Special Interest Lodges
Special Interest Lodges
By W Bro John Parry, PSGD, Metropolitan Grand Inspector
The idea of Special Interest Lodges is not new. They have always been about the pursuit and pleasure of twin passions. Most people reading this will already have been turned on by the excitement of freemasonry and know what it means to them as an individual.
However, we are not creatures with only a single drive; we all have many things that fascinate us. The sharing of an obsession can be the lubrication that draws people together down into the funnel of their favourite sport, pastime or interest.
Everyone understands that brethren should only attend meetings for the sheer enjoyment and pleasure that it can bring, so enjoying, chatting and discussing the ins and outs of a favourite rugby team, classic cars, a Grand Prix or a hole-in-one brings enormous pleasure to the participants, at the same time helping to cement the masonic bond between them.
Some Lodges that may have lost their allure, and might be struggling to see a future where they can return to their glory days, could easily form a special interest Lodge.
It takes just one Brother to come up with a viable idea, a light bulb moment to change the fortunes of an ailing Lodge and save the Warrant from the Grand Secretary’s shredder.
We encourage brethren in London to develop Lodges with sports, hobbies and interests as the theme that is central to the unit. They can be a popular option for a Brother’s second Lodge to combine a pastime with their masonic hobby. Also, they are a good opportunity to attract new members and to drive external awareness through modern comms channels, including social media. They have social events, famous guest speakers, theme-specific venues and visits to iconic places. They also lend themselves naturally to making freemasonry more engaging and enjoyable for their members, as the future Formula One Lodge members will verify!
Anyone wishing to set up a Special Interest Lodge (SIL) needs to work through the process detailed in the ‘Takeover Initiative’ pdf. Firstly, find an area of common interest between a number of brethren, both inside and outside the Lodge. Research and see if a similar Lodge already exists. There are Lodges for Architects, Cigar Smokers, Bakers, Musicians, Teetotallers and many more that you may not know about. If so, approach them about joining. If not, approach your Inspector through your VO and suggest one is formed. The priority is to keep both Hall Stone Jewel and Atholl Lodges afloat. Is there one that’s in distress in that team? The Inspector can then contact the SILs team and start to progress things. The team can help to widen your research, form a strategy, advise on the way forward, open a dialogue with the receiving Lodge and shepherd you through the process.
It is suggested that a MetGInsp or other Met Ruler is included within the “core Lodge vanguard” to encourage and support all aspects of the transition process, to avoid duplication of themes and to collate a MetGL wide overview of the SIL’s initiative’s long-term success.
An informal chat with the SIL’s Support Team may help to guide your thinking before commencing the process. There is lots more information, documentation and a SILs breakdown on Rosetta, including the MetGSec’s Takeover Initiative pdf.
Starting a Lodge that has the focus of special interest is an excellent way of pulling brethren together, introducing them to people from other Lodges as well as their own, and having a great time with people who share a common passion.
SILs are about passion, twin passions.