Skipped over in line

Discussion in 'General Freemasonry Discussion' started by Philos, Nov 9, 2016.

  1. Philos

    Philos Registered User

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    Has anyone ever been an officer of a lodge only to be held in the same position and skipped by a newer member the next year? If so, how did you deal with it and what are you thoughts?
     
  2. Carl_in_NH

    Carl_in_NH Site Benefactor

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    Sort of. I've been a member of a line where a past member, who had stepped out of the line previous to my arrival, was allowed to reenter the line one chair up from where he exited (thereby delaying anyone below that position from advancing for another cycle). That Brother didn't end up advancing and stepped back out of the line, so from my perspective it was not something I was overly pleased about at the time.

    In retrospect, I learned something from it; "Don't be that guy. When you commit to something, follow through and give it your all".

    There are many possibilities here, and we don't have the details or understanding of why this happened in your case. My advice would be to understand why it happened, and do what you need to in order to insure you'll advance the next time. If that means more ritual practice or other commitment to the lodge to advance, then give it your all. Above all, try not to be bitter about it - that will only impact you negatively.
     
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  3. SimonM

    SimonM Registered User

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    How common is it with progressive lines in the US? What are the major arguments to have it in place?
     
  4. ShawnC

    ShawnC Registered User

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    Just speaking for my home area of southern Illinois, I don't know of any officially progressive lines in Lodges in the area. It's more like everyone just kind of comes to an agreement on who will want to/agree to step up to the three primary chairs next, the assumed WM talks to the other brothers about the other chairs and then we of course vote. And I'm proud to add that in my few years as a member, I'm not aware of any infighting over who gets to do what. My Lodge seems to genuinely get along and work together for the good of the Lodge. Sometimes those positions happen to come in order of the chairs, but it's not because of an officially progressive line. Many times they have changed in no order at all.
     
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  5. Bloke

    Bloke Premium Member

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    It's never happened to me. Seen it several times, but its unusual. The most common occurrence is officers asking to stay in their position for an extra year.

    One comment on your post, our WME this year did not move the JW to SW, but that man knew exactly why and if he'd been in a position to address the issue of poor attendance at rehearsals, he'd of been promoted.

    It's important the man being skipped knows why and is given the chance to fix issues before forming the next team comes up.

    That's hard to do when a leader cannot rationally justify he's decision or even give a reason like it's gut instinct. Why is important but at the end of the day I'm a big believer in letting Masters be Masters. I've seen them make "whacky" decisions that have ended up being brilliant and others which were disasters.

    Are you asking because you've experienced this and looking for feedback and reassurance?
     
  6. Philos

    Philos Registered User

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    No it hasn't happened to me as I'm not an officer, but my brother, who is the SS, told me that a member who was raised last year was approached by several other members suggesting that he jump to the JD position. My brother isn't sure where this will leave him as there really aren't any known weaknesses in the line and everyone ahead of him is expected to return.

    He's missed 3 or 4 nights due to prior engagements but is there for the lodge in all its fundraisers, scholarships, etc. So I wouldn't imagine anyone thinks he's a slacker.

    I didn't know what to tell him. I would feel excluded and a little ticked if it happened to me but I didn't want to give any rash advice.
     
  7. JamestheJust

    JamestheJust Registered User

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    Just learning our Retrospect and there is a bit there about learning to bend to the will of the GAOTU.

    Even if this event is not such, it does no harm to practice.
     
  8. Bloke

    Bloke Premium Member

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    More, one of the first questions - on whom do you put trust ?

    For me, it's about service to the lodge. I have 'washing dishes' in my signature to remind me and others of that.... in serving anyway, from dishes to degrees you can grow and learn things and be an ashlar to others. That's what I would tell him, just that's he's not got the challenges he was expecting. Assuming it's not a bad lodge where individuals own charges, I'd suggest he talks to who organises the work and asks if he could learn and deliver charges to make sure he's being challenged and growing when degrees are on..

    Everything for a reason, even if we don't understand it...
     
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  9. Ripcord22A

    Ripcord22A Site Benefactor

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    In my lodges we dont have a real "progressive" line. But it usually is a step up type thing but as for "promoting" the jw and sw...those are elected positions here


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  10. Bloke

    Bloke Premium Member

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    SW & JW are appionted here by the WM. The progression is pretty clear; IG, JD, SD,JW, SW to WM. It is not set in stone but works on convention. The positions are seen as the building blocks to Master. (Which is why other positions like Almoner, Tyler etc are not included). Indeed, here in lodges those positions are often described as "the progressive line" or "the line". I often make the recommendation for MMs not to skip any of those positions, because it often shows if they've been skipped when you are sitting in the East as WM.
     
  11. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

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    Almost every US lodge I know of at least wants a progressive line. The only exceptions I can think of are Traditional Observance or European Concept lodges,. The one TO lodge in Illinois I have many friends in has the written goal to have the best qualified Brother in each chair but in practice progresses their line.

    If you have plenty of Brothers who want to serve the lodge, it's a great way to get them involved. By the time they go through the line they are familiar with enough lodge activities they settle on one and do that long term.

    The line is a management training program. Going through the chairs emulates an entire career climbing the corporate ladder in a small company. In most US jurisdictions it even includes formal management training courses by the GL, though not usually called that.

    Some guys like to collect rings and aprons. This is NOT inconsistent with approaching the line as an act of serving the lodge. For some that's how they approached it for others they did it as a form of advancement. I figure it's good to view it both ways.
     
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  12. SimonM

    SimonM Registered User

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    What really makes it a different for us is that you can have an office from 1 to 6 years, and there is no explicit line of offices to follow.
    The only requirements is that to sit in the east you have to had multiple offices and had the office of either JW or SW.
    To be SW or JW you had to have another office before. For example you can be Master of Ceremonies, then go to SW, after that JW and lastly sit in the east.

