Friday, 28 September 2018

Nickel Christmas Party 2018

Nickel Lodge No. 427 will be having an Ugly Christmas Sweater Gathering at Belrock on November 24th, 2018. Tickets will be available through the Junior Warden, Bro. Angus Morris, and his designates. ( Tickets must be purchased and paid for by November 16th.

Tracing Board 2018-10

Here is the tracing board for October 2018

DDGM Reception 2018

Brethren, What a humbling experience it is to stand before you this evening. Thank you all for coming.

I would like to address a subject which has been on all our minds for some time and that is our decreasing membership and what can we do about it.

For a bit of history I looked into some of the Proceedings of past years.

1866 there were 180 lodges with a total membership of 6263. They initiated 833, restored 54 for a total of 887. There were 452 demits, 68 deaths and 230 suspensions for a total of 850. A gain of 37 members.

1901 there were 450 lodges with a total membership of 26930. They initiated 1968, restored 219 for a total of 2187. There were 587 demits, 293 deaths, and 499 suspensions for a total of 1379. A gain of 808 members.

1932 there were 654 lodges with a total of 116166 members. They initiated 2698 and restored 247 for a total of 2945. There were 1133 demits, 1489 deaths, and 1825 suspensions for a total of 4447. A loss of 1502. Remember that this was during the great depression so for many people money was tight and lodge dues were not the top priority.

1957 there were 691 lodges with a total membership of 133398. They initiated4542 and restored 225 for a total of 4667. There were 989 demits, 2458 deaths and 809 suspensions for a total of 4256 a gain of 411.

1991 there were 740 lodges with a total membership of 86628. They initiated 1445 and restored152 for a total of 1597. There were 1020 demits, 2460 deaths, and 837 suspensions for a total of 4317, a loss of 2720.

2014 there were 746 lodges with a total membership of 43879 which was down 1673 from 2013. They initiated 1198, restored 143 for a total of 1341. There were 1225 demits, 1302 deaths and 881 suspensions for a total of 3408 a loss of 2067.

Reducing membership is a reality and we must learn to cope with fewer members and fewer lodges. We have seen the loss of both members and lodges in our own district. When I joined Nickel Lodge in 1995 we had 9 lodges with about 1200 members. We are now down to 7 lodges and we could be down to 6 in the near future with somewhere in the neighborhood of 600 members.

It appears that from the beginning membership was growing, up to the middle of the 20th century and the began to decline. This coincides with the time when both parents were working and leisure time was at premium. Helicopter parenting became the norm and children were playing organized sports and were involved in many other organized activities which required the attention of both parents.

So how do we compete with family obligations. We can’t. It’s as simple as that. Family must always come first, but We can show prospective new members that it need not take up much time. One night a month. Now many of us laugh at that old “one night a month”. But truly that’s all that is required as long as we don’t push new members into doing more than they are ready for, and there are young members who do find the time to fit lodge membership into their busy schedules.

Many new members are joining in their forties and fifties when family obligations are not so time consuming. So maybe we should be talking more to those people. I’m not suggesting that we try to recruit members but there is no reason that we can’t talk about Freemasonry and what it means to us.

While we are looking for new members we need to be careful of who we are inviting into our fraternity. There are many good people who will not be a good fit with our practices and requirements. Be careful who enters the west gate.

So we can advertise our membership by showing the square & compasses, and when it comes up in the conversation we can talk about it especially the way to join- To be one ask one.

One of the most difficult things we have in discussing Freemasonry is describing what it is that we do. Think about the general charge in the installation. “I therefore shall trust that we have but one aim, to please each other and unite in the grand design of being happy and communicating happiness.”

If you think about that phrase you will realize that it describes everything you need to know about freemasonry. So brethren, be happy and communicate that happiness to your fellow man.