GSE Bulletin No 52 19th October 2017
APPLICATIONS FOR DISPENSATIONS
Applications for Dispensations have risen dramatically lately and in order to clarify the situation the following document is circulated to all Scribe Ezra’s who are responsible to ensure that the Principals of the Chapter are also familiar with the same.
Contacting the First Grand Principal and Grand Master Direct
No matter how urgent the situation is considered to be, contacting the First Grand Principal and Grand Master direct by email or by telephone is prohibited. Recently it was discovered that a Companion decided to telephone the First Grand Principal and Grand Master direct at his home after 8pm on a Sunday night to ask if he would give a Dispensation. The First Grand Principal and Grand Master had just returned home after giving four consecutive days to representing this Order. The First Grand Principal and Grand Master, like many Companions, gives many voluntary hours to this Order and to burden him with requests such as this at his home in the evening is unacceptable when ample time existed to process the application through normal channels.
Application for a Dispensation
Any Application for a Dispensation from the First Grand Principal and Grand Master must be made, in writing, through the Grand Scribe Ezra on the prescribed form. The Application should state the Regulation or By-Law under which the Dispensation is being sought and also should contain clear and concise reasons why the request is being made. Care should be taken in the preparation of the Application as the fee applicable is calculated on each Regulation a Dispensation is sought under.
In addition, no Application for Dispensation in relation to an Installation will be entertained unless attached to the Application for Dispensation is a copy of the Installation Certificate Order Form which should have been sent to the Grand Scribe Ezra within seven days of the Election of Officers.
Matters requiring Dispensation
A Dispensation must be obtained from the First Grand Principal and Grand Master to permit any alteration to the normal requirements of the Regulations or the By-Laws in any of the following instances:
- For a casual or temporary alteration in the date of Tyling of a Regular Meeting as laid down in the Chapter By-Laws.
- An exception to this restriction is allowed in the Regulations which provides that should the Regular Meeting of a Chapter fall on Christmas Day or Good Friday or on a public holiday, the meeting may be held on any day within ten days before or after at the discretion of the First Principal, provided that:-
- Notice of the alteration shall appear on the Notice Paper for the preceding meeting and the Grand Scribe Ezra shall be advised at least fourteen days prior to the regular or altered date of meeting whichever is the earlier
- It should be particularly noted that the Regulations gives permission for the First Principal to alter the date of the Regular Meeting, not to cancel it.
NOTE: Under Standard By-Law 2(a) the First Principal has authority to vary the Time of Tyling so no Dispensation is required in this case, however, the provisions of section 13.2.(a)(ii). above should be observed
- For a casual or temporary alteration in the regular place of meeting as laid down in the Chapter By-Laws.
- For an alteration in the regular date for the Annual Election of Officers as laid down in the Chapter By-Laws.
- For an alteration in the regular date for the Annual Installation as laid down in the Chapter By-Laws.
- For the suspension or cancellation of a Regular Meeting of a Chapter.
- For a Chapter to meet less than six times in any one Masonic Year.
- For a Companion to hold more than one elected Royal Arch Degree office in a Chapter at the same time.
- For a Companion to hold the Office of Principal in more than one Chapter at the same time.
- For a Companion to hold any one Office of First, Second or Third Principal of a Chapter for more than two successive Masonic years.
- For a Companion to be elected and Installed as a Principal of a Chapter without having previously served for a period of one Masonic Year in the Office of either Scribe or Sojourner in a Chapter of the Order.
- For a Companion to be elected and Installed as First Principal of a Chapter without having previously served for a period of one Masonic Year in the office of either a Second Principal or a Third Principal in a Chapter of the Order.
- For a Companion to be elected and Installed as either Second or Third Principal of a Chapter without having all of the Degrees worked by that Chapter.
- For an Honorary Member of a Chapter to serve in the Office of either First Principal or Scribe Ezra of that Chapter – Clause 17 of the Constitution.
- For more than two candidates to be advanced to the Degree of Mark Master, Received as an Excellent Master or Exalted to the Degree of the Holy Royal Arch at any one meeting – Regulation 121.
- For the wearing in public of any regalia of the Order.
- For a Companion to serve the office of Scribe Ezra for more than three consecutive years.
The Chapter’s Installations should be regarded as the highlight of a Chapter’s Masonic year. Applications are unfortunately being received at Grand Chapter for frivolous reasons such as Companions want to attend another Order’s Installation in a nearby locality. Similarly, when a Companion accepts Office as a Principal of the Chapter he is fully aware by reference to the By Laws of the Chapter and his own knowledge when the Installation is to occur and therefore knows in advance if he is available. Similarly, a Chapter and Companions are aware that for the Office of Principal every Companion must hold all the Degrees of the Order and should ensure they are qualified in preparation for Installation.
Accordingly, Applications for Dispensation due to a Companion not holding all of the necessary Degrees or the unavailability of a Principal Elect due to having made holiday arrangements or being close to some other Masonic commitment will most likely be met with denial. If an Application for Dispensation must be granted for these types of reasons due to no alternative and the Representative or Grand Director incur costs for accommodation or travel as a result of the Dispensation being granted then the Chapter will be invoiced for the same.
It should be remembered that the fee associated with Applications for Dispensation is applicable whether the Application is successful or not so Chapters are urged to be cautious in making such applications. The same amount of work to process the Application is incurred whether the Application is successful or not.
In cases of genuine emergency such as sickness or where the reason is beyond the control of the Chapter or individual, Chapters can still expect to receive a sympathetic hearing and where appropriate relief from the fee associated with Applications for Dispensation.