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Masonic Outreach Services: Lodge Outreach Program
In 2011, Masonic Outreach Services (MOS) created the Lodge Outreach Program. The program has helped California Masons reconnect with their vulnerable members and build a safety net for brothers and widows. Arman Ordian of Desert Daylight Lodge U.D. shares his story of working with MOS and the many ways his lodge has made a difference in the lives of brothers and widows.
Making a Difference, One Person at a Time
When brothers in the Coachella Valley wanted to reach out to their older members as part of the new Lodge Outreach Program through MOS, they looked to Arman Ordian to help coordinate it all. During the day, Arman works with the elderly and their families to plan funeral arrangements and other end of life services. “You need to know how to talk with people about these sorts of things,” Arman says. “So, when I was asked to help reach out to Masonic widows and aging members in our Masonic community, I was able to call on my work experience to guide me." Since he first started working with MOS through his lodge in Palm Springs a few years ago, Arman and his team of fellow Masons have reached out to more than 30 Masonic widows and aging brothers.
As the unofficial coordinator for the program in the Coachella Valley, Arman is usually the first point of contact for senior members in the Masonic community. “Most of our older members are very proud and aren’t quick to admit that they need help,” he says. “That’s why it’s so important to just talk with them.” It was after talking with some older members that Arman realized that one of the reasons they weren’t attending lodge anymore was because they couldn’t drive at night. In response, Arman worked with Grand Lodge and other Masons in the area to found a new lodge that meets during the day: Desert Daylight Lodge U.D. With a membership of more than 20 Masons, this new lodge continues to grow as aging Masons throughout the area come to reconnect to the craft.
For the most part, however, Arman and the other volunteers have helped older Masons and their widows in smaller, but no less profound, ways. “We usually do small tasks like helping an older Mason and his wife set up their cable. Another time, when we found a brother who was unable to afford a new CPAP machine, we sent the word out to Masons in our area and within no time, someone donated one.” In other cases, Arman has referred Masonic widows to some of the care services offered by MOS (for a more complete listing of these services, see their website here). Regardless of the level of service, Arman has found that the experience of working with MOS has had a positive impact on both those receiving help, and the Masons giving help. “It’s a very satisfying experience knowing you’ve made a difference,” Arman says.
Tips for getting involved with MOS
You don’t need to have previous experience working with senior citizens to get involved with the Lodge Outreach Program. A key component of the program is the training MOS staff provide you and your lodge. Below are some tips on how you can partner with MOS in your area.
Reach out and recruit help
- Contact the regional office of MOS to request more information on the program. Staff will come out to your next stated meeting and give a brief presentation on how you can get started with helping vulnerable brothers in your community. For more information on who to contact, visit the MOS website.
- Not everyone in your lodge needs to participate in MOS. Just one or two committed brothers can make a huge difference.
- Download the Lodge Outreach Brochure and distribute it at your next stated meeting to start the discussion in your own lodge.
Remember the widows
As Masons, we have an obligation to help Masonic widows in need. Below are some ideas of how your lodge can begin doing just that.
- Host a “Widows Night,” where members bring Masonic widows from the community for a special dinner. This is a great way to remind widows that they are remembered and valued by their late husbands’ brothers.
- Send cards for birthdays and holidays. Special days like these are often the most difficult for widows, as they are reminded of their loved ones. One way to brighten their day is to send cards on behalf of the lodge.
- Ensure the widows in your community receive the lodge trestleboard—this monthly publication can be a great way for them to stay in touch. An additional benefit is that once you have an outreach team set up, you can advertise your services in the trestleboard.
Your May checklist
Stay on track of lodge business and prepare for important deadlines. Here’s your May checklist.
- Last chance to attend a 2019 Master & Wardens Retreat. Register now.
Senior Warden, along with Executive Committee
- Identify and approach members for 2020 open elected and appointed officer positions
- Identify and approach members for the 2020 Audit, Membership Retention, and any other committees.
- Set calendar for 2020 and identify event leaders.
- Continue preparing 2020 budget.
- Set installation date and approach installing officer, master of ceremonies, and chaplain.
- Review all candidates’ progress towards advancement.
- Continue tracking 100% 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 the Charity Committee can consider remissions.
- Begin reviewing roster for accuracy in preparation for the end of the Grand Lodge membership year, June 30.
- By May 15, submit IRS form 990 and FTB form 199 (unless your lodge has previously agreed to have Grand Lodge prepare these forms).
- By May 15, submit IRS form 990 and FTB form 199.
- By May 15, submit form 200 to Grand Lodge.
- Pay insurance premium.
Questions? Contact Member Services at firstname.lastname@example.org or (415) 776-7000.
For your Trestleboard
The fraternity’s signature event for Masonic education is just a month away! Make sure your members don’t miss it. Download this ad for the Symposium, plus additional ads.
Share in your Trestleboard.
Find it on masonichome.org
Whether you want a Masonic Homes info sheet for your trestleboard, an educational flyer for your bulletin board, or guidelines for your outreach committee, make your first stop the Education and Resources page on masonichome.org. This helpful page includes:
- Printable info sheets about the Homes, Masonic Outreach, and the Masonic Center for Youth and Families.
- Lodge outreach guides, checklists, forms, and phone scripts.
- In-depth presentations for outreach leaders.
- Inspiring videos show how Masonry benefits modern brothers.
Question of the month
Last month we asked how often your lodge hosts non-Masonic events. Of those that responded:
- 44% - Once or twice each year
- 30% - More than twice each year
- 19% - Never
- 7% - Other Answers (6 times a year & occasionally)
- 0% - Every Month