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Sentience

Rose Croix - Dwindling numbers?

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When I joined Freemasonry, Rose was one of the side orders that I expressly wanted to join.  At the time, I was told there was a waiting list for applicants and that it would take an age to progress through the offices to the MWS.  Since joining, I've noticed the numbers thinning, not just in my own Chapter, but also in those I've visited.  In 4 years I've gone from being Perfected to 2nd General, which implies that the fallout is increasing.  Have any other Princes seen any decline in numbers?  

I appreciate that Rose is generally made up of the elder Brethren, so the usual health and deaths will account for some losses.  But. we seem to lose some younger members too.  It seems odd when almost all of us that are still there routinely comment, that of all the side orders, Rose is the last thing we'd want to give up.

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On 18/09/2017 at 9:34 AM, Sentience said:

When I joined Freemasonry, Rose was one of the side orders that I expressly wanted to join.  At the time, I was told there was a waiting list for applicants and that it would take an age to progress through the offices to the MWS.  Since joining, I've noticed the numbers thinning, not just in my own Chapter, but also in those I've visited.  In 4 years I've gone from being Perfected to 2nd General, which implies that the fallout is increasing.  Have any other Princes seen any decline in numbers?  

I appreciate that Rose is generally made up of the elder Brethren, so the usual health and deaths will account for some losses.  But. we seem to lose some younger members too.  It seems odd when almost all of us that are still there routinely comment, that of all the side orders, Rose is the last thing we'd want to give up.

By a surprising co-incidence, yesterday I became a joining member of an RC Chapter at 10 Duke Street. That particular chapter was reducing in numbers for a while, but turned round about 5 years ago. Yesterday I joined, we Perfected a new member, interviewed a potential one and have 2 more in the pipeline. Membership is now a healthy 39.

I think the sad situation you are describing is probably typical of the general decline in interest in fraternal organisations. In all Orders some units will shrink because of this. That's very sad, but others are succeeding in attracting new members.

The UGLE University Scheme already has a RA Chapter and a Past Masters Craft Lodge. I would not be at all surprised if units of other Orders, including Rose Croix, follow over the next few years. The members are typically younger people with a long Masonic future ahead of them.

Younger people are mobile and may emigrate, that happens all the time unfortunately, but so long as they continue their Freemasonry in their new location overall numbers increase. I think the future's bright.

S&F, Jules

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I don't see Rose Croix going down the University Scheme route at all.  Certainly in my own Province, Rose isn't one of those orders like Craft and Chapter, where social events take place, that more probably interest younger Brethren.  The age base seems to be the older and experienced Brethren; the seen it all, done it all and nothing to prove.  On top of that, it would be an individual RC Chapters choice whether to embrace the university scheme if were to be introduced and I rarely hear any voices in favour in Craft, let alone any in RC.  The University Scheme may work for those that adopt it, but the problems of breaks in the progression and continuity are yet to be solved.  

Getting back on subject; Rose requires an acceptance of the Holy Trinity and in the ceremony itself, the Candidate swears his obligation in the name of the HT.  The requirement no doubt prevents some from being eligible to join.  But the Candidate having joined and seen how enjoyable Rose is, it seems odd to not attend.  

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5 hours ago, Sentience said:

I don't see Rose Croix going down the University Scheme route at all.  Certainly in my own Province, Rose isn't one of those orders like Craft and Chapter, where social events take place, that more probably interest younger Brethren.  The age base seems to be the older and experienced Brethren; the seen it all, done it all and nothing to prove.  On top of that, it would be an individual RC Chapters choice whether to embrace the university scheme if were to be introduced and I rarely hear any voices in favour in Craft, let alone any in RC.  The University Scheme may work for those that adopt it, but the problems of breaks in the progression and continuity are yet to be solved.  

Getting back on subject; Rose requires an acceptance of the Holy Trinity and in the ceremony itself, the Candidate swears his obligation in the name of the HT.  The requirement no doubt prevents some from being eligible to join.  But the Candidate having joined and seen how enjoyable Rose is, it seems odd to not attend.  

Social events do interest younger brethren, that's true, but so does Craft Freemasonry in all its forms, spiritual, ritualistic, academic, charitable, social etc.

