|Volume LV||May 2008||Number 2|
Revitalize Your Lodge
Broadcast Messages to Your Members in Minutes
The new batch calling program provided by Grand Lodge allows the Worshipful Master or Secretary of each lodge to log into a secure Web site and prepare a message for broadcast to the group of brethren they designate in just a few simple steps.
More than 50 percent of Pennsylvania lodges participated with the system by the end of March, and that statistic is growing rapidly.
Bro. Kenneth McClintock, District Deputy Grand Master for District 18, has utilized the call broadcasting system a number of times, finding it particularly useful when needing to verify whether programming would be held in the event of inclement weather. "The system to date has served me and the 18th District very well," he said. "I had one lodge use the system for the first time in March to remind members of a Stated Meeting, and the Secretary advised me that he had six members who do not regularly attend call him and make reservations for dinner. So the system works very well, if utilized," he said.
Bro. Benjamin Witkowski, Secretary, Brandywine Goddard Lodge No. 383, Coatesville, was convinced the system worked when 93 brethren attended the lodge's March meeting. The lodge usually averages about 30-35 attendees, so he knew the call they sent out had made the difference, especially since many told him so. Having served as secretary of his lodge for more than 25 years, Bro. Ben knows many of his brethren quite well. Since his lodge merged with two other lodges in 2004, however, he met some brethren that evening that he had never seen prior.
"It's one of the best programs that Grand Lodge has initiated in years," he said. "I've even gotten calls back and I feel that it makes a difference when members know that somebody cares."
With 592 members, some of whom live out of state, Bro. Benjamin knew he had his work cut out for him to get all of those phone numbers into the system. He spent an entire three-day weekend to catch up and discovered that some of the numbers are inaccurate, so he plans to place a card in the lodge notices over the summer to request that members update their records.
"It does work to bring the men back, but to get the system to work you have to put some time into it," he said... and he models his own advice. In addition to his work as secretary, he still performs degrees, teaches new members and helps with Masonic funeral services.
The lodge's April meeting again brought in a number of brethren who hadn't been there in quite a while. The calling system also increased attendance at a Masonic funeral service held the same week.
Bro. Harriss A. "Hab" Butler, also of Lodge No. 383, enjoys receiving the calls and is optimistic that its use will help to grow membership through greater participation in lodge activities. "Brethren will go home and tell their wives, children, neighbors and friends, and the next thing we know we'll be bringing in new members," he said.
Bro. William H. Tennant, Jr., a three-time Past Master of Skerrett Lodge No. 343, Cochranville, said of the program: "It's great! A lot of the guys are talking about it. I think a phone call, even with a recording, is received as a personal reminder and helps to get our brethren back into the habit of attending lodge and other functions. The long-term benefits are unbelievable, really."
Lodge No. 343 is remodeling its building and needs a lot of help to get the work done. When Worshipful Master Craig Shaffer put out a call for a work party, he was surprised to have 25 of the lodge's 160 members come out on a Saturday, since previously only a handful of brethren volunteered. One 87-year old brother called back to say that while he feels he's too old to help out, he was so happy to have been invited!
After putting out a call about an extra meeting to conduct three degrees earlier that month, 30 brethren attended after receiving a phone message. During the lodge's April meeting, 40 brethren, or 25 percent of the membership, attended.
According to those who have used the system, the benefits are excellent. So if you haven't received a call from your lodge's Worshipful Master or Secretary, be sure to ask them "Why?"!
Earn it Again Necktie
First-line signers on a candidate's petition for membership will receive the Grand Master's Earn it Again necktie. Lodge Secretaries will fill out the request form and obtain the tie for eligible brethren.
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