“What is this lodge you speak of?”, Is a question I have been asked more times than I can count. The simple answer to this is, “a place where we Masons hold our meetings”. And for the most part that is true. We go there intermittently to practice ritual, for most of us the night or week before an extra meeting. We obviously have our stated and extra meetings there. So when a majority of us give that token answer, it is absolutely dull but true. That never used to be my answer until about a year and a half ago, when I realized that’s what we do. Tonight changed my answer and hopefully forever.
Through my time as Freemason I have heard plenty of stories about the good old days when men just hung out at Lodge, which of course is no longer the case for the aforementioned reasons. Deep down I thought that when we met outside of meeting nights it should be about discussion and obtaining light by constructive banter and research as well as perfecting our craft through ritual practice, which is what I engaged in since I have been a member of this fraternity. Yes there were some nights that we turned them into, BS sessions and those were always welcomed in moderation. Once again until tonight.
Recently our lodge decided to knock the dust off the old pool table and have a little in house tournament where we would charge an entry fee with proceeds going to our lodge fund to help with renovations. This small idea to get a few bucks in donations has opened my eyes to what the past was like for our old timers who told those stories of men hanging out at the lodge.
We had our normal Sunday practice tonight and instead of half of us working in ritual while the new members had their education session, we shot pool and discussed Freemasonry and whatever else came up. It was fun, we had banter back and forth with competitors all in the name of having a good time and just engaging in a fraternal bond. Tonight didn’t feel like a practice or an education session. Tonight felt like friends hanging out. We rediscovered one another as more than Masonic Brothers but also as the friends we should be.
This is what our older members were talking about. Guys that just wanted to hang out with one another and have a good time all while still practicing our Masonic duties. This is something I hope sticks in our lodge and I challenge anyone who is reading this to do the same with yours. I know there are still lodges that function like this but in my local experience I don’t see it other than a few times a year. I’m sure that if we can make lodge fun again we can get more active Brethren who in turn will bring in more active and interested candidates. I know it’s not much and this may sound petty, but if it works, I am all for it.
Bro. Cody Spangler, P.M. is a two time Past Master of Armstrong Lodge #239 in Freeport, PA. He is also the sitting Most Excellent High Priest of Orient Holy Royal Arch Chapter #247, Principal Conductor of Work for Kittanning Council #52 and a member of Holy Rood Commandery #100 in Kittanning, PA and a member of the Valley of New Castle AASR.
Bro. Spangler can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org