EDMORE — The Masons are the oldest fraternal organization in the world. The first Grand Lodge was established in London in 1717, but its history goes back much further.
In recent years, however, membership has not only fallen off for the Masons — as well as its sister organization, the Order of the Eastern Star — it has grown progressively older. According to Carolyn Kane, who is helping spearhead a membership drive for both organizations in Edmore, neither group is seeing the “new blood” they once did.
To help counter this trend, the groups have come up with a modern marketing plan designed to bring new members into the fold. Kane presented much of that plan to members of the Edmore Village Council at Tuesday evening’s meeting.
“We wanted to do some outreach to new members,” Kane said. “There used to be a time you had to ask to be a member of the Masons, but that’s not true anymore.”
Kane went on to describe just a few of the many charitable and community activities in which the groups take part, including fundraising for the local Boy Scouts of America and Project Graduation, the establishment of several scholarships and other worthy causes.
“Some of our money, of course, goes to the statewide Grand Chapter of Michigan Charities, which supports things like Paws for a Cause,” Kane said. “There’s also the Benevolent Fund, which goes to help widows of Masons.”
Kane noted that in the past seven years, the Edmore Masons have made $9,235 in charitable contributions, with half of those funds being matched through the Michigan Masonic Foundation. The local Eastern Star chapter, during that same time period, donated $14,722.
Charities included community requests, RAVE, Montabella Ministerial Association Food Bank, and the East Montcalm Baby Pantry.
Kane added she takes pride in the fact that the Stars have over the years included such illustrious members as Eleanor Roosevelt, Caroline Ingalls and Dale Evans. The Masons also have had their share of famous members, including Gerald Ford, Fred Meijer and George Washington.
Dale Kane, who also was on hand to assist with the presentation, summed up the need for the membership drive, saying, “We’re getting old and we’re really trying to drum up a little new blood.”
Those interested in becoming a member of the Masons or Stars can contact Kane at (989) 427-5555.