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Direct Link To This Post Topic: What would you like to see changed or improved?
    Posted: December/12/2010 at 10:18am
I am not interested in changing Masonry.  But I am very interested in improving and changing the Masonic experience.  What changes would you like to see in Masonry, and the appendant/concordant bodies?  Would you like to see more use of the internet? 
 
Would you like to see a revival of some of our cherished traditions, that have gone dormant in the past years? Lodges/Grand Lodges, used to run employment bureaus, and assist Masons ( and their dependents) in seeking employment. Masons used to reach out to masonic widows, and offer assistance to widows and their dependents.
 
I feel that we can keep our Masonic traditions, and also move Masonry into the 21st century, with new ideas and programs.
 
What do you think?
Charles E. Martin

Alexandria, VA

Bowling Green Lodge 73, Bowling Green KY (GL of KY, F&AM)

Alexandria VA Scottish Rite Bodies (AASR, Southern Jurisdiction, USA)
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/12/2010 at 3:03pm
I had the same conversation with our incoming WM this afternoon. We came up with a few ideas but not sure how many answers.
Past Master - Mahoning-New Castle Lodge 243
AASR Valley of New Castle
Hiram's Scottish Riders - Charter Member
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/12/2010 at 4:02pm
We are having parallel discussions on other boards. Check out  www.themasonicsociety.com I can send you some tips, if you like.
Charles E. Martin

Alexandria, VA

Bowling Green Lodge 73, Bowling Green KY (GL of KY, F&AM)

Alexandria VA Scottish Rite Bodies (AASR, Southern Jurisdiction, USA)
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/12/2010 at 4:05pm
One idea, I have been kicking around for some time: Every Mason (especially new Masons) should be given a "calling" in the lodge. Immediately upon attaining the MM degree, he should be informed that he is to provide some "sweat equity" to the lodge. A list of callings should be available to all members of the lodge, listing both permanent taskings (widow's committee, cleanup committee), and short-term tasks (replacing carpeting in the lobby). This listing should be posted on the lodge website. New taskings can be assigned as needed (shoveling snow in the winter), and obsolete taskings can be deleted. The list must be "dynamic".

Each new Mason ( and all of the membership) should be offered an opportunity to select the calling, that he is best suited for. IT guys to the website committee, carpenters to the building upkeep committee,etc. A man who has no particular skill that matches a need, can still serve as an "apprentice", or a "go-fer". If there is no calling that he is interested in, have him come up with a calling of his own imagination. The important thing is to get him involved in something. Inform him that if the calling is not to his liking, he is free to select another calling. If he is unable to serve at all, let him know that it is OK, he can take a calling later. If he wishes to serve in more than one capacity, then that is fine,too.

The important concept is to let the man know, that the lodge is important to him., and that he is important to the lodge. His obligation to support Masonry does not begin and end with writing a check for his dues payment. This is an important psychological concept. Many Masons never volunteer their time to a lodge, because they do not know how. They do not know where the needs exist. Some are just too shy, to step up and ask how to help.

When new Masons (and us old-timers, too) realize that they are needed and they should be involved in the functioning of the lodge, their Masonic experience will be enhanced. Instilling a sense of participation, even if it is just sweeping up the floor, is an important psychological tool. His Masonic experience will be enhanced, and he will be a member, and not just a dues-payer
Charles E. Martin

Alexandria, VA

Bowling Green Lodge 73, Bowling Green KY (GL of KY, F&AM)

Alexandria VA Scottish Rite Bodies (AASR, Southern Jurisdiction, USA)
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/12/2010 at 4:13pm
Because my career requires frequent transfers, (I have spent nearly 14 years abroad, since I was made a Mason), I will probably never be given the privilege of serving Masonry as a Worshipful Master. Nevertheless, I have been working on a "dream list", of things I would do, should the fates permit me to be a WM some day. Here it is:

1- Every lodge should be required to have a web site. Sites can be had for free, so there is no reason why every lodge should not have one!

2- Every Grand Lodge should recognize Prince Hall Masonry.

3- Every Grand Lodge should host a statewide Open House, similar to Massachusetts.

4- Every state should have an official Masonic vehicle license plate, issued by the state Department of Motor Vehicles.

5- Every state Grand Lodge website, should have as a minimum:

-Precise instructions on how to locate a lodge, and how to petition a lodge
-A petition form, downloadable

6- Every Grand Lodge should have a Liaison office- assisting and promoting Masonic youth groups. This office will provide guidance and assistance to lodges towards setting up and running Masonic youth Groups.

7- Every lodge should have a "new Mason's program"- Each new mason should receive intense instruction in:

-What it means to be a Mason
-Introduction to the Appendant/Concordant bodies
-How to participate in lodge meetings (how to introduce motions,etc)
-Masonic etiquette
-How to visit other lodges
-How to tell your wife and family about Masonry
-Masonic History

8- Every Grand Lodge should provide for Masonic education, at the district level in the following:

-Ritual Schools. Any Mason interested in learning ritual, can attend the schools, and be instructed in masonic ritual, and be given practices and rehearsals.

-Leadership schools. Any Mason, prior to going through the chairs, and becoming a lodge officer, should receive intense instruction (at the district level), in how to run a lodge. Lessons in parliamentary procedure, lessons in how to run a non-profit organization, etc.

9-Every lodge should host an annual "county fair", where all of the appendant/concordant bodies in the area would be invited in, on a Saturday. Each organization would set up a booth at the lodge hall. Masons (and the public) could attend the county fair, and learn about the appendant/concordant bodies, and the groups could distribute literature, and provide the attendees with application forms, and answer questions, etc.

10- Every lodge should sponsor a "Masonic Square and Compasses Club". These clubs would meet outside the tyled lodge, and provide social activities, and dances, and barbecues,etc. There would be no degree work, nor any tyled meetings. Anyone interested in Masonry, can participate.

11- We need to realize that Prohibition is over (See the 22d amendment). We are all adults, and it is about time, that we brought alcohol, back into our lodges. Nearly every masonic Grand Lodge in the world (except for the USA) permits alcoholic beverages to be served in the lodge for refreshment.

