Communication of a Lodge
The communications of a lodge shall be stated communications and emergent communications.
1. The stated communications shall be held at such time as the lodge prescribes in its by-laws and shall be held at a definite hour on a particular week day of the calendar month. This subdivision cannot be dispensed with, except as provided in Regulation 45-2. [54-1.1; 45-23.1].
A lodge shall hold at least one stated communication each calendar month, however, it may provide in its by-laws for the omission of any or all stated communications during either or all of the months of June, July and August and those falling on legal holidays and may omit a stated communication by dispensation of the Grand Master (this regulation amended, effective 1/1/2004).
1. In the event the stated communication, as named in the by-laws of a lodge at which the officers should be elected as required by Regulation 54-1, shall fall on a legal holiday then the lodge shall hold that stated communication on the day following such legal holiday, except Sunday. [43-2.4; 44-7 (Art.8); 54-1.1].
4. A lodge, regularly opened on the third degree for an emergent communication on the day of a stated communication at an earlier hour than that named in its by-laws for that stated communication, may be changed to a stated communication without going through the ceremonies of closing and again opening in the following manner.
5. When inclement weather or a natural disaster compels a lodge to cancel its Stated Communication for the safety of the brethren, these lodges, with dispensation from the Grand Master, may reschedule the cancelled communication to a safer date.
A. At a time not more than thirty minutes after the hour named in the by-laws for the stated communication, the Master shall announce in open lodge that "the hour for the stated communication having arrived, and the lodge having been opened on the degree of Master Mason, further work in the emergent communication will be deferred and the business of the stated communication taken up."
B. The work of the emergent communication shall be concluded before the lodge is closed.
C. The minutes shall show that the declaration was made by the Master and shall give the names of the officers occupying the various stations and places, and the hour that the stated communication was declared open. [44-7 (Art.21, Sec.1); 45-2.3, 45-3.3; 62-1.1.C; 71-17].
E. Amend the by-laws of the lodge, [44-7 (Art.24)]
F. Grant a demit, [76-4]
G. Exclude a member for non-payment of dues, [77-20.7]
H. Grant a waiver of jurisdiction, or [42-9]
5. A ballot which may deprive a brother of his Masonic standing must be taken at a stated communication. It may be taken at an emergent communication only when discipline is applied under Chapter 100 for contempt.
All notices emanating from a lodge, or its officers, shall be sent to members under sealed cover, except that a notice setting forth merely the time and place of meetings and the degree to be conferred may be published in the newspapers, sent by postal card, email or telephone services. Unless otherwise provided, a notice of a communication shall be deemed sufficient if it is given not less than twenty-four hours, or published in a local newspaper, email or telephone service not less than eight hours prior to the communication. (this regulation amended, effected 1/1/2013)
1. An emergent communication to conduct Masonic burial services may be held at any time without previous notice provided there is a quorum present. Reasonable means should be employed to notify the members of such communication. [45-1.2; 45-2.3, 45-3.3; 45-5; 59-12.12; 87-3].
The Master, or in his absence the Senior Warden, or in the absence of both, the Junior Warden, may call an emergent communication of the lodge at his pleasure. On a written request of eight or more members of the lodge, the Master shall call an emergent communication for the consideration of such matters as may be named in said request. Due notice of all emergent communications shall be given to the members of the lodge, and no business shall be transacted at the communication except that specified in the call. [45-4; 59-9.3].
The communications of a lodge shall be held in the meeting place or hall within the city, or town, or place of its location as the lodge shall name in its by-laws. [13-3.8.G; 38-4; 38-4.1; 38-4.2; 38-5; 42-3; 71-12; 71-14; 82-9].
Seven Master Masons, members of the lodge, one of whom shall be authorized to open the lodge and preside, shall constitute a quorum to open the lodge on any degree and for the transaction of any business that may lawfully come before a Master Mason's lodge. The Tyler, if a member of the lodge, may be one of the seven. [38-2; 39-11; 74-1; 87-3].
All business shall be transacted in a Master Mason's Lodge, except proficiency examinations and degree work in the first and second degrees, or the discipline of Entered Apprentices and Fellow Crafts as provided in Chapter 100.
1. A subordinate lodge shall be opened and closed on the degree of Master Mason in Due Form and on the first and second degrees in Form, except when the Grand Master opens and presides, then they shall be opened and closed in Ample Form.
2. The representatives of the three Lesser Lights shall be lighted at all times when a lodge is open on the Degree of Entered Apprentice. It shall be optional whether they be lighted at any other time when the lodge is open. Their places shall be in a triangular position near the altar.
