Together we make a profound difference

BEST PRACTICE: Masonic education

HOW-TO: Cultivate member talent for committee and officer roles

Changes to Children’s Services

Grand Master’s Project reveals our true history

New resource in the mail

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Question of the month

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BEST PRACTICE: Masonic education

While planning his year as master at the 2008 Senior Wardens’ Retreat, Brian Jovanic conceived a major lecture series for Consuelo Lodge No. 325 in Escondido. The program kicked off in February 2009, drawing members from surrounding counties to hear some of the fraternity’s most distinguished scholars. Jovanovic, now master, explains why it’s been successful:

Background: Consuelo Lodge has a large and varied membership of 292. The lecture series is designed to inspire all members, young and old, with the teachings of Masonry, and to foster interaction with other research-oriented members of the fraternity.

Lectures
The program is designed to include four major lectures by guest scholars, with the option for additional lectures by local members. Choosing speakers is easy – the first two were distinguished and well-known members of the fraternity.

  • February: Past Grand Master R. Stephen Doan presented “The Morgan Affair, Its Context and Consequences.” More than 60 Masons throughout San Diego County attended.
  • March: Past Grand Secretary John L. Cooper III presented “The Early History of the Entered Apprentice Degree, 1696-1790.” More than 90 Masons from San Diego, Orange, and Imperial Counties attended. Past Grand Secretary Cooper, a life member of Consuelo Lodge, confirmed the first degree and delivered the master's lecture as part of the presentation.

Planning
Once the speaker and date are confirmed, organizing the event is a smooth process.

  • Publicity: We announce lectures on our lodge Web site and by member e-mail to brothers in San Diego County. Grand Lodge, as well as local chapters of the Scottish Rite, Royal Arch, and Allied Masonic Degree, have also sent promotional e-blasts on our behalf.
  • Attendance: We set up a phone line dedicated for RVSP messages.
  • Hospitality: All lodge officers and other member volunteers accommodate visiting brethren and guest speakers.
  • Budget: These events are self-financed, at no cost or profit to the lodge. The fee covers the food expense and traveling costs for speakers.

Next up
The program will continue into next year and, hopefully, for many years to come.

  • October: Dr. Margaret C. Jacob, Masonic scholar and professor of history at UCLA, is scheduled to present “Masonic Secrecy and the Paradox at the Heart of Modernity.” Dr. Jacob works closely with the Grand Master’s Project to Advance the Study and Understanding of Freemasonry.
  • If time allows, I have a list of scholars I’d like to see present: Rex Hutchens, past grand master of Arizona; Brother Arturo de Hoyos, grand archivist and grand historian for the Scottish Rite in Washington, D.C.; and Masonic scholar Rafael Aguilar, to name a few.

Benefits

  • The program creates an opportunity for traditional Masonic hospitality.
  • The presentations ignite – and reignite – member interest in Masonic research.
  • By involving great scholars and speakers in our regular lodge life, we establish a tradition of high quality presentations.

Consuelo Lodge invites scholars who are interested in participating to contact the lodge.

Contact: Brian Jovanovic, master, a571961@hotmail.com.

 

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HOW-TO: Cultivate member talent for committee and officer roles

Reaching out to a member who has the capacity and drive for leadership can shift his Masonic experience from lukewarm interest to a proud sense of ownership. You’ll also keep your lodge’s leadership team and vision from becoming stale.

Identify member talent

  • Interview new members. Set the stage for future involvement by asking what they anticipate getting out of lodge – and what they expect to give back.
  • Conduct a new member survey (use your own or the one in Pass It On) and note members’ extracurricular activities.
  • Distribute and collect a member skills and interest survey every year. (Create your own or use the survey created by Grand Lodge.)
  • Notice and record members’ attendance at events. Look for trends in which members attend which types of events.
  • Secretaries: Populate and update the iMember “occupation” field.

    TIP: Keep a database of all of the above, and search when planning:
    • Committees
    • Hall Association
    • Community service projects
    • Ritual teams
    • Social activities

Keep an open dialogue

 Encourage leadership

  • If a new member has a viable idea for a community service activity or other event, let him coordinate the effort.
  • Promote special interest groups within the lodge: ritual teams, social groups, book clubs, movie nights, etc.
  • Assign short-term or one-time responsibilities, such as calling absentee members and widows, visiting sick members, or driving older Masons to lodge.
  • Rotate committee assignments and publicize which seats have become available in your Trestleboard and at stated meetings.

 

Have we forgotten something? Please e-mail suggestions to communications@freemason.org with How-To: Cultivate member talent for committee and officer roles in the subject line.