Some of these ideas may be controversial, but I think we should consider what is happening in Masonry in the 21st century and govern ourselves accordingly.
Charles E. Martin

Alexandria, VA

Bowling Green Lodge 73, Bowling Green KY (GL of KY, F&AM)

Alexandria VA Scottish Rite Bodies (AASR, Southern Jurisdiction, USA)
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/13/2010 at 4:03pm
Here is an idea, that I have been thinking about for a long time.

A Widow's liaison committee:

1- Assemble a list of all of the Masonic widows in your immediate area. All masonic widows, whether the deceased husband was a member of your lodge or not. Utilize the local media and get a press release. Make it a project for your Job's Daughters/Rainbow.
Once you have the list (names/addresses/emails/phone etc), make the list accessible to your lodge membership. Keep it on your lodge website in a member's only area.

2- Contact all of your widows in person and by email/phone/postal mail. Let them know that the lodge is there for them. Offer to assist them in any area, where you can be of help. Cleaning out the rain spouts, cutting the yard, driving them to the doctor, etc. Remember your obligations.

3- Get volunteers from your lodge, to be on a list to be called when needed. Wives, children can assist as well. Inform your youth groups of this program, their members can also assist.

4- Provide each widow with a list of telephone numbers, where she can call for assistance. Prepare refrogerator magnets, with the lodge phone number, and the contact information for the widow's assistance committee.

5- Each Christmas season, send each widow a poinsettia/fruit basket, etc.

6- Yearly, host a widow's appreciation banquet. Offer to transport each widow to the lodge building for the dinner.

Your widows will be grateful. You will be rendering master's wages, to the deceased brother.

What does your lodge do for your Masonic widows?


Edited by cemab4y - December/13/2010 at 4:05pm
Charles E. Martin

Alexandria, VA

Bowling Green Lodge 73, Bowling Green KY (GL of KY, F&AM)

Alexandria VA Scottish Rite Bodies (AASR, Southern Jurisdiction, USA)
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/13/2010 at 4:13pm
Our Charity Steward keeps in regular touch with all our widows, and we take them out for a slap-up lunch once a year in July.
The Carrington Lodge (WAC 363)
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/13/2010 at 4:16pm

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Edited by cemab4y - December/13/2010 at 4:18pm
Charles E. Martin

Alexandria, VA

Bowling Green Lodge 73, Bowling Green KY (GL of KY, F&AM)

Alexandria VA Scottish Rite Bodies (AASR, Southern Jurisdiction, USA)
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/14/2010 at 12:59pm
cemab4y, please contact me...
 
Concerning website/Blog...Great Idea for our Lodge/Consistory/Temple...Just need a little IT assistance.
 
 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/18/2010 at 9:28am
Likewise our lodge has a wives and widows dinner/lunch every year. Your number points are right on target. You bought up some very interesting points most of which MWPHGL of Ca is moving toward. We have a school of instruction, debate teams and a education committee. I am recently installed WM and did exactly what you have stated in regards to newly made masons. 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/04/2011 at 8:07pm
This is a great thread. I just bookmarked it. We just formed a new membership committee and these a lot of great ideas.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/05/2011 at 6:46pm

Bro. Chris Hodapp published a letter in 2002. Here it is:

Ideas For Worshipful Masters
by Chris Hodapp, PM
Broad Ripple Lodge #643
Originally published in 2002

I have received many requests for a copy of the posting I made on the Indiana Craft Mailing List.

So here are some of the things we have done over the last few years at Broad Ripple Lodge, some of which were started by PGM Roger Van Gorden, our Master in 2000. Bear in mind that most of these suggestions are not original.

Let me reiterate: our PMs and general membership have left us alone to have our way with the place, and the PMs and older members who regularly participate have been totally supportive of us. We have NOT had to deal with sideline insurrections over ANYTHING we have tried. I have heard horror stories from other Masters, and I am releived to say I have none.

1. ALL Stated Meetings were Table Lodges for a year.

2. Redecorated Lobby and entry area. (Ratty furniture, no art, and accessories from when Truman was president make a terrible first impression on potential new members. If you think it's ugly, how will a new member see it? If you don't know, ASK YOUR WIFE!)

3. Landscaped front yard. (Ours was full of rocks and overgrown shrubs.). If your building looks tired, unkempt and decayed, what does that say about Freemasonry to a potential new member? What does it say about your own pride of membership?

4. Professionalized look of website and kept it up to date. If a potential member sees that your site is dated 1997 and none of the hyperlinks work, they'll move on.

5. Monthly Trestle Board with photos. Make Lodge look fun, and if they don't come, they're missing great experiences.

6. Stopped charging for meals, including Thanksgiving. Catered or convenience food rather than the same few brothers chained to the kitchen. They will burn out.

7. Added stereo system and big screen TV to dining room. (Football and basketball nights next year after Craft practice. Make Lodge a place to hang around in, not eat, meet and flee)

8. Purchased motorized stairclimbers to assist our older members (we have lots of steps)

9. Started Masonic Angel Fund for local kids (see our website for details)

10. Made $100 donation to Masonic Home Foundation for every month a member (or members) died.

11. Poinsettias hand delivered to Lodge Widows at Christmastime by Master. They'll love you forever. Get them on your side and their grandson may join.

12. Started Annual Chili Cook-Off with permanent trophy at Lodge. The noisier the rivalry gets, the better. Encourage outlandish claims and bragging rights...

13. Presented Lifetime Achievement Award to older member 64 years a Mason who comes to every meeting and degree. These men built our Lodges. Acknowledge their achievements publicly.

14. Insisted on post-meeting gathering at local tavern for members, spouses, friends. Do NOT hang out in the parking lot of the Lodge bitching after meetings. That's not how to forge new friendships.

