Last year in the Masons Lead Better Workshop “The Masonic Leader’s Trestle Board” we asked the Brothers to express their thoughts on what might constitute a “perfect lodge” and a “perfect lodge meeting.”

In the various workshops, lodge education was identified as an important basic purpose of a lodge and an essential element of a lodge meeting. However, during the dialogue, it was discovered that many lodge meetings had little or no education or, if they did, it was a short and sometimes boring presentation.

When the thought was expressed that the entire purpose of a lodge meeting was to impart knowledge, some Brothers stated they would have a problem implementing an educational based, stated meeting agenda in their lodge.

The prevailing thought seems to be is that education is an agenda item rather than what it should be; an ongoing, planned process to accomplish the purpose of a lodge. That purpose, simply stated, is to make Masons.

So rather than struggle trying to change a lodge’s ingrained stated meeting culture, why not take the education item off the agenda altogether and create a true lodge educational system regularly conducted in a separate meeting designed for that purpose.

A Proposed Educational Meeting Model – The meeting would be a called special meeting in the EA degree for the purpose of Masonic instructional education and/or further enlightenment. These education elements would be defined as follows:

Masonic instructional education

  • The progressive study of the ritual and degree lessons with emphasis on their practical application.
  • The study and dialogue of selected Masonic texts and publications.

Further enlightenment

  • General dialogues on moral, educational or personal enrichment topics.
  • Other topics as determined to be valuable by the participating Brothers.

Other elements of the meeting model:

  • The meeting will be opened and closed in a dignified and solemn manner.
  • Brothers will be dressed in a manner that reflects the importance of the meeting.
  • Pre and post gathering for general fellowship should be a part of the process if practical.
  • There should be an opportunity for men who are interested in Masonry to participate either in a pre or post meeting gathering or when the lodge is at refreshment and the subject matter permits their inclusion.
  • Education will be facilitated by Brothers who have demonstrated a knowledge of the subject matter to be presented.
  • Proper planning and consistent execution is required

This is not something that should be done on the spur of the moment but should be given careful and thorough thought.

Here are some key steps:

  • Begin with a core group of Brothers who believe in the concept and are willing to organize and develop the programming.
  • Meet and outline the topics to be covered. Consider using the ritual first and logically follow the degrees by selecting tools or lessons from each degree.
  • Once the topics are determined, select the most qualified Brother to prepare for each topic. Remember these topics shouldn’t be lectures but structured in a manner that allows for participation from the Brothers.
  • Schedule a series of meetings – call special meetings for a least six months. It will take time for this to become an expected part of your lodge and gather a following.
  • Design the format of the education meeting. Here are some suggestions:
    a. Pre- meeting fellowship – could be dinner at a local restaurant or just informal discussion at the lodge before opening the formal meeting.
    b. Opening of Lodge – make this special so that you are creating an atmosphere of something distinct and important. Consider dimming the lights, adding music and allow for a period of silence.
    c. Topic and dialogue – Again, this is not to be a lecture but a participatory exercise of education. Find Brothers who are knowledgeable and able to facilitate. Reach out to Brothers from other lodges if needed.
    d. Closing of Lodge – as with the opening, make this solemn and distinct.
    e. Post-meeting – an informal gathering may or may not become a part of evening.

All Brothers of the lodge should understand the meeting’s purpose is to use Masonry as a means to improve themselves. Everyone will be welcome to participate but with the understanding that it is anticipated that individual study outside the lodge is encouraged and sometimes may be necessary.

Even though many lodges have expanded their educational effort in stated meetings, the education element is sometimes being over-shadowed by the business of managing the lodge. Giving Masonic education its own night may just solve this problem. What do you think?

Have a Great Masonic Day!

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