I talk about my mother lodge, Acacia Lodge No. 16, quite a bit on the show The Masonic Roundtable. This isn’t by accident. It’s simply due to the fact that I absolutely love my mother lodge and its brethren.
One of the most common questions I get from gentlemen who are looking to get involved in Freemasonry is “what lodge should I petition?” My answer has always been, and will likely always be, “the one at which you feel at home.” Of course, I have the luxury of residing in a densely populated area (Masonically) with at least five lodges situated within 15 minutes of my house. Men aspiring to be Masons in areas much less densely populated may have to weigh lodge atmosphere with their commute. In Masonry, a “lodge” is not actually the building. Instead, it’s a group of Masons who, by means of a charter from their specific governing body, are entitled to meet at a given location. So naturally, each lodge has a different atmosphere. In fact, lodges are as varied as the individual men who comprise them, and lodge atmospheres could (and do) change as old members pass on and new members enter into them. This puts the burden on the individual seeker to visit a number of lodges and make his own choice about which one fits him best.
In my case, however, I could say that my lodge actually chose for me. When I was doing my initial research into Freemasonry and deciding whether or not it was an organization of which I wanted to be a part (Spoiler: it was.), my mentor Bro. David Hill, an Acacia Past Master, gave me a petition with “Acacia 16” already filled in. Ultimately, I didn’t end up performing the due diligence I recommend to those seeking to enter the fraternity, but luckily, I couldn’t have ended up in a better place. I came into this fraternity looking for friendship and community, and Acacia’s “country lodge” atmosphere was perfect. The building itself is a historic landmark dating back to the 1870’s, and despite a natural disaster and subsequent renovation (lasting from approximately 2006-2010), the building has retained a great deal of that country charm. The brethren there are warm and overflowing with generosity, and the dress code for lodge is a bit more casual than I’ve seen in other lodges (khakis and a blazer, but no tie necessary). It’s been the perfect home for me for the past three years.
If you’re interested in joining the fraternity, I HIGHLY recommend you visit a bunch of different lodges and decide for yourself which one is right for you. Visiting a lodge is as easy as figuring out who the Secretary happens to be and sending him an e-mail. Most lodges appreciate a little bit of forewarning so that they can have someone available to introduce you to the brethren and show you around before dinner.
For those of you (brethren and non-brethren alike) who haven’t paid Acacia a visit in Clifton, VA, I HIGHLY recommend it. Let me know if you’re interested in showing up, and I’d be glad to give you a tour.