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Masonic Recognition Issues

Grand Reps

U.S. Grand Lodges' Grand Representatives

The purpose of this webpage is to share suggestions for Grand Representatives on how they can do their jobs most effectively. If anyone would like to offer any addition suggestions, please send them to Paul M. Bessel at paulb'at'bessel.org 


The following is from Bro. Teddy (Touvia) Goldstein in Israel


A word from the Grand Master


Relations between Grand Lodges

Nominating Grand Representatives

Historical background

Practical guidelines


A Word from the Grand Master

          "My Brethren Grand Representatives,

Our Grand Lodge has amical connections with more than one hundred Grand Lodges all over the world. For some time, I had the feeling that we should strengthen the relations with our Grand Representartives the world over, as well as the fraternal amity between them and the representatives of their Grand Lodges in Israel. After all, brotherly connections between Grand Lodges, and especially between brothers belonging to different Grand Lodges is the purpose for your nomination.

Israel is now celebrating 3000 years to Jerusalem, David's city, the cradle of world Freemasonry, and we decided to encourage and instigate Masonic pilgrimages. This has recently materialised in visits by delegations and visits of brethren from all over the world. Thus, the importance of the office of Grand Representatives has become more apparent since it is their duty to receive our guests and care for their needs.

          We have been active in enhancing the prestige of Jerusalem in the Masonic world. Our initiative resulted in the consecration of "Jerusalem Lodges" in Paris and Rome, opening a "Freemasonry Forest" at the outskirts of Jerusalem, naming a plaza in the center of Jerusalem, as well as starting an International Masonic Center of Fraternity in Jerusalem. Lately, we started to distribute Mark Chagal's relief "Light to Nations", in order to spread the light from Freemasonry's cradle, Solomon's Temple. In order to strengthen our fraternal connections, we arranged for a meeting of all our Grand Representatives from the world over with our brethren and especially Grand Representatives deputed in Israel. This will take place on the 31st. December 1996. I have often thought that Grand Representatives are not properly instructed how to fulfill their important duties. In view of the coming meeting, I have requested RW brother Danni Doron to prepare this booklet, which includes the method by which Grand Representatives are nominated, their role and their duties to our Grand Lodge and to the Grand Lodge they represent. My thanks to RW brother Danni Doron for accepting this task.

          I warmly welcome our representatives from abroad and wish you and the representatives of Grand Lodges in Israel success in your office. I am confident that fraternal relations between brethren from Israel and other countries will develope, as they should, and that the Grand Representatives will contribute to achieving this important goal.

                                                With fraternal greetings,

                                                      Efraim Fuchs

                                                       Grand Master


          Grand Representatives are those brethren who should assist in maintaining fraternal relations between Grand Lodges, although according to Masonic custom, correspondence not including matters of recognition, which has to be approved by the Board of General Purposes. According to paragraph 63 of our Constitution, the Grand Master nominates Grand Representatives at other Grand Lodges after having received a recommendation from the Committee for Foreign Relations. This nomination has to be approved by the Board of General Purposes. These two paragraphs are similar to those existing in the Constitutions of the Grand Lodges in England and in Scotland. According to paragraphs 7-8 of the English Constitution, the Grand Master may appoint any brother to represent him at recognized Grand Lodge, and may constitute him or any Brother deputed from another Grand Lodge as member of the Grand Lodge. It should be pointed out that most Grand Lodges do not constitute their Grand Representatives abroad as brethren. Our Grand Lodge has adopted this attitude.

          Normal practice is for the Committee for Foreign Relations to recommend to the Grand Master a candidate to be appointed by a Grand Lodge abroad as its representative. After the approval by the Board of General Purposes this recommendation has to be approved by that Grand Lodge, after which a formal certificate of appointment is issued and sent to the sister Grand Lodge. Normally the two "parallel" Grand Representatives are deputed simultaneously. This is very similar to the appointment of ambassadors between two countries. Although the process of nomination resembles that of diplomatic ambassadors, the duties of Grand Representa-tives do not include formal relations between the two Grand Lodges. As stated before, these are carried out between the respective Grand Secreteries. On the other hand we expect our Grand Representatives to assist in building a bridge of brotherly amity between brethren of the two Grand Lodges, the one he represents and our Grand Lodge. It should be pointed out that only four Grand Lodges in the U.S.A. do not exchange representatives with other Grand Lodges. In the past, a representative was permitted to wear the regalia of the appointing Grand Lodge which he represents. This practice is no longer in existence and any brother may wear his own regalia only. It does not prohibit those brethren who were constituted brethren in another Grand Lodge to wear that regalia in quarterly meetings of the Grand Lodge of the State of Israel. He may wear the jewel of Grand Representative of the Grand Lodge he represents.

          In a leaflet issued by "Masonic Service Association" called "Being a Grand Representative", an interesting point was raised: representing another Grand Lodge can be instructive, since the representative will be able to compare customs in his Grand Lodge with those applying in the Grand Lodge he represents. We in Israel have the problem of language. We therefore try to recommend as our representatives brethren who are proficient in the language of the Grand Lodge which they represent. This is not always possible but seems to be the best way to contribute to the creation of better and easier channels of communications.

