The Mentor’s Mentors

By: Jonathan Andrews, PGM
Grand Lecturer

The Example, not the Performer, to Instill Confidence & Promote Accomplishment.

Jonathan Andrews, PGM

New Mexico Freemasonry is an important part of all of our lives. Not just for the fraternal friendship, but community service and personal betterment are keystones in our personal edifices. Although there are other fraternal organizations that offer many of these benefits, masonry alone marries them with an expansive ritual aimed at teaching its lessons. As Grand Lecturer, my job is to help the District Deputy Grand Lecturers, and by extension, the Worshipful Masters, lodge officers and brethren improve and optimize their ritual to ensure we properly transmit our ritual from generation to generation.

Per the direction of Most Worshipful Grand Master Tom Schenk, and Right Worshipful Deputy Grand Master Steve Almager, there have been some changes to roles and responsibilities of the Grand Lecturer and District Deputy Grand Lecturers and how they perform their duties. The Grand Lodge of New Mexico is moving to a model where the Grand Lecturer and District Deputy Grand Lecturers assist with education and coordination of ritual, but avoid performing ritual themselves. Many lodges have historically called on others to perform ritual rather than working on educating their own members. The goal is to establish local district ritual capabilities and competencies throughout the state so that lodges are not calling one or two brothers to perform their lectures for years without working to learn among themselves. The District Deputy Grand Lecturers are charged with helping the lodges in their district perform their ritual themselves. If any of the lodges in their district are not able to perform any part of the Masonic ritual it is their duty to find assistance for the lodge, or enlist the help of the Grand Lodge to accomplish those tasks.

New Mexico Freemasonry just went through a redistricting, so there are less District Deputies than in previous years. That means they each have a larger district to cover. As such, they each have an allocated travel budget, approved by the Craft, to help offset the mileage they are expected to encumber while performing their official duties.

I have asked the District Deputy Grand Lecturers to concentrate on three focus areas this year:

Lodges of Ritual Instruction

  • Hold a Lodge of Ritual Instruction whenever a lodge requests it, preferably during a regular communication when there are more Masons present. Offer these educational opportunities to all lodges in your district. A Lodge of Instruction can serve as a lodge’s Masonic Education or in the place of a monthly program.
  • Monitor the progress of the lodges in your district and make sure that every lodge in your district can open and close on all three degrees and confer all three degrees using its own members and officers. Schedule refresher courses whenever necessary.

Lodge Officer Workshops and Training

  • Give Lodge Officer Training presentations as often as necessary, preferably at least once a year. Oftentimes a new lodge officer finds himself elected to a position without a full understanding of his role. The Grand Lodge of New Mexico provides excellent training manuals for all three of the stationed officers.
  • Lodge Officer Training Workshops can be held informally during a regular communication as Masonic Education or in the place of a monthly program. A districtwide Lodge Officer Training presentation can also be given at a designated time and place.
  • Ensure that proper Masonic etiquette is observed at all times. When the lodge is closed or at refreshment, informality is encouraged; while the lodge is at labor, especially during the conferring of degrees, officers and members are always expected to adhere to proper Masonic decorum.

Mentorship

  • Make sure that candidates are knowledgeable about Freemasonry and informed of the lodge’s expectations before petitioning for admission. This will save the candidate, the lodge, and its members time and effort if the candidate is unsure, unwilling, or incapable of participating.
  • Mentorship (not just coaching) is critical for establishing long-term Masonic relationships. New Masons are always looking for a way to do more, learn more, and experience more. Taking a new Mason under your wing will guarantee that he receives the best training possible and becomes the most knowledgeable Freemason he can be.

AltarI hope that your lodges are working with the District Deputy Grand Lecturers to ensure these goals are met. As usual, the importance of frequent practice cannot be stressed enough. If you are observing issues with ritual, it is better to get those corrected during practice.

We all continually strive to break off our rough corners and perfect the highest standards of ritual, which separate us from other fraternal organizations. Thanks to each of you for your dedication to Freemasonry in New Mexico.

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