Spring reunions are nearly here! With each reunion and degree conferral brings a new class of Brothers who are both eager to continue their Masonic journey. As we look to grow our craft, it’s important we take special consideration to our newly initiated Brothers.

Can you remember your first Valley meeting, Scottish Rite Reunion, or dinner with your Brothers? Even as a Master Mason, many may feel apprehensive about attending an unknown degree, taking in a flux of information, and joining a new circle of Brothers. To fulfill our Masonic obligation of caring for each other, it’s important that we work to ensure new Scottish Rite Brothers feel excited and welcomed during their first days, weeks, and months of joining our great fraternity.

To help your Valley create a positive first impression, we’ve compiled five simple tips for welcoming new Brothers:

1. Greet New Brothers When They Arrive, Make Introductions

While some Brothers may know members inside the Valley already, others may not. As soon as a new Brother arrives, greet them at the door with a warm smile and handshake. They’re likely a bit nervous, so let them know how excited you are that they’ve decided to join and introduce them right away to others. Making introductions allows new initiates to quickly meet and learn the names of a few members, allowing them to feel a bit more at ease in an unfamiliar place.


2. Don’t Let Them Sit Alone

Being the new man can be uncomfortable, especially when it comes to finding a place to sit during a degree or dinner. As they first get acquainted with the Scottish Rite and their Valley brethren, ensure they’re always accompanied by another Mason. Avoid having new members “ask” to sit next to you or at your table; instead invite them for a more welcoming experience.

3. Invite Them to Your Communication Channels

Does your Valley use Facebook, email, or a group text to stay in touch? Whatever your Valley may use, bring your new Brother into the loop right away. Exchanging phone numbers, email, and adding them on Facebook at their first meeting will show that they are indeed invited and welcomed to join in on all that the fraternity encompasses. Doing so will also provide your new Brother with a friendly face they can contact if they have questions later.

4. Host an Event to Bring Brothers Together

It’s easy to immerse new initiates into the Scottish Rite during a reunion when many Brothers are present and there is so much excitement. It’s also easy for that joyous feeling and those blossoming friendships to fizzle for new members when the next gathering is several weeks or months away. Keep the positive momentum going and bring your brethren together for an event where they can continue to get to know one another. It could be as simple as a dinner at your Valley, a charitable activity like wrapping toys during the holidays, or something unique designed to foster further comradery. One idea could be to host a “speed bonding” event where members rotate through conversations with various members of the Valley -- a quick and easy way for Brothers to get to know every member. The key is to keep in touch and remind the newly initiated that there is a brotherhood behind them, even when they’re out of sight.

5. Get to Know Them Outside the Valley

Finally, take the initiative yourself to welcome new Brothers by getting to know them outside the Valley. Once you’ve exchanged contact information, invite them to get coffee. In a private setting, you can ask them about their Scottish Rite experience so far, answer remaining questions they may have, and can truly make them feel like an old friend. When a Brother knows there’s someone in the Valley looking out for him, he’s more likely to feel engaged and continue his Masonic journey with the Scottish Rite.

As Scottish Rite Freemasons, it is our responsibility to ensure that all Brothers feel welcomed, accepted, and valued. While this is especially important during initiation, it shouldn’t end after one or two months. Arguably, the most important part of welcoming a new Brother is staying in contact as time passes. Consider congratulating him on his one-year anniversary of joining or, if he misses an event, call him on the phone and let him know that he was missed.

At the end of the day, ensuring a new member feels welcome is all about being thoughtful -- something that every Master Mason has proven to be. Put these tips into practice at your next initiation and watch your Brotherhood flourish.