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November 2020: Masonic Outreach
Twice as Nice for 2020 Joe Jackson Award Winners
This year, that approach was rewarded as the two Southern California lodges were presented with the Joe Jackson Award, given each year since 2014 by the Masonic Homes to a lodge or member who embodies the late Jackson’s dedication to service. Anacapa and Oxnard lodges have both taken that pledge to heart, but what’s made them stand out is an openness to creativity and partnership that’s seen their philanthropic ventures stretch even further. Says Sabrina Montes, the executive director of Masonic Outreach at the Masonic Homes, “It isn’t the quantity of referrals a lodge makes that matters, but the quality of their outreach efforts. The leadership, involvement with Masonic Outreach Services, and partnering with each other to better serve their communities is what made Anacapa and Oxnard lodges stand out to us.”
The lodges’ outreach efforts are simple—but effective. Because both lodges are located in Oxnard and share a number of members, leaders have formed a single, joint widows committee. Says Oxnard No. 341 master Derek Duke, “By coming together, we were able to pool our resources and make our communication with our widows more effective.” Between invitations to Valentine’s Day dinners, regular check-ins, and lending the occasional helping hand with bills or other concerns, the men of Oxnard and Anacapa have found that in terms of keeping in touch with fraternal family, two sets of hands are better than one. Their collaborative work has continued during the pandemic as well: The lodges teamed up to distribute more than 500 meals to local first responders in their community, including paramedics at five different hospitals in their area.
Building a robust relief program has meant embracing a commitment to consistency, from hosting regular meetings for the Lodge Outreach Services team each year to making sure to send representatives to Masonic Outreach Services divisional meetings. “The regional meetings are really beneficial to us as a lodge,” says Ronaldo Sotomango, master of Anacapa No. 710. “We get a chance to brainstorm with other lodges about creative ways to serve our members.” But it’s also meant building smaller efforts into their lodges’ DNA: things like arranging rides to meetings for elderly members and bringing widows to lodge dinners. Taken all together, the lodges have been able to build a strong regional network of members, widows, and Masonic service providers.
“It isn’t hard,” Sotomango says. “You just have to make service central to what you do as a lodge.”
Supercharging Your Outreach
As the two lodges have shown, producing quality outreach doesn’t have to be rocket science. Here are some simple steps your lodge can take:
- Contact the regional office of MOS to request more information on the program. Staff will come to your next stated meeting—either in-person (in the future) or virtually—and give a brief presentation on how you can get started with helping vulnerable fraternal family members in your community. For more information on who to contact, visit the MOS website.
- Not everyone in your lodge needs to participate in MOS. Even having one or two committed members can make a huge difference. Look for volunteers willing to spearhead the effort.
- Download the Getting Started with Outreach brochure and distribute it at your next stated meeting to start the discussion in your own lodge.
Remember the Widows
- 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 valued by the fraternity—and to remind them about Masonic services they’re eligible for.
- 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. An additional benefit is that once you have an outreach team set up, you can advertise Masonic services in the trestleboard.
Reminders and Masonic News
New GM Decisions: Grand Master Arthur H. Weiss has issued two important decisions related to the suspension of in-person Masonic events and meetings; and to holding special and stated meetings and officer elections online. Please refer to the two links below to download and review the decisions and familiarize yourself with them.
Speaker Series Continues: The first-of-its-kind Online Masonic Speaker Series is continuing through the fall with more enlightening lectures on a range of topics germane to Masonry, all of which are entirely free and open to all. On November 4, Masonic historian and writer Josef Wäges will present his latest research on the Scots Master degree, one of the most enigmatic of the high degrees; then on Dec. 27, former Grand Secretary John L. Cooper presents a lecture on St. John the Evangelist, one of two patron saints of Freemasonry.
Your November Checklist
Stay on track of lodge business and prepare for important deadlines. Here’s your November checklist:
- Along with the lodge, elect officers.
- Meet with the inspector to review your plan for the year.
- Budget for, and prepare to attend, 2021 leadership retreats.
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.
- Urge the presumptive master, wardens, and senior deacon to qualify early with the inspector in their office’s ritual.
- Urge respective officers to answer the master, senior warden, and junior warden questions early.
- Identify and approach members for the 2021 Audit, Membership Retention, and any other committees.
- Set 2021 lodge calendar and identify event leaders.
- Continue preparing 2021 budget.
- Finalize your installation date/venue and prepare the installing team.
- Review all candidates’ progress toward advancement.
- Transmit certificates of election in iMember.
- Continue sending out dues notices and collecting member dues.
Questions? Contact Member Services at firstname.lastname@example.org or (415) 776-7000.
Question of the Month
Last month we asked whether your lodge had achieved 100 percent officer giving—and if not, why. Of those that responded:
- 38% Our lodge supports local charities.
- 31% Our lodge is unaware of 100 percent officer giving goals.
- 24% It’s too burdensome for our lodge financially.
- 21% We have!
- 7% Our lodge does not make philanthropy a priority.