by Steve

Ashlar College of Freemasonry
Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon

The concept of the College commenced in 2004, as an initiative of the Grand Lodge of British Columbia & Yukon Committee on Education and Research, with the intention that it would, if realized, act as the vehicle for the creation, delivery and administration of Masonic related education to the brethren of the Grand Lodge of British Columbia & Yukon.

In 2004, the initiative was known as “The Masonic Diploma Program” and was a sub-committee of GL Committee on Education. In due time, and as a result of the dedication and hard work of the committee, a resolution was placed before the Grand Lodge of British Columbia & Yukon on the 19th – 20th June 2010 at their Annual Communication held in Prince George B.C.

The Resolution read as follows:-
“The Grand Master may, by special license, and authority in writing, authorize the operation of The Ashlar College of Freemasonry. The authorization shall name at least five well skilled Brethren, who shall have agreed in writing, to accept the responsibility for the proper conduct of the College. The authorization shall give such directions as the Grand Master may see fit and such directions may be varied from time to time”
Proposed by V.W. Bro. Norman McEvoy (Victoria Columbia Lodge No 1) and Seconded by R.W. Bro. Martin Bridges (Comox Lodge #188)

This Resolution was carried.

The license for the College was received in May 2010, with the official opening of the College taking place in Ashlar Lodge No. 3 on the occasion of Grand Master Alan Cross’ official visit to his home District No. 5 in February 2011 at Ashlar Lodge No. 3. On January 2011 the first class was launched. A total of 47 brethren originally signed up. Three decided very quickly that this was not for them; 44 remained. In January 2012 we launched the second class of 16 masons. Over time the number of students registering each year has made it possible for all new students to join the college immediately after registering and receive their first course.

The goal of the College is to contribute to the overall educational growth and understanding by the members of the Grand Lodge of British Columbia & Yukon in “Freemasonry” on directly related matters, i.e. Leadership and Administration. At the end of the course work, these students will have completed at least 18 papers related to Freemasonry and with the work ethics they have used, will remain as researchers and good Masonic speakers for our jurisdiction.

In achieving this goal, we believe, the College will have made a significant contribution in assisting Brethren in making their “Daily advancement in Masonic Education” and in the smoothing of their own personal ashlar.

It is also our belief that by the creation of a more knowledgeable membership we will not only contribute to personal growth but lead to overall strength of Freemasonry in general and our own Grand Lodge and constituent Lodges in particular.

The objective of the College in meeting the above stated Goal is to assist in meeting the “Masonic” educational needs of all Members of the Grand Lodge of British Columbia & Yukon by creating, compiling, and presenting computer based instructional material suited for that purpose.

This is to be achieved by providing each enrolled student with a Diploma Program in Masonic Education by completing Eighteen (18) individual courses and delivered to the student over sets of six semesters consisting of (3) courses each of the three levels.

At its beginning, the College set a new class in motion in January of each New Year. It was more of a need to handle the large number of students who initially registered. Subsequent years following, the number of students who have enrolled have been manageable. Thus now, when a student enrolls he is set to task o his first course as quickly as possible.

The course work is divided into three strands – History, Governance, and Symbolism. Each of the three levels has six courses which consist of two course from each of the three strands. Upon the satisfactory completion of the first Level One, the student would be entitled to receive a Certificate from the College acknowledging his accomplishment and progress to date.

He progresses to the second level and upon the satisfactory completion of the six courses the student is entitled to receive a further Certificate from the College acknowledging his accomplishment and progress to date.

Finally upon satisfactory completion of level three, the student is entitled to and presented with his “Ashlar College of Freemasonry” DIPLOMA at an appropriate Grand Lodge of British Columbia & Yukon Convocation. Only at this third level may the student change up to two courses for two areas of Masonry that he is personally interested in exploring further.

Each course is run by an adjudicator, whose responsibility is to answer questions about a course as well as assess the final assignment(s). Once the adjudicator is satisfied with the assignment, he passes the name to the administrator, acknowledging satisfactory completion. The Administrator then corresponds to the student to begin his next course.

Delivery and Receipt of Educational Material
Each course usually has a background paper on the topic with several other documents of support. Within the material is the assignment(s) requested by the writer (sometimes that could be the adjudicator).

Qualifying as a Student
To qualify as a student in the College the applicant MUST hold the rank of Master Mason and be in good standing of a Lodge currently on the Registry of the Grand Lodge of British Columbia & Yukon. The College accepts Masons from the jurisdiction of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba as well.
A constitution has been written for the college.

Cost of Instruction
Registration fee is $100 and then each course is a cost of $10. Courses are paid for in advance in sets of three ($30).

Evaluation of Assignments
The coursework has been written by members of the British Columbia and Yukon jurisdiction.

Members of the Board of Directors
There are 8 members of the Board of Directors. Elections each year select a Chairman, a Vice-Chairman, and a Bursar. The administrator is not a member of the Board but is appointed by the Directors each year.

Annual Meeting
By Constitution, the Annual Meeting takes place on the Thursday prior to the Annual Meeting of the Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon. Students and observers are permitted to observe the meting of the Directors, and may only speak by approval of the Chair of the Board.