Ideas to improve the Lodge.

Discussion in 'General Freemasonry Discussion' started by widows son, Apr 26, 2013.

  1. widows son

    widows son Premium Member

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    Brethren:

    I've been informed that in 3 years time I will be a candidate to run for WM. I was very excited to hear this most amazing and awesome news. Compared to most Masons Im fairly new to the craft (I had my second birthday last month! Baby Widows Son!) and am still learning the ins and outs. In fact I probably would still be searching for some answers if it wasn't for this site, so I'm quite grateful. That being said my question to you guys is, many brethren on here are PMs and current WMs. What have you implemented during your year as WM to improve your lodge? Any ideas will be most helpful and appreciated.
     
  2. chrmc

    chrmc Registered User

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  3. jwhoff

    jwhoff Premium Member

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    This year we've lost one EA to college away from home. Thirteen others have moved through to Master Masons ... the last turning in his ALL program this past Tuesday evening. One gentleman who works off-shore for seven-week hitches plans to turn in sections two and three of the EA on his next trip home. We'll slap a FC on him before he goes back out.

    These new masters are teaching this year's crop of initiates. They are also preparing themselves to be the first graded degree team our lodge has ever produced. They are grading out at about 850 now. They'll confirm their second FC degree Monday night. I expect them to be ready to score in the 930 range by September.

    These brethren have felled trees in the back lot, built raised gardens and are preparing to harvest their first crops to provide the local food bank with fresh vegetables within the month. They've traveled together and more than half are LIFE certification holders. We're teaching them to do the degree work in all degrees. They are busy as can be and looking for more!

    Much of the success we've had is from a wise group of past masters and long-time brethren who've encouraged the new members to get in there and roll their sleeves up and work. Insistence on lodge protocol and providing topics and discussions on masonry (not just paying the bills) have kept the e-mail address and stated meetings lively and much less boring.

    We had to do this. Our active membership had taken a devastating blow over the past five years due to deaths. We now have lodge meetings with 25-30 of 200 members at each stated meeting. When I assumed the East this year we couldn't count on more than eight to ten MMs in the chairs. I only opened the Lodge of Sorrow and two stated meetings on the MM level before late November, 2012.

    Our Monday night study session now number between 13-20 each week. It's like holding stated meetings. I insist that everyone move around and greet the new fellows and visitors. "Never set in the same chair with the same group" more than once a month. Get around and talk to everyone. It's working. And it's keeping clicks from developing among the brethren. Visitors are now remarking on the friendliness of this new group and making return visits to the lodge. The excitement is catching and it can only go forward with the support of each mason in the lodge.

    You can't do this without the buy-in and solid support from your past masters. Yes, we were lucky this year. Everyone knew we had to open ourselves up to the new folks coming in. We realized that "the future is now." Depending upon how entrenched your fellow lodge members are and how willing they are to accept the new members has everything to do with how much success you will have in the East.

    That said, you must always be on guard to pour water on the politics and personal grudges you will be exposed to when assuming the East. Hopefully, once exposed, you will not lose faith and sour on the lodge. This happens all too often and is the prime reason too many past masters walk away from their active participation in the lodge. Just like that shinning city on the hill, once you get close enough you can begin to smell the garbage and it's not always a sweet smell. You just have to realize that lodges are made up of people with people-like shortcomings. We all have them. We're all exposed to them. It's where the "mettle" meets the road and makes or breaks the success of the man and the lodge during his year in the east.

    If you aren't warn out and looking forward to handing it all over to the next man coming up you haven't worked hard enough and learned what it all means to serve your lodge in the East. Sad to see the man who wants to hold on to presumed power and prestige. His year did neither his lodge nor himself any lasting good. You will know him by his play for power, recognition and control. He is a day late and a dollar short and a sad sight: even when he looks in the mirror.

    Should you do it the right way you can't miss coming out changed after that year in the East. No longer do you look at yourself, others, teamwork or the brotherhood the same way. You will be tempered and you will either make the grade as a man or not.
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2013
  4. THurse

    THurse Premium Member

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    Do you find the members are dropping off due to the floor work and has lost ambition to travel to the east. The numbers is a significant drop.
     
  5. THurse

    THurse Premium Member

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    I find that I'am being tested, which I find that keeps me very interested and steadfast.
     
  6. Roy Vance

    Roy Vance Certified Premium Member

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    I am only a JW and a JD in the Lodges I belong to, but I find that I am trying to think ahead as if it is me sitting in the east, and I find that it is sometimes difficult to get some of the Brothers to budge from their cliques. The "real" old-timers are the ones I have been picking the brains of to get ideas as to how to get Lodge attendance where it should be. Also, I got some advice from Brother JW from Tomball on the subject, that I am going to be passing along and using. I just hope I can be an effective Master when I get there, otherwise, it would not be worth the trip.
     
