A Question about a Chaplin's Box:

Discussion in 'Sickness and Distress' started by coachn, Oct 19, 2011.

  1. coachn

    coachn Coach John S. Nagy Premium Member

    A Question about a Chaplin's Box:

    (This question was given to me by a very close Brother.)

    Brother, I'm looking for feedback. Would you please share this with our online Brothers and get back with me when you can?

    “My Lodge Chaplain has floated the idea of leaving a 'Chaplain's box' accessible to the Brothers within Lodge. I am wondering if something like this has ever been done in other Lodges. In presenting the Chaplain’s box, he explained that the box would be placed in Lodge to receive hand-written concerns or information that may be presented to the Lodge, by the Chaplain concerning Brothers in need. The Box is not locked but we, as Masons, are on our honor not to review its contents, leaving this to the Chaplin.

    The Chaplin’s commitment is that he would follow up on any submissions and discuss private information with the subject of the submitted information before bringing it up in Lodge, and only if appropriate. He reminded us that Masonic relationships are already in place yet the Lodge cannot support a Brother unless the Lodge is made aware of their concerns.

    To the best of your understanding, is this in line with Masonic Tradition? Have other Lodges sponsored a program, similar to this in the past? Do you see any problems with this idea?”
    Thank You
  2. Raymond Walters

    Raymond Walters Premium Member


    I like the question that you have posed. In my opinion, it is a valid question, and would actually meet a legitimate need that is often overlooked by Lodges, and the brother that serves as it's Chaplain.

    I AM going to offer a two part explanation, which will be based only on my personal experiences and travels as a Freemason.

    When I first became a Mason, the Prince Hall lodge I belonged to was close knit and rural. The Chaplain was also an ordained minister and doubled as the lodge Treasurer or vice-versa. Though there wasn't a box, prayer requests or concerns were written down and handed to him discreetly. He could then address them in the way he felt best suited each individual situation, as any ordained pastor will do.

    I personally observed that when "Sickness & Distressed" was brought up in the agenda, prayer concerns were brought to the attention of the lodge, it wasn't uncommon for the then WM to adjourn, and ask that a prayer be said in lodge before closing by either the Treasurer/ Chaplain or himself.
    I must admit that this example that was set for me was an idea I liked and have utilized on occasions when I felt the need was urgent enough, because I, as a WM and as an ordained pastor would offer the prayer myself for such occasion.
    I simply followed the example of my lodge instructor and my first mentor in the pastorate, the Treasurer/ Chaplain of Granite City Lodge #828 F&AM PHA in Mount Airy, NC

    Before some brother gets into an uproar, there wasn't a religious service held, a prayer was offered, something that a spiritual person will do at times that require it (read your ritual). As Freemasons, we offer prayer for our candidates until they are to be obligated as MM's, when they are told that it is now they must learn to pray for themselves.

    This was one of the differences I have noticed between Blacks and other racial/ethnic groups in America. Blacks in general, and Prince Hall Freemasons tend to be willing and able to display their spiritual side more readily than others. I have wondered privately if it is the history of oppression that Blacks have tended to deal with in America that has created this atmosphere.

    I AM not saying that Blacks are better than any other racial group, or that other groups do not pray, I AM simply pointing out my observations.

    When I left Prince Hall and became a member of a mainstream lodge, once again, I never recall seeing a box for such requests in any lodge I was member of or attended. I was aware of private conversations requesting prayers or a brother's needs being made known, but no box.

    Since we are all on our honor as men and masons, there should never have to be a concern about privacy or being discreet, as our obligations bind us to each other with discreetness in mind. If there were a violation of any kind, that opens the offender to the possibility of charges being preferred for UN-masonic conduct and violation of one's obligations.

    That is another topic for another time, as I personally feel that charges are not preferred enough for improper behavior in or out of lodge.

    So, once again, I will reiterate that I think it is a wonderful idea. I see boxes in lodges for everything else, why not a box for prayer requests to be placed in?

    Thank you my brother for this question, and I do hope that my answer helps shed some light on you & your lodges decision about this topic.
  3. khilles

    khilles Registered User

    It honestly sound like a great idea and i don't see how it would go against any of our obligations
  4. solomon1979

    solomon1979 Registered User

    I am a chaplain. I also started a prayer box at our lodge. I made it clear to the WM and brethren that if they needed prayer or something brought up. I would counsel with the WM,SW and JW.

    Freemason Connect Mobile
  5. FlBrother324

    FlBrother324 Registered User

    My Freemasonry HD

    We don't have a Chaplain's box (but sounds like a good idea), but if a distressed Brother needs financial assistance it is brought to the attention of the hardship committee (which consists of WM, SW, Treasurer; who are also the members of the finance committee), and Chaplain, who acknowledge and verify the Brother's needs.

    It is then brought up to the Lodge for a hand ballot without disclosing the Brother's name to the Craft. This has been appreciated by the needy Brother and accepted by the Brethren of the Lodge without incident.

    The Treasurer will issue the required funds by check, and the name recorded on the stub only for book keeping purposes.

    Similar to our investigations committee, which only they have access to the reports. They report to the Craft, without disclosure of criminal history, with a positive or negative finding, which the Craft then votes on.

    Hope this helps.
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2013

Share My Freemasonry