Allow Women Access to our Installation Ceremonies: An Opinion Piece from Murray Staples - PM Lodge Te Puni
March 31st, 2018 1:11 pm     A+ | a-
Murray believes that scope should exist for Craft Lodges to relax some of their rules during the Installation Ceremony to allow those brethren whose partners would like to be involved to do so. Murray argues that we have relaxed our rules to allow women to attend the entire Grand Installation ceremony - this would just be a natural extension of that. If an incoming master didn’t want the ‘alternative installation’ - then the ceremony would proceed as normal.

I actually think Murray is on to something here. As long as it is managed via dispensation; and in accordance with regular protocols - how does it vary from allowing women into the Lodgeroom for a 50 year jewel presentation.

Perhaps something for Rick Masterton to think about for the next Te Puni Installation. Click here to read Murray’s opinion and to have your say. You can also click on the picture to read Murray's opinion.

Remember - you are welcome to your opinion - but please play the ball - not the man!
David Binning
May 4th, 2019 12:27 pm
I fully support this suggestion. It would be reverting, in the main, to the practices which were the norm in the Craft around the time the NZ Constitution came into effect and were in effect until WW1.

I have press releases from the Hawera Star (I think of the 1888 or 1889 ) reporting on Lodge Hawera's installation meeting, which stated -" Members of Lodge Hawera together with their ladies and many visitors from other Lodges attended the evenings celebrations. The Ladies joined the members of the Lodge and visiting dignitaries for the remainder of the meeting,following a short ceremony restricted to Lodge Members when the new Master was Installed. Following the formalities, everyone then retired to the Masonic Hotel for a celebratory meal and entertainment. W.Bro. Binning (my Great Grandfather) who was in excellent voice, lead the entertainment."

This raises the question about why this practice changed? The integral part relating to the secrets of the master were retained in closed Lodge, but the remainder of the installation was open to all visitors ( stated to be "the Ladies"). I understand this changed following WW1 when there was a strong desire to keep everything confined to Lodge members only.

