Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Just When Are Lodge Dues Due?

R. W. Brother Doug, 12/12/2009
The dues record and membership rolls at our Lodge seem to have been neglected over the years. This past year 5 brothers were stricken from the rolls who were paid up through 2004, 2005 and 2006. There were 11 total brothers in this category but 6 have agreed to pay or have settled up already. Next week is our annual installation and it was brought to my attention that three officers were paid only through 2008. 2 of the 3 brothers have stated that they will pay through 2010 before that night and I am waiting for a response from one other. This situation has brought to light that I am not fully aware of the rules on membership rights. My interpretation of the rules pertaining to dues are as follows:

There are 3 levels of Membership pertaining to dues:
  1. A member in Good Standing
  2. A member who is delinquent
  3. A member Suspended for non payment of dues
If a member has a dues card for 2008 then that member is a member in Good Standing until December 31, 2009 and is awarded the right to be installed on December 21, 2009. On January 1, 2010 that said member would then become delinquent of their dues and loose the right to serve as a member or attend meetings there after until they become current. Then after all the contact over the year and attempts to bring the member current at the annual meeting on the first meeting in December that member would be stricken for nonpayment of dues and loose all rights as a Master Mason until brought current with the books.
Could you please advice on the correct way to handle these dues situation so I can work this year to bring our rolls current with Grand Lodge standards?

Dear Brother Secretary,
Anyone who has a 2010 dues card can be admitted to lodge meetings during the year 2010. If I came to your meeting on 1/1/2010 and I could only show you a 2009 dues card then I should not be admitted. Lodge meetings are for Masons in good standing only. There are sections in the Minnesota Masonic Code dealing with members who are so delinquent that they are in danger of being suspended from membership (two years of dues past due), but they do not deal with a Brother who is past due but not yet in danger of being suspended for nonpayment of dues. And in particular, no member of the lodge not in good standing should ever be installed into an elective or appointed office. If this has been your personal practice or the practice of your lodge, then you should make arrangements to correct these errors as soon as possible.
Sorry, but in particular, your interpretation that a member with a 2008 dues card could be somehow installed into office in December of 2009 is completely wrong. The fact that he might be suspended a few days later should lead you to a different conclusion than you have drawn.