The Last Supper – Hungerford Lodge Leaves Home After Almost 90 Years

A great shame that Hungerford Lodge has had to relocate. Here is their story.

The Last Supper – Hungerford Lodge Leaves Home After Almost 90 Years

After almost 90 years at the heart of the Hungerford community, the Hungerford Lodge is to move to the Newbury Masonic Centre. The Lodge has used the Town Hall and Corn Exchange for its meetings since 1925 but this association has come to an end due to the changing business needs of the Hungerford Town & Manor. This is a source of great disappointment to the members who have always been very proud to call themselves Hungerford Freemasons, and support local Hungerford charities, including funding the disabled access lift for the Town Hall.

Traditionally a celebration of the best of Freemasonry, the meeting and Festive Board held on December 9th 2014, was tinged with sadness. It was the last meeting of the Hungerford Lodge in Hungerford. Every year the Lodge celebrates Christmas with a legendary meal accompanied by the Hungerford Town Band playing Carols – who knew that Land of Hope and Glory was a Carol?

After the meal, the Lodge runs its Christmas auction. Over the years, this auction has raised tens of thousands of pounds for charity through the generosity of the Hungerford and visiting Freemasons. The money raised supports the activities of the Lodge Benevolent Association, which is a registered charity, and since 2009 they have donated over £25,000 to local and national charities including:

The members of the Lodge formed a steering group which was tasked with investigating the alternatives within Hungerford and the surrounding areas. Although every effort was made to remain within Hungerford, no suitable accommodation was found which necessitated a move away from the Lodge’s traditional home. It was therefore decided to approach the Newbury Masonic Centre to host them for the future. This will bring the Hungerford Craft, Chapter and Mark Lodges all back under one roof again.

To maintain a link with Hungerford, the Lodge will hold its support meetings (General Purposes Committee, Lodge of Instruction and rehearsals) in the Cygnet Room of the Three Swans Hotel. The Lodge has also chosen to hold its Festive Board in Hungerford. The steering group will continue to take feedback from the members as to what is working and what needs to change as we adjust to our new home.

The Lodge wishes to thank the management committee at the Newbury Masonic Centre as well as the Berkshire Freemasons Executive team for their advice and guidance during this difficult time.

Windsor Freemasons’ Throw Open Their Doors

Windsor Lodge Open Day Poster

Open-Day-Windsor-Poster

Freemasonry – What’s It All About?

On Saturday 31st January 2015 Windsor Freemasons’ will be throwing open their doors at:

The Windsor Masonic Hall, Church Lane, Windsor SL4 1PA from 11am – 4pm

Entry Is Free and Refreshments Will Be Provided

The Freemasons of Berkshire are throwing open their doors to the local community in Windsor at an Open Day on 31st January 2015. We want to give the public an opportunity find out what the Freemasons’ really do as opposed to the myths.

We are offering the opportunity to tour this superb, spectacular, historical building right next door to Windsor Castle, and much, much more.

Come and find out about what Freemasonry has to offer :

• A great place to make new friends
• Opportunity for Individual Development
• Thriving social scene
• Charitable works in the Community
• Ceremonial symbolism (yes we will really tell you what this all means!)

We are extending a warm welcome to all to come and meet us – what have you got to lose? Just pop in anytime between 11am and 4pm on Saturday 31st January 2015. We are The Red Door at the top of Church St, Windsor, SL4 1PA.

Two interesting Masonic days

The last two days have been great. Yesterday I attended the consecration of a new lodge in Berkshire. A consecration is where a Lodge is made a Lodge and receives its warrant. The main lodge room at Sindlesham was full. It was a great ceremony to watch. The new lodge is called The Combined Services Lodge and is the first Military Lodge in Berkshire. It was great to see some adaptions to give the lodge a Military feel.

The day ended with the Festive Board. This is the more relaxed side of Freemasonry, we have a nice meal, a good chat and a few laughs along the way.

A few weeks ago I was invited to join a new recruitment team for Berkshire, today I attended the first meeting of the new team. There are 27 of us on the team and we are looking to expand the membership. It’s a really exciting project. One of our aims is to become a more open organisation. One of our concerns is that we have always been seen as a secretive organisation and one that was quite difficult to join. This is not the case, we welcome new members.

