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Prior to his installation as our Grand Master for the 68th Triennial, SK Jeff Nelson shared some of his "random thoughts" on membership. Several of those points are highlighted here:
" Every Grand, Subordinate and Constituent Commandery must have a membership committee that is active and held accountable for results. "What gets measured gets done."
" Must focus on the three R's - Recruitment, Retention and Restoration. Some commanderies focus all of their efforts on recruitment and neglect retention and restoration.
" Make conclaves interesting and educational.
" Communicate with members. Never issue a demit or suspension without PERSONAL contact.
" If we do lose someone, conduct an EXIT INTERVIEW.

The message from SK Jeff Nelson, our Most Eminent Grand Master is very clear: "Membership is the #1 highest priority for this 68th Triennium. It is also the 2nd and 3rd highest priority." To this end, Grand Master MEGM has charged his Grand Encampment Membership Team with the responsibility to develop a full blown program that will assist others in achieving the all- important goal of reversing the downward trend in our membership numbers that has plagued the GEKT for too many years now.

The Grand Encampment Membership Committee will administer a campaign designed to achieve the membership goals as established by the Most Eminent Grand Master from time to time. We will do so by providing specific programs that will assist the Grand, Constituent and Subordinate Commanderies with Recruitment, Retention and Restoration of Sir Knights.

It is our intent that by the end of this 68th Triennium (2021), the Grand Encampment of Knight Templars strive to achieve an increase of at least 5% in new "knightings" that year (Recruitment), suffered no more than a 2% loss in total membership from the number of demits and suspensions (Retention) and realized at least a 2% gain in the number of Sir Knights restored from suspension or demit (Restoration). Note: percentages are calculated as a % of the total membership as of the beginning of that year.

General Order No. 5 Membership, Mailed April 1 2019

In order to assist each Membership Committee in establishing an operating committee, we offer the following items in a
"TOOL BOX" designed to give you suggested formats for letters, surveys, phone scripts and any other items that will assist the Sir Knights with their efforts to strengthen our membership. These are guidelines and suggestions only. Feel free to expand on them and/or to modify them to your own best uses.


The following pdf is a format for establishing a membership committee as the Grand Master has defined in General Order No. 5. This 5-page document outlines the needed qualifications for committee members, duties and other considerations that are pertinent to this task.


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Sir Knights, as we become more mired in the depths of this COVID 19 pandemic, the challenges of a declining membership become even more of a priority for our entire Masonic family. Every Blue Lodge, Chapter, Council, and Commandery needs to work diligently along with our Brothers in the Scottish Rite and Shrine International on the 3R's of Membership. Grand Master Jeff Nelson has declared this to be the number 1 (#1) priority of the 68th Triennium. As we begin our effort to not only recruit new members but equally as important to retain members, each of the constituent bodies of York Rite should be communicating the importance of having Blue Lodge participation. One might wonder why we include the above bodies? If we do not recruit them into the Chapter, we will never see them in Commandery.

The three R's of any campaign are recruitment, recognition, and retention. They are the foundation upon which any campaign must be built. RECRUITMENT: The lifeline of any organization is built upon new members. Without a new base of membership, we cannot reach the heights that our valiant and magnanimous Order so richly deserves. We intend to present a workable, viable recruitment program that is a time-tested tool that can lead you to success. RETENTION: Often, the only thing a wavering brother needs is encouragement. We can turn the tide of NPD's with a friendly call or visit, informing the member of the importance of his remaining with the York Rite. A phone tree can do wonders in keeping members informed and teaching them that our Order is still relevant and has value for them. RESTORATION (or Reactivation) is involved with reaching out to those fratres who we have lost and encouraging them to rejoin Templary Masonry. And let's add a fourth "R" and call it "Masonic and Public Relations", how we should conduct ourselves to present a better picture to all who look upon our proud Order.


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Recruitment is the lifeline of every Commandery. Without a dynamic membership base, we cannot reach the heights our Historic, Valiant and Magnanimous Order seeks to achieve..

As one of the "appendant" bodies of Freemasonry, we Knight Templars can only accept Master Masons who have also completed the prerequisite York Rite degrees (i.e. Chapter and Council in most jurisdictions). But we are ALL Master Masons, therefore we can/should be bringing in "Good Men" to join our own Blue Lodges. We shouldn't wait on the Blue Lodges to make new Masons so that we can take them away. We should "mentor" them as they become more founded in basic Freemasonry. We should also concentrate on leading them on their Masonic journey as they "seek light added to further light." Everyone should be encouraged to "find his own quarry" to work in. One certain way is to share with them what we can about York Rite Masonry, how it completes their Master Mason degree in a way and builds on that story.

Each Grand Commandery should carefully consider establishing a LODGE AMBASSADOR program to further education of our non-York Rite Brothers as to who we are as Knights Templar and how the York Rite adds to and reinforces their Masonic careers. A Lodge Ambassador should be one who is not only very active in the York Rite/and Templary, but is also active in his Blue Lodge. Their function would be to let their Brothers know of our scheduled activities, inviting them to our open functions and educational events. These Ambassadors should also be skilled in presenting educational programs within their Blue Lodges as to what the York Rite and in particular what Templary is. All across the Freemasonry in these United States, the numbers of those York Rite Masons as a percentage of all Master Masons in most jurisdictions is far lower than that of our Scottish Rite and Shrine brethren. This alone, represents an opportunity for finding more existing Masonic candidates to join our ranks.

