Together we make a profound difference

BEST PRACTICE: Building a sustainable lodge

RESOURCE: Your lodge's financial future

Digital solutions

Video scrapbook

At bat for the next generation

Question of the month




BEST PRACTICE: Building a sustainable lodge

Thanks to Consuelo Lodge No. 325, spring in Escondido was a little greener this year. In May the lodge completed a major undertaking: converting its energy system to solar power.

Michael Sherman, senior warden, reports.

Background: Going solar has been a vision of ours for a few years. Last year our Temple Board Association, led by Brother Mike Singer, started looking into it seriously. Six months later, we’re running on 99 solar panels and three inverters.

The solar system

  • To educate ourselves about the photovoltaic system – the system that converts solar power to electricity – we studied a 40-page guide from the California Energy Commission.
  • We contacted five vendors in the San Diego area. Three submitted bids. We performed background checks on all of them, including obtaining their contractors’ license information and Better Business Bureau information.
  • The vendor we selected had an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and had won a Torch award for ethics. They gave a great presentation to the lodge, open to all interested members.
  • We decided to install three inverters and 99 solar panels. With proper maintenance, the whole system should last more than 40 years. Our energy savings will equal the amount we paid for it in roughly nine years.

From start to finish

  • The project went very smoothly. The company gave us a quote, scheduled a timeline, and stuck to both. They dealt directly with the utility company and the City of Escondido for permitting and the electrical switch. The total delays amounted to just a few days, due to scheduling conflicts with the utility company, for the electrical switch, and the city, for setting up an inspection.
  • We worked with the nonprofit California Center for Sustainable Energy for help obtaining the state rebate.
  • The permitting process began in February. Construction began in mid-April. By May 27 we were officially switched over to solar power. In June we held a community “bill-cutting” ceremony to celebrate.

The benefits

  • We think of our solar energy system as a legacy for our lodge’s next generations of Masons. It saves money, and it sets us up for a sustainable future.
  • Masons try to give back to the towns where we gather. The switch to solar power is important to the local community, who benefits from our facilities. It’s also for the global community.

Contact: Michael Sherman, senior warden,

Have your own Best Practice to share? Fill out this template and e-mail it to



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RESOURCE: Your lodge's financial future

At the 2010 Annual Communication, the Grand Lodge Investment Committee and Finance Committee is offering special sessions to discuss your lodge’s finances and investments.

These sessions are designed to answer your questions and provide advice and support. They’re open to all lodge officers, hall association officers, and lodge investment committee members and trustees.

All sessions will be held onsite at the California Masonic Memorial Temple on Friday, Sept. 24.

Lodge financial planning sessions
Friday, Sept. 24
8-8:30 a.m.
8:45-9:15 a.m.
9:30-10 a.m.
10:15-10:45 a.m.
11-11:30 a.m.
11:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m.

To reserve your session, e-mail with your requested time slot and the best way to reach you.


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Digital solutions

Do more with digital
California Freemason magazine is now available in a digital format, giving readers on-the-go access and new, interactive features. Click on the “web extra” icon for bonus materials. Download it for offline viewing, perform keyword searches across issues, and share stories on e-mail, Facebook, and Twitter. Just select California Freemason Online from the News & Events drop-down menu.

The official Facebook page for the Masons of California is a fun, informal place for members and friends of the fraternity to interact with each other and Grand Lodge. Look for videos, photos, and the latest buzz about the fraternity. Join the active community of more than 5,000 fans.

Mobile membership
Locate and visit more than 10,000 Masonic lodges throughout the U.S. with a single touch. Masonic Traveler – the first mobile Masonic lodge locator software of its kind, is available for download via the iTunes App Store. It’s free to California Masons: just click here, and be prepared to sign in with your Member Center username and password. (Register on if you don’t already have one.)

Award-winning online resources
The following have been recognized as 2010 EXCEL winners by Association Media & Publishing.


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Video scrapbook

You can probably think of a special Masonic memory that stands out above the rest, or has something to do with why you became a Mason in the first place. And chances are, your family has favorite Masonic memories of their own.

Here a few ways to preserve and share them.

Video contest: What does Masonry mean to you?
You’ve got three minutes to answer the question, What does Masonry mean to you?

How you answer is up to you. Make us laugh, or make us cry. Work with others – your lodge, your family, local youth orders – or work alone.

We’ll debut the top three videos on, Facebook, and our upcoming YouTube channel for the Masons of California. One grand-prize winner will also receive a Flip video camcorder.

Entries are due Aug. 31. Read contest rules and how to enter.


Masonic Moments video studio
Coming to Annual Communication? Participate in our video history project to record an share the California Masonic experience.

At this year’s Annual Communication, we want to capture you on video talking about favorite Masonic memories.

Your stories are part of the rich heritage of Masonry. Be sure they're preserved for your loved ones and for generations to come. Tell your story, and tell the world what Masonry's really about.

All Masons, family members, and friends are encouraged to participate. It’ll be as easy as signing up for a five-minute slot in our video studio, where you’ll answer a question on camera.

Start thinking about your favorite Masonic memories. Or choose from one of our questions. Here are a few examples:


  • Why did you become a Mason?
  • How does it feel to be part of a worldwide brotherhood?
  • How has Masonry helped you become a better man?
  • What are you most proud of in your Masonic journey?

Wives/Significant others

  • What, from your perspective, does it mean to be a Mason?
  • Tell us a story about why you're proud of your husband/boyfriend as a Mason.
  • What has Masonry meant to you?


  • What’s your favorite thing to do at your dad’s lodge?
  • What's you favorite Masonic event?
  • What's something you've learned from your dad or other Masons?

Selected videos will be posted on the upcoming YouTube channel for the Masons of California, and linked to on Facebook and

Look for information at Annual Communication.


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At bat for the next generation

The Junior Giants is a free, non-competitive baseball program serving 15,000 underprivileged youth from Stockton to Eureka. More than 6,000 of these young Junior Giants don’t have a baseball glove of their own.

Last year through Masons4Mitts, the Masons of California gave 1,300 Junior Giants the simple, but meaningful, gift of a baseball mitt.

The Masons4Mitts campaign is back for 2010, pitting regional teams of California lodges against each other in a friendly fundraising competition. The goal is to fund the most baseball mitts, one $20 donation at a time. Support your team at

The Masons4Mitts campaign goes until Aug. 24, when Masons and the community celebrate the finale at Masons Night at AT&T Park.

The team with the most mitts won’t be determined for another four weeks, but the campaign already has one sure winner: the boys and girls in the Junior Giants program. At age 5 to 18, these young people need their community’s care and attention. Our support will help them grow into tomorrow’s leaders.

How does your lodge support youth? Submit it on the Discussions tab of the Masons of California Facebook page.


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Question of the month

Last month we asked how many community events your lodge hosts per year. Of the 118 that responded:

70% - one to five
9% - five to 10
7% - more than 10
14% - none/didn't know


Overall, you said that the events with the greatest community attendance are fundraisers, student or teacher appreciation nights, and holiday events.

Here’s your next question.





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Grand Lodge of California
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San Francisco, CA 94108

p: (415) 776-7000