Churchill Lodge Forums

Churchill Lodge - Lodge Formation
Last Post 15 Apr 2011 11:52 AM by Jax. 6 Replies.
Printer Friendly
Sort:
PrevPrev
Author Messages
JaxUser is Offline
Basic Member
Basic Member
Posts:120

--
23 Nov 2009 06:10 PM QuoteQuote ReplyReply  

What prompted us to form a new lodge?

Ours, with a sister lodge, Gen. Douglas MacArthur #352 in St. Paul, may have been the only lodges formed in the entire US in 2008-'09.

What significant operational tips did we learn from the experience?

How can others learn from what we did?

How does new lodge formation help a grand lodge, and improve Masonry?

[Actually, it looks like there were five new lodges formed across the US during that time period. The others were in DC and in California.]

JaxUser is Offline
Basic Member
Basic Member
Posts:120

--
23 Nov 2009 06:11 PM QuoteQuote ReplyReply  

You know, I'm looking at the information on this website, about the formation of Churchill Lodge, and it feels darn good.

I wish to make a pointed message to Grand Lodge leaders in your state. Please pass this along to them, respectfully, and with my compliments.

Brother Grand Officer, during my year as Grand Master of Masons in Minnesota, I sought a win, a rallying point, to counter the national drop-off of membership that most grand lodges have endured. We're told that 90% of success is driven by attitude. Thus a focus on a positive event or trend, I felt, could help those who still had Masonic 'fire in the belly' to turn things around. Nationally, there are hundreds of lodges dying, falling off as 'unrecoverable' every year. Yet, every year, there are dozens of lodges in jurisdictions across the land, picking up the torch, building successful programs, with stable or growing membership, and deep bonds of brotherhood. Some are revivals of existing lodges; others are entirely new.

It is these success stories to which I wanted to focus the attention of the Craft. How do we jump-start lodge formation again, and turn around struggling lodges that still have a chance? I challenged the Craft in Minnesota to form new lodges in 2008, and they responded wonderfully, with two new groups asking for dispensation to form, now chartered.

What you need to know is that this entire Churchill project was a glimmer, a dream, a few years ago. In 2007, a few of us were discussing the concept of a model lodge. We liked the British theme, and had realized that only 'quality' would drive interest. --That's it. There was no “Churchill” brand name. No logos, no ceremonies, no events, no photos, no website, no members. No petition to form a lodge. No charter, or anything else. I was Deputy Grand Master, and told my little cadre of young past masters, “My friends, if you are going to ever do this, let's do it now. I'll support you 100%.“ And these dear brothers made it happen.

Are you a line officer for your state or province? If you want to see excitement in your jurisdiction, challenge your boys to start forming lodges again. In every jurisdiction, some will be able to rise to the challenge. Of the various types, I'm convinced that this affinity model, as used in Minnesota and in DC, works. Call me, or write me, and I'll tell you what I know as a confidential briefing. c-612-801-0708 or “tom (at) pro-activemktg.com“.

This entire endeavor has been immensely rewarding. Certain aspects have been more difficult than we thought they would be. Some problems have surprised us - and we're 'experienced' Masons. We got through it though. As a young organization, only a year out from our chartering, we are still learning. But brother, it's working. We'll have ten 'good' lodges from the neighborhood attend one of our programs, and take some ideas back home. We may crack out an event next June that will help lodges across the Twin Cities with their recruitment. Our new lodge will bring in probably fifteen more petitions for affiliation this year, bringing us to over 40 in size, and one or two new Masons will be raised...

For the record, any lodge or group of Masons may copy freely what is on our website. Just give us a plug, and return the favor if you come up with something good. Watch this site for new ideas, as we build the model lodge concept.

