Friday, February 24, 2017

A View from the East

First and foremost, I want to take a moment to thank everyone who helped out with our Inspection. Especially to the Rocky River Chapter Eastern Stars for serving an excellent dinner. I’m really looking forward to the upcoming Table Lodge and More Light Night, and the fellowship that happens at both of these events (see trestle board).

Some changes have been made and I’m grateful to everyone for supporting these new ideas. Starting with our investigation committee, we have returned to home visitations and committee chair Derek Widowson has been doing an excellent job of coordinating this. Our lodge meals have been broken up, so that four brothers are taking on the responsibility, instead of one or two. A very big thank you to Bro Briggs, Johnson, Columbro, and WB Schultz for making this happen. Be sure to congratulate Bro Jason Briggs if you see him, as he was elected and installed as our new Junior Deacon. Lastly, in efforts
to bring further light to the lodge, we have guest speakers lined up for a special talk once per month. I am very grateful to all of the distinguished brethren who have agreed to speak and spread the light of Masonry at John W. Barkley.

The Pendulum

A recurring theme has been in my thoughts recently and it keeps finding its way into my conversations. I’m talking about the nature of the pendulum swing and the lesson that is contained in it. The pendulum always swings back and forth travelling the same distance from center in either direction. This can be applied to almost anything. Take the craft for example, after World War II soldiers returning from war were looking for a place to find the same camaraderie and brotherhood that they had in service. Masonry and old, well known fraternity provided that, and our numbers swelled to all-time highs. As the Baby Boomers came of age, the numbers slowly began to level off and some even suggest that Masonry skipped a generation.

Now almost 75 years after the Anniversary of the Bombing at Pearl Harbor, our numbers are dwindling quicker than we can keep up. This troubles quite a few people and understandably so. But, when we apply the pendulum to this situation, it quickly becomes clear that this is an inevitable ebb for the fraternity. The question is then raised of what to do with that? Should we turn into Degree Mill Lodges that open the doors wide in the West to admit anyone that comes knocking? Should we be accepting questionably adequate candidates to qualify for an award?

My suggestion is not to shut the doors altogether, but instead focus your energies on member retention and engagement and inclusion of the candidates that you already may have. Being in sales I learned early, it is far less expensive to keep a customer coming back than to acquire a new one. If you don’t have these elements taken care of, then you won’t have anything tangible to offer your new candidates when you find them. A smart brother told me recently that if you focus on one tree you will never be able to perceive the forest.

I’m not worried about the future of Freemasonry, because I understand the pendulum. I think our focus should be on finding ways to strengthen the foundations of our gentle craft, while we allow the pendulum to swing as it must. That way when it turns again in favor of fast growth there will be value and substance to offer.

All things are cyclical in nature.

Scott Clark, Worshipful Master

Barkley Light: March/April 2017

Below is a link to the March/April edition of the Barkley Light.  Enjoy and we look forward to seeing you at the Lodge!

Barkley Light: March/April 2017