Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Unity First! 21st Century Freemasonry.

Welcome to 21st Century Freemasonry. Allow me to offer you a few of the details according to the statistics offered by Shrine International (PGM Jeff Sowder).

- There are approximately 1.7 Million Master Masons in the United States as of this year.
- Of those Master Masons, about 10 Percent are Active.
- The Average Age of these Masons is 70 years old.
- There are more members over the age of 80 than under 50.
- There are more Masons over the age of 90 than under 30.

Additionally, over the last 3 years the Annual Revenues for Shrine International's programs, including items budgeted towards the 22 Shriners Hospitals for Children, have fallen in Half. The earnings have dropped from about 8.5 billion dollars to 3.5. This isnt good news for the Shrine. This isnt good news for Freemansonry. And this certainly isnt good news for the thousands of children in the Shriner's Hospitals if this is not immediately improved.

The plummeting revenues are not just evident in the Shrines. All across the country, lodges are feeling the economic downturn as it erodes replenishment funds, activities funds and endowments to charitable organizations.

Freemasonry must put its internal differences aside. We must return to the roots of our order and embrace the Brotherhood itself foregoing individual conflicts and differences between the affiliated bodies of the Order. We brothers must consider the big picture which is the survival of the Fraternity into the uncertain future, the modern direction it must take in order to do so, and the significant charitable works that the Craft offers those who are less fortunate.

We are a Brotherhood of men bearing the responsibilities or our Obligations! We cannot let our brothers down and we dare not forget our children's and community charities! We must forge a stronger Unity within our Fraternity and between all branches be they the Lodge, the Scottish Rite, the York Rite or the Shrine.

This season the Shrine Imperial Session opened with the Imperial Potentate's message of 'Unity First,' embracing the idea of strengthening the bond between the Masonic blue lodge and the Shrine. The effort is directed at membership, retention and value to the members.

Toward this end, Shrine International has created a wonderful new program and has taken time to offer solutions to these challenges. Much of this can be found on the new website for Shrine Nobles at http://www.shrinersvillage.com or for aspirant Nobles at http://beashrinernow.com. There are a great many Tools to be found on these sites particularly on the Shriners Village site. One of the many proposals calls for the implementation of a Masonic Unity Council in each area bringing Masons of all branches together.

Membership and retention are problems for all forms of Freemasonry and most of the problems arise as new members are not properly educated or enjoined into lodge activities. It takes Action to make a good man a better man. It takes Action to empower all of those memorized words. It takes Action to make a difference to a brother, to a family, to a community, and to the Fraternity.

Therefore, if you are a Master Mason then you should consider becoming a Shriner or joining the Scottish Rite or York Rite. And if you joined because you wanted to be involved in something other than your local lodge then you should go back to lodge...approach the Light in work and study with brothers and fellows both.

The stakes of the times are too high. We must work together, Masons all. We need better Masonic education in lodges; it's ridiculous when Master Masons learn more about Masonry from popular books, movies and television specials than from the lodge itself! Lodges and branches must offer more membership activities, greater levels of personal involvement and endeavor to greater community outreach.

Presently, members of my own lodge, Gate of the Temple #422, and my Shrine, Abou Ben Adhem, are looking into new ways to work together, to put Unity First and take Action where it is needed. We are working on a Membership Committee what will work with our new candidates and hopefully aid to fulfill their earnest expectations from the temple and the lodge.

As always, the Craft is in your capable hands. It's time to reach out and lead your brothers into the Light and future of Freemasonry.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Fall FellowRuffianShip!

Greetings Ruffians!

It's time to get geared up again now that Fall is upon us. There are more than spooks and goblins afoot this October. A lot of lodges are hosting special events. The Scottish Rite Reunion is on its way and Shriners across the country are preparing to welcome in new candidates.

Boy do we have a lot to do and even more to talk about Ruffians! Dont forget to find us on Myspace and Facebook if you havent added us already. You will find a great many Fellow Ruffians such as yourselves. And that's what its all about...


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