We know that completion of the Royal Arch is a prerequisite to becoming a Knight Templar, as is completion of the Cryptic degrees in most jurisdictions. It then is imperative that our Chapters and Councils should be equally concerned in bringing in new members and encouraging them to complete their York Rite careers by becoming a Knight Templar. The first step here would be the Mark Master degree in the Chapter. Many jurisdictions now offer a "free" Mark Master degree to all interested Master Masons who submit a petition to join the York Rite as a means of giving them a small taste or glimpse at what the York Rite is. We have observed that a program of utilizing the Mark Master degree, well done by a rehearsed degree team when offered to our non-York Rite Brothers has produced some outstanding increases in new members.

You might also consider having your Right Eminent Grand Commander or Eminent Commander send a letter to newly raised Master Masons in their jurisdiction, congratulating them on this momentous occasion letting them know that the York Rite will always be there to assist them on their future journeys through Masonry.

Another approach would be to invite our Blue Lodge, Scottish Rite and Shrine Brothers who are not yet York Rite members, to join with us at dinners and/or educational events that point out the similarities of our separate, but Masonic bodies. I don't know how many of our non-York Rite brothers do not realize how involved and successful Illustrious and Sir Knight Albert Pike was as a Royal Arch Companion and a Knight Templar before he ever became a member of the Scottish Rite. Those of us who are Scottish Rite are well aware of the close connections with several SR degrees as they relate to one another.

Know that it is incumbent on each of us to live our lives honorably, to lead by an example for all to follow. Our success in attracting new members will depend, to a large extent, on how we conduct ourselves and our fraternity in public. A strong and widely advertised public appearance within the communities we reside in can have a very positive effect on our efforts to attract new members.

Attracting new, younger members who have an interest in improving their lives is key to the success of our fraternity. Times and societal mores are constantly changing, notably in how we communicate with one another. We need to strive to incorporate more modern means of communication, such as social media such as Face Book, email, texting and even "Twitter" as a means of reaching out more effectively with the new generations. We want to bring them in to our circles where we can have closer discussions ("mouth to ear" and "cheek to cheek") as we teach our basic tenets and precepts as a means of becoming a better man. The Grand Encampment Committees on Social Media and Education provide some excellent material and ideas to assist you in this area.

Eveyone has their own ideas of what recruitment is, there are many successful approaches to how this is best done. We all are different in our own ways and so it is on how we should go about convincing someone to join with us. I believe that we would all agree that honest and forthright communication is an essential key to our recruiting efforts. Listening and learning who we are working with, what they be looking for, what their expectations and desires are and how we might best fulfill those needs is very important. We should always be on the lookout for potential new members and be willing to mentor them through their Masonic careers.

And finally, many of us appreciate the recognition of our labors to grow the fraternity. Go to the website www.knightstemplar.org and click on to the "awards" link to find out more about the Grand Encampment Membership awards program This is an attractive medal, meant to recognize those of our fraters who have been top line signers for new Knight Templars. Be inventive and develop some of your own local awards to recognize exemplary performance by your fratres.

The following pages are examples of letters and suggested programs that encourage Master Masons to become Knights Templar.

The following pages are examples of letters and suggested programs that encourage Master Masons to become Knights Templar.

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Successful Recruiting Results in Petitions - Dynamic Leadership Is Needed

     By this time, you probably realized building and sustaining a Templar Membership is about LEADERSHIP. Throughout this guidebook, we talk a lot about leadership because a lack of leadership results in failure, and in Templar Masonry, failure is not an option. Recruiting is a no fail mission!

     Dynamic leadership is essential as we face inordinate Social and Political challenges and an ever-changing environment. These conditions are characterized by constant change, activity, and directions that create challenges for our Grand/Constituent Membership Teams and they need to think beyond traditional Masonic and Templar progressive activities. We have the critical mission of providing the strength of Templar Masonry by enlisting the best, brightest, and most capable young knights to serve on our Grand/Constituent Membership Teams.

     The challenges of our recruiting mission continue to increase; dynamic leadership is critical to success. A lack of leadership or toxic leadership further exacerbates the problem and gets in the way of communicating effectively with Masons and Non-Masons alike, family members, and community centers of influence. An organization void of leadership is also void of trust and confidence. If the Sir Knights perceives a lack of leadership, they will lose trust and confidence in the ability to accomplish the recruitment mission.

     Today's recruitment mission is complex and demands good leadership to accomplish our goal of building and sustaining a Templar Membership. Our leaders must remain adaptive, innovative, and resilient. Leadership is a multi-faceted topic, and each facet deserves a column of its own. For now, let me capture the broad scope of leadership in a few bullets:

         Success requires leadership engagement at every Masonic, especially at the Templar levels.
         Our greatest asset is the Sir Knights - we owe them good leadership.
         People expect good leadership; they want leaders who embody Masonic and Christian Values and respect their unique talents and daily contributions.
         Commanderies of Knights Templar with a great ethical reputation attract the best Templar recruiters; they also attract the best Masons, candidates, and most loyal Sir Knights - in our case - Future Fratres.
         Successful leaders embrace Masonic and Christian Values.
         When it comes to ethics, leaders must set the example. Leaders never sacrifice their long-term benefit for some immediate short-term gain by compromising their ethics.
         Emphasize the importance of participation. Our leaders must be innovative, unleash the intellectual capacity of our Commanderies, and ensure every person is involved - take ownership of their portion of the membership goals. Communication is essential; we are all responsible for the success or failure of building and sustaining the Templar Membership.

