Drafting Successful Masonic Education
The Master Craftsman Program, a Masonic Education correspondence program developed and sponsored by the Supreme Council, was introduced to the Southern Jurisdiction in March 2008. Since then, it has grown to over 4,000 participants from all over the world and spawned a follow-on program (Master Craftsman II) and a new study group initiative meant to foster more interaction and fraternalism within the program.
So far, the highest concentrations of participants in the Master Craftsman Program are both in the west: in the Orients of Washington and Utah. While both states are large in geographic terms, in population and membership terms, these states are very different—one small, the other large. But what they have each done in promoting and cultivating successful education programs is strikingly similar.
So what makes them so special? Is there a “formula” to follow that predicts success like theirs? And how did they do it? In short, there does seem to be a formula, and its secret lies in the method in which these notable Orients went about introducing and growing their cultures of education, leadership, and empowerment.
As is the case with most successful ventures, it all starts with leadership. In this instance, it should come as no surprise that two of the biggest supporters and proponents of a formal Masonic education course for the Scottish Rite were Ill. Bill Miller, 33°, SGIG in Washington, and Ill. Curtis Lancaster, 33°, SGIG in Utah. Both were there at the beginning as members of the Strategic Planning Committee that drafted a five-point strategic plan in 2005. And both said their focus on that committee was Strategic Objective #1—“Fulfill the promise of additional Masonic knowledge through education and training.”
Ill. Lancaster presides over a rather unique situation. As previously mentioned, Utah is a large state geographically; however, it only has one Valley. Additionally, over 40% of all Master Masons in Utah are members of the Scottish Rite. Because of this, Ill. Lancaster is able to be involved on a local level as SGIG on a day-to-day basis. This affords him the opportunity to take a more active role in the leadership of his local area. It also adds to his ability to oversee projects that he sees merit in. Master Craftsman was one of those projects.<