Monday, January 9, 2012

Something for the Ages and the Connaught

Those active with the Level Club are aware that the Club, while in  reduced strength, focused on drawing a base of younger men to ensure its future as an initial measure in a larger design.

What is a young Mason? In the U.S. the average age of an active Mason is over 60. So is "young" in this context less 60 years of age?

What is a young for a person who is interested in Freemasonry but has yet to become a Mason? The average man today tends to be much older than in the past when contemplating and eventually approaching a lodge for membership. Should young relative to Masonic interest be seen as anyone below 50?

There is an important consideration regarding this youth movement.  Fraternalism benefits from having those with different and complementing experiences, concerns and energies come together and share of themselves.  With continuity such an environment happens.  In recent decades fraternalism, and Freemasonry in particular has not had this continuity of either participation or frankly speaking, of quality of participants.  The youth movement itself is excellent in terms of addressing issues of revitalization and reorientation toward healthy brotherhood and away from some of the damning problems that typified the nadir of the past several decades. One would hope that though that a wider range of recruitment and continuity would lead to the beneficial state described.  

But do young men need subset events or clubs within the larger organization to make Freemasonry more relevant to them by catering to say, men 35 and under exclusively?  The lodges of the UK which have been successful in revitalizing the Craft through specialized programs for young men and reemphasizing affinity lodges, including school (and university) lodges. They have  also
struck up a club for young Masons.  

This club, the Connaught serves primarily those professionals of the London area, no small number of whom were active in their university scheme.  It is worth noting that the successful Connaught Club has given rise to an associated revitalized lodge, Burgoyne 902, which is not thankfully, age exclusive. 

Unlike the Level Club, the Connaught Club is open only to those who are already Masons though we are told there are events where members are encouraged to bring guests. It also should be noted that the Connaught has occasions on their calendar that may be of interest to the traveling brother and its members' lodges encourage visiting Masons. 

From the  Connaught: 

The principle of the Connaught Club originated in June 2007 when the Metropolitan Grand Lodge held a reception for Freemasons under the age of 35. The evening, hosted by the Deputy Metropolitan Grand Master, was deemed a unanimous success. Owing to the reception’s enjoyment, further events were planned and the Connaught Club was born. In its first two years of activity, the Connaught Club has grown to become the focal point and central meeting place for young Freemasons living in and around London. In the last few months, the Club has seen exciting new developments as membership continues to rise and further events hosted. The Club now has its own dedicated lodge with all the principal offices being filled by brethren under the 35 year old threshold.

Connaught Club Objective

From the onset, the purpose of the Connaught Club has been to give young Freemasons in London a means to socialise with like-minded people of similar ages within Masonry; whilst bridging the large geographic area and diversity of London’s many lodges.

Aside from social functions, the Club acts as a representative body for the views of the younger generation of Freemasons. Theses views and further suggestions from brethren within the club are then referred to Metropolitan Grand Lodge through the appropriate channels.

We endeavor to encourage and support participation in our lodges and in Freemasonry. We promote openness and pride in our membership of the Craft and stress the contemporary role Freemasonry plays in modern society, with particular emphasis placed on its relation to the younger generations.