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Posted By Jax on 23 Nov 2009 12:11 PM

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

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