Waynesboro Elks lodge moves toward merger with Hagerstown's

October 04, 2012|By JENNIFER FITCH |

WAYNESBORO, Pa. — The Elks lodges in Waynesboro and Hagerstown are taking steps to merge in the coming months.

Waynesboro’s Elks Lodge 731 has faced challenges in recent years. It sold its West Main Street building in 2007, rented that same building until 2010 and started meeting in a smaller space as its members became less active.

Now, the lodge’s leaders are proceeding with a plan to merge with Hagerstown’s Elks Lodge 378.

“Truthfully, all the fraternal organizations are struggling today because of changes in society,” said David McJonathan, exalted ruler for Waynesboro.

Waynesboro’s members were invited to a meeting Monday to vote on the lodge’s future. They agreed to move forward with the Hagerstown merger.

Hagerstown secretary Nina Garrett said a few steps remain to finalize the merger. She said she expects the merger to be complete around Jan. 1.

Founded in 1901, the Waynesboro lodge has about 175 members, although many of them are older individuals who have moved to warmer climates in other states, McJonathan said.

The Hagerstown lodge has about 1,590 members, Garrett said.

“I have not heard any negative comments,” Garrett said of accepting Waynesboro’s members.

“We already have a number of people who have transferred from Waynesboro to our lodge,” she said.

Waynesboro’s lodge officers will be attending a meeting in Hagerstown on Tuesday.

“I think we’ve got the groundwork laid out,” McJonathan said.

An attempt to merge with the Chambersburg lodge failed, McJonathan said. It can be harder to complete a merger across state lines, but the preparation seems to be mostly complete, he said.

“I think there is a very good likelihood” this will go through, McJonathan said.

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