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August 2023:
A Flood is Coming

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    A Flood Is Coming (in a Good Way)

    It’s no secret that over the past few years, the Masons of California have made a concerted effort to share information about the fraternity more broadly—and people are noticing. Just this past month, the #IAMason campaign proved a massive success, with participating posts reaching nearly three times as many people as did last year’s campaign (see below for more details). With this greater reach comes (hopefully) a greater interest in Freemasonry, and (hopefully) a greater number of inquiries. And that’s something lodges need to prepare for, and fast.


    #ImAMason Campaign Roundup

    July marked the second annual #ImAMason campaign, our now-yearly social media effort to highlight the fraternity and the incredible meaning our members get from belonging. While we were primarily broadcasting to those in California, the effort garnered significant attention in foreign jurisdictions. This year, lodges from as far away as Kuala Lumpur and England participated. From simple Facebook status updates to videos and selfies, these posts got nearly 20,000 people engaging in discussion around the hashtag online. In total, these reached more than 6 million people worldwide.

    How does that stack up to last year’s reach? Well, 2023 saw more than 3x the numbers of people engaging in the campaign, which resulted in 3x the impact compared to last year’s campaign. Great work all who participated!

    80th Anniversary of D-Day Commemorated at the National Arboretum in Alrewas

    Photos taken at the National Arboretum in Alrewas on 6th June 2024 captured the poignant celebration of the 80th anniversary of D-Day.

    One of our members attended the event, accompanied by Dawley Town Council and Telford MIND, who arranged everything for us.

    The event was a wonderful tribute to the heroes of D-Day and an opportunity to reflect on the sacrifice and bravery of those who fought for freedom.

    Participants enjoyed a day filled with historical memories and moving ceremonies. The photographs taken during the event highlight the beauty and solemnity of the National Arboretum, a perfect setting to honor D-Day veterans.

    This memorable occasion reinforced the importance of remembering and celebrating the historical milestones that have shaped our world. #Freemasons #freemasonryuk🇬🇧 #ImAMason #MyFraternity
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    Thanks to members of Packer Commandery No. 23, Jim Thorpe, for assisting with the America250PA Liberty Tree planting in Bethlehem’s Colonial Industrial Quarter this weekend! Looking forward to sharing more photos from the day’s other plantings at Weissport Park and the George Taylor House.
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    #WeAreOneFamily #illuminati #masonicservice #appreciation #ImaMason #freemasonry #FreeandAcceptedMasons #Mason #MasterMason #SMIB #2B1ask1 #FromDarknessToLight #FaithHopeCharity #IAMWBK #WSFFWS #widowsons #BrazenPillarz #WSFF1 #CAWSPC #CAWSMRAPC #widowssonsfamily #SMIB #widowssonsworldwide #widowssonsworld #mansonicsymbol #widowssonsinternational #mansonicsymbol #totheeastontwowheels #augustratifying #mansonicbrotherhood #craftsmanship
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    This photo belongs to ...@.thetravelingman417 – just sharing their awesome content! MWB Tom Galyen and Lady June attending a Grand Lodge event!! Hear all about their travels on Episode 87: Proud to be a Mason!
    www.TravelingManPodcast.com
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    #freemason_world #ImAMason #freemason #freemasonry #2b1ask1 #masonic #bluelodge #mastermason #square #compass #squareandcompass #UGLE #warwickshire #grandlodgeofohio #grandlodge #love #brotherlylove #freemasonsofamerica #ImAMason #brother #yorkrite #princehall #eastpalestine417 #chapter #commandary #shriner #grotto #fridayfeeling #mason #scottishrite

    ZzHaveAgoodDayzZ
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    Lake drone during Gardena Moneta Lodge and Andres Bonifacio Lodge - interlodge Father’s Day camping excursion in 2024. #GML372 #abl879 #fathersdaycamping2024 #masonsofcalifornia #masonsofca #freemasonry #brotherhood #brotherhoodnolimit #atengs #weareone #fathersday #camping #imamason #wearemasons #freemasonstrong #fyp #trendingreels ...