15. Regular dialogue with OES Matron. Kept them involved in our public events.

16. Sought out degree help from other Lodges. Liberal use of honorary memberships for regular visiting helpers.

17. If you are a young Master who does not know all ritual for all degrees, learn ONE of them well, and have your Wardens do the same for the other two. Performing a smaller number of parts well is more important than stumbling through many of them badly. Do NOT get pressured into doing more than you are able by the "In MY year you had to know all of these degrees" crowd. If they know it all, ask THEM to take a part. Remember: a man gets to hear each of his degrees for the first time ONLY ONCE. If you can't do it properly with feeling and meaning, GET SOMEONE WHO CAN.

18. Joint Lodge picnic with other Lodges

19. Let a Lodge from a Temple that goes dark in summer hold Craft practice at our place. Joined in with them.

20. Dramatically expanded library. Write book reviews of new ones and promote it in your Trestle Board.

21. Started book exchange open to everyone in Lodge family. Bookshelf in the dining room.

22. Officers chairs left empty for two years rather than push new members into them immediately.

23. Make sure Lodge name is seen out in the community. Business cards, pins, jackets with S&C and Lodge name, who to contact for info on door of Lodge along with web address. If the building is closed, how will a new man find someone to ask?

24. Extend invitations to Prince Hall Lodges for visits. Current leadership within Prince Hall Masonry in Indiana requires that the PHA Lodge get permission to visit from their Grand master, so check with the Master of the PHA Lodge you contact for their latest rulings on this matter. (NOTE: In 2004, we assisted a group of PHA lodges with their annual Thanksgiving Dinner for the poor, and in 2005, we made Indiana Masonic history by conferring the Master Mason degree on two Prince Hall candidates.

25. Always keep petitions in your car. Let me say that again: Always keep petitions in your car.

26. If 200 members stay away, get new ones who won't! If only seven show up, have fun with each other.

27. Made up a new member's notebook, containing:
Introduction to Lodge etiquette
Lodge history
List of Masonic websites, research, recommended book list
Lodge directory of all members, their addresses and phone numbers.
Introduction to Freemasonry for a Mason's lady
List of all Lodge widows
List of all Lodge Committees
List of area lodges to visit
Lodge By-Laws.
Brochures from the York Rite, Scottish Rite & Shrine - not petitions from them (discourage joining them for 1 year).
Our Lodge Masonic Angel Fund brochure
The latest Lodge Trestle Board (newsletter)
Three petitions and Grand Lodge Masonic brochures and DVD
Masonic License Plate form


28. Freemasonry IS NOT RITUAL. If you can do all parts flawlessly, yet never have candidates and no one comes to meetings, how will the ritual save your Lodge?

29. Plan with your Wardens so there is continuity for years to come - stop reinventing the wheel every year. Do NOT hide good ideas from your Master so you can claim victory during your year. Do NOT pass on problems to the next Master. Solve them now!

One thing we shamelessly cribbed from another Lodge was to make the three newest members of the Lodge the Junior Warden's Committee, making them responsible for food and cleanup, in association with the Stewards. It rotates as you get new men in, instead of saddling the Stewards with the job for an entire year. If they like doing it, it develops camaraderie among the new guys. If they hate doing it, it encourages them to go out a get a new man to join. Our guys jumped in with vigor and tout themselves as the KFC (Knife and Fork Committee). They now meet together on Friday nights at area restaurants, and are promising restaurant reviews for the newsletter. Believing there are no small parts, only small actors, they have padded their parts and are having a ball. Be sure to buy them a knife and fork Mason tie clip.

Masonry isn't just about food <grin>. These guys want knowledge, information, and STUFF! They are proud of their membership. They want medals, aprons, regalia, certificates, books, jewelry... Ours is a Craft with a long heritage, and they WANT things that will make their friends and family envious and - more important - curious about Masonry too. That's what first made THEM notice us to begin with. Don't think it's shallow to interest potential new members with a "made you look" brashness. Rings, jackets, license plates - all of these things attract attention and at least nudge men into asking what it's all about. Remember, I said INTEREST new members. It's up to your Lodge to get them through their degrees and keep them interested after that. The point is, they want their friends to join with them, and the "stuff" might get those friends to at least ask.

Upon raising, we give a new Master Mason a S&C lapel pin, a commemorative pin for our Lodge, an engraved pocket name badge, and a boxed set of minature working tools. For a year on Masonic 'birthdays' we also passed out a small, brass trowel. These things don't cost much, but go a long way towards making a man feel that the Lodge is immediately investing in them.

I became an Entered Apprentice in November 1998, and was raised in March 1999. So it was with no little terror that I found myself installed in the East for the year 2001. We had lost 5 officers from the Line in 1999 for a variety of circumstances. A wise Past Master agreed to step in at the VERY last minute to be Master that year, but as 2000 wound to a close, the sentiment was that we should look into selling our building and closing, moving or merging. We were lucky to have seven guys come to Stated Meetings and we did virtually no degree work that year.

The most important thing our outgoing Master taught me was to stop dwelling on the numbers game. Our Lodge has regular income, a paid-for building and some assets. If 220 members never set foot in the place, didn't participate, didn't communicate, IT DIDN'T MATTER. If some of the officer's chairs went unfilled, IT DIDN'T MATTER. What DID matter was that the little group of Masons who DID come had a good time with each other. We held every Stated Meeting as a Table Lodge, paid our bills, always had a great meal (paid for by the Lodge - no hat passing), maybe had a guest speaker, voted money to charities, and had a couple of hours of true fellowship. THAT was what was important. A year ago, we had seven guys who truly liked each other's company, who got along, who cared about what was going on in each other's lives, and maybe went for a beer afterwards. And the other 200 members were paying for us to have a great time and practice Freemasonry. What a deal!

My year, we raised eight men, all under 40 (and most under 30), had two more being voted on, three transferring in from out of state lodges, and more petitions on the way. Sure, we still need the help of brothers from other Lodges to help us put on degrees, but they come if we ask, and they have a good time with us. They come to our Lodge because we have new candidates all the time now, and why just practice when you can be conferring a degree?

