Golden, CO — The Honorable Order of American Co-Masonry is considering a move to put pancakes on the menu in an effort to curb membership attrition.
“The older gals are fine with the way things have been, of course,” said RW Carey Childs, spokesperson for the Grand Lodge of Co-Masons. “The problem is the new gals. They joined expecting the kind of Masonry that their fathers or grandfathers talked about. But after they get in, and they see the lectures, the papers and presentations, and all that educational stuff, they start asking ‘Is this all?’”
RW Childs went on to explain that in the last five or six years, their membership has grown considerably, mainly women in their twenties and thirties who were drawn to Freemasonry because their family members spoke so highly of it. Prohibited from joining the male-only mainstream lodges, these women found welcome in Co-Masonry.
Unfortunately, what those new Millennial members also found was that it didn’t live up to the expectations that they had of Freemasonry, based on the stories they heard. Many new members have been surprised to discover that, instead of joining a social club where they can have a fun evening out, that they have joined a society that encourages personal improvement, morality, and education.
“I mean, I’d always heard about the pancake breakfasts or the fish frys at my grandfather’s lodge,” said Arwyn Flanders, a new Master Mason from the same lodge as Childs. “My grandmother used to complain about them all the time, but my grandfather loved them. He was always down there on a weekend morning, mixing up batter and chatting away with his buddies. Or those fish fry dinners every other month, where he and a bunch of the other guys would spend the whole evening eating and drinking together. It always sounded like so much fun. I don’t ever remember him saying anything about trees of life or squares of virtue or any of this other stuff we’re always hearing about in our lodge.”
She added, “I mean, sure, it’s great to listen to, and I’m sure it’s helping me to become a better person. But it’s not, you know, the real reason that I wanted to join.”
RW Childs conceded that if the fraternity is going to continue to court the new Millennials, then some things may have to change. “The focus of our branch of Freemasonry has always been on self improvement through moral study, but it wouldn’t kill us to have a pancake breakfast once in a while, or maybe a wine tasting evening, or something social like that.”
She added, “Yes, a few of the old timers are against it, but I’m afraid that if we don’t make some small changes to welcome the new breed of Masons, that they’ll end up leaving to join the mainstream OES chapters.”