What would you like to see changed in Masonry?

Discussion in 'General Freemasonry Discussion' started by cemab4y, Jul 17, 2009.

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  1. cemab4y

    cemab4y Premium Member

    What changes would you like to see in Craft Masonry (and the appendant bodies)? Here are some things I would like to see:

    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.

    These are just a few of the things I would like to see changed in Craft Masonry in the USA

    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 9, 2009
  2. TCShelton

    TCShelton Founding Member Premium Member

    Definitely good stuff.
  3. rhitland

    rhitland Founding Member Premium Member

    A Lodge have the power and responsibility to govern itself.
  4. cemab4y

    cemab4y Premium Member

    From Chris Hodapp PM

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

    "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 *****ing 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!
  5. Nate Riley

    Nate Riley Premium Member

    Good ideas!

    I agree with all but the last. I don't think it is necessary to have alcohol in the lodge. I do think it could potentially distracting if allowed and not properly handled.

    I like to have a drink every now and then myself. Occasionally (actually regularly for some, occasionally for me), after Lodge meetings, a group of us go down to a local establishment for a little extra social time. I think the best way to handle it is by enacting a social group (your item 10), whether it be formally or informally (as in our case) that is open to drinking and could plan events where brothers wanting to partake could.
  6. scottmh59

    scottmh59 Registered User

    great stuff..i wouldnt complain if i was able to smoke a cigar during lodge:) but obviously i know that cant happen...still i wouldnt mind.:)
    but being able to govern our own lodge is right at the top of my list.
  7. Hippie19950

    Hippie19950 Premium Member

    When deciding about alcohol, remember Brothers who have had a problem, and may also be members of AA etc. Whether it is supposed to happen or not, some develop a problem, and do not need us putting that in their face for temptation. The one's I know from around the counrty side are pretty strong. Otherwise, a lot of good ideas. I have seen smoking rooms in some places, but not many these days. I don't have a problem with it, unless I have a cold, and am in a small enclosed area. I don't smoke, but will allow you to. Since I chew, I tell smokers "If you don't blow smoke in my face, I won't spit......" works pretty good :) Many good ideas, and I hope to try to see some implemented in our Lodge, Thanks.
  8. Blake Bowden

    Blake Bowden Administrator Staff Member

    All aboard the bump train! I love this thread.

    Here's my .02:

    As a Lodge:
    • Don’t rely on District Degree teams as they are a crutch for laziness. If you want to suck the life out of your Lodge, don’t practice Freemasonry.
    • Depending on your jurisdiction, publicize Lodge events in your Local newspaper. If a Brother reaches the sublime degree of a Master Mason, advertise it! Most newspapers will print non-profit organization events for free. Not only would it make a new Master Mason proud, it would provide free publicity for the Lodge. Make sure to include a line for contact information.
    • Your Lodge should be easily accessible for possible candidates. Are phone calls returned? Emails followed up?
    • Get a answering machine. There are so many Lodges that I've visited who do not have one.
    • Don’t be afraid to Blackball. We need more Masons, not members.
    • Visit neighboring Lodges. To have visitors, you must be one. It’s a two way street folks.
    • A donation pot should be provided for dinners. During these trying times, it's unfair to expect a Brother to cover the entire cost of feeding the Lodge. Just because one person may be able to, doesn't mean others can.
    • At least 5-10 minutes of EVERY lodge meeting should be allocated for education, poems, lectures, reading of bylaws, etc. I don't want to hear moaning and groaning. If you have no desire for further light, go somewhere else.
    • Make it easy for a Non-Mason to become one. They shouldn’t have to start their journey by digging for information.
    • Depending on your jurisdiction, hold an Open House at least once a year. I don't care if this was tried before and the turnout was good or bad. We have all new literature and videos that could be presented. Advertise the hell out of it. Make posters, contact newspapers, etc. Have snacks available for guests and be prepared to answer ANY question they may have.
    • Most Lodges out there have Brothers who are upset with the Lodge or a particular member. One of the senior officers should be in contact and mediate the situation.
    • DON’T let your new EA get away. Explain to him that it’s not about National Treasure or some world domination secret but the Brotherhood. DON’T let him slip through your fingers. Encourage his participation and/or start him in the chairs.
    • Brag about your Lodge history! Have a Brother write an article about your Lodge and it’s history. Most newspapers would LOVE to post something like that...free of charge.
    • If you really want to make a change, don’t nominate Brothers WHO ARE UNQUALIFIED or LAZY. Being a Warden or WM isn’t a Right, IT’S a privilege. If you nominate crap, expect crap.
    • Start a Lodge Newsletter. Include poems, literature, masonic humor, etc. Thanks to the internet, I've been able to produce fresh newsletters chock full of articles, trivia, humor, education, etc. Print a double sided tri-fold newsletter. It's short and to the point, yet makes it's own envelope when you fold it. Our older Brothers who are unable to attend Lodge appreciate being kept in the loop.
    • If your Lodge can’t put on a decent degree, don’t Bother trying. It's UNFAIR to the candidate!!!!
    • Don't be a Lodge who's only event is a fundraiser to keep the lights on. BLAH
    • Give credit where credit is due. If a Brother works his butt off, the least you can do is thank him during a stated meeting. It's amazing what a small token of thanks can do.
    • All Lodges have a Brother(s) who are the "bearers of burden". What do I mean? You know, they're the ones who carry the Lodge, are called at anytime to address an issues, the goto guy, etc. I've seen many times where they no longer attend lodge because they work their butts off and receive nothing in return. There are times when refreshment is needed. Offer it

