Creating a New Lodge

Discussion in 'General Freemasonry Discussion' started by nfasson, Oct 31, 2013.

  1. nfasson

    nfasson Registered User

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    Just out of curiosity, can a Mason or Masons create their own Lodge if they want or is it a difficult process?

    Examples include being a member a large Lodge and wanting to create a smaller one, or being in an area with no Lodge at all.

    Thanks!




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  2. JJones

    JJones Moderator Staff Member

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    I can only speak for Texas but it is a very difficult process here.
     
  3. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

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    Masons can't "create their own lodge" as such. They have to go through a regular and recognized Grand Lodge. It may sound the same on the surface but the distinction is important. Every regular lodge must have a clearly documented lineage to the founding lodges. Any other lineage is clandestine.

    The process is simple, but simple is not the same thing as easy. It takes a number of brothers who are willing to get the lodge running. How many depends on the jurisdiction. I've heard as low as 20 in Illinois and as high as 50 in Texas, not positive that either is accurate. Looking up the rules is definitely step one in the process. Gather the willing brothers, find a location, apply for a dispensation, manage to get enough candidates that you are conferring degrees regularly, apply for a charter, show up in force at grand lodge to receive your charter, party out.
     
  4. crono782

    crono782 Premium Member

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    also IIRC, you have to get permission from other lodges within a certain radius of you if they exist. maybe to prevent oversaturation of lodges/spreading members too thin in lodges?
     
  5. Brother JC

    Brother JC Vigilant Staff Member

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    The process should be laid out in your GL's By-laws.
     
  6. Bill Lins

    Bill Lins Moderating Staff Staff Member

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    You had to ask! :wink: Here's what the GLoTX has to say about it:

    CHAPTER 1 – TITLE II
    LODGES UNDER DISPENSATION


    Art. 180. (220). Petition to Grand Master.
    The petition for a dispensation for a new Lodge shall be addressed to the Grand Master. He alone has the power to grant same, and may revoke it at his pleasure.
    Art. 181. (221). In County Without a Lodge.
    A petition for a dispensation for a new Lodge to be located in a County in which there is no Lodge must be signed by not less than seven (7) known Master Masons, who reside in said County.
    Art. 182. (222). In County Having Lodge.
    A petition for dispensation for a new Lodge to be located in a county within which one or more Lodges have been organized and still exist, shall only be granted upon the petition of not less than twenty Master Masons, if said Lodge is to be located in a town or city of less than ten thousand inhabitants, or in the rural districts. In cities of ten thousand inhabitants or more the petition for dispensation must be signed by not less than fifty Master Masons.
    Art. 183. (223). Approval of Other Lodges Required.
    Approval of petition for dispensation for a new Lodge must be obtained under the procedure provided in Art. 185 from other Lodge or Lodges located with reference to the new Lodge, as follows:
    If the location of the new Lodge is:
    1. Not within the concurrent jurisdiction of another Lodge, he approval must be by the Lodge located nearest thereto by airline distance.
    2. Within the concurrent jurisdiction of one or two Lodges, the approval must be by each of such Lodges.
    3. Within the concurrent jurisdiction of three or more Lodges, the approval must be by a majority of such Lodges.
    Art. 184. (224). Petitioners and Their Credentials.
    All petitions for dispensations for new Lodges shall be actually signed by each of the petitioners in person, and his certificate of dimission, or of good standing, must be attached thereto except in cases otherwise provided. Should a dispensation be issued all the signers become members of the new Lodge.
    Art. 185. (225). Approval of Other Lodges: How Obtained.
    The petition for dispensation for a new Lodge must be submitted to the Lodge or Lodges required under Art. 183 at a stated meeting for its consideration, and must be voted on at a subsequent stated meeting. A favorable vote of two-thirds of the members present is necessary for its approval, and the number of the votes for and against the motion to approve must be set forth in the certificate of recommendation, and recorded in the minutes of the Lodge.
    Art. 186. (226). Petitioners Cannot Vote. In voting upon a request for a recommendation of a petition for a dispensation for a new Lodge, those who signed the petition shall not vote thereon.
    Art. 187. (227). Proficiency of Officers.
    In recommending a petition for a new Lodge by dispensation, the Lodge shall submit to the Grand Secretary a properly executed Form 16 as its avouchment that the Brethren named for Master and Wardens are qualified collectively to confer the first three degrees of Ancient Craft Masonry, in due and ancient form; and that the Dimits and Certificates of Good Standing of all petitioners are attached to the petition; or that the absence of the same has been satisfactorily accounted for. Officers of the new Lodge must be petitioners.
    Art. 188. (228). Grand Master Receives Fee and Issues Dispensation.
    Every dispensation for a new Lodge shall be signed and sealed by the Grand Master, but before doing so he shall receive a fee of twenty-five dollars therefor, which shall immediately be transmitted to the Grand Secretary.
    Art. 189. (229). Conditions Pertaining to Dispensation.
    The dispensation for a new Lodge shall be issued subject to the condition that such Lodge shall make its returns of work, contributions and dues; and shall petition for a Charter at the next Annual Communication of this Grand Lodge; and if a Charter be refused by this Grand Lodge, the dispensation shall terminate and the Lodge be immediately dissolved unless the Lodge be continued under dispensation by action of the Grand Lodge. If charter is granted, the Lodge cannot operate until it is constituted, but its territorial and personal jurisdiction, as it existed under dispensation is preserved pending its constitution.
    Art. 191. (231). Cannot Operate Until Organized.
    A new Lodge under Dispensation cannot transact any business or receive petitions for degrees or affiliation until it is regularly organized and set to work by the Grand Master or his duly authorized representative.
    Art. 192. (232). Cannot Elect Officers.
    Lodges under dispensation cannot elect officers, but may recommend brethren for such officers to the Grand Lodge when petitioning for a Charter. The Grand Lodge shall name all elective officers of a newly chartered Lodge.
    Art. 193. (233). Officers Not Installed: Cannot Vote in Grand Lodge.
    The officers of Lodges under dispensation shall not be installed; and such Lodges are not entitled to representation nor to vote in the Grand Lodge.
    Art. 194. (234). By-Laws.
    Every Lodge under dispensation shall use the by-laws approved by this Grand Lodge and printed in Form No. 23 of these laws until its own by-laws are approved.


