Category Archives: Blue Lodge

More About A Name Change

There are basically two elements to consider for the new name. We have the WHAT and the WHERE. Currently, the what is “Masonic Association.” We had this name since about 2010. This name was chosen by the craft because it was thought the old name caused confusion on the part of younger Masons about what the organization was all about and whether or not they were allowed to attend. Previously the name was “Masters and Wardens.” which name existed since the late 1980’s. Furthermore, people who were not Masons back in the 80’s have called it Masters & Wardens without the “Association” to this day. So, this initiative to change the name seems to me a good time to consider changing the WHAT back to “Master & Wardens” with a modifier to designate location.

Now, for the modifier, or location designation, the WHERE. There have been a few recommended in the previous post below. Due to the redistricting legislation to become effective after the next Annual Grand Lodge Communication in May we will no longer be the 11th and 12th Districts. We’ll instead become the 8th and 9th Districts. So, we have to change this part of the name. Here are the suggestions made so far.

Northeast Florida | NEFL | River City | Jacksonville | Bold City |

First Coast | 1st Coast | 8th & 9th Districts

Other thoughts are that we are welcoming other lodges further west into our new districts and some of them might not identify with the various names for the city of Jacksonville or even the 1st Coast. Additionally, St. Augustine has a lodge that identifies with several of the names and it is not in our districts. One brother pointed out the we might upset Pittsburgh with Bold City (tic). Also, consider the length of the name for correspondence and writing checks. Shorter is better in this case. Most importantly, if we drop a reference to the districts, we won’t be forced to make a bylaws change the next time the Grand Lodge decides to make changes to the districts. I’ve been a Mason for only 25 years and without moving, I’will have been in 3 different districts as of this latest legislation due to redistricting.

We will likely be balloting on this name change at the next 11th and 12th Districts Masonic Association Meeting. If you have thoughts to share I would suggest commenting on this post, or attending the next meeting to express your views on the topic. You may comment here by clicking this link, “Leave a Reply“.

Contributed by; RW Patrick Farrell


Here below is the dialog I captured from our group on FB in relation to the discussion at the monthly meeting last night. I’ve captured the dialog just to make sure to get some of the members thoughts on a new name. I’ll post separately the summary of these comments.


Name Change – Masonic Association 11th and 12th Districts by secjaxmasons on Scribd

Contributed by: RW Patrick Farrell


I believe that being a worshipful master of any lodge is one of the toughest jobs a brother can pursue. The reason I believe this so strongly comes down to a simple principle; everyone who attends Lodge, or those who don’t attend Lodge regularly, has their own definition of what it means to be a good master.  Think about it, every brother has their very own personalized and polished concept of what a master should and should not do to be effective. And therein lies the problem, every Brother measures there master by their own definition. You could probably see where this is going.  Most every brother who has called me worshipful master has measured my calling by their definition.

This is why I believe a great number of masters are stricken with internalized anger, frustration, burnout, and cynicism. No, you’ll likely never see it, or at least you won’t see it until the bitter end it arrives, when he’s ready to resign and walk away.

Is every master bitter, angry, frustrated, and cynical? No of course not, but every master faces these discouraging cycles quite often throughout his year, and there is something you can do about it – yes there is something you can do, and you can start today.

Encourage your master, because I can promise you, you do not actually encourage him as much as you think you do. Your encouragement lives in your mind, but it rarely finds its way to your mouth. It’s human nature, and we all make the brutal mistake of encouraging someone in our minds but failing to encourage them with our words. Speak life into your masters bones and speak it often.

Give him permission to be the man God has called him to be without projecting into his life your definition of what his calling should be. Yes, you have leadership concepts that you believe are central to the lodge, and that’s good. However, your master is not going to fit precisely into your job description. Can you imagine having 47, or more!, different job descriptions? That’s manic, and yet it’s what a master deals with daily, so be easy on him. You can be the one person where, when his phone rings and he sees your name, he doesn’t think, good gosh. What now?

I can promise you, your master is a good man. Yes, he’s imperfect, yet in all of his imperfections, he’s doing what he feels is best to lead you and your lodge toward a meaningful obligation. Be easy on him…

Samuel Bennett, PDDGM

Grand Lodge Annual Communication Schedule of Events

This was posted by the Grand Secretary as a status update on his Facebook page. It was also sent to Secretaries of the lodges and others via the April Monthly Mail.