We redecorated to make sure our Lodge no longer looks and smells like Grandma's front parlor. We had picnics and dinners and cook offs and events with other Lodges. We've tried hard to let young men know that their input is welcome and that we will change our activities to reflect what THEY want out of Lodge, instead of demanding that we adhere to the same annual events planned during the Coolidge Administration. We publish a monthly newsletter that doesn't look like it was surreptitiously Xeroxed after hours at work. In it, we thank those brothers who have helped or showed up or contributed because people like to see their name in print and like to be acknowledged for doing a good job. We try to keep our website up to date and looking fresh and professional, and it has become the electronic front door that so many of our newest members first knocked on. Those new members are enthusiastic and want to dive right into our activities and degree work - and we encourage them. They are telling their friends about Lodge and some of those friends are asking for petitions. And our post-meeting gatherings at the local watering hole have gotten larger and last a lot longer now.

My Senior Warden and I were too new at this to know the "way it's always been done in past" so we were willing to try whatever works. And guess what? Those same 200 members still stay home, don't participate, and don't communicate. But then, they didn't show up at meetings to vote down big expenditures, or veto by-law changes, or stop us from starting a Masonic Angel Fund, or any of the other things we did my year that I was told would cause heart attacks within the membership. So, those same 200 guys are now paying for 15 or 20 of us to have a good time. We had a full officer's line the next year, and some disappointed men who we didn't have chairs for. I don't know if we have truly turned our Lodge around in the long term - only time will tell. But it's a far cry from the year before, and no one is talking about selling our building now.

Before I became Master, I was privately told to take my time, rock no boats, hide good ideas from the Master ahead of me, pass problems along to the Warden behind me, just learn my ritual, read my Blue Book rules, and I'd get along just fine. Otherwise, I risked insurrection and eternal damnation from the Old Guard. I was just too stupid to listen. As a Mason I may have been wet behind the ears, but I was smart enough to know that the only difference between a rut and a grave is the depth.

The ultimate point I'm making is that if you are disappointed by your Lodge and it is not living up to the lofty goals of the fraternity you thought you joined (as I morosely thought just a year ago), GET IN THERE AND CHANGE IT. Be the Master of your Lodge. Lead with a vision and MAKE IT STICK. If you enrage a lineup of cranky Past Masters who are forcing your lodge to remain mired in the 19th century, what will they do? If you are afraid your lodge is shrinking and failing at its mission, yet you allow "buzzard's row" to keep you going down that same path year after year, you are doing a great disservice to your Lodge and those men who built it to begin with. The men who started your Lodge had ideas and strength and they were the leaders of your community. If they saw their Lodge losing members and failing now, I promise you they would not be complacent. They would try everything they could.

They would be Builders, Masters of their Craft. They would give their workmen good and wholesome instruction for their labor. Accept no less from yourself.



--------------------

Those who live by the sword are generally shot by those who were smart enough to evolve.

Chris Hodapp
PM - Lodge Vitruvian #767
Ideas For Worshipful Masters
by Chris Hodapp, PM
Broad Ripple Lodge #643
Originally published in 2002

I
Charles E. Martin

Alexandria, VA

Bowling Green Lodge 73, Bowling Green KY (GL of KY, F&AM)

Alexandria VA Scottish Rite Bodies (AASR, Southern Jurisdiction, USA)
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/05/2011 at 7:36pm
There are some great, great posts in this thread.  I am brand new at this and have lots to learn.  I would really like to share some these ideas, but I am still trying to figure out the "lay of the land" at my Lodge.  Very interesting reading.
Semper Fidelis,

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/05/2011 at 8:46pm
Thank you cemab4y for that post.
Past Master - Mahoning-New Castle Lodge 243
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/06/2011 at 10:00am

I am delighted to have been of some assistance. I just love Bro. Hodapp's idea page, he published it some years back, and he has graciously permitted it to be replicated. I like to get ideas from other lodges (and other non-profit organizations), and spread them around. I have absolutely no scruples, about adopting a good idea, no matter what the source.

 
Brother Randall, Do not be shy about pushing for new ideas in your lodge. You will meet with some resistance, but do not give up. I am still pushing my lodge to get a web page.
 
Take a lesson from Aung San Suu Kyi. She has been under house arrest for over 20 years, and she is still pushing for freedom and human rights in Myanmar. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. I admire the steel in her spine. She said "If you do nothing, you get nothing". She never gives up. Neither do I.
Charles E. Martin

Alexandria, VA

Bowling Green Lodge 73, Bowling Green KY (GL of KY, F&AM)

Alexandria VA Scottish Rite Bodies (AASR, Southern Jurisdiction, USA)
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/06/2011 at 1:16pm
Brother Hodapp's ideas are really good - but we have to be aware that we need to modify them according to our lodge and the community in which we are located.
I think that a very common mistake that we make is that we are looking for a "one-for-all" solutions. Unfortunatelly, this often happens on Grand Lodge level too. The problems in our lodges are a result not only of our internal problems, but also of the socio-economic state of the community. Both the rural and the urban lodges have problems with membership retention and getting new members - but the reasons for that are different in both lodges. The same way - the approach to solving the problem should be different for the rural, small town and big city lodges.
I would suggest looking for custom made solutons. Sure - ask around for advices, but look at your own lodge for the final answer. I am a member of a lodge in Toronto, one of the largest cities in North America. Most of our members are urban type, well educated, intelectuals, professionals. I doubt that anyone in my lodge would participate in a chilli cook-out or BBQ as a form of fellowship and fundraising, but it will be very easy to get them all together for a pub night, art/history/science lecture from a guest lecturer, theatre or opera night (both for fellowship and fundraising). I am sure that the other 6 lodges who meet at the same Temple have different interests and the approach would be different at every one of them.
 
