How to start a Lodge of Exploration

Discussion in 'General Freemasonry Discussion' started by jonesvilletexas, Dec 30, 2008.

  1. jonesvilletexas

    jonesvilletexas Premium Member

    This is good information. I belive this might help our lodges, what do you think?

    Note: To those who have been waiting for this information, thank you for your patience. I wish there were 40 hours in a day and 10 days in a week, but I have the feeling I'd still be working overtime.
    One of the new programs that's been really successful for us in Niagara District B is the Lodge of Exploration.
    A Lodge of Exploration provides an opportunity to delve into the symbolism of each degree. It is a counterpart to the Lodge of Instruction, insofar as where the Lodge of Instruction seeks to impart the 'how' and 'when' of the ritual, a Lodge of Exploration seeks to impart an understanding of the 'why.'
    These meetings are held within our masonic district, but they could be (and were) open to accommodate brethren from nearby districts.
    Announcements go out at roughly 60 days from the start of the event. Typically you'll need dispensation to hold the event from your Grand Lodge, and you'll need to coordinate with your District Deputy Grand Master (or equivalent).

    Follow ups are done every couple of weeks to keep it in people's heads. Doing a bit of visiting to make announcements really helps too. Get it in the lodge summons/trestleboard, but don't rely on that as the only means of getting the information across. Many men check the dates for meetings and that's it (in my experience anyway as a publisher of a summons).

    We started with the EA degree, but I don't think you have to. I really think it depends on your particular district.
    Get a group of Masons together interested in dissecting the symbolism of a particular portion of the degree. We have a list of who does what parts when we're conferring a degree, and we used the same sheet to work from in assigning roles. It made sure everything was covered.

    Delve into your portion of the degree. There are many excellent resources for this, the key is just start reading and pull out what you feel is significant or noteworthy.

    Get a couple study sessions together and talk about what you've learned. Some of the most interesting conversations happened at this stage, as you're dealing with passionate masons about something they've become conversant in, and the learning, and exchange back and forth was something really spectacular. You may find this is the best part!
    Draft your presentation
    Take the rough ashlar that is your research and turn it into the perfect 10 minute presentation ashlar using some of the tips here at Presentation Helper. I found this a really helpful resource, especially to cut through to the essence of what I was trying to get across. There can be as many as 12-15 parts, and so at 10 minutes apiece they still make for a long morning. In your presentation, you're trying to accomplish two things.
    1. Help them think about the symbolism of your part of the degree in a way they haven't before.
    2. Give them enough raw material to help them form their own personal connection to the symbolism.
    The other thing to remember here is that many masons have never been told to really do this. The emphasis has usually been on the rote of the ritual, not really stopping to understand the deeper meaning behind it. I know this is a generalization, but I've seen enough lodges to know it's a common problem. If it's not happening in your lodge, you're further ahead than many.
    Have your day!
    This is what the agenda roughly looked like on the day of our event.
    • 9am: Coffee and reception
    • 9: 45 Welcome and Introductions
    • 10am - 11:30am: presentation
    • 11:30-12noon discussion and questions
    • noon - ? lunch and fellowship
    Each brother tried to keep their presentation to 10 minutes or less.

    The reception was phenomenal, and we recently did a second Lodge of Exploration for the FC degree.

    If you follow these steps, you will have introduced a program into your district that promotes learning about Masonic symbolism in a way that is difficult to find in our regular lodges. I think this exercise is important because it highlights that brethren are eager for such experiences, and that their preparation isn't a hardship.
  2. ravickery03

    ravickery03 Guest

    It sounds like a local lodge of research.

    -Bro Vick

Share My Freemasonry