For Some Lodges, a Change of Pace
In February 2022, the members of Oakland’s Templum Rosae Lodge No. 863 will hold their regular stated meeting. Then, they won’t do it again until May.
The new schedule is made possible by a new piece of legislation passed in early October at the 172nd Annual Communication that permits lodges to meet quarterly, rather than the traditional monthly cadence. (Historically, some snowed-in lodges have met 10 times per year.) “This frees lodges from having monthly stated meetings for the sake of having monthly stated meetings,” says Mike Ramos, past master of the lodge and now the secretary for fraternal affairs with Grand Lodge. “Meeting only four times each year will allow for more meaningful meetings.”
The result, Ramos explains, isn’t less Masonry—in fact quite the opposite. By meeting every three months, Templum Rosae aims to turn otherwise drab business meetings into events its membership looks forward to. Particularly at Templum Rosae, where the majority of members are in their late 30s and 40s and many have families and children at home, a quarterly meeting schedule better fit its members’ lives. “We don’t even own a lodge building,” Ramos says, “and the bills we do have to pay are minimal, so a meeting monthly was really pointless.” Ramos points out that the four-times-per-year meeting schedule isn’t unique to California, either: The United Grand Lodge of England, the “mother lodge” to regular Freemasonry, does the same.
The idea behind this legislation was to give lodges the ability to better respond to their members’ preferences. Says Jordan Yelinek, the assistant grand secretary and Grand Lodge director of member services and lodge development, “We firmly believe that lodges know their needs best. For some, meeting each month is not best.”
However, Yelinek stresses that lodges that want to continue meeting monthly can and will do so. In fact, the expectation is that most lodges will still meet as they always have.
For Templum Rosae, the quarterly meeting schedule still represents a packed calendar: During the four months in which the lodge meets, they plan to cram a lot of Masonry in. That means hosting “lodges of instruction”—basically ritual practice—weekly during that month, in anticipation of the initiation, passing, or raising of a candidate at the end of the month. That’s on top of its usual complement of prospects’ nights, dinners, and outings. So while business meetings will still happen, it's clear it won't be business as usual.
If your lodge wants to change the number of stated meetings it holds annually, you must amend your lodge’s bylaws. To do so, follow these steps (also outlined in the California Masonic Code):
- Present a copy of the amendment to each lodge member at the next stated meeting. The amendment must outline the exact changes you’re intending to make in your bylaws and the date of the stated meeting at which the vote is to be taken.
- The secretary of the lodge must note in the minutes that the notice was distributed.
- At the designated stated meeting, hold a vote. In order for the amendment to pass, two-thirds of those members present at the meeting must vote for it.
- Once approved, forward the amended bylaws and the specific amendment, under seal, to Grand Lodge.
- If you have any questions or clarifications, contact Member Services.
Stay up to date with lodge business. Here’s your November officer checklist:
- Along with the lodge, elect officers.
- Meet with the inspector to review your plan for the year.
- Budget for, and prepare to attend, 2022 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 2022 Audit, Membership Retention, and any other committees.
- Set 2022 lodge calendar and identify event leaders.
- Continue preparing 2022 budget.
- Finalize your installation date/venue and prepare the installing team.
- Review all candidates’ progress toward advancement.
- Transmit certificates of election in iMember.
- Remember, you do not need to mail these physically into the Grand Lodge – they can be given as a souvenir to the installed officer
- If you are not using the Grand Lodge dues invoicing service, continue sending out dues notices, collecting member dues, and providing information to the Charity Committee. Remember all members may access the electronic dues card and print their own dues card if they so desire.
Questions? Contact Member Services at firstname.lastname@example.org or (415) 776-7000.
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Last month we asked whether your lodge assigns a member or committee to respond to incoming prospect inquiries. Of those that responded:
- Yes: 56%
- No: 44%