 

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Changes to Children’s Services

For more than a century, the Masonic Homes of California has provided relief to children and families in the name of Freemasonry. Over the years, services have evolved to address the changing needs of our fraternity and society: from 1898, when the Masonic Home opened for widows and orphans; to 1997, when the fraternity voted to accept children with no Masonic affiliation to the residential program for children at Covina.

Different times require different responses. Residential programs for children are an outdated model of care and are limited in reach. The current program serves just 15 children from Los Angeles County, only three of whom have a Masonic connection.

The Masonic Homes of California has the potential to do much more. On
July 31 the Homes is transitioning out of residential services for children and expanding the Masonic Family Resource Center to better meet the needs of our fraternal family.

The expanded Masonic Family Resource Center stands ready to help members of our fraternal family in distress. Case management services are broad, flexible, and able to serve families in their own communities. The center currently provides support to Masonic families in Northern and Southern California and has plans to significantly expand its services and reach.

The Masonic Family Resource Center identifies resources for families struggling with today’s complex issues, such as the impact of divorce, the stresses of a special needs child, and other significant life challenges. The center is also developing services and programs to support families negatively impacted by recent economic events, and will help find solutions for families coping with job loss, foreclosure, and other difficulties.

All the children in the residential program are going through a thorough and careful transition process, and each family has been assigned a care manager to help with their transition. As with all graduates, the Homes will follow these children and their families to support their well-being. The program employees are being treated with consideration and will receive severance pay, job search assistance, and housing relocation if appropriate.

The work of the Masonic Homes of California exemplifies our fraternal values and is delivered in your name. If you need support or know of a family in distress, please call 888/466-3642.

If you have any questions or comments about this transition or the Masonic Family Resource Center, please contact Steffani Kizziar, executive director of Outreach and Children’s Services, at skizziar@mhcuc.org or 510/675-1245.

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Grand Master’s Project reveals our true history

Across countries and centuries, Freemasonry has shaped governments and societies. But only limited academic research and coursework has been devoted to the subject – until now.

Thanks to the Grand Master’s Project to Advance the Study and Understanding of Freemasonry, the Grand Lodge of California has cemented a partnership with the University of California at Los Angeles. The academic world is now positioned to define Masonry’s history in credible, fact-based terms.

Project funds will be used in one or more of the following ways at UCLA:

Faculty research in the history of Freemasonry
Support the costs of research related to the history of Freemasonry and democratic society; establish a permanent chair for Masonic studies
Curriculum development*
Support development of a course in the history of Freemasonry and democratic society
Graduate student support
Support graduate student work and interest in the history of Freemasonry and democratic society
Lectures on the topic of Freemasonry
Support public lectures on topics related to Freemasonry delivered by invited scholars

*A spring 2010 curriculum is already being developed for two separate classes, led by Dr. Margaret C. Jacob, professor of history at UCLA and one of the world’s foremost Masonic scholars.

For information about how you can support the Grand Master’s Project, call the Office of Philanthropy at 415/292-9117.

 

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New resource in the mail

Today in California, the once-thriving youth orders of DeMolay, Job’s Daughters, and Rainbow for Girls have a combined membership of less than 5,000.

Rebuilding these youth orders is essential to the long-term health of Freemasonry. The first step is lodge commitment.

Grand Lodge is mailing a youth orders kit to every lodge secretary. The kit contains the tools lodges need to ramp up support of local youth orders:

  • Get Involved guide with tips and resources
  • Masonic Youth Orders brochure with at-a-glance information
  • Brochures from each youth order jurisdiction in California
  • Current version of the Masonic Scholarship Manual

Masons4youth.org launched in April as an additional resource for Masons interested in becoming adult leaders of youth orders. Visit the site for information about each order and to submit your interest in becoming an adult leader.

 

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All LMCP courses online

The Lodge Administration course has been posted, the fifth and final LMCP course to be offered online. You can now complete the entire information-packed program from the comfort of your own home. 

Courses

Select from the links above, or go to freemason.org and select Leadership Development from the Member Center pull-down menu.

On-site
There’s still time to sign up for on-site training in San Francisco and Chico. Select one course for the day.

July 11: Crowne Plaza San Francisco International Airport, San Francisco
July 18: Holiday Inn, Chico

To register, call Kim Hegg, Grand Lodge Program Manager, at 415/292-9111, or downloadLodge Management Certification Program or Masonic Formation Certification Program registration forms.

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Question of the month

Last month we asked if your lodge uses the new member skills and interests survey created by Grand Lodge. Of the 62 that responded:

7% - yes
74% - no
19% - after major events

 

Of those that said no, 70 percent had never heard of the survey. You can access the member skills and interests survey here.

Here’s your next question.

 

 

 

 

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Please e-mail questions to communications@freemason.org.






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