Devotion's Masonic Culture
Recently one of our many visitors to Devotion remarked “The thing I like about your lodge is its culture".
I do not think he was referring to our taste in fine arts (any more than I think he was making some biological reference)! It was culture in the sense of the shared attitudes, values, goals and practices that characterises Lodge Devotion.
Lodge Devotion is typically old-fashioned Australian in culture including a great sense of mateship, egalitarian, prepared to have a go, law abiding, respect for females, and an occasional urge to be rebellious. It also likes working under and enjoying the patience and support of the United Grand Lodge of Victoria. Its members support and try to abide with all moral teachings of our Craft. However a fuller explanation is needed.
Lodge Devotion is just sufficiently large to constitute the critical mass necessary to be viable operationally with ritual also financially. However, it is also small enough to enjoy a shared culture free from the influence of factions and the inherent occurrence of lack of harmony and conflicting divisions. Furthermore, although it is a lodge of long standing it was at a low ebb until it was revitalised with an influx of new members and direction seven or eight years ago. It lacked a substantial obstructionist old guard, dare I say of Past Masters, who are happy to see a lodge fail in their clinging to “the good old things” that the lodge used to do, now irrelevant, and dogmatically hold to the past – ignoring that the lodge is shrinking and aging, rather than looking forward. A new culture was born.
Unlike many lodges, we let the Master be the Master and strongly support him in that role. We would rather give newer members a chance than the safer option of old hands but be forgiving of mistakes. Members not only imbibe hospitality, but warmly provide it to each other. This is a critical ingredient in "fraternity". We place a strong emphasis on the quality and variety of such occasions. We encourage social contact outside the lodge room and consideration of, and debate on, issues related to Freemasonry - principally by means of our Newsletter. We boldly promote Freemasonry and of course our lodge by means of our website. We include our wives and partners whenever possible at social occasions. To us ritual is very important but we see it as just a means to an end, brotherly love relief and truth being paramount. It is non-elitist and inclusive, recognising and appreciating a network of supporters well beyond its membership. We are a “can do” lodge and are prepared to take the lead on issues.
We do not regard our candidates just as ritual fodder and make sure that they are well assimilated which means they should also contribute to the culture of the lodge in their own unique ways. We would rather not have a candidate or joining member than have a member who is uncomfortable with our culture. We see much more to the success of Freemasonry than just new members. We see ourselves and the future of the Collingwood Masonic Centre as community based and that is one of the challenges that bind us together. We recognise that cultures can change and any potential for deterioration is monitored closely.
There is much more to an atmosphere in a lodge than just the quality of the harmony.