I know I’ve written about this before, expressed my opinion in workshops many times, and one day I was so frustrated I wrote (and never published) a “Lodge Education Manifesto.”
I have read various old Masonic publications going back to before the turn of the century that have presented articles and speeches by noted Masons of the time asking, and sometimes pleading with lodges, to recognize that the purpose of Masonry and a lodge is to provide education. Not just a snippet as an afterthought in a meeting, but view the lodge as an educational institution and structure everything around this purpose.
In a post several years ago, trying to emphasize the importance of education, I said if you can’t make education the focus in your meetings, then give it a special night all its own.
A past master once commented in a Masons Lead Better workshop, as we were discussing lodge meetings, said, “dump the mechanics and focus on the meaning.” With mechanics meaning the minutes, bills, etc., and all those operational things lodges think are necessary, or it wouldn’t be a Masonic meeting.
I even expressed my frustration by writing a song parody sung to Margaritaville’s tune by Jimmy Buffett. It’s entitled Masonicmeetingville.
I’ll stop with my past frustrations and report the success at my lodge.
It took a while, but we began our educational transformation in December of 2019. It was in this month the following agenda was followed:
We didn’t have a “Stated Meeting,” we held a “Stated Education and Dialogue.”
- The opening of the lodge was preceded by an hour of fellowship along with a fine meal. The usual announcements made at a Masonic lodge meeting were made after our meal.
- Lodge was opened in silence with soft music playing.
- The “business of the lodge” consisted of these things: being aware of brethren and their families who are sick or in distress, receiving, reading, and balloting on petitions of men seeking to join, hearing degree proficiencies of apprentices, and then the rest of the evening was spent on a dialogue on an educational topic directly related to helping us understand Masonry and improve ourselves.
At the closing of the lodge, a charge was given to remind us to take these lessons and apply them every day in our lives.
We have been doing the same ever since. If you would like to see one of our educational programs, here is a link to view it. We record, edit, and post these on our website for the brethren to watch later.
I know other lodges are holding similar meetings.
As the title above states, Lodge is Education. My lodge is starting to believe me, and I’m not so frustrated anymore.