General observation on younger brethren

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Re: General observation on younger brethren

Postby proudtobeamason » Sun Nov 24, 2013 3:16 pm

I can understand the issues around younger working members and their ability to make meetings and commit the time. I myself am in my early 40's and have been a member for about 5 years, I'm lucky that I predominantly work from home, but I also frequently travel thrroughout the UK with my work, and if within my power I wil try and re-arrange meetings and travel to work around my masonic work. Recently I've missed a couple of LoI's and rehersals for which I feel I should have attended, but I'm always told by the WM, DC and all other brethren that family and work comes first

I'm in a very understanding lodge who appreciate the younger working members and there's always a strong contigent of members who are willing and very much able to step into roles when the designated younger officers are unfortuantely unable to attend

My lodge meetings at 18:00 if we're doing a 3rd and typically 18:30 for any other meeting, other than the installation which is usually earlier, which for some younger members if rather early, but it's a balance between starting earlier or finishing late

As our lodge is predominantly made up with older members, we also have the issue of the older members not wanting to have a late night and driving in the darm etc., so much so that our PGM likes lodges in out province to have finished, where possible the meeting & festive board by 22:00. Those that can and wish to stay later are very much welcome, but those who want to leave then have still shared in the proceedings. This seems, pretty much, to be a happy balance, with our meetings always having a good attendance of members and visitors

One of the precepts of masonry is helping a friend or brother in time of need and in my lodge this is definately true and no doubt if the profile of our membership changes, the timing of lodge meetings can and would be flexed to accommdate to find that happy balance

Cedewain Lodge 1594
Welchpool RA 998
Drefaldwyn A&AR 919

Province of North Wales
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Re: General observation on younger brethren

Postby Trouillogan » Sun Nov 24, 2013 8:23 pm

This is a very valid point, proudtobeamason. The early start times and late dining do hit both ends of the scale of members. The younger working Mason often finds himself under pressure to arrive on time and the late hour of dining hits the more elderly at around 3am with indigestion. We seem to have this rather poor model throughout the UGLE Lodges.

The Irish have what seems to be a better way and the Scots are somewhat similar. It won't work for all Lodges and appears to be more suited to country Lodges than to city centre ones. What generally happens is this: With a Lodge starting time of around 7.30 - 8.00pm, the working Mason has time to get home, eat normally and change. They go to their Lodges outside rush-hour traffic and have had about two to three hours to change the focus of the mind from the working day to Lodge matters. After the Lodge meeting, brethren mingle with a cup of tea, passing the whiskey round and a sandwich (at very little cost).

From this, you can see many benefits: no rush from work. Changing of apparel from work to Lodge is easier. Travelling is easier. Retaining their normal meal-time is important for the more elderly as a late meal is upsetting. Visiting is far easier as the cost is so much lower. The icing on the cake is that that there are hardly any toasts and certainly no speeches!

As I say, it wouldn't suit every Lodge here but I'm equally sure that such Lodges that were to use a like regime would find their membership retention a good deal better than it is. There is a financial downside, in that many Masonic Halls make money from the dining fees, which they would not do with brethren not dining. So there would need to be a bit more of a change to deal with that.

I believe this is well worth thinking about. What do you feel?
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Re: General observation on younger brethren

Postby rjgs » Tue Nov 26, 2013 11:54 pm

Good idea, Trouillogan. It could work well in some Lodges. I have visited two ancient Lodges in Scotland. One had beer and sandwiches in the bar and the other held a sit down formal affordable meal (similar to a FB). I enjoyed both approaches.
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Re: General observation on younger brethren

Postby Trouillogan » Wed Nov 27, 2013 4:11 pm

The hard bit would be getting it past the Lodge committee! (3)
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Re: General observation on younger brethren

Postby rjgs » Wed Nov 27, 2013 8:39 pm

Well, the Lodge committee eventually changes.
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Re: General observation on younger brethren

Postby Trouillogan » Thu Nov 28, 2013 1:17 pm

Yes but that does take an awful long time!
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Re: General observation on younger brethren

Postby Sebastian » Tue Mar 31, 2015 10:38 am

All these are valid points. Timings of lodge meetings are very important. Sometimes these have remained the same although work patterns have changed. There is a slight similarity which the Church has had to grapple with. Many churches were notorious for holding services at times when people could not attemd unless they were retired (1000 on a Wednesday for example). Many London churches have developed lunchtime services for business people with young families who can't make Sundays either. Perhaps lodges need occasionally to appraise tradtional times to suit working people?
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Re: General observation on younger brethren

Postby gcoudert » Tue Mar 31, 2015 11:24 am

MrBenn wrote:I'm a member of a lodge that meets on Saturday afternoon and it works fine for me


