Magical Start to Christmas for 500 Children

Its events like this that make me proud to be a Berkshire Freemason.

Magical Start to Christmas for 500 Children

500  children were given a magical start to the Christmas season by the Freemasons of Berkshire with a visit to the Theatre Royal Windsor on Tuesday 6th December to watch Jack and The Beanstalk. Coach loads of excited children arrived with parents and carers, to be greeted by Father Christmas in the lobby and handed a ‘goody bag’ filled with fun items, the glow sticks being a particular success.


Martin Peters, the head of the Berkshire Freemasons, met the guests of honour from Daisy’s DreamWindsor Family FriendsThe Dash CharityVariety at Work and the Sebastian’s Action Trust together with children from Pathway Special Needs, Addington School, Bourne End Academy and Stony Dean School, Amersham. They all had a great time assisted by the less than elfin ‘Elves’ and willing helpers made up from Freemasons across Berkshire who were directing the children to their seats and dishing out goodies.

The cast of Anther Turner as the Fairy, Timmy Mallet as the King, Jason Gardiner as the Giant’s Henchman were joined by Stephen Blakely as Dame Trot and Kevin Cruise as Simple Simon with Luke Harley and Anna Campkin as Jack and Jill. The children provided a great audience, putting as much into the performance as the cast and the noise they made was wondrous to hear! Ice cream for all added to the festive fun and as usual the end of show singing and malarkey was a big hit!

Michael Brown, the organiser of the Panto Project said: “The Berkshire Freemasons Panto Project is enjoying its 12th consecutive year. The aim is to give a magical day out for children who are terminally ill, disabled, under privileged, or with educational difficulties. We buy all 600 seats in the theatre and distribute the tickets to the various organisations. The project is funded through the Berkshire Masonic Charity, with help from The Maidenhead Advertiser Louis Baylis Trust, and individual Masonic Lodges and Freemasons from across Berkshire. Mike continued…“We do all the preparation so that all the organisations have to do is get the children here and we all ensure that they have a great time”.

Social Media and Freemasonry


No matter how long you have been involved in Freemasonry you will have noticed many changes happening within our organisation. Freemasonry is almost going through a rebrand. We are now very much open to the public and people are becoming more and more aware of our charitable donations and also what we do during our meetings.

One method of communication that has really taken off is the use of Social Media, namely Facebook and Twitter. I am a keen user of both and manage the accounts of my two craft lodges. I also post on the Berkshire Provincial accounts. I would encourage all lodges and members to use both of these, they are very easy to use and will really help your lodge to gain publicity and hopefully recruit new members. My Mother Lodge (Old Sunning) is a great example of how members and the lodge can benefit. When I joined the lodge many of the members were not used to I.T and certainly not in to social media. The lodge didn’t have a website either. The Lodge had gone through a patch of decline and was almost going to surrender its warrant. The lodge managed to gain two new members who in turn brought many new members to the lodge, I am pleased to say Old Sunning is now doing really well.

I mentioned at a committee meeting about social media and a lodge website. At first some of the members were understandably unsure and a bit hesitant about starting any of it. After a bit of discussion it was agreed we would “give it a go”. It has all worked really well and raised the lodges profile and has also produced an easy booking system for visitors to the lodge. Many of our senior members have now joined Facebook and are loving it, I have to say they post more photos and updates than me!! UGLE has produced guidelines on using social media and are encouraging members and lodges to do so. Why not give it a go?? Below is some information about using Facebook and Twitter….

Facebook: www.facebook.com

Facebook is probably the most used and well-known form of social media, it is very simple to use and gives you the ability to share your news, photos, videos to friends and family. You can be as public or as private as you like and you can choose who is able to see your information. You can set up a personal page and then separate pages for your lodges or other interests. Again lodge pages can be public, you can also set up private pages for lodge members only if you wish. Below is a YouTube video on the basics of Facebook.

I would suggest you attempt this first initially you can be more productive with this than Twitter

Twitterwww.twitter.com

Twitter has become increasingly popular with lodges and members. Twitter enables you to post short information bursts to your followers of 140 characters per message. Once you get used to it you will be surprised how much information you can get over to your followers. If you have ever watched the news, weather and wondered what the @ symbol before a name, it is a twitter “name” and you can follow that persons tweets. Once you have joined you can search for people you are interested in and follow them. This applies to lodges and provinces.  Here is another video on using Twitter

I hope you find the information useful, you have nothing to lose and if you don’t enjoy it you can just delete your profile and that will be the end of it. Once you get into it feel free to follow me!! I can be found on Twitter using @Berks_Mason and @MarkTheMedic or Facebook.com/BerksFreemason or Facebook.com/MarkTheMedic

Enjoy!!

