As Master of the Be Prepared Lodge I am hosting a weekend away in Bournemouth. It is going to be a fantastic weekend and one you wont forget. All Freemasons, Family and friends are very welcome. For more information use the email above or click on the following link: http://www.bepreparedlodge.org.uk/festival/
The story so far and what’s ahead…
So the end of my active year as a Provincial Grand Steward is nearly here. After our summer break I will hand over my collar to another very worthy Brother. I have had a brilliant two years in office due to Covid. I have had the pleasure of visiting all of our centres and many Lodges. It has been lovely to see meetings returning to normal even though numbers are understandably low. The standard of ritual has been very good, I think this is due to the amount of time given to learning whilst our meetings were suspended. I will certainly miss being in active office but I’m very pleased to know that another brother will partake of the enjoyment I have had.
My Masonic workload will not slow down though, I am still heavily involved in managing the Social Media and Social Media team in the Province of Berkshire.
September will see me being installed as Master of The Be Prepared Lodge in Berkshire (www.bepreparedlodge.org.uk), this will be my second time as Master of a lodge, Be Prepared is a young, fun and enthusiastic lodge. Im looking forward to working with their team and supporting the new members, I am planning on having (hopefully) a ladies evening or weekend and many social activities for the members to enjoy. I will be on the circuit and visiting as many lodges as I can fit in to represent BP Lodge, I look forward to seeing many other WMs on my travels.
Some of you may be aware that I have been working on setting up an Emergency Services Lodge in Berkshire. Its been a year in the planing so far and I’m very pleased to say that we are now able to submit our application to the Province for consecration. We have all of the offices filled and a good number of founders. we are of course still taking applications for Founders and joining members. Membership is open to all past and present members of the emergency and support services, NHS, Prison and Voluntary services. We will be holding 2 meetings a year with additional meetings as and when required. We had a curry night with potential founders and members and the decision was made on only two meetings a year to ease the commitment around shifts etc. This has actually proved very popular and I’m sure has resulted in founders joining who would not have joined had we been having more meetings. I would encourage others to consider this when planning a new lodge. To find out more about this lodge and to follow our activities go to www.emergencyserviceslodge.org.uk .
I will continue to be Director of Ceremonies, Membership Officer and Preceptor of The Old Sunning Lodge: www.oldsunninglodge.org.uk. Like many lodges Old Sunning has lost a few members and is rebuilding itself. We are pleased to have two new candidates joining us and will make sure they have a great time.
The summer break will give all members and lodges time to plan and look forward to the next year. Lodges need a “game plan” and need to look at publicity for attracting new members and looking after their existing members. Update your websites, work on your social media, plan a lodge night out or jolly. Use the summer to have some down time and enjoy the company of Brethren in a social setting with their partners and families.
It is my personal opinion that due to covid Freemasonry is slightly fragile at the moment, we need to rebuild, re-energise and plan for the years to come. We need to engage with our members, especially those who feel unable to attend at the moment. Keep them informed, remind them they are still part of us as much as they have always been. Consider assigning them jobs they can undertake from home if they are willing to do so eg Festive Board, Social Planning, online help with ritual for junior members who are delivering it etc etc. We need to work on our future now, we can’t assume that all will be well.
Now I’m going to return to reading my blue book in preparation for my Installation (1st September, Wokingham Masonic Centre, all Freemasons are very welcome to attend!!). Plan for the next LOI and rehearsal, work on the provincial social media and a few other bits. Have a fantastic summer and hopefully I will see at least some of you around in September onwards.
Take care, be safe!!
A new Lodge for Berkshire
I am currently starting the process of setting up a new “specialist” Lodge for Berkshire. The Emergency Services Lodge will be open to all past and present members and volunteers of the following agencies:
- Fire, Police, Ambulance, NHS
- RNLI, RLSS and Coastguard
- Search and Rescue
- Highways Agency Traffic Officers
- St John Ambulance & British Red Cross
- Bomb Disposal
- Chemical and Nuclear Response teams
We will welcome applications from members of other agencies. The lodge will be a fun and relaxed with regular social activities for members and families.
If you are interested in becoming a Founder/Member please get in touch, Email: EmergencyServicesLodge@mail.com
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.”
Im now a Companion
So October the 9th has been and gone and I am now a Companion of the Holy Royal Arch of Jerusalem or Chapter as it is known.
Joining a Chapter (Exaltation) is an extension of your Master Mason degree, some consider it the natural progression for Master Masons.
I joined Old Sunning Chapter No 5987 in Berkshire. The Chapter is attached to my Mother Lodge, Old Sunning Lodge (The first lodge I joined) . It was great to join this Chapter as it meant I would already know a few of its members. I also got to meet new people.
As with most things Masonic you don’t really know what is going to happen when you join. I will now tell you a bit about my experience but of course I wont be giving away details of the ceremony as it would spoil it for other people.
I arrived at Sindlesham for 5pm. It was a weird feeling, as normally I turn up at Sindlesham as a Master Mason attending my lodge or visiting another, I then know what I’m doing and feel comfortable. This night I had the same feelings as when I was Initiated. I was the new boy again!!
I made my way to the lounge to grab a coffee and met up with members of the Chapter. I already knew a few of the members so sat down and had a chat. It was great, they were all wishing me well with the ceremony and were very encouraging. I did relax a bit after that! I met up with the Secretary of the Chapter, there was a bit of paperwork to do. The time came for the members to go in to the Lodge, I then had a few minutes on my own finishing my coffee. This is the moment when the excitement/nerves set in a bit. A little while later the Janitor (A member of the Chapter for prepares new members) came out to see me and took me to the lodge room. He had received confirmation all was well and the ceremony could begin. I put on my Master Mason regalia and was then greeted by another member of the Chapter.
I had to prove that I was a Master Mason, it is a requirement that you are a Master Mason before you can join. The ceremony started. The ceremony was very different from the ceremony of Initiation when you join. It is more of a story/play. I was told by many people that the ceremony was Colourful, I didn’t quite understand this. All I can say without spoiling it is that the meaning of Colourful will be understood when you join. It was a beautiful ceremony and a memory/picture that will stay with me for a long time. Many members took part in the ceremony and it was very obvious that they had put a lot of work into preparing for the evening. I absolutely loved it!! It was a really special evening that I will always remember. The atmosphere in the Chapter was incredible. I am so glad I joined.
When I became a Mason my proposer said to me “you will always remember your initiation”. I would totally agree with this! My Exaltation (Joining the Chapter) feels as special to me for various reasons as my initiation. Knowing that many of my friends who had come to visit and watch me joining, were as excited about my joining as I was made the evening even more special.
I would encourage any Mason to join a Chapter. I would also repeat the advice I received and that was not to join until you feel you are ready and understand your Craft work first. My Chapter is very happy to let me progress slowly through the Chapter. I requested this as I want to concentrate on my work in my craft lodges first. Once I have been through the Masters Chair of my Craft Loge I will then look to progress through Chapter. Trying to learn too much can get very confusing.
So all in all I’m really glad I joined. I’m looking forward to visiting other Chapters and meeting lots of Companions I have not had chance to meet yet. As always with Freemasonry, lots of good times ahead!!……
Windsor Freemasons’ Throw Open Their Doors
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!!
Welcome to my Masonic Blog
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.