Together we make a profound difference

Lodge culture

Define your lodge identity

Your April checklist

For your Trestleboard

Find it on

Question of the month


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Lodge Culture

The culture of a lodge – from sociable to serious, modern to traditional – is an expression of its members. A lodge that embraces this, and aligns its passions and priorities with those of its individual brothers, achieves a special sort of harmony.

This is the case at Alameda Lodge No. 167 in Fremont, which is known for its inquisitive and wholehearted approach to Masonry. The lodge succeeds because it has identified what sets it apart, and plays to those strengths.

Master Dinesh Chhabra explains:

Key qualities of our lodge

  • Diversity: Over the past six years or so, our lodge has welcomed brothers from more and more diverse backgrounds. Today our members come from Lebanon, South America, Asia, Europe – from all over. We represent an array of races, religions, and parts of the world.
  • Ritual proficiency: Our ritual is one of the strongest in California. We have six past masters who were once inspectors, district inspectors, or Grand Lodge officers. They are particular about the ritual work and Masonic education, and they are passing that legacy on to the next generation.
  • Community: We consistently put ourselves out in the community, including the city’s July 4th parade, art and wine festival, and crab feed; lodge-sponsored public schools fundraisers, blood drives, Child ID events, and more.

Establishing the culture

  • We encourage prospects to come to our social events, where designated brothers talk with them about the key qualities of our lodge, what exactly we do, and what we expect of members. We don’t even consider an application until a prospect has gotten to know us.
  • We print T-shirts, coins, and other items with our lodge emblem, and provide them to new initiates so they can show lodge pride wherever they go.
  • The most important thing we tell new members is this: Let go of any preexisting ideas about Masonry. Keep your mind open and fresh.

Learning from each other

  • Every brother who travels out of the country brings back something for the lodge. In this way, we all come to know something from new parts of the world.
  • Because our lodge is made up of so many different cultures, we have a daily opportunity to learn from each other: how we grew up, customs and beliefs, life lessons.
  • Brothers from distinct backgrounds offer new perspectives on the Masonic ritual. We discuss these things as a lodge, and often with our inspector.

It’s important for a Mason to be proud of the qualities that make both him and his lodge unique. Our brothers are excited to share their diverse backgrounds and their relationships with Masonry, and for others to share theirs.

Contact: Dinesh Chhabra

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Define your lodge identity

A priority of the 2020 Fraternity Plan is to provide a highly rewarding member experience. Start by articulating a unique identity for your lodge, and taking steps so every brother feels included.

Here are some tips.

Survey members
Ask brothers over the lodge app, social media, and in person:

  • What sets our lodge apart from others?
  • What about our lodge history most inspires you?
  • What about our lodge today makes you most proud?
  • What activities and/or events best represent our lodge?
  • What words describe our lodge’s personality?

Create a brand

  • Identify several qualities that best describe your lodge
  • Come up with a lodge slogan inspired by these qualities
  • Design a lodge emblem (consider incorporating your slogan)
  • Include your emblem and slogan on:
    • Lodge website
    • Social media profiles
    • Letterhead
    • Memorabilia
    • Signage for your building
    • Trestleboard

Spread the word

  • Make up T-shirts, ball caps, bumper stickers, buttons, coffee mugs, and other memorabilia with your emblem and/or slogan.
  • Commission a new welcome sign for the building.
  • If your lodge is family-oriented, invite children to draw posters with the lodge branding, and decorate a bulletin board or share them in the Trestleboard.
  • Establish new traditions that celebrate your lodge, such as a toast inspired by some aspect of your lodge’s history.
  • Tailor Trestleboard, social media, and lodge app communications to reinforce your lodge’s unique qualities, whether it’s a recurring article about Masonic trivia, a travel spotlight, or ongoing updates on a favorite service project.
  • Designate brothers to introduce and explain the lodge identity to prospects.
  • Promote the lodge identity within your strategic plan and leadership decisions. If the lodge building is a point of pride, consider a restoration project. If service is key to your identity, plan more volunteer events.

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Your April checklist

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

Executive Committee

Senior Warden, along with Executive Committee

  • Continue preparing 2018 program plan
  • Continue preparing 2018 budget
  • Continue preparing 2018 officer appointments
  • Continue preparing 2018 installation of officers
  • Review all candidates’ progress toward advancement


  • Begin tracking 100% officer giving to the Annual Fund
  • Continue to collect delinquent dues from members (were due by January 1)
  • Send list of members with late dues to the master for the Retention Committee
  • Send any suspension notices
  • Charity Committee considers remissions


  • If your lodge has employees, file quarterly federal payroll tax form 941 (unless IRS has approved an annual filing of form 944, due in February)
  • If your lodge has employees, file quarterly state payroll tax form DE9/DE9C and deposit form DE88
  • Prepare IRS form 990 and FTB form 199, both due by May 15 (unless your lodge has previously agreed to have Grand Lodge prepare these forms)

Audit Committee

  • Audit lodge books, to be completed by end of month

Hall Association

  • Prepare form 200, due to Grand Lodge by May 15
  • Prepare IRS form 990 and FTB form 199, both due by May 15
  • Prepare insurance premium payment, due in May

Questions? Contact Member Services at or (415) 776-7000.

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For your Trestleboard

Through the Lodge Outreach Program, brothers help fellow fraternal family members, thanks to trainings, resources, and support from Masonic Outreach Services. Use this story to inspire your lodge, plus additional reminders from the fraternity.

This month:
Lodge Outreach Profile
Symposium: The Moscow Archives
Age Successfully at Acacia Creek

Share in your Trestleboard.

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Find it on

Your lodge’s heritage will live on in its historic documents and artifacts. Rely on professionals to preserve them.

Iron Mountain storage offers:

  • Archival cold storage for important items such as bound books, historical documents, awards, photographs, and memorabilia
  • Bulk scanning of lodge documents for digital storage
  • What happens at a lodge meeting?
  • Special, discounted pricing for California lodges

Access Iron Mountain to get started.

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Question of the month

Last month we asked if your lodge will hold a special event for Public Schools Month this year. Of those that responded:

57% - Yes
19% - No
24% - Don't know

Of those who said yes, the most popular programs involved donating money for school needs; presenting student awards; and sponsoring an academic competition, such as an essay or speech contest.

Here's your next question.



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Grand Lodge of California
1111 California Street
San Francisco, CA 94108

p: (415) 776-7000