Thomas C. Jackson, PGM, Minnesota

JaxUser is Offline
Basic Member
Basic Member
Posts:120

--
08 Dec 2009 08:15 PM QuoteQuote ReplyReply  

Affinity Lodge ideas:

I'm going to list some of the ideas that Masons can incorporate when forming or reforming their lodge around a specific area of interest. I will edit this list as more ideas come forward, and I encourage you to reply with your own ideas. I'm convinced a lodge theme can jump start even a dormant lodge program.

Occupation - More developed than a simple club or guild lodge, some jurisdictions can point to Lawyers' lodges, or lodges for policemen or firemen. 100 years ago it was common to find a specific lodge that met downtown which had business and government leaders as a strong component. As a more modern idea, a lodge could form consisting of IT Professionals, who are often younger, and who will skew demographically higher education, and candidates who have intrinsic appreciation of our "timeless mystery."

Historians and Special Locations - Civil War, or WWII buffs, or Revolutionary War. These could be re-enactors, writers, or students and teachers of history. Each of these sub-concepts may be mutually exclusive of the other, but that is for the lodge to decide. Some lodges may choose to support a love of history by meeting in a historical mansion, or a museum, given certain approvals by the facility. Masons historically met in low dales or on high hills, and such special locations may increase the allure of a group. We have had lodges meet in Minnesota in a deep iron mine, in the belly of a Lake Superior freighter, outside on countless farms and in wooded groves, and even in a large urban cemetery - not for any dark or frightening reason, but because of the beautiful grounds and a promise of a pilgrimage to the revered Masonic burial area on one part of the park.

Clubs and interest areas - Model train aficionados, gardeners, men who like to cook, astronomy buffs, or lodges that grow from an established club, these can take on a successful life of their own, and continue to draw members.

Time and Date Lodges - How about a lodge for third shift workers, which meets in the morning? Or for older men who have trouble driving at night? Daylight lodges serve these men well.

Icon lodges - Some lodges are named in celebration of a key personality in our nation's or the world's history. The Churchill Lodge and the Douglas MacArthur Lodges in Minnesota, and Ben Franklin in Wisconsin are just three examples. Interestingly, the work done by these pioneer lodges may be a helpful boost for those contemplating a similar lodge in another state. There is no reason why every state cannot support a Ben Franklin lodge, or Churchill for that matter.

Language - Arizona commissioned a version of their standard Preston-Webb American ritual rendered into Spanish, with the help of the York Grand Lodge of Mexico. This would be useful for many states. Other Spanish-speaking grand lodges use Emulation Work, rendered into Spanish, or some alternative ritual. French rituals are available in Emulation working (Quebec) or Preston-Webb or Scottish Modern (Louisiana). The GL of DC has a Persian (Farsi) speaking lodge, there is a German lodge in Wisconsin, lodges have opened in Finnish in Minnesota at least until recently, and other language variants are more common than one would think, even in the US. The Grand Lodge of Manitoba has a Filipino lodge, working in their native language.

Ritual Variations - There are over 70 rituals used in Britain alone. Most common among these is the Emulation Work, which, like many of the popular rituals, has its own schools of instruction. Other popular rituals in Britain include Logic, Scottish Modern, Taylor's, Oxford Working, Sussex Working, West End, Stability, Universal and Bristol. Some of these are attached to certain provinces, whilst others are rare enough to be even lodge-specific. In the US, each state has one or more allowed rituals, and most of these stem from a common ancestor, Preston-Webb, which was communicated "mouth to ear." Hence, subtle variations crept in between the states. In some cases, multiple rituals are allowed, or there are more extensive variations. Pennsylvania's ritual is strongly influenced by the Moderns, and some lodge in Louisiana use the first three degrees of the Scottish Rite as their blue lodge ritual. Several US states allow Emulation lodges or some other variant. Emulation is standard in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and other parts of the Commonwealth.

Era - Wisconsin has a "Trappers and Voyageurs" lodge, where members wear handmade costumes in the style of French Voyageurs. Oklahoma has a lodge of Native Americans, who perform an Indian-themed Third Degree ceremony as an exhibit around the US. DC has several lodges designed to celebrate specific historical eras, whether in costume or not, including the Revolutionary War period.

