11 Comments

Good morning, Broth.'. Cameron!

Since your post today broached two subjects, I'll comment on the second one! I am particularly fond of projects that honor our forebears, since I believe Freemasonry to be a tradition we pass along, connecting past, present and future through our lives and our works. My Lodge acquired a dedicated shrine in one of our city's cemeteries, but sadly we have not yet had opportunity to use it, haha. In my hometown, we have a centennial Lodge and they do have a cerimony every year honoring their past members, but it is done within the Lodge and does not include a visit to the cemetery. I'll visit them in a couple of weeks and I have a mind of suggesting this action of yours. Can you elaborate on the markers - what are they made of? Are they a Compass and a Square? Is there any difference between them?

Thank you for the great work you've been doing in Emeth!

Expand full comment
author

Thank you for your kind words. I appreciate it.

The markers are made out of wood, square and compasses, each arm of which is perhaps a foot long or so, with a 'G' in the center in keeping with the standard display here. As I recall, the S&C are painted a metallic silver, the G a royal blue. They stand out well and are kept in good condition.

That said, of course more of our Brothers pass to the Celestial Temple each year, and in time the markers get damaged or whatever, so new ones do need to be made from time to time. I believe that one of our members is able to cut and paint most of it, but from the look of things, the G is made by a company with precision machinery.

Expand full comment

I like that idea, MW, I just wonder about the particulars, especially dealing with brothers that have moved away but continue to pay dues to keep current. Although you didn't mention it, you sort of alluded to the lodge raising dues to a level where they can pay their bills and using the increase as a reason for me to come to lodge to get those certificates.

As it stands right now, lodges have kept their dues so low that there wouldn't be much incentive for brothers to get certificates because they don't mind paying $75 dollars a year to be a member. Right now it costs me that much to fill up my car with gas. But, if the lodge raised it's dues to $750 dollars a year, that might get some brother's attention.

But, what about those brothers who moved away, but still pay dues and can't attend?

And this would also impact the Life Memberships. As it stands, the most someone would ever pay for a Life Membership would be less than that yearly dues. The lodge would have to charge for Life Memberships in the thousands of dollars. And there is nothing to stop someone from joining a lodge with lower dues, get a life membership there, then demit and transfer their LM to their old lodge, circumventing the entire point.

When it comes to money, human nature means no matter the intentions, brothers will find a way to "cheat" the system.

I do like the idea as a concept though, anything to get more participation out of the members.

Expand full comment
author

I think that no matter what we do, we have to increase dues to a level that will support our Lodges.

As for this specific Lodge, I don't think that it drastically increased its dues as a result of this program, but it does have other significant streams of income I believe. But yes, I do think that a Lodge could use a program like this to make its members feel better about increasing dues, knowing that the Brothers would be able to afford it.

Those that have moved away and can't possibly attend Lodge, but who maintain their membership for sentimental reasons are I think a different matter. Their situation can be dealt with reasonably I think, but doing so would force us to think as if we exist in the year 2023 and not the year 1717.

Why couldn't our Lodges implement a dues structure that adequately covered the expenses of our Lodge, and made adequate provision for a great Lodge experience. For the members who live within 100 miles of the Lodge.

And then another dues rate for those men who have moved away, will never be able to attend Lodge, but who would like to maintain their connection to it for sentimental reasons?

Why do our Lodges believe, in 2023, when computers can make all of this so very easy, that dues must be set at one single price, for everyone?

Why not charge proper dues to those who can benefit from them, but create a different tier for those who simply want to maintain a distant tie?

Personally, I think our smartest move would be to stop selling life memberships, other than Memorial Life Memberships. Generally speaking, life memberships do not work out well for our Lodges. They are sold far too cheaply, and there is little chance that prices for them will ever rise to a level that they will actually be of benefit to a Lodge as long as the Brother holding them lives.

Expand full comment
deletedMay 27, 2023Liked by Cameron M. Bailey
Comment deleted
Expand full comment
author

I too continue to pay dues to two Lodges that I've moved away from, one that I'll probably never be able to attend again. For sentimental reasons, and I think for your reason No. 1.

As for your reason No. 2, I've got some thoughts, and I'll be back here with them. But Melinda says dinner is served!

Expand full comment
author

Your reason No. 2, when I first moved to Lewis Co. from Snohomish it was quite a lot of culture shock as well. It took me quite a bit of time to decide which Lodge to join, and then a couple of years just sitting on the sidelines, absorbing how Masonry was different here from what it was there.

But in time it began to feel like home.

Expand full comment

2023-08 resolution significantly increases the cost of life memberships, I hope the brothers pass this one.

Expand full comment
author

Me too. It doesn't increase the minimums enough, but it is a step in the right direction!

Expand full comment
May 26, 2023Liked by Cameron M. Bailey

I like this idea! It could extend beyond just lodge attendance - participation in other lodge activities (such as Memorial Day recognition), committee participation, lodge building maintenance, essentially every area where participation is valued. The lodge dues could be adjusted slightly upward for those who are not as “active” in the lodge, without gouging those who are not physically capable.

As a young Mason I remember a building “clean-up” where the younger guys were busy, and the older guys were there to give moral support, offering encouragement or advice. It was more important to me to see those faces than to have them actually doing the work.

Expand full comment
author

Your expansion idea is superb I think. So many of those things need bodies, and yes, I agree, this would be a great way of showing appreciation for those bodies. Thank you!

I too remember, and have experienced the situation you mention from both sides. Not that long ago I was one of the younger guys, on a ladder, hanging new lights. Now I'm one of the older guys offering moral support (and snacks of course) more than anything. It's probably been that way since time immemorial, but it is important to have both.

Expand full comment

I think having a non forecastable budget is a bad Idea. Lodge operations take funds and strategic decisions around operations need to be made during the forecast phase of budgeting possibly 2 years out. This also means that capital expenses are not even factored in, which means you are living on borrowed time before one facility failure takes you out. NC has a Lodge dues calculator for its lodges. Ours requires about 18-20 K a year and rising due to inflation just to operate the building. https://bit.ly/3KfQNib In My humble opinion, the reality is cheap masonry results in more cheap masonry. If we don't have the numbers, to support a building, then we need to rent. There are costs to doing that as well but its a factor that must be considered, and to do so requires predictable revenue.

Expand full comment