On June 24th, 2017, the 300 year anniversary of Freemasonry, Wheaton Lodge 269 held its 159th consecutive Officer Installation Meeting. It was a very special day. We had brothers from several other lodges in attendance to help out, such as Glen Ellyn Lodge 950, Grove Lodge 824, and Villa Park Lodge 1113. It was a great time, and great fellowship.
As is tradition in Illinois, we gave a Charge written in the year 1795 by a very distinguished Brother Master Mason, Paul Revere. This video is actual footage of the Charge given that day.
It was a great day to celebrate, but it was also a day of reflection.
Did you notice how many blue chairs were empty? While we have hundreds of members, only a small number come to meetings regularly. We aren't renting out enough space in our lodge to consistently generate a positive cash flow. We could be doing more to support the community. Our primary community action is a monthly job club meeting we sponsor to help people in job transition, with the help of the outplacement service, www.SpeedUpMyJobSearch.com. We often need help from other lodges to put on degrees and functions, just as we did for this Installation Meeting.
Then the Paul Revere Charge launched this Charge!
We posted this video of that Charge on our Facebook page and within 24 hours it was watched close to 9,000 times! We were so excited about it that, as fate would have it, we accidentally deleted the viral post. Ugh. But we posted it again, and thousands more people watched it. It was amazing!
Many people asked for a copy of the charge. If you would like a copy, just click here for a pdf version.
However, even more people pointed out the empty chairs, and that's what got us thinking.
We've been doing what we can, when we have time, to improve the lodge, which is often too little too late, but enough is enough! The time has come to just get it done. We decided to not only commit to improving, but to document the process, and let people read along; kind of like a season of the show "Hard Knocks", but for Masonry instead of football.
Hopefully our readers will help us with encouragement, as well as ideas. We have a list of ideas to implement this upcoming year, and we will share them as we do so you can see what works, and what doesn't. If you know of ideas that have worked for your lodge, we would love for you to share them and we will try them.
As noted earlier, one of the issues we face is our lack of funds. In a good year we break even, which makes it hard to donate needed funds to the local charities, or to keep up with our 100+ year old building, much less to make needed improvements to it. So the first fundraiser we are implementing on our road back to success is this blog.
We will have this free version for everyone here explaining the results of tactics we implement, but we will also have an expanded version of this blog inside the membership area of this website.
That's where we will explain specifically what the tactics are and how we are implementing the changes, and you'll be able to comment and ask questions. To access the expanded blog, we request a small contribution of $5 per month (a contribute button will be added soon). This will not only help us with our expenses, but it will also help motivate us to keep looking for better and better ideas to make this lodge a success again because, well, people are paying to see the success story, so we better deliver one!
We hope you'll join us on this journey. You do not have to be a Mason to contribute and sign up for access to this blog (and sorry, we will not be sharing any treasured Masonic secrets). If you ARE a Mason though, we have a lot more we can share with you through the other benefits of this site. You can network with other Masons, fill your slates faster, learn more about the symbols of Masonry, and specifically how to apply them to your life. Illinois Masons can even learn their floor work in a new way. Non-Masons will not have access to these areas. We hope this can be a resource for all Masons long term.
Here's to a great year!