International Man of Masonry
MEET MICHAEL RAMOS, NEW LODGE DEVELOPMENT MANAGER AND A MASTER MASON ON TWO CONTINENTS.
When Michael Ramos talks about his Masonic journey, he has to do some clarifying. There’s his blue lodge, of which he is the founding master and now past master, Templum Rosae Lodge No. 863, in Oakland. Then there’s the Lodge of Merit No. 8523 in London he’s affiliated with, and Essex Cornerstone Lodge No. 9968, England’s first-ever young Masons lodge, of which he is a founding Steward. Now, as Lodge Development Manager for the Grand Lodge of California, Ramos is bringing his experiences from both sides of the pond to our Jurisdiction.
California Freemason: Is there a big difference between British and California Freemasonry?
Michael Ramos: The teachings of Masonry are universal. I think, generally speaking, one of the biggest differences is in the size of a lodge. In California, we have one lodge for every 177 members; in England, it’s 34. That’s a concept we want to replicate. Members want to be brothers but also friends with one another.
CFM: What other changes would you like to see as new lodges are developed?
M.R.: New lodges are looking to provide an intimate environment for their members to practice Masonry in. They move slower, focus on education and member experience, don’t rush the advancement of candidates, and believe in quality over quantity. I’m also very excited to see new and existing lodges connect and network together. New lodges can show established lodges that it’s alright to try new things and think outside the box, while established lodges can share experiences and help provide pathways for new lodges to become active within their community.
CFM: What did you learn through founding the young men’s lodge in London?
M.R.: Essex Cornerstone Lodge is the first lodge in the history of the United Grand Lodge of England to be founded to promote the bonds of young Masons. So the lodge serves primarily as a social hub, and holds many gatherings for members’ enjoyment and for charity. The overall takeaway is how important fellowship is in our fraternity and how you can turn a social event into a fun outing for a good cause.