Volume LIVFebruary 2007Number 1

Membership Maintenance Update
by Harvey F. Fishel, P.D.D.G.M., Chairman, Membership Maintenance Committee

At the beginning of his term, Ronald A. Aungst Sr., R.W. Grand Master, created the Membership Maintenance Committee to work toward decreasing the number of member suspensions for Non-Payment of Dues (NPDs) by 50 percent. The numbers are now in, and here is what was achieved.

In 2005, 2,344 brethren were suspended for NPD. In 2006, the number decreased to 1,251, which is 1,172 fewer than the previous year, showing a 46.6 percent reduction in suspensions for NPD. There is more to the story, however. If all the lodges suspended delinquent brethren in April or June 2006, there would have been 3,247 NPD suspensions, or an increase of 138 percent over last year. This was avoided because the lodge committees, motivated by their District Deputy Grand Masters (D.D.G.M.'s), reduced the 3,247 delinquent brethren to only 1,251 actual suspensions by October 2006. This represents a 61.5 percent reduction of what this year's suspensions would have been had the brethren not stepped forward to make a difference. Through their efforts, 1,996 brethren were maintained.

There is a minimal percentage error in these calculations because some suspended brethren have since paid up and been restored, and some numbers were estimated based on available data. For the purpose of this study, however, these numbers are sufficiently accurate to realize the following:

  1. Lodges worked harder at collecting outstanding dues in 2006 than they had in previous years, and their efforts were rewarded. There have always been lodges with zero suspensions, but they had been the exceptions.
  2. It was beneficial to mandate the D.D.G.M.'s approval prior to a member's suspension to document that sufficient effort had been put forth to the avoid the action.
  3. Personal contacts, rather than certified mailings, have had a positive impact on members' decisions to retain their membership.
  4. Approximately 2,000 brethren are still Pennsylvania Freemasons who otherwise would not be due to this initiative.

Our thanks go to the Grand Master for creating this committee and selecting us to serve on it, the District Deputy Grand Masters for carrying out our recommendations and, especially, the lodge committees who actually got the job done.

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