Together we make a profound difference

March 2023: Managing the E.A. Crush

Scheduling All Those Entered Apprentices

The good news is that for the first time in quite a while, many of California's Masonic lodges have a glut of new prospects ready and eager to join their ranks. In fact, nearly every lodge in the state has received more than one online prospect over the past year, thanks to the fraternity's first-of-its-kind awareness campaign. And as of last fall, nearly three-quarters of lodges said they had at least one prospect ready to move forward.

But that's not where the story ends, of course. Feedback from lodge masters and secretaries indicates that still, too often, prospects are left waiting with no contact from lodge ambassadors. Those would-be members are left to wither on the vine. For those who do make contact and develop, yet another membership challenge is emerging for 2023: holding all those E.A. degrees. 

For lodges that are still feeling the effects of the pandemic, arranging for a glut of new ritual degree performances can be a logistical challenge—not to mention a question of manpower. In instances where lodges are having trouble fielding a full line of officers, the matter of putting on degrees and bringing new members into the fold has been shoved to the back burner.

That shouldn't be the case, though. New members are the lifeblood of the organization, and without them, the fraternity cannot move forward and grow. It is imperative, then, that lodges of all sizes are able to move interested candidates through the degrees in a timely (though not rushed) manner—and in a way that adds to their membership experience and befits the solemnity and momentous nature of the ritual.

Table of Contents
    Add a header to begin generating the table of contents
    Scroll to Top

    Making Prospects into Members

    Lodges struggling to advance prospects through the degrees, take note. No matter what size of lodge you have, or how many officers are in place, there are steps you can take to ensure you're not ignoring the next generation of Masons.

    1. Practice, Practice

    The first piece of advice is obvious: You've got to get your reps in. Practice the ritual as a line. Make time for your officer line to work as a team going through the entire flow of a degree ceremony. Floorwork is something that is best practiced with your fellow officers and in the lodge setting. This is where the rubber meets the road and you can combine your well-practiced recitations with coordinated movement.

    2. But First, Start Planning

    If simply being out of practice is your lodge’s biggest problem, that's a good thing. Because even getting to a place where you can focus on the performance itself takes some serious planning. See the big picture. Begin by surveying your lodge's degree needs for the upcoming year. How many applicants are ready to take their Entered Apprentice degree? How many are waiting for the second and third degrees? Don't try to do them all at once—and don’t rush to put everyone through the degrees as fast as you can. "Give yourself a roadmap," Yelinek says. "And then you can backfill that calendar with rehearsals and practice dates." (For what it's worth, on average, California lodges perform about six degrees per year.)

    3. Be Strategic

    The Entered Apprentice and Fellow Craft degrees share many similarities. Take advantage of the practice you do for one and schedule your EA and FC degrees close to one another. That way, you'll stay sharp and not need to worry about building up to the more challenging third degree until later.

    4. Stick to the Plan

    Once you've built out a calendar to handle all the degrees you need to perform, stick to it. Don't worry about a new candidate who wants to get their Entered Apprentice degree done ASAP. They'll be scheduled for next year.

    5. Look for Help

    One of the most common issues facing lodges is a dearth of officers available to perform the degrees. Don't let that stop you! Recruit officers from nearby lodges who can step in to help your lodge put on a degree. Connect with them at Officer School of Instruction events, at the Leadership Retreats, or through your district inspector. In fact, lodges that co-host degrees often find it to be a fun and memorable time.

    Increasingly, certainly lodges are fielding traveling degree teams—particularly in Southern California. If your lodge isn't able to put on a degree, but you have candidates ready to take them, ask a traveling team to step in. It’s a memorable experience for your lodge, the candidate, and the traveling team. 

    Finally, look at your bench: Are there current Entered Apprentices in your lodge who might relish the opportunity to deliver the charge at the end of another candidates' EA degree? Other members who might like to play a part? Think of the degrees as a way to bring more members into the fold in a meaningful way—and to give the regular crew a little bit of a break. That's a win-win.

    For Your Trestleboard

    Use this content to spread the word about resources provided by the California Masonic Foundation, the Masonic Homes of California, and more.

    Masonic Health Services:

    Services at MCYAF Across the Lifespan

    The Pavilion at the Masonic Homes

    Masonic Homes of California Resources

    Masonic Value Network

    Masonic Philanthropy:

    Masonic Youth Order Resources Library

    California Masonic Foundation Cornerstone Society

    March Officers' Checklist

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

    Executive Committee

    • Schedule inspector’s official visit and examination of the books, due by end of the month.
    • Attend or make plans to attend the Master & Wardens Retreat. Register now.

    Senior Warden

    • Begin preparing 2024 program plan.
    • Begin preparing 2024 budget, remembering to set aside funds for retreat attendance
    • Begin preparing 2024 officer appointments.
    • Begin preparing 2024 installation of officers.
    • Review all candidates’ progress toward advancement.

    Junior Warden

    • Begin tracking 100 percent 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.   And, do your part and give today!


    • Continue to collect delinquent dues from members (were due on January 1).
    • Send list of members with late dues to the master for the Retention Committee.
    • Send any suspension notices.
    • Charity Committee considers remissions.
    • File financial reports with Grand Lodge (unless your lodge uses Intacct, in which case you do not need to submit anything).


    • If your lodge has employees, file W-3 with IRS along with copies of all W-2 forms.
    • File financial reports with Grand Lodge (unless your lodge uses Intacct, in which case you do not need to submit anything).

    Audit Committee

    • Audit lodge books, to be completed by end of April.

    Questions? Contact Member Services at or (415) 776-7000.

    Question of the Month

    Last month, we asked has your lodge had suspended members reinstated through the Restoration Campaign? Of those who responded:

    • Yes - 52%
    • No - 48%

    Here's your next survey question