It's very important to understand that if we want something changed or improved - WE are the ones that should do it! No one else can do it for us. It's very easy to give ideas on what needs to be done - but it's very difficult to get it done. If you want to do something for the lodge - just go ahead and do it. No one will stop you! If you want to have a better looking lodge - well, go ahead, clean it up, bring some pictures, do the work yourself. If you want to have better ritual work - easy - learn a lecture and perform it during degrees. If you want better experience during dinner hour - instead of eating from paper plates, have proper plates and cutlery - do it yourself and stay after lodge to wash the dishes. If you want more fellowship - start calling the members of the lodge and go out with them or call them to join your family for dinner. All those small things will make a huge difference in the energy of the lodge - and no one will opose them! The PMs won't stop you if you want to do ritual work, the WM won't complain if you want to wash the dishes in order to have a better dinner experience, the GM won't even know that you have redecorated the lobby of your temple. Start there - not with the grand things that are out of your control. We can talk for ages how PHA recognition is needed - but we can't do it on a lodge level, so focus for now on what you can do, in your own lodge. Not what the lodge can do - what YOU can do! And just do it!
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/10/2011 at 6:29pm
-BUMP-  I am delighted with what I have learned on this thread (and the forum). I want to repeat, that I am NOT interested in changing Masonry. The landmarks of Masonry are excellent, and they have stood the test of time. Whether Masonry can survive in the 21st century, is for us to see.
 
The operative word in this thread is YOU! What would YOU like to see changed, improved, or even brought back from the past? I would love to see a revival of the Masonic Employment Bureaus, which assisted Masons (and their dependents) in finding employment. If we brought the bureaus back, we would have to "tweak" it some, to make sure the bureaus were in conformance, with the current legal situation. Many non-profit organizations assist their members in finding work, so we can do it too.
 
I would love to see a "revival"of our cherished traditions. Sadly, some have gone dormant. In the past, lodges were smaller. A lodge of more than 100 members was unthinkable. With a "cap" on the number of members, lodges can be more "intimate", and members can keep tabs on each other more easily, and more Masons can serve in leadership roles. Maybe, with the internet, and modern technologies, larger lodges, are the way to go. I don't know, but I am very interested in how this is working out.
 
Keep the ideas coming, guys. The renaissance of Masonry is in your hands.
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Bowling Green Lodge 73, Bowling Green KY (GL of KY, F&AM)

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/11/2011 at 12:50am
Charles - it's up to you and all this that you talk about - you can and should do it in your own lodge, not generalize!
Any idea that you give - can not be applied in general, but only to lodges that have that particular problem.
Lodges should be smaller - my lodge is just over 100 members. We should have more education - my lodge does that on a regular basis. We should focus on younger members - we have tons of new young guys who are regular attendees, work hard and are zealous about masonry. We should have more social activities - we are introducing that in the lodge (even though social interaction between members is very good already).
Are there things that need improvement? Sure - there's always something that can be done better. But that's always been the case in Freemasonry. What do you think - that the fellows who formed the first Grand Lodge in 1717 performed perfect ritual, or had great social and educational programs, that didn't have internal problems? Of course they did! Look at the history of the lodges in the 18th and 19th century and see how many lodges opened and closed doors. There must have been a reason for closing, just as there are reasons today.
All we can do is try to be better. Each one of us! Start from yourself, do not blame the Grand Lodge, the regulations, the traditions, the WM, secretaries, past masters... if you really think that you can do it better and that there are other like minded brothers - open a new lodge and do things right.
We REALLY have to stop talking about some major problems in Freemasonry and we should stop presenting it as something that is killing Freemasonry! That is NOT true. There are certain local problems here and there, there are things that need improvement, there are things that will change over time, just because time will change them.
If certain lodges have major issues and major problems - let them fix it. If they can't fix it - let them die off. Even if it's Grand Lodges - if they have such a major issue that is threatening the state of Freemasonry in their jurisdiction - let them close doors or loose recognition. That's not unheard of, as a matter of fact it happens from time to time, all over the world.
Don't try to fix things that are not a problem for other people. Fix things that are a problem for you and let everyone do the same.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/11/2011 at 6:22am
Yes, throwing out ideas is excellent, but throwing them out in the context that Masonry is going over a cliff unless all Lodges adopt these ideas immediately is not accurate and not a good approach. It is akin to looking at the glass as half empty.

Edited by droche - February/11/2011 at 7:08am
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/11/2011 at 9:12am
quote- Masonry is going over a cliff unless all Lodges adopt these ideas immediately is not accurate and not a good approach. end quote.
 
I never said anything like this (here). Not all lodges need to latch on to every idea, that someone floats. The great thing, is that we can toss these ideas around, and if your grand Lodge/lodge can benefit, then great. If the idea does not appeal, or would not benefit your lodge, then give it a pass.
 
My lodges are in KY and Mass. My USA residence is in Virginia, and I work in Afghanistan. I cannot and will not attempt to change anything in my KY lodge. They are not interested in what I have to say,anyway. So it is a lost cause. I cannot and will not change anything in my Mass. lodge. I am 100% satisfied with all of their policies, and they are beyond improvement.
 
I can and will continue to collect ideas, and pass them around. Some lodges may find them beneficial.
 
and quote- open a new lodge and do things right.  end quote. I intend to do exactly that. I will return  to  Virginia, later this year. I am already in contact with a Past DDGM, and the current DDGM. I am going to lay the ground work, to open a new lodge.
 
 
Charles E. Martin

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Bowling Green Lodge 73, Bowling Green KY (GL of KY, F&AM)

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/11/2011 at 11:24am
Neither did I say you said it. I was responding to Canuck's post, not yours.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/16/2015 at 2:39pm
bump
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/17/2015 at 8:27am
Yada Yada Yada.  Dead Horse

Instead of yapping about whats wrong with Freemasonry, could you possibly ever say what is right with Freemasonry?
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/17/2015 at 10:07am
Originally posted by YES YES wrote:

Yada Yada Yada.  Dead Horse

Instead of yapping about whats wrong with Freemasonry, could you possibly ever say what is right with Freemasonry?

Welcome to the forum! Lol.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/17/2015 at 10:57am
The title of this thread, is quote What would you like to see changed or improved? end quote. It is not about saying what is right or wrong with the Craft. If you have praise for the Craft, then start your own thread.

