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
The following is from Bro. Teddy (Touvia)
Goldstein in Israel
A word from the Grand Master
Relations between Grand Lodges
Nominating Grand Representatives
A Word from the Grand Master
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
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.
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.
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,
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
special meeting held by the Committee for Foreign Relations, the following
guidelines to Grand Representatives of our Grand Lodge were drafted and agreed
after receiving the nomination, every Grand
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
from correspondence with the "parallel" representative. The
Association in Maryland can also assist.
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,
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
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
write again after a few weeks. If you were unsuccessful in your efforts
about six months, request the assistance of your Grand Secretary.
Connections between Grand .
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
the same whenever such a visit comes to your attention.
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
every Grand Representative to visit the Grand Lodge he represents
at least once.
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
which they are deputed.
Committee for Foreign Relations will communicate to Grand
Representatives in Israel (through the Grand Secretary) of such .
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.
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.
Representative is obliged to attend Quarterly Communications of the
Grand Lodge to which he is deputed and bring Greetings.
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.
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.
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.
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.
like to wish you again satisfaction from having been appointed a Grand
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.
Royal Arch Masons
of the District of Columbia
Handbook for Grand Chapter
Representatives To Other Grand Chapters
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
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
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
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]
[Official, full name of the Grand Chapter to which you are the Grand
[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
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 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]
[Official, full name of the Grand Chapter to which you are the Grand
[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
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
If there is anything I can do to assist you in any way, please let me know.
[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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
"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
"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
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
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
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
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.