January 3, 2017
READ – REFLECT – RESPOND
Welcome to the Ashlar College of Freemasonry.
Before you embark upon your first course let me ask for your indulgence for a moment to explain a few things to you.
This Ashlar College is really an idea that came from brethren who had experienced the Diploma program offered to Masons in South Australia. The program was directed to inform the Mason of ‘things masonic’ and which was considered some essential knowledge following the brother’s raising. It was a four ‘year program.’ The word ‘year’ was used to suggest four levels of study, progressive in their expanse and clearly covering masonic knowledge of Craft Freemasonry in South Australia. What the course also did was to build a foundation of Masons interested in researching Freemasonry and hence beginning to build towards a group of Masons very interested in reading about the Craft, researching it and then, making presentations to brethren about the fraternity.
It was very clear that in creating a diploma program for our jurisdiction, brethren, on the Committee of Education and Research, desired to offer the same opportunity for our Masons in our jurisdiction. The topics needed changing; they needed to be built towards the BC&Y context. In time brethren created the curriculum you are about to work through. It has been hard work to get the program on line and I ask that you consider giving us some feedback as you take each course so we can always look for ways to improve the work.
Our curriculum is attached separately.
A Constitution has been written. It was ratified by the Board of Directors at its first meeting held in Langley on Thursday 16th June, 2011 the day before the Annual Communication of Grand Lodge. You are receiving a copy of it in the introductory material.
How will the college work?
You will be sent the first course, with ancillary supportive documents where applicable. It is assumed that you will seek out references suggested as well as find others to read and compare. Reading through various journal articles and books holds great advantages. Remember no one person speaks for Freemasonry. We each have our own ideas – hence the free in Freemasonry, free of expression, free of beliefs, etc..
It is expected that you will complete an assignment for each course, sometimes several assignments. Education is the exploring of the unknown; what you don’t know is better to explore than what you do. The college seeks to encourage its students to go beyond the basics of the course. In the end it is your decision to the depth that you wish to explore a subject. It is hoped that you will be of benefit to your lodge, and your district. It is further hoped that in the end you will become a masonic speaker willing to talk in lodge meetings on a variety of ‘subjects’ masonic. Sometimes answering all the questions that the course may pose to you will not necessarily make you know more about the subject. So have some fun, enjoy the research, enjoy the enlightenment to which the College is directing you.
When you have completed an assignment it will be sent to the adjudicator who has been assigned to read your response. He will contact you initially by e-mail then if desirable by phone to discuss your submission. Once he is satisfied that the course work has been completed to a satisfactory level he will contact me to inform me that Student (with his registration number) and course No. ### has been completed. I will then send off the next course to you. And the process continues. Different Adjudicators will be assigned for the courses – sometimes it may be the same adjudicator from a previous course.
This is not a pass-or-fail kind of college. We expect you to discipline yourself in the work you submit to show you have worked in that area of Freemasonry and gained understanding of the topic.
Time to complete
There is no time limit to the completion of the courses. You go at your rate which will depend on the time you allot to read material that will come with the coursework and respond.
How many courses are there?
Eighteen courses are expected to be completed if you wish to ‘graduate’ from the college. All courses through Level One and Two have to be completed. In Level Three, again there are six course to complete but you are given some leeway. You may have a special interest subject in Freemasonry which are not in the course work thus far. At Level Three, you may substitute up to two other courses of your interest. Subjects you substitute do not have to be under the same category from which you have excluded courses. For example, you may wish to work through the courses in History and Philosophy but not Governance. Your personal selected topics can be historical and/or philosophical course and neither under Governance. At the conclusion you have completed six courses at Level Three. You are required to contact the “Dean” to discuss with him the course(s) you wish to substitute.
“Dean” has been assigned purely for the administration purposes of the college. I am not a Dean, nor do I have the qualifications to be one. In all correspondence I ask you to use the salutation Bro. ________ when corresponding with any brother in the coursework. I am Bro. Stephen.
A list of 10 Masonic books is given to you. If you wish to start your own library, then it is the collective wisdom of several sources and brethren that the books on the list are worth seeking out and purchasing. There is no requirement that you have to read these books before you commence your studies.
All the best to you in your research and extensive study. The College Directors hope that you will enjoy the experience and as the preface in our Constitutions for the College says you will:
“…raise a super-structure perfect in its parts and honourable to the builder.”
The College is in the early stages of another level of Masonic Education in British Columbia and Yukon. Where will it go in the future? Who knows? For now, my congratulations in making your masonic journey that more interesting by joining the college, and good luck.
Bro. Stephen Godfrey