What is Freemasonry?

Enjoyable pastime  Above all, Freemasonry is there as an organisation within which its Members can enjoy their participation.  It tends to mean different things to each of those who join, although for most it always remains an enjoyable and stimulating pastime.

Friendships, self-development & care for others Freemasonry brings opportunities to make new friends and acquaintances who come from all walks of life, who meet and socialise as equals and bond through common beliefs, whatever their race, religion or social standing.  It enables its Members to self-develop and improve self-knowledge, acquire new skills and achieve full potential.  It is very much about giving care towards others and providing help to deserving causes.

Freemasonry guides its Members along an enjoyable, fascinating, challenging and rewarding journey of discovery, taking them steadily towards self-fulfilment and helping to ensure a positive contribution towards and influence upon the lives of family and indeed all those around them, all to the ultimate benefit of society as a whole.

It is the ability of Freemasonry to create lasting friendships founded around common values, to achieve self-development and to have a major impact through the support of deserving causes that ensures that the organisation remains entirely relevant to the 21st Century.  Each Member will have the opportunity to discover which of these particular areas bring them the most satisfaction, and to benefit from them all.

Non-religious, non-political, fraternal and charitable  Freemasonry is one of the world’s oldest and largest non-religious, non-political, fraternal and charitable organisations.  It does expect of its Members a belief in a Supreme Being, but provides no system of faith.  Religious and political discussions are not allowed at its Meetings.

Key values & principles, symbolically illustrated  Freemasonry instils in its Members a moral and ethical approach to life.  Its key values are based around compassion, fairness, tolerance, benevolence, kindness, honesty and integrity.  Members gain an appreciation and understanding of its moral lessons and principles through a series of ritual dramas – a progression of allegorical plays performed within the Lodge Room – which follow ancient forms and use Stonemasons’ customs and tools as allegorical guides and illustrative symbols.

Care for those in need  Freemasons are always encouraged towards having concern for people, caring for the less fortunate and helping those in need.  Support to others is in particular provided through charitable giving generated from within the organisation, with very significant sums being raised from a sizeable membership that is committed to making a difference.

The benevolence exercised by Freemasons helps to address many of the real issues and needs facing their own Members and well beyond into the Worldwide community, enabling assistance to others in dealing with everything from natural disasters, homelessness, poverty, health and social care and ageing through to medical research, illness, injury, disability and bereavement.

Giving time & support within your means  Freemasons are urged not to allow their input to the organisation, particularly in terms of time or expenditure, to detrimentally affect themselves or their family, which would include avoidance of interference with their work.

How it works  The first point of entry into Freemasonry is known as ‘The Craft’, which is the form of Masonry practised by the Lodge of St Mark, where Members can progress through three levels, known as ‘Degrees’, to become ‘Master Masons’.  In the Craft, Freemasons meet together in ‘Lodges’, such as the Lodge of St Mark, which are held in Masonic Halls and other similar venues.  Closely allied to the Craft is the ‘Holy Royal Arch’, where the Members meet in ‘Chapters’, also in Masonic Halls.

Wearing of regalia  At the Lodge Regular Meetings various items of historically based and symbolic regalia are worn by Freemasons, these in particular sufficing to evidence their membership and to signify their Office and ranking within the organisation.  The apron worn, for instance, links back to the working apron generally worn by the ancient operative Stonemasons and still often used by that trade today.

Policy of openness, regularity and ceremonial practices  Freemasonry operates with a policy of openness, where Members are able to declare their membership, all Lodge business is recorded and details of the nature of its activities are readily available and open for discussion.  Lodges and their membership are constitutionally regulated and each Lodge has its own byelaws.

Through the private Ceremonies carried out by Lodges their Members will make promises regarding their personal conduct and contribution to the society in which they live and will learn certain modes of recognition for use as part of Lodge proceedings.  These means of identification are generally typical of those likely to have been used by the ancient Stonemasons in their private trade lodges.

Lodge of Instruction & Rehearsals  Most Lodges will also hold separately from its Regular Meetings what are normally known as Lodges of Instruction and Officers Rehearsals, where the Members can practice and rehearse the Ceremonies in preparation for the Regular Meetings.

%d bloggers like this: