by Senior Midnight Freemason Contributor
Gregory J. Knott 33°
Illini High Twelve Chapter No. 768 recently decided to turn in our charter. The chapter first organized as a Masonic lunch club in 2011 and eventually the decision was made to pursue a chapter with High Twelve International. We successfully completed the organizing requirements and charted in 2012.
The club was very strong for many years, with numerous guest speakers from throughout our community. Attendance was generally good and the meetings were very enjoyable. We met in a local restaurant that provided good service and good food. The right combination of everything right? So you might ask, why did the chapter decide to close?
The COVID-19 most definitely played a role. We last met as a club in February 2020 and because of all the things that happened the last two years, the club didn’t get back together.
The other reason is that we didn’t have anyone who wanted to step up and be the club secretary. I was the original charter secretary for the five years and fellow Midnight Freemason Darin Lahners took the reins the last five years. The endless cycle of chasing dues and other administrative functions just didn’t appeal to anyone else as a volunteer job. Without anyone to chase the paper, the club effectively died.
I would like to offer a few observations that we learned over the last decade. The first is that the national or parent body should be cognizant of the amount of administrative overhead they require in regards to time and resources. If the pandemic has done anything, it has caused us to think long and hard about how business is conducted and has forced organizations to reassess if long-standing administrative functions were truly even needed. Masonic bodies would be well served to examine their business and administrative practices to see if they can make it easier for their constituent organizations.
Next, I would suggest you may not always need to put a strong administrative function around your efforts. Though we have turned in our charter, we are talking about continuing to meet as a more informal lunch or dinner club. We can still have the occasional guest speakers and invite our fellow Masons and their families to join us for food and fellowship.
Gregory J. Knott, 33° is a founding member and Senior Contributor of the Midnight Freemasons blog. He is a Past Master of St. Joseph Lodge No. 970 in St. Joseph (IL) and a plural member of Ogden Lodge No. 754 (IL), Homer Lodge No. 199 (IL) and Naval Lodge No. 4 in Washington, DC. He’s a member of the Scottish Rite, the York Rite, Eastern Star and is the Charter Secretary of the Illini High Twelve Club No. 768 in Champaign-Urbana. He is also a member of ANSAR Shrine (IL) and the Eastern Illinois Council No. 356 Allied Masonic Degrees. Greg serves on the Board of Directors of The Masonic Society and is a member of the Scottish Rite Research Society and The Philathes Society. He is a charter member of a new Illinois Royal Arch Chapter, Admiration Chapter U.D., and serves as its Secretary. Greg is very involved in Boy Scouts—an Eagle Scout himself, he is a member of the National Association of Masonic Scouters.