Being a Mason can mean many different things to many different men. Masonry often means different things to the same man. So how do we reach out and meet the needs of our Brothers? There is only so much that can be done in the time of a lodge business meeting. The education piece given in lodge may stimulate some while leaving others bored. The education given may have seemed too basic for the older Mason or conversely over the head of the newer Brother. It is very difficult to please everybody. One answer is to hold activities outside of lodge. It is important to have strong business meetings but few of us joined to hear the Treasurer’s report or to discuss the new furnace. Looking at why men do join, the idea of outside groups takes shape.
Heritage: Many men join because their Dad or Grandpa was a Mason. Maybe, a discussion research group into the Brothers of the past from your lodge or community. Which businesses did they own? Where were they located? What was their expanded role in the community? A group of Masons visiting and working with the local Historical Society or Museum. Many of our buildings have a wall of portraits of over a century of Past Masters. Who were these men and what was their story? Now we are helping feed that Brother who is looking for links to the past or is seeking to honor his forefathers.
Philanthropy: We are famous for our giving through our lodges, personally, and our appendant bodies. What about a group of Brothers meeting to visit widows and shut-ins and see that they are being taken care of? A group of Brothers that meet to help/ volunteer in their community while wearing the Square and Compasses. Groups that have set up a fund district wide or even just between two lodges to help those in need, like the successful “Angel” funds across the state. Now we are helping to feed that Brother who is looking for something bigger than himself. That Brother who joined to make a difference in the world.
Education: We take good men and make them better. Book clubs are springing up around the state helping men find other men who want that deeper dive into what is Masonry. Can you imagine a group that meets just to discuss philosophies or great literature or art or any of the seven liberal arts and sciences. The group may choose to do research, or they may discuss the research done by others. Maybe a group that’s sole purpose is to discuss and research our Obligations and all three Charges. How many men would find a group that investigated a male’s role in modern society or even discussed his role at home. Now we are helping to feed that Brother that is looking to expand his mind and thoughts. That Brother who joined to discover secrets and improve himself.
Socialize: We are a fraternity. Many men are seeking the friendship and comradery that we have to offer. While a meal along with the business meeting can go along way there is so much more we can do. Breakfast clubs and fish fry groups are springing up. Some of these are stag while others include family. What about a group that attends high school or even local college sports together? A fishing club that meets to socialize on the water? Music, theater, or anything else that could be done together. Does your lodge have enough interested men in a bowling, dart, pool, or softball team? If not would your lodge along with other lodges in your area have enough interested men? Now we are helping to feed that Brother that is looking for friendship. That man who came looking for like minded men and knocked upon our door.
These are but a few ideas. There are so many more. So, I challenge you, my Brothers. It is time to roll up your sleeves and get to work. These groups will not magically appear. It will take men who want to share a passion or even just an interest and to gather with others. Maybe it is something on a lodge level, meeting an hour before the business meeting or maybe it is district wide and meets on an open evening or Saturday morning. We are bringing in many new men. Our lodge attendance is up around the state. They are coming for different reasons. Please let us try to give them what they came for. Plus, if these groups meet outside the lodge your community can see the light of Masonry in action as we strive to make ourselves and communities better.