    For Our Lodge Members

    • Host a Lodge Christmas/Holiday Party. Wives, children and family members invited. Everyone bring a dish, let the kids run wild and have a good time.
    • Host a game night once a month at the Lodge. This could include Texas Holdem, poker, dominoes, etc.
    • Young guys, invite the girlfriend or wives to dinner on meeting nights.
    • Host Lodge picnics or family events for no reason other than fellowship.
    • Host a Lodge Camp Out! This could be held on private or public land such as a state park.
    • Have a quarterly “Lodge Cleanupâ€. We should take pride in our Masonic Temples. The Lodge would be cleaned top to bottom, air filters changed, vents cleaned, floors shined etc.
    • Host a Fishing Tournament. Not only would this allow Lodge members to have fun, but the public as well. What a great way for a Lodge to be out in the community.
    • Host a yearly BBQ Cookoff.
    • Host a Golf Tournament. You should invite lodges in surrounding districts AND the public to participate. Remember...take pics, write a small blurb and submit to the paper. Good fun, good publicity, and maybe new petitioners!
    • Cards should be sent out to those Brethren who are unable to attend Lodge. Just because they're physically unable to, doesn't mean they are less important because one day we'll be in their shoes.
    • If a Brother would like to attend Lodge, but is unable to drive, we need to figure out a way for someone to pick him up.
    • We'll host a Fathers Day cookout. "Bouncy houses" will be provided free of charges for the kids and grand-kids. Lodge provides the meat, members bring sides and desert.
    • Host a Lodge Easter Egg Hunt. Members, families and guests are encouraged to participate.
    • We'll look at the possibility hosting a Super Bowl party at the Lodge.
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2009
  9. JEbeling

    JEbeling Guest

    I think the answer to your question is NOT MUCH.. ! all the items you have listed are great and masonary is a personal item to members. I think the items you have listed shows that masonary teaches young masons the different between taking care of your fellow man / kids and indifference.. ! as long as we pass this craft along to brethren who can make list and see the work in masonary as exciting.

    We are a strange orginazition... ! in that we have people who join our lodges and never walk back in lodge and become great masons.. ! we have others who work at the ritual and the passing on of our work.. ! but yet we are all masons and meet upon level.. !
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 15, 2009
  10. owls84

    owls84 Moderator Premium Member

    In addition to the above things listed, I would like to see more accountability from the bottom up. Members on Lodge Committees should be assigned certain goals. They should then report to the Jr. Warden, as in the LIFE Program, and he should report to the WM. If something is not going well the Jr. Warden should make recommendations to remove the Chair and replace him with a more qualified Brother. Then use the experience to former the former chairman. For those that excel at committees they should be able to move into a chair and given more responsibility. Constantly, being evaluated and held accountable. This goes all the way to the top. I am afraid accountability has been lost in many levels throughout the process and would like to see it come back.