     Experience has shown that in most cases it is wise to have Membership Team members go in pairs to interview each prospective candidate. The solicitation should always be kept on a professional level and with dignity. It must be remembered that some prospective members are quick to respond, while others need time to think it over. Of course, it is much better to obtain a petition on the first call, but patience is a virtue that may be required to get results.

     Each member of the team should know the answer as to fees and if the prospective candidate inquires as to the Knight Templar philanthropies, each Membership Team member should be familiar with the Eye Foundation, Holy Land Pilgrimage, and Education - obtain and familiarize yourself with up to date brochures on our charities. Take copies with you to present to the prospective member. Prospects are entitled to know that that we are daily practicing what we profess.

     It is not difficult to sell Templar Masonry. When we are really inspired, do you think for a moment we would doubt our ability to "sell" our magnificent Orders of Knighthood a world that needs everything we stand for? To any timid sole who shrinks from the task, let us assure him that the prospective candidate will thank him repeatedly for his perseverance. After being knighted, he will acknowledge it as an inspiration of a lifetime!

     Remember, the number one duty of a leader is to do everything possible to increase membership and sustain his Commander. He should make this his first duty - and follow it up constantly! Just to appoint a Membership Committee is not enough - they must work hard and bring in petitions! Leadership is the number one quality to be looked for in any new Templar Officer, and the leader must devote the major part of his time to the membership functions for which he is qualified.

     The saying "leaders are created not born" is true because anyone like you, whatever your abilities are can become an effective leader if you have the right mind set and will. The following dynamic leadership characteristics can save you time and trouble from mistakes that can happen:

         Authority in Leadership Characteristics - An important part of effective leadership characteristics is having authority that other people respect - people recognize you as someone who deserves recognition and as someone who is deserving to be followed like a "role model".

         A Vision that Moves - Dynamic leadership characteristics require a powerful vision which is not only great but can influence and move people towards the objective and goal of what needs to be achieved.

         Communication that Connects - Effective leadership characteristics show how good and sufficient communication can determine the performance of a team. You do not need to be a great speaker or an "orator," you just need to communicate always and make a stable connection with all team members

         Sound Judgement - A good judgement is reasonable, ethical and should be unbiased. How a leader makes judgement determines the welfare of the group and the results of the task or project being worked on.

         Open Mindedness - This is simply the ability to have unbiased opinion and the willingness to consider other kinds of ideas and alternatives.

     Learning and applying these dynamic leadership characteristics makes your Membership Team function better. You can also expect better results and productivity when your Membership Team members are having good harmony with you as the leader and with each other as fellow team members.



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 Just as Recruitment is very important in our efforts to grow our fraternity, keeping our fratres active and engaged in Knight Templary is just as vital, if not more so. Unfortunately, our Templary has continuously lost members since 1969. An overview of our membership numbers for the past decade (2010-2019) reveals:
Numbers Pecent
Knightings 38,336 30.90
Affiliations 15,695 12.65
Restorations 5,484 4.42
Total Gains 59,515 47.97
Demits 25,995 20.95
Suspensions 41.950 33.81
Demits+Suspend 67,945 54.76
Deaths 39,951 32.20
Total Losses 108,645 87.57
Net Losses 49,264 39.71

(note #s do not include adjustments)

Even counting the # of losses due to death, our Demits + Suspensions exceeded our total gains by 8,430. It is obvious that we cannot long survive this phenomenon if we do not reverse this downward trend. We cannot "outgrow" this negative trend with new recruitments alone, but must "guard the West Gate" for our losses due to Demit and Suspension for NPD. How do we accomplish this?

Improved and constant communications with our fraters is of utmost importance. We need to communicate with them through written means (including "snail mail", email, text messages, even Face Book and Twitter.) I think most of would agree that face-to-face conversations are the most effective means of communication whenever we have the chance. Whichever method you use at the time, remember that effective communication is two parts listening and one part talking. We should be concise, speak/write clearly and always strive to be prompt in your responses to written or spoken requests. One method of communications you should employ is a survey format. (See attached New Frater, Member Survey and a format for a written or verbal survey.)

First, we must know what it is that brought our new fratres to Knight Templary. What is their personal/Masonic background, what desires or expectations do they hold of what it is to be a Knight Templar, how would they like to become involved (officer, degree team, committee)? Best means of communicating with them (text, email, phone, etc.)? Their top-line signer should be intimately involved with their introduction and induction into the fraternity. He should be made aware of his responsibilities in this regard and assisted in his efforts to support his candidate.


Secondly, we MUST engage our new fratre in the Commandery: initially by more education with regard to proper protocol, floor work and organizational structure. Although it is not always possible, try not to drop them into one of our advanced progressive stations without properly preparing him beforehand. Afford our newest Fratres with an abundance of Templar education, sword work, floor work and ritual as possible. Education is very important to all, even our established members. Review their personal interests and personal talents to determine if and what committees or activities they should be encouraged to join.

These are some of the essential steps we should take when we first take in the new fratre. They will better enable us to meet his needs and fulfill his expectations if we have a clearer understanding of what brought them to Templary in the first place.

