These next few weeks may be a small deviation from what you’ve come to expect from The Mason’s Lady. I am dealing with some health issues that make it hard to sit down and write for lengths of time. Because of this, I will be writing mini articles instead, for instance, the article for this week and next was originally to be one. Hopefully we will be back to regularly scheduled programming shortly.
January is a very popular month for installation of officers. In Nebraska, we use the calendar year as our Masonic year, so any officer’s term is from January to the next January. All officer terms all for a full year, regardless of when the installation occurs. Other common months for installation are June and July.
What exactly is an installation? How does it differ from an initiation
An installation is basically the swearing in of the officers for the year. Think of it kind of like when the president takes his oath. The officers take an oath, are given the jewels of their respective offices, and then we eat cake. Look next week for more about what actually goes on during an installation. Often, installations are public, meaning that anyone, Mason or not, can attend. If you have the opportunity, I would recommend that you go. Initiation on the other hand, is when someone becomes a member of the fraternity, when someone actually becomes a Mason, and takes the degrees. An initiation always closed, meaning that only Masons of a certain degree may attend.
What is the history of the installation ceremony?
The history of the installation ceremony is very unique, because before the formation of the United Grand Lodge of England in 1717, there is no mention of any kind of ceremony for installing officers. The Worshipful Master was elected, but there was no ceremony after the election. The ceremony first came about in 1722, when the Duke of Wharton, who was the Grand Master of UGLE at the time, decided that when a new Lodge was formed, they must also have an installation of the first Worshipful Master. The rest of the proclamation from the Duke laid out the foundation for the ceremony. Throughout the years, the ceremony was adapted to include the rest of the officers, which is what we still use today.
If you’d like to read more about the history of the installation ceremony, check out Volume 18, issue 4 of the September 2008 magazine The Lectern. You can read it here: The Lectern.
That’s all for now, I apologize for it being short but sweet. Next week we will be looking at exactly what happens during an installation. If you have any questions about officer positions, you can check out this post.