Together we make a profound difference

BEST PRACTICE: Masonic education

HOW-TO: Tap into more Masonic education

International Conference on Freemasonry

Countdown to Public Schools Month

Resources

Question of the month

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BEST PRACTICE: Masonic education

It’s one of the fraternity’s 2010-15 strategic priorities to improve Masonic education. It’s also a priority for many California lodges. Sunset Lodge No. 369 in Santa Monica is one of them. Here, a philosophy club called Solvitur Ambulando—which translates to “it is learned by walking”—meets monthly.

Senior Warden Brandon Ramirez explains.

Background

Our members have a huge interest in philosophy and esotericism. In 2003, the lodge created Solvitur Ambulando to meet that demand. It also bridged the gap between our lodge and the local chapter of Eastern Star. In recent years, our lodge has grown in numbers and become much more active. Solvitur Ambulando is one reason why.

The club

  • Members: The club mainly comprises Masons and Eastern Star members, but our meetings are open to the public. Everyone’s encouraged to bring friends.
  • Attendance: Over the years, the monthly meetings have regularly drawn up to 20 people.
  • Schedule: We meet the third Sunday of every month, in the evening.
  • Cost: This club is able to run on a minimal budget. We meet after dinner and take turns providing light refreshments for the group.

The format

The club has embraced several formats over the years.

  • Members only: Club members have researched and prepared brief talks on the subject of their choosing to present within the club. Topics run the gamut from Pythagoras to Mackey to the Knights Templar to "Was Jack the Ripper Really a Freemason?”
  • For the community: Members have given presentations at the local bookstore, from a general overview of Freemasonry to the building of Solomon’s Temple.
  • Book club: Right now, we’re reading and discussing “The Hermetica.” The book deals with universal philosophy, so even if someone attends who hasn’t done the reading, he can still engage in the conversation.
  • Group discussion: No matter what the main program is, we always wrap up with a discussion. People get so involved, they’ll hang around talking hours after the meeting ends.

The benefits

  • Piques public interest: When members of the public attend a club event, whether a lecture or a book discussion, they see a side of Masonry they often didn’t expect. They usually leave wanting to know more.
  • Enriches understanding: The club stimulates conversation and thought among lodge members. It helps us apply Masonry to our lives.
  • Builds identity: Several prospects have approached the lodge because they saw the philosophy club mentioned on our website. It made us stand out from other lodges.
  • Develops talent: The club encourages members to do research and gives them experience in public speaking.
  • Creates common ground: By pulling from all the groups that meet within the lodge, the club builds relationships, introduces brothers to the other Masonic organizations, and gives everyone a stronger sense of fraternal family.

A few years ago, the club presented a lecture at the local bookstore. One of the non-Masons who attended was a gentleman who, at the time, believed many of the conspiracy theories about Freemasonry. The lecture made him rethink his position, and reach out to the lodge for more information. He is now a devoted member.

For more information

To learn more, contact Brandon Ramirez.

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HOW-TO: Tap into more Masonic education

Every lodge needs resources at the ready for members craving more Masonic education. Here are 11 places to start.

Have we forgotten something? Email suggestions to communications@freemason.org with How-To: Tap into more Masonic education in the subject line.

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International Conference on Freemasonry

In recent years, the Grand Lodge of California’s Institute for Masonic Studies has partnered with UCLA to develop research, undergraduate courses, and seminars on the history of Freemasonry and civil society.

This month they host their third international conference: “Freemasonry, Aesthetics, and Civil Society.” In presentations, papers, and panel discussions, scholars from the U.S. and England will examine how Masonic aesthetics have impacted architecture, politics, and international societies.

The conference takes place Saturday, March 22 on the UCLA campus, and is open to the public. The fee is $15. Register here.

Questions? Contact Assistant Grand Secretary James Banta.

Read papers from past conferences.

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Countdown to Public Schools Month

California Masons have championed public education for as long as the fraternity has existed in this state. Every April, lodges renew this commitment with volunteer activities, gestures of support, and of course, special events.

Here’s a checklist to keep your Public Schools Month event on schedule.

Already completed

  • Form a Public Schools Month committee
  • Establish an event budget
  • Assign event responsibilities (program, refreshments, publicity)
  • Identify and invite one or more community speakers, such as a local educator, librarian, or student

This month

  • Finalize speaker(s)
  • Finalize refreshments and other program details
  • Run Trestleboard ad with event date, time, and details
  • Publicize on lodge calendar, website, and Facebook page
  • Publicize in local media
  • Invite neighboring lodges
  • Invite community organizations and local dignitaries
  • Prepare Trestleboard article for April
  • Determine transportation for elder members, if needed

At the event

  • Announce that April is Public Schools Month
  • Give a brief history of Masonry and public schools
  • Explain the fraternity’s project, Raising A Reader, and provide a way to donate
  • Introduce guest speakers

Want more information? Here’s a summary of the fraternity’s statewide public schools programs.

Need inspiration? Click to Best Practice examples from San Diego Lodge No. 35, Saddleback Laguna Lodge No. 672, Huntington Beach Lodge No. 380, California Lodge No. 1, and Moreno Valley Lodge No. 804.

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Resources

With April just weeks away, we’re dedicating this section to Public Schools Month preparations.

In 1920, Masons throughout the state stepped forward for the first Public Schools Week. Nearly a century later, California schools still count on the Masons for support.

Use this ad to remind your members about Public Schools Month, and the legacy they’re helping to build today.

This month: Public Schools Month ad

Publish in your Trestleboard, and print out and post in the lodge.

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Question of the month

Last month we asked if your lodge has a program that supports public education. Of the 129 who responded:

85% - Yes
12% - No
3% - Not sure

Of those who said yes, the most popular forms of support are scholarships (49 percent), Raising A Reader fundraising (45 percent), and hosting Public Schools Month events (43 percent).

Here's your next question.

 

 

 

 

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