Provincial Grand Lodge of Warwickshire

The Lodge Tyler

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The Lodge Tyler

Prepared by: W Bro Ian Hart, Provincial Grand Tyler, who records his thanks to the professional Tylers in the Province for their help in compiling this guide, and for the information supplied to him over the years.

All items mentioned here may be subject to individual Lodge traditions - if in doubt, check with the Lodge and use their workings.

The Tyler's Handbook contains useful tips and guidance to ensure the smooth running of the Lodge, covering the following areas;

Before the meeting

Night of the meeting

Setting up the Lodge room

Procession into the Lodge

During the meeting

Procession out of the Lodge

After the meeting

The Festive Board

Appendix

Ceremonies:

  • 1st Degree (Initiation)
  • 2nd Degree (Passing)
  • 3rd Degree (Raising)
  • Installation

Tyler’s Case

Tyler’s Toast

Further Information

A PDF copy of the Tyler's handbook can be found here.

The Lodge Treasurer

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The Lodge Treasurer

Prepared by: W Bro Richard Barker, whilst Provincial Grand Treasurer.

Richard now serves the Province as an Assistant Provincial Grand Master and his successor, W Bro Derek Sara will be pleased to answer any questions, and provide support for Lodge Treasurers.

There is plenty of guidance available on keeping lodge accounts books. Lewis Masonic, (aka Ian Allan Publishing), produced a book by Richard Johnson (which is recommended reading) for Treasurers, Charity Stewards, and Almoners in 2005, and it includes an example of a final set of accounts.

Accounts

The method of book-keeping is a choice for the treasurer; either a receipts and payments basis or an accruals basis is acceptable. It is Consistency that is paramount! However this needs to be explained, in that Receipts and Payments is purely what goes through the bank – the accruals basis tries to match income and expenditure. This article should not be about accountancy, but rather about the Office of Treasurer, its importance, its duties, and how the members of a Lodge can make it less demanding.

Records

The Book of Constitutions (rule 153) gives guidance on the rules for the appointment of a Treasurer, and his responsibility for handling all moneys of the Lodge – I emphasise the word ALL. This should include all Charity and Almoners’ money, as the accounts will be in the name of the Lodge. Legally, The Charities Act requires separate accounts for Almoners’ money, away from other Lodge money.

It is a requirement that charity money is kept separate from almoner money, both separate again from general funds. Whilst almoner’s cash can be given to charity, charity money must never be distributed by the almoner.

Unless the Lodge so approves in open Lodge, that one member, the treasurer, can use electronic banking facilities, two signatures are required for any account (this is still rule 153, as amended by Quarterly Communication on 13th March 2013); preferably the Treasurer and the Secretary, for Lodge money, the Treasurer and the Almoner for Almoner money. Two signatures are required for all accounts, even if that causes some inconvenience. All accounts must be in the name of the Lodge, not even in joint names of trustees. Having an account in personal name may improve the interest rates attainable in the current climate, but at too high a risk!

The second signatory MUST be a named brother (not the holder of a particular office) chosen from amongst several Brethren all of whom MUST have been so authorised by resolution passed in open Lodge – i.e. not the Lodge Committee.

Additionally, the Board of General Purposes reiterated that Rule 153 requires that the Bank and Branch where all accounts are held should be approved by resolution passed in open Lodge If it is the wish of the Lodge to make use of electronic banking, a resolution MUST be passed in open Lodge authorising the Treasurer, and him alone, to make payments from the Lodge’s accounts by electronic means. In the absence of such a resolution, payments must be made by cheque or cash.

Record Keeping

A working spreadsheet can be obtained from the Provincial Grand Treasurer, with an example of cash records for general, almoner, and charity funds. These are carried through to the set of accounts, but are an example only! Each Lodge will need to expand sources of income and expenditure according to requirements.

Income

The book already referred to indicates the likely income of any Lodge being, in reverse order of difficulties, charity donations, dining fees, and subscriptions.