A lodge shall hold but one emergent communication in any one day to confer any one of the three degrees.
1. It may confer each degree but once on any one day.
2. If two or more emergent communications are called on the same day for the purpose of conferring degrees, the lodge may be opened on the degree of Master Mason, and then not closed on that degree until after the completion of the degree work for that day.
3. The lodge shall be opened and closed on each degree in which work is done and a proper record shall be kept of the proceedings of the lodge and of the brethren present at each degree. [45-15; 71-21].
When the Master is absent, the Senior Warden shall preside and perform his duties as Acting Master.
If both the Master and the Senior Warden are absent, the Junior Warden shall act as Master. If the Master and both Wardens are absent at a stated or lawfully called emergent communication, the lodge may be opened by the junior Past Master in point of service of said lodge present, who shall for the time being have all the powers of the Master. Business may be transacted as if the Master were present. The powers of a Past Master serving as Acting Master shall not extend beyond that particular meeting. The brother occupying the East shall be covered and wear the jewel of the Master. [57-2; 57-3; 57-8.1; 57-8; 59-2.24; 59-2.50; 59-9.4; 59-9.7; 59-10.3; 87-3; Chapter 57].
1. In the absence of any member qualified to open and preside, the lodge cannot be opened. If the circumstances justify it, the Grand Master may commission a Past Master of another lodge in the state to open and preside for a specified communication only, or he may direct a District Deputy Grand Master to do so. [13-3.3; 59-2.24; 87-3].
2. The ranking officer present may permit or request any Master Mason to open the lodge and conduct its business and do its work, provided the Master, one of the Wardens, or a brother legally qualified to open and preside over the lodge, is present at all times. The Master Mason so presiding shall be responsible to the officer who places him in the East. [71-15].
A lodge may designate any communication as a special night for any particular profession, trade, or organization, but only with the prior dispensation of the Grand Master. During degree work on a special night, the Master may invite degree teams and individuals who are Master Masons from outside his lodge to confer or exemplify degrees. However, he shall be responsible for the proficiency, conduct, appropriate attire and decorum of each Master Mason assigned to a degree team that performs in his lodge. He may assign to a degree team any Master Mason wearing a uniform which the person is legally entitled to wear, or one wearing a costume and regalia approved by the Board of Custodians. Special nights are not to replace Past Master's Night, Grand Master's Night, or Masonic Veteran's Night, but the Master of the lodge bears the responsibility for the exemplary conduct of degree teams for every event in his lodge. (This regulation amended, effective January 1, 2002).
The Grand Master should arrest the charter of a lodge which has had no meeting for six consecutive months, and cite it to appear before the Grand Lodge unless immediate and satisfactory steps be taken to rehabilitate the lodge. A District Deputy Grand Master shall be negligent in his duty if he fails to report such dormant lodge to the Grand Master. [41-10.6; 49-2].
No work can be done in any degree without a formal opening of the lodge on that degree. [45-10].
No part of the work of a lodge shall be done by a lodge while at refreshment. A lodge shall not be called from labor to refreshment or dispense with labor while conferring a section of a degree. [72-2].
A lodge duly opened on the degree of Master Mason can dispense with labor and open in any other degree or for the purpose of examining candidates for advancement. When a lodge has been opened for any purpose, it may complete the work or business for which it was convened before it is closed. A lodge, when opened on any degree, shall not call off or adjourn, but it may be called from labor to refreshment as often as desired for a specified time not beyond the same day. The lodge must be closed on each degree on which it opens even if the hour should be past low twelve of the day it was opened, but the lodge shall be closed before the members disperse. [59-2.6].
Every Master Mason's lodge shall be closed until the next stated communication unless sooner convened. Lodges of Entered Apprentice and Fellow Craft Masons shall be closed without date.
It shall be improper to style a lodge of the third degree as a Master's Lodge. The correct appellation is Master Mason's Lodge.
Use of tobacco in a lodge while a degree is being conferred is prohibited. [44-7 (Art.22Q)].
Subject to change or modification by the lodge or by the Master, the order of business at each stated communication shall be as follows:
- The Master recognizes Past Masters, Certified Lecturers, and Coaches as a courtesy.
- The Senior Deacon, in the discharge of his duties and at the direction of the Master, introduces visiting brothers.
