Clyde E. Griffin, Past Grand Master, 33
c/o Savannah Scottish Rite of Freemasonry
Involvement with our families, friends, and associates
should be of paramount importance as we move Masonry toward the 21st Century.
The Masonic Fraternity has long held that it was a members’ organization with not much need for non-member involvement. That line of thinking today will go far in dooming our organization. Our main reason for existence is to help mankind, so it behooves us to involve ourselves with all mankind.
Grand Lodge Family Cookout, 1996, State Farmer’s Market, Macon, Georgia
Consequently, involvement with our families, friends, and associates should be of paramount importance as we move Masonry toward the 21st Century. We are not getting any younger. Others need to learn and understand who we are and what we do so that the world’s greatest fraternity will perpetuate its existence. What better way for this to happen than to involve our families, friends, and others in the many events which do not conflict with our ritual? Most of our events are aimed at frank good fellowship, such as observing anniversaries and birthdays of our Lodges and other structures or monuments, honoring of widows and ladies, recognizing individuals who have contributed to Freemasonry, saluting those who have benefited their community. The list is virtually endless.
When we think about the sacrifices and contributions of our family members who are not members of our Fraternity, it seems that we should reward them when possible. They need to be made to feel appreciated and welcome at the various functions which they can attend. With a little thought and planning by the officers and members of a Lodge, Chapter, Council, Commandery or Consistory, Family, Ladies, Widows, and Friends Nights will go a long ways towards insuring our success now and in the future.
Several success stories can be related about involvement of the family throughout our Fraternity. One Lodge in particular (Long Cane No. 424) in Southwest Georgia was stuck in the doldrums of poor attendance and participation by the members. After involving the ladies by inviting them to come to the Lodge on meeting nights and holding their own meeting in the dining room while the Masons met in the Lodge room, a transformation occurred that is difficult to believe. Attendance improved a thousand per cent. Renovations to the property took place, and soon everyone associated with the Lodge was proud and pleased to belong. This Lodge has continued to work and grow and is now one of the “spotlights” of Masonry in Georgia.
A recent Friends Night was held by another Lodge (Acacia No. 452) which resulted in 22 non-Masons attending and 55 Masons showing up for a delightful evening of fellowship. All of the non-Masons were either friends or family of members of that Lodge. Information about our great Fraternity was presented in a very tasteful manner, and questions were encouraged and answered.
Everyone left with a good feeling about Freemasonry. Twenty-two individuals who might never have known anything about who we are and what we do, now are knowledgeable and curious. Who knows what dividends we will reap from such a small effort?
Honoring the widows of departed Brethren should be the norm rather than the exception. All over the state of Georgia, Lodges hold Widow’s Nights to show appreciation to those who shared their husbands with us. Who knows what will happen down the line, for widows have sons, daughters, grandsons, granddaughters, and friends who need to hear good things about Freemasonry.
Some of the Scottish Rite Valleys in Georgia have formed Ladies’ Auxiliaries, and others will undoubtedly follow suit. Those Valleys with ladies functioning as helpers are prospering, and the ladies enjoy their participation. Many functions and events held throughout the year, such as Ring Ceremonies, Feast of Tishri, Flag Day, can be even more successful if we remember to include families and friends.
Also, Masonic plays adapted for non-Masons can provide entertainment and good fellowship plus foster great public relations. Many of our Brethren, superb ritualists, perform for large crowds in “The Traitor” and “Rose Upon The Altar.” The “Royal Arch Widow’s Degree” is limited to Royal Arch Masons’ wives (York Rite) but is a tremendous crowd pleaser.
Let’s not forget Rainbow, DeMolay, and Job’s Daughters. As part of our Masonic Family, these youth groups teach friendship, responsibility, self-reliance, and leadership. Supporting these organizations will pay huge dividends now and down the road. Call any of them for a program presentation at one of your gatherings. They will be glad to respond. By the way, have you ever heard the “Flower Talk”?
When you add it all up, you just can’t argue with success. Families are and should be included!