Changing of the Guard. How to better select a W.M.
As Masons, we have always prided ourselves on our democratic elections. I could argue that we have some of the fairest elections to pick the upcoming Worshipful Master. However, the issue with most of our elections is not in the electing, but in the person being elected. How often has the W.M. been selected because, ‘he was next in line,’ ‘it should be him,’ or ‘he deserves it’? How often after that do we see an uneventful year? No progress in our lodge? or no further contributions? Everyone wants their time in the chair, and so those elected are happy to sit in the East while another year is wasted. There must be a better way. Of course, not all lodges have this problem, but we must find a more effective way of picking our leaders.
Below is a short list of things I believe will make electing a W.M. more effective and beneficial to both the lodge and its officers.
1. All brethren wishing to take the chair, or chosen by their lodge should submit a document, listing any of either:
a. Why they wish to take the chair
b. What are their goals / targets for the year
c. How will they take the lodge forward
d. What improvements do they wish to make, or what issues would they like to address
Before electing a W.M., all potential candidates (those wanting to take the chair) should submit to the lodge a paper of their goals and reasons. This will make it a much to easier to judge whether a Brother has the right mind set to be in the chair. It also sheds light on any hidden issues that there may be, and gives an idea of what type of Master a Brother will be. This also applies to those brethren elected down the line, as they all will get chance to truly fit into their offices.
2. Those who are elected as first time W.M.s, should serve two terms (barring any acts deemed severely detrimental to the lodge).
When a Brother takes the chair for the first time, it’s takes time to adjust to the responsibility and to the duties. Allowing new W.M.s to serve for two years allows them to adjust to the position, and to truly have a chance at bring change and improvement to the lodge. Of course, if the Brother is truly doing a terrible job that is doing more harm to the lodge then good, his tenure can and should be cut short.
3. W.M.s should be held accountable to strive to keep their promises or achieve the goals listed in point #1.
When W.M.s aren’t held accountable, once they take the chair, there is no incentive to do anything for the lodge. I have seen a few brethren who are truly passionate about their lodge and wish to see it improve; but most incoming Masters, have no other incentive to ‘work’. This is one of the major reasons many of our lodges as stagnating, as there have been years and years of zero progress. W.M.s should be expected to bring about changes in their lodges for the betterment of their brothers and to the craft.
Now, these points will not, and cannot, be applicable in all lodges, and in some they may have already been implemented; but electing worthy, and dedicated Worshipful Masters, is small step towards the betterment of the Craft and Freemasonry in general.
W.M. Swastik Lodge 771 I.C., Mumbai
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