By: Ed Mortensen, Secretary
The educational is the purview of the Senior Warden. It is up to the Senior Warden to arrange for speakers for Lodge meetings and nights of education like our Gordian Academy.
What goes into an educational? Well, a speaker can talk on any interesting topic, but here are a few ideas and my thoughts:
The Manly Arts
We had a speaker talk about Men’s Health once. Very interesting, but that’s only one man-related topic. A speaker can talk about anything that is man-related: the history of the beard, shaving, being a father or husband, or how to have a good workout and stay healthy. The website “The Art of Manliness,” Meditation, the psychology of the lie, or just about anything.
Another series of topics we have had has been on Masonic symbols and the mysteries of the fraternity. These can be monitorial or secret and are often best served up in a tiled meeting of Master Masons.
There was a conference on “Masonry in the Future.” The conference was a bust, but the germ of a great idea was there. What will Masonry look like in the future? There are some cutting edge practices already in existence: virtual Lodges, social media, computerization, and modernization.
And what about Masonry in the past. One interesting topic is fees. How much did it cost to become a Mason in the past, and what were annual dues in the 1800s? What was a Lodge meeting like, what about the Steward’s dinner? Did they drink? What did they talk about and the like?
And what should an educational not be about?
Our immediate past Master has a thought on this: They shouldn’t be thinly veiled promotions of appendant bodies: no recruiting. I would add that they should not be calls for fundraising… The Masonic Services Association is a significant cause, but an educational should be (and was recently) a discussion of their excellent work alone.
The speaker can be from the host Lodge, but a good Lodge is already a platform for their ideas, and they should be discussed weekly. A good speaker comes from outside of the Lodge, perhaps even from out of the State.
Think published authors, regular members of a podcast, business leaders that have brought business rigor to Masonry, and the like.
Look around the jurisdiction for speakers. There is already a move to form a catalog of speakers and their expertise. This needs to be used and fleshed out. So if you have a couple of topics that you are expert in, sign up.
A guest speaker addressing a Lodge meeting should only take 15 to 20 minutes, in my opinion, 30 at the outside. But that doesn’t stop you from having a dedicated night where a good speaker regularly takes 30 to 60 minutes at a dinner or an event like our Gordian Academies.
And lastly, think outside the box. Bringing in an out-of-state speaker is expensive, with airfare and lodging. We’re talking about having a virtual speaker remoting in over the Internet and projected on a screen with a sound system to fill a meeting room remotely. For a fraction of the cost of flying someone in, you can pay, say $100, for a top-notch speaker, and they can attend from the comfort of their own home office.