Upon joining Freemasonry your Charge will have some basic questions that must be answered. This is called Stage 1.
At first he will be a little bewildered, but he may shortly be asking “How often do we meet and when?” “Who is who?” “What is a Warden, Deacon etc?” “What are the fees used for and how often do I pay them? “What am I expected to wear and who provides the regalia?”
It is important that these very domestic questions are raised and answered at an early stage. Only when your Charge has answers to these questions, should you guide him towards the next stage.
Once he is happy with this first stage, the basic ‘administrative’ side of things, he will move on to Stage 2.
Stage 2 is where he needs to understand the relationship of the Three Degrees and the symbolic meanings of each as he completes them in turn.
This is a great opportunity for the Personal Mentor to help him understand what is going on around him. Sit with him in the Lodge room and go out with him if he has to retire during a higher degree.
Only with a full understanding of the ceremonies and their meanings will your Charge appreciate the essence of Masonry. Without this, he will never become fully engaged with the Craft and it will be difficult for him to maintain further interest.
By Stage 3 your Charge will have had an educated grounding in Freemasonry. He will ask himself “Do I fit in?” or “Is this for me?” The answer to these two questions will be “yes” only if the first two stages have been satisfactorily completed.
This is when the Personal Mentor asks if his Charge wants to be involved in performing part of the ceremony and confirms that he is taking part in the social side of his Lodge activities.
By Stage 4 a Brother should be enjoying his Masonry, having struck a happy balance between his home/work and Masonic life and wishing to progress further. Such progression could be ‘up the ladder’ to the Worshipful Master’s Chair, or into an active role such as Charity Steward, Treasurer, Secretary, Almoner or Organist.
It is here that the Personal Mentor will guide his Charge along a sure path, and provide support and encouragement whenever required.
Checklist for Stage 1
As a minimum you should aim to cover the list below: –
- Give an explanation of the ‘Private Lodge’ and identify any other Lodges that meet in the area. You might also wish to cover the subject of the difference between ‘privacy’ and ‘secrecy.’
- Explain the set up of the Lodge and the various offices (Master, Wardens, Secretary, etc).
- Give him a written list of names and contact numbers of the members of your own Lodge.
- A written list of dates of meetings, rehearsals and the Lodge of Instruction.
- Tell him what he is expected to wear.
- Make a Lodge tour, explaining the layout of the furniture, tracing boards, etc.
- A great way to cover some of these issues is outside of the Lodge. Meet your Charge socially.
- Tell him what he will need to bring to the Lodge in the way of cash. How he pays for his meal, his drinks, the collection, the raffle, etc.
- Explain to him the procedure for introducing a guest to the Lodge.
- Remember to counsel your Charge to maintain a sensible balance between Freemasonry, Family, Work and other interests.
Checklist for Stage 2
Get your Charge to reflect on the ceremony he has just completed (Initiation, Passing, Raising).
- Explain the relationship between the Three Degrees.
- Visit a sister or neighbouring Lodge that will be performing the same ceremony. Make sure that you sit with him and encourage him to ask questions. Remember—visiting is not compulsory. Excessive visiting commitments can soon turn a man away from Masonry. Visiting should be at a level where it is a pleasure rather than a chore.
- Always retire with him if he is required to do so. Explain why he had to retire.
- Explain the basic messages which are symbolically conveyed in each of the three Degrees.
- Attend Masonic lectures and demonstrations when possible. Information can be found on notice boards and in communications to your Lodge.
- Does your Lodge have a Masonic library which could be of use?
- Visit Masonic web sites on the internet.
Checklist for Stage 3
- Involve your Charge in the social side of your Lodge. Encourage active participation.
- Does he have any ideas of his own for social events? Encourage attendance at social events arranged by other Lodges.
- Discuss with him whether he wants to take part in the ceremony, slow and easy at first. Don’t push him.
- Introduce him to your Lodge of Instruction. Help your Charge with ceremonial work. If you are not good at it yourself then introduce him to a Brother who is.
- Tell him about the Museum at Grand Lodge, that it is open to the public and well worth a visit if ever he is in the Capital.
Checklist for Stage 4
- Explain the set up of Grand Lodge, Provincial Grand Lodge and the officers of these Lodges.
- Attend a meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge with him.
- Introduce your Charge to Acting Provincial and Grand Officers. They will be aware of the Mentoring programme and will be happy to spend a little time with your Charge. This is best done when they are not on official duty and have more time to spare. No doubt they would appreciate being forewarned of your intentions.
- Inform your Charge of the Royal Arch and explain its importance as the next step in Pure Antient Masonry. Introduce him to a member of the Chapter for further discussions, but only if he shows interest. Remember, as in all aspects of Mentoring never rush him into anything.
- Inform your Charge of the various Chapters in the area. He may wish to join the one attached to his own Lodge, but is free to join another.
- Explain the various other Masonic Degrees and if he shows interest, encourage him to join. A note of caution here. We all know of Brethren who have joined everything at once, found that they had overstretched themselves and lost interest in it all, including the Craft. Encourage him to take it slowly.
- Remember to counsel your Charge to maintain a sensible balance between Freemasonry, family and other interests.