Past Master & Widow's Night

by Midnight Freemason Guest Contributor
WB Scott Dueball

Prior to being elected to serve in the East, I had known that I wanted to bring back the Past Master's and Widows Banquet. I have been a Mason all over the country and have seen the value that events like this provide to a lodge and its members. Like many, my lodge had become consumed with the minutes, communications and degrees and had lost sight of the responsibility we have to care for our widows. In the midst of our other duties, we had forgotten that solemn obligation that we have to the families of our Brethren especially after their passing. In addition, we had forgotten to recognize the devotion of the Past Masters who continually work to support the lodge.

What I will lay out is a plan that is both simple and impactful. My approach began with a theme. Having a theme helps to focus your message. Mine was "Lifetime of Service". That obviously describes the Past Masters but also speaks to the sacrifices that their ladies and our widows have made. This theme of service was woven into the presentations and recognition handed out. The theme was expressed through the favors that everyone took home to commemorate the evening: cannons used in our round of toasts.

Moving beyond the theme, I was looking for a way to add value for our widows. What would make the evening worthwhile? How can I re-establish a connection between the lodge and these ladies? It starts with communication. Not all widows want to be contacted. Our widows committee reached out and created a list of those who wished to be contacted by the lodge. From there, we made classy invitations on cardstock. Each of the widows received a handwritten note expressing that we would cover the cost of their meal. We stated that even if they could not attend we are here if they ever needed anything.

The Grand Lodge of Illinois has a number of social services available to its members. We have a programs that provide financial assistance, medical or dental assistance. Many of these programs cover our widows and orphans. We have social and healthcare workers who can direct us to all sorts of support. Unfortunately, I doubt that our ladies know that. we wrote to the individuals representing each of these programs who were more than thrilled to provide our widows with brochures, letters, and pamphlets. I typed up a quick note to the ladies with some upcoming dates and our contact info. It was important that at the end of the day, at least they know they can call us if they need anything. Lastly, I wrote to our Grand Master and asked if he would write a few words to our PMs and Widows expressing gratitude. All of these items were clipped together and handed out at the conclusion of the evening.

In the end, the event was a roaring success. Each of the widows spoke to me and felt the value that we had worked to provide. They asked when the next event they could attend would be and how they could participate in the work we were doing as an organization. Its difficult to articulate what that meant to me. I left feeling fulfilled. My advice is to remember who the event are for. Stay focused on the widow's needs and make sure to clearly state the appreciation you have for the Past Masters.

WB Scott Dueball is the Worshipful Master of D.C. Cregier Lodge No. 81 in Wheeling, IL and holds a dual membership in Denver Lodge No. 5 in Denver, CO. He currently serves the 2nd Northeast District of the Grand Lodge of Illinois as the Education Officer and a Co-Manager of the WheelingFreemasons page. Scott is also a member of the Palatine York Rite bodies and the Valley of Chicago A.A.S.R.-N.M.J. He is passionate about the development of young masons, strategy and visioning for Lodges. He can be reached at

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