Country membership

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Country membership

Postby David H » Wed Apr 11, 2018 11:25 pm

Good evening Brethren

The following is an extract just downloaded from The Province of East Lancashire (I believe the "home" of The Internet Lodge) Lodge Treasurer’s Handbook:-

"Non-dining or country members. A Lodge may specify reduced fees for non-dining or country members."

(Please note - I copied the extract exactly as it appeared on the East Lancashire site where they are obviously referring to 2 disparate elements - in fact the purpose of my post was to elicit a discussion solely about country membership - apologies for the confusion)

In these days of declining membership do any Lodges actually offer such facilities, for example, to former members now settled so far away as to make attendance impractical if not impossible? If not, why not please? Is such a course not just as valid as offering incentives to joiners of "University Lodges" which existing members of such Lodges are called upon to subsidise.

I have searched without success for the current UGLE capitation fee - can anybody enlighten me please?
Last edited by David H on Thu Apr 12, 2018 10:04 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Non dining/country membership

Postby eric384 » Wed Apr 11, 2018 11:29 pm

Is/was this a regional thing? I've never known any Lodges in Yorkshire to include dining in the annual fees.
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Re: Non dining/country membership

Postby David H » Wed Apr 11, 2018 11:42 pm

eric384 wrote:Is/was this a regional thing? I've never known any Lodges in Yorkshire to include dining in the annual fees.


Yes, thank you Eric. I believe the quote is rather misleading since in Sussex where I was Initiated, Passed and Raised dining was not included in any Lodges that I was aware of. My point really concerns people who for whatever have to or choose to relocate to another area. I don't know why the 2 quite different categories were not better identified in the guidance.
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Re: Non dining/country membership

Postby Stevecoath » Thu Apr 12, 2018 9:15 am

The quote from Lancashire is not exactly clear.

All of the units I belong to bar RCC include the dining fee in the annual dues.
Non dining members only pay when they decide to dine.

My Lodge dining fee is just about to increase to £34 per meal so £136 is added to my annual dues.
If I became a non dining member I would expect my fees to be £136 less, but all the other fees would be paid in full (GL, PGL, Temple hire etc)

Is Lancashire saying that Lodges may charge their members less for the other fees?
(I do know country members in the past who have objected to paying the Temple hire on the basis they were not at the meeting)
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Re: Non dining/country membership

Postby David H » Thu Apr 12, 2018 9:58 am

Stevecoath wrote:The quote from Lancashire is not exactly clear.



I agree - I now regret posting the complete quote since it has obviously caused confusion and diverted attention away from what it was that I was seeking view on i.e. country membership. I am now going to edit my OP to make it clearer but I don't think I will be able to remove dining from the thread title. Thank you very much for your input.
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Re: Non dining/country membership

Postby JulesTheBit » Thu Apr 12, 2018 3:51 pm

David H wrote:
Stevecoath wrote:The quote from Lancashire is not exactly clear.



I agree - I now regret posting the complete quote since it has obviously caused confusion and diverted attention away from what it was that I was seeking view on i.e. country membership. I am now going to edit my OP to make it clearer but I don't think I will be able to remove dining from the thread title. Thank you very much for your input.

Dear David

As one of the Mods here I have editted the title of your orginal post which now makes it clear what you intended to ask, but I've left the title of the responses the same to indicate that they were responding in a slightly different context.

As secretary of a University Scheme Lodge (Tetragon, MetGL) I can tell you that we have no subsidies for any kind of member though UGLE does reduce fees for members under 25. Some Provinces also reduce their Provincial fees similarly, currently MetGL does not.

Those who emigrate might choose to remain full members - that's their choice - or may resign and find another Lodge. We give them a great deal of assistance in finding a Lodge in whatever country they might move to.

If they decide to resign then they still receive summonses, remain members of the Lodge WhatsApp group, and have a very similar status to a permanently invited guest.

We don't have a concept of country membership because it's not relevant.

In my opinion the Country membership concept dates back to the time when many (most?) Lodges did include dining fees with the subscription. My own mother Lodge did that. These days that idea has become quite unusual and dining is charged separately. I bygone days a Country member would not pay the dining component of the subscription because he did not attend and dine.

Capitation fees: For the present FY UGLE fees are £39.00 inc VAT plus £17 Grand Charity constribution. The Provincial/MetGL component is extra and varies. Your Lodge secretary or treasurer should be able to tell you what that is in your area.