- Reading of the Minutes and intervening communications by the Secretary, as information to the brethren. [44-7 (Art. 21A); 45-23]
- The Secretary clears his desk, which includes if applicable:
- Official communication from the Grand Master, Grand Secretary or any officer or agency of the Grand Lodge which shall be read in the lodge at the next stated communication after it is received. [44-7 (Art.21C)]
- Reception of petitions and applications read by the Secretary and record thereof made stating that the fees are paid [44-7 (Art 21F)];
- Informal communication affecting the craft including correspondence of a general nature such as notes of appreciation for courtesies shown. [44-7 (Art 21K)].
- Issues of delinquency not requiring a vote.
- Reports of Committees, if any there be, which includes;
- Standing Committees,
- Special Committees including Committees of Investigation.
- The Business of the Lodge which is conducted by balloting:
- Unfinished business is any Motion or Resolution that was carried over from the prior meeting, plus any matter that was under discussion at a prior meeting not yet formalized by a motion or resolution. [44-7 (Art 21B)].
- New business is any new motion or resolution which the master may elect to take up for consideration, including by way of illustration and not limitation, the exclusion of delinquents and action of the lodge in response to correspondence. [44-7 (Art 21D)].
- Ballot a separate secret ballot on each petition for degrees and each membership or restoration, and have the results entered on the minutes. [44-7 (Art 21E)].
- Examination for proficiency and work in any degree. [44-7 (Art 21L)].
- Masonic Education is required at every meeting by Reg. 59.2 Master, ¶26. (If Masonic Education is being provided by someone other than a member of your lodge, then consider moving Masonic Education to immediately follow the introduction of visiting brothers as a courtesy and accommodation to your speaker who may desire to be excused after presenting.)
- Announcements and matters of general information affecting the craft.
- Close. [44-7 (Art 21N)]
The flag of the United States shall be displayed on a suitable standard in the East at the right hand of the Master, at every communication of each lodge. A pledge of allegiance to the flag shall be given at the opening of every communication of a lodge.
The following rules of order are for the government of subordinate lodges at their communications.
1. The lodge shall meet at the time and place specified in its by-laws, or in the call for the communication. After it has been opened, if the communication is a stated, the record of its proceedings at the last stated and all intervening communications shall be read, or summarized to bring forward unfinished business as information to the members present. (This subsection amended, effective January 1, 2009) [45-21.1].
2. When a brother rises to speak, he shall respectfully address himself to the Master, if he transgresses the rules of the lodge in speaking or otherwise, the Master shall call him to order, when he shall immediately sit down unless permitted to explain. After he is put right, he may proceed if he observes due order and decorum. If he is guilty of transgressing the rules a second time, he may be peremptorily ordered to leave the lodge room for that communication or he may be dealt with for contemptuous conduct under Chapter 100.
3. The action of the lodge should be invoked by motion only in case there is something for the lodge to decide, that is, where it can legally say Yes or No to a proposition or question. If the lodge must vote Yes, then no vote is necessary, the Master must act without a vote. No motion to appoint a committee on a petition for degrees or membership is in order. When a petition is received, a committee must be appointed. No motion to spread the ballot is necessary. At the proper time it must be spread.
6. After a motion is stated by the Master or read by the Secretary, it shall be considered in possession of the lodge. It may be withdrawn by the mover before decision or amendment, but not thereafter.
7. No brother shall be permitted to speak more than twice on any question without leave nor more than once until every other brother wishing to speak has spoken. When two or more rise at the same time to speak, the Master shall name the brother who shall speak first. [36-3].
A. close debate,
B. to refer to a committee,
C. to postpone final decision until a designated time during the present communication or to a subsequent stated communication, or
D. to amend.
10. Motions and reports may be referred to committees at the discretion of the Master unless otherwise provided. The Master may refuse to entertain a motion. [59-2.10].
12. No new motion which totally changes the subject matter on which the original motion was intended to operate shall be submitted under color of amendment or as a substitute for the motion under debate.
17. Every member present when a question is put shall be required to vote if entitled to do so unless excused by the Master. No member can be excused from voting in a secret ballot by balls and cubes. [63-4; 68-3.16]
18. All matters before the lodge for determination shall be decided by a majority vote except where otherwise provided by law. [63-13].
19. No member except one of the majority which decided a question shall be permitted to move for a reconsideration of such question. [63-13].
20. No appeal lies to a subordinate lodge from a decision of its Master. His decision can be reviewed only by the Grand Master during the recess of the Grand Lodge subject to final action by the Grand Lodge at its annual communication. Such appeal can be taken by any member of the lodge. This paragraph has no application to proceedings upon charges for unmasonic conduct under Chapter 100. [36-3; 36-4; 59-2.10; 59-2.11; 59-5; 59-2.29].