Master Mason without


Can an Entered Apprentice oR Fellowcraft occupy any officer’s chair in an Entered Apprentice or Fellowcraft Lodge, respectively, at the invitation of the Master?

Yes, with one exception. As described in our Ritual, the Lodge is tiled by a “Master Mason without.” Otherwise, it is the prerogative of the Master to delegate performance of any portion of the Work to any qualified Mason. There is no Masonic basis that would enjoin the Master from delegating Work to an Entered Apprentice or Fellowcraft, as they are entitled to knowledge of all the Ritual performed by Lodges working in the Degrees they hold, and thereby qualified to perform the same. Notwithstanding, there is also no Masonic principle that an officer’s chair must be occupied unless the Ritual calls for performance by that officer. Thus, for example, while the Master could invite an Entered Apprentice to occupy a Steward’s chair for a regular meeting, there is no reason for him to do so.

Stepping away from purely Masonic considerations, we note a 1928 Judge Advocate Opinion (GLNY) regarding visiting Degree teams holding that the Master “can fill all or any of the stations by any Master Mason.” This might be construed to preclude Ritual delegation to Entered Apprentices and Fellowcrafts, but there are some important factors against this interpretation:

⤚ First, the Opinion does not consider the question of delegation to Entered Apprentices and Fellowcrafts because visiting Degree teams would only have included Master Masons in the custom and practice of the time
⤚ Second, because it does not explicitly rule out such delegation, the Opinion is not properly interpreted as restricting delegation to Master Masons only
⤚ Third, in Lodges that regularly admit Entered Apprentices and Fellowcrafts it is already commonplace for Brothers of these Degrees to perform such portions of the Master’s Work as presentation of the Working Tools and exemplification of the Lectures of Forms and Ceremonies

And finally, as a general matter, Lodges don’t contemplate seating Entered Apprentices and/or Fellowcrafts in officers’ chairs unless there is an insufficiency of capable Master Masons present, and we should not place roadblocks in the way of Lodges working to revitalize by involving such Brothers to participate in its life and works.

Response provided by RW Samuel Lloyd Kinsey
Chairman, Custodians of the Work, Grand Lodge of New York

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