Charity Donations

Charity Donations are collected by the Charity Steward and the same Lewis Masonic book covers his duties! He would pass the money and the envelopes to the treasurer for banking, and subsequent distribution. Before each collection, make sure the Brethren know for whom the appeal is made. It is too late after the money is collected, and clarity usually increases the contribution.

Dining Fees

Some treasurers ask the stewards, or the assistant secretary, to collect all dining fees; a Lodge should aim for no profit / no loss on the festive board. It is recommended that the subscription includes the dining costs of the Provincial visitors at Installation, as this should be a cost shared by all members rather than by only the members attending the installation meeting.

Subscriptions

Subscriptions are due in advance at the start of the Lodge financial year and the by-laws of the Lodge will state how much they are, and any sanction for non-payment. However Grand Lodge Dues and Provincial Grand Lodge Dues are due in arrears, invoiced at the end of the year on the total number of members. This is the significant difference in the two methods of recording mentioned earlier; Lodge Accounts sent into the Provincial Office showing the current subscriptions are collected but, because the accounts are prepared on a receipts and payments basis, the expense charge is the dues for the previous year. The reserves are consequently over-stated by the dues in arrears and outstanding. This would not matter until the last set of accounts, but it does flatter the figures, and treasurers must be aware of the liability!

Cessation

Termination of membership for non-payment of subscriptions after two years is automatic (Rule 148 B of C). The Province has for some time been recommending that by-laws are amended, as allowed in Rule 181 of the Book of Constitutions, so that exclusion is not after two years but after six months. This six month rule may seem severe, but it is for protection only and need not be used. If the two year rule applies, it takes time to advise the Masonic Authorities, and often three years’ Grand Lodge Dues, Provincial Grand Lodge Dues, and Capitation charges are suffered by the Lodge, without any income from the member could amount to more than £130 each year, £400 in total. No Lodge can afford that amount of loss.

Standing Orders

Again the Lewis Masonic book referred to earlier mentions the level of subscriptions, to include all outgoings of the Lodge, including Grand Lodge dues, Provincial Grand Lodge dues, and Capitation costs. By Law 15 of the Province suggested a surplus, to be collected, for indigent members!

Try to persuade the Lodge members to set up a standing order to commence payment at the start of the financial year of the Lodge. Attached to this website is a draft standing order. The subscription cannot include the price of the meals for the year, as Grand Lodge changed their rules; some lodges that were originally permitted so to include dining fees can continue. However for other Lodges there is no reason why the standing order should not be fixed at a higher level to include both subscriptions and dining fees! You would then only be recovering the costs of visitors.

The creation of standing orders, and the support of the members, would significantly ease the life of a treasurer – he should not be seen as a debt collector, although that is often his role in reality; a regrettable by-product of humans nature!

Province

In the 2011/12 year 189 lodges are listed, with some 4500 masons. The Book of Constitutions (still Rule 153!) requires the Lodge accounts to be approved by the members in open Lodge, within three meetings of the year end. The Provincial By-law number 17 requires those accounts to be submitted to Province within three months of the year end – these dates cannot always be matched up, so some leeway can be expected in that three month deadline.

Whilst the Treasurer is elected and should be submitting these accounts within time, the ultimate responsibility lies with the Worshipful Master – it is he that as an ultimate sanction risks the Warrant of the Lodge!

Temple Councillors are able to act as a conduit to pass advice both to and from their individual lodges, and to share personal experiences from which other lodges may learn. This applies not only to ritual and recruitment but to organisation and finance. Please share your own experiences and expertise.

The Provincial Treasurer is always willing to be of assistance, although hopefully as a last resort!

Further Information

Further advice may be obtained from the Provincial Grand Treasurer, W Bro Derek Sara, email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. tel: 0121 373 5021

The Lodge Secretary

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The Lodge Secretary

Prepared by: W Bro Christopher Rogers, Provincial Grand Secretary

These notes have been prepared primarily for the information and guidance of Lodge Secretaries and should be regarded as a summary of the relevant Laws and Regulations prescribed by the United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE) and contained in the Book of Constitutions and the booklet entitled ‘Information for Guidance of Members of the Craft’ together with aspects of the Secretarial function within Warwickshire.

