A REPORT ON A SEMINAR ON LODGE CULTURE
At a meeting, hosted by the Central Divisional Grand Master, RWBro Wally Plank, in Palmerston North on the 18th October, RWBro Greg Goding, PAsstGM, United Grand Lodge of Queensland, talked about how Freemasonry is thriving in many parts of Australia, and, more importantly, why?
Before talking about his recommendations he pointed out that his Lodge has had approximately eighty initiates since 2000, not one of those has resigned. In fact, to keep up their interest, several of those newer brethren joined a near-by lodge that was struggling with an older aged group membership and are active in office within that now-progressive lodge. His Lodge in Brisbane currently has ten EA’s and five FC’s. In cricketing terms, they start a Master’s “turn at bat with runs on the board”.
RWBro Goding’s five points that Lodges should address are: -
1. Perfect Harmony
In his view, if a Lodge cannot achieve harmony there is no point in addressing the other points on his list. It really means not saying anything about a Brother that you would not be prepared to say to his face.
2. Lodge Business
Minutes, correspondence, etc - keep it brief. These are not the prime reason members come to lodge and should, if possible, be dealt with in Standing Committee with decisions approved in open lodge.
Should be as near to perfect as we can get it.
Should not last more than an hour, from Grace to the Tyler's Toast. Then all Brethren should assist with clearing away. The point being that, after the Tyler's Toast, those members who want to stay and socialise can do so; those who want to leave, can.
5. Cringe Factor
If it makes you cringe then it should not be part of your Lodge’s culture. This includes long-winded, boring speeches or inappropriate interruptions or behaviour that just turns people off.
The point of all this being that modern younger people will never bring a person into Freemasonry if there is any chance that they will be embarrassed for doing so. So, we need to live up to our own ideals and modernise our practices.
Interestingly enough, RWBro Goding's Lodge insists that EA’s and FC’s attend all meetings regardless of the activity. When they must leave, because of work in a higher degree, a number of senior members accompany them. It takes, on average, two years from initiation to MM in this Lodge.
Food for thought Brethren!
Adapted from a report given to his lodge by WBro D J Hickman, the Master of Lodge Tawera-o-Kapiti No 253 (Paraparaumu) and printed in the November 2009 issue of the lodge’s magazine, “TicTok”