From time to time, we need to check with our members to see if we are meeting their expectations and, if not, where and what can we do to improve our performance. Our first indication that a Fratre may be losing interest is that they have not attended several of our recent meetings and/or they may be delinquent in paying their current dues. The following sheets provide suggested formats for Member Surveys and a letter that are an attempt to determine how we may have failed our Sir Knight and how we may cure that.

Here is a suggested format for such a survey. Whatever format you use, we strongly encourage you to conduct periodic surveys to judge just how your membership perceives your performance. These surveys should be carefully discussed by your officers.


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You Wish To Make

Here is a paper on suggested steps when working on delinquent dues and a suggested telephone protocol for the same.

Initial Phone.docx [ PDF ]

Suspensions are the number one issue contributing to the decline in Membership for the Grand Encampment. Our goal is to hold suspensions and demits under 2% of each Commandery's membership.
Following are ideas and practices that many Commanderies have used to reduce their suspensions.
Do not stop or postpone communication to Delinquent fraters, it should be INCREASED.

" When planning your Commandery membership program appoint a committee of dedicated Sir Knights to work with your delinquent members throughout the year. Their job is to encourage your NPDs to remain active, to become more involved in your activities and continue to support the York Rite. This committee is the most challenging job in our Commanderies, they should be recognized at meetings, have name badges, shirt, jacket etc. They are working to keep your Commandery successful, make them feel appreciated. It is imperative to train this committee on all available tools made available by the GEKT. Encourage them to commit to this program for more than just this year. Continuity is a vital part of the program.

" Organize lists of Delinquent Sir Knights for the calling officers, and committee members. Lists need to include all contact information and any pertinent or useful information that you might have. Leave room for the calling officer to record the dates, times and details of their conversations with the NPD member.

" Assign sufficient number of Sir Knights to the NPD committee to get the job done. Each member is given a list of SKs to work until Paid, Remitted or Suspended. They must follow up with multiple calls if needed. Your initial calls should be more of a personal or welfare check, telling the SK that we have missed him at our meetings and asking how his job, family and/or health are doing. You should also let them know about upcoming functions or changes in your meetings that have come about recently. These first calls should let the him know that a Brother is calling to visit and is concerned with getting them more involved again..

" NPD calling committee may want to meet monthly to discuss progress or concerns.

" Consider monthly calls to all Sir Knights with birthdays in that month. Each NPD committee member needs to call his list to wish them "Happy birthday". Make this a Friendly call to visit and ask how they are doing, talk about your Commandery and upcoming functions etc. LISTEN. It's important to take notes on the calls and record comments and feedback for review at committee meetings.
" The Number One reason most Men become Knights Templar is the prestige of being a Templar. Everyone has certain expectations and goals they want fulfilled. It's extremely important that our Commanderies first identify what those are and if they are meeting them to the satisfaction of the Sir Knight. Consider conducting periodic member surveys to learn more from your Sir Knights. This can be one of the most important things this committee can do to determine what may be done to improve the situation.
" Effective communication with NPD members and those who may not have attended your stated meetings or festivals for a long period of time is essential to keeping our Sir Knights involved. Remember that effective communication can be said to be "two parts listening and one part talking." It is important to find out what the problem may be and how it may best be remedied.
" If you determine that the Sir Knight is seriously considering a demit, remind them that they must be current with this year's dues before they can request a demit. If they remain persistent with a demit, ask them to fill out an exit survey to learn more about why this has happened and if anything can be done to save them.

Other Suggestions:
" Monthly Post Card notice to frater reminding them that dues are still unpaid.
" Consider a "Helping Hands" fund to pay dues for SKs who may be having financial problems.
" Consider sending a suspension questionnaire to delinquent members .(Samples will be made available in the membership tool box found on the GEKT website)
" Find ways to allow payment of dues with credit cards, monthly deductions from their checking accounts, PayPal, etc.
" Show the importance of our dues if we are to be better able to serve the Sir Knights needs and expectations.

Following are some of the 5 most common reasons a Sir Knight may become Delinquent in their dues:
1. Members who have active for many years may tell us they have enjoyed their time with the York Rite, but just don't want to participate anymore. Age, can't drive, traveling, moving etc.
2. Some may tell us that they simply have lost interest in the York Rite, telling us the fraternity is great, it's just not for them.
3. Men that got caught in a joining "frenzy" with friends or family and in some case were helped with initiation cost. Then they get "dues shock" near year end when they receive all the notices for their Lodge dues, Shrine, Scottish Rite and any other dues notices all at once. Or those who feel they no longer have the time to commit to a more active role.
4. Sir Knights that we have lost contact with. Possibly moved away, personal or family illness that we don't know about or worst of all…..have passed on.
5. Sir Knights that have had a life changing event. Illness, family issues, loss of job, etc.
Initial Phone.docx PDF
once you have made this contact, record your responses and forward it to the Membership Chairman and Eminent Commander. Be sure to follow up with this frater.
How Can We Enlist Others to Save the Man?

     There are probably only three people who can effectively make a difference with a man who has begun to lose interest in Templary. None of them will be effective if the man has decided he does not want to be a member. Let us begin with who can make the most immediate difference.

