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Table lodge

Ripcord22A

Site Benefactor
I’ve been asked by the Master of the oldest lodge west of the Rockies to inquire with you all on an issue he’s currently having......
They are putting on a non-tiled Table Lodge in conjunction with the other lodge that meets in their building. There will be non Masons in attendance as they are presenting some scholarships and other charitable donations. He has gotten some significant push back from senior members of the lodge, the Secretary, SD, and a few PMs. They say they just aren’t comfortable with the ritual, they don’t like the idea ect ect. Last year the other lodge that is participating held a table lodge and the then GSW, now GM was in attendance, so there’s nothing against it in GL law.

Have you all ran in to push back from members for really now reason? And how did you deal with it? Thanks
 

Bill Lins

Moderating Staff
Staff Member
In my experience, the ritual is NOT used in a non-tiled setting. No esoteric work should be used within hearing of the profane. Having an open meeting & dinner for the purpose of presenting scholarships & awards is otherwise OK, though.
 

Warrior1256

Site Benefactor
In my limited experience of letting non-Masons into a tiled working lodge, the energies of the temple became quite unhappy. That was not the result of unhappy brethren but rather the spiritual forces invoked by the opening were disturbed.
I speculate that such spiritual forces learn by experience and may be reluctant to approach temples that do not take tiling seriously.
Huh! Seriously?
 

Bloke

Premium Member
We don't have non-Freemasons at our Table Lodge, even when it is not tyled (we tend to do it untyled because it can get a rowdy and discard some decorum ...). Our thinking is it is not a typical meeting and alcohol are a focus as is volume and general mayhem.. we'd have quite a different approach is we had visitors,,, but perhaps the 7 Toasts are not the image we want to strangers, the Table Lodge being an exception rather than a rule as to how a lodge..

For the purpose you are talking, we would have dinner.. but is your Jurisdiction alcohol free - that would make a big difference..
 

dfreybur

Premium Member
A Table Lodge that is not tiled is dry rain. Which is to say it does not exist. Admitting non-Masons to a tiled space is forbidden.

Don't use a term that does not apply. Call it a festive board and be done with it. Plenty of lodges have refreshment before or after the the meeting and call it festive board.

I encourage every lodge to do Table Lodge for real, and every jurisdiction to publish a ritual for this event that is how Grand Lodge Masonry was founded. But the words have to actually mean something. Table - dinner. Lodge - tiled meeting. No outsiders. and for those jurisdictions that are dry - yes drink.
 

chrmc

Registered User
As usual what dfreybur says is correct. A Table lodge is historically a tyled meeting held in the lodge room, with a certain set of rituals.
The fact that many lodges have taken those rituals outside to various dinner functions does not make it a table lodge at all.

Call it a Festive board then, and a reenactment of the old traditions.

But to the core of your question, doing Masonic traditions and rituals in a space with non-Masons is bad form. I think it's bad enough with do it with public installations, but that has become customary in the US at least. Starting to take table lodge style ritual into a space with non-Masons only invites trouble as far as I can see it.
 

Keith C

Registered User
I must agree with the others. I know the GL of PA would not permit the Table Lodge Ritual to be conducted in a non tyled environment.

Have a meal, call it what you like EXCEPT "Table Lodge", have formal toasts even, but do not go through the actual Table Lodge ritual. Here at least, we use the signs for all 3 degrees when going through the Table Lodge toasts, how can you justify doing that in a non-tyled environment, and conversely how can you call it a "Table Lodge" if you don't do them?
 

dfreybur

Premium Member
But to the core of your question, doing Masonic traditions and rituals in a space with non-Masons is bad form. I think it's bad enough with do it with public installations, but that has become customary in the US at least. Starting to take table lodge style ritual into a space with non-Masons only invites trouble as far as I can see it.

An event by Masons with open admission is usually called a banquet. The Shrine specializes in banquets with our wives and friends. A lot of jurisdictions do district or area banquets. What is discussed in banquets is NOT the same as what can be discussed in tiled Table Lodge with all present confirmed to be Brothers in good standing. Awards and scholarships are perfect material for banquets featuring our ladies. Because of the drink situation I recommend having that banquet at the Shrine or some commercial banquet hall. And definitely call it a banquet because that's what it is.

Actual real tiled Table Lodge is fabulous, even the form that only does toasts and monitorial lectures. The version with free form talks will warm the heart of anyone interested in Masonic education rather than Masonic training.
 
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