Why Lodges Need to Stop Going Dark During the Summer

It would seem to me, given that volumes are written about the decline of the fraternity, that taking a break from the duty of a Masonic Lodge to make Masons, is counterproductive and contributing to our decline.

Think about it. Let’s say you have a man who has petitioned your lodge. He is investigated, found worthy and elected to receive the degrees. Unfortunately, the vote was taken on the last stated meeting before your lodge goes “dark.” So now he waits a minimum of two months before he can begin his Masonic journey. How will this be explained to him and what impression might he have?

Will someone say to him, “Well, our lodge doesn’t meet during the summer months because a lot of guys are on vacation and it’s hard to put on a degree.” That very well may be true, but does it make him think: “I thought Masonry was important and now they’re telling me everyone needs a break from it.”

Or might he think: “I thought Masons were committed, laying off two months doesn’t seem committed to me.”

So why risk giving the wrong impression and just continue the work of Masonry during the summer?

I’m curious, does your lodge go dark and why do you do it?

Have a Great Masonic Day!


  1. Steve Morton

    Why did lodges start going dark in the first place? I posit that it may stem from the days before air conditioning.

    • Tony Hurr

      For Ohio it didn’t start till the early 90’s when grand lodge passed the minimum number of stated meetings from 12 to 10 a year. Before that they meet every month. Due to lack of air conditioning in our old buildings the heat was usually so unbearable during July and august that during those months they only had a short Stated and nothing more. Over in Britain it’s an even longer break 3 to 4 months.

  2. Anthony Hurr

    As I do agree with your argument in part, I do have to disagree on another. Now I can’t speak for all lodges, but the fine men at Hugh L. Bates #686 meet every Tuesday from September to the end of June. The break of the “regular” meetings is in my opinion needed. Now I personally would love to see it be in January and February when it is more dangerous road conditions and just being flat out cold. They guys need this I feel in part to spend more time with what really matter, that being family, second I feel it gives them time to recharge and miss their lodge and brothers and comeback after the break ready to rock again. Now this doesn’t mean that they can’t still meet in social company during the break, which we do every other week, and should. The time in socal company outside of the lodge with friend and family are what really strengthens those brotherly bonds, not sitting through another stated meeting.
    On your other point about the candidate I have a question for you. Do you feel we properly prepare a candidate to receive the degrees of masonry? Me personally I don’t think we do. We should have a month or so for the candidate to get to know the brethren and to be properly educated for what he is about to receive. This in my opinion would help to weed out those that just want to join to say they are a member and start to spark that fire in others that will be lifelong participating brethren in the lodge. I would suggest to have a dedicated course or outline for this, maybe we could actually have our district education officers do something and construct this course, since the grand lodge took away most of their duties this past year and most of them now don’t really do anything to get their tital. No offense but over the last 4 years we’ve only seen ours once a year at inspection. I personally don’t see a use for them in their current situation. We need to start instilling in these new brethren that the connection to the brothers in the lodge and the brotherhood as a whole is the real secret of masonry. The fact that we are a great family of men who love one another. We are constantly trying to push these candidates through as fast as possible without making them feel apart of anything. In my opinion it would show the candidate how important this whole thing is if we made them wait and started to instruct them and feel like they belong before they are initiated. Then running them through and just expecting them to comeback because now they are a Master Mason even though they have received no value in it. We change this aspect and we change masonry for the better. In bates we have tried to change to this to a point not this dramatic though. Over the last 5 years we have raised about 15 men and we only have 2 that no longer are active and that is due to them moving out of state. I’d say that’s a pretty good tract record over the last 5 years. We need to start thinking differently my brother. We have to make ourselves better and relevant again. Thank you for your time and may God Bless


    Anthony Hurr PM

    • Mike Clevenger

      Thanks for your thoughtful reply. You asked if we properly prepare a candidate to receive the degrees. I know my lodge does meet with each candidate before and between each degree. One lodge, Arts & Sciences #792, has a complete program for candidates which starts by requiring men interested in petitioning to attend dinner with the lodge brothers 3 times before presenting a petition. This allows the lodge to determine if the potential member has the proper motives for joining Masonry. It also allows the interested man to learn more about the fraternity and what Masonry is and is not. One the man does submit a petition, they properly educate him on what he will receive before the EA degree, as well as, continuing mentoring through the rest of the degrees. I agree that lodges, in most cases, rush men through the degrees and then do nothing to help him continue his Masonic education. We need to change that.

  3. Dave Olmstead

    J. B. Covert Lodge 437 in the 6th district does not have a history of going dark. In recent years we did and it felt very uncomfortable for most and really put us behind in the fall. Currently our June, July, and August schedule includes:

    1. Annual Flag Retirement and Awards Luncheon in June + Stated Meeting/Education Session which was on the Lewis + Lunch Bunch every Tuesday at the lodge

    2. July included a special Leather Apron Night for our Stated Meeting/Education Session which was on the the lessons of the Leather Apron+ Lunch Bunch every Tuesday at the lodge

    3. August is really busy with an MM Practice on 8/1, volunteering as a lodge at Union Township Police Night out on 8/3, MM Degree on 8/5, Trip to Harmony Hill Winery with our wives on 8/12, Stated Meeting/Education Session which will be one Meriwether Lewis on 8/15, FC Degree on 8/22, and hosting the 6th District DeMolay Chapter on 8/24.

    4. Plus we are still working on 5 candidates in various spots on their journey.

    5. We’re gearing up for our Family Range Day & Picnic plus our Flapjack Frenzy Fundraiser

    To shutter the lodge for 2 months would be a serious detriment to the momentum we have built over the last few years.

    If you create meaningful programs the members will come and new people will join. If you’re just meeting to pay the bills, it’s time to merge with another lodge!


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