Social Media and Freemasonry

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I have only been a Freemason for a short while (8 years), yes that is very short in Freemasonry!! When I joined there was very little use of Social Media in the organisation. I can remember mentioning Facebook, Twitter etc at a committee meeting of my Lodge, it received a very frosty reception from the members. When I mentioned us designing a website it was even more frosty!! After a very long discussion and many words of advice such as “be careful, watch what you say, do your homework and make sure you don’t get in trouble!” I was given the go ahead to start up the various pages. I did and then helped the other (older) members of the lodge to start their own personal pages. They now use it more than me!!

I posted quite a bit of Masonic information and details about what I had been up to in the hope that it would show non Masons what we are about. I developed this blog for people to read, hopefully some may find it interesting.

So what do I think about Social Media, well obviously I think it is a good idea as I am now the Provincial Social Media Officer for Berkshire. It is a good tool and can be beneficial for Provinces and Lodges but it must be used well. UGLE recently sent out guidance on its use, it is very important to read this fully before you start posting anything related to Freemasonry. To be honest most of the advice is common sense. As a Lodge using Facebook and Twitter is a great way to publicise your events and work. Facebook is great for detailed information, photos and events. Twitter is great for short information bursts,  I have been surprised at the number of Lodges and obviously Provinces that are on there. For fast up to date information Twitter is perfect, you can see lots of information in a short period of time. My advice for all Lodges would be to start off with Facebook and Twitter. Twitter spreads information very quickly.  If you think about the enough is enough campaign, UGLE could not have spread the word faster using any other means than social media. The #EnoughisEnough hashtag went “viral”.

Now there are those who think we shouldn’t be so public and we should still be exclusive and select people via our existing membership. I truly understand this and see your point but the reality is that this method doesn’t produce the number of new members we need to keep the craft going. It would be brilliant if it did but it just doesn’t so we need to explore other avenues. A saying I like is  if you always do what you have always done you will always get what you always got, this is true. If we don’t spread the word of what a great organisation we belong to and what a great time we have and the fantastic donations we are able to give to charity then the general public won’t have a clue. They will still think of a secretive organisation with funny handshakes etc etc. We are not like that anymore, we are fun, young and open to all!!

So give Social Media a go, what have you got to lose?? Be proud of your Lodge and province, show it off and tell everyone about it.

That is the only way Freemasonry will thrive!!

I look forward to reading your posts!!!!!!!

Twitter: My Twitter Link

Facebook: My Facebook Link

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Old Sunning Chapter

I enjoyed a lovely meeting of the Old Sunning Chapter last night. A great ceremony and lovely to see one of my fellow Old Sunning Lodge members join. The Chapter is doing really well now it has seen new members from the Lodge join.

At the December meeting I will be taking office as PS so my head will be in the red book learning the work for this. I do like a challege!!

I snapped the photo above as I really like the Chapter banner, a stunning piece of work.

How quick did that year go??

My year as Worshipful Master is now complete and last night I had the honour of installing my successor into the chair. I had a fantastic night and really enjoyed the ceremony, weirdly I felt the most relaxed at delivering the ritual than I have ever felt. The Lodge is in very safe hands with our new Master

I had a great year as Master, I enjoyed the challenge of learning the work. It certainly wasn’t easy but was well worth it, I had the support of a fantastic team and this made all the difference. During my year I was delighted to be able to initiate two candidates into Freemasonry, to be at the start of their Masonic journey is a real honour.

 

 

 

 

 

As Master of your lodge, you join what is known as the circuit. This is the regular visits you make to other Lodges Installation ceremonies, this is a very enjoyable experience as you get to see new Masters being installed, you also get to meet the other ruling Masters who are visiting. You soon get to know them and see them on a regular basis. I really enjoyed visiting other centres, although all Lodge rooms are all laid out in the same way, the style and decorations are very different. Some of the older Lodge rooms are stunning. Below are a few photos of some of the Lodges I was able to visit, more to follow…

 

 

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One of the highlights of my year was my Ladies Festival weekend in Bournemouth, my Lodge has not had a Ladies night or weekend for many years and to be able to organise one was fantastic. I am very grateful that so many people attended, It was a great opportunity for us to be able to socialise for the weekend

 

There is no doubt that as a Freemason you make so many, lifelong friends who you would never have met if you had not joined, Freemasonry is definitely the oldest social network and I have no doubt will outlast many others. The important message I would send to all new members is to have a perfect mixture of serious ceremonies and fun at the festive board and in the bar.

 

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So my main job now within the Lodge is to support the new Master and assist him with his ceremonies, I am very active within the province managing the Social Media of Craft, Chapter and The Mark. This will certainly keep me busy, the good news is that I will be getting a team of people to assist me with this. The next year for the Lodge is very exciting, I hear we have a new potential candidate and ceremonies to perform for our new members. As for my Freemasonry in general, it’s just brilliant and I love every second of it.

My Installation

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So I have been a Worshipful Master for the grand total of one week!! I had such a brilliant night. We had a huge number of visitors to the Lodge and I’m so grateful to everyone who attended. I was very nervous at the start of the meeting, the ceremony was brilliant and certainly one I will never forget. Jason the Installing Master did a fantastic job and as if by magic I was in the chair. As soon as I got in the chair the nerves seemed to go, this really shocked me. I was then up and running, I closed in all three degrees, invested my officers and the rest of the meeting flew by. Before I knew it the Lodge was closed and we were walking out.