Junior Warden


The time in Freemasonry does fly past!! At the last meeting of my Mother Lodge (Old Sunning Lodge) I was invested as The Junior Warden of the Lodge. The Junior Warden (JW) is one of the three principle officers within the lodge. As you can see it is a “desk job” with the added bonus of a gavel. It now means I have three years before I go into “The Chair” as Worshipful Master (WM). Its nice to be JW, the amount of ritual to learn isn’t too much actually. This is good as I am now trying to get my head around the WM work. Two years in Freemasonry goes very quick!! 

Learning the Masters work isn’t easy. I have taken lots of advice from various people on how to tackle it. Im getting familiar with the installation work at the moment and investing the officers. I will then work on the other ceremonies. I am looking forward to a trip to Grand Lodge with the WM and the Senior warden to represent the lodge. I have been once before as a Master Mason, will be nice to go as a Warden. 

Last night was my first Lodge of Instruction as JW. We went through the work for the next meeting, this will be a Second degree or a Passing as it is also known. I do enjoy our LOI’s, it gives us a chance to practice the work. We have a great balance or learning and fun and of course a catchup with the lads in the bar afterwards is always great!!

So now im off to do a bit more reading, catch you soon!!

A Mason and a Man

A MASON AND A MAN

My Brother, Masonry means much more,
than the wearing of a pin.
Or carrying a paid-up dues receipt,
So the Lodge will let you in.

You wear an emblem on your coat,
from your finger flash a ring.
But if you’re not sincere at heart
this does not mean a thing.

It’s merely an outward sign to show,
the world that you belong.
to this great fraternal brotherhood,
That teaches right from wrong.

What really counts lies buried deep,
within the human breast.
The Masonic teachings brings it out,
and puts it to the test.

If you practice out of Lodge,
the things you learn within.
Be just and upright to yourself,
and your fellowmen.

Console a brother when he’s sick,
and assist him when in need.
Without thought of personal reward,
for any act or deed.

Walk and act is such a way,
that the world without can see.
That only the best can meet the test,
laid down by Masonry.

Be faithful to your trust,
and do the best you can –
Then you can proudly tell the world,
your’re a Mason and a Man.

This poem was penned by a Brother C. E. Reynolds and thought I’d share.

Rose Croix

Rose Croix Collar

I have joined another Masonic Order. 1st June I joined an order known as Rose Croix. Its official title is Supreme Council 33° of the Ancient and Accepted Rite for England and Wales.

Rose Croix is a Christian order. The ceremony was beautiful and every member who took part in the put in so much effort to learning the ritual. I joined The Thames Chapter in the province of Oxfordshire (It actually meets at Caversham) with the aim of being able to venture out my main province of Berkshire. The chapter is a very friendly and relaxed. I had a great night ending with a very fun and informal meal. I am looking forward to visiting other Chapters and progressing through the degrees.

A reprint of an article published in Freemasonry Today

Issue 17, Summer 2001

© Grand Lodge Publications Ltd 1997-2010

Matthew Christmas explains the 18th Degree of the Ancient and Accepted Rite

Of all the many orders and degrees outside the Craft and the Royal Arch, there is no doubt that for many the pinnacle of their Freemasonry is membership of the Ancient and Accepted Rite. The 18º is the one ‘beyond’ the Craft that they would be most reluctant to lose. It is very rare to hear any member speak lightly about the Rose Croix. They are right to value it so highly.

Christian Degrees

The degrees beyond the Craft are many and varied. Whilst there are ways of classifying and grouping them together, there are those referred to as Christian Orders, in that they restrict their membership to those avowing the Christian faith. These include the Knights Templar, the Red Cross of Constantine, Knight Templar Priests and the Royal Order of Scotland. Perhaps the most well known is the Ancient and Accepted Rite of 33 Degrees working under the Supreme Council 33º, based at 10 Duke Street St James, London. It is the 18º, ‘Knight of the Pelican and Eagle and Sovereign Prince Rose Croix’, or simply Rose Croix, which is the most spoken of and while masons outside the Order may know little else of it, they appreciate that it is highly prized.

