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Engaging Past Masters

Tips to Keep Past Masters Involved

Your June checklist

For your Trestleboard

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Engaging Past Masters

Big decisions. Demanding ritual. New responsibilities. But no matter how overwhelming lodge leadership gets, officers can turn to brothers who have triumphed over the same challenges. These are their past masters, every lodge’s built-in advisory council.

Here’s how two lodges, Burlingame Lodge No. 400 in Burlingame and Eureka Lodge No. 16 in Auburn keep past masters at the heart of their success.

Master Marty Cusing explains for Burlingame Lodge:

  • Past masters gravitate to numerous leadership roles in our lodge – ex. the degree team, committees, and coaching. One past master is now treasurer.
  • We have a core of active past masters that acts as an unofficial advisory committee to the lodge. They’re always involved in big decisions. Right now we’re reevaluating our building’s rent, and these past masters have led the deliberations.
  • We rely on past masters to mediate disagreements between brothers. They have wisdom, experience, and the lodge’s respect. They can sit down with both parties and find a solution.
  • Past masters are role models for candidates. Last month for a third degree, a past master asked to read a poem that had been given to him by his officer’s coach years ago. He wanted to share that part of his Masonic experience with the candidate.
  • Past masters are mentors for officers progressing up the line. They’re available to offer feedback, perspective, and their own experience. After a degree, they’ll send emails and texts celebrating a job well done. When a brother needs a little extra help, he can turn to them.
  • Never underestimate fellowship: One past master says he remains active in the lodge because of the close friendships.

Master Douglas Tucker explains for Eureka Lodge:

  • The junior past master sits in the marshal’s chair after his year in the East, making him a natural mentor to officers going up the line. This has been invaluable to me as master. Since we progressed up the line together, this past master knows my weaknesses and strengths, and can advise me without impeding my leadership.
  • Our past masters stay involved on committees, from the monthly audit of bills to the scholarship committee. As a result, they’re at lodge on a regular basis and feel part of what’s going on.
  • We invite past masters to take part in degree ritual, even though we have a full line. This places them at the center of the candidate’s experience, contributing in an important way to the lodge.
  • Incoming masters usually approach a few past masters for advice on the year ahead. For example, I was having issues balancing my budget, so I had a past master over for tea. He gave advice without giving me the answer, which was just what I needed.
  • Past masters are a valuable resource. When officers look to them for help, they tend to take a more active interest in the lodge.

When a master becomes a past master, he has the potential to continue leading the lodge in powerful ways. So be deliberate about engaging your past masters. With them, current officers get support and mentorship. Past masters keep ownership in the lodge they built. And altogether, the lodge succeeds.

Contact:

Marty Cusing, Burlingame Lodge No. 400

Douglas Tucker, Eureka Lodge No. 16

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Tips to Keep Past Masters Involved

Once a master’s term is over, the lodge gains a key mentor – someone who understands the lodge intimately and knows almost every aspect of leading it. Here are tips to keep past masters engaged, putting their expertise to great use.

  • Have each incoming master ask a few past masters to serve as his on-call advisors (read Saddleback Laguna Lodge’s approach)
  • Ask past masters to mentor new officers. Encourage officers to ask feedback from past masters on their abilities, blind spots, and conditions (see page 80 of the “From Leader to Mentor” book).
  • Pair a potential officer with a past master to discuss the workload of the position. The past master can dispel any incorrect assumptions, identify areas in which the brother might need extra support, and share the benefits of serving as a leader.
  • Use past masters to fill in for officers who cannot attend stated meetings or degrees for important reasons.
  • Have past masters ready to step in, when necessary, to fill the line.
  • Ask past masters for advice on advancement challenges.
  • Ask past masters to help think about the lodge’s future and develop strategic and tactical plans for long-term goals. Include them on the team assigned to oversee the plan’s development and use.

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Your June checklist

Stay on track of lodge business and prepare for important deadlines. Here’s your June checklist.

Executive Committee

  • Register for the 169th Annual Communication.
  • Remind members to celebrate Masonic Homes Month, taking place throughout the month of June.

Senior Warden, along with Executive Committee

  • Identify and approach members for 2019 open elected and appointed officer positions.
  • Identify and approach members for the 2019 Audit, Membership Retention, and any other committees.
  • Set calendar for 2019 and identify event leaders.
  • Continue preparing 2019 budget.
  • Set installation date and approach installing officer, master of ceremonies, and chaplain.
  • Review all candidates’ progress towards advancement.

Junior Warden

  • Continue tracking 100% officer giving to the, Annual Fund, with officers setting an example through gifts that represent their capability as well as their commitment to our charitable programs.

Secretary

  • Send list of members with late dues to the master for the Retention Committee.
  • Send any suspension notices via certified mail.
  • Provide necessary information so the Charity Committee can consider remissions.
  • Review your roster for accuracy in preparation for the end of the Grand Lodge membership year, June 30.

Questions? Contact Member Services at memberservices@freemason.org or (415) 776-7000.

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For your Trestleboard

It’s a small act that can mean the world: picking up the phone. Here’s how one lodge organized outreach calls to its elder brothers and sweethearts, and the warmth it created on both sides of the phone. Use it to inspire your lodge’s outreach efforts.

This month:
Beyond Obligation
Age Successfully at Acacia Creek

Share in your Trestleboard.

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Find it on freemason.org

In 2016, California Masons received an unexpected thank-you note from baseball legend Willie Mays. He wrote in praise of Masons4Mitts, which has raised more than $826,000 so far to serve at-risk youth in MLB charitable programs – helping kids build confidence, leadership, and team-building skills in a healthy outlet.

The 2018 season has begun! Check out the redesigned Masons4Mitts to:

  • Give a mitt: For every $20 you donate, you give a high quality mitt directly to a child in need.
  • Buy tickets for Masons Night: Choose from AT&T Park, Dodgers Stadium, Petco Park, and Angels Stadium.
  • Keep track of the competition: See the latest tallies from regional teams of lodges, competing to donate the most mitts.
  • New this year: Masons4Mitts welcomes Angels Baseball in Orange County!

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Question of the month

Last month we asked how your lodge engages past masters (PMs). Of those that responded:

  • 56% - PMs serve as advisers to current/incoming master
  • 50% - PMs lead key committees/projects
  • 50% - PMs hold special roles in installations and other events
  • 31% - PMs give Masonic education presentations
  • 25% - Lodge hosts special event(s) to honor PMs


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