Together we make a profound difference

Outstanding ritual

Meaningful degrees

Your June checklist

For your Trestleboard

Find it on

Question of the month


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Outstanding ritual

At San Diego Lodge No. 35, outstanding ritual is an expectation. The lodge won the Grand Lodge Ritual Competition in both 2015 and 2016, and two of its officers took first and second place in last yearís individual competition on the Middle Chamber lecture. They maintain this standard with every degree, delivering ritual with precision, passion, and teamwork.

Master Esequiel Sanchez and Officers Coach Michael Thibodeaux share a few best practices.

Individual practice

  • Budget time each day. With just 15 or 30 minutes daily, youíll be surprised how quickly memorization comes.
  • Repeat, repeat, repeat. Memorization and precise floor work basically come down to muscle memory. That requires repetition.
  • Donít be shy, donít be embarrassed, and donít hold back: Put feeling into it. If someone needs help getting comfortable, the officers coach should meet individually with him.
  • Precision comes from practice. Meaning comes from having a personal connection to the ritual. (Read: San Diego Lodgeís tips for meaningful degrees.) Strive to deliver both.

Team rehearsals

  • Break down responsibilities. Our officers coach is in charge of floor work; each individual is responsible for memorization; the master is responsible for making sure we put it all together.
  • Encourage mentors. For example, the junior deacon might meet with the senior deacon, and ask how he handled certain situations.
  • After several months, increase responsibilities. In July, weíll move everybody up a chair in the second degree. Everyone knows this at the beginning of the year, and prepares early.
  • Weíll sometimes shuffle positions during rehearsals, because everyone should know their current position as well as everything under it. This helps us answer each otherís questions and stay current on California ritual.
  • Take care of one another. If someoneís falling behind, rally around him to help him catch up. If heís struggling with a personal matter, find a way to fill his station to give him the rest he needs.


  • We look to the master each year Ė who looks to the masters before him Ė to lay the path for outstanding ritual. We see the pride he takes in his work, and we hold ourselves to that same standard.
  • In ritual, the first thing you need is confidence in yourself. The second thing is confidence in your teammates. Masonry is about trusting each other. When we do ritual, itís our opportunity to show it.

Thereís more: Read San Diego Lodgeís tips for meaningful degrees.

Contact: Esequiel Sanchez, Michael Thibodeaux

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Meaningful degrees

A priority of the 2020 Fraternity Plan is to make every degree a unique experience. Here are tips from San Diego Lodge No. 35, two-time winner of the Grand Lodge Ritual Competition.

  • Practice so much that you donít have to think about what youíre saying or doing, and can focus instead on the feelings. The candidate will sense that the ritual has personal meaning to you, and it will encourage him to seek out what it means to him.
  • Put some theater into it. These degrees are based on situations that happened a long time ago, so try to place yourself in that era. Add character to it using inflection and tone of voice. Make it interesting, so the candidate will pay attention.
  • Everyone has his own style. Donít worry about replicating someone else's. Find the approach that feels right to you.
  • Donít dwell on mistakes. As much as you practice, there may be a moment when you forget a word or phrase. Keep moving forward as though nothing happened.
  • React to one another. Every emotion you convey Ė even when another brother is speaking Ė adds to the overall impact.
  • Remember: This ritual is for the candidate. Itís his Masonic journey. After conferring a degree, the highest compliment is for the candidate to say, ďIt felt like you were talking just to me.Ē Reach for that.

Looking for more ritual advice? Read this monthís Best Practice about San Diego Lodge No. 35, and last yearís tip list, Practice makes perfect.

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Your June checklist

Stay on track of lodge business and prepare for important deadlines. Hereís your June checklist.

Executive Committee

  • Remind members to celebrate Masonic Homes Month
  • Continue tracking 100% officer giving to the Annual Fund, with officers setting an example through gifts that represent their capability as well as their commitment to our charitable programs (See which lodges have already achieved 100 percent officer giving.)

Senior Warden, along with Executive Committee

  • Identify and approach members for 2018 open elected and appointed officer positions
  • Identify and approach members for the 2018 Audit, Membership Retention, and any other committees
  • Set calendar for 2018 and identify event leaders
  • Continue preparing 2018 budget
  • Set installation date and approach installing officer, master of ceremonies, and chaplain
  • Review all candidatesí progress towards advancement


  • Send list of members with late dues to the Retention Committee
  • Send any suspension notices via certified mail
  • Provide necessary information so Charity Committee can consider remissions
  • Begin reviewing roster for accuracy in preparation for the end of the Grand Lodge membership year. All remits must be entered by June 30. All remaining iMember updates (applications, degrees, and dates of death), must be recorded by July 15. (Learn more.)

Questions? Contact Member Services at or (415) 776-7000.

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For your Trestleboard

Masonic Assistance offers support for everyone in your fraternal family. Use this ad to inform your lodge, plus an additional reminder.

This month:
Connect With Masonic Assistance
Age Successfully at Acacia Creek

Share in your Trestleboard.

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Find it on

As part of your Masonic Homes Month celebration, try out the all-new

Itís your one-stop resource for all our services, including residential campuses, community-based care, help for youth and families, lodge education, and much more.

Explore the all-new for:

  • Detailed information about all our support services
  • Stories and testimonials from those we serve
  • Latest news and updates
  • How to get started with services

The website has been redesigned and expanded. Itís mobile-friendly, organized to help you find exactly what you need, and has adjustable font size for easy reading. Visit now.

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Question of the month

Last month we asked how many candidate coaches your lodge has. Of those that responded:

40% - One to three
33% - Four to six
20% - More than six
7% - Don't know

When pairing coaches with candidates, 50 percent said they consider learning style. About 38 percent consider Masonic interests, and 30 percent also consider non-Masonic interests.

Here's your next question.



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Grand Lodge of California
1111 California Street
San Francisco, CA 94108

p: (415) 776-7000