How do I become a Provincial Officer?
It's a common question only beaten by the one which follows it - how do I get promoted?
The answer is a little less enigmatic, and can best be answered by reading what it says in the Provincial yearbook.
APPOINTMENT TO PROVINCIAL GRAND RANK
The number of appointments which can be made to Provincial Grand Rank each year is limited by the Book of Constitutions and in this province is not sufficient for one from each Lodge, each year.
The conferment of Provincial Grand Rank is the prerogative of the Provincial Grand Master, whose decision cannot be questioned.
Rank is conferred in respect of an individual's merits and not in respect of the merits of the Lodge.
The honour conferred on a Brother is that of being appointed one of the officers, Present or Past of the Provincial Grand Master, irrespective of the Rank of that Office.
Rank is not only a reward and recognition for past service, but is to be regarded as an opportunity and incentive for further service to Freemasonry.
LODGE RECOMMENDATIONS FOR APPOINTMENT AND PROMOTION
Ideally, all Lodges should have an Appointment/promotion committee to consider all nominations for Provincial Office., and while there is no such thing as an ideal composition of such a committee, it should comprise senior members of the Lodge including the Secretary. The WM is an ex officio member of the committee by virtue of Rule 154 BoC. It should be borne in mind that no committee can exercise executive powers but, as in this case, can only make recommendations for promotions/appointments/preferments, which should be signed off by the senior member of the Lodge, the WM, and the Secretary.
Towards the end of the year the PrGSec will send out to Lodge Secretaries the forms relating to the appointment of those who have been 6 years out of the Chair and are due a first Provincial Grand Rank, and also for those who will be eligible for a Provincial Grand Rank promotion. The latter is normally considered 6 years after a first appointment.
The form will include a space for the Visiting Officer (VO) to add his comments to the recommendations. Notices of preferment are also used to nominate Brethren whose Lodge considers them worthy of recommendation for a Provincial honour outside of the normal time frame.
Lodge Secretaries send the Lodge promotion and appointments committee recommendation for a first appointment or promotion on the respective forms, together with any Notices of Preferment to their VO in order that he can add his recommendations or comments. This is then sent to the Provincial Grand Secretary PrGSec).
The Provincial Grand Master (PrGM) is keen to be made aware of those who might be considered for accelerated first appointment or promotion and is also keen to be made aware of those who should be considered by Notice of Preferment (out of the normal 6 year cycle) for promotion. Should the Lodge recommend a Brother the VO should attach a note to the appointment or promotion forms and MUST also put forward a justifiable case with the recommendation.
However, it should be noted that there is no such thing as a right to challenge or appeal the decision of the PrGM on any promotion or appointment.
APPOINTMENTS/PROMOTION IN PROVINCIAL GRAND LODGE
Recommendations are considered by the PrGM once a year only. It is important that details on the various forms are fully completed and sent by the Lodge Secretary to the VO who will check the form is properly completed before adding their comments and forwarding to the PrGSec. VOs should refer back to the Lodge Secretary where no comment has been made.
Forms for Past Masters (PMs) or Master Masons (MMs) to be considered for a First Appointment to Provincial Grand Rank are generated by the Provincial Office during the latter part of the year, and sent directly to Lodge Secretaries. The Secretary should convene a meeting of PMs (or a nominated Appointments/Promotions Committee), to consider the merits and suitability of the PM/MM in question or to nominate any other Lodge member as a special case.
CONSIDERATION FOR APPOINTMENTS
The system ensures that all subscribing Past Masters are considered for appointment 6 years after serving as Master of the Lodge. The fact that a Brother has served his Lodge as Master and remained a subscribing member for that period does not entitle him to receive a First Appointment it only makes him eligible to be considered for such honour.
Consideration must be given to the support he has given to the Lodge since leaving the Chair, and more importantly, what he is likely to do in his Lodge, and for the Province in the future. In addition MMs of long standing and who have given considerable service to the Lodge and Freemasonry in general and to the Province may also be considered on a case by case basis. It is entirely within the gift of the PrGM to appoint a potential ‘high flyer’ at any point in the Brother’s Masonic career
The number of Active Ranks available is governed by the number of subscribing members of the Province. Certain offices are not available to Lodges to recommend Brethren for appointment because of the nature of the Office - these include Wardens, Chaplain, Treasurer, Registrar, Secretary, Director of Ceremonies, Deputy Director of Ceremonies, Superintendent of Works, Almoner, Charity Steward, Membership Officer, Communications Officer, Orator, Mentor, Assistant Secretary, Organist, and Tyler. Recommendations may be made for:
PrGSwdB; PrGSuptWks; PrSGD; PrJGD; PrAGDC; PrGStB; PrGPurs; PrGStwd.
A suitable Candidate for Active Rank should have good Masonic abilities, good bearing and be able to attend Official Visits in all parts of the Province throughout the year without detriment to his family and business commitments.
In addition to attending at Installation meetings, an Active Officer is expected to support ALL Provincial activities during their term of office. This includes a required attendance at the annual meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge, the annual church service, Provincial dinners, and other Provincial events.
It should also be borne in mind that a successful nomination for Active Rank could result in the Brother being offered an appointment junior to a direct past rank. It is not acceptable for a Lodge to recommend a Brother for Active rank unless the Brother has first been consulted regarding his availability, understood the commitment required of the office, and has accepted the proposition.
There are also restrictions on the number of Past Rank First Appointments which can be made, and also the Ranks generally available are limited to:
PPrGStB PPrGPurs PPrGStwd
As a general rule a Brother must have held his existing Provincial Grand Rank for at least six years, before he will be considered for a promotion.
There is no ‘automatic right’ to receive a promotion after this period. A Brother’s recommendation is based on his continued support of both the Province and his Lodge since his last appointment. (Regular attendance at meetings and occasionally working ritual will not be sufficient to justify promotion).
Certain Active Ranks may result in a promotion after one or two years, subject to a satisfactory report.
As with first appointments, the promotion offered to a Brother is entirely at the discretion and in the gift of the Provincial Grand Master, and the PrGM may, at his absolute discretion, promote a Brother who has, in his opinion given exemplary service to the Province.
PROMOTION UNDER RULE 69A, B OF C
Recommendation for promotion of a Brother who holds Provincial Grand Rank in another Province must reflect his service to Wiltshire Freemasonry.
PROMOTION UNDER RULE 69B, B OF C
Recommendation for first appointment to Provincial Grand Rank may be made on behalf of Past Masters of Lodges from other Provinces, who have also given exceptional service to the Craft and to Wiltshire Freemasonry. These may be subject to the need for the Provincial Grand Secretary to justify and seek a Dispensation from Grand Lodge in respect of the appointment.
SCHEDULE OF RANKS AVAILABLE FOR PROMOTIONS
Past Provincial Senior Grand Warden (this is an exceptional promotion usually initiated by the PrGM.)
Past Provincial Junior Grand Warden
Past Provincial Grand Registrar
Past Provincial Grand Sword Bearer
Past Provincial Grand Superintendent of Works
Past Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies
Past Provincial Senior Grand Deacon
Past Provincial Junior Grand Deacon
Past Provincial Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies
(Exceptionally other lesser ranks will be awarded if deemed appropriate)
Appropriateness of All Recommendations:
It is expected that recommendations will be made based on Masonic ability, manner, bearing, conduct and commitment of the Brother concerned and not on prejudice of any kind from any source. Length of service in the Craft on its own is NOT a valid reason for promotion.