         You! As the leader of the Commandery, you can make his membership meaningful, interesting, and exciting. You and your knights working together can overcome almost any objection. If he is moving, working the night shift, totally without resources or other conditions, you probably will need to consider other arrangements. But if he is too lazy or too bored, you can overcome these objections.

         His friends can make a difference. The signers of his petition, his Fratres, those he has met since he joined and others with whom he is close in the Commandery can take him aside and be helpful in resolving his concerns. It may be as simple as needing a ride or help explaining the organization to his wife and family.

         His family: wife, children, father, mother, and relatives who understand why "every Christian should be a Knight Templar" and support his involvement in Templary can answer his questions and support and encourage his involvement.

     The Key Idea: The important consideration is that his continued interest and involvement needs to be "of his own free will and accord." Just as it was when he was knighted. Pressuring a man to come back to the Commandery or asking others to bring pressure will not be as effective as learning of his concerns and needs and taking actions to increase his satisfaction. Try these ideas:
         Try to determine the single most important reason for his loss of interest in Commandery and Templar activity.

         Speak with a close friend or his wife to see where you may have missed an opportunity you can still salvage.

         If you do not know where to begin, consider saying to this member, "Look, it seems we may not have handled your membership in the Commander well up to this point. What is there that I can do personally that will make a difference in your decision to leave."

     Summing it up: It may sound negative to end this Chapter with a section on losing members. But every Commandery that has members must have a contingency plan to handle those situations when a Sir Knight no longer appears satisfied and supportive of Templar Masonry. Here are some key ideas and suggestions offered to Templar leaders:

         As the leader of a Commandery, membership retention is your responsibility.

         Members who leave the Commandery can provide valuable insights into the reasons why the Commandery or Templary is not fulfilling the expectations.

         Boredom and "sameness" are critical concerns in many Masonic organizations, even in Commanderies, and the leader must take action to eliminate both.

         The effective leader can tell when a member is not satisfied by observing his behavior, principally his attendance and aloofness.

         Cost of being a Knight Templar - particularly the cost of uniforms, annual dues, Commandery activities, etc.

         The effective leader can learn a great deal by having a one-on-one with his members.

         Taking actions when the first signs of dissatisfaction appear is critical to changing his direction.

         Other members should be asked to solve retention issues.

         Knight Templar Festivals present opportunities and challenges.

         Time plays a critical role in member satisfaction and interest.

         Members who have been inactive for years should be approached very carefully.

Delinquent Members

     The increasing numbers of Sr Knights being suspended for non-payment of dues each year is alarming. While we must actively work on procuring new members, we must also be careful to see that once they have joined the Templar Fraternity, they will not become disenchanted and show up on the suspension list after a few years. The Commandery Membership Chairman assigned to RETENTIONS should obtain from the Recorder a list of all Fratres who are in arrears. This should be done shortly after the beginning of each year.
     A letter from the Recorder of the Commandery to those Members on the list to advise that their dues are in arrears and to encourage remittance of same. A follow-up letter from the Commander of the Commandery could be sent to those who have not yet responded after a certain period.

     For the Members who have still not responded, the most successful method is PERSONAL CONTACT - either in person or by phone. Although the Commander, other officers of the Commandery, or a Past Commander, could contact the Sir Knight perhaps it is best for his petition signers (if possible) or a member of the Commandery Membership Committee. Preferably a Member who is acquainted with him should make contact. In some cases, a Frater is unable to pay his dues because of financial reasons. In these situations, the Commandery could remit his dues. Remember, the Masonic principals of brotherly love, relief and truth should not allow a member to be dropped from the roles for non-payment of dues. The names of those who need assistance must be maintained in the strictest of confidence.

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A quick review of the GEKT membership statistics over the past two decades indicates that we have a very low success rate in bringing those members who have left our ranks back to the fraternity. It is almost a case of "out of sight - out of mind." Think of this: we spent years of time and effort to encourage a Brother to become a Knight Templar, why would we want to simply let them go with a Demit or a Suspension for NPD without knowing how or why we lost him? And then there is the case of that member's personal and financial investment into becoming a Knight Templar, the time going through the Orders and the cost of his new regalia. He obviously was highly motivated to become a Knight Templar, but what caused him to lose interest? In the previous two sections, we impressed the need for occasional surveys to gauge how much we are fulfilling the expectations of our fratres. Always conduct a survey of any Sir Knight who indicates that he is either thinking of demitting or allowing his membership to be terminated for NPD. This is a vital aspect of reaching out to one who we have lost as we try to bring them back in. These "lost" Templars represent an opportunity to recover someone who already understands who we are and what we stand for.

Our Sir Knights suspend their membership because they stop paying their dues, simple enough. But, why do they do this? There may be several good reasons:
1) They have suffered a temporary set-back (i.e. family illness, loss of a job, moving, a financial burden that has been suddenly put upon them, etc.)
2) They lose interest- our York Rite/Commandery activities lose their allure or we have failed to meet his expectations in some way.
3) Being a Knight Templar no longer has a strong enough meaning or relevance to them.
4) They feel that they have been ignored or offended in some way.
5) They feel that the York Rite/Commandery has failed to deliver what we promised in terms of fellowship, friendship or fraternity.
The last two are often the toughest to argue.