Historical Background

          Back in 1981 Most Worshipful brother John C. Schleter, Past Grand Master of the District of Columbia in the U.S.A., had expressed the view that Grand Representatives need instruction in order to be able to carry out their duties. According to brother Schleter, the idea to nominate Masonic ambasadors was born in the Grand Lodge of New York in the year 1838. The intention was to give real expression to the worldwide fraternity of Freemasons and to tighten relations between Grand Lodges. From the very beginning, the Grand Representative was expected to regularly participate in communications of the Grand Lodge in which he was a representative and to report to the nominating Grand Lodge on interesting subjects raised in those communications. According to brother Schleter, the majority of Grand Representatives expressed the view that the existing system does benefit the appointing Grand Lodge. Those who disapproved the system expressed the view that there is hardly any contribution and that it is mainly an honorary nomination. Some brethren thought that international relations should be carried on solely by Grand Secretaries, as is customary. Some of the criticism was pointed at the nomination of representatives "for life" or for a long period, and that as a result real achievements become unattainable. Some argued rightly that there is no proper instruction and that correspondence addressed by Grand Representatives to Grand Masters and Secretaries become a disturbing burden for those who are, anyhow, far too busy. On the other hand, not all Grand Representatives were happy to correspond with their "parallels" and it became apparent that it wasn't clear to whom such problems should be addressed. Because of this, the Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia included in its regulations that all contacts should be between the two "parallel" representatives.

          More than a hundred years ago, the masonic writer Mackey defined the duties of Grand Representatives and expressed the view that they should represent the interests of the Grand Lodge which they represent and that in order to do so it is their duty to attend communications held by the Grand Lodge where they serve as representatives. He also thought that they should inform the deputing Grand Lodge about significant matters. At the same time, Mackey acknowledged the fact that nominations as Grand Representatives have become more of an honor than a duty to be fulfilled.

          Annual reports of some Grand Lodges in the U.S.A. include a paragraph according to which a roll of all Grand Representative was made and those present were placed west of the altar. After having been thus presented, the Grand Master congratulated them and encouraged them to continue in their endeavors in tightening interrelations. In most Grand Lodges no such ceremony takes place. All Grand Representatives present are requested to rise and the Grand Master requests them to convey fraternal greetings from his Grand Lodge. The presence of such representatives is recorded in the report of the proceedings. In our Grand Lodge, Grand Representatives bring their greetings to the Grand Master and members of the Grand Lodge. Brother Schleter expressed the view that many brethren consider these greetings as a waste of time. These brethren should be reminded that it is an expression of Masonic universal brotherhood, which is one of the sacred ideals of our Order.

It should be clarified that, according to Masonic etiquette the precedence of Grand Lodges is according to the dates of their constitution. This is well known to brethren as far as Lodges are concerned: the number of a Lodge. It has now been decided that all Grand Representatives will bring their greetings in accordance with the precedence of the Grand Lodge they represent.

Practical Guidelines

          Following the paper presented by Grand Master John C. Schleter the Masonic Service Association in Maryland issued a leaflet called "On Being a Grand Representative". This leaflet includes instructive rules for the execution of the office of Grand Representative. It rightly stresses the rich possibilities which open before these brethren in widening their Masonic knowledge as well as in new fraternal relations abroad.

          In a special meeting held by the Committee for Foreign Relations, the following guidelines to Grand Representatives of our Grand Lodge were drafted and agreed upon.

1.          Immediately after receiving the nomination, every Grand

2.       Every Grand Representative is expected to learn about the Grand Lodge he
          represents. This can be done with the aid of the Grand Secretary as well as
          from correspondence with the "parallel" representative. The above-mentioned 
          Association in Maryland can also assist

3.       Soon after receiving your nomination, you should obtain from the Grand
          Secretary the name and address of
your "parallel". In your first letter you
          should introduce yourself, give a brief resume of your Masonic activity, give
          the name of the Grand Master and convey his greetings. It is advisable to
          include some important recent activities of your Grand Lodge, offer your
          fraternal readiness to help and express the hope to start a fruitful relationship

          In cases where your first letter has not produced a response, be cautious;
          especially in cases where your letter was written in a language other
than that
          of the Grand Lodge you represent. It is advisable to wait for a reply and to
          write again after a few weeks. If you were unsuccessful in your efforts for
          about six months, request the assistance of your Grand Secretary.
          Connections between Grand

4.       It is the duty of Grand Representatives to be hosts to visiting brethren from
          the Grand Lodge they represent. The Grand Secretary was instructed to
          advise Grand Representatives of any such visits and you are requested to do
          the same whenever such a visit comes to your attention

5.       In the event of a planned visit by a delegation from abroad, please advise the
          Grand Secretary. He will inform you the names of Grand
Stewards who were
          nominated to assist you in extending help to all members of this delegation

6.       We expect every Grand Representative to visit the Grand Lodge he represents
          at least once

7.       Grand Representatives of the Grand Lodge of the State of Israel will be given
          a special decoration which they are expected to wear in the Grand Lodge to
          which they are deputed

8.       The Committee for Foreign Relations will communicate to Grand
          Representatives in Israel (through the Grand Secretary) of such

9.       Our Grand Lodge mails periodical publications to Grand Lodges with
which it is in contact. These are also sent to our Grand
Representatives. This is done by many Grand Lodges. We think it fit
for Grand Representatives in Israel to verify with the Grand Secretary
that their "parallels" receive this material.

