Together we make a profound difference

Member experience

True fellowship

Your September checklist

For your Trestleboard

Find it on freemason.org

Question of the month

 

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Building a Masonic family

This November in the Central Valley city of Tracy, Mount Oso Lodge No. 460 will celebrate its 100-year anniversary. The lodge’s latest chapter has been one of revitalization, fellowship, and perhaps most of all, family. By focusing on inclusion, the lodge has improved everything from member engagement to the lodge hall.

Master David Okamoto explains.

Family meetings

Several Masonic organizations share our lodge building: Eastern Star, Amaranth, Job’s Daughters, and DeMolay. About three years ago, we reached out to their leaders to identify common goals and objectives, and we began having a monthly Masonic family meeting. Today, members of all the Masonic organizations (along with interested spouses, partners, parents, and children) get together to plan events, resolve common issues, brainstorm, and learn from each other.

Lodge improvement projects

Our entire Masonic family feels a special connection to our lodge building, so we’re working together to take care of it. Our Temple Board keeps a list of improvements, and once it’s long enough we schedule a work day. We’ve landscaped, painted walls, retiled the kitchen, re-carpeted the lodge room, welded chairs, renovated the ladies’ bathroom, and more. These improvements make the lodge more inviting, which is especially important for new members and prospects. Work days are also a chance for everyone to get involved and feel ownership in the lodge.

Dinners

Rather than the same people planning and hosting monthly stated meeting dinners, we began rotating among the lodge, our two youth orders, and Eastern Star. The host group plans and chooses the meal, and volunteers from the entire Masonic family help set up. A number of non-Masons from the Tracy community regularly attend our lodge dinners; 15 attended last month. They tell others about their experiences, which helps dispel rumors of Masonry being a secret society.

Community projects

  • Our lodge and concordant bodies all worked together this year on a successful Relay for Life fundraiser to help raise money for cancer research. It was our first since 2008.
  • We marched together as a family in the 4th of July parade, holding a “Tracy Masonic Family” banner that featured all our logos.
  • We’re working with the city to erect a sign featuring logos of all the Tracy Masonic bodies, along with logos of other community organizations.

Family fellowship

  • We’ve started having spontaneous Masonic family gatherings – someone from the lodge or a concordant body inviting everyone over for a barbecue or pool party. It happens almost monthly.
  • With more time together, members and families are becoming more engaged in the Masonic experience and the efforts of all our groups. People are offering rides and helping each other out more.

Final thoughts

Here in Tracy, our Masonic family has grown stronger by growing together. It’s motivated all of us to learn about each other and be more supportive. People feel included, involved, and valued.

Contact: David Okamoto.

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True fellowship

Your lodge brothers are bound by their fraternal obligations – but do they truly feel connected to each other and their lodge? Try these strategies to help boost camaraderie and friendship.

Events

  • Hold frequent family events, such as a monthly game night or backyard barbecue.
  • Establish a standing fellowship night for brothers, from bowling to a pizza dinner at lodge.
  • Once a quarter, schedule a get-together just for new members and their families.
  • Get new members as well as longtime members involved in planning lodge events. Pair them up to ease workloads and facilitate friendship.

Identity

  • Create lodge memorabilia, such as T-shirts, hats, and bumper stickers.
  • Plan group trips to other lodges, youth order meetings, the Masonic Homes, or Masonic events like Masons Night at the Ballpark.

Communications

  • Get the Lodge app: Your members can interact outside lodge in a Facebook-like news feed that is just for members.
  • Encourage members, spouses, and partners to interact with each other on lodge social media.
  • Call elder lodge members and sweethearts just to check in.
  • Expand your Trestleboard to include youth orders and concordant bodies.

Service

  • Start a handyman crew and publicize the service to lodge widows and elder members.
  • Sign the lodge up for a standing community commitment, such as a quarterly blood drive or volunteering at the school or soup kitchen.
  • Plan lodge improvement days, whether reorganizing the library, repainting the lodge room, or beautifying the garden.
  • Offer to partner with youth orders on a quarterly service project.

Personal

  • Have new members interview older members about their Masonic experiences.
  • Encourage members to form their own clubs outside lodge – like a Masonic book club or history group.
  • Ask members about the causes that are important to them, and encourage them to lead lodge projects to support them.
  • Partner members with youth order members to mentor.

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Your September checklist

Stay on track of lodge business and prepare for important deadlines. Here’s your September checklist:

Executive Committee

  • Make plans to attend the 167th Annual Communication. Tickets to social events are selling quickly and one hotel has already sold out!

Senior Warden, along with Executive Committee

  • Identify and approach members for 2017 open elected and appointed officer positions.
  • Urge your presumptive master, wardens, and senior deacon to perform their Master Mason’s proficiency soon, if not already completed.
  • Urge your presumptive master, wardens, and senior deacon to qualify early with the inspector in their office’s ritual.
  • Urge your respective officers to answer the master, senior warden, and junior warden questions early.
  • Identify and approach members for the 2017 Audit, Membership Retention, and any other committees.
  • Set your lodge calendar for 2017 and identify event leaders.
  • Continue preparing your 2017 budget, referring to the grand treasurer’s memo for help. (Note: Retreat prices will be confirmed in mid-September.)
  • Set installation date and approach the installing officer, master of ceremonies, and chaplain.
  • Review all candidates’ progress towards advancement.

Secretary

  • Prepare to send out dues notices and begin collecting member dues, starting Oct. 31. Learn more about how the Lodge app can help you collect dues.

Treasurer

  • If your lodge per capita invoice has not yet been paid, submit payment ASAP.

Questions? Contact Member Services at memberservices@freemason.org or (415) 776-7000.

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For your Trestleboard

By partnering with Masonic Assistance, your lodge can give back to the fraternity and learn about supportive services at the same time. Read how Destiny Lodge No. 856 has given back to the Covina Home and Masonic Outreach Services. Then, encourage your lodge to get involved too.

This month: Partners in Outreach: Destiny Lodge
Share with lodge leaders and in your Trestleboard.

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Find it on freemason.org

Looking for materials to help with lodge outreach? Freemason.org contains more than 20 resources, all devoted to connecting members with the support services of the Masonic Homes and Masonic Assistance. From educational Trestleboard ads to checklists, phone scripts, and guides for your Outreach Committee, you’ll find it here.

Masonic outreach documents

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Question of the month

Last month we asked how your lodge partners with the community. Of those that responded, the most popular answers were:

59% - Provide financial support for public schools
53% - Host events in support of public schools
47% - Provide Child ID services at community events
38% - Provide financial support for non-Masonic causes

Other popular answers included volunteering for community fundraisers or festivals (29 percent), hosting special events to benefit non-Masonic causes (29 percent), and hosting drives such as a book drive, blood drive, or clothing drive (24 percent).

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