Together we make a profound difference

Candidate coaching

Support candidates between degrees

Your October checklist

For your Trestleboard

Find it on

Question of the month


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Candidate coaching

Reseda Lodge No. 666, located in the Van Nuys neighborhood of Los Angeles, has a reputation as a happy lodge. There are plenty of reasons why. The lodge has discovered the sweet spot for member engagement, where members always look forward to lodge and rarely get burnt out. It regards itself as an extended family, with spouses and kids in the mix and ongoing chatter on the lodge app.

It’s also found happiness in the ritual, which its brothers love practicing, studying, and teaching. More and more brothers now embrace coaching, to the benefit of candidate and coach alike.

Past master (and former head candidate coach) Eric Sharp explains.

Spread the work around
In previous years, most of the coaching fell to one head candidate coach. But these days we spread the work around.

  • We now have an unwritten rule that if you sign for a brother, you should be willing to mentor him and coach him through his degrees. Each candidate gets the attention he deserves, and coaches aren’t overwhelmed.
  • This benefits everyone’s Masonic education: The coach gets another chance to actively study the degree. His role is to listen and learn from the candidate, not just impart his own knowledge.
  • A number of us can step in when there’s a scheduling conflict or a candidate could use another perspective. Coaching should not be a one-man effort, and we are always available to help each other.


  • Our coaches help candidates find the emotional buttons in the ritual, making connections between the words and their heart. When you personalize the material, you absorb the lessons.
  • Memorization alone serves no one. You have to engage in the ritual’s deeper meaning. Coaches draw this out for candidates individually, and one brother regularly hosts group discussions for candidates.
  • We encourage candidates to attend as many degrees as they can after their initiation, while the experience is fresh. They gain a new perspective every time.

Candidate Learning Center
We’ve recently embraced the updated Candidate Learning Center (a free online tool from Grand Lodge). It’s beautifully designed, and supports our goal to give candidates a thoughtful, deep understanding of degree lessons.

  • Once a candidate is initiated, he’s hungry for more. With the Candidate Learning Center, he can go online and immerse himself in the lessons right away.
  • Over the past few years, we’ve gained a number of candidates in their 20s, 30s, and 40s. It’s second nature for men of these ages to be online. They expect it.
  • We are making the Candidate Learning Center the default method for candidates to study the monitorial portion of the degree.
  • Of course, we still place the greatest importance on coaches and candidates meeting face-to-face. There’s no substitute for getting together. Time is the most precious thing a brother can give.

At Reseda Lodge, we love seeing all our work to preserve and honor the ritual come to fruition. It’s incredibly gratifying to see the ritual not just recited, but re-lived with each candidate. Which one of them may go on to be grand master of California? Who knows.

For more information, contact Eric Sharp.

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Support candidates between degrees

A priority of the 2020 Fraternity Plan is memorable, meaningful degrees. This doesn’t refer only to the degree ceremonies: It’s part of a much larger bonding process – between the lodge brothers and the candidate; and between the candidate and Masonry.

Use the time between degrees to cement these bonds. Here are tips.

  • Stay in touch with the candidate leading up to each degree. From texting to getting together for coffee, show your continued support and interest.
  • Provide a roster of the lodge, especially officers and coaches. Encourage the candidate to be active on the lodge app and any other lodge social media.
  • Keep the candidate informed of lodge events, and offer to go together. Invite his family and friends to social events.
  • Celebrate his degrees through a special meal, festive board, or thoughtful presentations and mementos. Follow up within a day or two of the degree, so he can talk about his experience and learn what happens next.
  • Ensure he has sufficient time to absorb lessons before each degree. Encourage discussions about the ritual, focusing on the meaning behind the words.
  • In addition to the proficiency, ask him to write a paper about his personal growth as a result of each degree.
  • Invite him to appropriate degree ceremonies at your lodge and lodges nearby. Use the lodge app and website to promote these degrees on the calendar and send reminders.
  • Discuss the various opportunities for involvement in the lodge. Help him identify the areas that are most meaningful to him. Give him a role within the lodge that reflects this.

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Your October checklist

Stay on track of lodge business and prepare for important deadlines. Here’s your October checklist.

Executive Committee

Senior Warden, along with Executive Committee

  • Urge presumptive master, wardens, and senior deacon to perform their Master Mason’s proficiency soon, if not already completed.
  • Urge presumptive master, wardens, and senior deacon to qualify early with the inspector in their office’s ritual
  • Urge respective officers to answer the master, senior warden, and junior warden questions early.
  • 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.
  • Finalize installation date/venue and prepare installing team
  • Review all candidates’ progress towards advancement.


  • Prepare to send out dues notices and begin collecting member dues, starting Oct. 31


  • If your lodge has employees, file quarterly federal payroll tax form 941 (unless IRS has approved an annual filing of form 944, due in February)
  • If your lodge has employees, file quarterly state payroll tax form DE9/DE9C and deposit form DE88

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

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For your Trestleboard

California Masons who’ve moved out of state are still eligible for support services – but too often, don’t realize it. Use this ad as a reminder.

This month:
Out-of-State Member Benefits
Age Successfully at Acacia Creek
Make a Difference Month

Share in your Trestleboard.

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Find it on

Want a snapshot of your lodge’s health? A Look at My Lodge, located in the Member Center, gives you these key reports:

  • Lodge participation in Masonic education and leadership training
  • Prospect to Master Mason transition
  • Compliance
  • Charitable giving

Log into the Member Center on, then select A Look at My Lodge under Reports & Features. Click on your division and scroll to your lodge.

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Question of the month

Last month we asked how your lodge engages new members. Of those that responded:

56% - Assigns someone to keep in touch via text, the lodge app, phone, etc.
48% - Assigns someone to meet and introduce each new Mason at his first lodge event
36% - Assigns someone to personally remind each new Mason about upcoming lodge events
36% - Plans regular lodge fellowship nights
8% - Conducts a skills and interests survey for new Masons
8% - Plans social events just for new Masons

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

p: (415) 776-7000