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Lambskin Apron not available at Funeral service, Solution

Nickel City Dude

Registered User
I have been a Mason for over 35 years and many time when I attend a masonic funeral the widow or decedents of our departed brother were unable to find his Lambskin apron or did not know that it was needed. So most funeral homes have a Lambskin that they allow us to use for the service but then they put it back in their storage when we leave. I asked our secretary how much a Lambskin apron cost and he told me about $25 to $30. Spending this much on an apron for every Brother that needed one for his funeral is not undoable but can be a strain on the Lodge budget. So, I considered what would be an economical solution to the problem? I went out today and got some material to make some “Funeral Aprons”. They look like leather but are some vinal type material. I spent $38 and was able to cut enough pieces for 7 aprons. That makes them about $5.50 each.

They are not leather and should not be used for Degree work but we will be able to keep some in the funeral apron box just in case the real apron is not available I think is a good idea and it can be buried with the departed Brother as it should be.

I have posted a picture of 2 aprons, the one on the left is the funeral apron that I made and the one on the right is my Lambskin. I am going to propose that the Lodge provide the funds for me to make up about 20 funeral aprons that we can keep in the funeral apron box for when this problem comes up which should keep us supplied for the foreseeable future.

The aprons are easy to make and require only 3 pieces, (the main apron, the flap and the tie string.

I got the material from Joann Fabrics (there item number 09131202) and some 1” Twill tape from Amazon. I also made up a label to stick on the back side of the apron that reads:

Masonic Funeral Apron. To be used at funerals only and to be interred with our departed brother. Not intended for degree work.

This white Apron is known as the Lambskin. It is the badge of a Mason. Its whiteness served to remind our departed Brother of the innocence and purity of a righteous life. It reminds us that our Brother’s earthly labors are finished. He has laid aside the working tools of life.

May the record of our lives and actions be as pure and spotless as this fair emblem which will now be placed upon (or “in”) the coffin (or “near the urn”) of our departed Brother.




Please let me know if there is another solution and/or if you already do this.
 

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Keith C

Registered User
In PA you are not given a plain white apron. We use while lambskin Aprons in the Degrees but after the Lodge is closed they go back in the East. We have a supply of white lambskin aprons in our "Funeral Kit" which we bring with us to the service. Most funeral homes in our area already have a supply and we replace any they use.

We have to be different here!
 

Winter

Premium Member
Brother, I heartily applaud you for seeing a problem and coming up with a solution to fix it. But I think if I were laid to rest in a vinyl apron that I would definitely return to seriously haunt some people. I can't believe that 5-6 Brothers cannot donate $5 when a Brother passes to see that they are laid to rest in a proper lambskin. Are that many Brothers in your Lodge passing annually that it is that great of a burden?
 

Nickel City Dude

Registered User
Winter, I agree with you but for some reason the Lodge is not willing to spend the money to supply real Lambskin aprons for this use. In a way I understand it. The Lambskin is just a symbol, the funeral service itself is paying due respect to a departed Brother. Using a real Lambskin apron for the 10 to 15 minutes it takes to do the service is kind of a waste of money unless we retrieve the apron once the service is done. By using the substitute apron the cost is greatly reduced but the symbolizem of the apron is maintained and it can stay with the coffin or ern.
 

Winter

Premium Member
Sorry. I disagree. Symbols are important. In this case, the symbol IS the material the lambskin apron it s constructed of. Maybe I'm just being overly sentimental in insisting a Brother be interred with a proper apron.
 

Nickel City Dude

Registered User
I cannot disagree with what you say but the reality is "money talks". And I could pretty much guarantee that almost no one attending the service would be able to tell the difference.
 

Keith C

Registered User
I cannot disagree with what you say but the reality is "money talks". And I could pretty much guarantee that almost no one attending the service would be able to tell the difference.

Wow.

I can honestly say if we were to bury a Brother with a PVC apron to save the cost of a Lambskin, and word got out (and it would) Our WM and all PMs would be in a world of hurt from our DDGM and likely the Gand Lodge. If a lodge can't afford the cost of proper apron for departed Brethren they need to raise dues so they can.
 

Keith C

Registered User
After my previous post I went and read your original post again.

The thing that REALLY got me was that you consider the faux aprons unsuitable for Degree work but OK for eternity with the remains of the departed Brother. You also said you were hoping to make 20 of the faux aprons, Assuming the higer cost listed of $30 for a Lambskin apron, if your Lodge is unwilling to spend $600 to fulfil their obligation to the departed Brethren, they need someone to raise a stink and get their priorities straight.