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    Cigar’s on the lawn went great after our stated meeting last night!! Nothing better than some fellowship after a productive meeting!
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    #eastpalestine417 #ThisIsOhioFreemasonry #freemason #freemasonry #2b1ask1 #masonic #bluelodge #mastermason #square #compass #squareandcompass #UGLE #grandlodgeofohio #grandlodge #love #brotherlylove #freemasonsofamerica #ImAMason #brother #yorkrite #princehall #chapter #commandary #shriner #grotto #easternstar #mason #scottishrite #freemasons
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    A few East Palestine brothers on the Gateway Clipper in Pittsburgh, PA a few weekends ago!!! Nothing better than some fellowship together!
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    #eastpalestine417 #ThisIsOhioFreemasonry #freemason #freemasonry #2b1ask1 #masonic #bluelodge #mastermason #square #compass #squareandcompass #UGLE #grandlodgeofohio #grandlodge #love #brotherlylove #freemasonsofamerica #ImAMason #brother #yorkrite #princehall #chapter #commandary #shriner #grotto #easternstar #mason #scottishrite #freemasons
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    Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there!
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    #eastpalestine417 #ThisIsOhioFreemasonry #freemason #freemasonry #2b1ask1 #masonic #bluelodge #mastermason #square #compass #squareandcompass #UGLE #grandlodgeofohio #grandlodge #love #brotherlylove #freemasonsofamerica #ImAMason #brother #yorkrite #princehall #chapter #commandary #shriner #grotto #easternstar #mason #scottishrite #freemasons
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    WB Chris Tyger visiting St. Alban Lodge No. 529’s stated meeting while in Philadelphia this week!! How good and how pleasant it is when Brothers dwell together in unity!!
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    #eastpalestine417 #ThisIsOhioFreemasonry #freemason #freemasonry #2b1ask1 #masonic #bluelodge #mastermason #square #compass #squareandcompass #UGLE #grandlodgeofohio #grandlodge #love #brotherlylove #freemasonsofamerica #ImAMason #brother #yorkrite #princehall #chapter #commandary #shriner #grotto #easternstar #mason #scottishrite #freemasons
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    WB David Miller being installed as Master of Harmar Lodge No. 390!! Hear his whole story here on Episode 88: Fellowship!
    www.TravelingManPodcast.com
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    #podcast #ImAMason #freemason #freemasonry #2b1ask1 #masonic #bluelodge #mastermason #square #compass #squareandcompass #UGLE #warwickshire #grandlodgeofohio #grandlodge #love #brotherlylove #freemasonsofamerica #ImAMason #brother #yorkrite #princehall #eastpalestine417 #chapter #commandary #shriner #grotto #fridayfeeling #mason #scottishrite #freemasons
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    Desvelando el Enigma: El Origen Poderoso de la Palabra Francmasones

    https://www.myfraternity.org/es/post/desvelando-el-enigma-el-origen-poderoso-de-la-palabra-francmasones

    #CuriosidadesMasónicas #Francmasones #HistoriaMasónica #OrigenDePalabras #TradiciónMasónica #MasoneríaEspeculativa #Constituciones1723 #EliasAshmole #JamesAnderson #ImAMason #MyFraternity
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    Our #ImAMason social media campaign is your chance to share why you`re proud to be a Mason. To participate, post a short message, picture, or video on your Facebook, Instagram, or TikTok channel explaining why Freemasonry is important to you-and include the hashtag #ImAMason in your caption.

    Already posted? You`re always welcome to share more photos of your favorite moments with your lodge! Seen here, members of Marin No. 191 gather together in their lodge located in San Rafael, CA: freemason.org/marin191

    #masonsofca
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    All sorts of things going on in this epic shot, and that’s just one way to say #ImAMason! 😁⚔️ This month, we’re asking all Masons to post a message or a short video on social media saying why they’re a Freemason and to include the hashtag #ImAMason in the caption!⁠

    #MasonsofCA

    Reposting masterfrank7474

    W Bro James Dalton at the Science Fiction and Fantasy Lodge demonstrating some of their unique ways of working. Hear about it on Episode 85: Podcasts, Masons, & Friends!
    www.TravelingManPodcast.com
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    #freemason_world #ImAMason #freemason #freemasonry #2b1ask1 #masonic #bluelodge #mastermason #square #compass #squareandcompass #UGLE #warwickshire #grandlodgeofohio #grandlodge #love #brotherlylove #freemasonsofamerica #ImAMason #brother #yorkrite #princehall #eastpalestine417 #commandary #shriner #grotto #masons #mason #scottishrite #freemasons
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    Turning Posts into Prospects

