The following outline was used as part of a training seminar for Wardens and Deacons in D.C. Lodges on Saturday, June 24, 2000
Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia
Who Wants to Be Ready for YOUR Year as Worshipful Master?
[Lights dim, weird music plays, camera pans the audience then focuses on Regis Philbin]
First question, for $1,000 worth of Masonic knowledge (audience can call out answers)
What are the most important things you need to work on NOW, to prepare for your year as Worshipful Master of Your Lodge?
(a) learning the ritual to open and close the lodge
(b) arranging your programs for the year you are Worshipful Master
(c) learning how to handle petitions for degrees, affiliation, and other membership issues
(d) taking care of finances and preparing a budget
(e) practicing to be a good speaker, clear, forceful, and in charge
(f) learning other things, such as handling funerals, food for meetings, Grand Lodge rules
Next question, for $5,000 worth of Masonic knowledge
Why is learning the ritual important TO YOU?
(a) it's important so you don't have to worry about it while you're running your meetings
(b) it's important to prove to your members that you know what you're doing
(c) it's important because you don't want PMs on the sidelines "helping" you with prompting
(d) it's important because some Brethren feel it helps teach everyone important lessons
Bonus -- What's the best way to learn the ritual to open and close your lodge?
(a) re-read what's in the cipher book over and over
(b) listen carefully at lodge meetings
(c) recite the ritual in the car on your way to and from lodge meetings
(d) ask someone who knows the ritual very well to help you
Question for $10,000 worth of Masonic knowledge
What should you remember about lodge programs?
(a) no one cares about programs; they like to listen to minutes, bills, and introductions
(b) don't help speakers; don't give them details; don't remind them of meetings
(c) don't advertise programs in bulletins or announcements at meetings
(d) don't seem to be interested in your programs; that might cause others to be interested
(a) make a calendar of all the meetings coming up in your year as Worshipful Master
(b) fill in all the "required" programs, such as elections, installation, etc.
(c) list all the topics for programs that YOU think might be interesting
(d) try to come up with interesting and unusual programs, and ways of presenting them
(e) try to put names together with program topics and ideas
(f) call, write, and talk with people who you want to help you with your programs
(g) keep notes, so you know who's interested and what follow-up is needed
(h) when you have a program planned, send letters to all involved, with all the details
(i) call all involved a couple of weeks before programs, remind them, offer assistance
(j) call again a couple of days before, to remind again, and again offer assistance
(k) put your program on FIRST, before the lodge business, to show what's most important
What do you need to know about membership issues, such as handling petitions?
(a) you won't have time to learn the rules during meetings
(b) you won't look good if you don't know what you're supposed to do with petitions
(c) if you don't do things properly, you may make mistakes and hurt people
(d) if you're going to have to learn the rules, you might as well learn them NOW
Bonus - What are some important things to learn about handling petitions?
(a) learn what has to be in the petition form, and how the candidate has to fill it in
(b) learn what to do if the candidate lives in Maryland, northern Virginia, or elsewhere
(c) know when and how to receive petitions, when and how to ballot on them
(d) when and how do you report actions on petitions; check what your Secretary does
(e) how do you put a degree team together, and inspire them?
Question for $50,000 worth of Masonic knowledge
What do you need to know about lodge finances?
(a) who cares?
(b) use up all the lodge's money and let the next guy worry about it
(c) let someone else worry about money
(a) it's pretty simply, and won't take much time, to put together a simple budget
(b) find out about how much can be expected in dues (dues-paying members and amount)
(c) find out about how much might be expected from investments and other income
(d) check what the expenses have been in recent years; which do you plan to continue
(e) think about other programs you might want, and what they might cost
(f) consult with your Secretary and Treasurer, and Trustees, for assistance - NOW
(g) write down your proposed budget, and ask others for comments and suggestions
Question for $100,000 worth of Masonic knowledge
What's useful to know and learn about speaking as the Master to your Lodge?
(a) speak LOUDLY - even if you're wrong, people will think you're right
(b) look at the audience, individual faces, move your gaze around the room
(c) smile - look like you're having a good time, and others will, too
(d) plan your meeting in detail ahead of time - practice remembering what you've planned
(e) practice - ask for opportunities to talk for a few minutes to your lodge before you're WM
Summary question - for $500,000 in Masonic knowledge
All in all, what do you need to learn and practice so the members of your Lodge will say, "He's one of the best Worshipful Masters our Lodge has ever had."
(a) become really great at the opening and closing ritual, so you can say it in your sleep
(b) put most of your effort into organizing programs that everyone will find really interesting
(c) learn how to handle petitions and other membership issues backwards and forwards
(d) spend some time figuring out where the money will come from, and where it will go
(e) practice to become a great speaker, clear, loud, concise, comfortable - "in charge"
(f) check on what has to be done to make Masonic funerals respectful and well organized
(g) decide what you'll do about food at meetings during your year, plan, and get help
(h) learn the basics about the Code, what's expected at Grand Lodge meetings, etc.
Final question - for $1,000,000 in Masonic knowledge
What is the single most important thing to do about your year as Worshipful Master?
(a) Have fun, plan ahead, treat brethren well, smile a lot, learn a lot, enjoy yourself
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