Progression to the Chair

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Progression to the Chair

Postby anguillacop » Wed Nov 04, 2015 5:32 pm

I am relatively new to Masonry and generally enjoying life as a Mason and have made some particular friends among several Brethren in the Lodge. I attend all meetings and in the 2.5 yrs since being a member have attended all but one LOI. I am a Steward this year and will be one next season. However, I am frustrated by what appears to be a lack of transparency in decision making (I know its not a democracy). I have always been told that progression should be on merit and ability. I was told at an early stage that regardless of attendance and support all offices are offered in strict seniority in terms of how long one has been a member. So one could sit on the back benches doing very little and take an office just because its your turn. In addition it is clear that all other offices - Temple Committee, Provincial Committee et al are decided by a small clique and presented as a fait accompli. I come from a professional background where transparency and integrity in public service were key. I believe the current system is wrong and a little un masonic. Am I being over sensitive? And if not what might be the best way to address this without becoming a variance with others and destroying the harmony of the lodge?
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Re: Progression to the Chair

Postby Alistair » Wed Nov 04, 2015 8:00 pm

I visited one lodge and their system was by far the best. As soon as you become a member you were added to the ladder and go in as Steward. It took 15 years to get to master after going through the offices, if someone didn't want to progress they were skipped over that year very simple and a very easy system.

Sorry you seem this way but it does happen
Last edited by Alistair on Thu Nov 05, 2015 12:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Progression to the Chair

Postby admin » Wed Nov 04, 2015 10:02 pm

There is a natural progression, which kinda works on the basis of common sense. Steward, inner guard, and so on.

However it can be a problem if you have a Lodge with say more than 45 members, you then get some sitting on the Stewards bench for many years. If you get fed up you can always join another Lodge with just a few members and go thru quickly.

Things should be decided at your AGM or any Meeting the Lodge deems required. It will all depend on the make up of the Lodge.

Many of these proceedures are covered in your degrees that you pass through. You will have accepted to obey the Master of the Lodge in his rightful instructions, respect the decision of the majority, comply with the rules and regulations as laid down by your Governing body. In my case it is UGLE. The problem is very few people bother to read the rules.

The BOC covers most things that may arise in the Lodge.

My Lodge appoints 2 members to the GP comittee each year. As the old boys fall off the perch on regular intervals this keeps the numbers of the GP working fine. They are proposed and adopted in open Lodge. We have a GP after each meeting usually on the Monay LOI. They decide all the things you have mentioned above and the Secretary implements them. I have done all those jobs so I kinda sit back and just keep an eye on things.

So the power base in my Mother Lodge if you like is the GP comittee.
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Re: Progression to the Chair

Postby anguillacop » Wed Nov 04, 2015 11:01 pm

I understand all you have said and thought my original post acknowledged this. However, it cannot be right that somebody who sits on the back benches, does not attend LOI is offered an office based on how long he has been a member. It should surely be on merit and ability. It is clear to me (and a few others) that a clique are decision makers and to use a phrase from a previous incarnation of mine it is a "Stitch-up". I have considered jumping ship but have been advised and asked not to. I am a loyal sort of person so will stick it out. But just because something has always been done a certain way does not make it right. I am, I think, resolved to change things as soon as I have some influence! This may be a few years away. However, our WM made a comment about the age profile. If we are to have younger men of good character join our lodge it will, in my view, have to change. As my son would say "just saying"!!
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Re: Progression to the Chair

Postby admin » Thu Nov 05, 2015 1:08 pm

I picked up on your comment - (I know its not a democracy)

I was pointing out that it should be.

The rules are clear
http://issuu.com/freemasonrytoday/docs/ ... 067#search
Private Lodges are around page 60 I believe.

Have a look at Page 61 section 1V

All anyone here can offer is their opinion on what should happen. Opinions may differ becuse each Lodge creates its own methods of working.
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Re: Progression to the Chair

Postby Lazza21 » Thu Nov 05, 2015 1:39 pm

Usually those who sit on the back benches and do little are not interested in progressing.
Any Lodge that passes members by who make the commitment to LOI will suffer from poor
performance from it's officers and rely on PMs, short sighted and sadly all to common these days.
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Re: Progression to the Chair

Postby wayne cowley » Thu Nov 05, 2015 1:42 pm

Actually the appointment of officers is not, technically, something that is democratic. They are, with the exception of the Treasurer and on occasion the Tyler who will have been elected, in the gift of the incoming WM.

Before the screams start, I accept totally that they are often discussed and agreed by a meeting of PMs and that most first time WMs do go along with what is decided there. However, he does, at least in theory, have the power to ignore them

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Re: Progression to the Chair

Postby admin » Thu Nov 05, 2015 2:17 pm

The rule book says that

'All preferment should be on real worth and personal merit.'

A read of BOC page 61 section 1V shows it clearly.

If individual Lodges do not read the BOC each member has the right to complain to Province and then UGLE.

