MASONIC SPRING WORKSHOP APRIL 1991

MASONIC PROTOCOL AND ETIQUETTE

Etiquette means the prevailing set of rules of behavior and manners, the accepted and polite way of doing things.

Protocol is the ceremonial practised in Freemasonry. It refers in particular to the method of determining the order of rank, precedence or seniority, and to the rule specifying how that order should be reflected in action. Masonic protocol is concerned primarily with the formalities of receiving, welcoming, and addressing Grand Lodge officers in a consitituent lodge.

General comments

  1. Lodges under the jurisdiction of our Grand Lodge are called "Craft Lodges"
  2. The presiding officer of a lodge is called the "Worshipful Master". The titles "Sitting Master" and "Ruling Master" are superflous and incorrect.
  3. During lodge the officers should be addressed by their rank and the title of their office.
  4. Members of the lodge are called "Brethren" rather than "Brothers".
  5. At all times in lodge brethren should be addressed by rank and surname.
  6. The work directs that a brother shall salute the W. M. when entering, leaving, or when crossing the lodge or when addressing the W. M. It follows that a salute is not required when completing instruction to a candidate.
  7. When sending mail to a brother Mason, do not use his Masonic title in the address on the envelope.
  8. A mason shall only communicate with the Grand Master officially, on any business concerning Freemasons’. or: Freemasonry, through the Grand Secretary, or the D. D. G. M.
  9. Masons shall only communicate officially, on any business concerning Freemasons or Freemasonry with any Mason or body of Masons outside the boundaries of our jurisdiction through the Grand Secretary. This does not apply to duly accredited Grand Representatives who are permitted to correspond directly with the Grand Lodge which they represent. ‘ .
  10. Local custom tends to govern good manners in the area of dress. Whatever the custom. it is uniformity of dress among the officers, rather than the style that contributes to the dignity.
  11. Neither the W. M. nor any of the officers surrender the collar jewel of the office when the vacate their chairs for part of the meeting.
  12. All brethren should be properly clothed when they enter the lodge. If a lodge expects an unusually large number of visitors, it ought to have a supply of courtesy aprons on hand.
  13. In Alberta the apron must be worn outside the suit jacket except in the rare case of tails.
  14. No brother has the right to talk, move about, to leave the lodge, or to stand except to address the W. M.
  15. No member may pass between the W. M. and the brother who is speaking. Also note that in the York Rite, no one may pass between the W. M. and the Altar, except during degree work of the Installation ceremony.
  16. The officers of the lodge, particularly, should make themselves aware of parliamentary procedure as it applies to Freemasonry.
  17. Any brother who accepts his election or appointment to office and who finds that he is unable to fulfill the responsibilities of that office should submit his resignation in writing. The W. M. must accept the resignation. However the Worshipful Master may not resign himself.

 

CONDUCTING THE LODGE MEETING

  1. The W. M. should arrive at least 30 minutes in advance of the stated time for the commencement of the meeting.
  2. He should be well planned to ensure that the business is conducted effectively and efficiently.
  3. The W. M. should meet with the Secretary of the Lodge in order to plan for the meeting. This way one can cope with any surprises.
  4. The meeting should be begin as promptly as possible. Late starting meetings cause frustration and often result in the meeting dragging on until an unacceptable hour. Good lodge attendance is often directly related to punctuality and to well run meetings.
  5. The Brethren should also keep in mind the importance of being on time. Sometimes it is better to be 30 minutes early than 2 minutes late.
  6. Correspondence should be kept to the essential except when otherwise directed. Streamlining the correspondence will facilitate a productive meeting. The same applies to budget considerations and payment of accounts.
  7. Motions should be made and seconded promptly. Parliamentary procedure as it applies to Freemasonry should be carefully observed.
  8. The Worshipful Master must keep in mind that he is to lead and not to dictate and must be prepared to carry out the wishes of the lodge even though they may not be his own.
  9. The W. M. has control of the floor of the Lodge, that is, he controls who may speak.
  10. The W. M. may not take part in the debate by expressing his opinions. In order to particpate in the debate he must relinquish the chair and turn it over to the Senior Warden or a Past Master. This procedure should be used sparingly.
  11. It often wise for the W. M. to have in mind some practical objective to be achieved so that the Brethren can leave the meeting with a sense of accomplishment.
  12. Every Lodge meeting should have some Masonic Education. There are many ideas and suggestions available from the Grand Lodge Office and/or from the D. D. G. M. Masonic education should not be confined to the presention of papers. The Mind can only saturate what the Back Side will tolerate.
  13. Worshipful Masters like to be seen as well as to be heard. Failure to hear officers and other Brethren can, as well, lead to poor attendance.

