Buttsworth Vermont – In an unprecedented move unheard of throughout any recorded Freemasonic history, a Grand Lodge has made an innovation to the Craft that shall impact Freemasonry long into its future.Grand Lodge spokesman, Hiram Boca had this to say, “The problem has been growing since the decline in attendance that occurred shortly after the membership peak in 1959. With attrition taking a toll on meeting attendance, it was clear from even a cursory view that we were not having an impact on solving this problem through any corrective action we have taken so far.”
What’s the problem you might ask? Seeking to interview some objective observers, the Grand Lodge sought out non-members who support the organization. They came across Constance Whiner, a member of an auxiliary Freemasonic organization, to provide an outsider' view. According to Grand Lodge sources, she had this to say, “Oh dear! It’s truly not my place to make comment on the goings on behind that huge guarded door. But I can tell you there’s a lot of complaining from the old timers coming out of meetings who shake their heads complaining about empty seats needing to be filled. I can only imagine that they see this as a problem.”And she appears to be in sync with what the Grand Lodge found coming from interviews with actual members. According to their research, without fail, each member they interviewed focused on the same issue, “Empty Seat and how to fill them”.
With volumes of growing evidence provided to them by the secretaries of each lodge within their jurisdiction, it was clear that the attendance numbers have declined since 1959 and that seats not being filled by members are at an all time high.And according to the Grand Lodge, Lodge secretaries are extremely frustrated with this. “We simply don’t have enough members attending to fill the chairs and the problem is getting worse each year!” exclaimed lodge secretary Brig M. Inn. “No matter how many letters we send out, phone calls we make or verbal pleas we make to those who do attend, the empty seat numbers continue to mount. Obviously we need to send more letters, make more calls and convince those who do attend to get out there to talk to those members who don’t attend or even approach past members and ask them to rejoin!”
With all the data coming in, the Grand Lodge decided it was time to do something that was not done before in anyone else's year. They decided to reexamine the problem to see if it truly was a problem. Their conclusions were shocking!The first and most important of their conclusions was that the “empty seats”, so commonly focused upon and pointed out by whining members, was not really a problem.
What was the actual problem?
Grand Master Most Worshipful Brother Kean N. Cite had this to say, “We found that the overwhelming problem existing in almost every single one of our lodges was that there were far too many chairs provided that were not required for any proper functioning lodge." He continued, "With the reduction in membership, the continual and unnecessary inclusion of far too many chairs actually took away from the intimacy and fellowship that should occur had the distances between Brothers attending been reduced in tandem with reduced membership." He hung his head and said with an embarrassing tone, "They actually got in the way and distracted us from doing the work we need to be focusing upon when we come together.”
What was the innovative solution provided by the Grand Lodge? Remove the unoccupied chairs, reduce the distances between the remaining chairs and enjoy the closeness that Brothers should have been enjoying all along.Most Worshipful Brother Kean had this to add, “Implementation of this solution has already transformed many of our lodges toward the better. We see more fellowship, less complaining and a whole heck of a lot more positive communications coming from attended meetings. Brothers are actually enjoying the change."
He smiled and then shared this with excitement, "Many of the Lodges have even downsized their meeting spaces, reduced overhead and the stresses that come from being burdened by the decisions of previous generations. We certainly look forward to even more positive outcomes as a result of this innovation being implemented to our current operations.”
Fraternally & Sincerely,-- Coach John S . Nagy