May 24th -May 27, 2015
Registration 8:00 a.m.
Ladies Registration ..8:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Church Service (Ballroom A) ..11:00 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.
Memorial Service (Ballroom A) Immediately following Church Service
Board of Trustees Meeting Immediately following Memorial Service
DeMolay Advisors Development Course (Salon 8) 12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
PDDGM Association (Salon 11) 2:00 p.m.
Grand Master’s Banquet (Ballrooms A) Doors Open at 6:00 p.m. – Dinner at 6:30 )
Registration ………………..8:00 a.m.
Official Opening of the Grand Communication (Grand Ballroom).9:00 a.m.
Ladies Coffee(Salons5/6…….8:00 a.m.
Grand Lodge Session Breaks forLunch…11:30 a.m.
Grand Lodge Open Session… 12:45 p.m.
(Open to wives and non-Masons – Presentation by the Administrator of the Masonic Home, Grand Oration)
Grand Lodge Session Call from Labor to Refreshment 4:00 p.m.
Actual Past Master’s Degree (Grand Ballroom) 4:30 p.m.
Registration (Ballroom Foyer)…8:00 a.m.
Grand Lodge Session Call from Refreshment to Labor 9:00 a.m.
Ladies Luncheon (Salons 7&8)…………..11:30 a.m.
Grand Lodge Session Breaks for Lunch.. 12:00 p.m.
Grand Lodge Session Reconvenes………….. 1:15 p.m.
Grand Lodge Session Call from Labor to Refreshment 4:30 p.m.
Senior Warden and Junior Warden meet
with the Grand Lodge Officers (Grand Lodge Room)5:00
Registration (Returns and Credentials – Salon 14).8:00 a.m.
Grand Lodge Session Call from Refreshment to Labor 9:00 a.m.
Installation of Grand Lodge Officers 10:30 a.m.

Available for Download as a PDF here

6 Schedule of Events Grand Communication May 2015

Read the Grand Master’s Message


Click on the picture to go to the Grand Master’s Message.

Click here to go the FB page where this post appears.

While you are there, please like the page so we can increase our traffic and thereby, our reach.



Patrick Farrell, PDDGM
Secretary, Masonic Association
11th and 12th Districts

Consider Well Your Situation, My Brother!

by the Reverend and RW Brother Ritchie, Grand Chaplain of the Grand Lodge of Wisconsin (from a Short Talk Bulletin, May 2014)

As Fellow Crafts, we are given the Instructive Tongue, the Attentive Ear, and the Faithful Breast. It has been my experience that most Masons are more than willing to use the Instructive Tongue. We have all been part of a degree with six prompters (usually all saying something different). We like to help and we want to inform others, share with them the knowledge we have. This is one of the passions many of us struggle to subdue. We sometimes tend to employ the Instructive Tongue before we have engaged the Attentive Ear.
The Attentive Ear is where it starts. It is how we learn our work. It is also the first step in practicing our tenets. Brotherly Love starts by listening to a Brother’s story. Relief starts by listening to a Brother’s struggles, his problems. Truth begins when we listen to the beliefs and ideas of others and then quietly contemplate and form our own. The Instructive Tongue, Attentive Ear, and Faithful Breast are the reasons we, as a fraternity, have survived the centuries. They are the reason we are valid and needed today. They are what will make us viable in the future. How many problems are caused in Lodges and in life by an unbridled instructive tongue? The trouble comes when we get the order wrong. The Instructive Tongue must teach us first. This is what the Attentive Ear hears. Then the Attentive Ear fills the Faithful Breast and then, and only then, will the Instructive Tongue, in turn, be ready to pass on to others the Secrets of Freemasonry, our history, our stories and our ritual.
Along those lines, here is an article which appeared in the Florida Mason written by W Brother Nelson Rose, PM of Coral Springs 373, member of Doric 140.

My Brothers,
I remember a time in Masonry that when a Brother would hear the words “Masonic Charges” thoughts of “The ways of virtue” or “Quitting this sacred retreat” would come to mind. It was a time when the older Brothers allowed the younger Brothers to take charge and conduct ritual and hold leadership positions, while in turn the younger Brothers looked to the older for guidance and counsel. It was a time when the biggest disagreements were whether there would be chicken or ribs at the BBQ (which always ended with the result of both) and what dates to hold the black tie affairs. Now it seems Brothers are pinned against each other for a myriad of spurious and menial conflicts and the very cement of Brotherly love is cracking and chipping away. Our membership is suffering not because of changes in society, but because of our inability to keep the normal cut-throat attitudes of society outside our Lodges. It seems we are incapable of remembering that the 5 points of fellowship (that we are to use when greeting each other) should serve as a visible reminder of the mystic tie that weaves us together into one Brotherhood. It would be dishonest to lament the direction of our Order without acknowledging some fault of my own. I have at times failed to keep my passions in due bounds and let my emotions get in the way of making sound decisions. This drift on my part has caused some dissension and perhaps weakened my credibility to some of the Brethren. I can only offer my deepest apologies and stress that my intentions are always for the advancement of our venerable Fraternity and that we should do all we can to remain relevant, while not sacrificing those virtues which make us unique. Our inability to embody the sacred tenants of our Order does not make us bad Masons unless we fail to learn from them. The year is young and therefore the opportunity to make this “our year” is ripe. Call a Brother you have neglected and catch up on him and how he is doing. Drop the sword and pick up the trowel by reaching out to a Brother you’ve had a falling out with and extend the forgiveness and love that you would want extended to you. There is no time greater than the present to resurrect what once was a vessel of influence and pillar of knowledge in society. This can only be done together and it is together that our Brotherhood will live another day and make a brighter tomorrow.