Although UGLE is the supreme superintending authority, delegation is passed to the RW Provincial Grand Master for the administration of the Province of Warwickshire within the guidelines of Grand Lodge.

For these reasons, whenever in doubt regarding a course of action to be taken, administration problems should be referred to the Provincial Grand Secretary as too should those relating to ritual or ceremonial and NOT to the Grand Secretary at Freemasons’ Hall. Very rarely can a problem arise which has not been previously dealt with.

As a general rule Lodge Secretaries should note that all communications MUST be sent to:

The Provincial Grand Secretary
Provincial Grand Lodge of Warwickshire
Yenton Assembly Rooms,
73 Gravelly Hill North,
Erdington ,
Birmingham
B23 6BJ.

 

Telephone enquiries during office hours (9.00am to 3.30pm, Monday to Friday) to 0121 454 4422, e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and web: www.warwickshirepgl.org.uk

The following forms supplied by the Grand Secretary should be sent to him via the Provincial Office:

  • A copy of the Grand Lodge Annual Return – AR1 (with cheque for Annual Dues)
  • Applications for Grand Lodge Certificates – LP & A5

The Grand Lodge Installation Return should also be sent to the Provincial Grand Secretary who will then forward it to the Grand Secretary.

Any other communication sent to Grand Lodge is returned to the Provincial Grand Secretary other than enquiries regarding the existence of regular Freemasonry in foreign countries.

In the past, Rule 158, Clearance for Initiates living and working in London have been sent to the Grand Secretary. They should now be sent to the Metropolitan Grand Secretary.

All communications to the Provincial Grand Master or to the Deputy Provincial Grand Master on Masonic matters must be made through the Provincial Grand Secretary. Secretaries are asked to ensure that the members of their Lodges are aware that on no account should the prefix ‘Brother’, ‘W.Brother’, etc. or a masonic rank be included with the name and address on an envelope being sent through the post.

It is important that Lodge records should be kept in a place of safety and in conditions which will ensure that they are still legible in the future. The Provincial Office will advise in this respect.

A PDF copy of the Lodge Secretary Handbook can be found here.

The Lodge DC

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Freemasonry for the 21st Century

Prepared by: W Bro Philip Hall, Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies.

As well as making our meetings fun, relevant and timely, the objective of this short publication is to set out some suggestions for all brethren to consider for their lodges. The hope is that implementation of some or all these ideas could result in attracting and, just as importantly retaining, keen and able men to this wonderful hobby of ours. Some ideas will suit you, others will not; it is neither a rule book nor a dictat. The ideas have been plundered from many experienced Brethren who all recognise and embrace the importance of particular traditions in our lodges. It must, however, be acknowledged that this modern age of communication brings challenges as well as benefits, and to attract men used to a diet of instant communication we should consider adapting. Social patterns have changed and ‘spare’ time is considered at a premium and is precious.

Please read, consider and implement if you wish, but above all continue to enjoy your Freemasonry in Warwickshire.

Preparation before the Meeting

  1. The Lodge D.C. should plan for all Lodge Offices and their duties to be filled several days before the meeting and advise the substitute brethren well in advance.
  2. The minutes should be circulated with the summons and brethren should be encouraged to pay for meals by internet banking in advance.
  3. Dress code should encourage work suits for most meetings with morning and dress suits reserved for installations and special events only.
  4. Plan to start the meeting no earlier that 6pm and finish no later than 10pm on weekdays.

Lodge Meetings – ‘The Admin’

 

  1. Remember the lodge should be open at 6pm not processing in at 6pm.
  2. Is a procession necessary? Many lodges don’t anymore reserving it for installation and special events if at all.
  3. Do not read minutes in full. Ideally circulate them previously or if absolutely necessary then précis them only.
  4. Generally minimise the salutes. Consider only saluting newly appointed or promoted brethren at the first opportunity and at Installations only salute the Presiding Officer. Or if there are lots of ranks then only salute the most senior.
  5. Avoid ballots on installation nights. For elections (e.g. the Tyler) prepare the voting slips in advance and place on seat.
  6. Combine deferred items of business i.e. Items 6, 7, and 8 will be deferred.
  7. Consider removing items on the summons that date back to a bygone age and are no longer done. i.e. To read the summons convening the meeting etc.
  8. Consider circulating the Almoner’s and Charity Steward’s report by email with the minutes.
  9. Alms are nearly always collected at the Festive Board so why is it on the summons?
  10. Keep the reports at the 3 risings to a minimum. Circulate what you can, summarise what you can’t and read when you must.