10.     When visiting the area or country whose Grand Lodge you represent,
try to organize a visit to the Grand Secretary and present yourself. If
you are in contact with your "parallel" representative, it is advisable to
inform him of  your planned visit. He may assist you in a visit to the
Grand Lodge and Lodges. Experience shows that mutual visits are a
firm basis for fraternal amity. Such visits will strengthen feelings of
fratenity in what started as an  official exchange of letters.

11.     A Grand Representative is obliged to attend Quarterly Communications of the
          Grand Lodge to which he is deputed and bring Greetings

          All the above guidelines express our wish to maintain good communication with sister Grand Lodges and with all brethren wherever they are. After all, this is the real goal for which Grand Representatives are appointed.


          We opened with the constitutional articles regulating the method by which Grand Representatives are deputed. It should be stressed that the Committee for Foreign Relations is not active in maintaining these international relations. It is only a permanent committee of the Board of General Purposes.

          We regard friendly relations with other Grand Lodges as an important expression of fraternal brotherhood. Activities of Grand Representatives which help giving visitors from abroad a feeling of home help realizing this aim.

There is valuable material in the offices of the Grand Lodge which can help Grand Representatives in making their office meaningful. At the same time, we expect the Grand Representatives in Israel to bring to our knowledge important developments in the Grand Lodge they represent.

          Finally, we tried to include some historical facts on the office to which you were appointed as well as clarifying practical guidelines. We attach great importance to foreign relations and try to improve them constantly. We have no doubt that every Grand Representative can enrich himself both in knowledge and by new friendships. We do not consider this appointment as a mere honorary office but as a service to Freemasonry and to the principle of universal brotherhood.

          We would like to wish you again satisfaction from having been appointed a Grand Representative.


The following is the content of what was proposed to be a handbook for Grand Representatives of the D.C. Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons. It was not adopted (not rejected, simply not presented for approval). Still, it might be helpful for those who are interested in some ideas that could be given to Grand Representatives from any Masonic group.

Grand Chapter
Royal Arch Masons
of the District of Columbia
Founded 1867

Handbook for Grand Chapter
Representatives To Other Grand Chapters
1998 edition

PB draft, December 19, 1997
(NOT reviewed yet by Grand High Priest or anyone else)

Freemasonry is a worldwide fraternity, and one of the beauties of the Craft is that we maintain ties with brother Masons around the world.

Grand Representatives are appointed to help maintain these ties with Masons in other Jurisdictions. Grand Lodges and Grand Chapters in most of the States of the United States and in countries around the world appoint representatives to each of the other jurisdictions they recognize. These "Grand Representatives" are the main links between Masonic bodies.

However, some Grand Representatives are not sure exactly what their responsibilities are. What is required, and what is expected? The purpose of this Handbook is to answer these questions, and give Grand Representatives of the Grand Chapter, Royal Arch Masons of the District of Columbia, all the information you need to do a good job. Do not worry if you are not a good letter writer. Our Grand Secretaryís office will be happy to assist you, and even write letters for you. All you have to do is ask.

[Some of the information in this Handbook was based on material written by Mickey Ander, a member of Sojourner Kilwinning Lodge #1798 in the District of Columbia, and a Past District Deputy Grand Master in Virginia. The DC Grand Chapter thanks Mickey for assisting us with this information.]

You have just been appointed to be the Grand Representative of the Grand Chapter, Royal Arch Masons of the District of Columbia, to another Grand Chapter in the United States or in another country. Congratulations! You must be an active and respected Royal Arch Mason to have been given this honor. Now, what should you do?

Learn something about the jurisdiction to which you have been appointed a Grand Representative. Whether it is a State of the U.S., or a foreign country, use and encyclopedia, atlas, or computer, to learn more about where it is located, what is the capital, and what is its history. How many people live there, what are the major cities, what are the major industries? This information will be very valuable to you later, and you will be expanding your own knowledge in the process.

Next, learn as much as you can about Freemasonry in that jurisdiction. Go to a large Masonic library, such as the one at the George Washington Masonic National Memorial in Alexandria, Virginia (which is open on weekends), or the one at the Scottish Rite House of the Temple in Washington DC (which is open on weekdays), and look at recent Proceedings of that jurisdiction, both for their Grand Royal Arch Chapter and their Grand Lodge. Take notes on who are the Grand officers and recent Past High Priests and Past Grand Masters, how many Masons and Royal Arch Masons are there, and look for interesting and unusual items in the Proceedings. You will learn many things that may be helpful in your correspondence, and in our own jurisdiction, too.

