Freemasonry After Covid
The cement which binds a lodge together is the regular meetings of its members. For the first time ever, in our long history, we have been unable to meet. We have taken part in a dangerous and compulsory experiment, For the first time in our long history we have had to submit Our Craft to life support by placing it in an artificially induced coma and keeping its life breath of meetings flowing by using the artificial ventilator of the video get-together. With the advent of vaccines, we are faced with the risky business of arousing this slumbering giant. Because of the losses by death, resignation, and decline of interest, there is a real danger that the habit of monthly Masonry in our lodges will crumble and fail. We need to do something, but what? This book explores the options for a return to a new reality.
Paperback : 73 pages
What others are saying about this book.
The latest instalment of Robert Lomas Masonic Tutors Handbook series covers a subject that should currently be the topic of conversation for all Freemasons, Freemasonry after Covid-19, What will it look like and what can we do?.
Robert starts with a historical look at the membership levels of Freemasonry, utilising graphs to highlight the changes in the popularity of Freemasonry from the steady growth in the years following the Word Wars, to the sharp decline caused by bad publicity from such books as The Brotherhood, and Inside the brotherhood. He uses a F-Number to show the health of Freemasonry over this time, it is a lot like the R-Number that we have all become familiar with during the pandemic. Only in the case of Freemasonry we want a F-Number above 1, so that our membership will grow, and Freemasonry stays strong.
After considering the historical trends, as well as the current state that the lockdown has left us in after the unprecedented cessation of our meetings. Robert moves on to cover two very important areas. What we can do for our Short-term survival, and what our Long-term strategies should be when our meetings can once again restart.
In the Short-Term, Robert talks about how we can take stock of our lodges current situation. Included are breakdowns of two real life lodges. Lodge 1 is in a poor condition, and Robert explains why it is struggling and gives a suggested plan of action that it could follow to aid in its recovery. Lodge 2 is in a strong condition, and Robert explains the steps the Lodge had taken in the several years before lockdown that has enabled it to be in its current state. This section ends with some tools and suggestions that can be used by Lodges, such as: while our meetings are closed the RLPI Podcast Initiative, and when our meetings reopen with restrictions Hybrid meetings. All the suggestions in this section have been fully trialled and used by Lodges since the pandemic started, so are known to work successfully with little technical knowledge required.
In the Long-Term, Robert breaks down Recruitment and Retention in the Royal Arch, and explains White-Table evenings, and Gavel Nights and how they are powerful tools in recruitment. Included for your use is a full Gavel Night talk that Robert has used himself on multiple occasions to great effect.
This book also launches Masonic Buddys, which Robert has setup to help newer members of Freemasonry connect with more experienced members, for help and advice.
Put simply, Our Lodges have been closed for over a year now, during that time we have had no ceremonies, meetings, or new members. While we can now see the possibility of the resumption of meetings on the horizon, we as Masons need to be making plans for how we can recover. This book is a valuable tool that every one of us should have in our toolbox to help keep our Lodges alive and active during this shutdown, and to use for aid in planning the Lodges future once we return to normality.
I would highly recommend this book for everyone, but most especially for Lodge Membership Officers, Mentors, and Secretaries.
W Bro Wayne Owens PProvGStwd
Covid-19 has devastated our regular lives. It has also potentially destroyed Freemasonry as we knew it. To assume Freemasonry will revive itself, without positive action on the part of individual brethren, is extremely naive. This Tutors book gives practical advice on how to keep the heart of our fraternity beating so that one day we will be restored to some Masonic normality. But this is only possible if we manage to wean Masonry off its Zoom-based life support system. This book is a Masonic pacemaker. It offers easy to implement suggestions to regulate the heartbeat of Freemasonry, so we can cautiously use it as a guide to ensure Freemasonry emerges from the coma of Covid-19. It gives essential, yet practical advice that can be applied at Lodge, District, or Province level. Equally important it outlines a process of defining what to aim for, and how to measure progress along the pathway of our Masonic resuscitation.
