Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Membership Audit

For the past two weeks I have going through the lodge membership line by line, name by name, birthday by birthday. My thought was that since we had just completed the financial audit of the lodge, why not put some effort into a membership audit. This is an important project that I have been meaning to start ever since I decided to take on the office of Secretary as there were too many instances, even a few since I took office, when it was discovered that a brother had either passed earlier within the year or, sometimes, even years ago.

This whole thing goes back to a blog I posted last week about the difficulties of keeping I touch but, in this instance, the job is ten if not one hundred times harder. We have so many brothers coming in and out and officers rotating around the lodge that sometimes we can lose sight of the people that are not around us every month. We also find that brothers move out of the area and nature gradually takes a toll on their bodies as well.

Unfortunately, we have not had a process in place for the families of individual brothers to inform the lodge of our passing. It has always been something that was conveyed by word of mouth with documentation rarely available. In recent years the communications have slowly deteriorated, Masonic funeral services becoming less and less frequent, and now here we stand trying to catch up and find all those brothers that have been called off from labor. This issue is particularly prevalent among those brothers who have been a member of the fraternity for over 50 years as they no longer pay dues and therefore our communication with them is limited even further.

However, this year we seem to have hit a turning point as we have put greater emphasis on keeping in touch with our distant and elderly brethren. While no system is perfect and I am sure that there will be the occasional oversight here and there, we are at least refocusing our efforts to ensure that those we may not see on a monthly basis are not forgotten. This may seem like an obvious thing to do but think about how many people you have lost touch with in your life and imagine having to do that for an entire lodge, even those people you have never personally met previously before.

So, with the conclusion of the audit the sad news stands that nine brothers were called off from labor in the last few years that were never reported to us. Even though the passing of these brothers was months and years ago, we will still be sure to remember them during lodge and make sure we reflect on the contributions they made to the fraternity. And every time, every month that we pause to remember, I am glad that I have my letter filled out already and ready for my wife to mail just in case anything should happen to me. You never know. I just don’t want to create more work for a future Secretary.