Frankly, I find it hard to understand why we do not have more daytime Lodge meetings. The days when nine-to-five jobs were the ubiquitous standard are long gone. There are many night jobs and other shifts, stay-at-home dads, and on the other end, retirees who don't like (or can't) drive at night. This means ample opportunity for new Charters, and to get more use out of our Temples. I would even suggest that anywhere you can find more than two or three Lodges in an area, you could add another one to accommodate candidates and existing members who just can't be involved in an evening. For what it's worth, here are my suggestions to take advantage of, or at least acknowledge the situation.
If you have an active Lodge but find that many members cannot make meetings due to business and family commitments, add a few daytime meetings to your Trestle Board. Make sure they are well communicated and advertised. Heck, you may even find Brothers from other nearby Lodges start to attend.
Another option is to sponsor the creation of a new Lodge. This can increase the tenancy and use of existing Masonic buildings. You can work together as closely or separately as you like. The only issue with this approach is pushback from those concerned about existing Lodges losing members. But who are they going to lose except those who cannot participate anyway? And do we care about our brothers and the Craft, or just our individual Lodge? We would need to overcome our scarcity mindset. Besides, some members would want to retain their membership in the mother Lodge.
By the way, I'm not talking about weekend Lodges. Even people working evenings or overnight may want their family time on a Saturday or Sunday. I would even go so far as to make a point of never meeting or rarely holding events on Friday through Sunday to avoid conflict with the holy days of various faiths. In the GLNY, we just passed a change in the Constitutions allowing Masonic work on a Sunday, so as to alleviate the need to have it on the Jewish Sabbath. I myself experienced a pleading to have a communications conference on a Sunday instead of a Saturday for exactly this reason.
It must be discerned as to what choices and details ought to be implemented in any particular locale and circumstance. But the days of smaller Lodges with better participation and serving specific niches are upon us. I can easily imagine, for example, a monthly meeting on a weekday morning followed by going out to lunch. (There are already several Masonic lunchtime gatherings in my area, which should be an indicator of the potential I'm talking about here.)
Look around you. Is there a place for Masons to go during the week, earlier in the day? If not, there may be a real need for our Brothers -- and a line of candidates that have been turned away. But you won't know until you seek, ask, and knock on the door of this possible future of our Fraternity.
There are some daylight lodges in California. They are oriented around seniors, not specifically people who work nights. One is located at the Masonic Home in Union CIty. Another is in San Jose. There may be others. It's a great idea. I also attended a Daylight Lodge in Las Vegas. I'm not sure if it was totally senior oriented or if it also was designed to appeal to night workers. Finally, my Royal Arch chapter here in Upstate New York has daylight meetings in the dead of winter, so that Companions don't have to drive home in the deep dark and bad weather. We draw from the area of Lake George ALL THE WAY to the Canadian border, so there can be some long rides involved. My response to "we've never done it that way before is," good, let's try it.ReplyDelete