A few weeks ago a Brother Mason approached me. With a welcoming smile he reached out extending his hand to me and said, “Grand Master, it’s an honor to meet you.” We gripped hands but he held the grip and didn’t let go. Instead he pulled me in closer, and mouth to ear, in a lowered and serious voice added, “but I got to tell you, I don’t like this Man to Mason business”. I continued to grip his hand and looked him straight in the eye and responded, “that’s okay, neither did I, however the new Masonic Day of Light is not the old Man to Mason AND it’s not for everyone”.
We can all agree that society is rapidly changing and the need for civility and ethics is even more critical. Our world desperately needs a good dose of Freemasonry. As Masons and as citizens, it’s our duty to identify good men that can exemplify our great tenets and bring them to our fraternity.
Unfortunately, our numbers continue to decline. In the mean time, we debate, we rationalize, and we hope that the trend will just fix itself while the number of Wisconsin Masons just keeps shrinking, year after year. We keep doing the same thing and we get the same results.
The challenge is, that in today’s world, many men find it difficult to identify the multiple days and the numerous hours it takes to progress through the Masonic degrees in the traditional manner. To answer that challenge, this year in addition to our traditional degree format, Wisconsin Masons will offer an alternative designed for today’s busy lifestyle. This year we will offer a “Masonic Day of Light”.
The “Masonic Day of Light” is an optional program that will attract candidates with a busy life style and provide them with an introductory Masonic experience that is second to none.
As we offer an alternative, we cannot stop conferring degrees in our Lodges. To stop shrinking and shrinking and start growing, we can’t stop what we are presently doing and do something else – we must go above and beyond. We must do more. That’s where the Masonic Day of Light comes into play. The purpose of the Masonic Day of Light is to open our fraternity to a whole new pool of good, high quality men who have a lot going on in their lives, but who will come to share our values when properly introduced and mentored. First and lasting impressions are key to inculcating these men who might not otherwise become Masons.
The Candidates who attend the Masonic Day of Light will receive all three degrees that day; however, the Masonic Day of Light is not the old Man-to Mason of the past. Following each of the degrees, the newly made Brothers will receive instruction in accordance with our Wisconsin Program Posting Guide and they will post in the Entered Apprentice and Fellow Craft degrees. In addition, they will receive a foundational education in the Master Mason degree. The new Brothers will be required to return to their home Lodge to complete the Master Mason Wisconsin Program Posting program within 60 days.
A mentor is a vital part of the candidate’s experience and must accompany each candidate. Mentors will assist in the degree, attend and participate in the training and posting.
My Brothers, how these new Masons are handled after the “Masonic Day of Light” is vital. We must follow up and engage our new Masons; make a special effort to welcome them into the local Masonic family; and integrate them, and their family members into our fraternity. To help achieve this, Lodges that participate in the Masonic Day of Light are required to post the new Masons in Lodge within 30-60 days of the Masonic Day of Light and host a public celebration to present the Aprons and Holy Writings, with significant others, friends and families present to help celebrate that achievement.
The Masonic Day of Light event will cost the Lodge approximately $75 per candidate. The fee will include refreshments and lunch for the candidate and mentor, a presentation apron, hoodwink, cable tow, Holy Writings, posting booklets, and a keepsake square and compasses. Each Lodge’s “usual fees” may still apply.
The initial Masonic Day of Light events will be held on November 4, 2017 in two locations: McKinley, Lodge in Brookfield, WI and the Eau Claire Masonic Center in Eau Claire, WI. The Lodge Secretary must register the candidates and mentors online. The link is on the Wisconsin Freemason’s website located at https://wimasons.org
Everyone who participates in the Masonic Day of Light will benefit. The Brothers who will practice and put on the degrees under the expert tutelage of the Lecturers will benefit. The Masons on the sidelines who will see some of the best degree work possible will benefit, and the Lodges who will get a new influx of good men will benefit.
Brothers, the world needs more good Masons and Wisconsin Masons are going to deliver!
Yours in Brotherhood,
L. Arby Humphrey