Last night, the members of Mid-Century Lodge passed Brother Todd Strunk to the degree of Fellowcraft. For those new to Masonry, here’s some information on what that means, and a little history too.
The modern Masonic fraternity is modeled on trade guilds of the Middle Ages. These operative masons passed on their knowledge and skill to younger craftsmen through a series of degrees. The operative mason was an apprentice, and a journeyman, before he attained the rank and reputation of master.
In the Masonic fraternity, a new member of a lodge passes through three symbolic ceremonies or “degrees.” He begins as an Entered Apprentice, then becomes a Fellowcraft, and finally a Master Mason. Each degree is a deeply symbolic experience filled with moral teachings, and after each degree the new brother must study what he has seen and heard. After passing a test on each degree, he is eligible to receive the next.
Each degree is meaningful in its own way. The Grand Lodge of Ohio explains that the Fellowcraft degree, “exposes a Brother to more of the symbolism and philosophy of the fraternity. For skilled craftsmen this degree would have marked one’s progress from an apprentice to a journeyman.”
A healthy Lodge has many duties from the proper administration of its records and funds, to participation in charitable works, to the visitation of sick and elderly members. Degree work certainly holds a special place among these noble duties.
After a brother becomes a Master Mason, one of the best ways he can learn more about the degrees and the Fraternity in general is to help put on degrees for newer brothers, and aid them in their studies. As with all teacher-student relations, both parties are enriched by the shared experience.
For this reason, we not only express our congratulations to Bro. Strunk, but we also express our gratitude. Through his progress we experience the noble teachings of Freemasonry anew, and his commitment to the Fraternity helps ensure its survival in the new millennium.
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