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Montana Freemason  August 2015                           Volume 91 Number 2

   ere are 92 Lodges as of this writing. Most            tune of $2,100 a year to the Masonic Temple
likely shortly a er this writing, it will be 91 or       Association that runs their facility. is doesn’t
even 90, by our Annual Communication in                  leave them past 2 years. ey also have a $10,000
June. If we were honest, we would be at about 70         CD which won’t be mature until 2017, so they
lodges in a year, why. (All Lodges and their towns       will take a penalty for early withdrawal if they
mentioned below have their names changed in              do so. And they have $35,000 in their investment
order to prevent possible hard feelings).                account. Do they touch the money saved for a
“Beehive Lodge” #7 has 22 members as of                  rainy day? It looks like a typhoon outside.
December 31, 2014. 11 live in their town, most           If this lodge wants to stay a oat using the
of the rest out of state or not really all that close.   resources that it has, it will have to tap into the CD
13 out of the 22 members are “50 Year” members,          or investment account - which will only buy them
making them at least 71 years old (minimum               some time; they still lack enough positive cash
age back then was 21 to join). One member was
born in 1991, another in 1970, one in 1965. No            ow once this reserve is exhausted to continue for
members were born in the ‘50’s, and at least one         much longer. Further, some of their monies are
was born during World War I. ey met 4 times              speci cally earmarked for use in the granting of
last year: the minimum allowed by Code (each             scholarships - so they are not used for paying their
lodge is required to meet at least quarterly). ey        rent, for example. e Temple Association running
had 5 members present at those 4 meetings (the           the lodge (which includes other para-Masonic
minimum allowed per Code, inclusive of the               bodies) has its own concerns. is group has also
Tyler). ey do have a little bit of money: $18k,          faced deferred maintenance issues in its building,
and a building in a town that doesn’t need it if they    and if a major issue arises - say with a roof or
fold. e town they live in has 970 residents. In          boiler - that emergency will likely do the lodge in.
2014 they lost 1 member, gained 0; in 2013 gained
1, lost 3; in 2012 lost 2, gained 0; in 2011, lost 2,           Assessing Money And Members
gained 0. ey’ve initiated 5 men in that time, and        Do we know what we are up against when we
only 1 became a Master Mason. is story could             come up with our latest scheme to get money and
be repeated throughout the state.                        members? How many times have you attend Grand
What happens when the small towns dry up (the            Lodge, here or elsewhere, and hear dignitaries give
reasons for this are not part of this article), and are  a speech on the latest idea that will “save” Masonry.
unable to thrive like they once did, either because      We know from years of this that they don’t work,
of a railroad, or a factory, or an industry that le ?    why do we allow our annual session as a place
Some lodges accept that they’ll never get the same       to tout the latest get-rich-quick in members and
large amount of guys they once did, and strive to        money scheme? Assessing the nances of an
meet the needs of the members that they do have.         existing lodge, and the potential membership
As a result, they’re optimistic that they will keep      of a community, could go a long way toward
meeting. Other lodges in similar situations don’t        predicting which lodges need assistance in
always operate so much. In fact, they o en don’t         an area, which do not, and how to not drag
meet at all.                                             an entire Grand Lodge into yet another one-
While the “Beehive Lodge” town has just under            and-done program meant to cure what ails.
1000 residents, “Tuscan Lodge” #11 meets in a            Perhaps a better measurement is - we evaluate
town with about the same number of residents,            how many people are reasonably expected to join
and it has almost double the membership roster,          a lodge in an area out of the potential population
at 39. Neither town is showing signs of an extreme       to start with; we also evaluate lodge assets vs their
turn around in their near future, but one is likely      liabilities. We should be able to forecast where
to be here 10 years from now, and the other is not.      problem areas are. Following this article is a chart
One lodge is doing something that is positive, the       showing cities and towns in Montana as taken
other is struggling.                                     from the U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S.
                                                         Census Bureau and, and show
          The Lodge With No Money                        some assets from lodges meeting there as well.

One lodge, call it “George Washington Lodge”
#14, has $3,700 in their checking, and $1,900 in
their savings account. ey pay out rent to the

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