When you contact a former member about coming back, either by phone of race-to-face, try doing the following:
1) Tell him why you are calling (a welfare check, how is he and his family doing or simply to say that you have missed him) and listen closely to what he has to say.
2) If he says he is too old, too ill, or no longer has the money, this may be a temporary set back that can be resolved in the future. Tell him you understand, but that there are ways that we may be able to help him and ask if he would mind if that help was offered. (Let your Commander and Recorder know his circumstances.)
3) If he has lost interest in our activities, tell him about the things the Commandery is now doing and be upbeat about it. Tell him about some of the new activities: e.g. drill practice, family dinners, educational presentations, etc.
4) If he relates negative feelings about the Your Rite in general or the Commandery in particular, ask him to expand on this and how this may be remedied.
5) This last one is easy. Offer to be his friend and offer to help deliver on those promises. But, do not do it if you are unwilling or unable to follow through to get him the help he needs or the changes you have explained to him.

Masonic & Public Relations Citizenship & Public Affairs Reporting Structure Flow Chart/Report Power Points Letters & Forms


We must always remember that we are ALL Master Masons, it is OUR Grand Lodge, not a body separate from us. We happen to also be Masonic Knights Templar who should encourage all our brethren, whether they are Scottish Rite or Shrine Masons to support one another. I assure you that each of these groups are suffering from declining numbers too.

Consider forming a "Combined Masonic Membership Advisory Council" that includes leaders of the Grand Lodge, Scottish Rite, Shrine and our other York Rite Companions (Grand Chapter and Grand Council.) You may even consider including the DeMolay in this group. After all, they took their name from one of the most renown Templars in history and many of them join a Blue Lodge once they have reached majority age. Notice that we referred to this as an "Advisory Committee" rather than a Committee. "Advisory" because that should be one of their primary purposes……to advise or suggest (not dictate) methods that we all might utilize to increase our own membership numbers. And a "Council" rather than a Committee that elects its members. Some jurisdictions across the country have established such a group that concentrates on ways they can support one another for membership and improve inter-relations and communications.

As Knights Templar who are well recognized for their outstanding uniforms, swords and military precision, we can make a huge impression on our fellow Masons and the public when we engage in these types of activities: Honor Guards for flag ceremonies, officer installations and Masonic funerals. We should also consider holding joint education activities and dinners meant to honor one another for our good work and Masonic bonds.


For like reasons as listed just above, we should strive to be involved in public parades such as the Veterans' Day Parades or any public parade for that matter. Many communities would welcome our presence at town functions that promote more community awareness. Even though our primary philanthropy is the Knight Templar Eye Foundation, we can still volunteer to support such events as serving with groups like the Salvation Army or St. Vincent de Paul Food Kitchens and their food drives. Anything that would put us out in the public eye dressed in our Class A uniforms, Caps and Mantles or even polo shirts that identify us as Knights Templar. We should always strive to "lead by example."
The following is an excerpt taken from a recent guidebook that was commissioned under the leadership of SK J. Jeffrey McClleland, KCT and RE Grand Commander, GCKT of Virginia. It was written and complied by the Virginia Grand Commandery Membership Committee chaired by SK Ben Hill, KTCH, REPGC VA. We applaud them for a job well done and their dedication to the betterment of our Order.

Masonic & Public Relations Citizenship & Public Affairs Reporting Structure Flow Chart/Report Power Points Letters & Forms



     The Premise of the Grand Encampment Guidelines for Patriotic and Civic Activities says, "The true image of Templary is exemplified by deeds, not only words." In 1 Samuel 1:13 we find that praying lips are not enough; those words are soon forgotten-they often have a hollow ring, an emptiness of meaning. The challenge is to make this world a better place for God and Man; therefore, focus on four significant areas - Christianity, Country, Community, and Commandery.

     Christianity: The Order of Knights Templar is no substitute for church activity and interest. Public appearances, primarily by church attendance in full Templar uniform in a body, in Masonic funerals, and Knight Templar Memorials. We all must identify ourselves as Christian Knights, but those public appearances must be carefully planned and executed. We should appear in the largest numbers possible.

         Bring a religious emphasis to every Conclave-read a message from the Prelate or a section of scripture followed by a brief, dynamic presentation emphasizing the meaning of the message/scripture.

         It is our basic duty to assist in the Christian burial of our fallen Templars when requested, or to conduct some memorial service otherwise. Every Constituent Commandery should be familiar with the Virginia Knight Templar Memorial Service and have a uniformed ritual team formed and always available should the occasion arise.

         Every Constituent Commandery may annually assemble on Christmas, Good Friday, and Ascension Day in its Asylum or some place of public worship and observe the day in proper manner. Every Sir Knight is encouraged to attend the annual Religious Freedom Day activities in Fredericksburg, Virginia (second Sunday in January) and the Easter Sunrise Services at the George Washington National Masonic Memorial in Alexandria, Virginia.

         Maintain close relations with local ministers; see if there are any of the ministers' joint projects the Commandery/Sir Knight can support. Ask a minister to speak at a Christmas Observance or other religious occasion. Annually, every Commandery should nominate an ordained Christian minister to participate in the Holy Land Pilgrimage.

     Country: All Masons are patriots and fervent supporters of the United States of America, its laws, and its interests. But every Sir Knight needs to communicate his love and respect of country to his fellowmen. Fratres should strive to implant and strengthen those feelings of love and support in others.

         Visit Veterans Hospitals and Veterans Homes regularly, provide reading materials; help write letters/cards to relatives.

