|Volune LIII||January 2006||Number 1|
New! On-Line Business Directory Exclusively
for Pennsylvania Masons
How often have you wondered if there was a member of your lodge or district who is in a particular business or service industry? Or perhaps you have said to yourself, "I wish I knew a brother who could do this - I'd feel better if I was working with someone I could trust."
If so, you are not alone. Grand Master Ronald A. Aungst, Sr., has initiated a brand new Online Business Directory as a special benefit, exclusively for Pennsylvania Masons. "I recognized the need for this service through first-hand experience and became determined to develop a resource for our Brethren to network and share information with one another that is helpful in a time of need," he said. "Whether you're looking for someone who offers a specific product, or you're out of town and need to find a service provider you can trust, having a resource where you can identify fellow Brethren to assist you can be a great asset."
Every Pennsylvania Mason who is able to use the Internet will have the opportunity to post one listing of commercial services he provides, businesses he is connected with, or perhaps, personal hobbies he is willing to share. This directory will provide another opportunity for members to reach out to one another as Masons Helping Masons, just as the On-Line Masonic Employment Center has helped to connect Masons with prospective employers and employees. The potential is enormous, with 130,000+ Pennsylvania Masons eligible to participate.
Initially, the directory listings will all be the same size, with each user having an equal opportunity for sharing information with others. Any member of a lodge working under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania will have the chance to sign up as a user, with the option to post or view business listings. Those who choose to post a directory listing will have the opportunity to do this without cost; however, they may be asked to consider making a contribution to a Masonic charity at a later date. At the end of the first year, assuming successful growth of users and a record of satisfied participation, the program may expand to allow for larger listings, uploaded graphics and photos and other premier features, for a reasonable service fee. For now, this is an offering of equal service to all members and it will grow based on its acceptance and usage.
The directory is intended to be for business listings. It is likely that some members will take the opportunity to post personal listings of services offered or tangible items available for sale or lease, using this like a newspaper's classified ad section. This is acceptable, too. The most important feature is that each Pennsylvania Mason will have an equal opportunity to post one listing -what he lists is up to him, within, of course, due bounds of morality and good taste.
If a registered participant is identified as having lost active member status, (by suspension, expulsion, resignation, transfer to another jurisdiction or death) the registrant will be removed from the database, and all related activities will be removed, including job postings, business listings and other services dependent upon verified membership. Inevitably there will be Brother Masons from other jurisdictions who will want to have a listing as well. They may live and do business in Pennsylvania, and may even hold membership in appendant or concordant Pennsylvania bodies. The only way to maintain the integrity of the information provided is to limit participation to Masons who hold primary or dual membership in a lodge working under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania. Therefore, no exceptions to this standard will be granted.
It is important to remember that the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania is merely providing the network through which its members may meet and share information about each other; it does not guarantee a satisfactory business transaction and does not endorse any individual listing. The members meet on the level of confirmed mutual fraternal membership, but any business relationship that ensues from the initial contact is between the customer and the business; the Grand Lodge, nor the local lodge, will arbitrate unsatisfactory transactions.
In essence, this tool is a business reference that says, "If a man has been accepted as a Pennsylvania Mason, he withstood a significant character investigation and was unanimously approved by his community peers - it makes sense to take the chance of doing business with this man." It provides a certain assurance that there is a better chance of satisfaction and fair dealing with a fellow Mason than in any other non-contractual agreement.
To participate in the Grand Lodge On-Line Masonic Business Directory, visit the Web site www.pagrandlodge.org
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