The fact is, there are many things that are "right" about Freemasonry. I cherish the ancient landmarks. I enjoy the fellowship and the camaraderie. I am not here to criticize anything.

Changes are being forced on us, due to factors that are beyond our control. The aging of the membership cohort, and the continual reduction in our membership is of great concern to me. When 48 out of 51 Grand Lodges see a decline in their membership, all Masons nationwide should be concerned.

With the urbanization of the population, small rural lodges are disappearing fast. Our Grand Lodges should be instituting procedures, to assist these obsolete lodges with consolidation, and with the disposition of abandoned property.

With the advancement of internet technology, and the spread of social media, Freemasonry should be instituting policies and procedures to maximize the benefit of these technologies. Already we are seeing some Grand Lodges (Ohio was the first) to mandate that all subordinate lodges have a web page. Other states are sure to follow.

With the widespread use of computers, and the variety of software, Grand Lodges are going to have to mandate some standardization. Kentucky was the first to mandate that all subordinate lodges use the same software to manage their accounts. This is to ensure uniformity, and in case an audit is necessary, a subordinate lodge can be audited quickly and efficiently.

Pennsylvania was the first Grand Lodge to permit (not require) that all Masons in the state, be able to pay their dues online. This is not a change in the ancient landmarks, but an adaptation to new technology.

With the aging of our membership cohort, there will be more Masons who will have difficulty getting out at night. This means that we have to institute more daylight lodges. Our Grand Lodges can develop procedures to assist Masons with chartering daylight lodges.

The bottom line is, that Grand Lodges, Lodges, and individual Masons are going to see changes forced upon us, like it or not. Demographics, finances, technology, etc. all will impact our cherished Craft. We are going to have to decide if we can manage these changes, or have events control us.

"We live in a world in which the only constant is change"
-Heraclitus, 4th century BC
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/17/2015 at 11:22am
With the low cost of wide-screen TV, and the easier process of producing instructional video, I would like to see more use of video in lodges. I know that we have a tradition of oral instruction, in our degree work, and I do not wish to alter that.

But- There are many other instructional topics that can be made more interesting, with the use of multi-media. In the EA degree, we are enjoined to improve ourselves in Masonry, and in the FC degree, we are introduced to the seven liberal arts and sciences. There is no prohibition against using modern technology as an instructional tool in our lodges.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/17/2015 at 3:28pm
One thing I would love to see, is more Grand Lodges working together on various projects. This is not a new change, but something that has happened often in the past.

Back in the 1980's about 13 Grand Lodges joined together and formed the "Masonic Renewal Task Force". They held their initial meeting at Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri. They came up with some ideas about how to get Masonry moving forward, and growing again. And they published some books, and approved some recommendations.

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/17/2015 at 7:28pm
cemab4y where can we get these media aids you are speaking of? My brothers and I sure could use some visual aids to help us, as we get very little at my lodge. PM me PLEASE.....
Getting better everyday !!!!
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/18/2015 at 6:12am
The Grand Lodge of Oklahoma, produced an excellent set of videos, for the three Craft degrees. No secrets are revealed, but the videos show the various historical backgrounds for the degree lessons. You can contact Harry Klitzner for some instructional materials. There are various Masonic slideshows, available from some of the masonic stores.

I would love for Grand Lodges to produce more instructional materials, and videos.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/23/2015 at 8:04pm
I would like more education being taught at my Lodge..and it has been brought up before but never acted on. I am going to suggest that the WM ask one brother before each regular meeting to pick a topic, story or even a lecture of there choosing and have it last a reasonable amount of time. One of the meetings I went to in the past someone said "Hey that only lasted 30min.! That's pretty good" and I was thinking...what a waste.. Now that I am being moved through the chairs, I am hoping that my opinions and ideas will not go unheard. Knowing the WM elect personally isn't going to hurt either
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/26/2015 at 6:19pm
If you are going to be the WM of your lodge, congratulations. I suggest that you contact your Grand Lodge and Grand Master, and suggest that the GL consider commissioning videos for presentation in the lodges. There are some excellent Masonic videos on YouTube. Your lodge could set up video monitors and the brothers could watch streaming video.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/27/2015 at 12:10pm
I would just like to see more Masonry being practiced. By this I mean, honor your obligations to the Craft and your Brothers. And if you are unable to? Let someone know.
As a recent PM my goal was to bring the "brotherhood" back to the Craft by having a Table lodge, monthly fellowship nights, as well as regular communication with my brothers.
 
 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/28/2015 at 6:57am
Originally posted by cemab4y cemab4y wrote:

I am not interested in changing Masonry.  But I am very interested in improving and changing the Masonic experience.  What changes would you like to see in Masonry, and the appendant/concordant bodies?  Would you like to see more use of the internet? 
 

Would you like to see a revival of some of our cherished traditions, that have gone dormant in the past years? Lodges/Grand Lodges, used to run employment bureaus, and assist Masons ( and their dependents) in seeking employment. Masons used to reach out to masonic widows, and offer assistance to widows and their dependents.

 

I feel that we can keep our Masonic traditions, and also move Masonry into the 21st century, with new ideas and programs.

 

What do you think?

In today's rush-rush world, I think we barely have enough time to scratch our heads.   What would I like to see changed?   Focus on the basics, lets get the basic tenets of Masonry ingrained into our members, and the rest will take care of itself.   I'm sure that the advent of new technology over the centuries have prompted this question in different formats, but the answer is the same.

If we just stay focused on "Brotherly Love, Relief & Truth", the rest will take care of itself, trust me.
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DISCLAIMER: These are my comments, and mine alone - they do not necessarily apply to any group to which I belong!
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/28/2015 at 7:19pm
There are many things which are "right" about Freemasonry. I do not criticize our ancient landmarks, nor any of our cherished traditions. The title of this thread is quote What would you like to see changed or improved? end quote. If you wish to praise Freemasonry, you are free to do it here, or elsewhere.