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Re: Country membership

Postby lew finnis » Thu Apr 12, 2018 7:06 pm

We used to have quite a discount for Country members, which pleased me when I lived 200 miles away from my Mother Lodge and only attended once in a blue moon. Given the huge proportion that GL dues etc make up of the total fees, we now only have a nominal discount (£5, I think) but we now have virtually no country members anyway.
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Re: Country membership

Postby Trouillogan » Fri Apr 13, 2018 8:42 pm

David, as you know, I live on the south coast and have membership of a number of lodges here. My mother lodge, however, is in Derbyshire and I pay a reduced subscription to the lodge as a 'country member' and have done for many years. The lodge subscription does not include a dining fee, so mine is a true 'country member' figure.

The entry in Information for the Guidance of Members of the Craft has this to say:

'ASSOCIATE MEMBERS’
May the term ‘Associate’ Member be used?
This term is not approved, the terms ‘Country’ and ‘Non-Dining’ being deemed sufficiently comprehensive.

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Re: Country membership

Postby MrBenn » Tue May 01, 2018 1:12 pm

Dining fees are included for my London lodge annual dues, country members pay a reduced rate which is less the dining
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Re: Country membership

Postby eckywan2 » Wed May 02, 2018 8:52 am

David nice to see you back on here again!
I get confused with English dining clubs
£35 for a meal? isn't it supposed to be a lodge ?
Another I attend in London is £55 for everyone

in this country it is minimal
Last night I had a nice wee meal at formal harmony after a mark
£3 for members free of course to visitors like me
( so I spent a fiver on raffle tickets treating it like a donation)

David I might be up in Inversneckie at end of month and will call to say hello if I get a chance
maybees take you for a £3 meal somewhere
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Re: Non dining/country membership

Postby David H » Wed May 02, 2018 5:01 pm

JulesTheBit wrote:If they decide to resign then they still receive summonses, remain members of the Lodge WhatsApp group, and have a very similar status to a permanently invited guest.


S&F, Jules


Dear Jules
I think that is excellent and thank you very much for the information regarding capitation etc which is very helpful.
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Re: Country membership

Postby David H » Wed Jun 13, 2018 9:43 pm

Trouillogan wrote:David, as you know, I live on the south coast and have membership of a number of lodges here. My mother lodge, however, is in Derbyshire and I pay a reduced subscription to the lodge as a 'country member' and have done for many years. The lodge subscription does not include a dining fee, so mine is a true 'country member' figure.



Thank you very much indeed. That is exactly the situation I had hoped to avail myself of. It appears that it is within the rules of UGLE and yet in general I seem to encounter a wall of silence/indifference when broaching the subject elsewhere. Obviously I am not seeking any special sort of treatment and it was my decision, well respected by my Lodge to resign in good standing. I have yet to see any convincing argument put forward as to why more Lodges do not offer "country membership" in the terms you describe appertaining to your Lodge in Derbyshire. To me to do otherwise seems to me to be completely counter intuitive in the case of members with a strong local connection who as in my case have no possibility of attending meetings of the Lodge as they have permanently relocated over 600 miles away. In fact I would go further and say it is rather cruel. Surely a fee which covers the remit to UGLE and a contribution to Lodge funds is of benefit to Lodge, rather than blank refusal which is often seen as a dog in the manger attitude? I would have been prepared to pay such a fee which would have been substantially greater than the annual Dues of £35 I was paying here in Scotland. Some would question why I resigned from my Scottish Lodge then the situation of being unattached would not have arisen. In fact I resigned for personal reasons which were completely in line with the tenets of Freemasonry. Although unattached I remain a Freemason, even though many people who it may be thought should know better, do not understand the situation and would have it that I am no longer a Freemason! Although in my heart I remain a Freemason, effectively I can see no prospect of returning to active Freemasonry in a worthwhile manner.

I was very interested to read Julesthebit's comment that where a member resigns from his Lodge they continue to be notified by email of future matters concerning the Lodge rather than simply being cut dead. That is an act of kindness and consideration which does not cost the lodge a penny and is surely simply a matter of adding the former members name to a mailing list?

All the best to anyone who has read through this - enjoy Freemasonry - I did.
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Re: Country membership

Postby Trouillogan » Thu Jun 14, 2018 10:39 am

David I do agree with you that an 'all or nothing' attitude towards those who are located at a great distance from their lodge seems illogical. I wonder whether it could that making a necessary change to lodge by-laws could be a reason why country memberships are not more common. Making changes to by-laws is often viewed as being quite irksome, involving approval by the PGM. When such a move would be for the benefit of only one or two members, a view might be take that it just isn't worth the effort. To be quite clear, I do not support such a view, quite the contrary; if required, it really behoves a lodge to make every effort in its power to assist its brethren.

