Monday, March 7, 2011

On the subject of dues (or, Beating a Dead Horse)

The Petersham Curling Club charges $390 per year, or $32.50 per month, for membership. This for a casual sporting club that does not make any of the lofty claims our Masonic recruiting materials often do... no 'making good men better,' no 'Curlers give $2 million a day to charity,' no 'George Washington and Benjamin Franklin were curlers too!' But clearly, the passion is there because members pay those dues year after year, and take advantage of all of the privileges that their membership affords them.

My mother lodge's dues, in contrast, work out to $7.30 per month, and that's after they were raised a couple of years ago. After dues went up, we got an angry letter from one Brother who now lives in another part of the country, assuming there had to have been a mistake in his dues bill. When told that no, dues had indeed gone up, he immediately asked for a demit, stating flatly that "$88.00 per year is too much for Blue Lodge dues. I pay less than that to belong to the Shrine."

If my lodge's dues jumped to $390 per year, I'd feel a pinch for sure - but I would find a way to pay it because being a Mason, and participating in my lodge, are that valuable to me. Imagine what your lodge would be like if everyone who belonged placed as much value on their membership as curlers do!

1 comment:

47th Problem of Euclid said...

Our dues come from the "full wallet" era, when a Mason was an affiliate at three other lodges, a Scottish Rite Mason, a member of three York Rite bodies, a Shriner, and perhaps in the Grotto, High Twelve or the Tall Cedars of Lebanon as well. Blue lodge was an anchor for those other pursuits, whereas it should be the center.

My synagogue charges around $900 a year for an individual membership, and that's much less expensive than the others on our block. If Masons charged $300-500 for Blue Lodge dues, whom would we lose? We'd lose the guys who spend all their time in the Appendant Body of their choice, and we'd lose the guys who never show up. The ones too poor to afford those dues could ask for a remit. Considering that the old clubs in Boston have membership fees topping $5000 a year, I don't think the rates I suggest are unreasonable. I know that Traditional Observance Lodges often have higher dues, as do many PHA lodges.