Greetings Brethren and friends of Lodge 542! The previous month has been pretty busy with Masonic activities. I helped the Lodge execute a massive outreach call effort, attended a Masonic leadership conference with our Master, WB Ingram, and coached two Brothers to fulfill the requirements of their Entered Apprentice degrees – while preparing to help conduct their upcoming Fellowcraft degree too. I did not become an officer to be passively involved with the fraternity. So, all this Masonic activity is great for me!
Last month, the officers of the Lodge and a few volunteers joined together to call every Brother of the Lodge and the widows of all our fallen Brothers. So, if you were recently contacted by a Brother from the Lodge, the call was actually legitimate – not a scam call. It was a great opportunity to connect with the members of our Masonic family that we could reach! Our goal was to find anyone who may need relief, of which we found a few. Everyone else seemed to be doing well. Unfortunately, only about a third of our calls resulted in a conversation. We left a lot of messages and found many numbers changed or are no longer in service. If your contact information has recently changed, please update it on the Grand Lodge website, or contact the Lodge. Some Brethren thought we were calling them for dues collection, but these were only health and welfare calls. That said, if you have not paid your 2022 dues yet, please do so, or let us know if you are experiencing distress that prevents you from doing so. Masons are bound to uphold the welfare of their Brethren and their families. Please stay in touch with the Lodge so we can check in on you and let us know if there is ever anything we can do to help.
Over the first weekend of April, I had the privilege of escaping from Los Angeles to Orange County to attend the Masters and Wardens Retreat at the Irvine Marriott. The Masters and Wardens Retreat is a leadership conference, presented by the Grand Lodge of California, for the senior officers of the Lodge. The agenda consisted of informational presentations from Grand Lodge representatives and break-out sessions that allowed Brothers from different Lodges to share their challenges and collaborate on solutions. We also found time after all the sessions to gather at the patio out back for cigars and shenanigans. My biggest takeaways from the event were membership engagement, prospect management, and leadership. I discovered that across the fraternity, Brothers are hesitant about returning to Lodge. I am also a member of the American Legion and see the same issue with attendance there. During the lockdowns of the past few years, a lot of people got out of the rhythm of attending meetings and going out to events. We will continue to communicate with the Brethren and plan events in the hopes they will re-join us. If you have not already, please come by. We would love to see you. Besides re-engaging existing members, we spoke about how we can attract suitable prospects to Masonry. We do not recruit members, but we should be presenting ourselves positively in the community and across various forms of media. We cannot get good men to join, if they do not know that Freemasonry exists or what it is about. The Grand Lodge is providing support to all the local Lodges. We can also help ourselves by being upstanding ambassadors of Masonry in our communities and speaking with others about it. Finally, I had the opportunity to take part in some great discussions about Lodge leadership and management. Overall, we have opportunities to make sure our leaderships are more representative of the Brethren and invest in the up-and-coming leaders in our Lodge.
Speaking of up-and-coming Brethren, I had the opportunity to see two of the Brothers I sponsored for Masonry finish their Entered Apprentice degrees this month: Troy Newham and Adam Mecalo. I am mentoring both of them and know firsthand how they prioritized their work and the effort to get it done. I am proud of both of them for setting a great example to the other Entered Apprentices. I look forward to seeing them advance to the Fellowcraft degree. The officers of Lodge have been practicing their degree work and will confer this degree for both Troy and Adam on Thursday, April 14th. It would be great to see a Lodge full of Brethren there to support these two Brothers as they take the next step on their Masonic journey. Please come by if you are able to do so.
The last month was a great month for Masonry! Our outreach effort was successful, and most of our Masonic family members we spoke with our doing well. The leaders of the Lodge have a renewed sense of purpose and some great ideas to improve our Lodge. The Brethren are doing the work and advancing through their degrees. Please stay in touch and visit us in-person whenever you are available. Until next time, take care and let us know if you need anything.