Brethren, it’s no surprise that we could use more members in our beloved Craft. I fully appreciate the quality over quantity argument. There’s no doubt we want good men. There are good men out there looking for a fuller meaning to their lives, which is exactly what Freemasonry has to offer. We live in turbulent times, and Freemasonry offers a path filled with enrichment, fulfillment, and self-reflection. So, if there are good men seeking a better way of life, and Freemasonry provides that path, then why aren’t we being inundated with requests by these good men to learn more about us?
The key, my Brethren, is Masonic awareness. Please note the word “awareness”. I did not say “advertising”. We all know that membership solicitation is not allowed in this Grand Jurisdiction. But, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with making your family, friends, and community aware of Freemasonry.
What are some of the ways you can make people aware of Freemasonry? As I have traveled throughout our wonderful state, I’ve seen many examples. Here are some for you to consider.
Not Just A Man, A Mason. For those who attended our recent Semi-Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of New Hampshire, you heard a presentation on this very subject. The Northern Masonic Jurisdiction of Scottish Rite has created a program called “The Path Forward”, with a campaign titled, “Not Just a Man, a Mason.” Although the program was created by Scottish Rite, the campaign is totally branded as a Blue Lodge campaign. The program offers several assets that you can leverage in your Lodge and throughout your community including videos, banners and flyers. I encourage you to visit www.NotJustaMan.org to learn more.
Veterans and Special Ladies Programs are a great way to recognize Masonic milestones and to give recognition and thanks to Masonic widows. They also create an opportunity for the community to see our good works. Whether these events are held at a Masonic Temple, a local restaurant or community gathering place, make a point to conduct these programs regularly.
Masonic Funerals, while a solemn affair, create an opportunity for the community to see and hear what we’re all about. Done well, not only do you say a final farewell to a fallen brother in a discrete and respectful manner, but you can also leave a lasting impact on the non-Masonic guests. If you are so honored as to be asked by a fallen brother’s family to perform a Masonic Funeral Service, do it, and do it well.
Marching in Parades is a great way to come out from the four walls of your Lodge and to show your community the great men to whom you associate with. Dress appropriately for the type of parade you are participating in, but dress sharply and in full regalia (dispensation required).
Community Assistance is another wonderful way of “giving back”. It helps the world to see how we care for others. Great examples of the types of community assistance you and your Lodge can provide include: serving hot chocolate at local events, volunteering at a homeless shelter, stocking shelves at food pantries, and recognizing first responders by providing a cookout.
Community Builder Awards show how your Lodge recognizes the good works of others and in return, gives them a chance to see how and why we care.
Daniel Carter Beard Scouter Awards can be given to Freemasons who have helped with Scouts. Holding an event to recognize recipients of this award gives them a chance to see how and why we care about our community.
DeMolay and Rainbow are members of our Masonic family. Just as you work daily to support your family, we should strive within the length of our cable-tow to support our youth organizations. DeMolay should not be viewed as a “breeding ground” for new Masons, but DeMolay boys represent the best of our young men, and if it is right for them, their becoming Freemasons is good for us.
Masonic Open House is a way for you to open your Lodge to the world, giving the community a glimpse into us, and the possibilities we hold for them. Remember however that a Masonic Open House is not a recruiting tool – it is an awareness tool.
Guest Speakers at Masonic Functions are a great way for you to make your meetings more valuable. They also afford an opportunity for your speaker and his/ her guest(s) to learn more about Freemasonry.
These are time-tested ways of raising your community’s awareness of Freemasonry. Try some of them for yourself. Don’t be surprised if you hear some of these reactions: “I had no idea.” “I always wondered what happened in this building.” “You guys are amazing!” “Thank you for opening my eyes.” Brethren, you know much of what Freemasonry is all about. You’ve seen firsthand the positive affects it has had on your life. You know all too well the many wonderful things Freemasons do to support your local community. It’s time we let those good men seeking a better way of life know too.
I’ve shared some concrete examples of ways you can let the world know that Freemasonry is open for business in your community. Now it’s your turn to put my words into action. I can’t wait to see the results!