International Focus - Cincinnatus Lodge in DC has a strong international focus. They promote intervisitation and citizen democracy-building by direct contribution and travel. Churchill Lodge in Minnesota has begun to emulate a similar international focus, the extent of which will be determined by the members.

Collegiate - many jurisdictions can point to lodges that maintain a connection to a specific college or university. These may become a booster club, a group for professors, or collegiate sports enthusiasts.

Quality or Aesthetic Lodges - Most states have a lodge that is known for the outward trappings of quality: the members all wear tuxedos, they dine well, their fees are higher than most. This may be in combination with other focus areas, or may be an end all to itself. From my experience, simply forming a posh dining club is not enough of a reason to form a lodge, and I would suggest that some other focus may be necessary for long-term survival.

European Concept - Also known as Traditional Observance (TO), there are over a dozen of these working in the US. I'll call them simply another affinity model, as they seem to have a niche, but are not driving a broad resurgence of the Craft in US society. The model varies from state to state.This website may offer some clues to what has developed as their best practices.

Philosophical or educational - different from a "mere" research lodge, these lodges actively pursue scholarly content at each meeting, but they also have a full program of raising candidates and other such functions of a traditional lodge. The reading of a paper and a defense of it by the author may be a feature of each meeting. Or, this idea may simply pop up in many traditional lodges by the use of a short educational program at each meeting. In Minnesota we have found that by ensuring there is "meat on the bone" we increase attendance - a meeting consists of more than just opening, paying the bills, reading the deceased, and closing.

Any other ideas?

JaxUser is Offline
Basic Member
Basic Member
Posts:120

--
21 Jun 2010 08:13 PM QuoteQuote ReplyReply  

We began a discussion on Affinity Lodge ideas for our home lodges at our June 2001 meeting.  Quickly though, I realized that this subject was not going to be settled in a single evening. It looks like this will be a subject of several meetings, perhaps a perennial favorite.

The issues raised, in no specific order, include:

1. The example of new 'pioneer' churches. I told a story I once heard from MWB Terry Tilton, a pastor, who noted that when starting a church or building membership, it was important to have three points of contact with a new family. Only a single point, like good preaching, for example, only goes so far. With at least three points of engagement, the likelihood of member retention skyrockets. Thus, a lodge Affinity works the same way. Both for developing a new lodge or building an existing lodge.

2. How Churchill Lodge is doing at its four Affinity subjects: British Theme, Quality, Mentoring of other lodge leaders, and international focus. We gave ourselves generally good marks, though there was some concern that we hadn't yet performed an emulation review, so it was premature to say we've made significant inroads to the British theme. We are best at the Quality events and Mentoring aspects, and with a potential second trip to Cuba we may have another feather in our cap regarding Internationalism.

3. Viable topics for our home lodges. This discussion point led to many tangents. Several of the brethren spoke of several solid initiatives or programs that they are using at their home lodges to build member and candidate interest. In a half hour we barely got halfway around the room. Much of this focused on recruitment, but these also serve to drive member involvement. These were mostly program-centric event, not really an affinity.

4. Winston Churchill. The brethren of the lodge agreed that each meeting should include some discussion point on the heroic example of our patron, Churchill. The Lodge Education Officer (LEO) is to be charged with coordination of this effort, where either he provides the discussion point or he assigns it to a willing volunteer. John will lead the July meeting discussion, August's discussion will be led by _____________, and Jason will speak at the September meeting.

5. Military "Expeditionary" Lodge Support. One topic I mentioned that I had suggested for Douglas MacArthur Lodge was to get behind an effort with hand-picked Masons from among our Airwing or National Guard Unit that is being deployed to Afghanistan next year. This would be a marvelous affinity support project for the lodge, possibly result in much candidate activity, and a great learning experience for those involved. Many of the military veterans were interested in this, even beyond MacArthur Lodge's involvement. Suggestions included coordination with the Prince Hall GLs of Minnesota and of Oklahoma (OK does a lot of this kind of thing) and with a Canadian GL. We'll have to ensure that communication with other GLs goes through our Grand Secretary, and that that foreign GL is recognized. Oklahoma may still not be, though this is easily rectified.

