorship being a more singular effort in my Lodge.

What my Lodge did really take to in a group setting like you mention, is a more general Masonic Education. We had many such events, and they were very successful, usually with a man giving a presentation of some sort on a Masonic topic of his choice.

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Oct 8, 2023Liked by Cameron M. Bailey

About a year ago since I am always looking at Grandview I found the PILM and mentioned it to a Brother at the Sequim Lodge since he was one of the first I ever actually talked with and he said that it sounds like something I should do........well he passed on to be with the AOTU a couple months later and the day I found out and as usual being awake at this time of night I started the first of the Part A 5 tests because I wanted to do that for Brother George and I did all 5 parts so now I just have to get together with the DD to finish the Part B and they then send that to the GL..........now I know what you mean about the new EA's since the younger ones will be quick to give up if nothing happens or it takes several years to get anything to happen.........in my case I was determined to do it on my own because I wasn't going to just give up........and I could see how most new members can not do it that way..........in my case I get......well unhappy if I don't know and were not told what my part was going to be but try my best to hold that in and just go home and figure things out myself.........and part of that is why I am usually the first person to read one of your topics here MW........so thanks you for doing that for this old timer >:-)

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Excellent to know that you are doing the PiLM. I think that you will find it to be valuable.

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May 23, 2021Liked by Cameron M. Bailey

I am of the like opinion that Masonic Education should be front-loaded into Lodge meetings and business issues at the tail end. Being a former Lodge Treasurer, I am sensitive to time issues, and I managed to keep business time to a minimum. When a Lodge approves a budget, certain items are monthly reoccurrences and really don’t need to be reported. Variances would be brought to the officer’s meeting and approved/disapproved by vote and variances would be reported to the full Lodge. Takes about 30 seconds unless there are questions. Other business items should be sent to the Lodge Secretary for review and inclusion, if appropriate. We don’t need to spend 30+ minutes listening to the various committee and youth organizations that have nothing to report. (Which happens a lot more than you think [yawn])

This gives us more time for education and working with new members. As a matter of fact, new members generally do a lot of study for their next proficiencies, and this might be a time to give them assignments for the next batch of candidates. Have the coaches work with them to help educate the new guys, since a lot of material will be fresh in their minds. When we do rituals, give them something simple like the Working Tools to orate. This gets everybody involved and the new brothers feel like they are part of an ongoing process, learning and doing at the same time.

There are a lot of things to learn, and I am ashamed to say that I did not realize there was something called catechisms that I should have learned as an Entered Apprentice. Nobody taught them to me and I found them by accident while researching something else. Time to get back to basics. The British Parliament has something called “Question Time” where members can lob all questions of the Prime Minister. This would be a good time for new members, as they progress in their studies, to lob all questions to the Master and the Wardens. This keeps everyone on their toes and reminds veteran members of things they may or may not have known. I know I can never know too much.

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As someone who does politics for a living, watching "Prime Minister's Questions" on C-Span has always greatly fascinated me! There are very, very few American politicians that I know who could turn in such a performance. I can't imagine the amount of preparation that the Prime Ministers must go through in order to do that.

I am with you 100% on getting back to basics. Our Posting Lectures served Freemasonry very well, through the very best of times, why we recently decided to do away with them in so many cases is beyond me. I think that if we look at it clearly, the results show, and they aren't good.

My home Lodge embraced them once again, just as I was initiated, so I was the first in a long time to deliver the Lectures in open Lodge. I've always been very pleased about that. I think it gave me confidence in my own Masonry, and it made everything else come that much easier because I was properly prepared for it.

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May 24, 2021Liked by Cameron M. Bailey

Well as a long term EA haha I have had PLENTY of time to think about this... And here's my thoughts...yes sitting alone can be in comfortable...however me personally I was to focused on what was being said to me and the deep moving realization of what was being said to me about what I had just gone threw... Maybe a brother next to you would be a distraction? Just a thought... Anyway if a new brother is focused on what's going on and being said to him I believe he fill enjoy it eather way but most likely better with someone around him... SECONDLY. Afterwords there really wasn't much going on.... A few people talked but most left... There was a brief meal between half's and there was little "groups" around talking amongst themselves but I was sitting with my mentor and a few other brothers asking me different questions about what I was feeling after the first half....but that's really it. It would have been alot better if there was more of a focus on making the brother feel welcome by everyone and everyone trying to talk to him or at least welcome him... By this time there where still some brothers that I had barely even spoken too and these brothers never made a effort to talk. And I am by no means out to complains.... This was just my experience....never the less...the brothers that did reach out and make me feel welcome and talk made the experience tremendously powerfully and something in will never forget .

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Feb 28, 2023Liked by Cameron M. Bailey

Excellent post. In addition to what you've outlined, we explain that our Lodge's proficiency comes in three parts; the catechism to memorize the work, our jurisdictions New Candidate Education Program to learn the 'book answer' to things, and the requirement for them to present an original masonic educational piece in Lodge to prove they've thought over the lessons and come to their own understanding. Masonic education is not only fun, it's fundamental!

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Thank you W Brother!

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