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Posted By Jax on 21 Jun 2010 02:13 PM

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!

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