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6 Tips for Preparing Your Lodge for Inspection Season

By January 16, 2020November 30th, 2020No Comments

Every year, a Masonic lodge in Ohio must fulfill one of its main requirements to maintain its Charter: an inspection by the Grand Lodge. Inspection season presents to lodges an important challenge. And, in most lodges, passing inspection is a celebrated milestone or accomplishment of the year. 

In Ohio, these inspections consist of two components: 

    • A review of the secretary’s and treasurer’s records confirm that administrative rules and procedures of the Grand Lodge are being followed, and
    • The lodge demonstrates that its officers can properly confer the three degrees of Freemasonry.

The lodge typically demonstrates its ability to confer the three degrees on a three year rotating cycle – Entered Apprentice one year, Fellow Craft the next, and then Master Mason in the third year. Then the cycle starts over. Men will come from all over the district to see other lodges perform their degree work. 

In celebration of these inspections, the host lodge being inspected will often offer a dinner (or other meal) prior to the meeting. Sometimes those dinners become traditions in their own right. Fellowship Lodge #106, for example, holds a beef and noodle dinner each year. These inspections, although important, offer the chance for brothers to come together as a lodge and celebrate together.

 So, what are the keys to having a successful (and fun!) inspection at your lodge? Here are the top 6 things to keep in mind: 

1. Prepare, prepare, and prepare again. As Lodges receive a list in advance of what the District Deputy Grand Master wants to see, the Secretaries and Masters that review these documents and prepare ahead of time can expect a smooth inspection.

2. Take care of the candidate throughout the evening. With all the excitement, dinner, and work taking place, it can be hard to support the candidate, answer his questions, and make sure he feels comfortable and welcomed. Lodges that assign an officer or another Brother to mentor the candidate for the evening will be giving that candidate a much better experience.

3. Send invitations in advance. The tradition of formal invitations was a hallmark of Masonic courtesy for many years, and nothing beats the personal touch of a handwritten letter. If you’re inviting distinguished Masons such as a Grand Lodge officers, past District Deputy, or even other lodges, send your invitations well in advance so all can accommodate their schedules.

4. Rule of thumb: don’t “surprise the Deputy.” Masters and Secretaries should discuss the inspection agenda in advance with the District Deputy Grand Master. This is helpful to inform the Deputy if there are any known problems, walk through the schedule of events, speakers, and how any questions or problems are going to be answered or corrected. 

5. When in doubt, leave the lecture for a seasoned Mason. Generally, it’s best to not ask a Brother to give a lecture for the first time at inspection. Giving a lecture is, in and of itself, a big deal, a genuine accomplishment. It is hard enough to do under the best of circumstances.  Adding the extra pressure of performing in front of your brethren and guests makes it doubly hard. Nobody wants to see a first-time lecturer lose focus, forget his lines, or need extra prompting. It is an embarrassment for the man giving the lecture and a disappointment to the candidate.

6. Relax and enjoy the night. If the lodge is doing its job week-in and week-out, it just has to do what it always does in order to be successful. People put extra pressure on themselves so they don’t embarrass themselves or their lodge, and it is the pressure that sometimes causes a new problem. If all the officers are prepared and perform their assigned duties, the lodge will have a successful inspection and the candidate will receive an excellent degree.

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