Thursday, August 31, 2017

Guest Post: "If Your Lodge Were to Close Tomorrow[...]" by Keith Martinson


If your lodge were to close tomorrow, would your community notice?

This question was asked on a social media site, and the answers might, or might not surprise you.

The overwhelming majority of respondents said that no, their lodge would not be missed in the community at all. The question then becomes, why? Why would a lodge that has been there, in some cases for over a century, suddenly not be missed? There are a myriad of answers, the lodge isn’t involved in the community, there aren’t enough active members to put on community events, there are barely enough members to hold stated meetings, and the list goes on. We now have a good idea of why, but before I get into the possible solutions to this problem, I’d like to delve deeper into the underlying reasons that there are fewer members at lodge.

I will begin by saying that Masonry is not a charity, nor is it a service organization, it never has been, let that sink in for a minute. The purpose of masonry is to make its members better than they were, not to act as a charity or as a community service organization. In fact, our rituals are pretty specific in what we as masons are obligated to do. Help, aid and assist poor distressed worthy brothers, their widows and orphans, treat others as you would want to be treated, etc.... But wait, what about that faith hope and charity thing? If you go back to the origins of the word charity, you will find that is is derived from a Latin word meaning generous love. So, masonic charity is to promote love, to all mankind, but more especially a brother mason. Charitable giving, is important, and we as masons should give as much as we are able, but, and this is important, charity is not the purpose of masonry, charity is the result of masonry. The teachings of masonry and the type of men it attracts, make charitable giving a natural extension of our fraternity.

To keep attracting the type of men that have a predisposition to giving, we as existing members, and officers must make the lodge a place where people want to go. If we can’t take care of ourselves, we certainly can’t take care of our communities. I believe this is where masonry seems to get it backwards, we must look to our brethren first, because that is our job, the welfare and care of our existing members. If we solve that issue, the others will fall into place without much effort.

So how do we make the lodge a place where our members want to go? Honestly, I believe the answer is, ANYTHING! Do something that entices the members to show up. Hold a lodge BBQ during the warmer months, have a movie night, or hold card tournaments. If your lodge doesn't have a building, plan a golf outing,  go to a local park and have a BBQ with brothers and their families. Obviously there are as many ideas out there as there are masons. The point is, do something, do it now, and do it often. Change begins with you, and once it starts, it can't be stopped. The brothers are our most important resource, we must treat it with care.

Thanks to my friend, Bro. Keith, for providing a great piece. He is the sitting Senior Warden of Tusler-Summit Lodge No. 263 of Roseville MN.

What are your thoughts? Leave a comment below.

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