Lodge Membership – “What can I do?”

Bro. Jon Patrick Sage 

The growth of the Lodge is dependent upon the membership that it possesses, and then- how does that current membership translate and endeavor to enroll new members. It is not enough to simply say, “We have “X” number of Brethren on our Rolls”, and to then expect for that number to sustain itself and continue to grow. Over the last couple years, there have been several Lodges in the immediate and surrounding areas that have surrendered their Charters back to Grand Lodge. It is of little doubt that the Charters were surrendered due to a lack of zeal for the Institution, or of any ill will at all harbored by Brethren. Instead, a simple trend, evident in any number of publications, and describing our membership Rolls since the end of the Second World War, would inform Brethren of the sharp decline in the number of Masons in this State, Country, and the World at large!

Illustrated by this chart, with numbers from the Masonic Association of North America (MSANA), we see that since the middle of the 20th Century, membership in the Masonic Fraternity in America has dropped sharply, from 4.1 million in 1960, to 1.7 million by 2002- down nearly 58%!

graph membership

 

 

 

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In short: our numbers are declining, at an alarming rate!

“What can I do?”

This is the answer that many Brethren have when the problem of dwindling membership is posed to them. Indeed, ask it to any number of the Brethren at your Lodge, and that might be quickly followed with, “Our membership is strong, and we have no problem meeting and/or paying for our monthly obligations”. On the surface, and for some wealthy Lodges, this may be TRUE. Some are blessed beyond compare in regard to financial standing; perhaps even more so than the Grand Lodge itself! But, this still begs the question- not of strict financials- but of membership retention!

“What can I do?”

Most Rituals, or By-Laws, do not state that, in lieu of certain Officers or Members present, a Lodge may instead present a bank statement; thus signifying that the Lodge is “in order”. It is the opinion of many in and about many Lodges, finances notwithstanding, that a great many Lodges are far from being “in order”. As a matter of fact, according to strict numbers, were it not for financial blessings, even a wealthy Lodge would be in the exact same predicament as several others are, inasmuch that if they were to rely solely on dues collections and other revenues to maintain their presence;they would simply not have a presence!

Brethren, this is troubling, but perhaps- WELCOMED NEWS!

It is troubling in that we do have a problem, namely that our membership is decreasing as opposed to increasing. We have many who pay their dues late- or not at all! We have many more who have not set foot in Lodge for many years, and certainly not for Degree Work. It is welcomed… because we CAN reverse this trend, by taking action now.

“What can I do?”

  • Pay your dues on time
  • Attend Lodge regularly
  • Attend as much Degree Work, and participate in, as is possible for you to do
  • Invite a friend to Supper before Stated Meeting, or to an Open House, or Banquet
  • Treat Lodge as importantly NOW- as you did during the first weeks and months after becoming a “true and faithful Brother among us”

In short, take advantage of all of the wonderful opportunities that your Lodge offers, and do your best to add to the atmosphere of Brotherly Love, Relief, and Truth! These are, after all, the Tenets of YOUR Profession as a Mason. They cost nothing, but add so much to the lives of others when offered by you.

“What can I do?”

SHARE what you have been given, through your Masonic membership, with others, by helping them to begin, and continue, a Masonic journey of their own! All Masons are Builders, let’s Work to Build our own Masonic edifices, our Home Lodge, and by proxy our Institution!