WBro Shawn ToddWBro Shawn ToddBrethren

We sit in chairs every day. Despite our familiarity with chairs, what we may not know is that their appearance as ‘thrones’, make their introduction and function in history in many different periods. There are papal thrones, the St Edwards Chair in Westminster Abby (where monarchs are crowned), the Ivory Throne of Ivan the Terrible, the golden stool of the Ashanti, and the Dragon throne of the Emperor of China, but at this time of year our attention is always drawn to the chair of King Solomon. The chair of King Solomon was “made a great throne of ivory and overlaid it with the best of gold”, and is the centre focus, and the ultimate chair contained within the installation ceremony of our lodge this month.

The history of the ceremony surrounding this prized chair is equally as colorful. In fact, for a period of time there was no installation ceremony, and even fellow craft Masons were able to run the lodge. It was not until 1722, and the work of the 6th Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of London, Philip, Duke of Wharton that it was ever included. The Duke of Wharton, despite never having served as Master himself, set forth the first motions for the constitution of a new lodge, and the inclusion of a ceremony for the installation of the master.

The installation ceremony of the Master of the Lodge has often been thought of, as the most beautiful Masonic degree, and it is only ever viewed by the Board of Past Masters, and the new master Elect. It is well worth the long, arduous journey that often takes upwards of seven years. Although the formalities of the office, and the responsibilities of the chair, are given to a new brother in a unique system of rotation – as opposed to a popularity contest, the position is still elected. Highlights of a new Master’s year will come quickly in the form of the frequent visitations to the fifteen District lodges, the committee meetings, the dinners; however, they all pale in comparison with the transformation that a man endures in arriving there.

I was accepted into Freemasonry in a peculiar position, with curious symbols, and without an ability to understand what was happening around me. Since that time, much has happened, and there is nothing like the brevity of an important moment like standing at the front of the lodge and looking over to see your father sitting in the East beside you, to really hit things home. In contrast to my beginning in the lodge, this year has made so many things, so very clear to me.

An exciting night is approaching, and we should all look forward to our new master elect – Bro Steve Kipp’s installation to this wonderful chair that I have spoken about. The chair’s history is remarkable. The story behind Bro Kipp and his journey, and the others that follow him to this chair is extraordinary.

You are the future of the lodge.

Shawn Todd WM