I'm not surprised that you hear criticism of the scheme, so do I, but I hear most of that criticism from people who've not actually seen it. I'll admit that I felt a little uncomfortable about it myself until I actually saw it, and became a part of it.

After 35 years in the Craft I think I'm one of those "seen it, done it, nothing to prove" people. Of all my Craft lodges my University Scheme lodge is my favourite. Yes, recent graduates are mobile and that frequently causes gaps in the line. We've just temporarily lost an EA at very short notice. He's gone to research his PhD in Hong Kong for a year or two. That continuity problem in the line is solved by filling gaps from outside the line or accelerating progression. It's historically been known about and solved by Lodges that attract civil servants and military people who have to relocate at short notice. It was a common problem in the Victorian era and solutions to it were devised over 100 years ago.

The idea that everybody commits to a steady progression, one year at a time to the chair, is wonderful if you can get it, but if Freemasonry reflects society in general then it will rarely be achieved, except by asking people to wait until they retire before they are initiated.

Rejoining you back on the subject (as Admin knows, I'm adept at Red Herrings :) ) I agree that it's strange that it does seem odd to get Perfected and not attend. My previous Chapter was 3 hours drive away, longer by train, and in 7 years I never missed a meeting. If people really want to attend they will get there.

You pose an interesting question. I wonder if declining numbers are causing some Chapters to go looking for candidates who are less interested than they historically were.

S&F, Jules

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7 hours ago, mindmagic said:

Could this decline be anything to do with the rule that only Christians are able to join in this country?

I don't think so Barry, that restriction has always been there in England.

As Bod says, It's more likely that the pool is diminishing.

Jules

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1 hour ago, julesthebit said:

I don't think so Barry, that restriction has always been there in England.

As Bod says, It's more likely that the pool is diminishing.

Jules

I joined the Scottish rite in the U.S, Valley of Washington, District of Columbia (Washington D.C.) and I have to say that I absolutely loved it! I was conferred 4º, 14º, 18º, 30º and 32º and the ceremonies were outstanding.

To help with number the AAR I might join a Chapter in England too since I now live here, although I'm not sure they will recognise me as 32º, I might be 'downgraded' to 18º! :)

Although I'm a Christian, in the US the Rite is opened to all faith.

 

Edited by nymaso3

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I'm not a fan of the American system of weekend 3rd degree to 32nd degree, simply because the English system awards the 30th degree only on merit after going through the chair of the MWS and the 31st and 32nd degrees, are earned by further merit.  I do however believe that an English RC Chapter would recognise you as a 32nd degree.  

 

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On 21/09/2017 at 7:25 PM, julesthebit said:

Social events do interest younger brethren, that's true, but so does Craft Freemasonry in all its forms, spiritual, ritualistic, academic, charitable, social etc.

I'm not surprised that you hear criticism of the scheme, so do I, but I hear most of that criticism from people who've not actually seen it. I'll admit that I felt a little uncomfortable about it myself until I actually saw it, and became a part of it.

After 35 years in the Craft I think I'm one of those "seen it, done it, nothing to prove" people. Of all my Craft lodges my University Scheme lodge is my favourite. Yes, recent graduates are mobile and that frequently causes gaps in the line. We've just temporarily lost an EA at very short notice. He's gone to research his PhD in Hong Kong for a year or two. That continuity problem in the line is solved by filling gaps from outside the line or accelerating progression. It's historically been known about and solved by Lodges that attract civil servants and military people who have to relocate at short notice. It was a common problem in the Victorian era and solutions to it were devised over 100 years ago.

The idea that everybody commits to a steady progression, one year at a time to the chair, is wonderful if you can get it, but if Freemasonry reflects society in general then it will rarely be achieved, except by asking people to wait until they retire before they are initiated.

Rejoining you back on the subject (as Admin knows, I'm adept at Red Herrings :) ) I agree that it's strange that it does seem odd to get Perfected and not attend. My previous Chapter was 3 hours drive away, longer by train, and in 7 years I never missed a meeting. If people really want to attend they will get there.

