A Worshipful Master is a Master Mason who presides over his Masonic Lodge for a set term.
More than once I have come across non-Masons who are all too quick to claim that Masons worship the Worshipful Master and that the Master is there to be served by other Masons
Some people also ask, “What is it like to be the Worshipful Master of a Lodge?” “What does a Worshipful Master do?
What Does Worshipful Mean?
The term worshipful is synonymous with reverential or respectful.
In Great Britain, it has been used as an honorific for mayors and for justices of the peace (just as honorable is used for judges).
What It Is Not Like
Life does not get easier. You do not get served hand-and-foot at the Worshipful Master chair.
You do not get to sit around while everyone else does the work for you.
If this is the lifestyle for which you are joining Masonry, then let me save you the trouble: you are barking up the wrong tree.
What It Is Like
As Worshipful Master, I have found that my responsibilities have augmented tremendously.
My first major duty was to preside over the Lodge’s first stated meeting of the calendar year.
Since then, I have coordinated a degree ceremony practice/rehearsal, presided over a degree ceremony, overseen two public meet-ups/open houses, presided over another stated meeting, voted on legislative/constitutional matters at the Annual Grand Lodge Communication, and transferred administrative access for our Lodge’s website from a third-party to in-house.
As of the time that this is being written, here is what just the next month looks like for me:
- Later today, I must go to the Masonic Temple to set up for Saturday’s event.
- This Saturday evening is the Ladies’ Appreciation Dinner, which I have coordinated (including keeping count of RSVPs, making sure that catering is all taken care of, etc.).
- Afterward, the Shriners will be initiating those who have petitioned to join the Shrine.
- This Wednesday evening is the Lodge’s regular, stated meeting, over which I will preside and direct.
- The Wednesday afterward, we have a degree ceremony over which I will preside.
- I need to ensure that enough officers and cast members will be available to put on this degree ceremony and coordinate accordingly.
- The following Saturday, we will have a virtual Grand Master’s Visitation.
- I have to write a report to the Grand Master (and distribute it to the Lodge) prior to that Visitation.
- The following Wednesday, I will oversee the Lodge’s monthly public meet-up and open house.
- The following Wednesday, we have another degree ceremony over which I will preside.
- I will likewise have to ensure that we have enough officers and cast members available to assist.
- The following Wednesday, I will train the officers and members of the Lodge on how to do a Masonic funeral.
- I am also working on guidelines for a new committee that I will be forming prior to the above-mentioned stated meeting.
As you can see, my next month is pretty busy, especially when you take into account that I also spend time with my family, have a full-time job, have ecclesiastical duties (Sunday School teacher, which requires lesson prep throughout the week for me), participate in the local York Rite appendant bodies (Royal Arch Masons, Cryptic Masons, and Knights Templar), currently assist in opening up a local chapter here for a completely different body (Allied Masonic Degrees), and writing this article (and other articles).
I have also planned out various of the Lodge’s goals and activities for most of my year, some of which includes:
- Host two blood drives for the American Red Cross during the year.
- Reward a local teacher as Educator of the Year.
- Award bicycles to a school (and from the school to some of their students) for the school’s Bikes for Books program.
- Coordinate a pilot program with the Utah Scottish Rite’s RiteCare down here in St George.
- RiteCare is the Utah Scottish Rite’s program for helping children to overcome speech disorders.
- Hold a Rusty Trowel event.
- Visit a Lodge within our Grand Lodge jurisdiction.
- Visit a Lodge outside of our Grand Lodge jurisdiction.
- Visit a museum with Lodge brethren and their families.
- Hold a Table Lodge meeting.
- Update the Lodge’s website.
After all, as the saying goes…
“If you fail to plan, then plan to fail.”
However, you also need to keep your calendar flexible; something can always happen that throws a wrench in your plans.
In addition to all this, I am constantly and mentally going over what lines or lectures I need to have memorized for degree ceremonies and stated meetings so that they do not escape me when the time comes to deliver them.
In past years, I always did my best to serve the presiding Worshipful Master; but as Worshipful Master, I am now in the position and under expectation to serve each member of my Lodge, all equal to the best of my ability.
I am also still trying to get used to being called “Worshipful,” “Worshipful Master,” and “Worshipful Brother.”
I have also noticed that, when greeting fellow Worshipful Brethren, it gets to be a bit like that scene in the movie Spies Like Us where Chevy Chase and Dan Akroyd greet and bid farewell to the doctors (“Doctor.” “Doctor.”).
Advice for New Worshipful Masters
I was incredibly nervous when I was elected because this is the first leadership position that I’ve held since my Eagle Scout project 16 years ago (at fourteen years old). There is no need to be nervous.
Plan your year out well in advance if you are elected to serve a Lodge as its Worshipful Master.
It is beneficial to request advice from Past Masters, Past Grand Masters, fellow Worshipful Masters, Grand Lodge Officers, etc.
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When one becomes a Worshipful Master, one does not take a load off and reap the benefits of everyone else’s work.
Rather, one works even harder to ensure that the members of his Lodge are engaged and doing well. It is absolutely clear that the title Worshipful is earned, not just given.