My brethren. Warm and fraternal greetings. Please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Bro. Dave Bacon. I’m 32 years old and live in Navarre, OH. I am a member of New Philadelphia lodge #177 in New Philadelphia, OH. I have been asked to write articles by a few different sources inspired by my recent reflective posts on social media. This will be the first of many Masonic articles with an aim to inspire through reflection as well as (hopefully) serving as a true inspiration to brethren whose flame may have either dimmed… or simply not been embraced or fanned to blaze brighter.
Experiences while traveling
AKA Why we should focus on creating a one of a kind experience
I am reaching out to call for some serious thought, and probably some serious questions we are in need of answering.
Traveling is often very enjoyable. Brethren can meet together and discuss numerous subjects, which are often as varied as the members who make up our great fraternity. Aside from fellowship, what is your lodge offering its guests that is drastically different from other lodges? What are your officers doing to ensure all who enter are as comfortable and welcomed as possible?
As I drove to lodge last night, I found myself asking, “Why travel at all? Why do we travel to other lodges? Are we looking for a new experience? Are we expecting to see something different than what our lodges do? How do these experiences shape how we feel when we travel? What lodges have we been to that truly stick out in our minds? And why? What have we experienced within those lodges that really are a completely different experience than our usual travels? Again, Why?”
Brethren, I am calling for an overhaul of sorts. What sort of impact can we reasonably expect to make for our guests and members that keep them returning? For me, I travel to see how brotherly love is expressed, how their education (if any) is presented, and how well they truly express the lessons of our craft. I use all these travel experiences as a learning experience, whether it be learning a new way to do something, learning a new way to view something, or even, in some cases, learning what not to do.
I absolutely love to travel, to meet new brethren, to learn… to experience. We should be driven to be unique in the education we give and how we give it. When a brother comes to visit your lodge, what benefit does he get for coming… aside from what the other lodges in your area are doing? Does he get anything more than simple friendship? Also, this applies to your own members as well. Why would your own members stay active if each meeting is the same, or bland, or even boring?
We need to take these meetings and their impact as serious as possible. Are we taking the time of our brethren into consideration when scheduling items in the agenda? How well are we using the alloted time we are in lodge? We need to really consider the impact this has, not only on ourselves personally, but the impact it has on our lodges and the membership that makes that lodge.
Further, we must take into consideration the traveling brethren. How well are we inspiring them to go home to their lodge and speak of the amazing experience they had? Brothers talk. If you want to make a true Masonic impact, do so with flare, with enthusiasm, with excitement. We must give those brothers a reason to go home excited about Freemasonry. After all, reasons for dwindling active membership include lack of enthusiasm and not being worth the time (e.g., too much time spent on minutes and bills). Brethren, let us revitalize this fraternity by making our own experiences in lodge, so amazing, so heartfelt and inspirational, that the brethren who are no loner active become inspired when they hear brothers talk.
Our responsibility to the craft is to make a positive impact on society and in the lives of our brethren. Do we want to make an impact so great that it sticks out as a key point in their lives where everything just becomes crystal clear, or would we rather be a fleeting memory? Make no mistake, the ripples of our impact are vast, but we must choose for ourselves whether the impact we make is a positive or negative impact one. I can certainly recall some really amazing experiences, as well as some not so great ones, but I choose to focus on the great ones to outweigh the bad.
Brethren, let us take charge in making this fraternity amazing again. It’s not going to happen without making a difference. We can complain all we want, and even form groups to discuss things. But without actions, our pillars of success will surely remain empty. Let us inspire our brethren to take charge and lead the way to making their own lodge an amazing experience. We don’t need to change the entire fraternity, we simply need to change the lives of our brothers, one at a time, through the experiences they have inside the lodge. But, we must take to not let these actions stop at the doors of the lodge. Let us amplify this by acting as such within our communities and giving people a true reason to want to be a part of the craft. We must make an impact.
Without an impact… a true, to the core impact, inspiration cannot happen. I implore you, my brothers: take the initiative to be active, be passionate, be heartfelt in your endeavors, and inspire our brethren to do the same. One by one, this fraternity will return to the basics and be something worth being a part of. Do not let your fire dim so low that it would do a great disservice to our brethren who may simply feel overwhelmed. We all have things to chip away. Both within ourselves, as well as within the fraternity.
My brother, stand now along side me. Make a difference. Portray what you want freemasonry to be. Instill our values in our new members and hold them up as they work through the degrees. Support them and shape them. With a few years and enough hard work with the common gavel, we will see a difference in our brothers in particular and society in general. We will then realize the true fruits of our labors… And so will the rest of the world.
Thank you brethren.
Thank you Bro. Dave Bacon for your contribution, enthusiasm, and inspiration.
If you would like to be a contributor to Fresh from the Quarry, please send me an email.
I hope you will.