 

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Worshipful Master of Old Sunning Lodge

I walked into the Festive Board with a huge applause and beaming smiles from the Brethren, I took my place with the Provincial Grand Master sat next to me. It was lovely to see everyone enjoying themselves. We had the usual toasts, wine takings and then the moment came for the Immediate Past Master to give a toast to me. I then gave my reply, I have to say there were moments of huge emotion and at times it was a struggle to get my words out. Then came the Masters song, I had heard it for many other WM’s over the years but the first time it is for you its another lump in the throat moment.

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Im really looking forward to the year ahead, we are lucky to have at least two candidates joining in my year so I will get chance to perform all three ceremonies. I have a Ladies festival weekend booked for June and a couple of other Lodge social events planned. Good times ahead, bring on the year!!

 

 

 

 

Goodbye to an old friend

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This evening I will wear this for the last time, it carries with it some amazing memories!!

Today is a day that always seemed so far away in the distance. After 7 years as a Freemason and holding all of the progressive offices within the lodge, I will be installed as the Worshipful Master of my Mother Lodge (Old Sunning Lodge No.5987). I will say goodbye to my Master Mason apron and wear an Installed Masters apron.

Over the last couple of days I have been reflecting over my journey so far in Freemasonry. I am so glad I joined, I have had so much fun and made true friends and met people who I would never have met before. My ability to learn my lines during ceremonies has improved as well as my confidence within the Lodge. I have laughed lots and spent many hours enjoying the company of other Masons. During my time I had the honour of being invited to join the provincial recruitment and communication teams, this gave me the opportunity to travel throughout the province, take part in our open days and meet the public. It was great to work with such a fun team, we really did have a blast!

It has been a great 7 years and I’m really excited about the years to come.

So tonight is my Installation, this involves a big ceremony with many people taking part. I have been learning my lines for a long time and hope to put on a good show. I am delighted that many of my friends throughout the province are attending as well as Freemasons from other areas. It will be the largest attendance for Old Sunning Lodge in a long time. I am so grateful to them all for attending and supporting the lodge.

So my lines are learnt (I hope!!!), my shoes are polished, my new suit is ready. I am full of nerves and excitement. I know that at times it will be quite an emotional evening but I’m really looking forward to it.

I hope to do a really good job as Master of the Lodge. I want to do the Lodge and Province proud. I will try to deliver the very best ceremonies that I can and am delighted that we have two new members joining during my year. I am keen to organise a great social calendar for our members and their families. We already have a weekend away in Bournemouth booked June 2019.

So to all who have been involved in my journey so far I thank each and every one of you. I’ve had the most amazing time and know there are many more great times ahead. To anyone thinking of becoming a Freemason, go for it!! I promise you will not regret it.

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The 3 Great Principles

The 3 Great Principles

For many years Freemasons have followed three great principles:

1. Brotherly Love
Every true Freemason will show tolerance and respect for the opinions of others and behave with kindness and understanding to his fellow creatures.

2. Relief
Freemasons are taught to practise charity and to care – not only for their own – but also for the community as a whole, both by charitable giving and by voluntary efforts and works as individuals.

3. Truth
Freemasons strive for truth, requiring high moral standards and aiming to achieve them in their own lives. Freemasons believe that these principles represent a way of achieving higher standards in life.

Charity
From its earliest days, Freemasonry has been concerned with the care of orphans, the sick and the aged. This work continues today, financial and practical help are given to national and local charities, to help those less fortunate or needy individuals or groups.
All monies raised have been freely given by Freemasons themselves and not by calling the on the public to subscribe to any such appeals.

Religion
Freemasonry is not a religion, nor is it a substitute for religion. Freemasonry does not allow religion to be discussed at its meetings. One of its essential membership qualifications are that individuals have to have a belief in a Supreme being and expects each individual to continue to follow their own faith.

Freemasonry and Society
Freemasonry demands from its members a respect for the law of the country in which a man works and lives. Its principles do not in any way conflict with its members’ duties as citizens or of those owed to their families, but should strengthen them in fulfilling their public and private responsibilities. The use by a Freemason of his membership to promote his own or anyone else’s business, professional or personal interests is condemned, and is contrary to the conditions on which he sought admission to Freemasonry. His duty as a citizen must always prevail over any obligation to other Freemasons, and any attempt to shield a Freemason who has acted dishonourably or unlawfully is contrary to this prime duty.

Freemasonry Worldwide
Freemasonry is practised under a number of different independent Grand Lodges with standards similar to those set by the United Grand Lodge of England. Such Grand Lodges and other Masonic bodies that do not meet these standards, e.g., that do not require a belief in a Supreme Being, or that allow or encourage their members as such to participate in political matters, are not recognised by the United Grand Lodge of England as being Masonically regular, and Masonic contact with them is forbidden.

Conclusion

A Freemason is encouraged to do his duty first to his God (by whatever name he is known) through his faith and religious practice; and then, without detriment to his family and those dependent on him, to his neighbour through charity and service.