Get The Latest Scoop


There are a few items in the February Monthly Mail of particular interest to the 11th and 12th Districts.

1. Lodging reservations for the upcoming Annual Communication in Orlando.

2. Ezra Lodge outdoor degree to be held March 22, 2014

3. The 37th Annual Chitlin Degree to be performed by Albert J. Russell Lodge No. 126

4. Chili Cook-off at Amelia Lodge No. 47 on March 25, 2014 //CANCELLED as reported at MA Meeting 2/26/2013

5. Pilgrimage Day at the Masonic Home on Saturday, March 15, 2014. This is of special interest to local lodges because our own Lady Betsy Griffith’s Project, renovation of the Chapel at the Masonic Home, will be unveiled. We have a bus going and there are still seats open. Contact RW Frank Kleese for info. He needs your money by this Wednesday at the Masonic Association meeting which will be held at the Scottish Rite Masonic Center.

The complete Monthly Mail page can be found here:



Patrick Farrell, PDDGM
Secretary, Masonic Association
11th and 12th Districts

Boring Our Members To Death

By Christopher Hodapp
author of Freemasons for Dummies

The Spirit stood among the graves, and pointed down to One. He advanced towards it trembling. The Phantom was exactly as it had been, but he dreaded that he saw new meaning in its solemn shape.

“Before I draw nearer to that stone to which you point,” said Scrooge, “answer me one question. Are these the shadows of the things that Will be, or are they shadows of things that May be, only?”

Still the Ghost pointed downward to the grave by which it stood.

“Men’s courses will foreshadow certain ends, to which, if persevered in, they must lead,” said Scrooge. “But if the courses be departed from, the ends will change. Say it is thus with what you show me.”

The Spirit was immovable as ever.

-Charles Dickens – A Christmas Carol

Sit down and chat for about ten minutes with an insurance agent, and let him quote you chapter and verse about the death rate among the World War II generation. Okay, I’ll grant you, there’s a certain ghoulish aspect to it. I’m bringing it up because, like Scrooge’s portentous Spectre, Freemasons have spent the last fifteen years pointing an empty sleeve at the grave, and blaming our declining membership numbers on the four-million Masons who were members during our boom years, who have had the very bad timing to pass on to the Celestial Lodge Above in record waves over the last dozen or so years.

Once you’re sufficiently bored by your insurance guy, give your Grand Secretary a call and ask him how the numbers compare between the death rate of members every year, versus the losses from demits and non-payment of dues. Prepare yourself for a shock. In most jurisdictions in the U.S. and Canada, the losses of members from deaths has been statistically tapering off, while the losses due to Freemasons walking away from the fraternity have been rising at an alarming rate. Oh, we’re initiating a very healthy dose of new Masons every year all right. But men whom we have initiated, passed and raised are deciding in increasing numbers to say no thanks to what their local lodge offers. Masonic membership rolls are still dropping, but not from natural causes. The truth is, we are boring our members to death.

It has long been understood that the Baby Boom generation didn’t join the Masons. As a result, there is a five-decade difference between the generation of men who kept Freemasonry alive for us and the men who are now moving into leadership positions throughout the fraternity. At any other time in the history of Freemasonry, each succeeding generation came along approximately in twenty-five year intervals, making changes in their lodges, and in Freemasonry as a whole, to reflect their needs and desires. Masonry has always adapted to serve the societies in which it resided. Until recently. Now, instead of a twenty-five year adjustment in direction, Freemasonry is suffering from fifty years of habit and hardening of the arteries.

Not long ago, I visited a lodge that had fallen on hard times – very hard times indeed. At one time, their rolls held the names of more than 1800 members. Today, they are down to 200. That’s not an unusual state of affairs for a fraternity that artificially swelled in size after World War II, but for men who see success and failure only in the narrow terms of numerical statistics, it is an emergency of epic proportions. There were members in that lodge who remember those heady days like they were yesterday. They remember the degree nights with 150 Masons on the sidelines. They remember the dances, and the Christmas parties, and the big group trips. They remember the dinners when the dining hall was packed to the rafters, with their kids running up and down the room, while some successful member from the civic or business world tried to give a speech. They look on those days fondly, and are bewildered by the fact that no more than eight members show up for the average meeting today. They’d had no candidates in four years, and they literally begged their members to come and participate. No one did.

