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.

Worshipful Master Apron

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.

Enough is Enough

Enough is Enough

Over the past week, we have seen allegations made against our organisation. This prompted the above response from our HQ. Articles were published in various newspapers, the statements of which were proved to be false.

I think it is a real shame that those who really don’t know about our organisation and the members of it feel that they are in a position to make allegations that are false.

I for one am very proud to be a Freemason, I like what it stands for, what it does and what is involved in being a member. I agree from the outside that our ceremonies may seem strange, and have to say when I joined at first I still thought it was weird!! However, a comment that was made on the recent Sky news documentary about Freemasonry summed it up for me. “Once you are in it you get it”. This is so true. I enjoy the “ritual”, it doesn’t do anyone any harm, no one is hurt by it and in a way its a bit like Masonic amateur dramatics. It isn’t secret at all, anyone can go to a Masonic shop and buy a copy of our ritual book or even find it on the internet. If anyone were to ask me what happens during the ceremony I would happily tell them. However, I wouldn’t tell someone who was going to go through it as it would spoil the surprise.

As for all of the secret passwords and handshakes etc. You can also find these on the internet. The reason why a Mason will never tell you about them is that he or she has made a promise not to disclose them. Now let’s be honest these passwords are not the nuclear codes or the entry code to the bank of England. If I told you them nothing would happen, the world wouldn’t stop revolving and life would continue as normal. But the reason I won’t is simple. From my own personal point of view I take pride in my word and will always keep a promise (in this case not to reveal the passwords etc), but as I said you can find them all on the internet.

So why do we have them? Well if you go back to the people that started Freemasonry, they were stone masons, very highly skilled people. Most of them couldn’t read or write, so when they progressed through their training and gained their qualification, they couldn’t be given a certificate or PIN number. They were given a method of greeting a future employer, that was by way of a handshake, a password and a sign. As a mark of respect, we use these methods in our ceremonies and promise to keep them secret just like they did.

So does this give me an advantage over other people, definitely not!! Picture this…. Later on today I’m driving my car and go over the speed limit. I get stopped by the police and quite rightly so. The officer approaches the car, I get out and shake his hand and give him the grip of a Master Mason. I say a word to him he has probably never heard before, I start waving my arms about like a loony. What is he going to do?? He is going to say to me, “have you been drinking sir?”, blow into this machine. Is it going to get me off of the fine etc, no, even if he or she is a Freemason. He definitely isn’t going to say, great your a Mason carry on and do what you want!

So why am I a Freemason? I enjoy it, I love its ability to donate millions to charity, I really enjoy the company of the people I meet on my travels. I have met so many people from different backgrounds who I would never have met had I not joined.  I enjoy the laughs and banter we have at meetings, I love the food and occasionally the wine too!! Would I have joined if I thought it was corrupt, certainly not. Would I encourage my Sons to join an organisation like that? Definitely not!! But it isn’t like that so I would be delighted if they joined and would happily initiate them myself.

So to all the journalists that have given us bad press and people who still think we are trying to take over the world and are just trying to get privileges not available to non Masons, I say this. Come to our open days and ask lots of question and find out from the members. If it was up to me I would I would like you to be able to watch a meeting and see what we do, I would like you to be able to put microphones around the place and hidden cameras into the meetings of the executive etc. The reason I say this is I know you wouldn’t hear anything that is wrong, illegal or immoral. If you do I would be the first to resign.

So let us do what we do, it doesn’t hurt anyone or damage our planet. Yes, it may sound weird when you read it, but when you’re involved in it then you get it. We will continue to do what we do and raise the money we do. We will continue to provide large emergency donations as soon as disasters happen. Why do we do this? It’s not to get promoted in our jobs or to get off of a parking ticket. We do it because we are Freemasons and its what we do! Sadly that is the one secret we have kept really well for far too long!!!!

Bro Mark Davis

Senior Warden

Donation to West Berkshire Therapy Centre


As part of our Tercentenary celebrations, Berkshire Freemasons are donating £4,000 toWest Berkshire Therapy Centre helping towards their appeal raising funds for new buildings and equipment.

Opened in April 2014, West Berkshire Therapy Centre is a specialised therapy gym for people with disabilities in West Berkshire and surrounding areas. It is a not-for-profit organisation, supported by voluntary donations.


The Community Awards are a major part of Freemasonry’s 300th anniversary celebrations. The Masonic Charitable Foundation is distributing three million pounds to 300 charities across the country, with the public vote deciding on the range of Awards from £4,000 to £25,000. The £3million fund is being administered by the Masonic Charitable Foundation, which obtains all its funding from Freemasons, their families and friends.

Julian Pacey, Assistant Provincial Grand Master of Berkshire Freemasons, visited the charity and presented the award to Irene Walters. Julian commented on the tremendous work the Trust does to provide therapy services to the disabled and infirm people in the Newbury area and that Berkshire Masons are delighted to help support this great project.

Irene Walters–Trustee said: “We are thrilled with this generous award from Berkshire Freemasons, it will help us in the delivery of our services to the people of Newbury and Thatcham as well as helping our appeal to purchase of the land for our gym. Exercise is key to help people recover from stroke, Parkinson’s and arthritis”

Martin Peters, Provincial Grand Master for Berkshire Freemasons said: “We are delighted to be able to celebrate three hundred years of Freemasonry by helping excellent local charities like the West Berkshire Therapy Centre. We’ve been active in charity work for all that time but this is the first occasion we’ve asked the public to help us decide how to spend our money. We are very pleased that so many people from Berkshire took part in the vote.”

The story so far

Senior Warden
Senior Warden of The Old Sunning Lodge

Time flies when you are a Freemason!! This week my Mother Lodge held its installation meeting. This is a special meeting to install a new Worshipful Master (WM) into the chair, it is also the time when new officers are promoted into their new offices. I was very pleased to become the Senior Warden. I now have a year before I become the WM (hopefully!). We have a great year ahead with lots of ceremonies planned.

I am excited about the next job, there is a lot to learn though. I am slowly learning the words of installing my officers. I always look at the amount to learn and have an initial thought of fear. I have to say it is surprising how much you have actually picked up by hearing it so much in the lodge. Learning the other ceremonies will be a challenge. I will probably ask other members of the Lodge to deliver parts of the ritual for me. I think it is important to enjoy your year in the chair and do as much as you can. If it becomes more stressful than fun then there is no point. I think young Masons today have very busy lives with work and family commitments and finding time to sit down with the book a learn is tricky.

My advice to new Freemasons would do the best you can and enjoy it. It isn’t the end of the world if you arent word perfect so long as you have tried!

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Presentation to the outgoing Worshipful Master

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This is a photo of our outgoing WM with Jason our new WM and James the Junior Warden. We presented Brian with a cross stitch of the Square and Compasses with the dates of Brians year in the Chair. Normally the WM receives a past masters jewel but as Brian already has one from his last time in the chair we thought we would give him something different. I can remember the evening of my initiation, Brian was the Junior Deacon and escorted me around the Lodge. It was lovely to be stood next to him as the Senior Warden.

My year in the chair will be made even more special as my two Wardens James and Simon were both my Candidates into Freemasonry. James was initiated a year after me and Simon the following year. It will be lovely to invest them both.

I know the next year will fly by, I hope it doesn’t go too quick!!