Me too. I am a teacher in an independent secondary school and I find it almost impossible to leave before 6:00pm although teaching ends at 4:30pm. The inflexible (time-wise) nature of my profession has basically screwed up my chances of ever being appointed/promoted to an active rank but, at least, I can find the time to attend lodge meetings on Saturdays and learn the ritual in school holidays.
I totally sympathise with the OP and can totally understand the frustration caused. It does concern me that senior brethren should think they have the right to criticise junior brethren who are unable to serve their lodges without detriment to themselves or connections.
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Re: General observation on younger brethren

Postby PorkPie » Wed Oct 14, 2015 8:27 pm

Flaxgord wrote:
Trouillogan wrote:There is a solution, not down to UGLE but in the hands of each Lodge. It may not suit all, particularly those in the larger conurbations such as London and it is common practice outside UGLE.

One of the main difficulties which affects almost all ages, is that of the timings of the Masonic evenings. Would you not see it as beneficial for the working members to be able to arrive refreshed, not having had to fight rush hour traffic, with their minds focussed on the evening's labour and pleasure? Would you not see it as beneficial for the more elderly of us not to have to be fighting a late meal in the wee small hours? Would you not see it as beneficial to be able to invite as many guests as you like without having to worry about costs - and to be invited without feeling guilty about the cost to your host? Would you not think it beneficial to be able to mingle after the meeting with whomsoever you wish, instead of being fixed in a seat at the whim of the dining steward? Do you really look forward to all those speeches and the toasts that give you indigestion by having to bob up and down all the time?

Be prepared for a different way of organising the evening!

Return home from work, eat normally and at the normal time, so your digestive routine is undisturbed and with any dietary needs properly looked after. Get changed in civilised surroundings, rather than in a filthy bog somewhere or having worn your kit all day, with the occasional snigger from those around you at work who think they know. Travel to Lodge outside rush hour and when parking may well be free. Your Lodge starts at 8pm - yes eight at the latest! Afterwards you mingle in the bar chatting to all, with a cup of tea or a pint or a nip in one hand and one or two small finger bites in the other. The cost of this is minimal - a pound or so. There's no cooking or serving staff to be paid for. You relax with your guests amongst your brethren, introducing them around making new friends. You may wish to toast a candidate and wish him well but that's about all. You make your way home arriving at about the same time as now and you get to bed with your meal already well digested.

Oh, and it means any visiting hierarchy can also arrive refreshed and outside rush hour and returning at the 'normal' time.

What could be simpler?

If you are asking, this is done in Ireland and very similar in Scotland. So there's nothing unusual in it. At installations you may do a bit more than snack and you may start a bit earlier but that's just once a year.

The really difficult bit is trying to get it past your GP Committee but I can't for the life of me think why that should be.



Very descriptive reply, however, not answering my observations! My observations were younger bro's who have operational jobs, firemen, police, law enforcement, medical arena the list goes on. I noticed how younger bro's enjoy Freemasonary however, are unable to dedicate the amount of time a grocer, lawyer, sales professional ect can offer. The older bro's often do make comments, along the lines of "why join if you cant dedicate x amount of hours". I t has nothing to do with dining, its more to do with progression through the ranks,correct me if I am wrong but I was under the belief the priority is/was 1) Family life 2) Work life and then 3) Freemasonary. As far as my observations go the older bro's do not adhere to the latter. (28)


Firstly, I think the reply covers a very important issue that I personally believe is restricting the attendance of a lot of people who you focus your question on. The alternative is innovative and worthy imo.
I'm a worker in one of the professions you mention and to be honest, it's no more difficult for us than it is for sales professionals, a great mate of mine is a sales rep and he works so many more hours than me and his rest days are spent checking work emails so I really think it's a problem for all professions. The fact is, learning ritual takes time, commitment and effort. The people who complain are probably older and so have learnt the ritual over many years, they may have forgotten how hard it was and they may have less patience for younger attitudes, that's normal in life. I'm new to Freemasonry but in my late 40's so straddle the groups. I do find that younger (in years) Masons complain that it's too difficult to learn their words for passing etc and when I question them, they have literally looked at it for 10-20 minutes whilst also watching tv. You have to dedicate a lot of effort to learn ritual, if you can't then that is fine but there are many ways to help you learn that ritual and many bits can be broken down, I saw the Charge to the initiate done by 4 junior Brethren a few months ago, easier to learn and very effective.
We do have a lot of tutter's, it can't be denied but the way to silence them is to put the work in and prove them wrong, make suggestions that you feel will help you, have a voice.
Just my thoughts.
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