Supporting local communities is a reflection
of the Masonic tenets of relief and brotherly
love – and a key component of Freemasonry
today. But it is relief within the lodge, caring
for brothers in need, that is the backbone of
these treasured values. Each year, California
Masons donate hundreds of thousands of
dollars to fund fraternal care and support
members throughout California. Yet when
it comes to helping brothers within their
own lodges, many members may not know
where to begin.
It was this very issue that inspired the
lodge outreach initiative. Developed
in cooperation with Masonic Outreach
Services (MOS), the program trains lodge
volunteers to identify brothers in need, offer personal assis-
tance in times of crisis, and connect them to the appropriate
resources. The initiative was originally piloted in Division IX,
and it is scheduled to roll out statewide by 2016.
Training is offered quarterly to lodges in each division, and
members who attend training sessions pass along what they’ve
learned to fellow volunteers at their home lodges using a “
train-the-trainer” model. This effort to bridge outreach resources and
“boots on the ground” local lodges is effective and innovative.
According to MOS Director Sabrina Montes, no other jurisdiction in the United States has a similar program.
Recognizing brothers in need
Training for lodge outreach volunteers is critical, as signs of crisis
are often not readily apparent – and are often purposely masked.
As lodge outreach trainees learn, Masons tend not to seek help
from their lodge for a broad range of reasons. Some may feel
too “proud” to accept assistance from their brothers; they may
feel a sense of shame or vulnerability about the situation they’re
in. Some may have fallen away from active participation in
Masonry and are reluctant to return to their lodge, or they may
not realize that they’re qualified for assistance. Others may be
unaware that help is available at all.
Anthony McLean, the current assistant secretary and a past
master of Fallbrook Lodge No. 317, notes, “Lodge outreach
addresses a common problem: Masons are great at offering
assistance, but we’re bad at asking for support when we need it.
Rarely does a Mason say, ‘I need help.’”
McLean knows this from first-hand experience. He relates,
“I was in a motorcycle accident, and was living alone with a
broken pelvis and foot. I was the recipient of assistance from
my brothers and their families, and there’s no way I could do
enough to repay those who helped me. Volunteering with lodge
outreach is a no-brainer. I owe more than I could ever give back.
I think what’s so impactful about this is that through lodge
outreach, we are giving of our time and ourselves – it’s a truly
personal and meaningful experience.”
Get Involved With
Interested in helping your lodge be a part of
the lodge outreach initiative? Contact your
inspector or MOS Director Sabrina Montes.
HOW THE LODGE OUTREACH
INITIATIVE TRAINS MASONS
TO HELP IN TIMES OF NEED
by Matt Markovich
FROM ONE BROTHER