These steps should be done quickly, because it is a matter of courtesy that as soon as possible after your appointment as the Grand Representation you should write a letter to the Grand Secretary of the jurisdiction to which your appointment applies ó but do not mail the letter directly to him.

You should have the Grand Secretaryís name and address in the most recent copy of the Proceedings of the Grand Chapter which you found at a Masonic library, or you can ask the Grand Secretary of our jurisdiction to give you the name and address of the Grand Secretary of the other jurisdiction. Use this in writing a letter addressed to the Grand Secretary of the other jurisdiction, and feel free to use the sample letter in this handbook if you wish, adding, deleting, or changing anything to make it more personal. Be sure to include some of the information you found out about the other jurisdiction, to show that you are interested in them and that you have done your homework. This will make it much more likely that you will have a very friendly relationship with the other jurisdiction.

When your introductory letter is completed, sent it to OUR Grand Secretary, with a cover note asking him to transmit it to the other Grand Secretary on your behalf. This is VERY important. Afterwards, the two Grand Secretaries may agree that your contacts will not have to go through our Grand Secretary, but this must be their decision, not yours.

Check with our Grand Secretary to find out when he sent your letter to the other Grand Secretary, and then await a time with patience until you hear about a reply from our Grand Secretary, or perhaps directly. If the reply comes directly to you, inform our Grand Secretary and give him a copy of the reply.

If you follow these steps, you will have begun your term as a Grand Representative in an orderly and proper manner, and you can look forward to a good association with the other jurisdiction.

Each year the Grand Representative from our jurisdiction should send at least one letter to the Grand Secretary of the jurisdiction to which you have been appointed, or someone designated by him. You letter should update them about who is our Grand High Priest this year, who are the other officers of our Grand Chapter, what interesting things occurred in our Grand Chapter this year, what the statistics show about new members, for example, in our Grand Chapter, and some general information about our Grand Lodge, too.

You should try to include a copy of our Proceedings for their review, and ask them for a copy of theirs.

You should also personalize the letter by providing some information about yourself. What have you been doing in Royal Arch Masonry, and in the Craft Lodges? You can, and should, also include some discussion of Masonic subjects that interest you, such as the increasing use of computers to provide forums for Masons around the world to talk with each other, or the increasing recognition of Prince Hall Masons by Grand Lodges in the U.S.

In all correspondence, be sure to include the name, and greetings, of our Grand High Priest. Remember that you are his representative.

Most importantly, always say how happy you are to be the Grand Representative of our Grand Chapter to theirs, and ask them to correspond often with you and to keep you and our Grand Chapter informed about all their important activities. The key to your success is to stimulate a continuing, interesting correspondence between you and your contacts in the jurisdiction to which you are a Grand Representative.

Prepare a very brief written report each year about what you have done and what you have found out about the other Grand Chapter, for presentation to our Grand Secretary before our Grand Chapterís Annual Convocation.

If possible, try to attend the Annual Convocation of the jurisdiction to which you are the Grand Representative. If you cannot be there, note the date, and write to their Grand Secretary as soon afterwards as possible, expressing the hope that their meeting went well and asking that someone from their Grand Chapter inform you of what occurred. Show your interest, in a friendly way.

Definitely attend OUR Grand Chapterís Annual Convocation, since attendance is always taken of those who are Grand Representatives. It is embarrassing if you are not there to answer "Present" when your name is called. Also, you should be prepared to say a couple of sentences about what you have done as Grand Representative, if you are called on to do that. For example, the jurisdiction to which you are Grand Representative may have done something very innovative that could be duplicated by our Grand Chapter. Let our Grand High Priest and Secretary know about this, privately, and if they so request, at the Grand Chapter meeting.

If you have been appointed to a Grand Chapter where another language than English is generally spoken, do not let that stand in your way. Prepare your letters in English, just as if you were writing to someone who speaks English. The recipient of your letter may be able to understand it, or to find someone who can translate for him. Do not try to write in the other manís language, as you may inadvertently be telling him that his cat has rabies when you are trying to compliment his Grand Chapter.

If you receive correspondence in a foreign language, attempt to find someone who can translate for your, or contact our Grand Secretary to see if he knows someone who can help.

Definitely talk about what you know about the other jurisdiction, but make it clear that you are trying to learn from them. Ask them to tell you about their area, Grand Chapter, and Grand Lodge.

If there are some frustrations, such as not receiving communications as often as you would like, do not let that upset you. Keep at it, and in the most friendly manner remind the other jurisdiction that you are very interested in learning about their activities, and ask them to contact you.

Whenever you receive any correspondence from the other jurisdiction, inform our Grand Secretary and give him a copy, and respond to the person who wrote to you, either through our Grand Secretary or on your own, if authorized by our Grand Secretary.

Ask your High Priest to give you a little time once in a while to tell your Chapter about what you have heard and learned about the activities of the Grand Chapter to which you are the Grand Representative. You will find that they are interested, if you make your report interesting. Especially tell them about any unusual activities, or good ideas you have learned about the jurisdiction to which you are Grand Representative.

