On this episode of In The Chair I talk to David West, author of “Managing the Future of Freemasonry”, as well as books such as “Masonic Recruitment”.
David is a member of St Laurence Lodge 5511 that is in the Province of Essex. researches his books very well and backs up his thoughts in what could be potentially a controversial subject: the Future of Freemasonry in the UK.
We first discuss the first section of “Managing the Future of Freemasonry”. This is a look at the historical events of the last two hundred years; not from the Masonic context, but the overall social and economic climate and how this compares with the membership trends in Freemasonry.
This draws parallels with the Industrial Revolution and our current climate. At first glance they appear different but there are many things in common, and we as Freemasons should learn from the mistakes when Freemasonry almost ceased to exist.
We also discuss how the climate now is also different from the climate that was around at the time when many of the current lodge members joined Freemasonry, such as the decline in social circles and a stable career. These differences must be acknowledged by a lodge that wishes to bring in new members.
One of the major discussion topics is that Freemasonry defines itself by saying what we are not, as opposed to saying when we actually do (and when pressed on that we say we are a charitable organising – which is only part of what we do, and a relatively new addition to Freemasonry!)
Another very important topic is that of religion, and how views of religion in the population at large have dramatically changed over the last few decades; but this doesn’t necessarily mean people aren’t spiritual and wouldn’t fit the criteria required for Freemasonry, but this isn’t obviously reflected in how we attract and interview potential candidates.
And once a new candidate is admitted we need to acknowledge that the manager/staff relationship is different in modern employment; and naturally a candidate will bring these ideas and concepts with them to Freemasonry, which currently as a potentially outdated management structure.
This conversation continues in next week’s podcast 24.
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