Tuesday, January 24, 2012

One Day 2012


The title I've chosen for this post can either be viewed as very boring or very provocative. The reason I say that is that One Day class remain, in the world of Masonry, a sore spot or a normal course of business.

I was asked to take part in the first degree during the One Day class held on Saturday, January 21st at the Minneapolis Scottish Rite building on Dupont. One Days, for those who don't know, compresses the three degrees into one day. They often have some of the best ritualists in the state and in many cases, have all the staging to really make the degree work pop.

There is debate that has been going on since the One Day format was started over its legitimacy and its efficacy in shoring up membership numbers. Frankly, I don't really have an opinion one way or the other. I like degree work in a small lodge setting but I also remember that Masonry is an ongoing lifestyle that has to be worked over a number of years. The initiation is important but it is not the end all be all for a Mason.

I was very impressed by the work I saw. When I say that the best ritualists are at the One Day, I'm not joking. All the degrees were performed in formal apparel, as in tuxedos. With spotlights to the front and custodians behind me, I was understandably nervous. I got through my part with only a minor hiccup. (For the sake of secrecy, well, maybe just embarrassment, I will not mention what I missed.)

I was also fortunate to be there with a lot of Southeast Area Masons. The Southeast Area hosts many, many Schools of Instruction. From the work I've seen in our more sparsely populated area, I really think we have some wonderfully good ritual being performed. Most Masons in the state of Minnesota don't come down to our neck of the woods and that's a shame. If you're interested in making a visit, just visit here.


What I really found interesting was the tour of the building. WBro. Mark Campbell led us through the building to see all the different areas of the building. The Scottish Rite temple was originally a church, the Fowler Methodist Episcopal Church. As explained by WBro. Mark, the congregation merged with the Heenepin Avenue Methodist Church and to prevent competition with some other church, the Church sold the building to the Minneapolis Valley in 1916. Many modifications to the building have occurred since that time. I was very impressed by the building and I think all Masons should make a trip to this amazing Masonic edifice. In fact, Lodge #19 currently meets in this building so all Master Masons from Grand Lodges in amity with the Grand Lodge of Minnesota may visit.

In all, I had a very enjoyable time and solidified friendships with many brothers I only see once in awhile. Congratulations to all the fine ritualists at the One Day; you guys did an outstanding job. Congratulations also goes out to the class for having been made Master Masons.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am fairly new to masonry (raised 12-2010, enrolled 1-2011) so my view is less experienced than others. But, I really think that something fundamental is lost when a brother goes through all three degrees in a single day.

Yes, I know that this is commonplace in the York and Scottish Rites. However, the Blue Lodge is different; it is the start of our craft. It is the proving ground of the rough ashlar seeking improvement.

I fondly remember the anticipation I felt while studying the latest proficiency lecture. I remember the conversations held with my coach during those visits.

Most important of all, I remember the sense of accomplishment when I advanced to the next degree.

This is important stuff. If becoming a mason turns into nothing more than spending some money and freeing up a Saturday, then we are doing a disservice to those who wish to join while also doing a disservice to a lodge for allowing new members that have yet to show the dedication necessary.

There are other ways to retain new members who are going through the degrees. In my lodge we have general coaching sessions scheduled weekly; the EA's go to one room, the FC's another, and the MM's another.

This gives the new brothers a sense of brotherhood and ensures that they do not feel like they know nobody in the lodge. They progress rapidly and, in turn, become coaches themselves while considering the Junior Steward chair next year.

In other words, extend the lodge to the first two degrees when you can and you will keep the interest of the newly initiated or passed. That seems wiser to me than reducing the work by compressing the degrees into a single day.

Just my $0.02

Steven Warner
Anchorage Lodge 17
Anchorage, Alaska

Nick Johnson said...

Steven,

I would agree. I'm a member of two lodges and both of them are very old school. Each degree is viewed as a separate experience and the candidate seems to really enjoy himself and gets a lot out of the degree.

I've also experienced a Royal Arch Festival and did not like it. I felt that compressing the degrees merely made them a process of "going with the motions." It's a tiring day and no one seems to enjoy themselves.

Nick