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June 2024:
A Masonic Club of Non-Masons? It’s a Great Idea!

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    A Masonic Club of Non-Masons? It’s a Great Idea!

    Last year, Michael David founded a new Masonic club. With any luck, by this time next year, none of the current members will still be signed up.

    Sound unusual? It is! The club, the Rough Ashlars, is made up entirely of prospective Masons—a combination of prospects, applicants, suspended members, and others waiting in limbo.

    The Rough Ashlars (the name was decided on by members of the club) instead meet every Wednesday during Home Lodge No. 721 events—they’re not allowed into tyled portions of the meetings, but rather play cards or chat with one another in the library room—and keep up to date over a WhatsApp chat and text thread. They are invited to all the lodge’s social, philanthropic, and non-tyled events, and even hold events of their own, like an upcoming volunteer day at a local elementary school.

    The club is the brainchild of David, a past master of Home No. 721 in Van Nuys, as a way to keep those would-be Masons engaged while they wait. “What was happening was, we found that prospects tended to wash out if there wasn’t enough member engagement,” he explains. “So we did this to prevent people from falling through the cracks and to get them involved in a productive and enjoyable manner. That way, when the time comes, they’re ready to be a better Mason.”

    “It’s kind of like dating,” he says. “It’s a chance to find out if it's a person you want to continue with—or you may find out that it’s not for you. And in that case, no hard feelings. Our door is always open.”

    David says that the group has developed its own dynamic—one that’s incredibly supportive. He typically pings the group every Monday with “some motivational pep talk” like asking members to say what they hope to accomplish that week. Then the group takes over, giving updates and encouraging one another along their way. The result is a tight-knit community that’s ready to hit the ground running once they’re brought into lodge—whether it’s at Home No. 721 or elsewhere. (David has a strict “no poaching” rule; if neighboring lodges refer a prospect to the group, he promises not to recruit them away from that lodge.) “I’m not doing this for Home Lodge,” he says. “I’m doing it for Masonry.”

    To date, the Rough Ashlars have had 40 members. Of those, eight have gone on to petition a lodge for membership; four are now Entered Apprentices; one is a Fellow Craft; three are now Master Masons; and two are preparing to become lodge officers. 

    An interesting coda: Most members, even those who’ve since become full-fledged members of the lodge, remain active on the group chat.

    Tips on Keeping Prospective Members Engaged

    The Grand Lodge of California will be holding an online membership awareness campaign again this summer, beginning May 29 and running through Aug. 2. Previous years’ campaigns have brought about 4,000 new leads into the system—meaning now’s the time for lodges to get ready for another wave of inquiries.

    Here, Michael Roberts, the Grand Lodge Manager of Membership and Lodge Development, offers some practical tips on managing that crush:

    Practical Onboarding Best Practices

    • Be responsive to all inquiries (respond within 48 hours via text, email, or phone call)
    • Maintain “actively engaged” prospects on the iMember lodge dashboard
    • Always add notes on inquiries in iMember
    • Acknowledge receipt of all referrals with a Grand Lodge membership advisor—just email them or text them back!
    • Strive to keep 10 or fewer prospects on your lodge dashboard
    • If your lodge does not have a Welcome Committee, create one!
    • Many hands make light work! Encourage current members to help out

    Utilize the “Take Five 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
      • Help introduce the prospect to the lodge
      • Meet and greet him
      • Introduce him to current members
      • Give him the “Opening the Door” guide
    • Three casual meetings
      • The prospect should attend three meetings along with one recommender, and one other member of the lodge
      • Conducted in a social environment (restaurant, café, etc.)
      • Should include three different lodge members
      • Prospect shares why he’s interested in joining; what he hopes to learn, and what he might contribute
      • Prospect learns what Masonry is; who the members are; why they joined; and what he may expect to gain from being a member
    • Four lodge events
      • Events should be diverse and represent your lodge
      • Social, educational, community service, ceremonial, other
    • Five months
      • The process should not be rushed or shortened for expediency
      • Remember, you’re asking for the recommendation of a friend to be made a brother

    Also, remember that there are several prospecting resources available on iMember, such as the “Talking to Prospects” cheat sheet. Find it by logging on to iMember, and going to “General Resources.” From there, select “Prospecting Resources” under the “Membership Development” tab.

    The informational booklet “Opening the Door,” full of frequently asked questions, is also available as a digital download in English, Spanish, and French at and is available in hard copy through LAFSCO.

    June 2024 Is Masonic Homes Month

    Since 1898, California Masons have fulfilled their obligation to care for fellow members and their families through the Masonic Homes. One hundred and twenty-five years later, the fraternity remains committed to delivering on that promise by offering crucial services to those in need through the Masonic Homes’ retirement communities in Union City and Covina, through Masonic Outreach Services, and the Masonic Center for Youth and Families.

    This month, I call on Masons to consider ways that they and their lodges can support these important programs—and to make sure that all members are aware of the benefits they are entitled to as Masons and Masonic family members. Share the Masonic Assistance Line (888-466-3642) with members in need; visit the Masonic Homes online to learn about the services being offered; and of course make a gift to the Masonic Homes to ensure that this proud legacy endures into the future.

    This is an exciting time for the Masonic Homes. This year, the Citrus Heights Health Center opened in Covina, offering skilled nursing and rehabilitation in a market that has not had those services on campus before. In the north, the Pavilion at the Masonic Homes offers similar services, including high-skilled memory care. And thanks to recent expansions to eligibility, these services and more are now available to more California Masons and their families than ever before.

    The Masonic Homes of California is our fraternity’s legacy. This month, let’s celebrate and preserve it for generations to come.

    —Grand Master G. Sean Metroka

    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

    June Officers' Checklist

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

     Senior Warden, along with Executive Committee

    • Identify and approach members for 2025 open elected and appointed officer positions.
    • Identify and approach members for the 2025 Audit, Membership Retention, and any other committees.
    • Set calendar for 2025 and identify event leaders.
    • Continue preparing 2025 budget.
    • Set installation date and approach installing officer, master of ceremonies, and chaplain.
    • Review all candidates’ progress toward advancement.

    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.


    • Send list of members with late dues to the Retention Committee.
    • Send any suspension notices via certified mail.
    • Provide necessary information so Charity Committee can consider remissions.
    • Review roster for accuracy in preparation for the end of the Grand Lodge membership year, June 30.

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

    Question of the Month

    Last month, we asked who in your lodge is responsible for managing and replying to inquiries over social media. See the results.

    • 37% - Secretary, Chaplain, Master, Prospect Manager, Assist Secretary
    • 35% - Other appointed member of the lodge
    • 12% - Master
    • 9% - Warden
    • 7% - Head of welcoming committee

    Here's your next survey question