    I sure wish I could say that my answer was NOT MUCH but that would be defrauding myself.
  11. Sirius

    Sirius Registered User

    Accountability seems to be the plague of the day for the Masonic Order. From the Lodge to the Grand Lodge, accountability seems to be more of a recommendation than a rule. If this is not so, then why do so many Masons not understand Masonry?
  12. wwinger

    wwinger Registered User

    I agree wholeheartedly in principle, but there is a problem in practice. Our members have to see a need for the education before they will partake of it.

    I am in the Rio Grande Valley. There are, I would guess, ten Lodges here. That means TWENTY people that should attend the Wardens' Retreat. In 2008, when it was held in Corpus Christi, THREE of us attended.

    On most Monday nights there is a ritual workshop at Point Isabel 33. It is open to all Master Masons, regardless of whether or not they belong to the Lodge. It is well publicized, (even Tom Wimberly's newsletter out of Corpus Christi announces it), and even though it is now about a year old, I think the most that have attended is six. A few times there have been only two and on a couple of occasions, only one.

    Wanting to have education provided at the District level is a nobel goal but first we need to have a desire for education at the Lodge level.
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2009
  13. Sirius

    Sirius Registered User

    Yet another sign that we have to many Lodges. Education should be one of the center functions of a Lodge. The fact that so many do not shows that Lodges are in complete disrepair and not functioning as Lodges, therefore should forfeit their charter.
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2009
  14. JTM

    JTM "Just in case" Premium Member

    people have been saying this since time immemorial, i believe.
  15. Wingnut

    Wingnut Premium Member

    Masonry is different things to different people. Education isnt everyones bag and cant be forced onto people. If they want it they will come. Since most lodges consider 10% participation GOOD, I would guess that 10% of those would be a good turn out for education nights. It also depends on the program and how its done. The popularity of the Master Craftsman Programs tell me there is a need for education however, we just need to work on the HOW and WHAT part
  16. kcir

    kcir Registered User

    I found a list of lodges in my didtrict here in San Antonio. It has directions to the lodge, when they meet and lodge phone number. I would like to see a list of up coming events for the various lodges, especially any degree work they have coming up. I would rather visit a lodge when they have something going on, rather than just a stated meeting. A special web site for all lodges in the district would be nice.
  17. kcir

    kcir Registered User

    I would like to to a waiting period of newly raised masons before they were allowed to join other masonic bodies. A man becomes a mason and before he can learn what it is to be a mason, he is out of blue lodge and with some other masonic body. I would like to see a waiting period of 1 year before a new mason could leave blue lodge. Blue lodge does all the work and then they loose him to another part of masonry. Just because he is raised doesn't mean that he knows what it is to be a mason. Allow blue lodge a little time to educate the brother before he moves on.
  18. diagft32

    diagft32 Registered User

    I believe that if we stressed understanding the ritual as much as we do memorizing it(please don't misunderstand, the memory work is important, you have to know the ritual and work to really understand it) many of these stated problems would necessarily be rectified.

    kcir, if you would like to travel towards the West(literally), check out this page: http://www.51stmasonicdistrict.txmasons.org/
  19. js4253

    js4253 Premium Member Premium Member

    I agree that Masonry doesn't need to change. It's rich history and teachings is what attracted me to the Craft. All the ideas expressed in this thread can be implemented without changing Masonry. The key to keeping Masonry alive and going forward is finding Brothers that were first prepared at heart. You can't teach that, it has to be in the man. If it is not in his heart to learn and participate a man can not be forced to be a Mason.
    Just my opinion.
  20. JTM

    JTM "Just in case" Premium Member

    i'm actually changing my opinion on this original post...

    we should let lodges do whatever works for them. those that succeed will continue to live on, those that don't, keep note of what they did wrong.

    if lodges want help, give it to them. if they don't, don't force it on them.
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