Visit other Chapters in DC, and ask their High Priest to give you a little time to report on the Grand Chapter to which you are Grand Representative. If our Grand High Priest or Grand Secretary are present, be sure that you have first reported to them about your activities so they will not be surprised by anything you say publicly.

Find out who is the Grand Representative to our Grand Chapter from the jurisdiction to which you are our Grand Representative. Try to maintain a good informal system of contact with him, through letters or even phone calls. You may find yourself making a wonderful new friend, and learning more in the process. If you find that the Grand Representative of their jurisdiction is not able or willing to fulfil the duties of his office, discretely, and in the most friendly manner, inform our Grand Secretary, so he can discuss this with our Grand High Priest who may seek the appointment of someone else. Never say or do anything that would embarrass another Mason.

If you find that you cannot fulfill the requirements of your appointment as a Grand Representative to another Grand Chapter, do not be ashamed to tell that to our Grand Secretary or our Grand High Priest. Everyone sometimes finds that they must move on to other things, and you will find yourself honored for knowing when to ask that someone else be appointed to take over your duties.

[Your name and mailing address]


Grand Secretary

[Official, full name of the Grand Chapter to which you are the Grand Representative]

[Grand Chapterís address]

Dear [Most, Right, Very] Excellent Companion Grand Secretary:

I am very honored to inform you that I have been appointed to be the Grand Representative of the Grand Chapter, Royal Arch Masons of the District of Columbia, to your Grand Chapter. I am looking forward to a most informative and enjoyable relationship with you and your Grand Chapter.

On behalf of Most Excellent [full name], the Grand High Priest of Royal Arch Masons of the District of Columbia this year, please convey our fraternal greetings to your Grand High Priest, and the other officers and members of your Grand Chapter.

To let you know a little about myself, I am involved in Royal Arch and Craft Masonry by [being a Past High Priest?, other activities?, Past Master?, other Craft lodge activities?, other appendant bodies?]

I have read about your jurisdiction and your Grand Chapter, and I have been especially interested to see that [include some facts you found about their Grand Chapter]. I would also like to tell you some interesting things about our Grand Chapter in the District of Columbia, such as [include some information about our Grand Chapter that you find interesting].

I will be happy to stay in touch with you, or anyone you designate for me to contact in the future, to exchange information about our Grand Chapters. Please let me know any time I can be of assistance to you, or if you have any questions about our Grand Chapter. Also, please keep me informed about your Grand Chapter, such as by sending me a copy of your Proceedings, so I can make proper reports to my Grand High Priest and Grand Chapter. I am very interested in learning as much as possible about Royal Arch and Masonic activities in your jurisdiction.

Thank you very much.


[Your signature]

[Your typed name]

Grand Representative of the Grand Chapter of the District of Columbia to the Grand Chapter of [the other Grand Chapterís name]

[Your name and mailing address]


Grand Secretary

[Official, full name of the Grand Chapter to which you are the Grand Representative]

[Grand Chapterís address]

Dear [Most, Right, Very] Excellent Companion Grand Secretary:

As the Grand Representative of the Grand Chapter, Royal Arch Masons of the District of Columbia, to your Grand Chapter, I was delighted to receive your correspondence telling me about the activities of your Grand Chapter. I will be sure to extend your Grand Chapterís fraternal greetings to the Grand High Priest and the other officers and members of our Grand Chapter.

Your correspondence was especially interesting when you told me about [include some items that especially interested you]. I will tell my Grand Chapter about these activities.

Since I contacted you the last time, our Grand Chapter has been involved in some very interesting Masonic activities. For example, [give several examples of interesting activities of our Grand Chapter, and of the individual Chapters in the DC].

As before, I want to convey the warm fraternal greetings of Most Excellent [name], the Grand High Priest of Royal Arch Masons of the District of Columbia this year, to your Grand High Priest and the other officers and members of your Grand Chapter.

If there is anything I can do to assist you in any way, please let me know.


[your signature]

[your typed name]

Grand Representative of the Grand Chapter of the District of Columbia to the Grand Chapter of [the other Grand Chapterís name]

There are many groups that call themselves Masons, but each Masonic body decides for itself which ones it will recognize. Every Grand Lodge and Grand Chapter has a different list of Grand bodies it recognizes. This does not automatically mean the others are "bad" or "clandestine." There are some Grand Chapters, or Grand Lodges, that operate just as we do and with the same principles, that we do not recognize for some reason, sometimes just because we and they have not gotten around to it. Even the Grand Chapter of the District of Columbia was once called "irregular" and "clandestine" by some.

A "regular" Masonic Grand Lodge or Grand Chapter is one that is considered to follow the basic Masonic principles of the Grand body making that determination. Some refer to this as those that follow the "ancient landmarks of Masonry." However, each Grand Lodge has a different list of what those landmarks are, and they often change even within a jurisdiction. Therefore, it is usually confusing to talk about any Grand Chapter, or Grand Lodge, as being either "regular" or "irregular." It is especially confusing to say that a Grand Chapter or Grand Lodge is irregular, when the following year it may be recognized by most other jurisdictions that previously did not recognize it. A good example of this are the Prince Hall Grand Lodges and Grand Chapters. Until 1989 they were not recognized by any of the Grand Lodges or Grand Chapters that we recognize, but as of 1997, a majority of the U.S. Grand Lodges recognize the Prince Hall Grand Lodges.

