[Square & Compasses]    

Letter of the month: June 2005

Message-Id: <3.0.2.32.20050531141931.00a72118@jas.net>
Date: Tue, 31 May 2005 14:19:31 -0500
To: masonry-ask@mit.edu
From: Steve <>
Subject: Funeral letter

Fraternal Greetings.

I read your letter about the masonic funeral with quite a bit of interest as there has been a great deal of confusion regarding when they are to be done in this area also.

We had a long lost brother pass earlier last year who had not paid dues for about ten years. This was all due to illness. There was a good bit of debate as to whether or not this man was to be given the burial services. The Grand Lodge of Texas told me that if the only reason a brother went suspended was for NPD then the funeral is to be given if requested.

Here is the kicker. It was later determined that the lodge had voted years earlier to pay this member's per capita to Grand Lodge to keep him up to date even though he was unable to pay dues to the lodge. With officers changing seats and other things that happen the lodge stopped paying this member's per capita so his going suspended was the fault of our lodge in the first place.

Heck of a deal huh?

When your seasoned members stop attending lodge the younger persons have no idea who to contact or where they may be found. What happened to the brother mentioned in the letter you received happens all to often as the new secretary has no idea what the lodge voted on ten years in the past as there is no one around to tell anyone.

From: dryfoo@MIT.EDU
Message-Id: <200506090028.j590SkPw027243@department-of-alchemy.mit.edu>
To: Steve <sbrown@jas.net>
Subject: Re: Funeral letter
Date: Wed, 08 Jun 2005 20:28:45 -0400

Dear Bro. Brown,

It's a sad thing when a lodge lets its records fall apart like that. Isn't it the responsibility of the grand lodges to make sure lodge secretaries know the requirements of their jobs?

When a lodge lets older members "fall through the cracks" it reflects badly on all of us. Once the lodge makes arrangements to remit or cover a member's dues, that should be entered properly in a ledger where a replacement secretary can easily see it.

Even so, in some lodges, when a member is about to be suspended NPD, we make extraordinary efforts to contact him and find out his situation. We send a letter return-receipt-requested, we call, we contact other members of the lodge who may know him and how to get in touch with him.

Only when a brother refuses to answer, or declines our assistance, or has disappeared so that no contact information is valid, only then will he be suspended. It's often a real pain in the but-don't-you-know to go through all that, but we feel obligated to make the effort.

I hope your lodge has better procedures since that problem. You could certainly raise the issue in lodge and ask what's been done to redress the problem. Have you considered that?

Thank you for putting light on an important issue.

sincerely and fraternally,


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| Gary L. Dryfoos <dryfoo@mit.edu>  | PM: Ocean Lodge AF&AM, Saugus, MA      
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