It is a most valuable reference book and guide for any Freemason, especially if involved in Mentoring, Membership or Retention. Indeed it will help any Brother who simply wishes to ensure the survival of his lodge, and the revival of Freemasonry in general. We all watch the news with anticipation to learn of the current value of the Covid-19 'R' number and hope it is low, confirming that the spread is subsiding. This Tutors book introduces and explains an essential key measure for the survival and revival of Freemasonry after Covid-19 - the Freemasons (F) factor. This concept illustrates the key measures to aim for, it provides a means of tracking the success of our Masonic revival, and above all introduces a simple, yet fundamental, principle to determine the success of our return to Freemasonry. It is a new 24" gauge by which to measure our progress. At all levels it provides a Pathway for the Global return of Our Craft. We would be foolish to ignore the key message this book delivers!
Stew Cranage PPrJGW Provincial Grand Mentor for West Lancashire
The graphs that Lomas presents show the drop in overall new membership, and of course, as we reach 2020, the line in the graph freefalls to zero as there have been no new members as we havent met (or at least the majority of us havent met some lodges managed to meet in late Summer and in September under the rule of six). So, with no new members coming in, and with some of the elderly brethren passing to the Grand Lodge above, and some brethren leaving altogether, we have an obvious hastening of the decline in numbers.
Lomas does give us a glimmer of hope; if Freemasonry can adapt quickly, using the now common zoom meetings to provide what he terms as hybrid lodge meetings, so the elderly, or more vulnerable brethren could participate at home, while the younger brethren work in the lodge, and perhaps more lodges meeting during the summer months when Covid numbers are low, may help to keep lodges open and Brethren active. Lomas presents ideas on how to educate new members and to keep them engaged, and to celebrate and promote Freemasonrys more esoteric values. In short, Lomas urges that Freemasonry needs to reassess itself and become a beacon of Truth and Light in a world that needs it more than ever.
Dr David Harrison - Historian and popular Masonic author
The Masonic Tutor’s Handbook - Volume 2 - Freemasonry after Covid-19 is an engaging read. Robert Lomas once again presents a challenging narrative that encourages the reader to think about how they can address the challenges faced by the current decline in masonic membership. Through a simple calculation, the reader is introduced to the ‘F’ number that defines the growth or decline of membership within their lodge. This is an essential read for all those who are faced with the challenge of ensuring freemasonry remains relevant and engaging in the 21st century.
Graham Chisnell - Author of Ritual In Mind - A Memory System for Learning Masonic Ritual Tools
A good booklet to stimulate debate and action for individual lodges and freemasonry in genera. Covid has deviated all areas of our lives and of course, masonry. It would appear that membership and retention has been suffering long before covid but the pandemic has accelerated the issues very much. Within the booklet, Dr Lomas supplies much data to illustrate some of the key areas in his opinion that need immediate attention. It is refreshing that he also provides some solutions and ideas to solve or alleviate the issues and reinvigorate the craft for its survival. A worthwhile read that will promote the much needed discussion to ensure freemasonry succeeds both the pandemic and ultimately secures its future
A credible way forward to develop and grow Freemasonry. Dr Lomas has used his knowledge and experience to give us a wise and considered pathway to success in recruitment and retention. Backed up by meticulous research, the evidence is given in a plain and direct manner for the reader. It could be likened to the difference of Sales and Marketing. Whilst Customers, in our case Candidates, are falling at our doors our sales pitch brings them in. We have not been careful in our choice but ambitious in our desire for numbers. This was the case following the two world wars. The expectation was a ceremony, fast progression and little or no instruction on the main question of what is masonry all about? Dr Lomas gives us the Marketing view. Something much more difficult than sales. Researching, evaluating the market, identifying our customer base, considering personal experiences, using knowledge of the product and formulating ideas is the essence of this book. Dr Lomas gives us an alternative to the guess and try methods so often used to attract new members without any idea of why someone might want to join. We now have a guide to help us focus on the Candidate and their needs, not the needs of the lodge or the desire for continuous ceremonys. We have a focus on learning for ourselves, our masonry and teaching our new members of the mysteries and truths of our Order. Dr Lomas keeps his feet firmly in masonic tradition and opens a workable and promising alternative to failure and cessation.