"Clandestine" is an even more confusing term. Some Masonic books say it refers to any Lodge or Chapter that does not have a Charter from a Grand Lodge or Grand Chapter. However, there are some that have charters that are considered by some Grand Lodges or Chapters to be "clandestine" anyway, and some that do not have charters that are not considered "clandestine." For example, George Washington received his Masonic degrees in a lodge that did not have a charter, but is still considered to have been a "good" Masonic lodge. The use of the word "clandestine" to refer to any Masonic group, just as the use of the word "profane" to refer to a non-Mason or non-Masonic activity, is often considered insulting, and in any case is unclear and confusing. There are clearer words to use, to convey exactly what is intended.

The clearest way to talk about Masonic recognitions is to say that the DC Grand Chapter recognizes a certain set of other Grand Chapters as of now, and so does each other Grand Chapter. Thus, each Grand Chapter is either "recognized by my Grand Chapter as of now" or not. Those that are recognized are sometimes said to be "in amity" with us, and those are the ones to which we appoint Grand Representatives. Our Grand Chapter has a Correspondence Committee that, among other duties, makes recommendations to our Grand Chapter about which other Grand Chapters to recognize, not recognize, or withdraw recognition from. The decisions are made by our Grand Chapter in regular or special Convocations.

If you want to learn more about the subject of Masonic recognitions, "regularity," etc., you can find a lot of material to read in Masonic libraries in our area.

You will undoubtedly find that being a Grand Representative will lead to your making new Masonic friends in other places. Nourish and cherish these friendships.

Remember what Freemasonry is about, and why you are involved in it. We are trying to learn and improve ourselves, and to meet interesting people and have a good time. We are trying to promote brotherhood among all people, and spread the Masonic philosophy of tolerance and acceptance of all people regardless of their race, religion, color, gender, or anything else other than the content of their character.

Your activities as a Grand Representative of our Grand Chapter should show that you understand and support these Masonic principles, and that you want to promote them in all your dealings with other Masons and all other people.

And have fun, too.


Masonic Service Association - Short Talk Bulletin - June 1963

Annually the Proceedings of most United States Grand Lodges (1) contain a description something like this: "The Grand Master requested the Grand Secretary to call the roll of the Grand Representatives of other Grand jurisdictions, and as their names were called they assembled west of the altar. The Grand Master then addressed the group as follows:

While many of the Worshipful Masters and Wardens who represent the constituent Lodges at Grand Lodge have some comprehension of the meaning of this ceremony, others do not. Some, who want to streamline Freemasonry's procedures, regard it as a boring, time-wasting activity. They consider it mere "busy work" to give a number of Brethren some "recognition" in Grand Lodge.

One should not blame those Brethren for such a reaction, which results from a perfunctory and listless continuation of the Masonic system of Grand Lodge Representatives, which was

originally intended to promote one of the Institution's greatest ideals - universality. Too few Brethren have been informed of the purposes and values of this ancient custom, especially the Representatives themselves.

Mackey defines a Representative of a Grand Lodge in these words: "A Brother appointed by one Grand Lodge to represent its interest in another. The Representative is generally, although not

necessarily (2), a member of the Grand Lodge to whom he is accredited, and receives his appointment on its nomination, but he is permitted to wear the clothing of the Grand Lodge which he represents. (This last practice has almost disappeared in modern times.) He is required to attend the meetings of the Grand Lodge to which he is accredited, and to communicate to his constituents an abstract of the proceedings, and other matters of Masonic interest."

The average Grand Representative will probably be surprised to learn that he is required to attend the communications of the Grand Lodge which he represents. Few Grand Masters instruct Grand Representatives about such a requirement. Some of them rarely attend. In 1963, however, the Grand Master of New Jersey recommended that his Grand Lodge adopt legislation which would automatically suspend the commission of any Grand Representative who failed to attend Grand Lodge for two consecutive years. In opposing the Grand Master's recommendation, the jurisprudence Committee remarked, "Such legislation is unnecessary. The Grand Master already has the power to revoke any or all such commissions whenever he believes necessary."

Mackey almost a century ago noted the weakness in the system of Grand Lodge Representatives, for he also wrote, "It is doubtful whether those duties are generally performed. The office of Representative appears to be rather one of honor than of service."

Coil's Encyclopedia reaches the same conclusion: "The original idea seems to have been that these representatives were ambassadors, but in late years the positions have become purely honorary, the correspondence relating to actual business matters being carried on by the respective Grand Secretaries."

Grand Representatives are usually appointed by the Grand Master when recognition is extended to another Grand Lodge. Some Grand Lodges, however, do not appoint representatives to a recognized Grand Lodge if the latter exchanges representatives with other Grand Lodges which they decline to recognize, to avoid the possibility that their own representative's presence at a Grand Lodge meeting with the representatives of unrecognized jurisdictions might be construed as de facto recognition.

