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Fireside Fraternity
"An informal chat"

fireI hope you have been enjoying the summer. This time I would like to give you two topics to think about. Brethren, the first thing I want you to think about are the 'ring bearers' of the fraternity. I am referring to the men who join the fraternity but who you would never believe were members. Why wouldn't you believe? First, because you have never seen them in lodge. They wear the ring and sometimes even talk about their membership, but the last time they saw the inside of the lodge was when they got their third degree. There are men in my own lodge that I have never met until they have come to get their 25 year pin. Brethren, this problem needs to be corrected. New members are definitely needed in lodge, but we must also do something to keep the men who do join. How can we do this you might ask? First, take some time over the next month to do two things. Think of the brethren who were at your last two meetings and make a list of those who you know were not there. Now, pick two names from that list and call them to invite them to the next lodge meeting. Tell them you will pick them up and don't take no for an answer. Think about this, if you had 25 men at your last meeting and each of them followed this simple step, there would be 75 men at your next stated meeting! That would be outstanding!

Now that you have all these brothers in lodge, what do you do? Think about what you have enjoyed about going to lodge over the past several years. Consider the interesting programs, the times of fellowship, and the other events. Now, talk to the brethren and try to make changes to make lodge interesting for all members. This brings me to the next topic: change. Change is something that most of us resist but which is vital if we are to move our fraternity to the next level of existence. Here is a quote I like to use when talking about change: "Don't be like a snowman in July, be like Frosty in December." What I refer to is this: A snowman in July is something that is new and unheard of. However, the snowman slowly wears down under the heat until he blends into his surroundings. The novelty wears off quickly and within a few days everything is back to normal. Frosty on the other hand brought fun and excitement with him. He shared this with the children and changed them. Frosty continues to keep his enthusiasm due to the magic of the time.

I believe this applies to us as Freemasons. We bring new men into the fraternity who have great enthusiasm and excitement and we treat them like warm-weather snowmen. We ignore them and shut down, or show no support for, their new ideas until they conform to what the lodge has been doing. As a result, we have many

good men out there who never return to lodge or who do not get involved in lodge activities. If we treated these new men like Frosty, think about the possibilities. The same is true of new ideas. The first time a new idea is mentioned, either by a new member or Grand Lodge, the first thing we say is "That won't work" or "We never did it like that before." We are part of a very old fraternity with time honored traditions. They are the reasons our fraternity is great, but our way of thinking is also very old. We need to rethink how we are doing things and be willing to take a chance on something new. You may find that in the end the new member or new idea is just what the lodge needed to grow. Instead of melting our snowmen, give them a magical hat and keep them around for awhile. You may, like the children, be surprised at what you find.

Keep Sharing the Light and I'll talk to you next time.

Fraternally, Marty

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