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bowman

Visiting as a mason

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All,

Firstly, my apologies for the typo in the subject - it should say "Visiting" (fixed MM). Now, can you please help a new MM out?

I travel quite a lot, and as I'm a MM now, it's time to start visiting! Now, my question is two fold (I work under a UGLE-"based" lodge, meaning Regular, and an almost wholesale copy of the UGLE BoC).

1) Can I reach out directly to Brothers (such as here), and arrange a visit, or does everything need to go through my Sec/GSsec? I ask, because most of my travel is quite short-notice, a week is already plenty of time, and I don't always have the time to wait for the slow wheels of the Secretaries to get everything sorted.

2) "Recognition" - what should I expect when I present myself to the Tyler? I have a "Masonic Passport" from my GL, which has my picture, office and dates of initiation/raising/passing in a neat little book - do I still need to schlep around the gigantic Grand Lodge certificate?
Also, what kind of "test" am I likely to encounter by the Tyler or committee of examination?


Thank you all!

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The proper way to do things is to identify where you want to go and then tell your secratary who can pass the request to Province, who can go to Grand Lodge who can pass it on to the Grand Lodge from wherever you want to go who can then pass it down to their Province which will inform the Lodge where you want to go.



If you only know an area then they can come back with options.



However. I have never done that. I am under the Grand Lodge of Spain and much as I love the Spanish and there way of life if I tried to do the above it would probably never get out of my Provincial intray...



Generally if you are to visit somewhere it is best to know someone where you want to go. I have however in the past searched for Lodges on line and contacted them myself and have never yet had anyone tell me I have to go through official channels. You may run into some issues as your GL may not be as well known as Spain's. (It might be I'm just saying...)



Also if I am in London I often visit a Lodge in GQS. You can turn up there with your MM certificate and I always take a clearance certificate although some people think this is unnecessary. If you go to reception in GQS in the morning and show them your paperwork then they can let you know what Lodges are meeting and when. It is a good idea to phone GQS in advance of course to be polite...

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As far as proving goes. I have never been through that.



I must stress that it would be very bad form to rock up with no prior warning. If you have sorted out everything in advance then normally a show of paper work is enough. However when I have visited a Lodge where I am unknown I have always sent this in advance so I have not had to show it.



I have however had a copy of my MM certificate and my clearance certificate.



As a MM it would normally be the job of the JW to prove you and he can do that in a number of ways. 5 PoF, signs tokens words etc...

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lauderdale (23/06/2010)
....or is it a case that the majority of ordinary Brethren on travelling to foreign lands just visit Lodges thereanyway?





I'm guessing this is closer to what actually goes on, especially with brethren making contact through forums and the various masonic mailing lists.



I can see why the process exists (ie to stop brethren visiting 'irregular' GLs) but I do agree that it should be made far easier and quicker.....



Guy


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Hi Bowman - as a fellow UGLE Mason who has done a bit of visiting I think I can confirm that as long as the Lodge is recognised (e.g. look at the UGLE province website and make sure it exists) - no further GL permission is required. I have certainly never asked for any! I have found that e-mailing the lodge secretary is a good way to get an invite to other lodges - an of course allows you to use UGLE websites to find the details in the first place :)



As for what to expect in terms of recognition, this seems to vary, but it is always a good idea to have your certificate with you (I haven't seen a masonic passport before mind you) And make sure you are sure of your signs for all 3 degrees (and words) just in case :)



Also on a slightly different note, remember to follow your Mother Lodge signs etc NOT those of the lodge you are visiting (if there are any differences).



(NB my experience extends to English Lodges only)

(..agh also just noticed you aren't English so may be completely irrelevant! - sorry if so)



S&F

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(I haven't seen a masonic passport before mind you)




Sorry, not exactly on topic, but - neither did I until I got one (see attachment) :)



However, as - apparently - no other GL uses them, I imagine I'll still have to carry my Certificate (why, oh why doesn't it come in a "pocket" form? :D) and dues confirmation with me, although this thing neatly joins all of that together. It's actually surprisingly clever :)



Ah well, at least I can sign my own dues/clearance certificate :)



Helpful hints Brother Phil, thank you.