The Constitutions of the United Grand Lodge of England provide that "the Grand Master may, by warrant, appoint any Brother to represent him in a recognized Grand Lodge, and may constitute him and also any Brother regularly deputed from a recognized Grand Lodge, a member of the Grand Lodge, with such rank as the Grand Master may deem appropriate." (The last provision was included to insure a representative's acceptance where specific Masonic rank was required.)

The custom of exchanging Grand Lodge Representatives is an old one in Speculative Freemasonry. In England it probably had its origins in the attitude of other Grand Lodges toward the rivalry between the "Moderns" and the "Ancients", as well as in the visits of distinguished Masons from Europe and America to the Grand Lodge of England. John Hammerton, Provincial Grand Master of South Carolina, was received at a quarterly communication in London in April, 1738. In the United States it grew out of the large number of independent Grand Lodges which sprang into existence after the colonies had declared their independence, and from their need to exchange Masonic knowledge and opinion, just as their forebears had found it necessary to establish "committees of correspondence" between the pre-Revolutionary Colonial Assemblies, to exchange political plans and ideas.

In modern practice a Grand Representative is said to be the representative of a particular Grand Lodge near his own Grand Lodge. The Grand Lodge of New York, for example, has forty-five of its members acting as representatives from other Grand Lodges in the United States and its territories near the Grand Lodge of New York. (California, Iowa, Pennsylvania, and Wyoming extend recognition to other Grand Lodges, but do not exchange representatives.) New York also has fifty-six Grand Representatives who personify Grand Lodges in Canada, the British Isles, and the rest of the world.

This Short Talk Bulletin, however, is not designed to trace the history of the system of Grand Lodge Representatives. Assuming that it is, to a large extent, an unused tool of American

Freemasonry, it attempts to suggest the purposes and values of that system and to suggest some ways in which it could be made more useful for the grand design of the Institution, to spread the cement of brotherly love and affection.

Consider for a moment the quantitative potential of this system. Forty-six Grand Lodges in the United States and its territories appoint Grand Representatives to other jurisdictions. That's an army of approximately 4,600 Masons who officially represent in their own Grand Lodges the Masons of other states and nations. In the vivid French name for Grand Representatives, they are the 4,600 American gages d' amitie, or pledges of friendship!

As symbols of friendship and brotherhood, Grand Representatives have tended to become just that - symbols, instead of a vital, useful tool. It is sometimes objected that they really have nothing to do, since the Grand Master and Grand Secretary handle all official business between their own and other Grand Lodges, since an informed and experienced committee on fraternal relations is generally responsible for matters of recognition, and since a fraternal correspondent generally reviews and comments on the proceedings of other Grand Lodges. Most Grand Secretaries annually send copies of the Proceedings to the Grand Lodges recognized by their own.

Fears are sometime expressed that a hundred different communications from a hundred different correspondents might lead to expressions of private opinions which would compromise their Grand Lodge, or to misinterpretations of its policies and decisions. Such fears are never entertained, however, by a Grand Master who recognizes the value of Grand Representatives and who takes the trouble to give them good and wholesome instruction on how to fulfill their proper function. If he recognizes them as "pledges of friendship", he sets them to work to spread the cement of mutual respect and fraternal understanding.

In addressing the Grand Representatives near the Grand Lodge of North Dakota at its 1961 Communication, Senior Grand Warden Edwin A. Haakenson made some specific suggestions: "I think these Brethren standing around the room have a great deal to do with Universality. They do try to contact the Grand jurisdictions which they represent here. Every time a contact is made in some other part of the world, there is a mutual understanding created. Each time I come to Grand Lodge I make it a point to get extra copies of the several programs and other little items of interest I can collect, enclose them in an envelope and send it to the Grand Representative for North Dakota near the Grand Lodge of Chihuahua, Mexico. He is the opposite of me.

"Every time I do that I know that I create a good feeling. My hope is that these Brethren, our Grand Representatives, are doing likewise. I firmly believe that if we want peace and understanding in the world, little acts like I have mentioned and a friendly letter of greetings will contribute more to establish peace and understanding than anything else, except personal contact."

The large number of Grand Representatives present, as well as Brother Haakenson's practical advice, inspired Brother John D. Cunningham, Executive Secretary of The Masonic Service Association, to make extended remarks about Grand Representatives when he addressed the Grand Lodge of North Dakota the following day.

"Our prestige is at a very low ebb everywhere in the world, including this hemisphere. Because we have been too busy enjoying the God-given prosperity that we fairly wallow in, too busy doing business `as usual' to develop friendships, we have exchanged friendship for envy, and envy breeds hatred, _and if you think for one moment that the United States is not actually hated in some countries, you're badly mistaken.

"Politically, this situation is deplorable. Masonically, it is inexcusable, for if Freemasonry means anything at all, we have within our framework a perfect means to correct some of these ills. We have kindred spirits; we have Brothers of the same mind in almost every country of the world. If we are so disposed, we should experience absolutely no difficulty in reaching them, in having a harmonizing meeting of minds, a perfect understanding with them.