Not the best way of solving issues but it is there.
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Re: Progression to the Chair

Postby Eckywan » Thu Nov 05, 2015 3:56 pm

No one should be joining with expectation of automatic progression. Attendence, LOi ,
voluntry assistance to steward etc etc should help show an individual brothers merit and ability.
Human frailty means we often just aquiese when presented by a fait accompli, and those that put thier head above the parapet get "noticed"

Any problems should be addressed locally without need of PGL interference
and differences resolved obviuosly a s a p

or maybees things are just better in Scotland

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Re: Progression to the Chair

Postby anguillacop » Thu Nov 05, 2015 4:14 pm

Thank you to all Brethren who replied. I think I will bide my time and as one particular brother told me "air the dirty laundry in LOI". I stress however, I am determined not to let this destroy my new found enjoyment of Masonry. Just wish I had done it years ago and not waited till my 60s to join but then again life is too short for regrets!
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Re: Progression to the Chair

Postby admin » Thu Nov 05, 2015 8:54 pm

I would urge not to use LOI for airing problems.

Lodge of Instruction is for learning and practice of the ritual. Which I could do with I might add, I can remember stuff I did 25 years ago , can not learn anything new though.Its the last 5 to 10 years that is a bit hazy.

Please get used to me adding things to any discussion, I have a tendency look at the larger picture and these issues are important to many of our readers. 90% read and probably only 10% post.
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Re: Progression to the Chair

Postby MrBenn » Mon Nov 09, 2015 10:11 am

ONe other way of looking at it:
You are fortunate in having joined a healthy lodge with an active membership - there are many who have problems filling the offices each year
I'm not sure which GL you are under so it is difficult to comment further
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Re: Progression to the Chair

Postby Dave B » Mon Nov 09, 2015 7:57 pm

I have been reading this subject with interest as just after been made a MM I was asked to take over the position of treasurer.
One of the questions i asked before accepting was , would been the treasurer interfere with my progression to the chair.
I was told that it would not and if I stepped down from treasurer I could go straight into the Junior Warden. But I don't think that this would go down very well with some of the progressing members.
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Re: Progression to the Chair

Postby Richard George » Tue Nov 10, 2015 8:45 am

I really can't understand why anyone would want to miss the other offices. Seems a stupid idea to me .. without having experienced all the floor offices, I personally don't think you're really prepared for the Wardens and then the Master's chair. But that's just my opinion.
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Re: Progression to the Chair

Postby Eckywan » Tue Nov 10, 2015 11:18 am

Absolutly right Richard !
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Re: Progression to the Chair

Postby Dave B » Tue Nov 10, 2015 1:11 pm

I am in agreement with you Richard and Eckywan. On looking at it now I would prefer to go through all offices of the lodge for the experience. Though I should point out that when I asked the question I was not a MM and did not appreciate the work of the officers within the lodge.
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Re: Progression to the Chair

Postby Trouillogan » Tue Nov 17, 2015 2:53 pm

anguillacop wrote:I am relatively new to Masonry and generally enjoying life as a Mason and have made some particular friends among several Brethren in the Lodge. I attend all meetings and in the 2.5 yrs since being a member have attended all but one LOI. I am a Steward this year and will be one next season. However, I am frustrated by what appears to be a lack of transparency in decision making (I know its not a democracy). I have always been told that progression should be on merit and ability. I was told at an early stage that regardless of attendance and support all offices are offered in strict seniority in terms of how long one has been a member. So one could sit on the back benches doing very little and take an office just because its your turn. In addition it is clear that all other offices - Temple Committee, Provincial Committee et al are decided by a small clique and presented as a fait accompli. I come from a professional background where transparency and integrity in public service were key. I believe the current system is wrong and a little un masonic. Am I being over sensitive? And if not what might be the best way to address this without becoming a variance with others and destroying the harmony of the lodge?

Returning to the OP, this matter of cliques has dogged lodges since time immemorial. One can see how and why it happens. In order to break it in one of my Lodges, I sought, and received, support to amend our by-laws so as to enable non-PMs to attend and to speak at Lodge committee meetings, on the basis that newer members may well have expertise and views of value to the Lodge. Bearing in mind that the committee has no executive power and can only make recommendations to the Lodge as a whole for its decision making power, those non-PMs have no vote in committee (at present!). In short, it would appear that the cliques have evaporated and for the last ten years there has been a greater understanding and transparency in procedures.

As to the officer apointments, apart from the mandated elections, they are all in the hands of the Master alone. Yes, he sometimes takes advice, privately or in committee, and sometimes his decisions are less than optimal - for his year. But isn't that how we all learn?!
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Re: Progression to the Chair

Postby allan0406 » Tue Mar 15, 2016 12:24 am

I know exactly what you mean anquillacop, and so are our fellow Brethren on here who have responded to your post, especially if you are a member of a large lodge with a lot of light blues. The only thing you can do is to continue in the same vein, keep attending LOI, and importantly learn a large piece of ritual, such as the charge to the initiate, and ask can you deliver it in LOI or at a ceremony, like I did, I nailed it and my advancement through the offices, was fast, and on the 03rd March (2 weeks ago) I was installed into the Chair of KS after 4 years and 10 months from the day of my initiation, but that included the SW resigning, which elevated me from JW to WM, however my lodge has about 24-28 turning up at our meetings. When people know what you can do, believe me they will have you doing it.
I invested my progressive officers according to the ladder, and retained the Lodge administrators as there had been enough disturbance, but good luck, you have the right attitude, develop the skills, and through that ability always triumphs in the end, as the nearer it gets to the chair there is no hiding place, fail to prepare, prepare to fail
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