I must, however, caution masons from rushing into the 18º or claiming to be a Trinitarian Christian if they do not fully understand that doctrine. Being an occasional churchgoer will simply not give that comprehension. The Rose Croix is not a badge to be collected, nor indeed are any such Orders; Rose Croix Chapters choose their candidates with great care. The ceremony demands real thought and Christian understanding before undertaking it; thus for good reason, membership of the A & A Rite should ideally be by invitation. However, rank in the Craft or other degrees should also have no bearing; a mason’s self-awareness and Christian faith is not measured by the size or ornamentation of his apron.

History and Origins

The History of the Rose Croix and its antecedents is complex. Any summary such as here will leave out an enormous amount of detail! The Rite was allegedly constituted by Frederick II (the Great) of Prussia in 1762, but there was certainly some form of Rose Croix – encompassing a whole host of prior influences from the Renaissance, Kabbalah, Rosicrucianism, and Enlightenment thought – being conferred in France by the 1760s. Variants of the degree arrived in England in different forms and by the 1770s the Rosae Crucis degree was being conferred in Knight Templar Encampments – now called Preceptories. The superbly named Dr. Crucefix, a mason with a considerable interest in degrees outside the Craft, obtained a patent from America backdated to October 1845 and he, along with other Knights Templar, formed an English Supreme Council. The story from there on is one of this Supreme Council taking control of the Rose Croix and persuading the Knights Templar to give up their Rosae Crucis ceremony along with another form of the degree now called the Knight Kadosh (the current 30º), then often referred to as ‘Ne Plus Ultra’ (‘nothing higher’), while at the same time warranting chapters of its own. My own Chapter – then Metropolitan and now Grand Metropolitan – was formed very shortly after the patent issued to Supreme Council and for some considerable time was used directly by Supreme Council to induct suitable brethren on its behalf with members of Supreme Council actively involved in these ceremonies and in the day-to-day business of the Chapter.

The Supreme Council

England’s Supreme Council today has come a long way from that early ‘Scottish’ or ‘Ecossais Masonry’ (hence in the USA and elsewhere these degrees are often referred to as the Scottish Rite) in the politically charged Europe of the Eighteenth Century. Of the 33 degrees, only five – 18º, 30º, 31º, 32º and 33º – are conferred in full on candidates with the latter four being reserved for those Princes (the word for 18º masons) who have served the Order with distinction.

The first three degrees of the Rite are considered to be equal to those of Craft masonry and so prior to being ‘perfected’ in the 18º, the ‘Intermediate Degrees’ from 4º to 17º are conferred on candidates by name; the same happening with the 19º – 29º before receiving the overtly templar Kadosh 30º. One or two of these degrees are staged annually as demonstrations and very interesting they are.

However, the fact that there are degrees numbered ‘above’ the 3º of Master Mason should not lead one to see any of them as ‘higher’ than the Craft. They have little bearing on the 18º itself, except in tracing the candidate’s progress from symbolic, Old Testament masonry to that of the New Testament era and the New Covenant which is at the heart of Rose Croix. For such masons, the level of thought has moved on to encompass the life and message of Christ, but one should not think in terms of higher degrees or, worse still, of greater rank or promotion.

Emblems of the Order

Although no fan of regalia myself – so often the jewels, sashes, aprons, and collarettes seem with their emphasis on rank and status to get in the way of what the degree is really about – the rose-pink collar of 18º is not only beautiful, but conveys many of the lessons of the degree. Embroidered with key symbols – the Rose, the Pelican in its Piety, the Crown of Thorns, the Serpent – it serves the ‘perfected mason’ as a wonderful aid in the teaching of Rose Croix and is used as such in the ritual. Many regret the passing of the beautiful aprons with the tetragrammaton within a blazing triangle and, once again, the pelican’s mythical vulning of itself to feed its young with its blood in allusion to the ultimate sacrifice of Christ himself. As to the abolition of the aprons in 1978, some cite their expense, others the inappropriateness of knights of a Christian Order clothed in aprons originating in the Operative past. However, one cannot but envy the Baldwyn Encampment stationed at Bristol who still proudly wear them.

Why Seek Perfection?

The collars and former aprons add to this most visual and Christian of degrees. So why Rose Croix? The Cross needs no explanation, while the Red Rose alludes both to the Precious Blood and to the Rose of Sharon, mystically identified with Christ. There is also a link with Rosicrucian thought, despite some members being keen to downplay it.