Reception of Grand Lodge Officers

  1. Any Grand Lodge officer is entitled to be received either "In Form” or "Without Form"
  2. Without Form"
    1. Grand Lodge officer in attendance in lodge room when lodge is opened.
    2. The W. M. Directs the D. 0. C. to present the Grand Lodge Officer(s) at the altar.
    3. The D. 0. C. does so and introduces the Officer to the W. M. etc.
    4. After a brief welcome the officer(s) is conducted to the East.
  3. “In Form” – Grand Lodge Officer waiting in ante-room
    1. M. directs D. O. C. to retire along with Stewards & Deacons to receive the officer.
    2. The D. oO. Cc. should arrange the Brethren accompanying the Most Senior Grand Lodge officer present in correct order. The most Senior Grand Lodge Officer will be at the rear.
    3. If the Grand Lodge officer to be received is either the G. M., the D. G. M., or the D. D. G. M. then the Tyler opens the door and announces who is entering.  g. The Most Worshipful the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Alberta.
    4. The Grand Lodge Officers in escorted under wands to the altar and then salutes using the step and sign of the degree.
    5. The Officer is suitably introduced by either the D. O. C. or another Brother chosen for that purpose. (All introductions should be brief in order to avoid embarrassment for the Officer).
    6. Grand Honours are given; usually led by the D. O. C. (G. M. Nine times, D. G. M. and D. D. G. M. Seven times, All other officers Five times). (Remember it is the rank you are honouring not the person who may have held a higher rank)
    7. After a brief word of welcome from the W. M. the officer is escorted to the East. Normally it is the G. M., D. G. M. or D. D. G. M. that assumes the gavel. The W. M. may, at his discretion extend that courtesy to any other Grand Lodge officer.
    1. At the conclusion of the meeting the W. M. should lower the lodge (Canadian Rite) to the first degree or have labor resumed in the M. M. degree (York Rite) before asking a Grand Lodge Officer to speak.
    2. No one is allowed to speak after the most senior Grand Lodge officer present speaks, except the W. M. and only then to thank the Officer. The Brethren can be reminded of this by the W. M. as follows:  Are there any Brethren that would like to speak before I ask the Grand Lodge Officers if they wish to speak?
  1. Grand Lodge officers should be asked to speak in ascending order of precedence. The most senior Officer (Grand Master if present) speaking last.
  2. The duty assigned to the I.P.M. in a Canadian Rite Lodge and to the S. D. in a York Rite Lodge of closing the V. S. L. or H. B. need not be taken from such an officer even in the presence of a Grand Lodge officer, but it is the custom to offer this closing ceremony to the bighest ranking Grand Lodge officer present.

 

The Festive Board

  1. If the Lodge is closed at a reasonable hour (by 2200 hrs.) the brethren have some inducement to remain for fellowship. The social hour is often the most enjoyable part of the evening. It is the only part into which originality and informality can be introduced, without of course neglecting the tone and spirit of the lodge ceremonies.
  2. The program should be very carefully planned and those who are giving toasts should be given sufficient time for preparation.
  3. There is no room in a Masonic Lodge festive board for any vulgar or off colored stories. Such stories if not dealt with immediately can lead to a significant deterioration of the evening and cause conflict and ill feeling among the brethren.
  4. Every Masonic banquet room should be equipped with a lectern, as a courtesy to the speaker and a convenience to the chairman. The addition of a gavel as the proper instrument to secure attention would be highly recommended.
  5. At all Masonic functions at which food is being served the following three items should always be included, without exception, no matter how small or informal the gathering.
  6. Grace or Invocation
  7. Toast to the Queen and the Craft
  8. Toast to the Grand Master and His officers This toast should be replied to by the highest ranking Grand Lodge officer in attendance. That individual would have the first right of refusal and might specifically delegate the responsibility.

 

  1. Other entries in the programme are optional depending upon the nature of the occasion.
  2. The use of titles and rank at the banquet table may be less formal. However if the G. M., the D. G. M. or D. D. G. M. are present then due recognition must be given when addressing the assembly.
  3. The Worshipful Master should be the last to speak at the Banquet Table. If Grand Lodge officers are given the opportunity speak in addition to the response to the Toast, then the G. M. will speak last.

Seating Arrangement

There are various seating arrangements at a Banquet table.

following is suggested as a guideline.

 

Other G. L. Officers
D. G. Ms.
D. G. M. or D. G. M.
WM. in centre
G.M., Guest of honor, guest speaker
P. G. Ms.
Other G. L. Officers