 

 

 

Ceremonial

  1. Plan and rehearse ceremonies – a vibrant and well attended Lodge of Instruction is a key to success. There is no substitute for the hard work of learning the ritual so that it is skilfully and meaningfully delivered.
  2. There should be only one designated prompter. A job not to be underestimated as it requires concentration, sound judgement and good eyesight.
  3. Consider sharing the ritual to involve Junior and Senior brethren. This makes for an easier learning task and the benefit of participation strengthening the sense of belonging.
  4. For Initiations, the Secretary and Treasurer can complete the formalities with the candidate before the meeting.
  5. Use the time when the candidate retires to restore his personal comforts to deal with further admin on the summons, but do not run a ballot at this point.

Installation ceremonies (usually the longest!)

 

  1. Still start at 6pm but plan for the work.
  2. Get the Master elect to try on the apron to ensure it fits prior to the meeting.
  3. Lodge DC to check al preparations in advance of the meeting.
  4. Consider only saluting the Presiding Officer. This will usually be done by the escorting Prov. D.C. in any event.
  5. When the WM thanks his outgoing officers do so briefly and with them in their places, placing their collars on the backs of the chairs.
  6. When the E.A.’s, F.C.’s and M.M.’s retire they should do so without saluting or perambulating and escorting mentors should do the same.
  7. Is there any real need to ‘Call Off’ the lodge during the inner workings? Similarly is it really necessary for all installed Masters to greet the new Master? All this eats a lot of time and a lodge DC needs to be alert to this.
  8. When Lodge officers are being re-appointed consider doing them collectively. Perhaps in a line in front of the WM?
  9. The Lodge DC will find it far easier to collect the officer to be appointed together with the collars, columns and wands if he does not carry his own wand!
  10. Working tools do not need to be presented in full to a new Master, particularly a previously installed one. Appropriate words can be used instead.
  11. It is also advisable to resume the lodge in the 2nd and 1st degree for installation night. This is timely and reduces the pressure on the new Master.

 

 

 

 

The Festive Board

 

  1. A newly appointed DC should familiarise himself with the role prior to accepting the office, including the conduct of the Festive Board
  2. There should be no more than 15-20 minutes between the Lodge meeting ending and the Festive Board starting. Drinks should be pre-ordered before the meeting or a few prepared perhaps by the Tyler in readiness.
  3. The Lodge DC is central to an efficiently run and timely festive Board. Planning in advance is crucial for the whole event.
  4. Ideally there should be no more than 4-6 wine takings. This reduces disruption and allows for a more convivial meal. They should be planned and agreed by the WM and DC in advance. Generally it is not appropriate for the WM to take wine with any brother or group for whom a formal toast will be proposed later in the evening
  5. Stewards should serve wine in good time for the first wine taking after the first course.
  6. D.C.’s should avoid the ‘LOST HALF-HOUR’ that regularly occurs after dinner. Liaise with the caterers re. clearing away, use the time to sell raffle tickets, almoners appeal and coffee. Catering staff do not need to leave the room other than for formal toasts.
  7. Speeches should be short and sweet. 2-3 minutes maximum for both proposal and response. Humour is good but smutty and inappropriate jokes are disrespectful to all present.
  8. Consider only proposing the toast to the WM in full at the Installation and perhaps his last meeting. At other times just do the formal toast. Similarly if there are very few visitors the WM could welcome them during his response and then a short response is all that’s required.
  9. Aim to finish by 10pm. This allows those who have some distance to travel and reasonable finish time and those for whom a late night is difficult the chance to get home at a reasonable hour.

