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Posted: 9/12/2011 4:26:01 PM EST
Brothers, have you ever been a member of a lodge that is slowly falling apart, or not so slowly? I will be installed as SD this Oct. as I make my way up the line. I am also a member of the Temple Board and head of our finance committee.

I am reasonably sure in four years when I would be master, my Lodge will be gone. We are a dysfunctional group. Financially we are OK if not strong. We have around 120 members, but only a core group of twenty or so that do anything. We sold our building five years ago that we owned for 84 and found out last week we are being evicted at the end of the year. Because of the stock market we can’t afford to build or buy. Another lodge in the area is going to take us in, but is far enough away I’m certain we are going to lose members. We are going to have a hard time “recruiting” members with no lodge in the city we claim to be from. The list goes on.

I feel like I’m wasting my time and energy with this Lodge. I care a lot for all my brothers individually but as a group we suck.

Just trying to figure it all out.

Please speak up if you have any advice
Link Posted: 9/12/2011 5:25:28 PM EST
[Last Edit: 9/12/2011 5:26:31 PM EST by cjfj]
you're not alone in your situation. When I move to Va, my FL lodge over 400 members, down from the 500 or so when I joined some 12 years before. The Va lodge had about 100 and only about 10 would show up for a meeting. It took one spark plug of a member to start things rolling. A couple of things he did was to have a diner before every meeting. Talking to people about the order and inviting them to the diner. While I still hold to the old school about no soliciting, you can bring up the lodge in conversation and from that questions are asked.

I've talked to allot of brothers who no longer come out and found that there are about four main reasons for lack of attendance. 1. to old to drive, and no longer know any of the members to ask for a ride. 2 had a difference of opinion with a brother that was strong enough that he felt he should stay away for the good of the order. Other party was generally an line officer. 3 "Same old thing" walk in pay bills and leave, here's where a diner or education night helps. 4 does not feel comfortable with his memory / recall of the work.

Get the core group to gather and find out why members stay away and then work to remedy the issues.

Other things that help is append orders, OES, Amaranth, don't forget the youth groups DeMolay and Rainbow for Girls is a good place to "recruit" further members and fathers. Jobie's and the others help keep your members interested in Lodge.

Good Luck
Link Posted: 9/12/2011 5:29:30 PM EST
One other piece of advice I would give. No matter how few there are do not let the ritual fail. This is perhaps the most important thing in Lodge

Link Posted: 9/12/2011 5:55:16 PM EST
[Last Edit: 9/12/2011 5:58:13 PM EST by OverScoped]
before my time as a mason, my lodge was 4 seperate lodges. the merging happened sometime in the mid 90's. we do what we must to survive. for instance, PA is changing some of its old fashioned ways to boost membership and it is working, for the first time in 50 years we had a positive growth. Positive growth means that more men join than die. Masonry used to be a old man club with old ideas, well not in our lodge it isnt. I was in lodge tonight and we read 7 petitions and voted on 4 others. Next Monday we will be doing 3 First Degrees. there have been 4 or 5 petitions per month submitted since I was raised in June.

My advise to you is to join in with the other lodge. you will have strength in numbers and can say to new members that you are a good lodge with many activities and you participate in the community as well as have (insert Number here) members who participate regularly. we all know if nobody comes to the meetings then there is no brotherhood.

One idea that I like, is if you are over 60 and you sponsor 2 men a year under a certain age, then your membership dues that year are waived. many men in our lodge are participating in this program and I dont feel that it is being abused.

good luck, Brother.
Link Posted: 9/13/2011 5:02:15 AM EST
Prolly no easy answers to this dilema.
You have to work with what you've got, so gather up the brothers that really want it to survive and talk it over. There's nothing wrong with sharing a lodgeROOM with another lodge, we share ours with two others, plus OES and Demolay. Do whatever you have to do to keep your charter.
Link Posted: 9/13/2011 11:54:27 AM EST
Obstacles in the path of the weak are stepping stones for the strong.

Freemasonry is a strong organization because of it's strong membership.

You state your lodge is strong financially. That's a very good thing to help you through this from a logistical standpoint.

Yes, you may lose some members. But those are probably not contributing to the functioning of the lodge except by their dues. And many that are members of appendant bodies will realize they must maintain their Blue Lodge membership to continue.

Take that strong core of officers and members and drive on. Don't look to the past and dwell. Look forward and build. Start planning your year now.
Link Posted: 9/16/2011 5:29:12 AM EST
Link Posted: 9/16/2011 6:30:57 AM EST
I recently had the pleasure of visiting the lodge in Telluride, Colorado as part of Colorado's celebration of 150 years of Masonry there. (Congrats, brothers) The lodge was small in membership numbers - only 3 live in or near Telluride - buy they were strong in commitment. It will probably be better long-term if you can rally the core group to commit to making it work.
Keep us posted, and good luck.
Link Posted: 9/20/2011 9:37:01 AM EST
Suggest a "Rusty Brother" night... Send a letter to every member asking them to come and have a meal. Tell them not to worry if they are rusty on the work, there will be Brothers there who care about them and want them to be comfortable. Let all of them know that rides are available and each will be coached before the meeting on the "word" etc.

Worked great for us, now we have 20-30 at meetings.
Link Posted: 9/26/2011 2:31:46 PM EST
Originally Posted By cjfj:
One other piece of advice I would give. No matter how few there are do not let the ritual fail. This is perhaps the most important thing in Lodge

See this is where I disagree. I agree ritual IS very important,but at times it seems to become the only thing a lodge or a Masonic district focuses on. I was raised a Master Mason in PA. Ritual is all (until very recently) memorized from mouth to ear. Nothing written down. I have been to our school of education and watched other officers argue for an eternity over the proper pronunciation of a single word. I understand the value of knowing the ritual but in my district at least it has become the primary focus. My lodge has over 700 registered members and on a great night 65+ might show up.As a group,in my area that is all we do. Make new Masons and lose them once they are raised. Who wants to do nothing but go over lodge admin. work and schedule additional meetings in order to raise more Masons just to increase numbers. As a result a fellow brother and I have been going to many other lodges looking for a home. One that has not become so anonymous that the very town they are established in has no clue who they are. I know I sound negative and I don't mean to but in the recent past Masons were more an integral part of the communities they are established in. I have encountered some lodges in VA. that have maintained a level of proficiency in ritual and are important members of their locality. I fear we are in danger of becoming completely irrelevant. And please I don't say this lightly,I was well on my way through the chairs before dropping out. I just want to use my very limited free time in a more proactive manner. We all became Masons for our own reasons and we all follow our own path to light and no path is wrong. I just want more from my lodge than rote memorization.
Link Posted: 9/26/2011 2:47:35 PM EST
Link Posted: 9/26/2011 4:31:30 PM EST
Thank you.
Link Posted: 9/30/2011 9:03:28 AM EST
I came from a Lodge in Western Maryland to my home Lodge now on the other side of the state. It was a bit of a culture shock. I honestly felt that the Lodge was day to day at the time and could fold any minute.

Times have changed through hardwork and Fraternity. We are now a very strong Lodge. We have so much work to do, we went dark a month late and came back a month early. We regularly have extra meetings each month and 2 or 3 candidates each meeting.

Just stick to it, Brother.
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