There were lodge Inspectors of
Working until a few years ago. Their
role was to observe, counsel and or report on the proceedings of the lodge
meeting to ensure that it conformed with our Constitutional requirements. You have to wonder when they were
disestablished whether or not “the baby was thrown out with the
Lodge Inspector of Workings
were selected from another lodge and they were invariably experienced,
knowledgeable Past Masters who had a good manner necessary to discharge a
regularity duty. Their independence was
an advantage. They visited their
assigned lodge frequently but irregularly but always could be expected, for
example, to be present if a lodge was entrusted to initiate a candidate
assigned by Grand Lodge, especially if that candidate was out of the main
stream of candidates.
The likelihood of the Inspector
of Working’s presence promoted a high level of effort to do a good job. If something was going radically wrong he
could stop the ritual but I have never seen that happen. If necessary, after the meeting he would have
a quite word with the WM and perhaps the Director of Ceremonies and that would
be enough. He would submit a report to
the Grand Inspector of Workings and this could initiate a series of corrective
actions which if not followed, could result in the Lodge’s Warrant being
withdrawn but again I have never seen these actions taken.
An Inspector of Workings would
notice if a lodge did not open on time and if the furnishings of the lodge and
regalia was not placed in the lodge room before the meeting, including a Volume
of the Sacred Law for the Candidate’s Obligation that is the basis of his
beliefs. He would normally be
sympathetic to inexperienced junior lodge officers having a little difficulty
with their movements and ritual if they tried.
However, it is not hard to guess his reaction if a senior lodge officer
or the Worshipful Master read any, particularly all of his ritual. He would know that a formal retirement of the
WM and the brethren in the East is part of the ritual.
The duties of the Inspector of
Workings extended to the South as it is part of our proceeding until the
Tyler’s Toast. He would be aware that
the formal nature of the South do not include drinking beverages from
bottles. He would expect the person
allocated the duty, indeed the privilege, of proposing the Toast to the
Candidate to have taken the trouble to find out something about him – where he
came from, his profession, family circumstances, friends in or encounters with
Freemasonry, his motivation to join and so on.
He would expect the toast effectively to introduce the new brother to
the Lodge: the brother should feel good afterwards. The non-provision of a suitable meal and
beverages consistent with the new brother’s religious beliefs and a breach
would have been noted. Finally, as the
formal lodge proceedings do not conclude until after the Tyler’s Toast, he
would note if masonic dress was not worn which include a bow-tie (Rule
387). In summary, he would have been
aware that the WM is the custodian of the Constitution, etiquette and tradition
and that he promises to preserve them and therefore the Inspector of Workings would
have acted accordingly.
I am all for lodges being as
independent as possible but with this there comes an obligation to self
regulate: I am not confident that there is a satisfactory way for this to be
done. So when Inspectors of Working were
discarded like the bathwater, is there a strong possibility for the potential
for lodge standards to go out with it?
Yours fraternally ,