It is no coincidence that Lodges with strong memberships and a diverse age range tend to be efficiently run, have an inclusive ethos of belonging for the brethren, have strong social calendars which involve partners and non-masons alike and above all enjoy a sense of fun. Modern media plays its part in many ways. Lodge Web sites, Facebook and Twitter are now common in Freemasonry. Did you know for instance that U.G.L.E. has a Twitter feed reporting on Quarterly Communications almost as it happens? A modern approach in a modern age.

Further Information

Further advice may be obtained from the Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies, W Bro David Stanford, email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

or from the booklet published by Provincial Grand Lodge entitled A Guide for Lodge Directors of Ceremonies 

The Communications Officer

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Lodge Communications Officers

Prepared by: W Bro Peter Wellings, Provincial Communications* Officer (PCO) 2014

Setting up the Lodge Communications* Officer (LCO) network was the first step in establishing a communications chain with a point of contact in each Lodge who has an up- to-date email distribution list of members willing to receive email information. This enables the PCO to send details of important activities for onward transmission to members, and for the LCO to let him have details of any special events which the Lodge wishes to distribute. It is a very carefully controlled environment to avoid the potential deluge which could arise, and is secondary to the Provincial Grand Secretary’s communications with Lodge Secretaries.

It also provides the opportunity for every Lodge to send reports and photos of their activities, for publication on the Lodge News page of the Provincial website, and for exceptional activities to be uploaded to the Freemasonry Today website.

LCOs should therefore be conversant with email distribution lists, digital photography, attachments etc., as well as ensuring all members are kept fully advised of Provincial and National activity.

Websites

Lodges without websites are virtually invisible to internet users (ie the whole world), being just one of many in a list on the Provincial website. Even a basic website will at least show that a Lodge is alive and kicking, where it is located and (hopefully) what it gets up to. For Lodges which don’t already have a website, full guidance notes have now been created, which include details of “off the shelf” website construction resources, and can be seen on the Provincial website. Support is available from the Provincial Communications team and also LCOs who have already been through that hoop.

LCOs should lead the way in establishing a website if their Lodge doesn’t have one, and when set up also be very involved with the content management, ensuring it is at all times fresh and up to date. Lodges with well designed and managed websites have reported significant interest from the general public, which have included several applications for membership.

The lively and entertaining website and communications workshop has proved very popular and successful, and will continue to be held.

Media

LCOs are encouraged to establish links with their local media. Lodges should be very proud of the support they give to their local communities, whether by way of donations to worthy causes or hands on activity, and should be willing to share the results of their efforts with the rest of their community via their media. This does not include “big picture” matters of freemasonry’s place in society, which frankly the local media have little interest in, but does cover all the day-to-day content they need in order to function.

Special Projects

There are also “special projects” from time to time, eg Heritage Open Days and in particular the fast approaching celebrations of the UGLE 300 year anniversary in 2017. LCOs will often be first in line to receive details and should encourage members of their Lodge to take appropriate action.

LCOs will have the opportunity of becoming very close to the heartbeat of our unique organisation. LCOs will have the opportunity of becoming very close to the heartbeat of our unique organisation, whilst the increasingly few Lodges without them will undoubtedly lose out somewhere along the line and will hopefully catch up in early course.

* To reflect a slightly more modern perception of the role, titles have been changed to Communications Officers, formerley Information Officers.

Further Information

Further advice may be obtained from the Provincial Communications Officer, W Bro Ian Slesser, email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. tel: +44(0)7917 117079

Advice specifically relating to Lodge websites may be obtained from the Provincial Lodge Website Co-ordinator,
W Bro Ron Parker PPSGD, email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. tel: 0121 684 2399 

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The Provincial Grand Lodge of Warwickshire
Yenton Assembly Rooms
73, Gravelly Hill North, Erdington
Birmingham B23 6BJ

Twitter: https://twitter.com/WarwickshirePGL

For Masonic enquiries:
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Tel: 0121 454 4422

The United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE) is the governing body for freemasons within England and Wales and districts overseas.