I have also been to Installation Meetings in Washington State where Ladies together with interested visitors were present throughout. Personally I feel that the formal ceremony relating to the secrets of the master should be retained but all other aspects could be opened up and become more inclusive.
Peter Robertson
September 3rd, 2018 9:27 pm
Pity to read a comment about "old dinosaurs". Having joined a lodge many years ago full of "old dinosaurs" I can only say that I wish we had some of them back with their regular attendance,their faithful visiting,their ritual ability and their understanding of fellowship and cameraderie. So OK,they were intolerant ,they had no time for those that didn't aspire to perfection,and a lot of other foibles and little peccadillos,but I must say,I miss them. Most of them ,(nearly all in fact) were loyal to their Master,supportive of young masons,and their cars were always available. God bless them! Moving on,perhaps,instead of joining the PC Brigade looking to dumb down our great fraternity,perhaps we would be better to take a leaf out of their book and concentrate on improving ourselves and not looking for quick fixes. By the way,our womenfolk have been attending our installations and gatherings for more years than most of us can remember.
Dave Bayliss
May 22nd, 2018 11:51 am
With the greatest respect to our supportive partners, I cannot agree with this proposal, we are a society of men, it is part of our legacy and our tradition, there are many events that woman attend, these rituals are not something to be Gerald shared with non members, and I believe it should stay that way.
George Allan
May 6th, 2018 7:52 pm
We are still waiting for some evidence from Don Palmer.
Reg Watt
May 5th, 2018 8:13 am
I am in total agreeance with the comments of W Bro Murray Staples opinion, about allowing woman into our Installation ceremonies.
In fact, I have been advocating this for several years now, and even suggested it to several of our Dist G M's. But like all new initiatives or radical ideas, the response was a negative one, and NO it couldn't be done. As Murray pointed out, we allow women and the general public to witness the Grand Installation of our Grand Master, and we even go as far as giving the Grand Honours. If one was to look at our ritual seriously, the Grand Honours are a Masonic sign and should not be given outside the lodge room, especially in public. As a past Scottish Mason, this is frowned upon very seriously and is outside of our obligation.
However, coming back to the installations, there is no reason why we cannot adjust the installation ceremony, to allow women and family members to attend. Its only a matter of a few changes and will not detract from the pomp and glory of the ceremony.
Under the Scottish constitution, the Master installs his successor, by carrying out the entire ceremony on his own, even the Board if one is being conducted. Having had the privilege of doing this myself, it was an occasion that I would have liked my wife and son witness my performance. This I would have to say, has been the highlight of my 28 years in the craft, and if was ever to have the opportunity again, to install my successor, I would like to think that my wife and son could witness it.
Reg Watt
Colin Parkyn
May 4th, 2018 7:44 pm
A great idea but ....
1. For those of us that hold Saturday Installations, and as a note every Installation should be held on a Saturday because it is "our" anniversary party, it would mean that even fewer women attend the afternoon function that has been put on for them.
2 At the Installations that I have been to, the reference to a woman is an important part of the BOIM. I consider that ladies could be present for this, and to see the signs of this part of the degree. But they should not see the penal signs. Thus ladies should only be permitted to view re-installations where the full BOIM ceremony need not be undertaken in full.
3. The local Ritual of Usage states that a BOIM must be undertaken, and there is no part of our Ritual that indicates that abbreviation of the Ritual may be undertaken. Bye-laws would need to be changed to allow either of these to occur.
Hubert Neeson
May 4th, 2018 8:27 am
As long as we have old dinosaurs in this organisation we must accept the ongoing decline in membership. NZ was the first country in the world to give Women the vote. There are Constitutions that admit women, and this throughout the world. Give recognition to that and both preferences will be accommodated. The decline in membership is mostly due to the enormous sacrifice in time women & families have to make to allow their spouses in a singular enterprise. In this modern world, getting on with one another should be the goal, after all many Masonic tomes have been written exhorting our inclusiveness of Race, Creed, Religion, Ideals for our fellow Man, yet women are anathema !! We could well start with this idea to slowly assimilate the other half of the world's population.
Michelle White
May 2nd, 2018 5:09 pm
I personally think it's great to be invited to the installation dinner and thanked for our support, but not the ceremony. It's incredibly important that this tradition is kept to brothers only. You've shared the experience of moving through the degrees and climbing the ladder, enabling you to trust each other and allow yourselves to be vulnerable knowing you will be supported.
Partners provide support in multiple other ways; secretariat, logistics, financial, legal etc most lodges don't have enough bodies to do it by themselves anymore. Supporting a partner in the chair when they are out 3-4 nights a week on top of working full time, raising a family and/or running a business from home, is a rather large sacrifice which takes understanding. We are involved in so many ways, we see how Freemasonry allows you to grow and better yourselves. I'm a huge fan but I don't need to be involved in the ceremony, knowing the blue book back to front is enough for me!
George Allan
April 17th, 2018 3:08 pm
Would Don Palmer please give us some examples as evidence of where and when women have influenced Masonic affairs.
David Darling
April 16th, 2018 10:01 am
Great idea! The ladies should be more involved in Masonic ceremonies. It would create more understanding between couples
Colin Read
April 3rd, 2018 9:54 pm
In the early 1970's while on transfer I joined a local lodge in Santa Monica, Los Angeles. I became an officer in the lodge. Much to my surprise the Master Elect had the choice of an open or closed installation. However if open, the installation had to be publicly advertised. I did attend one open installation during my time there and the procedure was altered to protect the secrets. I was stationed with the New Zealand Consulate and because it was public I invited my wife and the whole staff to attend. It was an opportunity that they may never have had again and they all enjoyed the experience. Personally, I am a traditionalist and would prefer to keep our ceremonies that way. I believe that that the craft ritual is one of the few in the world that has not been infiltrated by the PC and equality brigade and I for one would like to see it stay that way.
Don Palmer.
April 2nd, 2018 1:54 pm
No No a thousand times NO. Women already have far too much influence in Masonic affairs!
John Denne
April 2nd, 2018 10:44 am
An excellent idea I would certainly go along with this, and will put it up for dicussion in my next Masters notes
Eddie Penten
April 2nd, 2018 9:17 am
I concur. I also believe it may be beneficial to the craft to go further in order to survive the next 25 years in NZ.
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