         Take a Veteran to dinner, help with lawn services, provide transportation for medical appointments or shopping.

         Help place flags on the graves of Veterans on Memorial Day, Flag Day, Fourth of July, and Veterans Day.

         Participate as a Commandery, in full uniform, in local Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Veterans Day parades.

     Community: The Knights Templar Asylum is not just a room, not merely a place in which to enjoy fraternal fellowship. The Templar Asylum is a group of men, Christian Knights, who have dedicated themselves to a common task, and that task is to build. Fratres are Freemasons, builders; builders of character; builders of a better community-a better nation, a better world in which to live in; builders of an Eternal Temple for the indwelling of God. Our Christian character demands that we plan a project for the good of the community-something constructive and unselfish which will earn the respect and appreciation of both our members and the public. After a careful review of the list of projects available and the roster of Fratres, every Commandery should look to the busy Knights who will be the most effective and who might never have time to serve as officers of the Commandery.

         Work with DeMolay, Job's Daughters, and Rainbow for Girls and Scouting Groups on teambuilding and character development projects to prepare them for adulthood.

         Work with local Community Leaders and Groups on teambuilding and enduring visual community projects: Child Identification Programs, cleaning roadways and cemeteries, Meals on Wheels, and Home Improvement.

         Work on Community Builder projects sponsored by the local chapters of the Special Olympics, United Way, Red Cross, Food Bank, Senior First, Kiwanis International, Rotary International, and Lion Clubs International.

     Commandery: We are all Masons first and Fratres second. Freemasonry is an educational institution per William Preston, Scottish author, and Freemason (1742-1818). Therefore, Templary is an educational institution-we have an obligation to take a Sir Knight and make a better, moral Frater per the sublime principles of our Magnanimous Christian Order. The problem is there are only 15% to 20% Sir Knights active in our Commanderies. We measure our success on the number of our knighting's, how much money they have in the bank, how large our Commandery is, or how many Sir Knights are at a certain meeting. It does not mean a thing unless those few Fratres are there building new Sir Knights, unless they are building a better world, or they are improving themselves.

         Every Commandery in Virginia should have an active, alert, wide-awake committee to cooperate in the civic and patriotic activities in their Chivalric District and local communities. If civic leaders are unaware of Templary Craft and its Sir Knights, educate them and generate the enthusiasm to do something real and tangible for the community.

         Sponsor a Commandery Open House, a York Rite Dinner, or an Open Installation of Constituent Officers.

         Visit Masonic Youth Groups (DeMolay, Job's Daughters, and Rainbow for Girls) as a body; appear in uniform and offer to make a program or presentation.

         Attend and encourage others from your Commandery to attend the annual Masonic Home of Virginia Family Day (second Saturdays in October), the Grand Commander and District Deputy Grand Commander Official Visits, and the annual Grand Encampment Mid-Atlantic Department Conference.

     Conclusion: Keep faith in ourselves, in our power to do well, and exert a beneficial influence by precept and example, upon our fellow man. Offer charity with a liberal hand which feeds the hungry, clothes the naked, binds up the wounds of the afflicted, protects the widow, supports, and educates the orphan. The honor and prestige of Templar Masonry emanates from its lofty standards of morality, its moral teachings, the fact that those teachings are exemplified in the lives of men, who not only believed in them, but demonstrate them in their lives, morally and socially. The more we study the lessons of Freemasonry, and especially Templary Masonry, the less we can escape the fact that each of us has assumed, in every obligation, a heavy and binding moral responsibility. We owe this responsibility not only to ourselves, but to our families, our Fratres, our church, our country, our community, and to those who come after us.

Public/Citizenship Ceremonies

     Life without ceremony is like a gift without wrapping. If we are to be successful in building and sustaining Templary, people need to know who we are. Uniformed participation in public ceremonies, especially those which of a citizenship focus, are the type that provide positive feelings about Commanderies and Templar Masonry.
     Community Builders Awards. This program is designed to recognize and show our appreciation for outstanding community-oriented achievements of non-Masons who reside and work in our cities and towns. There are many hard working, dedicated men and women in our communities who have served others with no expectation of reward. We should continue with renewed vigor to search them out and show them that we are proud of their good works, that we are happy that they are personally instrumental in making/building our communities into a better place for all people to live, work, and play. Care should be taken in the selection of a recipient. No more than two recipients per Commandery per year are allowed.

     Community Presentations. Guest Speaker at a Lion Club, Rotary Club, or Garden Club meeting; be active in youth activities of the DeMolay International, Job's Daughters International, or International Order of Rainbow Girls.

    Parades. Marching Unit in Memorial Day Parade, July the 4th Parade, MOHOVA Parade

     Flag Programs. Build the Flag, 13-Fold Flag, Toast to the Flag, Present the Flag in a Public Setting

    Wreath Laying Ceremonies. Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Arthur MacArthur Memorial, George Washington Memorial at Mount Vernon,

Knights Templar Ceremonies

     Installation of Commandery Officers. The ceremony is primarily intended for the installation of the officers of a newly constituted Commandery but with easily understood alterations it may be used for any installation.
     Constituting a New Commandery. The Constitution of New Commandery is an especially important event in Templary and provides positive feeling among the members of the new Commandery and an opportunity for the members of the community to see the Knights Templar in action.