I applaud you wanting to fix an issue, but the fix is the Lodge honoring the commitment they made to their members.
 

Nickel City Dude

Registered User
Againe I cannot disagree with you to a point. For the 35 years I have been a Mason my lodge has never addressed this issue. At many of the funerals that I have attended there has been the problem of the relatives of the deceased Brother not knowing about or being able to find his apron. After recently attending 3 funerals in a row where this happened, I started thinking about the situation and tried to find a simple solution.
When this problem arises at the funeral it is usually a last-minute issue and we run around trying to work out the problem. I was hoping that this could be the answer to prevent confusion in the craft. I did some research and I figure I could make 20 of these funeral aprons for around $100. This is a $400 difference, and the symbolism is still there. We do a lot of things using symbolism in the craft so how is this any different? You are correct it is not really a Lambskin but is a better substitute than using a cloth apron from the box or borrowing the one from the funeral home and then our brother does not get buried with anything. I am going to discuss this with other members of my Lodge and see what they think. Thank you for your input.
 

Winter

Premium Member
Againe I cannot disagree with you to a point. For the 35 years I have been a Mason my lodge has never addressed this issue. At many of the funerals that I have attended there has been the problem of the relatives of the deceased Brother not knowing about or being able to find his apron. After recently attending 3 funerals in a row where this happened, I started thinking about the situation and tried to find a simple solution.
When this problem arises at the funeral it is usually a last-minute issue and we run around trying to work out the problem. I was hoping that this could be the answer to prevent confusion in the craft. I did some research and I figure I could make 20 of these funeral aprons for around $100. This is a $400 difference, and the symbolism is still there. We do a lot of things using symbolism in the craft so how is this any different? You are correct it is not really a Lambskin but is a better substitute than using a cloth apron from the box or borrowing the one from the funeral home and then our brother does not get buried with anything. I am going to discuss this with other members of my Lodge and see what they think. Thank you for your input.
I think you are completely ignoring the counterpoints being raised. If your Lodge is not willing to make it a priority to provide a PROPER lambskin apron for a deceased Brother to be interred with, then that is a problem. Either in a Lodge's poor financial health, or leadership, or both. Did you bring this issue up in your Lodge with a proposal for the Lodge to purchase the needed aprons and they denied the proposed expenditure? Was your alternative plan discussed with the Lodge? I can't help but think there must be 2 or 3 Brothers that would step up to donate the needed lambskin aprons to avoid the shame of burying our Brothers in a plastic apron. I applaud you again for trying to be proactive, but I strongly feel your proposed method of sending our Brothers to the Celestial Lodge in a PVC apron is not in Line with the importance of the event.
 

Nickel City Dude

Registered User
Like I said, I am going to discuss this with some other brothers in my Lodge and see what they think. If you want, I will return here and let you know what I found out. We have our next meeting next Wednesday.
 

coachn

Coach John S. Nagy
Premium Member
I'm scratching my head on this. In FL we get a white lambskin apron right after we give back our MM proficiency. It's our responsibility to kee it safe till we have our funeral and to inform our family where it is so they can make it available for the funeral.
 

Keith C

Registered User
I'm scratching my head on this. In FL we get a white lambskin apron right after we give back our MM proficiency. It's our responsibility to kee it safe till we have our funeral and to inform our family where it is so they can make it available for the funeral.

It seems to me that this is also the case in the Jurisdiction the OP operates under. The issue is the Brother who passed either not fully explaining the expectations or informing the family where their apron is located, the death being sudden and the family in such a mental state that they don't remember, etc. In that case in your Jurisdition or with your Lodge what do you do in the case of arriving at a Masonic Funeral and the departed Brother's apron not being availible? Forgoe the service entirely? Temporarily use an apron the Lodge has, but inter the Brother without it? Substitute a faux lambskin apron or provide a proper lambskin apron for the brother to wear in eternity?
 