    Art. 202. (241). Who May Apply.
    A Lodge operating under dispensation, or members of a chartered Lodge whose membership has become too numerous for work with convenience; or a group of dimitted or non-affiliated Masons, may petition this Grand Lodge for a Warrant or Charter to form a new Lodge. Every member of a Lodge so petitioning must first pay all accrued dues to his Lodge and notify it in writing of his intention to petition for a Charter. If Charter is granted, the Lodge cannot operate until it is constituted, but its territorial and personal jurisdiction, as it existed under dispensation is preserved pending its constitution.
    Art. 203. (242). Petition For Charter of New Lodge: By Members of Existing Lodge.
    When the members of an existing Lodge petition for a charter for a new Lodge, such petition must be signed by each petitioner himself and must state the causes which make it expedient for a new Lodge to be formed, and must contain the names of the proposed Worshipful Master and Wardens. It must be presented to the Lodge of which they are members at a stated meeting and be considered at a subsequent stated meeting. If said Lodge approves the petition it must vouch for the causes stated and for the qualifications of the brethren named for Worshipful Master and Wardens. If said Lodge does not approve the petition, it must state clearly and specifically its reasons for its disapproval. The action of the Lodge must be certified by the Secretary under the seal of the Lodge and be attached to the petition.
    NOTE: Every Lodge Chartered by the Grand Lodge is a Corporation (body politic) under the laws of the State, having the right to own property, contract, sue and be sued and all other rights of corporations created under the enabling statutes which are set forth in Division I. No Lodge has the power to obtain a separate charter, and any attempt to do so is illegal and void. A Lodge Under Dispensation is not a corporation and can not incorporate. See also Art. 28.
    Art. 204. (243). Petition for Charter of New Lodge: Who Else May Sign Petition.
    A petition for a new Lodge may be signed by members of an existing Lodge and may be signed also by any dimitted or nonaffiliated Mason who may be invited to join in such petition, under the same rules and regulations as provided for petitions for a charter by dimitted or nonaffiliated Masons.
    Art. 205. (244). Petition for Charter of New Lodge: By Dimitted and Non-Affiliated Masons.
    Dimitted or nonaffiliated Masons, domiciled in this jurisdiction may petition the Grand Lodge for a charter for a new Lodge, without having first worked under a dispensation. Such petition shall be personally signed by each applicant, and his dimit attached thereto, or its absence accounted for to the satisfaction of the Grand Lodge. The petition must be referred to the nearest Lodge by air line, for approval and recommendation. The said petition shall contain the provisions, and be subject to the procedure, in so far as same may be applicable, provided in Articles 203, 204, 206 and 207. Such petition shall be governed by the provisions of Arts. 181 and 182 as regards the number of Master Masons whose signature are required.
    Art. 206. (245). Petition Sent to Grand Secretary.
    A petition for a charter for a new Lodge, together with a properly executed Form No. 16 attesting to the action thereon of Lodges which approve same, must be sent to the Grand Secretary not later than September 15 in order to be submitted to the Grand Lodge at its next Annual Communication. (Revised 1992)
    Art. 207. (246). Approval of Other Lodges.
    A petition for Charter must be submitted to other Lodge or Lodges for approval as provided in Arts. 183 and 185 for dispensation petitions.
    Art. 208. (247). Disapproved Petition: Sent to Grand Lodge.
    When the Lodge or Lodges, whose duty it is to act, disapproves the petition for a Charter, the petition may be presented to the Grand Lodge, notwithstanding, for its consideration and action thereon.

