Lodge Planning – words designed to instil fear and horror into the hardest of souls.
A Lodge Plan is simply a road map for your Lodge, a GPS readout for those who have forgotten what a map is.
It is a simple directional tool for your Lodge – something to keep your Brethren on track and to help them work towards and focus on those things that you as the members of the Lodge feel are important. A simple documenting of the culture and DNA of your Lodge.
Has your Lodge got one?
If you have, when was the last time you reviewed it?
We now have in place a helpful presentation on Lodge Planning, your secretary has the link and templates to help you prepare a Lodge Plan and your District Grand Master is ready and able to help your Lodge through the planning process.
It really is a simple question – does your Lodge want to survive?
If it does, then the first step is a Lodge Plan.
We have recently made some changes to the BOC Rule 52 (a) relating to the age at which a man can become a Freemason, and these come into effect on 1 November 2018.
Amended Rule 52 –Age and other qualifications of Candidates
a. Any man may be made a Freemason from the age of 18 (eighteen) years.
b. Every candidate must be a free man, and in reputable circumstances.
Also, with the recent success of the social media campaign and of our attracting new men to Freemasonry, we need to remind ourselves of BOC Rule 53 (a to h) which covers the investigation of candidates. We need to ensure that a candidate is a man of whom “the tongue of good report” has been heard and that he is a “fit and proper person” to become a Freemason.
Traditionally you would have personally known the candidate and had a personal relationship with him over a period of time, so you and his seconder could vouch for him personally, but now days that is not always the case. There are always the referees that his provides, though as recent experience has shown these are not always the most reliable either. Then there is the one thing none of us want to raise with a potential candidate and that is the possibility of a criminal record, which is covered under Offences BOC Rule 239 (a to d).
So, what do you do?
Firstly, spend some social time with him, preferably with one to two other brethren, and in an informal and relaxed atmosphere.
Invite him to a couple of refectories so he can get a chance to know us and you to know him.
Meet with his wife and family and not just once, two of three times if you can. This will give you a feeling for his home life and does he have his families support.
These two are my personal favourites which you may scoff at but look at his shoes and his car. If his shoes are dirty (not his work boots of course) and the inside of his car is a tip then what does this imply about his personal standards?
And finally, don’t be afraid to ask for a Criminal History Check. Explain our requirements under the BOC. This is a very easy process and is free. Go to the Ministry of Justice Criminal History Check https://www.justice.govt.nz/criminal-records/.
I understand there is some confusion re the closer relationship that the Grand Master has been building with The Supreme Royal Arch Chapter of New Zealand and the fact that he attended the recent Convocation of the Chapter.
My understanding is that some members of the Royal Arch now see this as excuse to attend a Lodge meeting in their Royal Arch regalia.
Members of The Supreme Royal Arch Chapter of New Zealand are not permitted to enter a meeting of a Lodge of the Grand Lodge of New Zealand wearing their Royal Arch regalia UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES.
Members of The Supreme Royal Arch Chapter of New Zealand are permitted to give greetings at the third time of asking as a group, though this is not encouraged and should only be at the time of a Lodge's Installation.
Please ensure that you bring this to the attention of all your Brethren.
How Much Value Do You Put on Your Freemasons Charity
Over recent months I have noticed how proud we all are to “Speak Up” about all the good work that our Freemasons Charity does in the community, but I have noticed that we are still very hesitant to dig deep into our pockets to contribute towards that same Charity.
The only collection I know of for the Freemasons Charity is at a Lodges Installation meeting, and even then, some Lodges fail to forward these funds to the Charity.
Did you know that annually Lodges only contribute $57,500 to the Freemasons Charity, but in return the Freemason Charity supports Lodges to the tune of $379,500.
So, my question is “How much value do you put on your Freemasons Charity” and from where I personally sit “not enough” is the answer.
The Freemasons Charity funds grew from the prudent work of our forebears who contributed and invested funds for the future of all Freemasons.
So, I ask, are we really paying our way or are we just coasting along on our forefather’s coat tails?
Consider a Gold Coin collection at every meeting of your Lodge!!