  7. THurse

    THurse Premium Member

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    That's great advice.
     
  8. jwhoff

    jwhoff Premium Member

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    You are right. The more interest taken in a member the better. After all, it is not a personal journey alone. Knowledge without being transfer is wasted and will soon wither on the vine.

    It is give and take. Unfortunately to many take only. A man who continues to give over time eventually realizes, if unsupported by others doing the same, that he is investing time in many people who learn their work and disappear ... leaving the work for him and a few others alone. This will weight heavy on him and the worker bees of the lodge. Many times he will just give up. It's really harder work teaching a candidate RIGHT than it is learning the work alone.

    Please always keep this in mind. As they told me, "to which much is given, much is expected." Never let four or five members do all the heavy lifting. But remember, the candidate and new brother must be nourished or he too will disappear.

    This whole thing is rather complicated. But you will find the way.
     
  9. THurse

    THurse Premium Member

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    Will definitely keep in mind. This is what I needed to read in which helps me immensely.
     
  10. widows son

    widows son Premium Member

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    "This year we've lost one EA to college away from home. Thirteen others have moved through to Master Masons ... the last turning in his ALL program this past Tuesday evening. One gentleman who works off-shore for seven-week hitches plans to turn in sections two and three of the EA on his next trip home. We'll slap a FC on him before he goes back out.

    These new masters are teaching this year's crop of initiates. They are also preparing themselves to be the first graded degree team our lodge has ever produced. They are grading out at about 850 now. They'll confirm their second FC degree Monday night. I expect them to be ready to score in the 930 range by September.

    These brethren have felled trees in the back lot, built raised gardens and are preparing to harvest their first crops to provide the local food bank with fresh vegetables within the month. They've traveled together and more than half are LIFE certification holders. We're teaching them to do the degree work in all degrees. They are busy as can be and looking for more!

    Much of the success we've had is from a wise group of past masters and long-time brethren who've encouraged the new members to get in there and roll their sleeves up and work. Insistence on lodge protocol and providing topics and discussions on masonry (not just paying the bills) have kept the e-mail address and stated meetings lively and much less boring.

    We had to do this. Our active membership had taken a devastating blow over the past five years due to deaths. We now have lodge meetings with 25-30 of 200 members at each stated meeting. When I assumed the East this year we couldn't count on more than eight to ten MMs in the chairs. I only opened the Lodge of Sorrow and two stated meetings on the MM level before late November, 2012.

    Our Monday night study session now number between 13-20 each week. It's like holding stated meetings. I insist that everyone move around and greet the new fellows and visitors. "Never set in the same chair with the same group" more than once a month. Get around and talk to everyone. It's working. And it's keeping clicks from developing among the brethren. Visitors are now remarking on the friendliness of this new group and making return visits to the lodge. The excitement is catching and it can only go forward with the support of each mason in the lodge.

    You can't do this without the buy-in and solid support from your past masters. Yes, we were lucky this year. Everyone knew we had to open ourselves up to the new folks coming in. We realized that "the future is now." Depending upon how entrenched your fellow lodge members are and how willing they are to accept the new members has everything to do with how much success you will have in the East.

    That said, you must always be on guard to pour water on the politics and personal grudges you will be exposed to when assuming the East. Hopefully, once exposed, you will not lose faith and sour on the lodge. This happens all too often and is the prime reason too many past masters walk away from their active participation in the lodge. Just like that shinning city on the hill, once you get close enough you can begin to smell the garbage and it's not always a sweet smell. You just have to realize that lodges are made up of people with people-like shortcomings. We all have them. We're all exposed to them. It's where the "mettle" meets the road and makes or breaks the success of the man and the lodge during his year in the east.

    If you aren't warn out and looking forward to handing it all over to the next man coming up you haven't worked hard enough and learned what it all means to serve your lodge in the East. Sad to see the man who wants to hold on to presumed power and prestige. His year did neither his lodge nor himself any lasting good. You will know him by his play for power, recognition and control. He is a day late and a dollar short and a sad sight: even when he looks in the mirror.

    Should you do it the right way you can't miss coming out changed after that year in the East. No longer do you look at yourself, others, teamwork or the brotherhood the same way. You will be tempered and you will either make the grade as a man or not."

