Masons continue to spread goodwill

Discussion in 'General Freemasonry Discussion' started by Blake Bowden, Jun 5, 2010.

  1. Blake Bowden

    Blake Bowden Administrator Staff Member

    COSHOCTON -- Like many clubs and organizations across the country, the 19th Masonic District Association of Free and Accepted Masons of Ohio has noticed a decline in membership throughout the years.

    At age 65, when Rodgers became a Mason in 1973, there were 225,000 others in Ohio. Today that number is 113,000.

    "It's hard to get the younger generation, and we need them," he said. "They're our future."

    The district, which includes Coshocton County and its five lodges, recently awarded three of its local members pins and certificates for their milestones in the organization.

    Bob I. Evans, 92, and Chester Loos, 90, each were honored for 60 years, while L.D. "Duke" St. John was recognized for 50 years.

    "It's not an honor we're conferring on you," Rodgers told the men during the ceremonies, "it's an honor you've conferred on us for being a member that long."

    The 50 and 60 years of membership is a milestone not reached by many today, Rodgers said.

    "The Grand Lodge has just issued that we give (pins) at 35 and 40 years because we have a lot of brothers who don't come until about 50 years old or so, and they may not be around to get a 50-year pin," he said.

    The average age of a Mason today is about 65, he added.

    "(Fifty to 60 years) may not sound like much to people who don't belong, but that's a lot of money and dues that you have supported your lodge with over the last few years," Rodgers told the men. "Your membership is very viable to the running of the lodge, and you have set a trail for these gentlemen to follow."

    Because there was a delay in presenting the certificates, Rodgers said Evans, Loos and St. John actually will be due for their next milestone pinning in a few years for 65 and 55 years, respectively.

    Through yearly dues and fundraising efforts, Masons support charitable organizations in the community. Its biggest effort goes toward Ohio's Special Olympics in which Masons have supported with nearly 70 percent of the expenses this past year. Subordinate bodies of the masonry support a host of other causes.

    Brad Hess, worshipful master of West Lafayette Lodge 602, said being a Mason makes a good person better.

    "It's something that feels good," he said. "We try to help out friends and neighbors in times of need."

    Becoming a Mason is something that has to be done on a person's own free will, Rodgers said.

    "We cannot, due to our constitution, go out and say we want you to join the Masonic Lodge," he said. "They have to do it by themselves."

    While not a religious organization, Rodgers said the men's work is tied to Bible scriptures.

    "There's no benefits (to membership) other than the benefit you get from here (your heart) for what you can do for people and that's what it's for," he said. "There's no bar, there's no strip tickets or entertainment. It's basically meetings (and ritualistic work)."
  2. JTM

    JTM "Just in case" Premium Member

    good stuff.

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