The Grand Lodge of Iowa A.F. & A.M.
The Grand Lodge of Iowa is the sovereign legislative, judicial, and executive power for Masonry within the State of Iowa. It is by the existence of the Grand Lodge that the subordinate lodges within Iowa derive the right to exist and function. Similarly, the Grand Lodge could not exist without its constituent lodges, and its actions are merely a reflection of their combined will at the state level. The Grand Lodge is made up of each of its officers, each past elective officer while a member of one of its subordinate lodges, each member of its boards and standing committees, and the Worshipful Master, Senior Warden, and Junior Warden of each of its chartered lodges. In 1997 there are approximately 1200 members of the Grand Lodge, each with one vote.
Each year the Grand Lodge meets in its annual communication on the third weekend (Friday and Saturday) in September. The location for Grand Lodge rotates between five cities: Waterloo, Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Sioux City, and Davenport. However, the Grand Master may change the location for sufficient reason as was done in 1996 and 2001 when Grand Lodge was held in Dubuque instead of Davenport. The Master and Wardens of each lodge or their proxies are encouraged to attend each of these meetings because this is where the leadership for Iowa Masonry for the ensuing year is determined and decisions on legislation are made that affect your lodge, its members, and the course of Masonry in Iowa. The Grand Lodge Session also provides an opportunity to enjoy fellowship, meet and share ideas with brethren from across the state and learn information through seminars and other activities which will be useful to you as you plan your year and serve your lodge.
The Masonic Code of Iowa is the law which governs Iowa Masonry. Unlike some other jurisdictions, in Iowa, Grand Masters are not allowed to issue edicts which supersede the Code. By-laws provide the rules which govern each individual subordinate lodge and provide the guidelines under which the officers of the lodge must operate. Those by-laws must, at all times, be in accordance with the Code of Iowa.
The Grand Lodge Officers provide a visible face for Iowa Masonry during the Grand Lodge year. Officers are installed at the end of one year’s Grand Lodge Session and serve until the end of the ensuing year’s session. The five elected officers are the Grand Master, Senior Grand Warden, Junior Grand Warden, Grand Treasurer, and Grand Secretary. They and the ten appointed officers travel around the state assisting with the Laying of Cornerstones, Temple Dedications, Third Degrees, lodge celebrations and other ceremonial activities. These brethren and their ladies contribute a great deal of time and energy toward serving Iowa Masonry during their year as a Grand Lodge Officer. With the exception of the Grand Master and two full-time Grand Lodge employees, most of their travel is at their own expense.
The Grand Master is the supreme executive authority of Iowa Masonry. If a lodge, by necessity, has to hold their election of officers at a time other than at the November Stated Meeting, if they wish to hold their installation of officers at a time other than prescribed by the Code, or move their charter for a special occasion, the Grand Master must issue a dispensation before any action can occur. He also has the power to settle disputes involving the construction and application of Masonic laws subject to the review of the Grand Lodge. The Grand Master presides over the Grand Lodge Session and any other function during the year when Grand Lodge is Opened. He also attends all Grand Lodge Committee sessions and represents the Grand Lodge at meetings with affiliated bodies, other Grand Lodge sessions in neighboring states, and at the Midwest Conference and the Conference of Grand Masters. He receives a stipend to assist him with some of the expenses that he incurs as Grand Master. To be a Grand Master, a brother must be a member of an Iowa lodge and a Master or Past Master of a lodge (this also applies to the offices of Deputy Grand Master and the Wardens). The Grand Master is addressed as Most Worshipful Brother_________ or Most Worshipful Grand Master.
The Senior Grand Warden, Junior Grand Warden, Grand Treasurer, and Grand Secretary are elected positions. The nominees for these positions are selected at a meeting of Past and Present Elective Grand Lodge Officers that is held in Des Moines between April 1 and May 15. Since Iowa does not have a progressive line, they do not advance at the end of their terms. However, all past elective Grand Lodge officers remain as members of the Grand Lodge and are entitled to vote as long as they are members of an Iowa lodge. They are addressed formally as Right Worshipful Brother ________.
Although they are appointed by the Grand Master rather than elected, the Deputy Grand Master and Grand Chaplain are also addressed as Right Worshipful Brother. The brethren filling those positions are not entitled to vote after the conclusion of their year in office unless they are elected to a higher office. The Marshal, Deacons, Stewards, Tyler, and Grand Musician are appointed by the Grand Master and addressed as Worshipful Brother _________. Like the Deputy Grand Master and Grand Chaplain, their active membership in the Grand Lodge is only for their term of office unless they are later elected to a higher office.
The Grand Secretary is charged with keeping the records and accounts of the Grand Lodge. His office is the body which has the most contact with the constituent lodges throughout the year as he deals with the lodge Secretaries and Masters in maintaining the records of the Grand Lodge. Any correspondence or dealings with lodges from other Grand Jurisdictions must go through his office. He also provides a series of ten Secretaries’ Conferences during the year. The Grand Lodge Office in Cedar Rapids (Ph: 319-365-1438 or email: [email protected]) is a useful source of information for lodge officers . The Office is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 A.M. to 12:00 P.M. and from 1:00 P.M. until 5:00 P.M. The Grand Lodge Administrative Offices are also home to the Grand Lodge Library and Museums. As an Iowa Mason, you are a part owner of one of the greatest collections of Masonic literature and information in the world as well as one of the most interesting tour facilities within the state. Make time to see this marvelous collection.
The Custodians of the Work are also elected officers of the Grand Lodge. The Board of Custodians of the Work consists of three men who serve six year terms. They are in charge of the promulgation of the ritual and its accompanying floor movements. They also oversee the appointment of Masonic Instructors and District Lecturers and assist in their continued training by providing regional schools of instruction and the Grand Lodge School of Instruction.