"Nearly every Grand Lodge in the world has the system of Grand Representatives; and if this system functions properly, these representatives can spread the cement of brotherly love and truth so smoothly and effectively that it will withstand any strain, even the strains of Communist prevarication and distortion."

After describing the system of Grand Representatives, Brother Cunningham continued, "However, too many of these cabletows of Masonic communication fail because of two knots, one at either end of the cable _DO NOTS. Too many newly-appointed Grand Representatives frame their certificates or commissions, hang them on the wall with a great deal of pride because the appointment is an honor, and then forget why they were appointed in the first place. But the unusual number of Grand Representatives appearing here and Brother Haakenson's message to them convinces me that in some Grand Lodges this very important appointment is taken seriously.

"But it must be taken even more seriously. Grand Representatives can, in addition to performing a service to Freemasonry, perform a great service to our beloved country. We have a pipeline; we have a line of communication; we can do things that others cannot because we are always communicating with or talking to kindred spirits."

In February, 1961, Brother Cunningham accompanied Grand Master Joseph Hopper of Montana, Grand Secretary Harry W. Bundy of Colorado, and Past Grand Master Richard A. Kern of Pennsylvania to San Juan, Puerto Rico, to attend the Fifth Inter_American Conference of Central and South American Grand Lodges. There he became convinced of the value of Grand Representatives in breaking down barriers of misunderstanding. Referring to that experience, he continued:

"I was privileged to sit with many of the committees. At first I was shocked to discover that I was a stranger among Masons. I wondered, `Why do these people regard me with suspicion?'

Remember, there were present representatives of countries which are political enemies. They have border warfare; they have political intrigue; but between the Masons of those countries there was splendid rapport. The American delegates were not heartily accepted at first. I discovered that our trouble is our chain of communciations. Part of the fault is ours. We speak only English - some of us not so well - but we speak only English.

"Most of our Latin American Brothers are bilingual. They know what we're saying about them. They know what we are thinking about them if we take the trouble to communicate with them. But we don't understand them. As more and more criticism was heaped not directly, but by innuendo upon this country of mine, I was disturbed. I just can't bear to hear my country blamed for everything. So, in my final speech to that assembly, I decided to do what I'm doing here among friends: take my hair down and speak my piece, from my heart.

"I admitted our fault, but I pointed out that they must share the blame. I mentioned our Grand Representative system. There was cackling all over the hall; nobody agreed with me. Many of them said that they had never heard from their counterpart in the United States. Then I asked them if they had replied to the correspondence they did receive. I told them that my experience with Central and South American Masons proved to me that they were definitely manana boys, that one is fortunate to get an answer to a communication in the same year. I challenged them to tell us more about themselves.

"The more I talked to them the better acquainted we became, and the more convinced I became in my heart that we four from the United States were doing more at that Conference to break down barriers between our countries than our State Department has been able to do in the last five or six years."

In conclusion Brother Cunningham challenged his listeners, particularly the Grand Representatives: "If every one of our Grand Lodges in the United States and Canada had a Grand

Representative for each of the 102 Grand Lodges on The M.S.A. Recognition Chart, and if each one of them would write two letters of greetings a year - multiply 102 by 49, then multiply that by the number of letters written by each Representative you will have some idea of the tremendous opportunity we have to win friends and influence people and to disseminate information, not only about our Fraternity, but about our customs and ideals. We would definitely prove to other Grand Lodges in this hemisphere, in countries so vitally important to this nation, that we Americans are really interested in them, that we're not just a group of people who come down and exploit, then leave. If we open the doors of our fraternal hearts, they will come in."

In the April, 1918, The Builder there appeared a symposium of suggestions for improving relationships between United States Grand Lodges and those in Central and South America. A number of American Masonic leaders contributed answers to the question: "Shall each American Grand Lodge establish representatives at each Central and South American Grand Lodge as a means of promoting Pan-American harmony?"

Oliver Day Street of Alabama recommended wider recognition of and exchange of Grand Representatives with more Spanish-speaking Grand Lodges; but the significant' revelation of the symposium is the comparatively greater ignorance and lack of understanding about our Brethren to the south on the part of United States Grand Lodges forty-five years ago.

One of the outstanding achievements of American Freemasonry in the intervening years has been the creation by the Conference of Grand Masters of North America of a Commission on Information for Recognition. Since 1952 it has been helping all United States Grand Lodges to secure more accurate and more complete information about Central and South American Grand Lodges. It has undoubtedly increased knowledge about Masonic affairs in other countries and removed many barriers of misunderstanding which kept Grand jurisdictions on this continent "at a perpetual distance".

But even forty-five years ago one wise Freemason from Manitoba, Brother P. E. Kellett, lifted his eyes and saw the possibilities for universality in a system of active Grand Representatives. In the April, 1918, The Builder he wrote: "More friendly relations should be established, if possible, not only with South America but with Masonic jurisdictions of the whole world. If we talk about universal Brotherhood, we should act it as well."

1. Except - in the United States - California, Iowa, Pennsylvania, and Wyoming.

2. In 1879 the Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia declared that a Grand Representative must be a member of the Grand Lodge to which he is accredited.

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