Monday, June 22, 2009

Freemasonry - GM

The failure of GM and the conclusions reached during the reorganization should cause masons to pause and at least take a moment to ponder; do we have too many brands and too many dealerships to support for the size of our current membership ?

Unfortunately our fraternity like many volunteer organizations has shrunk in numbers over the years/decades and yet we still have almost the same number of lodges and appendent bodies. While I am a member in most of the appendent bodies; Scottish Rite, York Rite and the Shrine and I enjoy the aspects that each has to offer, I do question if there is enough brothers to go around to effectively support and perhaps more important lead all these associated organizations......

Yet the appendent bodies is where some of, in my opinion, the most effective charity work is done; Shrine burn hospitals, Scottish Rite Learning Centers, etc....with the blue lodges as the cornerstone of entire thing.

So here is the dilemma, if I only have so much cement (time, members) how thin do I spread it before the whole thing becomes weak? Even on a more micro scale, how long should lodges (dealerships) hold onto charters when they really are no longer effective and no longer create more cement (members) to support the larger picture.

Another aspect which we see throughout lodges and the fraternity as a whole is what we have decided to do, or should I say has been a natural circumstance is water down our cement by having the same leaders throughout multiple lines, multiple lodges, etc....

Like GM, we need to decide can we still effectively manage all these brands the way they are currently structured ? I think the value of the appendent bodies is still there but I do feel some reorganization is needed and perhaps as they say it is time to right size the organization.

Monday, June 8, 2009


How does a volunteer organization establish any consistancy and standards.....expectations. Why are some lodges much stronger than others even with similar membership.....expectations. There is no pay associated with what we do or how well we do it only pride in a job well done.

One of our Past Masters once told me that a lodge is only as good as its ritual. Once you let your ritual slide the whole lodge slides and I have to agree with him since good ritual work is the cornerstone of any lodge. How does a lodge establish good ritual practices......expectations. It should be expected that if you are a Steward you will perform the first section lecture. In my home lodge it is expected that if you are the Senior Deacon you will perform the Middle Chamber lecture. The Junior Warden does the EA Degree, the Senior Warden does the FC Degree and the Master is expected to do all three degrees. Any officer starting in the line knows these expectations, period.

The problem is a lot of lodges have trouble getting brothers to become officers and to do so they often lower the expectation of the position, the any warm body will do syndrome. While this may work for a short while in the long run without developing upcoming officers the seats end up getting filled with Past Masters who eventually burn out. This is what basically happened to my affiliate lodge. I am now proud to say that they have a full progressive line and all the officers know the expectations of the positions.

What changed ? Expectations, plain in simple. How did they change ? New Leadership, as with sports teams what do teams do when they are not getting the desired results, they change managers, they change expectations. All Masters have their own unique style and leading a volunteer organization is not easy since the key word is volunteer. Therefore not all styles work or should I say are effective.