One poster suggested that we return to the "basics", what ever that is. I would love to see some of our old traditions brought back, such as the employment bureaus. I would love to Freemasonry to be more "intimate", and a return to smaller lodges. In the 19th century, a lodge of more than 100 members was unheard of. With a huge mega-lodge, members are likely to be lost in the crowd. I would love to see a return to providing assistance to Masonic widows. Sometimes going backwards, is a way to move forwards.

Every Mason who is concerned about the Craft, and wishes to see a healthy and vibrant Freemasonry, in the early 21st century, and beyond, should be ready to take up the challenges which are facing us, and lend a hand.

I say again and again, that changes are being forced upon us, like it or not. The spike in membership immediately after WW2, is history. Numbers like that will not be seen again. We must now face the challenges incumbent upon the Craft, when the membership ages, and the numbers decline, and lodges close and consolidate.

The bottom line here, is that Masonry is a "dynamic" organization, and a "work in progress". Technological changes, and demographic changes, will impact the Craft. The time is now here, when we must be prepared to think outside of the box, and manage the changes which will impact us in the future.

"It does not take a majority to prevail... but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men." - Samuel Adams
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/28/2015 at 9:49pm
Carl (Noble Shabba) stated what the basics were- instill the tenets of Freemasonry into all of its members. Only tonight I was at my Lodge's business meeting and the Secretary was talking about collecting dues, which, for my lodge, are way past due. He stated that it seems as though the members of a certain age group (I won't mention the exact ages so as not to offend those in that group) are the biggest group of late payers and non-payers and do not seem to have the sense of responsibility to meet their obligations.

So, I'll put it in terms of what I would like to see changed in Freemasonry- I agree with Carl.  Start emphasizing  the basic tenets and basic purpose of Freemasonry of making good men better. Stop trying to run Masonry on a corporate business model. Allow local lodges to make many of their own decisions as opposed to many times burdensome and impractical requirements handed down from grand lodges. 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/29/2015 at 4:20am
I am very interested in a "devolution" of control of Freemasonry, being extended to local lodges. When a lodge is chartered, it must agree to the regulations and constitutions of the Grand Lodge which issues the charter. If a lodge does not wish to follow the controls issued by a Grand Lodge, then it should immediately turn its charter back in, and cease operations, or find another Grand Lodge which is more to its liking.

This situation has occurred in France, and that is why there are at least five(5) Grand Lodges operating in the French Republic, and none of them are recognized by the Mother Grand Lodge in England.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/29/2015 at 8:13am
For the life of me, I cannot understand why so many Masons are opposed to any changes in the administrative and non-esoteric aspects of our Craft. "Change" is a word which evokes a knee-jerk reaction in so many Masons, that it is unbelievable. Anything new, just shocks people.

We went from kerosene lanterns to electric lighting, without a disaster occurring. Old country lodges had outhouses, then they obtained indoor plumbing, without altering the ancient landmarks, or destroying the Craft.

I believe sincerely, that we can adapt to a smaller membership cohort, and embrace the new technology, without a serious upheaval. You need not equate getting a webpage, with admitting atheists to the Craft.

Observing the potential problems, which may occur 5 or 10 years down the road, and preparing for the changes, is not a terrible thing. If you are satisfied that all is just fine with the Craft, and the direction that we are heading, that is your privilege. If you feel that no adaptations need to be made, and no new technology needs to be adopted, then you will find many who feel exactly the same way you do, in most lodges.

Experience is a great thing, and I respect that. The captain of the Titanic had more experience than any other officer in the White Star Line. The ship still sank.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/29/2015 at 3:02pm
Humans; by nature, and creation are creatures of habit. Change comes hard. Sometimes you must be the change that you want to see happen. Take action...any action. You may never know or be witness to the result of your action, but if you take no action, there can be no result.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/29/2015 at 5:41pm
I agree 1000% that many humans are creatures of habit. And you are more correct than you realize.

I am not a rabid environmentalist. But I like their slogan "Think globally, act locally" We can do this tactic in Freemasonry.

I am an admirer of Aung San Suu Kyi. She won the Nobel Peace Prize. She spent 20 (twenty) years under house arrest. She said "If you do nothing, you will get nothing".

And one saying I will never forget. "The only difference between a rut and a grave, is their depth" - Author unknown
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/30/2015 at 4:33pm
Cemab4y'

I feel your pain. Although I do have to disagree with the smaller lodges in that I think lodges should be as small or as large so as to efficiently tend to the needs of its members. If that's 20 or 200. What I do see as a problem is the number of lodge buildings. We do not have to travel hours or even day to get to lodge. There is no need, in my opinion for two or three, or even more lodges within 30 minutes driving distant from each other. Buildings can be shared and expenses spread out.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/30/2015 at 4:43pm
No one is suggesting that smaller lodges are a "magic bullet". When the USA was predominately a rural, agrarian nation, the population was more evenly spread out, and lodges and their buildings were smaller.

With the urbanization of the population, smaller lodges closed and consolidated, and lodge sizes grew both in membership and square footage. Here in the Washington DC area, there are buildings which support 5-6 lodges and a couple of Eastern Star chapters.

Nevertheless, I still feel that a smaller lodge is more "intimate", and the membership has more opportunity to know one another. And there is no "one size fits all" approach here, either. In a big-mega lodge, there are more financial resources, but less chance for members to serve in leadership. A trade-off.

Edited by cemab4y - January/30/2015 at 5:38pm
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/30/2015 at 7:22pm
Originally posted by cemab4y cemab4y wrote:

No one is suggesting that smaller lodges are a "magic bullet". When the USA was predominately a rural, agrarian nation, the population was more evenly spread out, and lodges and their buildings were smaller.

With the urbanization of the population, smaller lodges closed and consolidated, and lodge sizes grew both in membership and square footage. Here in the Washington DC area, there are buildings which support 5-6 lodges and a couple of Eastern Star chapters.

Nevertheless, I still feel that a smaller lodge is more "intimate", and the membership has more opportunity to know one another. And there is no "one size fits all" approach here, either. In a big-mega lodge, there are more financial resources, but less chance for members to serve in leadership. A trade-off.


