As part of an ongoing "Meet the Team" blog series, we invited the Directors from each of Scottish Rite, Northern Masonic Jurisdiction's various departments to share some of their insights based on their specific area of expertise. We kick off our second "Meet the Team" blog with Brennan Parken, 32°, who provides a unique perspective on what our fraternity can offer to a 20-something prospective member. Brennan serves as Director of Membership at the Scottish Rite, Northern Masonic Jurisdiction.

Brennan Parken, 32°


My name is Brennan Parken. I am the Director of Membership at the Scottish Rite, NMJ. I am 24 years old. I started in DeMolay eight years ago and I took my first steps into Freemasonry almost seven years ago. I am a Zillennial.

Now, you are probably asking yourself: “Brennan, what in the world is a Zillennial?” When it comes to generations, nowadays we commonly hear about Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials, and Generation Z. I was born in the year 1996 which, depending on who you talk to or which article you read, falls in an awkward place where we are considered a Millennial in some sources and a Gen Z in other sources. Some researchers have named this specific group “Zillennials” – a microgeneration of people born in between 1994 and 2000 that exhibit both Millennial and Gen Z values.

In Freemasonry and the Scottish Rite, we commonly ask ourselves: “How do we recruit new members and engage current members from the younger generations?” At times, we can fall into the trap of overthinking this question and assuming that recruiting younger members is nearly impossible. However, this is far from the case. Younger generations prioritize experiences that provide value. There are many values to being a member of the Scottish Rite that would align with the wants and needs of younger generations. Based on my experience as a Scottish Rite member and a Zillennial, I am going to share four areas where the Scottish Rite can offer value to younger generations.

Networking

Younger generations are at a time in their lives when they are working to achieve their career and social aspirations. As a result, younger generations seek groups that can assist them in progressing towards their life goals. The Scottish Rite offers a rich network of Brothers of all ages and professions that can provide career advice, experience, and even potential connections for jobs and internships. Take advantage of this and discover what kind of network you have in your Valley to support your membership. Make this network a way for members and potential new members to engage with the Scottish Rite, while also helping them achieve their professional goals. Host networking events or build a “networking directory” of the members in your Valley. This network is something already available in your Valleys… you just have to utilize it.

Making a Difference

Studies show that younger generations are socially focused. They are passionate about making a difference in the world and are all about committing themselves to missions that they care about. The Scottish Rite offers many diverse opportunities for service and charity, both nationally and locally. Many Master Masons who aren’t members of the Scottish Rite already believe in the importance of service and charity, so make sure these opportunities are communicated!

Technology

It’s no surprise that technology is a huge factor. Younger generations grew up in a time when computers and smartphones became an everyday tool. We also witnessed the expansion of the Internet and the growth of social online channels. Our fraternity and our Valleys have adapted to this, providing information on channels such as social media and e-mail to engage members and recruit new ones.

Now more than ever, we are seeing our fraternity utilize technology to engage with its membership. Members have the opportunity to take part in watching degrees online with fellow Brothers at productions such as our Thursday Night at the Rite. Master Masons have even had the opportunity to take their first steps into the Scottish Rite through our Virtual Reunions. The combination of our traditional fraternal experiences and the technology available to us today creates unique opportunities for younger members to engage with the fraternity in a way that is familiar to them. This helps these members feel more comfortable in connecting to the fraternity and their fellow Brothers in the Valley, which helps with retaining those members. Take advantage of this and look for ways you can engage your members using technology. It can be as big as a Virtual Reunion or as small as a Brother check-in Zoom call. The sky is the limit.

Fraternity

The Scottish Rite, at its core, is a fraternity of Brothers that seek to support each other. Younger generations seek to foster relationships and look for groups that provide a stable support network to them. We all can give testimony to what our Brothers have done for us – share this passion to support your Brothers. Show it in everything your Valley does, such as programs, events, and even Brother-to-Brother calling. This fraternal connection is the ultimate benefit to being a member of the Scottish Rite.

As you can see, being a member of the Scottish Rite has many benefits that would even interest the younger, upcoming generations of Masons. All generations of Scottish Rite Masons bring different experiences and perspectives that only make the Scottish Rite experience even more rich. This is why it is important to embrace these generational differences in our Valleys, which in turn will attract Master Masons of ALL ages to join the Scottish Rite and create a strong bond of fellowship in our Valleys.