So why become a Freemason?
Everyone has their own reasons for joining. For me I enjoy both the work that is done in the Lodge and the very big social side of being a member. The lodge work is a bit like learning your lines in a show. I enjoy the challenge. Every job in the lodge requires you to learn lines for certain parts of what is traditionally called the ritual. At first I thought I would never be able to learn it all, I have actually been surprised at what I have been able to learn so far for the various jobs I have done. The social side of Freemasonry is great. After every meeting we have a meal and a drink in the bar. We have a good chat and plenty of laughs during the evening. I always leave thinking I can’t wait for the next meeting. As a Mason you can also visit other lodges, this is great! It gives you a chance to make new friends and watch how other lodges work. The old thing about Freemasonry is that you are in control of how much time you want to spend out at meetings. There are always meetings and event happening so you are never short of things to do.

One side of Freemasonry that is never publicised is donations to charity. Lodges and provinces donate huge sums of money throughout the year, we also provide emergency donations in times of crisis. This is the main aim of our organisation and something we can be proud of. If this all sounds good get in touch with your local province, they will be very happy to welcome you.

Our new recruitment team will be holding lots of open days at various Lodges throughout Berkshire, our next one is on the 31st January at the Masonic Lodge in Windsor. We will have displays and information packs available, we will be giving tours of the Lodge, you will be given a full talk on what we do in the lodge and what everything means in the lodge. You can also attend a presentation on Freemasonry by one of our team. Following the tour and presentation you can have some refreshments and a chat the team. Even if you don’t want to join you are most welcome to come and have a look around. See you there!!

Nine Reasons to join Freemasonry

A fantastic blog by Hungerford Lodge

Hungerford Freemasons

If you ask five Freemasons why they joined, you will get at least five different answers. Each person has their own reasons. (I say “person” because there are female freemasons, albeit not as part of the United Grand Lodge of England) These reasons can be intensely personal and for many there is not a single reason.

Turning the key Turning the key

Some of the reasons people give include:

  • Family
  • Curiosity
  • Wanting to join an organisation
  • To meet other people
  • Looking for a new challenge
  • Charity
  • Camaraderie
  • To have fun
  • To learn new skills

Family

For me this is a very significant reason. My father, grandfathers and great-uncle were all masons at points in their lives. It has been part of my consciousness from an early age and I had always wanted to join.

This is not unusual; many masons are brought in by blood or in-law relations. It is wonderful to see how Freemasonry can reunite families who…

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Regalia

To non Masons the regalia we wear may seem a bit strange but as with everything in Freemasonry it is all symbolic and has lots of history / tradition attached to it. The main part of our regalia and the bit that most people know about or comment on is the Apron. A full history can be found here http://freemasonry.bcy.ca/aqc/apron.html

Masonic Aprons

The apron denotes the level you are within Freemasonry. There are whats known as the three degrees when you become a Mason. Your 1st degree is Entered Apprentice. When you join you wear a plain white apron. You then progress to becoming a Fellow Craft and wear a white apron with two blue rosettes at the bottom, you then progress further to become a Master Mason. This is a white apron with a blue border, three rosettes and tassels. It took 12 month for me to become a Master Mason. Each degree has a different ceremony that you go through. Each ceremony teaches you more about Freemasonry, you never stop learning!!

Now I’m sure you’re wondering about the secret stuff!! Well, people say that we are a secret society, we are not. If we were I wouldn’t be writing this blog. Freemasonry is a club, a hobby, nothing more than that. The main purpose is to raise money for charity. There are elements of what we have that we don’t publicise. Yes you can call them secret but they are kept secret really by tradition. If you go back to Freemasons started. They were Stone Masons, highly skilled people. Most of them could not read and write. This posed a problem with their training, if we gain a qualification today we get a certificate. Back in their day they couldn’t issue certificates because very few people could read them, so they had to invent a way of proving how qualified they were. They developed a system of passwords, signs and “handshakes” to let potential employers know what level of training they had. These were obviously kept secret and only revealed to Masons when they became qualified. As a mark of respect we don’t disclose these either. Everything else we are free to discuss. So I know it’s probably a bit of a let down but that’s it I’m afraid. No big secrets!!!