I hate all the buildings.  My York Rite is fantastic about this.  We own the building.  One blue lodge (another thinking about  it), the Scottish Rite, and one ladies group use our building.  That's four bodies that use the building monthly.  Also three invitational bodies use the building that I know of.  It helps everyone and keeps a beautiful building that is not to big but is big enough.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/01/2015 at 5:07pm
Like I said, I agree with you for the most part. I enjoy being in a "smaller" lodge. We have around 150 members, but were in the military when they were raised and have since left for other destinations. On average we have a bout 15 brothers who show up every, or almost every meeting, and another 10 or so who show up on a semi-regular basis. I'd be more proud to boast a membership of 25-50 who show up all the time than 200 who show up for DDGM, elections, or never,  
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/21/2015 at 7:21pm
bump
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/01/2015 at 1:24pm
I think you hit the nail on the head my friend.

Here is some ways to increase participation which goes along with modifying or improving the overall Masonic experience.

http://www.pagrandlodge.org/district20/files/masonic_library/Attendance,%20How%20to%20Improve%20Lodge.PDF

I think involving family more is important so that, especially our wives, can see what's going on and not just a what she hears on tv or assuming all we do is sit around memorizing stuff all the time. Maybe more wives would gain an interest in OES in this case too.

I would like maybe 30 minutes before meetings to have sit downs with some of the older members to give their perspectives on what it means to be an EA, FC or MM, depending on what degree you were opening on that night.

I think more diversification is important too. My lodge, to my knowledge, doesn't have any black members. Not that they wouldn't allow a black man to join but it's sort of a given that black men go to PHA lodges and that shouldn't have to be that way. I think that divide is still a little deep. I think PHA should merge with 'regular' lodges (not discounting PHA)and be under one larger umbrella because at the end of the day, we are one and the same. Maybe if no merge, at least have more quarterly meetings where a PHA lodge will host a non-PHA lodge and vice versa every 3 or 4 months. Have 'sister lodges' assigned to each other. That'd be fun I think.

I like the permission of alcohol in lodges within moderation for sure. Young men are different now than they were 50 years ago. An interest has to be established to keep our craft and science alive. Many lodges are closing in smaller areas and that saddens me.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/01/2015 at 5:49pm
Alcohol should be allowed in buildings because "Young men are different now than they were fifty years ago."

How so?
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/01/2015 at 10:19pm
Originally posted by Cookslc Cookslc wrote:

Alcohol should be allowed in buildings because "Young men are different now than they were fifty years ago."

How so?

I just look in the mirror each morning and try to remember what I looked like when I was 21!
Seriously, I have no strong objection as to whether a Lodge is 'wet' or 'dry'. My own Lodge and Chapter are of the former persuasion, being Daylight meetings. 

I doubt whether young men nowadays are any less likely to abuse alcohol than their  forebears . I speak only for the land of 'Down Under', but driving a car under the influence is not a particularly smart or 'Masonic' thing to do in anyone's language. Wisdom is not necessarily a travelling companion in life's journey. Until you approach senility it is difficult to comprehend how crass you might have been in earlier days. Now that is retrospective 'wisdom'!!!Wink


Edited by Merv S - March/02/2015 at 4:20am
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/02/2015 at 7:14am
My last paragraph was sort of a couple of points and I didn't mean for them to sound like they were playing off of each other but that may be true in that younger guys have a social overload sometimes. If they are single, they may be on dating websites, social websites with constant social gatherings. Hanging with the guys after work. If they are married, especially with kids, they may pick a number of other social scenarios and wouldn't have the motivation to participate in Masonic activities. My view on alcohol isn't having parties, it's 1 or 2 drinks (wine, bourbon, brandy etc.) during dinner or right after dinner. Not slamming back a 6 pack or doing shots for 30 minutes.

I think a lot of young guys desire those days of old when men were men and have visions of grandeur of sitting around in suits *ie Mad Men* (a show I've never seen) sipping a whiskey with some other gents. Now it's taboo to do that and it shouldn't be. We are all adults. Alcohol in moderation in lodges wouldn't be a bad thing is the bottom line. Most of the Europe does it and that doesn't mean they are wrong for doing so.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/02/2015 at 9:22am
Of course this will vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction....

In terms of alcohol, you say, "Now it's taboo to do that and it shouldn't be." Maybe I am reading this wrong, but you make it sound like this prohibition against alcohol is a recent thing. The Grand Lodge of Missouri was chartered in 1821 and it wasn't until just 2 years ago that alcohol was allowed in Masonic hall for any reason. The way it stands now, alcohol can be served in the building as long as it is not in conjunction with a Masonic event. 

The main argument for lifting the prohibition had nothing to do with us being "responsible adults" who know how to handle their liquor, but many lodges, especially smaller ones, wanted to be able to rent out their buildings for parties or wedding receptions and the like, but were unable to do so with the no alcohol rule. 

I know other jurisdictions in the United States and in other countries may allow alcohol, but the prohibition in Missouri has been around for so long that I don't really even think about it. But with that being said, it is not uncommon for some of the brethren to retire to a local establishment after a meeting for smoking and/or drinking if that is their desire.


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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/02/2015 at 1:06pm

Originally posted by CLewey44 CLewey44 wrote:

I think a lot of young guys desire those days of old when men were men and have visions of grandeur of sitting around in suits *ie Mad Men* (a show I've never seen) sipping a whiskey with some other gents…   

I would say the debauched lifestyle portrayed on “Mad Men” (a show I have watched) represents “delusions of grandeur” rather than “visions of grandeur”.  It certainly does not represent what Freemasonry is.  Is “sitting around in suits…sipping a whiskey with some other gents…”, what you thought Freemasonry was before you joined and if so what gave you that idea; how does it make you more of a man and improve Masonic fellowship?

However if you feel strongly about the matter, research your Grand Lodge Code and introduce a resolution to change it.  If a majority of the delegates to the Grand Lodge session agree with you it will be changed.  



Edited by YES - March/02/2015 at 1:21pm
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