You pose an interesting question. I wonder if declining numbers are causing some Chapters to go looking for candidates who are less interested than they historically were.

S&F, Jules

I do see the points you make, but still can't see the RC going down any university scheme.  It may be that Chapters eventually have to look at amalgamating in order to meet expenses and avoid the merry-go-round of serving as MWS in the same chapter again.  Certainly a sign of the times, with dwindling numbers and attendance in Craft Lodges, its bound to have a knock on effect with the side orders.  I certainly enjoy it and find it far less rank conscious than Craft.

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15 hours ago, julesthebit said:

I don't think so Barry, that restriction has always been there in England.

As Bod says, It's more likely that the pool is diminishing.

Jules

That's exactly what I meant. Christianity is declining in England.

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10 hours ago, Sentience said:

I'm not a fan of the American system of weekend 3rd degree to 32nd degree, simply because the English system awards the 30th degree only on merit after going through the chair of the MWS and the 31st and 32nd degrees, are earned by further merit.  I do however believe that an English RC Chapter would recognise you as a 32nd degree.  

 

Indeed, although the Scottish Rite as we know it today has born in the US and it has always done in the weekend. All of Americans were initiated in this way, including Albert Pike.

The system of working the 18º only and giving the 30º after the chair only happens in the UK. I'm not sure why it is done in this way here since the brevet was conferred by US many years ago. Other countries in Europe do similar things (although they work and confer the other degrees), like in Italy for example where you have to wait around 25 years to get to the 32º!

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On 22/09/2017 at 10:47 PM, Sentience said:

I do see the points you make, but still can't see the RC going down any university scheme.  It may be that Chapters eventually have to look at amalgamating in order to meet expenses and avoid the merry-go-round of serving as MWS in the same chapter again.  Certainly a sign of the times, with dwindling numbers and attendance in Craft Lodges, its bound to have a knock on effect with the side orders.  I certainly enjoy it and find it far less rank conscious than Craft.

Yes, I agree.

Fraternalism is less popular than it was and Orders that have been around for many decades suffer from this in the same way as the Craft. Newer Orders that were created relatively recently expand, but they will reach their optimum size.

I don't think Rose Croix is affected more than the others.

PV, Jules

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On 09/22/2017 at 7:06 PM, nymaso3 said:

To help with number the AAR I might join a Chapter in England too since I now live here, although I'm not sure they will recognise me as 32º, I might be 'downgraded' to 18º! :)

Although I'm a Christian, in the US the Rite is opened to all faith.

 

Be aware though, if you choose to join here, you will be required to relinquish your membership of any other Supreme Council you belong to.

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11 hours ago, Steve Treacle said:

We'll have to fix up another Sussex get-together, Trouillogan.

Indeed we will.  I'll be speaking close to you at 6630 in Bexhill on 18 Nov if that's convenient for you.  I have others in Brighton and Worthing before then as well.

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10 hours ago, Sontaran said:

Be aware though, if you choose to join here, you will be required to relinquish your membership of any other Supreme Council you belong to.

Indeed! I was just told that in case I want to join here in UK I will need to resign from my Supreme Council and join as an 18º. But I can attend as a guest as 32º o.O Well, I'll be a guest then! 

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My Chapter lost 8 members last year, around 20% of the membership. Of those, 2 died, 2 resigned because of age and infirmity, 3 resigned because they couldn't get to the meetings because of work and one was excluded for non-payment of subs. On the positive side, we did have one candidate, and last night had another candidate and a joining member. Unfortunately some of our more recent members we rarely see - I had 2 cancel yesterday because of work (they'll get a bill for their meal!).

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I think there may be some value in that.  Certainly I think we're paying for the years of quantity over quality with regards to recruitment.  Mistakes were clearly made as to the suitability of Candidates and possibly some going through the chair, invited friends in, merely as an exercise to ensure they conducted all three degree ceremonies during their year.  

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10 minutes ago, DavidGoode said:

I’ll be perfected this coming Saturday. 

Bugger, you should have told me David.  Both Eastbeast and I are in Rose, we'd have tried to make it. 

You'll have to come to Cantabrigia for our next meeting. 

 

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