    Bet you thought there'd be a simple answer to your question, huh? :lol:
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2013
  7. cemab4y

    cemab4y Premium Member

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    The procedure varies from state to state. I have been interested in this for some time, and I have done some research with respect to starting a new lodge in Virginia. I enlisted the aid of a past deputy district Grand Master, for his advice. I suggest that you locate a DDGM for guidance. And if you can find someone who has started a new lodge in your state, he can advise you as well.
     
  8. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

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    Verbose but I found it simple enough.

    Quorum - Seven to open a lodge in a new location, nice and small number. Twenty to open a lodge in a county that already has a lodge, the traditional number I know from other jurisdictions. Fifty to open a lodge in a town that isn't tiny, a number I consider ridiculously restrictive. Clearly this fifty number is what has been discussed before on this forum. That high number seems to be to limit the number of lodges in a city yet there are 30+ lodges in San Antonio cable tow anyways. We can still go to Outer West Soybean Field and charter a lodge there with only the smallest quorum for a business meeting.

    Cable tow - There's mention of "concurrent jurisdiction". That would be the traditional cable tow of a Mason and thus the territory of a lodge. To form more lodges inside the territory of the existing lodge it takes permission. No surprise there as petitioning follows the same process with "Waiver of Jurisdiction" forms that are available from the Gr Sec office of many jurisdictions but rarely used/enforced. Same rule, different viewpoint.

    Dispensation then charter - GM one year, GL the next. The usual tradition.

    Administrivia and legalese - Language of that sort is needed to make sure everyone knows what the details are. There is a lot of such language but none of it as significant impact on the process.
     
  9. crono782

    crono782 Premium Member

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    I would think the really high number for large cities probably IS to discourage spawning lodges so easily. Imagine if SA had 50+ lodges, add to that houston, fort worth, dallas, el paso. I could see how it might turn into an administrative nightmare if the overall amount of lodges in TX were to increase by, say, 30%. I don't think it should be such a barrier, but I can see the logic, if that is indeed the reason.
     
  10. JJones

    JJones Moderator Staff Member

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    I think more lodges, with smaller and more tightly knit membership would be a good thing. If its scary from an admin perspective then maybe some decentralization should take place?

    Seven is a great number in my opinion. 20 is really pushing it and requiring 50 is a bit absurd.
     
  11. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

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    The logic that it encourages large lodges is clear. The question is why large lodges should be encouraged in the first place? For the first century American jurisdictions followed the established tradition of small lodges that lived and died. But around a century ago the American tradition shifted to large lodges. One result was large albatross buildings that are a problem to maintain. I don't know if that change was deliberate or if it happened organically.

    Do we want to retain the large lodge system or do we want to return to the small lodge system? Brothers who are not aware there ever was a small lodge system might never think of the question.
     
  12. crono782

    crono782 Premium Member

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    Got me on that one. I can't see a reason beyond the current "that's the way it's been". Maybe at a time when masonry was in a boom during the "GAoF", it made sense to accommodate the influx. Now though?...
    I can't see how sticking with the larger lodges who are only getting 15-25% attendance is helping anybody. I'd prefer smaller lodges w/ higher attendance and have lodges share a building to accommodate the bills/dues shift. This similarly reflects my preference for changing the membership dynamic to less members, but the ones that are there quite a bit less aloof.
     
  13. nfasson

    nfasson Registered User

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    The Lodge that I would be petitioning has over 300 members, and while I have no plans on diverting course in search of a smaller Lodge, I think that smaller still seems better.




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  14. safehouse

    safehouse Registered User

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    Last edited: Nov 24, 2013
  15. safehouse

    safehouse Registered User

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    Last edited: Nov 24, 2013
  16. FlBrother324

    FlBrother324 Registered User

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    Reminds me of the old adage: Does one want to be a "big fish in a little pond, or a little fish in a big pond?" I've always found the latter is less personal, and tends to marginalize the individuals effort when in a larger setting. Quantity over quality. Give me the small Lodge any day. Just my humble opinion.
    MTGAOTU Bless you all.
     
  17. rhitland

    rhitland Founding Member Premium Member

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    I'll take the big lodge. I would love to be apart of a big active lodge.
     

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