Until COVID-19 forced all Lodge work to stop, Grand Master Keith Newton planned to allow districts to hold a Grand Master’s Class in May. When Lodges were allowed to begin meeting again in June, he changed his order to allow Lodges and groups of Lodges to meet and conduct a Grand Master’s Class at a time of their own choosing. Since this new ruling, Ohio Lodges have raised 638 new Master Masons.
The Grand Master’s Class is a tool Lodges can use to raise more than one Master Mason at a time, accommodate good men who might not otherwise invest the time for individual initiations, and in the present public health emergency, begin to catch up on the backlog of men waiting to become members. Ohio voted to allow Grand Master’s Classes beginning in 2002 and gave the Grand Master the power to authorize a Class whenever and wherever he chooses, to set educational proficiency standards for the Class, and to have as many classes as he chooses during the year.
The West Lafayette Story (Pictured)
West Lafayette Lodge, No. 602, in the 19th Masonic District is a good example of impact and value of a Grand Master’s Class. This Lodge joined with New Home Lodge, Lone Star Lodge, and Three Rivers Lodge to hold a class on September 26th. The Class was distinguished by the family connections or legacy found in Masonry. In the Class, there was a set of triplets whose father and grandfather signed their petitions. Altogether, seven fathers signed their son’s petitions. One son signed his father’s petition. Also, the brother of a District Deputy Grand Master was a class member. Of the eleven new Master Masons in West Lafayette Lodge about half were 23 or younger and half were forty or older. The Lodge went from a membership of 78 to a total of 89 Master Masons.
Looking Ahead to 2021
In the Deputy Grand Master’s Rollout, MWB Dickerscheid announced that he will authorize the continued use of Grand Master’s Classes at the discretion of the Lodges. There are rules that must be followed and the work must be excellent. The candidates must meet our high standards for character and reputation. But with the continued COVID emergency and with over 800 men to submit a petition plus the hundreds of Entered Apprentices and Fellow Crafts waiting for degree work (sometimes for most of a year), the Grand Master’s Class will continue to be a tool for Lodges to use in 2021.