Well brothers, it's been a few days since the brothers and myself were allowed to witness an Emulation Rite Third Degree exemplification as presented by Internet Lodge No. 9659. The event was a part of the Atlantic Brotherhood Summit, an event hosted by Sir Winston Churchill Lodge No. 351, a British themed affinity lodge recently chartered. I have some new perspective of the way the Masonic world looks outside the borders of Minnesota.
The Emulation Rite is one of the most widely practiced ritual in England and perhaps, throughout the world. The Emulation ritual was a result of the amalgamated practices between the Antients and the Moderns. At the merger, the Grand Lodges took steps to standardize the ritual practiced in England. Of course, in England, there is still variety in ritual but it is common that Emulation will be the ritual seen when traveling there.
In Minnesota, like most US states, there is one ritual. That ritual is our variation of Preston-Webb (which resembles the Conservator of Rob Morris). That's why this was a huge event. A different variation of ritual hasn't been done here since 1869. Under both the approval of the UGLE and the Grand Lodge of Minnesota, the Emulation Rite was exemplified.
Without going into explaining the Emulation, it was very interesting that the same story can be told in such a different way. The elements of Masonry were there. I recognized everything going on yet at the same time, the feel was very different. The lessons were still there, but more emphasis was on certain aspects versus others.
My hope with this event is that more variation will exist in our state. I really think that's the way things are going. Sir Winston Churchill Lodge doesn't really state that they would like to practice Emulation, but I'm sure they would. Before each SWC meeting, there is an Emulation practice and many top ritualists in my state are members.
A lodge that desires to take on a new ritual takes upon itself a big responsibility. If a lodge doesn't have the
One benefit of different practices would help cement the principle of universal Masonry which is so often impressed upon us. To know that the rest of the world is not like us is important. We need a global perspective and different ritual types can do that.
I like the Minnesota Work. In general, I think it's very well organized and dramatic. However, other ritual should be permitted. Variety is the spice of life and I really think that having different practices within our state is essential. I hope to see changes in the near future.
One question that I had but was unable to ask was how is variation dealt with in England? In Minnesota, there is no variation. I understand that there is more than one ritual but I'm curious if lodges are allowed to choose their own, how schools are dealt with if there are multiple rituals, and if all lodges founded after the creation of Emulation must choose Emulation? I'm sad I couldn't ask them however, perhaps one of my readers could help.
What do you think? Should individual lodges be allowed to practice a ritual other than the standard one in their Grand Jurisdiction?