In our second part of Freemasonry during the pandemic, we asked questions to help everyone understand how Freemasonry adapted to the pandemic.
We asked the first question to understand the percentage of lodges that leveraged technology and made Masonic education a priority. It's great to see that nearly half of the responses indicated that they adapted to technology and could start or continue their Masonic educational programs.
Did your lodge provide lectures or educational classes virtually during the pandemic?
|Yes - 48.2%
|No - 41.1%
|N/A - 10.7%
We believe the following two questions are vital to have an understanding of the outlook of Freemasonry. For years the constant question is with the declining number of members, how long will Freemasonry be around?
For lodges which conducted virtual meetings, did your attendance change?
|Increased - 26%
|Decreased - 23.4%
|No Change - 28.6%
|N/A or No Meetings Held Virtually - 22.1%
Did your lodge lose more members than usual due to non-payment in 2020?
|Yes - 37%
|No - 63%
Here are a couple of things to consider when looking at these numbers. An overwhelming 62.9% of respondents indicated that their lodges began holding virtual meetings. 26% of respondents reported an increase in lodge attendance, and another 28.6% reported no change. Having over 50% report that their attendance either didn't change or increased is a good sign for the strengthening of Freemasonry.
The 37.1% that reported not holding virtual meetings could have been for several reasons. Some of those lodges were in jurisdictions that did not allow them to have virtual meetings. Another reason could be the average member age of those lodges. If a lodge is primarily made up of older brothers, holding virtual meetings could have been challenging or intimidating.
Additionally, a whopping 63% of respondents reported that they did not lose more members than usual due to non-payment. This is huge when you consider the record-high unemployment and instability in the economy.
The future outlook of Freemasonry isn't only guided by the current members we have but also by the new members that are yet to join. We know that Millennials and Gen Z will naturally gravitate more towards virtual meetings and classes.
While the number of members has been dropping for years, we must remind ourselves that Freemasonry isn't an organization for everyone. It doesn't make bad men good. It makes good men better.
Let us focus on the quality of members and not the quantity. It's vital that as we raise these young men to the sublime degree of Master Mason, we teach them the historical importance of Freemasonry and its rituals. We must guide and mentor these young men as they begin taking on leadership positions within the order. Most importantly, we must encourage new members to bring their ideas in and work with them to help Freemasonry continue to flourish for years to come.