Add $20 to you next dues notice when you pay and let the Lodge Treasurer know it is for the Freemasons Charity!!
“How much value do you put on your Freemasons Charity”.
Kapiti Coastguard Presentation
Those of you who have taken the time over the last year to read my comments will note that I have not used this medium to report on my visits etc. However last Saturday I had the pleasure of presenting a cheque of $100,000.00 on behalf of the Freemasons of the Kapiti/Wellington District and the Freemasons Charity to the Kapiti Coastguard for their new rescue craft.
The new rescue boat is to be sign written with “Freemasons New Zealand” on it, and is going to be known as “Freemasons Rescue”. This will be used as a call sign and for all reporting. This boat has a 20/25-year life span, so our name is going to be seen round the Kapiti Coast for years to come.
The boat is now under construction and it is anticipated that it should be ready for launching in October/November 2018. We will keep you informed of the date and details.
Congratulations to the Lodges and Brethren who got behind this and drove it, especially VWBro. Chris Bryant and WBro. Peter Woodward.
Lodge Almoner or Lodge Charity Officer?
Does your Lodge have one of each?
Do you understand their respective roles?
At his investiture, the Lodge Almoner is told:
Your jewel is a scrip purse with a heart engraved thereon, an emblem of Brotherly Love and Benevolence.
Your duty is to visit the sick and such of your Brethren as are in need, to dispense such comforts as in your opinion are necessary, reporting back to the Lodge for further action if required, always remembering that brightest jewel of our Order, charity, raising
His duty is to the Brethren of the Lodge and to the Lodges Widows. He may be involved in applications to the Freemasons Charity when assistance is required, but primarily his role is one of maintaining contact with the brethren and widows and reporting back to the Lodge as and when required.
The Lodge Charity Officer on the other hand is the direct link between the Lodge and The Freemasons Charity. Their role is to apply for and manage the dispensing of charity from the Lodge to the respective recipients, who may not necessarily be masons or have a masonic connection.
Within a Lodge, the Lodge Almoner and Lodge Charity officer may be the same person though we recommend that they not, so that the two roles are kept distinct and are not confused.
So how should it all work?
Masonic Assistance: Should assistance be required for a brother or widow then the Lodge Almoner should bring this to the attention of the Lodge who will in turn decide on what action is required. If an application is to be made to the Freemasons Charity for assistance, then at this stage the Lodge Charity Officer should become involved.
Non-Masonic Assistance: If the Lodge wishes to undertake a lodge project, regardless of whether it is going to require assistance from the Freemasons Charity or not, this should come under supervision of the Lodge Charity Officer.
What does the Lodge Charity Officer have to do?
Before the Lodge commits itself to any project or any form of benevolence, masonic or otherwise that may require Freemasons Charitable assistance, the Lodge Charity Officer should contact the District Charity Officer to ascertain if the application will meet the criteria as required by the Charity. If it does, then the Lodge Charity Officer can proceed with the formal application.
What happens next?
The Lodge application once completed, is forwarded to the District Charity Officer, who after confirming that it is all in order and that the application meets the criteria then forwards it to the Divisional Almoner for approval and processing. Once approved, funds are deposited into the Lodge bank account.
NOTE: We do not give away cash. Funds deposited must be used for goods or services.
So why should I make an application to the Freemasons Charity?
The Freemasons Charity is your charity and its role is to aid the Lodges when they embark on a charitable or benevolent project (subject to criteria of course).
For example, your Lodge may have a project in mind that requires $2000.00 to complete. An application to the Freemasons Charity which meets the criteria may see it qualify for a 1 for 1 subsidy, meaning your Lodge now only needs to contribute $1000.00 or half of what is required.
In some circumstances, a multi Lodge project or a District project may qualify for an even higher subsidy.
What does my Lodge Need to do?
Appoint a Lodge Charity Officer, then make contact with your District Grand Master and District Charity Officer who will walk him through process of what is required to make an application to the Freemasons Charity.
And once he is appointed use him. Become active in your community and more importantly support your brethren and widows when assistance is required.