//David
Attached files TMG_0144.jpg (83.4 KB) 

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Whilst I am in agreement with Bro. Lauderdale, that in this electronic age, things could and should be speeded up, I am also mindful that in Lodges under UGLE, the Lodge Secretary is required once a year (and have printed in the summons) to read out the rule that Brn. wishing to visit Lodges overseas are required to contact the Grand Secretary's office. This is to ensure that any Lodges that they wish to visit are recognised by and in amity with UGLE. I am told that in places like Italy and France, there are a large number of "Grand Lodges", only a few being recognised by UGLE.

Moving to Scotland some years ago, and not having a clue as to how to go about visiting, I was fortunate to bump into a new neighbour who it turned out in conversation was a Past Master of a local Lodge. I got an invite to attend it that same evening! In England visiting usually requires an invite due to such things as Lodge caterers only allowing a set number of meals which have to be ordered in advance. My former Masonic Hall was classified as a "club", with visitors having to be signed in by a "member" and only "members" allowed to purchase from the bar. Thus it is not wise in England to just turn up and expect to be accommodated, but a matter of courtesy to attend by invitation and prior arrangement.

In Scotland, no invite is generally required. Meetings, including notification of which degree is to be worked, are given in the local paper! You just, in the main, turn up. You can of course expect to be (courteously) tried before receiving a most warm welcome. I was very glad to go in company with someone because it made things much more comfortable and less fraught than it might have been if I had turned up "cold". When visiting a Lodge in Ayrshire, during the opening the question is asked of the Wardens, "Are you satisfied in the South/West etc...?" If you are unknown then the reply, "Not satisfied in the South/West etc..." is given. At that point every eye turns upon you and testing takes place in open Lodge in front of everyone. A nerve racking experience if you're not used to it. Incidentally proving visitors is a point that I think should be taken up more rigorously in UGLE Lodges.

Thus it would be my advice to a) make prior contact as a matter of courtesy, and b)if possible go with "a local", for your own comfort and ease of introduction. I am told of an incident that occured in the local Lodge where I am now a regular visitor, when an unknown visitor from a Lodge in Southern Ireland turned up. As luck would have it ,there is a member who many years ago affiliated (joined) the Lodge , also from the Southern Irish Constitution. He was duly asked to retire and "prove" the visitor. He duly returned and, in his delightful brogue reported,"Well R.W.M., he doesn't know quite enough to get in. But he certainly knows too much to keep out."

The visitor was duly admitted.

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I've done a fair bit of visiting in foreign countries, although never in the UK. I understand that people int he UK are quite adamant that proper protocol be followed at all times when approaching a lodge. A friend of mine sent an email to a secretary in Scotland asking about meetings, and what came back was a note to the sec, grand sec and WM asking that his knuckles be rapped and he follow these official protocols.



I have shown up at meetings without any real notice in Canada, the US, Mexico and Cuba, and always been welcomed warmly. Sometimes there's not time to give notice.



If you are making inquiries from home for visits abroad, it is viewed differently than if you were at your destination, looking to make contact. So if I email a secretary from the UK saying I'll be in London next week and I want to catch your meeting, I will probably not have the same experience as emailing and saying I'm in London and want to visit. In all honesty, I generally find the lay of the land through the internet, arrive and try to make a contact. If I can't, I go knowing that I did try and I have no reason whatsoever to be excluded. The English way seems very at odds with how I/we see visiting, but it is their custom, so it must be respected.



As for being proven, grips, tokens and words, along with the 5pof and a little masonic knowledge pretty much seals the deal. I remember being examined in a Cuban lodge when my spanish was pretty minimal, and although I couldn't really explain things, by pointing to chairs and giving the signs I was clearly understood.



Good luck on your travels.

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We used to have a German Brother who came to our Lodge regularly and he had a Masonic Passport.



And a tiny little apron...

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lauderdale (23/06/2010)
Bowman, I have no wish to be pedantic but although it may well be that GLs affiliated to UGLE do not use Masonic Passports they certainly do in LDH. I'm not sure about the USA whereI think a member's "Dues Card" is an equivalent and it may well be that GOdF also has Masonic Passports. Personally I think it is a great idea.




