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Helping the new Mason
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Post Helping the new Mason 
Masonic Education
How to enthuse the new Mason is outlined by Raymond Hollins

Raymond Hollins was formerly both Senior Lecturer at the University of Central England and Principal Examiner in Management subjects for the Chartered Institute of Building.

Paper published on MQ Magazine

The Craft has a responsibility to provide new members with opportunities to meet and interact with others, to help them to do their share, and to provide knowledge about the Fraternity.
This requires a mentoring programme and must be a team effort aimed at developing each Brother to his fullest potential. But what usually happens in most Lodges between the request of someone to join and the initiation?
The scenario goes some-thing like this: the Lodge committee receives an application which is turned over to a visiting committee, which does its job and return their report. The Lodge ballots on the application for membership and, if accepted, the candidate is eventually informed of the date of his initiation. Is there something missing here?
This is where a mentoring and education programme should begin. It provides the necessary methodology to guarantee that every new Brother, even before he actually joins, is properly instructed in the basic fundamentals of the Craft.
The mentoring programme consists of assigning each candidate an experienced Brother to act as his mentor, educator and companion, who will be with him throughout his journey through the Craft degrees. He will also be provided with appropriate literature to explain each of the three degrees. So, from just being a candidate, he will become an active, motivated and educated Lodge member.
Many new members do not stay active in the Lodge after the Third Degree because they are not stimulated enough to keep them interested. Usually it is because they do not even understand the Fraternity they have just joined.
Every candidate is a stranger to Freemasonry and Freemasonry is a stranger to him. It is not merely a Lodge that he joins, but a great Fraternity with a history stretching back over many centuries.
A candidate has every right to expect that the Lodge will provide much of the information he needs. But many Brethren never receive this information and are permitted to come—and perhaps go— undirected and uninstructed.
For years responsible Craft leaders have been only too aware of these problems. It has been largely through the efforts of a few enterprising Provinces over recent years that things are beginning to happen.
Failures incur the danger of weakening the whole structure by attempting to “build enduring walls with rough ashlars and untempered mortar.”
Moreover, it is not solely a matter of teaching the new member about the ceremonies, but to imbue them with the spirit of Freemasonry so they can believe in, and understand its purposes and ideals.
It is not only the candidate who profits by mentoring. The Lodge itself is strengthened from having new members who, from the beginning, can take part in its activities. It is therefore necessary to ask four key questions:
Do we allow new Brethren to pass through the three degrees uninformed and uninstructed?
Do we fail to encourage special items at Lodge meetings to educate the regular attending Brethren?
Is the Lodge allowing those in the junior officers to come unprepared to the Master’s chair?
Do we fail to recognise that leadership qualifications are unobtainable if we ignore the vital need to become Masonically educated?
If the answers to the above are ‘Yes’, then the Lodge needs a mentoring programme. On receipt of a petition, the Master should appoint a small committee and one of these will continue as the mentor. They meet with the candidate and his family at his home and answer any questions.
On being approved and proposed, the Lodge mentor serves for a term as part of a Lodge education team, or the mentor may work alone to enact the programme. The Lodge then sends the candidate a congratulatory letter, including the relevant literature.
The mentor will contact the candidate and advise him of the tentative Degree schedule and invite the candidate and his lady to any open Lodge, or social functions.
The mentor will maintain contact during the candidate’s progress through the degrees and will assist him in preparing for each stage, find out if the candidate has any Masonic friends or associates who would like to attend the various ceremonies. Above all, the mentor will make the new Brother feel that he has become a part of the Masonic family.
The new Mason needs to know and understand his duties as a Master Mason and what are his rights and privileges. He needs information about the traditions and work of the Craft as a whole. A properly educated, oriented and invested new Mason is an active member of his Lodge.
The mentoring programme is the first step to membership retention and expansion. Combined with a carefully structured Masonic education programme, it provides a coherent system of Masonic education and membership retention.

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We find that many of the brothers coming through the doors are perfectly happy with the degrees, yet are underwhelmed by what awaits them after this august set of life lessons.
One of the main problems with building such a comprehensive program for new members in Lodge, is the apathy that has already wormed its way into the exsisting members.
An expectation that the fewer and fewer that hold responsibility within a Lodge to carry a greater burden, without the reciprocating effort from candidates is a likely path to failure. Perhaps considering that much of the mystery is gone from the craft by the time we have finished initiating, passing, and raising our new men has something to do with this.
If we could re-ignite that passion first, and impress upon our new brothers the importance and significance of their efforts, combined with the emphasis on the quality of their contributions, then the new avenues of study and work we put before them wont be lost.
And it sets a standard for all of our other brothers as to how they can get the most out of Lodge. With their own efforts.
You only get out of it, what you put in.

"Shut up and leave your thinking to professionals"
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Post New Mason Helped 

I am a (relatively) new Mason who has enjoyed the benefit of sufficient Mentoring, Education and Opportunity.

I entered a Lodge of just over 60 members with an ageing demographic.
I was the first newly made Mason there in a while, and was the only young Mason in the Lodge (25 years old at the time).

I was assigned a specific Mentor. This was not required as the Mentoring was actually shared amongst many members of the Lodge and carried out well. Many of the senior, highly active and position-holding members took me under their wing.

Education has been available on many different levels and I have not neglected to seek and absorb it:

* Specific Informal Education Evenings have been held
* Informal Discussion at many different points with learned Brethren
* Tylers' Wisdom
* Masonic Leadership & Development Course
* Participation in Executive Meetings
* Participation in 'Adelaide Hills' regional planning meetings
* Assisting with Grand Lodge events and initiatives
* Regular Visiting

I believe that Education + Participation + Visitation = Retention

I am a big fan of Visiting and have picked up a lot from it. Being often kicked out provides an informal education session with the Tyler. We often have older Brethren Tyling the door and they are usually apt to impart knowledge.

Visiting exposes you to ritual, the subtle differences in the way Lodges are conducted and sometimes lectures. You get to meet many Brethren and generally have a good time, bonds of friendship are forged. As a recently joined member you always get a special mention and are made very welcome.

I have been extremely fortunate in that as a EA and FC my Worshipful Master invited me to visit very regularly and that we did. Of course one can always visit unaccompanied of ones own accord as I often do now. Visiting has the added benefit of encouraging Brethren to visit your Lodge.

I had a good number of visitors come to my 2nd degree passing. I anticipated this and organised professional gourmet catering and quality whisky. It was a fantastic night!
I am planning on improving on this for my 3rd degree raising (this August).

I have been highly active across the board. No need to blow my own trumpet and elaborate.
I recommend that new members are encouraged to get stuck into ritual early, go to executive meetings if possible, and help with Grand Lodge activities etc.

"You only get out what you put in"

This statement holds true to my case.
But then I have never been left wanting for instruction or support.

Since I joined we have had 8 EAs Initiated into Blackwood Lodge #93 (in 23 months) and more on the cards.

My Lodge is thoroughly invigorated and things are on the move.

Good times, good times.
Very Happy

Br Anton Rook fc

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