Tuesday, April 26, 2016

So What Have You Done For Your Blue Lodge Lately?

I was at an appendant body meeting over the weekend--I won't say which one.  It doesn't matter.  The attendance wasn't exactly what we'd hoped for.  Somebody made the comment that there are too many appendant bodies.  My question is are there too many appendant bodies, or too few Masons in the membership pool? 

Lodges are struggling with membership issues, too.  Naturally that's going to roll up into membership issues for appendant bodies as well whose membership is dependent on the success of those Blue Lodges.  So why do I get blank looks when I ask officers in appendant bodies what they're doing to help support the Blue Lodges?

Don't get me wrong, some appendant bodies do support the Blue Lodges, in fact, one I have particular respect for has Blue Lodge attendance requirements.  But more commonly, appendant bodies don't support the Blue Lodges.  In fact, often members of appendant bodies get so busy being involved in the appendant body they no longer have time to remain active in their Lodge.  And it's to the detriment of the appendant bodies.  Without growing Lodges, it's impossible to have thriving appendant bodies.

So how could appendant bodies help?  By attending their Blue Lodge meetings.  By expecting their members to remain active in their Blue Lodges.  By helping those Lodges improve their member experience by making themselves available to give education pieces in the Lodge--many of our appendant bodies are historical in nature and have a strong research arm.  Many publish journals and research papers on various aspects of Freemasonry.  Share it!  Much of the reason we lose so many new Master Masons is we don't continue their education after their degrees are complete.  We have to offer more to our members if we want them to be active.  Appendant bodies could really help these stuggling Lodges if they made that a priority.  Or we can all continue to sit and wonder where all the new recruits are.

Don't get me wrong, even though I'm a Blue Lodge guy, I enjoy the appendant bodies as well.  I've got a wallet full of dues cards: Scottish Rite, York Rite, Shrine, Shrine Club, Tall Cedars, High Twelve, Golden Eagles, Allied Masonic Degrees . . .  I don't spend much time with some of them (okay many of them) but I see their value and the good works many of them do, and I'm glad to support them.  But I can't help but think we could help each other a lot more if we worked together on solving some of these issues that are so important to us all.

The Blue Lodges are the foundation of it all.  We should all be working to make sure that foundation remains strong.

~Todd E. Creason 

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