It is unfortunate that the UGLE guidance note mentions both 'non-dining' and 'country' in the same sentence, tending to conflate the two in people's minds when in reality they are each quite separate issues. This leads to real difficulties in committee discussions when members seem unable to make the distinction between them. That is most frustrating and it proved impossible to arrange such a by-law alteration when I led a campaign on this very subject in respect of several distant brethren, one on long-term contract in the middle east and now in Africa, one in Lancashire and, believe it or not, one in Scotland! I've not given up and now that we are an established Universities Scheme lodge, I will have more ammunition when our university initiates start moving away from their mother lodge to start on their careers. It's a hard battle though, because it would involve getting our hall company to reduce the capitation fee in the face of its increasingly desperate finances!
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Re: Country membership

Postby eckywan2 » Thu Jun 14, 2018 10:52 am

David I dont like the last word in your latest
DID past tense? you will always be my brother despite the admin problems
truly dont be mislead by propaganda as the Uni scheme in Scotland ( taking over St Davids 36) is NOT the success its proclaimed to be
and has been used for the personal self aggrandisment of one brother
and this has lead to loss of visitors
The newbies are NOT mentored in any way and having sprung new interests in our craft, are then left to wither on the vine.
Its made more complicated by their D o C marrying the P G Secy
which despite political correctness has scunnered many ordinary brethren.
Names are not important for this thread those that need to know, know anyone else , names are not relevant
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Re: Country membership

Postby JulesTheBit » Thu Jun 14, 2018 11:11 am

David, Trouillogan and all

I think this is a very interesting and important discussion. In the Universities Scheme the mobility of our younger members is a fact of life and we need to cater for it. It's impossible for some people to guarantee that they will attend for the next 10 years while they take it in turns to progress to the Chair. Some Lodges still want that kind of commitment, but they are frequently disappointed. Lifestyles change and, in my opinion, Freemasonry needs to acknowledge that.

In the Universities Scheme new members are quite easy for us to find. In my experience they come either by application to the Scheme, directly to Lodge secretaries or by personal introduction from other members. Thus our membership grows faster than other Lodges.

But the mobility of young people means that we do sometimes lose their attendance whilst hoping they remain members. Unfortunately, sometimes they resign.
Genuine recent cases include "I've graduated in London, shall I do my post-grad in London, Turkey, Hong Kong or USA?". He chose Hong Kong but remains a member.
Another was offered a great promotion on condition he relocated to the USA. He remains a member.
Another permanently emigrated to the USA and chose to resign.
All of these decisions were at quite short notice, so as you can see, accurate membership forecasting by the Treasurer is not really possible.

To keep things simple we don't have a concept of Country membership. Everyone pays the same membership fee. Dining is separate and optional. At the moment the members are happy with that.
To facilitate members who chose to resign but might come back, our re-joining fee is less than a pint of beer. And as I said earlier, I work quite hard to stay in touch with them, even if they resign. It's quite a lot of work, but very fulfilling.

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Re: Country membership

Postby MrMason » Fri Jun 15, 2018 9:11 am

eckywan2 wrote:Its made more complicated by their D o C marrying the P G Secy
which despite political correctness has scunnered many ordinary brethren.
Names are not important for this thread those that need to know, know anyone else , names are not relevant


What has this got to do with the topic in question?

Not only are their names not important, but neither is the mention of their marriage.

These comments are of a personal nature, which I find disconcerting!!!!
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Re: Country membership

Postby eckywan2 » Sun Jun 17, 2018 8:36 am

Apologies Mr Mason I dont intend to upset you or anyone
but its part of the story of St Davids 36 now the Uni Lodge in Edinburgh
and your word disconcerting is exactly what many brethren feel about that part of it
more importantly the new brethren are not being supported
as they would with friends / family /work colleagues / schoolpals etc etc
and without such mentoring they are not getting about other lodges
and are left with the lodges rather unreal Saturday lunchtime meetings
while certain brethren are claiming its a success.

Im sorry I wont be able to respond to any other comments as Im off to Missouri for a Brothers funeral
and am taking a fortnght to help sort out some problems there

Fraternally as always
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Re: Country membership

Postby David H » Sun Jun 17, 2018 3:30 pm

Safe journey eckywan2
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Re: Country membership

Postby eckywan2 » Sun Jun 17, 2018 4:31 pm

Thanks David
it meant me cancelling another trip up your way
but maybees later in "summer"
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Re: Country membership

Postby David H » Sun Jun 17, 2018 4:53 pm

We just had 5 weeks solid summer here - then in I bought a convertible and the weather changed :)
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