In the ceremony the Candidate is taken from room to room figuratively through his spiritual and masonic life from Solomonic Masonry, through despair, to a Rose Croix Chapter and the discovery of the Lost Word. At the start, he is figuratively but a 17º mason, a Knight of the East and West, of symbolic age, coming – as the ritual explains – at a time of dire calamity with but incomplete pre-Christian knowledge. Following perfection, the ensuing “feast of fraternal affection” is a wonderful moment of shared Freemasonry all too often lost in other degrees. That this 18º is special is not in doubt for those on whom it has been conferred. In Bristol, the members of Baldwyn have their own version as the pinnacle of their unique Rite of Seven Degrees.

Rose Croix, like Freemasonry as a whole, is not a religion. It does, however, serve to point the way. It is this which makes Rose Croix masonically so important, encompassing all we seek, while pointing us clearly to the Trinitarian Christian Faith.

© Grand Lodge Publications Ltd 1997-2010

New Air Ambulance for London

£2 MILLION FROM LONDON FREEMASONS FOR SECOND EMERGENCY HELICOPTER

£2 Million from London Freemasons for second Emergency Helicopter
Posted on 20.11.2015

London Freemasons are donating £2 million pounds towards the ‘Your London, Your Helicopter’ campaign of London’s Air Ambulance which aims to provide a second emergency medical helicopter for use by London’s Air Ambulance advanced trauma team. The aim of the second helicopter is to extend daylight flying hours, thus providing an even more effective emergency service to London.

Graham Hodgkin, CEO of London’s Air Ambulance, said “We are blown away by the generosity of London Freemasons which brings us significantly closer to our aim of having a second emergency medical helicopter up and running by this summer. For many years, London Freemasons have been regular supporters of our work and we thank all those Freemasons across the Metropolitan area who will be working tirelessly to raise the two million pounds”

The Freemasons’ fund-raising campaign kicked off with the presentation of a cheque for £250,000 at Freemasons’ Hall on Thursday, 5th March 2015 to Neil Jeffers, Chief Pilot of LAA, by the Metropolitan Grand Master, Russell J. Race, DL. Russell Race commented, “Freemasons both in London and all over the country have been donating to Air Ambulances for many years. We at the Metropolitan Grand Lodge of London are delighted however to have an opportunity to specifically assist in the provision of this vital second helicopter for London”.
This first instalment was followed by a further £750,000, which was handed over by Sir Michael Snyder, the new Metropolitan Grand Master, on Thursday 5th November 2015. London has now reached the half-way mark in the appeal after just 8 months.

As you can see below, The Freemasons of London achieved their goal and this week the new Air Ambulance became operational. This is an amazing achievement by London Freemasons, well done to all!!!

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The Old Sunning Lodge No. 5987

Old Sunning Lodge Room

The Old Sunning Lodge is my Mother Lodge. This means it is the Lodge I was initiated into when I became a Freemason. The lodge has a long history.

The Old Sunning Lodge No. 5987.

The Old Sunning Lodge was consecrated by RW Bro CRI Nicholl, Provincial Grand Master on October 4th 1944.

The Lodge owes its origin to W. Bro Jolly Middleton, a Past Master of Kennet Lodge No. 4414 and the residents of Sonning who, with others, saw the need of a new lodge to serve that area.

The lodge banner (seen below) was designed by W. Bro T L J Chamberlain, is based on the lodge emblem conceived  by W. Bro S Clayey. The Outstanding  feature is the 18th century brick Sonning Bridge with eleven arches (seen below). The tower of the church of St Andrew is included to commemorate the association and devotion of the vicar, W Bro  The Rev Canon Groves. The motto “Fraternitas Flumen Sempiternum” translates “Brotherhood flowing eternally”.

Old Sunning Banner

Sonning Bridge

As you can see our history and traditions go back to 1944, we pride ourselves in sticking to our Blue Book ritual. We take our ceremonial work seriously but have lots of fun learning it.

Our meetings are lighthearted and fun. Many of our guests comment on the warm welcome and relaxed atmosphere they enjoy whilst visiting, this results in many of our visitors returning on a regular basis.

As a Lodge we have a lively and very busy social side. We organise many social activities for our members, families and guests. As a Lodge we are keen for our members family and friends to join us and also get involved with our Lodge social activities. If you would like to be part of our lodge, get in touch. We would be delighted to see you.

To find out more visit The Old Sunning Lodge website:

www.oldsunninglodge.org.uk

Visit The Old Sunning Lodge Facebook Page:
http://www.facebook.com/OldSunningLodge

Follow Old Sunning on Twitter:
http://www.twitter.com/OldSunningLodge

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