The Grand Lodge of A. F. & A. M. of Canada in the Province of Ontario, has instituted a program called the Cornerstone Project. The original concept was begun by The Grand Lodge of Utah. Then few years ago the program was implemented in Ontario and has evolved since it’s introduction.
The primary purpose is to encourage and recognize lodges that plan, implement and manage a well-rounded yearly lodge program that promotes lodge activities, brotherhood, charitable work, and involvement in the community. It is based on the concept that the cornerstone is the first stone set in the construction of a masonry foundation and is important because all other stones will be set in reference to this stone, thus determining the position and strength of the entire edifice. The true purpose of this initiative is to challenge lodges to rise above their current standard, or raise the bar, and set new standards by which they are judged by their members and others. The cornerstone is also symbolic to Freemasons because it provides the basic tools for understanding and growing the larger intellectual edifice. So we may endeavour to “raise a superstructure perfect in its parts and honourable to the builder.”
As the proper placement of the cornerstone ensures a solid foundation upon which to build any structure, so too it teaches our lodges the important lesson of having innovative and vibrant programs to ensure that our lodges are strong, “until time shall be no more.”
Just as the newly Initiated Entered Apprentice symbolically represents the cornerstone of the lodge and thereby its future; so too does the lodge symbolically represent the cornerstone of The Grand Lodge and its long-term sustainability. Each of the constituent lodges have their own unique challenges, but we all stand together with one common goal, that of ensuring the sustainability of the Craft.
The CORNERSTONE Project has been developed to assist lodges with these many challenges. Its primary purpose is to encourage and recognize lodges that plan, implement and manage a well rounded yearly lodge program that promotes lodge activities, brotherhood, charitable work and involvement in the community.
Although good planning and strong management is a vitally important component to the overall success of any lodge, it must never be forgotten that in order to maintain the momentum in the lodge the members must have a compelling idea of where the lodge needs to go, what type of members it will attract, what benefits it can provide, and how the organization needs to be perceived in the community if it is to thrive.