As a society we are very open, you can visit lodge open days and have a good look around. You can ask whatever questions you like and you will get a very honest answer. All Freemasons are encouraged to speak about their membership and will gladly help you to join.

Welcome to my Masonic Blog

This is me as the Junior Deacon of my lodge.
This is me as the Junior Deacon of my lodge.

Hi to all and welcome to my blog. As you know I am a freemason, this blog is all about my “Masonic Career”. I hope you find it interesting and I hope by reading  this you will join me in learning more about Freemasonry. Throughout my blog I will keep you up to date with what I am doing and what its like to be a Mason. I am not going to mention anything that may spoil the experience of people wanting to become a Freemason but I will certainly tell you as much as I can about it.

I have always been very curious about Freemasonry and wanted to find out more. For some reason it was something that I felt I wanted to join but like most people didn’t really know why. Lots of people had said it was a secret society and I have heard lots of rumors about secret handshakes, passwords and ceremonies. This all seemed a bit strange to me but I was curious to find out more. I studied many websites and was very impressed with the donations made to charity by various lodges, I also liked the social aspect of Freemasonry. So my enthusiasm to find out more grew! It was after this during a shift on an Ambulance response car (my day job!) I got talking to a colleague who I was working with for the first time. During the conversation he mentioned to me that he was a Freemason, what an opportunity!! We were together for 12hrs and now I had plenty of time to find out more and ask questions. At the end of the shift I was sure it was something I wanted to do, my colleague and new friend invited me to look around his lodge and meet a few other Masons. I went for the visit and filled out the application form.

What struck me was how friendly and welcoming everyone was. I was shown around the various lodge rooms and had a look around the archives. The various lodges were very impressive, full of symbols, pictures, banners and lots of things that obviously meant something. I got a sense of how “complex” freemasonry is  and that there would be lots to learn and understand. I have to say some of the explanation to the meaning of objects in the lodge seemed a bit strange, now that I understand what they mean it all makes sense. My first visit was great, I spoke to lots of people who were very encouraging and I went home excited about the prospect of joining.

A while later I returned to the lodge to have an official meeting with members of the lodge I was going to join. They told me about the lodge and what was involved. One of the comments that really impressed me was the fact that Family and work must always come before Freemasonry. They also wanted to make sure I had the support of my Wife and family. A little while later I received a letter inviting me to attend my first meeting or my “initiation”. This is where I started to wonder what was going to happen, the term “initiation” is not a term you use every day. Again it did seem a bit weird because no one tells you what happens when you are initiated. I have to say I had a mixed feeling of curiosity and nerves about the whole thing. So eventually the evening arrived of my initiation. Everyone I had spoken to said it was going to be a brilliant evening and night I would never forget. I can honestly say I can remember it as if it happened yesterday. As a candidate you are made to feel as though you are the star of the show. During the ceremony you are told about Freemasonry and what you are joining. Different people tell you about the history and the origins of Freemasonry. Its was a great experience and I’m glad no one told me what was going to happen because it would definitely spoil the surprise. I went through the ceremony and all of a sudden I was a Freemason and yes I was wearing an apron.

I was taken to a seat and sat down in the meeting as a Mason, it was a strange feeling. The meeting continued just like any other committee type meeting. The meeting ended and we went down to the bar and had a drink. I had a constant flow of people shaking my hand and congratulating me. We then had a meal together. Following every lodge meeting you sit down and have a meal, it is called the Festive Board. As I was the new initiate I got to sit on the top table with the Master of the lodge. It was a great night of speeches and welcoming messages. I will always remember the date at it was November 5th, I walked out of the lodge surrounded by fireworks going off. I know they were not for me but they did add to the experience.

It was a brilliant night, I had only known these people for a few hours, when I left it was if I had known them for years. I had never been made to feel as welcome anywhere as I did that night, I knew there were many good times to come.

Here is the official Youtube clip giving you more info of Freemasonry.