The men who kept that lodge barely alive tried to do things the way they have been done when most of them joined a half century ago. The same eight men met for a meager meal before their monthly meeting. They opened lodge with perfect ritual. They read the minutes and the bills. There was rarely any business, new or old. They closed and fled the building, and were home by 7:30, before prime-time network programming got started for the night. Over the last five years, the same eight members have been trading officers’ positions, and they just got tired. They were fed up. So, they decided to merge with another lodge and be done with it.

As with any turning point of this magnitude, all 200-plus members had to be notified of the meeting. Only twelve cared enough to show up to vote to euthanize their lodge. They had no fight in them to save their lodge. They wanted to simply slip into the ranks of another, give up their charter and their 140-year history, and vanish from memory. They had killed their own lodge with their own failure to embrace any change, and in fact, many of them were enraged that some brethren from outside of their lodge had come in to try to resurrect them at the eleventh hour and interfere with their plans for a quiet suicide.

They didn’t do anything to appeal to new members. But neither were they serving their existing ones. They weren’t broke. These were children of the Depression. They had almost $200,000 in the bank. So why did they do nothing to interest their aging members? Bus trips to Branson. $100 cruises to the Caribbean. Casino boat trips. Tours to Masonic sites in Britain. Trips to the Holy Land. Catered dinners. Sponsored movie nights. Loads of public awards. Medicare drug program presentations. Estate planning seminars. Computers at lodge to send emails to the grand kids. Power-chair races in the halls. In short, give their existing members a reason to keep coming to lodge, to keep enjoying it, to love it.

Neither did they do anything to attract new members. They rent the lodge room in the big downtown Temple building, so like most tenant/landlord relationships, they figured they didn’t have to put a dime into the place if they didn’t own it. That’s somebody else’s job. Really? If only they had tried investing in their lodge. Put in new lighting so members could see three feet in front of them. Upholster the sad looking chairs and benches that have the original leather from World War I on them. Tear up the worn and moldy carpet and replace it – maybe with one of the only black and white checked carpets in the U.S. that we talk about in our ritual but almost nobody seems to have. In short, make it look like something worth coming to. Make it look like something worth joining.

Then start kicking the members into participating in lodge – not worrying about who was going to be what officer or memorize which part of the ritual. Actually talk about Freemasonry, its history, its symbolism, its philosophy. Actively visit other lodges and help with their degrees. Get members interested in other activities in the building, or volunteering to help some of the community groups that have been meeting there with greater frequency. We talk a big line about charity and helping the community, so let’s start giving time, and not just checkbook generosity. And if they still didn’t have a full lineup of guys willing to be officers, just sideliners, it wouldn’t matter.

Because, once the place looked like living inhabitants occasionally might be in the place, and that it was actually a vibrant, active lodge, maybe, just maybe, some of their grandkids might get interested in Freemasonry, because they were seeing Freemasonry in action, instead of Freemasonry inaction. The business author James O’Toole says, “People who do not think well of themselves do not act to change their condition.” Even a lodge that only has eight regular attendees has within its active ranks the resources to wake itself up, to do things that make them truly happy to be there, and sometimes to even surprise themselves.

Leadership has no age, and there are no limits on imagination. But a lodge has to mean something to its members. It has to remain part of their lives, every day, every week, every month. Because once it’s more fun, or less hassle, to stay squeezed comfortably in the LaZBoy, curled up with a remote control, than it is to go to lodge, we have lost them. No one would ever voluntarily join a memorization club, and no one wants to join the oldest, greatest, most legendary fraternal organization in the world, only to be sentenced to a lifetime of cold cut sandwiches made with suspicious meat, generic cola, and monthly meetings of nothing but minute-reading, bill-paying and petulant sniveling over why no one comes to meetings anymore. Be honest with yourself. What rational human being seriously wants to go to the trouble of leaving home to go and listen to someone spend twenty minutes reporting that nothing happened at last month’s meeting either?

It will be the lodges that provide programming for their active members – whatever their age may be – that will survive and prosper into the future. But those that stubbornly cling to the notion that lodge is no event, that lodge is just one more meeting to be borne, that lodge is that most terrible of things, Ordinary – those are the lodges that will literally bore themselves to death. Those are the lodges that will slip silently away in the night. And the shadows of things that Might Be will have faded into the concrete Reality of a deserted lodge room.

“Ghost of the Future!” Scrooge exclaimed, “I fear you more than any spectre I have seen. But as I know your purpose is to do me good, and as I hope to live to be another man from what I was, I am prepared to bear your company, and do it with a thankful heart.”

– Source: Knights of the North Masonic Dictionary