I felt this initial discussion was a good way to open up the topic, so the brethren would spend time considering the Affinity strategy as a way to improve their home lodges. I hope this discussion echoes over into discussion at a number of other lodges. Feel free to comment on this topic!

keithstockley@yahoo,com
Posts:22

--
11 Apr 2011 06:03 AM QuoteQuote ReplyReply  

Hi  -  I guess it's none of my business because I am on the other side of the world, but I can't help wondering why you named the Lodge Churchill Lodge.  If it was named after Sir Winston Churchill, then I'd ask the same question as to why?

Just interested.

Regards

 

Keith Stockley

Down Under

JaxUser is Offline
Basic Member
Basic Member
Posts:120

--
15 Apr 2011 03:15 AM QuoteQuote ReplyReply  

Hi Keith -

Your question took me by surprise, and before answering I had to do a little research.  You see, here in America, most of us revere Churchill as the essential man of the 20th Century.  His speeches and writings still motivate us to bring the best to our causes.  He's an endless source of wit and wisdom then, and with an American mother, we can claim him as - almost - one of ours.

Now, many Aussies would agree with this estimation of Churchill, taking him on the balance as a leader for the ages.  It's, I think, a fair reading of history.  However, I do know that some in your country hold some resentment toward him over Singapore or earlier, Gallipoli.  I think that view is revisionist, and unfair to place the blame on Churchill for them. But one can make the argument.  So, we have sort of a regional disagreement here. 

The larger context is that Churchill is motivating TO US, just as the man you choose as the namesake of your lodge should be meaningful to YOU.  There are many heroes to honor by naming a lodge after them.  Pick yours, and have a go at a really useful type of affinity lodge. 

JaxUser is Offline
Basic Member
Basic Member
Posts:120

--
15 Apr 2011 11:52 AM QuoteQuote ReplyReply  

I responded to Keith's question directly, and he clarified he was researching great Masons, and that, while a great Statesman, Churchill was not really a great leader in the Craft. I agree with this statement. Here's what I wrote back to him in a further e-mail:

Brother Keith,

Once we were fairly well into the project, we realized the uncomfortable fact that Churchill did let his membership go after some years. I like to think this was due to pressures of his office, though he did find time for other pursuits. Had he had a definitive break with the Craft, showing any ill will toward her, we’d have chosen someone else. It appears from all our reading that his was a friendly separation.

I agree with you, that strictly speaking, Churchill was not a great practicing Mason. His life lessons though, do show motivation by those First Principles that indicate an adherence to Masonic principles.

In the very early days, we discussed naming the lodge after Nelson, the Hero of the Nile, or Kipling, among several other choices. We hoped to find a man to honor from the British pantheon, because we are all Anglophiles; though we did consider Franklin and Twain, from the US. But Churchill was a favorite of the founders of the lodge because he provides us an endless supply of wisdom and wit. Most of us are, politically, strongly anti-fascist.

So, it works for us.

My best to you sir.

-Tom
 



Quick Reply
toggle
  Username:
Subject:
Body:
Security Code:
CAPTCHA image
Enter the code shown above in the box below

Submit
Active Forums 4.1
NOT LICENSED FOR PRODUCTION USE
www.activemodules.com

 

Looking for a broader fraternal discussion?

You may enjoy the busy discussion forums at Lodgebuilder, a website managed by Thomas C. Jackson, a past grand master of Minnesota and founder of Churchill Lodge.

© Copyright 2011 by Sir Winston Churchill Lodge #351, under authority of the Grand Lodge of Minnesota   |    Privacy Statement   |    Terms Of Use    Login
);