“Here!” “Present!” “Yo!”
So many times over the years we have been part of a roll call. Typically each of our lodges has a sign-in book to track attendance. The officers in attendance are usually noted in the minutes of the lodge. There is a roll call of Fellowcrafts in the Master Mason Degree. During Masonic Memorials we mention that the roll has been called but a Brother answers not. We hope that when the roll is called “up yonder” our name will be read!
Quite simply, attendance is a sign that we care. We attend because we care. We take attendance because we care. If a Brother isn’t in attendance we need to know why, and maybe even check up on him.
Attendance is a measure of how well we are serving our Brothers. Do the Brethren enjoy our meetings and events? Do they enjoy the camaraderie? The food? Does attending lodge leave them feeling good?
Brothers either attend lodge or they don’t. Rough Ashlar Lodge has two jobs to do – serve the members that attend, and serve the members that do not attend. This requires a two-pronged approach. Content is needed to serve the Brothers that are attending. Outreach is needed to serve the Brothers that do not attend.
Content can have many meanings. There are many things that can be contained within a lodge meeting that our Brothers will find to be fun or fulfilling. At Rough Ashlar Lodge we need to look at what we are doing and how we are doing it.
Why do our Brothers attend lodge? They attend because it is fun and fulfilling. They attend because they enjoy attending. If we find ourselves attending because we feel it is our “duty” or out of “habit”, we are treading on thin ice. There needs to be something happening at lodge that makes it worthwhile.
Content includes programming and events. We have to do “stuff” at our meetings! We can invite speakers to lodge, hold Masonic Education nights or schedule a Table Lodge. We have a great list of ideas that were generated last year by Grand Master Struble’s listening visits. These are ideas that are working in other lodges.
Good food always goes together with camaraderie. Plan to have a nice meal before or after lodge. Be sure to let the brothers know if a full meal is planned. Getting together for special events, lunches or dinners at local restaurants is always a fun outing and will help your Brothers bond with each other.
Content involves friendship! We need to make all of our members feel welcome when they attend. When our members show up we need to make sure that they know we care. Be sure that new Brothers or those that haven’t attended lately have a regular attender to sit with. Be sure to involve all of our attenders in activities or projects. Value their participation and contributions.
We have discussed outreach before, but this is really important! There are many reasons that members may not be attending and we need to be sure that we care, and that they know we care.
Brothers may not attend because they have become busy in other aspects of their lives. Kids, grandkids, work, hobbies – there are lots of “seasons” to our lives. Many good men are also active in church or other organizations. We need to reach out to them with more than a monthly templegram. An occasional phone call or visit will go a long way toward letting these Brothers know that we care.
Brothers may be shut in’s or live out of town. It is important that we let them know we care and provide something of value to them. Again, just a simple phone call or hand written note or card can make all the difference.
Rough Ashlar Lodge would love to have full sidelines. If we provide good content at our meetings and events then we have a great opportunity to fill more seats. As much as we would love all of our Brothers to attend, real life does not always allow that. Because we care about our Brothers we need to reach out to them.
Attendance is extremely important Brothers. Let’s focus on Content for those who attend, and Outreach for those who cannot attend, or are choosing not to attend.
Because we care.
Donald W. Hensiak