Monday, February 24, 2014

Breaking Even

One of the things that I complete every month when I pull together the lodge notice is our membership numbers since the turning of the Masonic calendar to the new year. While I would like to report that our numbers keep going up, so far this year we are breaking even. Being Secretary, putting these numbers in is both a great moment and one that I dread heading into every new month. This month has been a prime example of this particular dichotomy.

While we had someone petition the lodge, saw many degrees conferred, and even had someone’s transfer come through, we also lost two Brothers. In each of these situations I was the primary contact. I don’t mind filling out the forms and answering questions but, needless to say, it is easier to discuss the first steps or even next steps in a Masonic journey rather than discussing the final masonic request of a brother called off from labor.

Last week I found myself in a, what was for me, a unique position. I was contacted by a family that was arranging for the funeral of their grandfather. While he had been living in Florida for the past several years, he was originally from the Philadelphia area and so the family reached out to the lodge that they thought was the one this departed Brother belonged. Not having the complete member list memorized, I quickly checked our records but could not find this brother in our records.

I immediately got back to the family and let them know that I couldn’t find his record but that I would do everything I could to help them find the right lodge. This email was soon followed by a request sent to all lodges to check their records and get in touch with the family if they found this brother. About three hours later I got word that their grandfather’s lodge had been located and that arrangements were being made for a Masonic service.

It just goes to show that it is only though our collective efforts as a unified fraternity that we can accomplish many of the most important tasks. That is the real power behind tracking the lodge membership month after month. We all look after one another and we need to know the names of our brothers, young and old, whether they have been a mason for 5 days or 50 years. We are all a unified fraternity, we are brothers, this is what makes it so difficult to record the passing of a brother and also so rewarding to note the addition of a new member to our lodge.