So what now for the future of Lodge Kenmuir, Springburn, No 570?
The Lodge has already traversed through 125 years and been through many highs and lows, and successes and failures. So what now does the future hold in store for this fine old Lodge. Predicting the future is always a difficult business—that is why there are so many betting shops and so few poor bookmakers !
Of course you can’t legislate for completely unpredictable events but I think we have to make a few assumptions to consider the way our Lodges future might go:
- The Building itself (which will celebrate its centenary in 2009) has now been fairly well renovated and a sinking fund is in place to cover future planned maintenance works. This area of concern has therefore been taken care of for the foreseeable future.
- The finance of the Lodge is particularly healthy at present and I can see no reason why this should change in the foreseeable future.
- In addition the Benevolence Fund of the Lodge is particularly healthy at present and given the ability of the current Almoner, I can see no reason why this should change in the foreseeable future.
So what then are the challenges our Lodge will face in the future?
I think there are definite trends that can be detected over the years; these trends can then be projected to try to assume the direction that the Lodge may go. The major trend, in my opinion, is the steady decrease of Candidates from a peak in 1919 of 281 to a current average of 4 per year. If the decrease can be arrested and the figure of 4 can be held (or even marginally increased) then the Lodge can still run with 17 Meetings per year—which will contain 14 degrees, 1 Provincial Grand Lodge visit, 1 Annual General Meeting and 1 Installation. While I do believe the Lodge can sustain having less than 4 Candidates per year occasionally and filling up the blank Degree nights with lectures, quizzes, practice Degrees and the like, I do not believe this can be sustained over a longer period. I would, therefore, assume that IF the Candidate intake is reduced to less than 4 for more than, say 2 years, then the Lodge will seriously have to consider having Meetings only ONCE per month. This trend is already evident in the Province with many Lodges only meeting once per month due to lack of Candidates.
The overall reduction in Candidates will also affect the overall Lodge attendances and may reduce the Lodges ability to run social functions, dances and even create shortages of Brethren willing to go forward to Office. In this matter the Lodge will require to be extremely careful; The Lodge must make greater efforts to retain Candidates-The days of a large waiting list to join the Lodge are long past and will never return. We must therefore nurture the Candidates (who are willing to pay a sizeable sum of money to join the Lodge) and make them feel part of the Lodge and not apart from the Lodge. There are many ways that Candidates can be encouraged and we all have a part to play in this whether we are Proposers, Seconders, Past Masters, Office- Bearers or Brethren. The Lodge must be more proactive to encourage this.
The next danger to the new Brethren is being shoved into Office (or even a progressive Office) before they realise what is actually involved. This will scare Brethren away. While I do accept that some Brethren will wish to be “shooting stars” the danger with this is that they will burn out quickly and become a Past Master while they should be still working on the floor serving their apprenticeship. I think that Past Masters should be encouraged to “keep a seat warm” and cover an Office to allow younger Office-Bearers to serve time in all the progressive Offices. This will, of course, necessitate on occasion a Past Master becoming Master of the Lodge again. This, Brethren, is nothing new.
Another concern for any young Office Bearer with an intention of going to the Chair is the cost. While, I am sure, that the young Office Bearer will save for this event—I do think that the Lodge will have to look at some way of subsidising this. This of course would also apply to any Past Master taking the Chair.
The Lodge already is suffering from a lack of Degree Workers—The most obvious example of this is the Mark Degree where at present we only have one Brother who can undertake this Degree—Bro. Alastair Grant PM. The Lodge needs to expand its Degree working teams to make sure other Brethren can do this work. Unless this matter is addressed it will only become worse in future when there will be fewer Brethren to call upon.
The next major celebration for the Lodge will be in 2025 when we will celebrate our 150th Anniversary (although I would imagine that we will have a small celebration in 2009 to celebrate the centenary of the Building.) Lets hope we are all still here to celebrate it!
Brethren we should not take these challenges to the Lodge as negative points against our future—Instead we should treat them as opportunities in which the Lodge and our Brethren can excel. I am very optimistic about our Lodges future and I am certain that it will continue to go from strength to strength.