Since the majority of us labor at our vocations during the daylight, we never stop and consider that some men work at various times around the clock. Much like the twenty four inch gauge, the workday is divided into three equal parts: day shift, or as most us us refer to it as first shift, the evening shift or second shift, and the night shift, which is commonly known as third shift (Or by its nickname “the graveyard shift”). Some jobs are scheduled differently than above but, as a hard and fast rule, most workers generally fall into one of these eight hour shifts.
At the time when you are about to cease your labors and go home, many men are rising and on their way to their jobs in the evening, and still others are about to go home when you arrive in the morning at your workplace. Today's world requires people to be working at various hours around the clock.
Rarely are these men thought of when we think about Freemasonry. I know that many men, at one point myself included, have had to reluctantly quit attending their lodges regularly stated meetings and degree work because their regular vocation forced them to work in the evenings. It's sad because they have to miss the fellowship which being a Mason brings. They have to abandon their Masonic career to pursue their vocational career.
Many times I have seen a young men who wish to join our fraternity be rushed through degrees in a one day class or on a Saturday morning. Once he is raised, you don't see him again, not because he is disgruntled with the Fraternity but because he works a different shift. He becomes just a card carrying member through no fault of his own, just because he has to provide for his family. In a way, it could be said that everyone benefits in this situation. The lodge gets his yearly dues and the Brother gets to claim the title of Freemason.
This arrangement has worked for decades. While we are told our families and our usual vocations aren’t to take a backseat to our gentle craft, a Brother who doesn't have the opportunity to attend lodge regularly does miss out on the fellowship of his Brother Masons and, at times, good and wholesome instruction which could possibly make him into the better man he professed he wished to become.
We as a Fraternity are also missing many opportunities not only to increase our membership, but to better use the resources we already possess. I believe we as a Fraternity should encourage the creation of more daylight lodges within our jurisdictions!
Daylight lodges are simply lodges that meet during the daytime instead of the evening. Everything else is exactly the same except the time of day!
Almost every Masonic temple in North America (or around the world for that matter) sits idle for twenty hours a day, six days a week, unless there are multiple bodies meeting within the building during the month, but even then the edifice is empty and idle for the majority of the time. The building is still being heated and cooled, but no one is using the building. To me that seems like a waste of resources. Especially when we have so many current and potential Brethren who could be using the building.
If a daylight lodge is chartered within the temple not only will it put this space to better use, but there is potential that Masonry in your area may receive new members it wouldn't receive in only lodges that meet at traditional time, such as younger men with different work schedules, men with young children who wish to stay home with their family at night or even retirees who can no longer attend lodge at night because their eyesight has gotten to the point they can no longer drive at night. Many of these retirees could also benefit these new lodges; most of these men are long time members, even possibly Past Masters would can help direct the newer members in building their lodge. It also gives retirees a reason to get out of the house and socialize.
A lodge could be opened at ten or eleven and once business or degree work has ceased and lodge closes they could serve a lunch at noon, just in time for members on second shift to make their way to their jobs!
Another benefit could be Brethren of other lodges who work during the day could take their lunch breaks at the temple and “spread cement”before going back to work! Nothing could be better for Freemasonry than for Brethren gathering together for a few moments between their individual labors.
I have heard concerns from some Brothers that a lodge which is open only during the day may only become a place where men gather for networking and socializing instead of for the lodges intended purpose. I believe it could happen; I have known lodges that meet in the evening that become the same thing.
Each individual lodge is like an individual person. They have their own personality and are conducted by the will of its members. I believe if the numbers allow it that several daylight lodges could be chartered and a potential member should visit several lodges before he asks for a petition much like a conventional nighttime lodge to find find the right fit for him. If several exists he has a better chance in which suits his needs.
If one or more chartered daylight lodges are successful in your community other appendant and concordant bodies may also form new bodies like a daytime York Rite body, Shrine club or even a Scottish Rite club. How wonderful would it be to have many healthy, active Masonic bodies meeting in your building. Not only will it make Masonry stronger but think of the extra revenue more dues will bring in!
Brethren, Freemasonry can be just as active while the sun is in the south just as much as it is as when it's in the west at the close of the day. Let us think outside the box and put our members, potential members and resources to better uses.