Page 7 - May 2015 A
P. 7

No. 478  Page 7

Section 22030 of the Constitution and Code, on Surrender, is much shorter, and is the preferred method.
Unfortunately, lodges often choose to struggle with consolidation instead. In this method of surrendering a
charter, the members all take a dimit and have a year to join another lodge - just because your lodge no longer
exists does not mean that you aren’t still Masons! - and there is no struggle getting another lodge to agree to
terms with your assets and liabilities. Section 22070 disperses assets to Grand Lodge. Some lodges view this
with suspicion “They’ll get our money over my cold dead body!” but the difficulty in merging is eliminated:
“Grand Lodge” (ie all of us) absorb the responsibility for disposing of the property, and so on. Your wardens
gavels, the two pillars, etc, may be redistributed to other lodges in need.

   There appears to be a general feeling that surrendering the Charter is a bad thing, and should be avoided at
all costs. When in reality it shows that the remaining members are exercising good stewardship and honoring
the Lodge by ensuring that it can be closed with dignity while still alive, rather than just trying to dispose of
the remains.

   Which should you choose? It is almost a certain bet that while the balance any local lodge retains in their
bank accounts may seem like quite a bit of money locally, it is not enough for the collective group of lodges
known as “Grand Lodge” to risk causing an “us versus them” problem to “money grab.” The fact is, “Grand
Lodge” isn’t out for your money by closing your lodge. Only a handful of lodges in our state possess funds
that would meaningfully impact operations.

 What happens if we don’t know what to do? Unfortunately, in some cases, the choice is made for the lodge.
When a lodge is at the point where it needs to consider how the members will deal with their own
memberships in the near future, there is a critical timeline involved. If you wait too long, you will - inevitably
- not have enough members who show up to even make a decision.

   It is NEVER an ideal situation when the collective lodges known as “Grand Lodge,” when at their annual
communication, or the Grand Master, between sessions, have to make the decision for you. When that
happens, finding anyone locally with keys to the building, knowledge of where the paperwork is for the
building and so on, can be difficult at best, and a task for Hercules at its worst. Lodges at this point may not
even be aware or care that their building is for sale.

   The choice is yours - to everything there is a season. A time to live, a time to die. Lodges closing is a part
of the natural cycle of things. It is in your best interest to take an active part in how your lodge closes its
earthly career if this is indeed the close of it. Lodges are strongly encouraged, when at the end of their life-
span, to surrender their charter, rather than consolidate. The “lodge” will pass out of existence, but you will
retain membership and still be a Mason.
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