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Posted: 27 March 2018 09:38 PM   [ Ignore ]  
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It has been quite a long time since I last wrote a posting on this site. In fact, I haven’t even checked in to read postings for some time. When ASK first appeared and I joined it, I used to check in first thing every day and posted often. In time, however, the success of ASK was such that we seemed to run out of new questions to deal with. The site was so successful that we certainly covered all the most commonly asked questions.

At about the same time, I finished my second and third years as WM of my lodge and began a welcome retirement from all the duties that entails. The lodge also chose an official “ritualist”, an officer who is in charge of instructing and rehearsing the officers in the ritual. I had been doing that without any official title for many years, but was glad to have someone else take it up. The PM who did so (and is still doing it) is an extraordinary officer. He knows every syllable of all the work and also handles the instruction of the new brothers after the conferral of the degrees (I’m intentionally avoiding the “C” word here) along with serving as permanent Sr. Deacon. He first served as WM in 1959 and twice more around 2001 and is 90 years old!  At about that time, I began having health problems, which have increased since then, so I’m frequently unable to get out to Lodge and I don’t attend officers’ rehearsals, consequently I have not participated in any ritual work for nearly 10 years.

Last night, I felt pretty well and went to Lodge. The Lodge communication stated that it would be a normal business meeting possibly with some degree work. When I arrived I learned that we would be raising two candidates to the MM degree. The attendance was poor, due to a lot of members sick and the possibility of snow late in the evening. In fact, after we finished dinner and were ready to open, there were only 12 members present besides the two candidates. The WM asked me if I would serve as Jr. Warden for the evening. I agreed to do so, in spite of having no rehearsal, not even time to go over the part and with two difficult pieces of work (the Obligation, which is given to the candidate by the Jr. Warden in our ritual, and the “Grasshopper”, the piece of Ecclesiastes which begins the Hiramic drama). I was worried about going blank and forgetting where I was or forgetting pieces of the work, but happily it didn’t happen. As I knelt down and started the obligation, it came back without much effort and with only a couple of slight pauses while I searched my memory. When I walked the candidate around the room “Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth” rolled out like it always has and the small number of brothers present resulted in everybody present having something to do. I really had a great time and I think everyone present did also. And it was great doing it for a man in his 20’s and another in his 30’s.

I recount all this to give advice to those of you who are new lodge officers or thinking about becoming a lodge officer.
* Learn all you can as soon as you can.
* If asked, teach what you know to others. The best way to learn anything is to teach it to someone else.
* Strive for perfection in every part; but even more important, learn to deliver it relatively slowly and with clear diction and in a confident manner with plenty of expression. Avoid sounding like you are doing a chore reeling off a memorized text (even if that’s what it is).
* And after you become a PM, don’t disappear. You can still contribute and if you’re lucky, you will get to sit in now and then when they need you.

I’m going to get back to looking into ASK and I think I’ll ask our WM if I can do the Master’s part some evening when we are doing the 1st or 3rd degree. That will keep my memory sound.

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Liberty Pickering Lodge #219, Baltimore MD
Druid RA Chapter #28, Baltimore
Hiram Council #5 R&SM;, Baltimore
Monumental Commandery #3, Baltimore
Harrisburg Consistory AASR, Harrisburg, PA

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Posted: 28 March 2018 01:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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Good for you Bob; a man after my own heart. I’ve been told that when I was visiting a fair bit (before the family came along), lodges used to say “we’d better to be good as Richard’s here”  as I’ve a reputation for the ritual. Not that I ever knew at the time, but have discovered since that wherever I went, the officers tried that bit harder.

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Richard
Past Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies, Provincial Grand Treasurer (Royal Arch)
Member of Craft, Royal Arch, Ancient & Accepted Rite, Mark, Royal Ark Mariner, Knight Templar, Knight Templar Priest, Order of Secret Monitor, Royal Order of Scotland
UGLE.

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Posted: 29 March 2018 03:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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This forum will always needs you master bob.

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The man who dosent read good books has no advantage over the man how cant read them. ( Mark Twain – American Freemason) .
أســد الأردن

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Posted: 30 March 2018 03:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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Amazing job :)

I am MM and learning the Charge now. I am always amazed by these brethren who can do a tracing board or some other long pieces of ritual from heart. I agree with your comments about the delivery: it has too feel and sound natural. That’s the most difficult part I think.

Poor attendance? It seems the trend everywhere.

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Posted: 06 June 2018 01:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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I attended lodge again this last Monday evening. It was a special meeting (sometimes called an extra meeting) to start an unusual process. We have a candidate who is a member of the Army or National Guard (forget which) and who received orders to deploy to Afghanistan in three weeks. Since he was just voted on, that’s not enough time to confer all three degrees on the usual schedule. We therefore asked the MW Grand Master for help and he ordered that we confer the EA in the usual manner at a special meeting and he will take care of the other two degrees.

The meeting was well attended - amazing for a special. The WM asked me to sit in as JD, which I did somewhat reluctantly, because our lodge room has poor acoustics and if you’re sitting in the back of the room, you don’t hear very well what anybody is saying. We opened in the EA full form (rarely done in MD and only when you’re not doing anything but conferring the degree) which requires the deacons to state what their duty is. When I replied to this, I started, but soon realized to my horror that I was in the middle of the RA Chapter reply, but I kept on going and managed to get in at least a piece of the correct reply. My fellow PMs found this quite amusing. The degree went well, the lodge officers doing a very good job.

What happens next is that very soon the MWGM will order our lodge to hold another special meeting and will order the other grand officers to attend with him. They will then assume the chairs and confer both the FC and MM degrees in full form, waiving all requirements to prove proficiency. Thus the candidate will become a full brother and member before he has to leave the country. This is the same procedure as making a mason at sight, except that the GM allowed us to confer the EA degree instead of the usual form of GM and GL officers doing all three degrees at one meeting. This has been done at least once that I know of in the last five years or so, and for the same reason, a man who will be deployed before he can complete all the degrees. It used to be that making a mason at sight used to occur maybe once or twice in a century, but we in Maryland have found a useful reason for it, given that we want to take care of military men being deployed. It’s nice to think that the difficult and often burdensome regulations of Freemasonry often contain an escape clause which allows a solution to a problem concerning a brother in an emergency.

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Liberty Pickering Lodge #219, Baltimore MD
Druid RA Chapter #28, Baltimore
Hiram Council #5 R&SM;, Baltimore
Monumental Commandery #3, Baltimore
Harrisburg Consistory AASR, Harrisburg, PA

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Posted: 07 June 2018 12:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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What a great way to send a man off into harms way!
Cudos to the MWGM for following up and getting it done.

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Past Master, Dryden Lodge #472
Secretary, Caroline Lodge #618
Hudson,Fulton,Dryden Chapter #250 OES
32* A&ASR; Coudersport Pa.
RAM Fidelity #77

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