This year we have followed the “adventures” of Rough Ashlar Lodge. This final installment includes many of the thoughts that we have discussed along the way. While “perfection is not of this mortal sphere” the brothers at good old Rough Ashlar have worked hard this year to build a plan for an exciting future.
This is a somewhat ambitious plan. Lodges should feel free to borrow any, or all of these ideas and make them their own!
Good luck brothers and thank you for keeping the candles burning in our Masonic lodges!
Don Hensiak, Grand Master
Utilize Friendship/Morality/Brotherly Love as the lodge “strategic plan.”
- Friendship – Make all events welcoming, build in greeters and time for socializing. Include a meal before or after each event (at the lodge or support a local business.) Breaking bread together builds friendships!
- Morality – Include Masonic Education activities at all stated meetings. Avoid stated meeting clichés such as “I move we pay our bills.” Publish minutes in advance to avoid reading them word by word. Include interesting Masonic speakers at Ladies/Friends Events.
- Brotherly Love – Develop a regular routine that contacts each member at least twice a year – even those who attend regularly.
Calendaring – the Rough Ashlar way
- It is essential to develop a calendar in advance so that it can be well publicized and so members and guests can plan ahead.
- Plan on two meetings per month, one stated and one special. Less than two meetings makes it very difficult for a lodge to maintain momentum. The addition of a special monthly meeting will also be needed as degree work picks up.
- Include ladies and friends on a frequent basis.
- Include events that will be open to friends and community.
- Include Masonic Education at Ladies and Friends Events. Get help from the District Teams and the Grand Orator. Make sure the speaker and topic are appropriate for guests. Practice ahead if you will be reading.
- Invite community leaders to speak and/or attend socially.
- Include “fun” events.
- Consider taking a break. Going “Dark” for a month or two (but with the possibility of social events or planning sessions) gives everyone a chance to recharge their batteries and come back fresh.
- Community Support – At each Ladies/Friends Event invite an organization to receive a contribution for their group or their group’s cause or consider a monthly donation that can be delivered at a community group’s meeting. Determine an amount to donate that is meaningful yet affordable for the lodge. Consider $100 per month. Consistent visibility and community support will also be keys to membership growth and toward building respect in the community.
Rough Ashlar Stated Meetings
Stated Meeting Sample Format
- 5:30pm – Dinner and Social Time (other lodges might choose to eat after the meeting)
- 7:00pm – Meeting start
- Utilize a “Consent Agenda” for routine business. Minutes and treasurer’s report can be published ahead of time and approved as published unless there are corrections.
- Try not to conduct “committee business” during the stated meeting, unless there is a need for occasional “committee of the whole” discussions.
- Always include Masonic Education at the regular stated meetings. Emphasize education that includes discussion and engages members. Use sources such as “The Masonic Study Series” which is on the Grand Lodge website and also available in hard copies from the Square Store.
- In lieu of a Sick and Distress report, add a Membership Report. Report on members that have been contacted in the last month and also on any new member prospects.
- ALWAYS publish the discussion topic/speaker or main business item in the Trestleboard. We need members to know that things are happening.
Rough Ashlar Special Meetings
Speakers, Masonic talks, degrees or exemplifications
- Invite other Lodges and District Teams.
- Publish topic or Masonic activity in Trestleboard
- Contact District Team and Grand Orator for assistance lining up speakers well in advance!
- Schedule an EA, FC and MM during the course of the year. No candidate at this time? Invite a Grand Lodge officer to be the exemplar!
Ladies and Friends Event Sample Format
Some of these events may be held at lodge, some may be away from lodge. Always invite groups such as Eastern Star or Amaranth to your ladies nights if there are chapters nearby. Events that contain Masonic Education appropriate for an audience including non-Masons.
- 5:30 – Social Hour
- 6:00 – Dinner
- 7:00 (or during dessert) Arrange for a good speaker that can conduct a Masonic Education program geared toward women and friends. Keep it to 15-20 minutes.
- 8:15/8:30 Plan to be done with dinner, dessert and your speaker no later than 8:30pm. Allow time for socializing after dinner, or for young parents and older members, or attendees with longer drives, to get home early.
Fun Event Ideas
Social events that build friendships!
- Get away from the lodge or usual meeting place!
- Get creative, be open to ideas from the membership and the ladies.
- Sample “Fun Events” include:
- Dinner and a Show
- Ball game (Pro, college or even high school)
- Bus trip
- Group golf lesson, followed on another day by a 9 hole couples golf outing
- Wine tasting event
- Concert (the High School concert or jazz bands are fun and cheap, wear your lodge colors!)
- Arrange a special guided museum or zoo tour
- Mad Hatter Night – Everyone wears his or her craziest hat!
Fund Raiser Thoughts
Rough Ashlar Lodge is planning to schedule two types of fund raisers. Our goal is to make them simple enough so they don’t become overwhelming. We will develop teams that can work together and also develop camaraderie.
- Lodge Fund Raiser – This is a fund raiser that can be used to help support the lodge budget. These could be raffles so plural members can easily help, or “on site” fund raisers like breakfasts or dinners to bring guests in to show off and support the building.
- Community Fund Raiser – This will be an “off site” fund raiser like Brat Fry type events, or food trailers that can be held at a local grocery store or public festival where the lodge can receive community exposure. Be sure to use these public fund raisers to raise funds for community donations. Publicize that all funds raised at these community fund raisers will go toward the “Rough Ashlar Lodge (or your lodge name) Community Fund.” Remember that Community Fund Raisers double as Membership Events. Be sure to have flyers or other materials handy and wear the square and compasses.