Top 10 Meeting Facts for the Entered Apprentice
(Richard H. Ryder, 2016)
All Masons must wear an apron in lodge. Candidates wear their lambskin aprons during their degrees. Master Masons who are members of a given lodge will wear white cloth aprons with blue borders. Master Masons who are not members of a given lodge will wear plain white cloth aprons.
There are many other types of aprons worn in the lodge, including officer aprons and Past Master aprons denoted with ornate designs and tasseled borders. The Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts, Grand Lodge officers, the District Deputy Grand Master, and certain district officers will wear purple aprons of various designs.
The Master uses his gavel to maintain order within the lodge. He raps once when trying to get someone’s attention, typically an officer, or to seat the lodge. When the Master raps twice, all officers must rise, typically with the exception of the chaplain, who rises when the Master rises. When the Master raps three times all members must rise.
Proper attire for lodge monthly communications (meetings) is a suit or jacket and tie.
Sitting in the lodge
Posture during a meeting should reflect dignity and respect. As such, members should sit upright with both feet on the floor.
Behavior During a Meeting
While meetings are in progress members will refrain from holding a conversation with other members. This is especially true during the opening, closing, prayer, degree work, and necrology services. Members should silence or turn off their cell phones.
Addressing Other Members
During meetings there should be no open discussion between members; all comments are directed to the Master. Members will address the Master as “Worshipful Master” (“Worshipful” means worthy of respect). Lodge officers are addressed in accordance with their office, preceded by “Brother”. For example: “Brother Senior Warden”. Non-officers are addressed as “Brother”. For example: Brother Smith or Brother John Smith; never Brother John. You may also hear Worshipful Brother John Smith or Worshipful Brother Smith, all of which are correct. Past Masters of any lodge are addressed as “Worshipful”. Should the Grand Master or District Deputy Grand Master attend a meeting, he will be addressed as “Most Worshipful” and “Right Worshipful”, respectively. All Masons, including the Grand Master and District Deputy Grand Master, can be appropriately addressed simply as “Brother”, without fear of disrespect.
Speaking in Lodge
If a member desires to speak in lodge he will stand, asked to be recognized by the Master, direct his comments to the Master, and speak at a volume loud enough for all members to hear. Members will remain standing while speaking.
Leaving during the Meeting
Members should not leave during the meeting. However, during a personal emergency a member may need to vacate the room. Under these circumstances, after the opening and before the closing, a member will rise, go to the west of the alter, give the due-guard and sign of the degree on which the meeting is held (denoted by the position of the square and compasses), and then quietly depart through the tyled door. If possible, members should avoid departing during the opening, closing, moments of prayer, degree work taking place in the west, and balloting.
After the opening and before the closing of the lodge, members arriving late to a meeting will follow the direction of the Tyler sitting outside the lodge. The member will quietly enter through the tyled door, go to the west of the alter, give the due-guard and sign of the degree on which the meeting is held (denoted by the position of the square and compasses), and then quietly take a seat on the sidelines.
“So Mote It Be”
After prayer and “Amen” spoken by the Chaplain, members will respond in unison, “So Mote It Be”. As stated in the book, Freemasonry in Massachusetts, “mote” is old English for “allow” or “permit” and is addressed to the Supreme Being requesting that the prayer be answered.