    - thank you for those words of wisdom.
    My plan thus far:
    1. My lodge has many members who are starting want to "retire" from their jobs in the lodge, which is understandable, many of them have been doing active work for a number of years, and who wouldn't want a break. That being said since I've joined there has been at least 8 new candidates, all of whom are young. In my lodge, only the first and second degree are done by the lodge members, in the third we need a degree team. I would like to change that and do ALL 3 degree with the members of my lodge. The degree team does an amazing job, but how much better would it be if we could do all the degrees?

    2. Education. In the two years I've been a member, only 3 meetings TOTAL have we had Masonic education. In any sense. This I would like to change. I know many brothers across Canada and the US who have contributed many hours putting together Masonic education pieces, which with including own finding, could provide the lodge with education for a few years. (Many of these brothers are on this site!)

    3. Actively seek out local charities and other ways to sponsor local groups or events. The GL has all the charities it donates to and we do as well at the lodge, but its always to big charities. Brother Bowden had mention on another thread about sponsoring little league teams. I think this is something crucial to the lodge. Getting the lodge in involved at the local level can only result in good things. Little leagues are just one example.

    This what I've been thinking about so far. I have a few years until I have to really start buckling down. But please keep up the suggestions! Please!
     
  11. widows son

    widows son Premium Member

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    "Do you find the members are dropping off due to the floor work and has lost ambition to travel to the east. The numbers is a significant drop."

    - I don't think floor work only is what would make numbers drop. The lodge has to be able to offer more than just a business meeting, especially for younger masons. Obviously the business is crucial to the lodge, but it shouldn't be the only thing that is crucial.
     
  12. jwhoff

    jwhoff Premium Member

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    You are thinking brother. And you are reasoning well! You must make sure the new group gets through. Don't let them settle in. Get them involved teaching and working with the charities.

    Here's another suggestion. Get with your district instructor and start a group working toward their certifications. Start with the C Certification. It is the most critical to preparation of new instructors. Make sure the work is being done properly. Get buy in and have the brethren help each other through the work. Don't tolerate one-ups-man ship for anyone in the group. Make sure the group fails if only a few get through and get their certifications. This can be done!

    This you can start now with the approval of the current and future WM. Pull them together and get them working and having fun. Your lodge will transform itself in just a few years.
     
  13. widows son

    widows son Premium Member

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    Thanks for the advice! Although I'm not familiar with the C certification. I've heard it mentioned on it here but not much else. Could you elaborate?
     
  14. jwhoff

    jwhoff Premium Member

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    No problem.

    Esoteric work:

    EA 1st, 2nd, 3rd sections

    FC

    MM

    Esoteric Openings:

    MM

    MM Lodge of Sorrow

    EA

    FC

    Calling up or down from one degree to another. Usually from MM to either EA or FC

    Any brother with a C certification is well qualified to become a lodge instructor.
     
  15. widows son

    widows son Premium Member

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    I haven't seen any of that. Only proficiency in degree work. When the SD is going for JW he has to recite the JW lecture. Same with the SW going to master. I'm not sure if there's anything else to be honest.
     
  16. THurse

    THurse Premium Member

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    This is the things that I have to pay more attention to so that I may give a helping hand properly without fault. Brother Widow, in which you have said should be followed by example.
     
  17. widows son

    widows son Premium Member

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    "This is the things that I have to pay more attention to so that I may give a helping hand properly without fault. Brother Widow, in which you have said should be followed by example."

    - your to kind brother.
     
  18. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

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    Widows_son,

    I suggest you go to GL and socialize with brothers from all over the state. You will meet old timers who are holding up otherwise ailing lodges. You will meet teams from thriving lodges. Ask what the thriving lodges are doing. Then do that.

    It sounds simple except you'll discover that there's an assortment of practices that turn an ailing lodge into a thriving lodge. More masonry in men comes in many forms. Make sure there's a social event on the calendar every month. Dinners, service events, charity fundraisers, social activities. Keep a mix going and notice which ones worked. Talk up the ones that worked and pass them down the line for future years.

    Assign individual brothers to work specific events. You may find a lodge that hosts an annual BBQ where some of the brothers that do it only show up for that event but they've been doing it for decades. You may assign a new brother a project and end up a PM cheering him on several years later and he sits in the east.

    I've tried to have a theme each time I've been in the east. Twice I did blue lodge and appendant bodies working together (I joined the Scottish Rite and first time, the Shrine the second time.
     
  19. widows son

    widows son Premium Member

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    Thanks bro. I plan on going to the annual communication this year, so ill have an opportunity to pick some brains. We also have a lot of events going on, throughput the year, but I think it's a great idea to have newer brethren assume the role.
     
  20. THurse

    THurse Premium Member

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    That's great and I hope everything will add up for you.
     

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