As do I! I want to frame my MM certificate, not drag it around.



Now, the GL of Hungary is an old-time amalgamation of the Grand Orient and the Grand Lodge (therefore we, for instance in Italy, recognize the Grand Orient, as well as the regular GL), so we might have picked it up from the "continental" side...

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I carry a digital copy of my certificate if I'm traveling. It's already framed, so I took a photograph of it, and produce that when requested.

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I was told I couldn't frame my Certificate (though I really wanted too) and should always carry it with me to meetings.



If this is the case, I'd like the option of getting a second copy (even if it's at cost) so I could have it framed because I'm proud to have it.

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The answer to this is simple, visit Scotland. As Sojourner has stated, you find out when the meeting is on turn up on the night take a test, usually carried out by the WJW and a PM and join the meeting. No Dues cards, No passports, no certificates, no convuluted letters or e-mails going between secretaries , Everything is taken on your masonic honour. It is sometimes best to take a friend who can vouch for you but if thats not possible then no problem.

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We are told from the beginning that our MM certificate is to carried in thr regalia case, it is used to help 'prove' you if you visit a lodge where no one knows you (admittedly a rare occerrence in NZ)

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I carry a scanned copy of my MM cert.



My original is framed and hanging on the wall of my private office.



I believe someone did say I couldn't do that.

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In England, it is not the normal practice to have the certificate framed, and the advice on presentation is, "Your certificate is a sort of passport to regular freemasonry, and as you may be asked to produce it when visiting a Lodge in a foreign constitution recognised by Grand Lodge, or even a Lodge in this country where you are not known, it is advisable to keep it handy with your regalia. It should not, therefore, be framed and hung in your office or even in your home......The certificate, however, states that the production of the certificate itself does not entitle you to admission to a Lodge without examination....(cont.)"

In Scotland, the practice is different and it is very common to have Certificates framed. More certificates are issued in Scotland than in England. For example you would get a certificate for being Installed in the Chair, and a certificate for each of the Principals' Chairs in a Chapter, etc. If you were appointed to Provincial Office you would get further certificates.

A certificate of course does not show your picture, or prove you are in good standing and I think some form of dues card would be a good idea. Another good feature about Scottish Masonry is that 'everybody knows everybody' within your Masonic locality, and together with the practice in most Lodges of "proving any strangers" during the opening of each degree forms good safeguard against any cowans or intruders. Something the English system sadly lacks. It is also most commendable how the Brn. are prepared to travel to support the various Lodges and Orders. Thus you will see, get to know and be known by a good many Brn. both in your own Province and in neighbouring Provinces in a very short space of time. thus anyone 'not right' or not in good standing is very quickly spotted.

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Just to add something to Phil's post. Always stick to what you learn in your mother lodge! Each lodge does things slightly different so it is always a good idea to state prior to any testing that you will happily answer but according to the what you have learnt in your mother lodge.

This is a good hint to the brother testing you that if he sees something different, it is not wrong or false (because it is not the same as in his lodge). I have seen the Grip given in quite a few different ways.

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Agreed - good point :)





seekeroftruth (24/06/2010)
Just to add something to Phil's post. Always stick to what you learn in your mother lodge! Each lodge does things slightly different so it is always a good idea to state prior to any testing that you will happily answer but according to the what you have learnt in your mother lodge.

This is a good hint to the brother testing you that if he sees something different, it is not wrong or false (because it is not the same as in his lodge). I have seen the Grip given in quite a few different ways.

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Here in the US, one is required to show a current dues card and answer a few questions (that any MM could answer; it's not a strict test).

No advance notice is necessary, and we all consider it a great honor to welcome visiting brothers into lodge.

In fact I have a great iPhone app called "Masonic Traveller" that shows any lodges near my present position on a map. Then by clicking on the location it gives the meeting times and contact information.

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This topic is about the protocols required to visit unknown Lodges, not the inability of some brethren to read maps!

Back on topic brethren!

Those who wish to discuss "location finding software" may want to start a new topic as required by the Forum's rules.

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