    Jordan Yelinek, the assistant grand secretary and director of member services, is bullish on what efforts like this mean for the membership going forward. “We’re going to see a significant influx in prospects and lodges need to be prepared for it,” Yelinek says. Over the past two years, the Grand Lodge of California has built a team of three “member advisors” whose job is to greet and vet prospects that make inquiries through the Grand Lodge (mostly online). Last year alone, more than 5,000 such prospects reached out through freemason.org. “We get people from all over the world reaching out to us,” Yelinek says. “And for those who live outside our state, we do our part to direct them to their own jurisdiction.” But for the most part, the people who contact Grand Lodge live here in California—and that’s when the real work begins. “Our team screens these prospects to make sure they’re eligible for membership, and out of those 5,000+ inquiries last year, we passed along around 4,200 prospective members to our lodges.”

    That’s an average of around 10 prospects per lodge—not an insignificant number and certainly enough to overwhelm a lodge that’s not prepared to handle it. When asked what a lodge can do to handle prospects, Yelinek recommends a version of the “Take 5 Method.”

    In this method, one prospect should have two hosts, who should welcome the prospect to three “get-to-know-you” meetings, which should be followed by inviting the prospect to a minimum of four lodge events. The whole process should take five months. Got that?

    • One prospect
    • Two hosts
    • Three meetings
    • Four lodge events
    • Five months

    The purpose of having two hosts is to provide redundancy in case one of the hosts is unable to attend one of the meetings. These hosts should be a part of a larger “welcoming committee” whose job it is to make first contact with a prospect following the Grand Lodge referral (or whenever someone approaches the lodge directly). Members of the welcoming committee should participate in the “get-to-know-you” meetings so that by the time the prospect attends a lodge event, they’ll be able to recognize three or four people and feel more at home.

    “Lodges shouldn’t feel that they have to follow this exact model,” Yelinek says. “Feel free to adapt as necessary.” But at the end of the day, lodges need to have some model for handling prospects in place, because, according to Yelinek, our outreach efforts “have only just scratched the surface.”

    Meet Justin Ortega, New Member Services Rep

    The Grand Lodge Membership Services department is growing—and that’s good news for lodges everywhere. With more capacity to receive and direct online prospects toward the lodges nearest (or most convenient) to them, we’ll make significant strides toward increasing membership statewide. Here, get to know our newest addition to the team, Justin Ortega.

    THE LEADER: Welcome, Justin. Can you tell us a little about yourself? What’s your connection to Freemasonry?

    JUSTIN ORTEGA: I was raised a Master Mason in 2022 after having my petition on hold since 2020 due to COVID-19, when my mother lodge was not conferring degrees. I’m currently a member of Surfside Lodge No. 112 in Oceanside, near San Diego, under the jurisdiction of the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of California, as well as a member of Mt. Moriah No. 4 Holy Royal Arch Chapter. This year, I’ve been appointed assistant secretary of my lodge. I’ve been blessed to learn about the office of the secretary and from a very experienced past master of our lodge with a tremendous amount of knowledge and wisdom. He teaches me something new every day and epitomizes the phrase “making good men better.” 

    THE LEADER: And how do you describe your job here with the Grand Lodge of California?

    JUSTIN ORTEGA: I’m now a membership advisor for the Masons of California, which I started just this past month. Prior to this job, I was on active-duty in the Marine Corps, where I deployed over 10 times to Iraq, Afghanistan, Malaysia, North Africa, Georgia, Japan, and Korea. After 22 years, I retired from the military and got my degree in human resource management and worked as an HR manager at a private security company before getting this fantastic opportunity working for the Masons of California.

    THE LEADER: What has been the most surprising (or interesting or exciting) thing you’ve discovered in your time working for GL?

    JUSTIN ORTEGA: There is a tremendous amount of infrastructure that supports the fraternity. I was very surprised to see how many great people from all walks of life are working tirelessly behind the scenes to support lodges and even individual brothers. The wonderful people that make up the membership services team are doing great things for the organization every single day. The social media and communications team do such a great job of educating the public on what Freemasonry is about. I truly believe that how the Grand Lodge of California does business will set the example for other Masonic organizations to follow in the future.


    Best Practices and Due Diligence Tips for Hall Associations Regarding Building Repair/Improvements

    If your lodge's Hall Association is considering or preparing to undergo repairs or improvements, it's important to dot all your I's and cross your Ts. Here, the Grand Lodge Real Estate team has compiled some helpful reminders to help you avoid common mistakes.

