Every year, each Lodge holds an Installation, when a new Worshipful Master takes up his role and appoints his Officers for the year ahead. It is a big event in the Lodge's calendar, as it is an opportunity to give thanks to the outgoing Master for all his hard work, to give best wishes to his successor, and to pledge the support of the brethren to the new 'team'.As it is such an important event, a lot of preparation is put in by everyone, particularly the Worshipful Master, Secretary and Director of Ceremonies. However, as a newer mason you will also have an important part to play. You represent the future of the Lodge and, as the event is largely about looking forward, your presence will certainly add to the sense of occasion.
Before the evening, check the dress code with your Mentor, as Lodges sometimes have a different code for their Installation meeting. Also check the start time, as that is also sometimes changed.
On the evening itself, make sure you arrive in good time as Installation meetings often attract larger attendances and you do not want to find yourself caught up in a last minute rush to get ready. Take your seat in good time, remembering to check that it is not spoken for, as some may be reserved for use during different parts of the ceremony.
You will be asked to leave the Lodge Room at some point in the evening, as the Master Elect in presented whilst the Lodge is open in the Second Degree and is installed by a Board of Installed Masters after all Master Masons have been asked to withdraw in the Third Degree.
Attend the rehearsal if at all possible and talk with your Mentor to make sure you are aware of the correct modes of exit from and re-entry to the Lodge (signs, steps, positioning etc). Hopefully, you will not be alone when you leave and re-enter the lodge, but there is a possibility that your Mentor may not be able to come out with you on this particular occasion, as he may have a job to do in the Lodge.
When you do leave the Lodge Room, you should stay within close proximity, for you will be called back in and need to be ready when that happens. When you re-enter, you will be asked to pass round the Lodge and salute the Worshipful Master in the degree in which the Lodge is opened. This may sound somewhat daunting, but you will be well briefed by the Director of Ceremonies and it is unlikely you will be called upon to walk round on your own.
In some Lodges, the perambulations are accompanied by music and the singing of the Masonic Hymn, 'Hail Masonry Divine'.
You will then witness the Installing Master presenting the Warrant of the Lodge, the Book of Constitutions, the By-laws of the Lodge and possibly the By-laws of the Province, to his successor. The new Worshipful Master will then appoint and invest his officers.
When the officers have all been appointed and invested, there will be three Addresses given -
(Print-outs of the above Addresses should preferably be given to the Candidate immediately after the ceremony of Installation, rather than before it, in order to maximise its impact)
As an Installation Meeting is such a special occasion, it is more than likely there will be a distinguished visitor present. Be prepared to be introduced to him as he will no doubt wish to meet and talk with the newer members.
The Installation is an important event in the life of your Lodge,
play your part and most of all - enjoy yourself.