    Because of this the expectations are different and I think it is much more uncommon for our members to feel that they have been skipped over.
    With that said, I can absolutly see the benefits with progression where you get solid training in all parts of the lodge and also get the satisfaction of progression from one chair to another.
     
  13. Brother_Steve

    Brother_Steve Premium Member

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    Read the working tools of a Master Mason, specifically the trowel.

    The only reason I have ever seen someone skipped over is because they were not ready to move up. In retrospect, you could have been eliminated from the line completely.

    Do you have a full line with a waiting period in your lodge?

    OR

    are you taking new master masons and having to throw them into a deacon's chair in their first year?

    The former would need more explanation as to why you were skipped over unless the incoming master is really that shallow that he has to favor friends instead of respecting the existing line.

    The latter would indicate newer masons need to learn the work whilst other, more seasoned masons jump up.

    Lastly, is the newer member soaking up the work quicker? That is a good thing, but they still need to be taught the value of "waiting their turn"
     
  14. Bloke

    Bloke Premium Member

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    I think that is spot on Dfreybur (we have Warden's courses as well).

    I thought that was an interesting statement - about having the best officers. American EC Lodges are often interested in what we do, because we have long run our lodges on those lines by custom. ( A dinning lodge here is really exactly an EC Lodge, and Victorian Lodges such as Lodge Epicurean, Amalthea, and Lodge Golden Fleece were often written about when the EC & TO Lodges were being discussed years ago.. A Brother like Kent Henderson founded Epicurean in Geelong (a regional city close to Melbourne) was often quoted in American literature on EC Lodges; he'd been a member of the Fleece... Golden Fleece #300 is an old lodge (1922) and I understand it has always had its orchestra and fine dining... What I found interesting was the statement "the written goal to have the best qualified Brother".

    Our very widely held view is that the line ( IG, JD, SD, JW, SW, to WM) equips a brother to be in the East as WM. Each serves as a building block, much like moving from minor to major parts in a play. For instance, a Junior Warden controls an Inner Guard - that is much easier and clearer if, as JW you've been IG because you (should) understand his job and be able to direct him when taking reports and admitting visitors. What was interesting was "the best qualified". As a training system, it is expected the brother occupying an office will need to be trained and also will certainly need independent preparation by him using the ritual book and also our book of workings (the latter has more detail on moment). Attendance at rehearsals and meetings and effort are key, perhaps more so than talent or even success. If you are turning up and trying and showing some improvement, its unlikely you will be removed from the line. The move from SD to JW is key, as in taking the warden's position, the lodge will have a clear idea of if you aspire to the chair, but even a IG is generally asked about that before appointment, a more junior bro (one initiated later than you) will be selected for IG of he says he would like to be Master and you say you do not - it's not just a training, but also succession line.

    There is also a clear expectation that MM should occupy line positions above PMs; as a line to develop masonic knowledge, it is assumed a PM already has that knowledge and hence does not personally need to be in the line. If PMs are in the line, it should be because there is no capable MMs available, and in "capable" I mean able to attend and willing to be trained with some degree of ability to retain the benefits of that training. Installing a mediocre MM is seen as more preferable than installing a very talented PM. Lodges that keep installing PMs simply die, because their MMs loose interest and often move to a lodge where they will "get a go" at things, including the East. Here, it is always noted favorably if all progressive (line) officers are occupied by MMs. In my two lodges, we only have a single PM in the line (he's SW in one, very keen, come from UGLE so is re-learning the ritual which is close, but not the same - probably making that job even harder! He is not PM of our Jurisdiction but retains the rank; and he's keen to give everything (and body!) a go at things).

    I guess that might help the OP in explaining one set of thinking. Certainly, WMs should not play favourites and act as per Solomon's traditional reputation - with dispassion and wisdom, although that can be hard and in forming a team, you are also likely to look at its working as a whole, appointing two line officers who do not get along can be very problematic (its rare bros do not practice brotherly love but I have seen it in a line).

    It might seem a big deal as a MM, but a re-arrangement of the line which see you out of it should only be seen as temporary, and unless there is some significant fault in the man, he should ask for charges and other jobs, regularly attend and support the lodge, and he should find himself back in the team of a good lodge.
     
  15. JamestheJust

    JamestheJust Registered User

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    For 4 years running I was put in as acting JW. Each year the SD was promoted to JW, turned up for one or two meetings and was never seen again.

    From observing those brethren I rather think they thought to themselves: at this rate I will be WM in less than two years - I can't do it. And having no obvious options they disappeared.

    I consider their conclusions appropriate as they seemed to me to be a long way from being ready to be Master of the lodge. It would have been better perhaps to ask them if they would like to take a position not in the line of progression or perhaps go back to IG.

    I have observed years where the WM was not up to the work and noticed the membership dropping off. A sequence of such Masters presided over a halving of our lodge membership.
     
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  16. Brother JC

    Brother JC Vigilant Staff Member

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    My TO Lodge is not progressive, Brothers will fill a chair until another steps up to sit there. As our WM says, officers are chosen by "who can best work and best agree."
     
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  17. Bill Lins

    Bill Lins Moderating Staff Staff Member

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    I do the same, for the same reason.
     
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  18. Bill Lins

    Bill Lins Moderating Staff Staff Member

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    That is the best reason there is, and to promote a Brother who is not ready does a disservice to both him and his Lodge.
     
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  19. Bloke

    Bloke Premium Member

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    Loosing those members repeatedly is a huge issue: did you personally contact them and ask ? What's your training by your DC like ?
     
  20. Ripcord22A

    Ripcord22A Site Benefactor

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    Cerrillios?

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