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Friday, August 14, 2020

All Five Michigan Scottish Rite Valleys Vote To Merge

by Christopher Hodapp

On Thursday this week, it was announced that the five valleys of the Scottish Rite NMJ in Michigan have voted to merge to become one single Scottish Rite Valley for the state. The vote took place during the Michigan Council of Deliberation meeting, and now moves to the Supreme Council for final approval. 

Because of the COVID pandemic restrictions, the Council of Deliberation meeting was held this year as a virtual event.

According to the presentation made during the program, the combined Scottish Rite Valleys of Michigan are currently down to just 3,700 members statewide, and just 2,072 of those members (about 56%) pay full, regular dues. The other 44% of Michigan's SR members do not, for a variety of reasons — some are exempted entirely, some pay only the NMJ per capita, some are active military. But the bottom line is that 44% are largely getting a free ride. Moreover, a whopping 80.8% of Michigan's Scottish Rite members currently are over the age of 61, while just 1% are between 21 and 30.

All of that points a boney finger at the future if something isn't done to turn their membership around. Demographics don't lie, and Michigan isn't unique or an outlier. I suspect you are going to see this happen in more states with too many Scottish Rite and York Rite bodies to be supported by an ever-shrinking membership.

According to the presentation, the state will be divided into four regions, and each region will be expected to hold one reunion each year. The Lodge of Perfection, the Princes of Jerusalem, the Rose Croix, and the Consistory administrative bodies will be divided among the four regions - four bodies, but only one to each region. Each region would only have to concentrate on presenting the degrees of its assigned chapter (just to illustrate, imagine that Grand Rapids would do the Lodge of Perfection degrees, Detroit does Princes of Jerusalem, Marquette does Rose Croix, etc.). That way, the regions will cooperate to present more degrees, while concentrating their own efforts on the degrees of their body. 

My thumbnail description here does not do it justice. If you have a Facebook account, you can see the presentation and the merger details HERE.


  1. The loss of members, buildings, endowments, is either directly or indirectly being accelerated by the virus. Most of our buildings will have fatal challenges as the ac and heating and ventilation demands the virus presents become apparent. What is needed is a series of drastic steps such as mooring York capitular and cryptic degrees to blue lodges and central consolidated bodies, reaching out to architects and internet authorities, and many other initiatives on a vigorous basis. The leadership doesn't understand the scale needed of this.

    1. I wise approach I think. The York Rite used to be attached to the blue Lodges and it natural to return there. The virus has accelerated the demographic malaise.

  2. For the good of the membership way to go. Much success.

  3. Fascinating developments. It will be interesting to see what future kind of plans are developed and used by the present Craft leadership.

    Brother Rich makes an interesting point and the longer this Pandemic rages on, the more it will wreck havoc on not only the very important outside mundane world, but Freemasonry as well.

    This posting and Paul's comments remind me that unlike several other 'Appendant Masonic Bodies', the Scottish Rite is actually a complete system of Freemasonry similar in some aspects of structure or organization to the Swedish Rite. The Scottish Rite could exist independently of the Blue Lodge Craft System, if the Craft leadership deemed it necessary.

    Exciting and very challenging times ahead!

  4. Although the Michigan initiative shows appropriate concern, it is going to be hard to convince prospectives, and more decline is really a prospect. Despite statements that the Michigan scheme is not complicated, it is complicated -- probably or partly because of the need to win acceptance from veteran supporters.
    Brother Johnson is right about the Scottish
    Rite having the first degrees, which indeed are practiced by lodges including Louisiana, District of Columbia...York and Scottish Rites need to consider ways to work with blue lodges and everyone needs to consider the enormous impact of the virus on Masonic buildings -- the majority lack the expensive and sophisticated ventilation that would be needed to be usable. Just proper hygiene and ventilation for elevators is an absolute nightmare.


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