Together we make a profound difference

Leading our lodges in 2014

BEST PRACTICE: Brotherly love

HOW-TO: Strengthen member bonds

Tools for relief


Question of the month


Leading our lodges in 2014

Congratulations on your recent or upcoming installation for 2014, and welcome to those who are stepping into officer roles for the first time. If you are in fact new to the line, then this is your first issue of The Leader: a monthly e-newsletter specifically for California lodge officers.

The Leader delivers useful and timely information directly applicable to your role as a Masonic leader. Each issue shares lodge successes, resources, articles to publish in your Trestleboard, how-to information, and reminders to keep you informed and involved. You'll also find helpful tips on implementing the fraternityís strategic plan.

Please send us feedback, share best practices, and answer each editionís Question of the Month to compare your experiences with that of other lodges within the state. The Leader is your publication, and serves as a voice for lodge leaders throughout California.

Note to new readers: All issues of The Leaderóincluding downloadable resourcesóare available online. Go to > News & Events > The Leader.

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BEST PRACTICE: Brotherly love

In dark times, fraternity is a source of comfort, hope, and support. It is a safety net that stretches around the globe.

In Southern California, the autumn of 2013 tested that safety net. Three lodges came together to coordinate relief for a young Masonic family in the aftermath of tragedy. In a matter of weeks, support came pouring in from as far as away as the Philippines.

Wil Smith, then master of Irvine Valley Lodge No. 671 in Lake Forest, explains:


On October 27, our lodge brother passed away suddenly of a heart attack. He was 35. He left behind his wife and four young daughters, including a two-week-old infant. He was not insured, his widow was not working, and he had been a Master Mason just three years, so the family was not eligible for financial assistance from Masonic Outreach Services (MOS).

The response

Irvine Valley Lodge, Metropolitan Lodge No. 352 in Whittier, and Coronado Lodge No. 441 connected by phone and email to coordinate relief.

  • All three lodges put out a call for donations.
  • Irvine Valley Lodge set up a website for outside donations, which members promoted widely via Facebook.
  • As the home lodge, Irvine Valley Lodge also arranged to pay for the brotherís burial and assist the family with immediate expenses.
  • The lodges arranged for an MOS case worker to contact the widow and connect her with local resources.
  • A friend of the family and past master of Metropolitan Lodge stepped in as spokesman for the family, helping them field condolences and make necessary arrangements.
  • Coronado Lodge led plans for the funeral reception, and reached out to Orange Grove Lodge for the use of their hall. Fraternal family cooked a spectacular potluck dinner. Orange Grove Lodge donated the space.

The results

  • Within one week more than $10,000 was raised for the family, above and beyond the cost of burial expenses. Online donations came in from England, the Philippines, Canada, Australia, Wales, Turkey, and all corners of the U.S.
  • A number of brothers and fraternal family members came forward with touching offers of non-financial support, from volunteering professional services to the simple act of condolences.
  • More than 60 brothers attended the funeral from as far north as San Francisco. Seeing those brothers, standing four lines deep in rows of 15, everybody in aprons, made me immensely proud and honored to be a member of this organization.

The impact

  • Our brotherís widow and daughters remain extraordinarily touched by the outpouring of love and support. They are grateful not just for the money, but to all those who stepped in to lighten their burden and stand by them during this time of tragedy. They know that the entire fraternity is with them.

In closing

We approached the widow about organizing a toy drive for her four daughters this past Christmas. She was very thankful but she asked that, instead, we donate the toys to charity and let her girls help. She said that the best way they can honor their fatherís legacy is to participate in the same spirit of community, charity, and love thatís been shown to them.

For more information, contact Wil Smith.

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HOW-TO: Strengthen member bonds

Your lodge members already share a powerful bond in their fraternal obligations. But a common lodge identity, and the chance to work together on meaningful projects, can bring them even closer.

Here are 17 suggestions.

Family gatherings:

  • Establish a standing social event for lodge members and their families, whether itís a monthly game night, backyard barbecue, or volunteer commitment in the community.
  • Have one or more lodge officers host a welcome dinner each quarter for new applicants and coaches, and their partners or spouses.
  • Encourage members to form their own clubs outside the lodge.
  • Host a lodge Facebook page for members to stay connected on social media.

Ritual as a relationship-builder:

Shared history:

  • Host an education series on the history of the fraternity, or even the lodge.
  • Start a history committee to create or expand on the lodgeís written history.
  • Have new members interview older members about their Masonic experience.

Outreach to older members:

  • Create an outreach committee to call and visit elder members and widows. Bring this checklist along.
  • Start a handy-man crew. Publicize the service to widows and elder members in the Trestleboard.
  • Set up a phone tree to invite older members and widows to special lodge events. Even a quick call can reinforce the bond between members.

United in service:

  • Sign the lodge up for a standing community commitment, such as a quarterly blood drive or volunteering at the local soup kitchen once a month.
  • Encourage a healthy mix of long-time and new member volunteers for every lodge event. Assign partners for key planning responsibilities, such as publicity or food, to ease individual workload and create opportunities for friendship.
  • Identify a lodge improvement project fit for a group, whether building a library, repainting the lodge room, or renovating the kitchen. Assign a crew to direct the project and organize a regular work schedule.
  • Ask members about the causes that are important to them, and encourage them to lead lodge projects to support them.

Have we forgotten something? Email suggestions to with How-To: Strengthen member bonds in the subject line.

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Tools for relief

Relief is the oldest bond between Masons. In California, it takes shape not only in individual acts of support, but in the extensive services of the Masonic Homes of California, Masonic Senior Outreach, Masonic Family Outreach, and the Masonic Center for Youth and Families.

Use these resources, developed by Grand Lodge and Masonic Assistance, to improve lodge outreach and educate members about support services.

For all members

Post at lodge or in the Trestleboard

For the lodge outreach committee

For pillar officers

For the master

Learn more at or 888/466-3642.

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By partnering with Masonic Assistance, you can make sure your fraternal family knows where to turn when they need support. This section is designed to help.

Use this fact sheet to educate members about what they can expect when they call Masonic Assistance, and to educate yourself about the intake process for the Masonic Homes, Masonic Senior Outreach, Masonic Family Outreach, and the Masonic Center for Youth and Families.

This month: Calling Masonic Assistance

Post at lodge and distribute to lodge leaders.

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Question of the month

Last month we asked what types of technology does your lodge regularly use. Of the 128 respondents, the most popular lodge technologies are:

84% - iMember
74% - electronic Trestleboard
72% - Member Center on
60% - email blast

More than half said their lodge has adopted new technology in the past year.

Here’s your next question.





View past issues

Please email questions to

Contact Us

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

p: (415) 776-7000