Ritualistic Committee Director
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Ritualistic Committee News
On Sunday, February 27, 2022, the Maine Elks Association held its State Ritual Contest at the Sanford Elks Lodge #1470. Only one team competed this year, and that was the Sanford Elks Lodge #1470. The team will be preparing to compete in the national contest held at...
Since the founding of the Benevolent & Protective Order of Elks on February 16, 1868, the Order has made becoming a member a special event. To make that event special, the Elks established formal ceremonies to mark the occasion.
These ceremonies need to be conducted in a dignified and impressive manner, and it is the responsibility of the Ritualistic Committee to support local Elk Lodges to welcome their new members with an impressive rendition of the initiation. These ceremonies are called rituals, because we use the same ceremony on a regular basis in all Elk Lodges across the country.
In addition to initiation, Elk Lodges are required to have a formal opening and closing to their meetings. This distinction establishes the organization as a “Lodge” and not a “Club.”
Throughout the years, the Elks have established many additional ceremonies for special events. These include:
- Flag Day
- Veterans Day
- POW/MIA Remembrance Day
- Mother’s Day
- Father’s Day
- Flag Retirement; and
- Laying the Cornerstone of a new Elk Lodge.
These special ceremonies are conducted by Elk Lodges each year and are open to the public.
One of the principles of the Order of Elks is “Brotherly Love.” Where we care about our fellow members, their families, and our community. Because our members are not to be forgotten or forsaken, we conduct funeral service ceremonies for our departed members. Each of our Lodges is required to have a Necrology, or listing of all our departed members as a way for them to be remembered.
On the first Sunday of December, the Elks hold a Memorial Service that is open to the public, and is a formal way of paying a tribute of remembrance to our departed members.
All of these ceremonies or “rituals” are to be conducted by the Officers of the Lodge, and are to be rendered in an impressive manner. The Ritualistic Committee offers assistance to the Officers to help them achieve this goal.
To help improve ritualistic performance by the Lodge Officers, contests are conducted that judge their performance on the following criteria:
- Word Accuracy
- Deportment (movements)
- Appearance (for team competitions)
All of the offficer parts are rendered from memory. The State of Maine currently conducts three contests.
A Lodge Contest consists of the officers of a Lodge performing the Initiatory Ritual (used for new members). Seven officers compete, and are scored individually and as a team on the criteria above.
Eleven O’Clock Toast
The hour of eleven is special to the Elks, and was prominently found on our old Logo. At 11 O’Clock at night, activities within the Lodge would stop to remember our absent members. A toast was established as part of the Intiatory Ritual to inform new members of the importance that remembering our departed members is an important aspect of the Order.
The Eleven O’Clock Toast contest is open to all current and past Exalted Rulers (Lodge Presidents), and is judged on the same criteria as above.
The American Flag is a symbol of our country, and it has a special place in the heart of every Elk. There is a special presentation of the American Flag to every new member, and this, like all other rituals, must be performed in an impressive manner. The contest is open to all Past and Current Exalted Rulers.