The classes were intended to get to the core of the degree. There is still plenty to figure out and delve into, but it did a good job of highlighting the main themes. On the first meeting of Masters we dug into an obligatory lecture that is given as part of the ritual; and on the second one we took turns manning the chairs, opening and closing the lodge, and travelling with a mock-candidate (I stood in as Junior Warden, great fun, and you really get a sense of the challenge, even with the ritual book open in front of you). I think we all came away with something.
In my motherlodge, Hafnia, what we do is have classes every month (last Monday) during the year. The good thing is that you can always count on it, and there is more time. The downside is that we always have to keep to the lowest degree present, which means that it rarely goes beyond Apprentice. Also, it becomes a lot more ad hoc (what ever questions are brought to the table), where as I like the more structured approach (but then, I was educated a teacher).
Different ways to do things, but I think all lodges have some form of education.
And I have to add that we are fortunate in the Danish Order of Freemasons: Because these classes are in addition to one long lecture each meeting, as well as one or two minor ones; official reading material that is given for each degree, and continually updated; a library database with thousands of titles that can be browsed and booked online; and online content on the Order’s intranet: a discussion forum (down at the moment, unfortunately), the Q&A books, part of the ritual, tracing boards – all organised and available according to one’s degree.
I think overall we’re in a good shape, when it comes to education.
Picture: ‘Vanitas’, by German artist, Br. Jens Rausch. Time to study!