Amalgamation of Lodges or Chapters
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Closure of a Lodge or Chapter
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Reviewing the Lodge/Chapter Future
CONSOLIDATION OF CHAPTERS
Too many Chapters are seeking too few recruits and so that a measure of re-organisation has become necessary. The following options should be considered by any Chapter which is considering its future:
To agree a revival plan
- To discuss at some length, a revival plan and to use the Changing Times document as a template. There are a number of recommendations encompassed in this document that can lead to strengthening the health of a Lodge which is also applicable to a Chapter.
- Discuss what this revival plan will be and assess its feasibility.
- Discuss at length whether the proposals would be
b] To whom would they be acceptable?
c] Whether they would constitute a conflict of interest or the overlap of a function with another body that might cause problems or failure.
d] Whether they would involve the inclusion of a change of venue or timing.
No change of venue or timing should be contemplated without the considered agreement of the APGPs concerned and of the Hall Company Management Boards involved. These avenues must, therefore, be explored carefully before any decision is taken. Also, care must be taken to amend the By-Laws of the Chapter (the latest procedure for doing this can be obtained from the Provincial Office) and the relevant Hall Manager must be kept fully informed].
- Discuss whether the Chapter changes its character [i.e. become a specialist Chapter].
To recommend merger of the Chapter with another Chapter within the Province.
In order to move in this direction, it is suggested that the two Chapters should begin to commence the process without a merger actually taking place [i.e. an engagement without marriage!] This can involve visiting each other’s Chapter's and social occasions so that friendships are built between the members.
Let us then consider what is involved in this option, stage by stage.
- A Receiving Chapter, which a majority of the members of the troubled Chapter agree is compatible, must be found and a period of “courtship” begun. Ideally, this should last several months and involve as much cross visiting (both in Chapter and socially) as possible. All members of both Chapters should participate as much as they can and share the work, especially ceremonies.
- Agreement for a merger must then be reached and a timetable devised. Several important decisions must be jointly taken, (hence the importance of carefully building an amicable relationship) not the least being which Chapter is to be preserved. Others include:
- Whether a change of name is involved to reflect the merger
- Possible adjustment of meetings, dates and times
- Future disposition of monies, artefacts etc.
- Once general agreement is reached, specific notices of motion must be given in both Chapters and hardened into formal resolutions at the subsequent meetings.
- Via the APGP’s, the Province is then notified and approval sought from the Grand Chapter for an amalgamation to take place. At an appropriate point the Charters of both Chapters are sent to London. That of the Continuing Chapter will have the name changed, if such decision has been agreed, its number (and hence its seniority) remaining unaffected. The Surrendered Charter, after erasure, is enfaced accordingly and returned along with the Continuing Charter together with a Certificate of Amalgamation from Supreme Grand Chapter. Both Charters and the Certificate of Amalgamation must henceforth be displayed at every meeting and handed over to each newly installed “Z”.
- A ceremony of Amalgamation (unification) is held presided over by the ME Grand Superintendent, his Deputy or an APGP’s.
- At all stages, advice and guidance should be sought from the Province through the APGP’s, DORA and Co-ordinator so as to avoid as much stress as possible.
The above is, of course, but a summary of the main stages. This gives some idea of the time span and work involved. Help and advice should be sought at an early stage from the APGp’S, DORA and Co-ordinator and a close liaison with Province maintained thereafter.
To recommend to the ME Grand Superintendent to return the Chapter Charter to Supreme Grand Chapter and the Companions disperse.
Handing in a Chapter Charter is an emotive process and we do recommend that Option 3 be chosen only in extreme circumstances.
Endeavours should be made to find a suitable “twin” Chapter, preferably within the same District or Area. The APGP,s and his DORA should take a guiding role in this process. “Twinning” is very useful for sharing work and giving mutual support. In addition, this can be used as a means of finding a compatible new “home” for the Companions in case of merger, or in the event of closure, for those who wish to keep together and who do not already have a local or alternative Chapter in mind. Thus a period of several months may be needed.
If Option 2 is agreed upon then an Amalgamation Committee should be formed. This would usually consist of the “Z”, Scribe E, Treasurer, Almoner and a Senior Member of all the Chapters involved. Press for detailed Procedure
If Option 3 is agreed upon then a Closing Committee should be formed. This would usually consist of the “Z”, Scribe E, Treasurer, Almoner and a Senior Member of the Chapter. Press for detailed Procedure