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Paying Your Way, with Dignity

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    Paying Your Way, with Dignity

    Whether it’s being on a fixed income, losing a job, or receiving unexpected bills, for some members, lodge dues can sometimes be hard to cover. And it’s important that that not be the reason a member leaves the fraternity. “There’s no shame in not being able to pay your dues, if circumstances make it a burden,” says Chris Holme, vice chair of the Grand Lodge legislative analysis committee and junior warden of the Downtown Masonic Lodge No. 859. “But we also recognize that there’s dignity in being able to pay your membership dues, even if it’s only a part of them.” Thanks to a new piece of legislation passed at the last Annual Communication, lodges can now remit a part of members’ dues, allowing them to pay what they can—a change from the previous system, under which a member needed to pay all or nothing.

    Says Holme, the new system will spare members from having to ask their lodge to cover their dues for them—a situation that some people found embarrassing or refused to entertain. “When I was a secretary for my lodge, I’d occasionally come across members who were unable to pay their dues but who refused to accept a full remission of them,” Holme says. “For some members, this was a pride thing. They didn’t want to accept what they perceived to be a handout.” Other members worried about being a burden on their lodge and thought a complete remission of their dues would put too great a strain on their lodge’s resources. “No one wants to feel like they’re not paying their way,” Holme says. When faced with a member unable to pay his dues but unwilling to accept a full remission, the old system would mark that member as delinquent.

    With the passing of Resolution No. 19-08 at Annual Communication, however, lodges are now permitted to accept partial payment of dues, which allows members facing hardships to maintain their membership while paying what they can. “This is a win for that member who gets to maintain his membership, and a win for the lodge that gets to keep that member on their books,” Holme says. “In the end, it’s about creating a system that sees everyone come out better.”

    Nuts and Bolts of Partial Dues Remission

    The new legislation doesn’t add any complicated processes that lodges have to follow to accept partial remission of dues. As before, a lodge’s charity committee should consider remission on a case-by-case basis. Ultimately, they should come up with a number that the member in question is comfortable paying. If recommended by the charity committee, the lodge—without revealing the name of the member in question, except to the secretary—may vote to remit to December 31 of the current calendar year a portion of the dues determined by the charity committee.

    Lodges then pay a portion of those dues as per capita to Grand Lodge, to be calculated based on the percentage of the total dues paid. So, for instance, consider a lodge where dues are $100 each year, but a member is only able to pay 25 percent of that. If the per-capita payment from that lodge amounts to $50 per member, under the new system, the lodge only needs to cover 25 percent of the per capita fee—$12.50—on the member’s behalf. 

    Remember also that the charity committee should review the situation of each member whose dues were remitted the preceding calendar year before the next February stated meeting. If the charity committee determines that the need for the remission of dues still exists, it should recommend to the lodge that the dues be remitted again to December 31 of the current calendar year.

    Your December Checklist

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

    Executive Committee

    • Hold installation of officers or continue to prepare for installation.
    • Meet with the inspector to review your plan for the year.
    • Prepare to attend 2022 Leadership Retreats—details to be released soon.

    Senior Warden, along with Executive Committee

    • Urge presumptive master, wardens, and senior deacon to perform their Master Mason’s proficiency soon, if not already completed.
    • Prepare 2022 budget to present to the lodge in January.
    • Budget for, and prepare to attend, 2022 Leadership Retreats.
    • Ensure that all committee assignments have been determined. After installation as master, confirm audit, charity, and membership retention committee appointments.
    • Review all candidates’ progress toward advancement.


    • Continue sending out dues notices and collecting member dues.
    • Begin preparing secretary’s annual report to present to the lodge in February.
    • Review the list of suspended members sent to you by Grand Lodge and determine if your lodge wants to participate in the 2022 Restoration Campaign.
    • Budget for, and prepare to attend, 2022 Leadership Retreats.


    • Begin preparing treasurer’s annual report to present to the lodge in February.
    • Budget for, and prepare to attend, 2022 Leadership Retreats.
    • Ensure that the lodge financial records are up to date and bank accounts are reconciled.

    Questions? Contact Member Services at or (415) 776-7000.

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