(Richard H. Ryder, 2017)
Each day in your many roles you have the opportunity and the responsibility to serve as Masonic Ambassadors, within and outside the lodge, to promote Freemasonry and your lodge. That leaves one important question – how?
Let’s begin by looking at two roles of the Lodge Ambassador, public spokesman and mentor, and see how we can all best apply them in serving as Masonic Ambassadors.
Acting like ambassadors outside the lodge
First thing that comes to mind is a podium and a speech. That’s great, if you enjoy that, but most people don’t enjoy public speaking. So what else can we do? Even if you do not hold the title, “Lodge Ambassador”, understand that:
- Our actions should speak volumes without uttering a word
- Recognition should not be the motivator
- We are not better; we are all the same, but we’re different
What distinguishes us from other men?
Each of us, during our daily lives, has numerous opportunities to act as Masons and thus Masonic Ambassadors for the fraternity. By acting as Masons we demonstrate to people we may or may not know what it means to be a Mason. These don’t have to be grandiose acts, like contributing $50,000 dollars to charity; it can be everyday acts that make a difference in someone’s life. The Boy Scouts call this doing a good deed daily; I call it simple acts of kindness.
What are our daily roles?
Here are just a few: husband, father, son, brother, friend, employee, manager, business owner, youth leader, church/synagogue leader, neighbor, commuter, volunteer.
How can we take simple steps to say, “I’m a Mason, it’s what we do?”
- As a commuter… letting someone into traffic
- As a business owner…act on the level, offer a square deal, practice honesty and integrity
- As a manager…show respect and demonstrate sincerity
- As a neighbor… help during crisis, snow blow a senior’s driveway, drive a patient to a doctor’s appointment
- As a husband or partner… open doors, practice loyalty
- As a father…demonstrate moral character
When I speak to applicants I consistently hear that one major reason for joining Masonry is the opportunity to help others and become part of something bigger than themselves. As Masonic Ambassadors it is our role and responsibility to help our Brothers find their hidden potential.
How else can we act as Masons outside the lodge and show others we are different?
Here are some real examples from the Sixth Masonic District, but there is no limit to what is possible in your lodge and district:
- Clothing drive
- Habitat for Humanity
- Run to Home Plate
- Troop Packages
- Holiday visits to senior centers
- Bus trip to Boston for disadvantaged children
- Teacher of the year
- Ten outstanding Norwood youth awards
- Stuffed animal collection for first responders to provide children during a crisis
- Canned good collection for local food pantries
- Toiletry items collected for homeless veterans
- Blood drives
- Adopt a family during the holidays, complete with dinner and gifts
Acting like ambassadors inside the Lodge
Remember your degrees and the excitement you experienced. Weren’t you proud of your accomplishment? At that moment you were eager to tell family and acquaintances about your journey and what it meant to be a Mason. You also wanted to ‘get started’ as a Mason. The problem was you needed direction.
Hopefully you still have that feeling of excitement and enthusiasm. It is everyone’s responsibility to harness that excitement and guide it in a positive direction. It’s OUR responsibility to help mentor others within the Craft. They can be new members taking their first Masonic steps, new line officers, or anyone trying to implement a program that reflects their personal skills and interest.
Young men who are starting families and getting started with their careers may not have the time or may be unable to commit large blocks of time. That’s oaky. I tell applicants they don’t have to get in line to become engaged and make a difference. They should leverage their professional skills and personal interests to seek ways to become engaged in the lodge. I also tell them that there are as many ways to creatively give back to others as there are men within the Fraternity. It is our responsibility to find appropriate ways to make them feel engaged.
What else can we do to mentor, motivate, inspire, and engage?
- Get to know candidates and make sure they feel welcomed; they should never be left alone while the rest of us enjoy our own little circle of friends
- Ask them why they joined in order to find out how YOU can inspire and guide them
- When young members come up with an idea, acknowledge it, encourage them, and guide them in a direction that will ensure success; be positive and open minded to new ideas.
- Help a new Master Mason achieve his Rookie Award and you will find out that YOU will derive more from the experience than he
- Help the new Master Mason learn and present a short piece of ritual at an upcoming degree
- Accompany a new Mason to another lodge
- Help the new Mason plan and implement an upcoming single event
“The protégé is the ignited flame; we, as mentors and Masonic Ambassadors, are the accelerant that helps get the internal fire raging and then helps sustain it.”