Freemasonry adapts. Before our warehouse/office complex masonic centers, before our once lush, now crumbling masonic temples, brothers would gather where they could, settling themselves on pickle barrels on the second floor of a Five and Dime, educating and bettering themselves. And before that, the tavern lodge, where brothers would meet in a well-tyled tavern or public house. These were as much social gatherings as stated meetings, and education continued well past the rap of the Master's gavel, into the late, late evening over dinner, drinks, and strong black coffee.
It is in the spirit of this tradition, perhaps not "traditional observance" in its modern usage, but in its colonial one, that we're launching an expedition to explore newer, more flexible, and more self-sustaining lodges.
Project 353: Agape Lodge
Agape is a concept lodge exploring the ritual of feasting. Meeting monthly, likely on a Saturday night, nine months out of the year (we'll be dark January, July, and August). The winter and summer feasts of St. John will be our mid and end-season finales.
How is this different than my current lodge?
First, at this stage Agape should be a mason's affiliate lodge. While we would like to reserve the right to perform table lodge degrees, a fully armed and operational masonic lodge, as you probably think of it, is not something we can initially, or even want to be. So if you get a lot out of your current lodge, think of us as premium bonus.
Second, all the work will happen around the dinner table. We're not the first in Minnesota to do this, but we hope to be the best. The lodge will open, do business, call to refreshment, eat, call again to labor, have education, and close, all around the table, and not necessarily in that order, all in compliance with Minnesota Grand Lodge requirements.
Third, this lodge will be small and flexible. We may choose a single location meet, or move around. We haven't decided yet, but that's the point. We don't need to put anything in stone, and we don't need to be tied to expensive buildings or restrictive leases. We will be serious and elegant, but everything we need should be able to fit in the back of a minivan.
How is this the same as my lodge?
It's pretty much the same thing, just more personal and flexible. We'll have lodge furnishings and regalia, but adapted to our use. We'll have committees, and business to attend to. And we'll have education in the oldest classroom on Earth: the supper table. The master of the lodge will not just conduct rituals and degrees, he will conduct exciting and on-point conversations about the Craft.
You have questions. Ask them. But what we need, in order to explore the best answers, are interested parties. Dues are expected to be easily manageable, and ideally all-inclusive. Easy-going conversationalists are a must!
If you are interested, please fill out this brief survey: PROJECT 353: AGAPE LODGE
We hope you can join us, and if you can't, we at least hope you can support us. Freemasonry isn't the building, it's the brothers, and the work we do.
Memento Mordere... Remember to chew!
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