     Funeral Service of the Orders of Masonic Knighthood. Adopted by the Grand Encampment of Knights Templar of the U.S.A. in its 38th Triennial Conclave held in Minneapolis, Minnesota, June 23-26,1931, with revisions made at the 42nd Triennial Conclave held in Chicago, Illinois, May 24-25, 1943.

     Knight Templar Memorial Service. When requested, the Memorial Service may be performed in the Chapel, Church, or Funeral Home.

     Christmas Observation. The Knights Templar Christmas Observation lend itself to many variations. If the observation is held in the Asylum, it might be suggested that guests assemble in the Asylum prior t the service ad ten have the Sir Knights march into appropriate music. Avery effective procedure is to place the Triangle with candles, goblet and other the center in the center and have the twelve Sir Knights who would normally be there remain while the other Knights seat themselves with the guest.

     Service for Easter Sunday. Swords may be omitted or should remain in scabbards to avoid noise and confused. On entering church, the Sir Knights should uncover as they pass the door and remain standing beside their seats.

     Service for Ascension Day. Sir Knights should enter the church with swords in scabbards, uncovering as they cross the portal, take position in the pews, and remain standing.

     Every Commandery in the country should have an active, alert, wide-awake Committee to cooperate in the civic and patriotic activity. After careful consideration of the roster to select those best qualified to plan and execute both programs and projects, by experience, ability, and influence in community affairs. Let us look for the busy men who will be most effective, and who might never have had time to serve as officers of the Commandery. Our Christian character demands that we plan a project for the good of the community - something constructive and unselfish which will earn the respect and appreciation of both the Fratres and the public.

Masonic & Public Relations Citizenship & Public Affairs Reporting Structure Flow Chart/Report Power Points Letters & Forms

Semi-Annual Reports

General Order No. 5 directed that every Grand Commandery and Commandery must form its own Membership Committee, naming a Membership Chairman and Committee members of each. He further ordered that each Membership Committee shall work with and implement those membership development initiatives advanced by the Grand Encampment's Committee on Membership and that each committee shall report their activities and progress to their appointing authority periodically on forms developed for this purpose. As Grand Master Nelson stated: "What gets measured, gets done." To this end, the GEKT Membership Committee has established the following reporting format and flow chart:

Please note that there are 3 levels of reporting:
1) The individual Commandery Membership Chairman, reports then to
2) The Grand Commandery Membership Chairman, who will collate the reports and report the total numbers for the entire Grand Commandery, forwarding that report on to the Department Commander.
3) The Department Commander will review each of the Grand Commandery reports within his Department, forwarding the same on to the Grand Encampment Membership Committee with his own comments and recommendations.
These reports are to be made on a semi-annual basis (JAN thru JUN and JUL thru DEC). Your source for the numbers should be obtained from your own records and checked carefully against those reported on MMS (GEKT Membership Management System) These reports are due from the individual Commanderies to the Grand Commandery Membership Chairman NLT 30 days after the end of the 2nd and 4th Quarters (JUL and JAN) of each year.
Goal: This number is to be established by each Commandery as approved or directed by the Grand Commandery. They should be ambitious, but achievable. Please keep in mind that we must grow our fraternity if we are to be a viable and successful organization. And finally, please complete the narrative questions on this report. It is vital that we know what is going on within your own jurisdiction and if there is anything more you need from the Grand Encampment. You can always contact your Department Commander or one of the Grand Encampment Membership Committee members if you have any questions, concerns or suggestions. Download copies of this report for your own use.
Commandery/Grand Commandery Semi-Annual Report.docx [PDF ]

Masonic & Public Relations Citizenship & Public Affairs Reporting Structure Flow Chart/Report Power Points Letters & Forms


[ PDFCommandery/Grand Commandery Semi-Annual Report
Twice a year (January and July) the Grand Commandery Membership Chairman will collect the reports from each of his constituent Commanderies, collate the same with his own remarks, then forward it on to the Department Commander. The Department Commander will collate all of the Grand Commandery reports within his Department and forward those on to the GEKT Membership Committee.

These power points and webinars specifically address.

GEKT 2018 Carson C. Smith Power Point Presentations:
[ Let's Try Templary.pptx ]
Three Minute Drill.pptx ]

Membership Webinar. Part 1
Direct LInk

[ April 2019.pdf ] TAKING INVENTORY by H Adams
[ February 2019.pdf ] MEMBERSHIP COMMITTEE FEB 2019 Report

These PowerPoint presentations have been incorporated in our past Department Conferences since 2013-14

Please insert the link for the following:
Membership V4, pptx, 2018-19
Membership, V3, pptx 2015
Membership & Public Relations, pptx, 2013-14

Complete File of Letters & Forms


Masonic & Public Relations Citizenship & Public Affairs Reporting Structure Flow Chart/Report Power Points Letters & Forms

Membership Committee
ChairmanHenry A. Adams, PDC hadams1@aol.com Cell: 321.795.8316
MembersCarson C. Smith, PCcarson.c.smith@gmail.com Cell: 317.319.3712
 William A. Garrard, Jr, PDC.wagarrard1@gmail.com Cell: 602.321.0882

Established September 2018 - Updated 082520 @ 1200 HRS
Operated & Maintained by the Committee on
Electronic Communications
Chairman & Webmaster
SK Dan Pushee, PC, KCT
Providing Services for 13 years