Glen Cook

G A Cook
Site Benefactor
It seems to me that this is also the case in the Jurisdiction the OP operates under. The issue is the Brother who passed either not fully explaining the expectations or informing the family where their apron is located, the death being sudden and the family in such a mental state that they don't remember, etc. In that case in your Jurisdition or with your Lodge what do you do in the case of arriving at a Masonic Funeral and the departed Brother's apron not being availible? Forgoe the service entirely? Temporarily use an apron the Lodge has, but inter the Brother without it? Substitute a faux lambskin apron or provide a proper lambskin apron for the brother to wear in eternity?
Do you believe he will wear it in eternity?
 

coachn

Coach John S. Nagy
Premium Member
In that case in your Jurisdition or with your Lodge what do you do in the case of arriving at a Masonic Funeral and the departed Brother's apron not being availible? Forgoe the service entirely? Temporarily use an apron the Lodge has, but inter the Brother without it? Substitute a faux lambskin apron or provide a proper lambskin apron for the brother to wear in eternity?
In our jurisdiction, any white or lambskin apron will do.

The key points - 1) white; 2) apron

And we have plenty of them to go around!
 

Nickel City Dude

Registered User
I went to our County Ritual School of Instruction meeting last night and spoke to the brothers present about the funeral apron and the solution I came up with. Every one that spoke at the meeting on the subject were very much positive about my solution. And all agreed that if the real Lambskin was not available it would be better to have an apron that looked like leather that could be buried with him and not one that was just displayed for the ceremony and then not interred with the Brother.

I did learn something new about the apron last night. One of the brothers works in a funeral home and told us that in NY the departed brother’s apron is not placed inside the coffin, but is instead placed on top and the ties are tided to the handles on either side so the apron will stay in place. I was told that the reason for this is “grave robbers”. Back in the 1700’s Masonry was a powerful force in the community. The theory was that when the grave robber dug up the grave and got to the coffin, they would see the Masonic apron and the knowledge that the Masons in the area would extract severe vengeance on him if he was caught would be enough to stop him in his tracks and preserve the grave of a Brother. For this reason, the next batch of funeral aprons I make will have full length ties so it can be tied to the outside of the coffin. I had a great discussion with several Brothers after the meeting about this.
 

Glen Cook

G A Cook
Site Benefactor
I went to our County Ritual School of Instruction meeting last night and spoke to the brothers present about the funeral apron and the solution I came up with. Every one that spoke at the meeting on the subject were very much positive about my solution. And all agreed that if the real Lambskin was not available it would be better to have an apron that looked like leather that could be buried with him and not one that was just displayed for the ceremony and then not interred with the Brother.

I did learn something new about the apron last night. One of the brothers works in a funeral home and told us that in NY the departed brother’s apron is not placed inside the coffin, but is instead placed on top and the ties are tided to the handles on either side so the apron will stay in place. I was told that the reason for this is “grave robbers”. Back in the 1700’s Masonry was a powerful force in the community. The theory was that when the grave robber dug up the grave and got to the coffin, they would see the Masonic apron and the knowledge that the Masons in the area would extract severe vengeance on him if he was caught would be enough to stop him in his tracks and preserve the grave of a Brother. For this reason, the next batch of funeral aprons I make will have full length ties so it can be tied to the outside of the coffin. I had a great discussion with several Brothers after the meeting about this.
Utah places the apron on the coffin. We were established in 1872, so the legend wouldn’t fit.
 

Pscyclepath

Premium Member
Both lodges in which I do funeral work have a "go box" stored in the prep room which contains all the paraphrenalia needed to conduct a Masonic funeral, and in it we keep a small supply of aprons suitable for funeral use. A brother is issued his lambskin apron when he receives his EA degree and instructed in the Apron Lecture about its use when it comes time to enter into eternal rest. Many brothers have a personal apron, or a past master apron, which may be placed upon the body in the casket in accordance with the brother's wishes or those of his family. (Me, I have a little notebook binder with my funeral plans and related paperwork, and the notation that I wish to be laid to rest with my apron on me.)
But the Death Angel often takes us unaware, or unapprised of his approach, and many brothers don't own a personal apron, but borrow one from the cabinet by the Tyler's station for meetings, etc. And the point which seems to be the argument here is the use of the Brother's original lambskin apron, which in many cases will be in the casket with the brother's remains. The ritual for the funeral service, at least in our jurisdiction, reminds us of when that day to comes to drop forever the working tools of life, and that a lambskin apron will be "deposited on the coffin which shall enclose your lifeless remains, and with them, laid in the grave." It's this point when we have available a nice, clean funeral apron which is placed atop the casket, and the apron strings tied to the casket handles. Is it the Brother's original lambskin apron? Probably not... hopefully that's in the casket with him, or maybe left as an heirloom to his family. But we and the lodge will still have fulfilled our promise to that Brother made so many years ago when we gave him that apron the first time.
 
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