    • Obtain at least two or three similar and competitive bids on the same written scope of work.
    • Scope of work must be comprehensive and indicate the specifications on materials, equipment, etc.
    • For complex renovation projects, explore engaging professionals to produce design drawings, structural engineering reports, termite reports, and other pertinent building inspections as part of your due diligence.
    • Make sure all bid/contract documents reference the hall association and not the lodge as "customer" or "client."
    • Bid/contract documents must clearly define a project completion timeline and warranty information
    • Bid/contract document must contain progressive payment terms with the down payment not exceeding 10% of total project cost or $1,000, whichever is the lesser of the two.
    • Select a contractor using several criteria, including cost, competency, professionalism, and reputation, and ensure that contractor is licensed and adequately insured.
    • Obtain, or have the contractor obtain the required city and/or county permits for the project at hand.
    • Formalize contractor selection at a Hall Association board meeting, which should be reflected in the board meeting minutes.
    • Solicit input and buy-in from various disciplines from within the lodge and the Hall Association, and obtain approval for funding from the owner lodge at a lodge stated meeting, with the lodge’s investment account and building designated fund being the most common funding sources for improvements projects.
    • Obtain proper written approval from the Grand Lodge Masonic Properties Committee for improvements/repairs projects greater than the $25,000 threshold, as required by the California Masonic Code (CMC).
    • Before any work commences, obtain a certificate of liability insurance (COI) from each contractor, naming the Hall Association as additional insured and certificate holder for the general liability insurance coverage; the COI must also include worker’s comp and auto liability insurance coverage for contractors utilizing employees and vehicles on hall premises.

    If your hall association has any questions on these due diligence tips and requirements for a complete improvements application packet, please email realestate@freemason.org

    For Your Trestleboard

    Use this content to spread the word about resources provided by the California Masonic Foundation, the Masonic Homes of California, and more.

    Masonic Health Services:

    Services at MCYAF Across the Lifespan

    The Pavilion at the Masonic Homes

    Masonic Homes of California Resources

    Masonic Value Network


    Masonic Philanthropy:

    Masonic Youth Order Resources Library

    California Masonic Foundation Cornerstone Society

    August Officers' Checklist

    Stay on track of lodge business and prepare for important deadlines. Here’s your August checklist.

    Executive Committee

    • Make plans for your lodge master, wardens, or other representatives to attend the Annual Communication this October. 

    Senior Warden, along with Executive Committee

    • Identify and approach members for 2024 open elected and appointed officer positions.
    • Urge presumptive master, wardens, and senior deacon to perform their Master Mason’s proficiency soon, if not already completed.
    • Urge respective officers to answer the master, senior warden, and junior warden questions early.
    • Identify and approach members for the 2024 Audit, Membership Retention, and any other committees.
    • Set calendar for 2024 and identify event leaders.
    • Continue preparing 2024 budget.
    • Set installation date and approach installing officer, master of ceremonies, and chaplain.
    • Review all candidates’ progress toward advancement.
    • Introduce and vote on the Membership Restoration Campaign at a stated meeting to invite suspended members back into the fold. 

    Junior Warden

    • Continue tracking 100 percent officer giving to the Annual Fund, with officers setting an example through gifts that represent their capability as well as their commitment to our charitable programs.

    Secretary

    • Pay lodge per capita.
    • Prepare semi-annual report of membership activity, due in August.

    Treasurer

    • Pay lodge per capita.
    • Prepare semi-annual report of membership activity, due in August.
    • If your lodge has employees, file quarterly federal payroll tax form 941 (unless IRS has approved an annual filing of form 944, due in February),
    • If your lodge has employees, file quarterly state payroll tax form DE9/DE9C and deposit form DE88.
    • Using the Paychex Payroll system? Paychex will complete and file the above quarterly payroll tax returns for you.Make sure to process your payroll in the Paychex Payroll system on a monthly/regular basis.
    • Begin preparing semi-annual financial report, due in August. Using Intacct? The report is available and auto-generated from the Intacct system. If you need assistance to update your financial records in Intacct. please contact financial services, Tel: 415-292-9170, financialservices@freemason.org.

    Hall Association

    • Present semi-annual report, due in August.

    Questions? Contact Member Services at memberservices@freemason.org or (415) 776-7000.

    Question of the Month

    Last month, we asked has your lodge seen an increase in prospects over the past year?

    • 69% - Yes 
    • 31% - No

    Here's your next survey question