What is Freemasonry?
Freemasonry is the largest secular, fraternal and charitable organisation in the United Kingdom. It teaches self-knowledge through participation in a progression of ceremonies. Members are expected to be of high moral standing and are encouraged to speak openly about Freemasonry.
What happens at a Lodge Meeting?
The meeting, which like those of other groups, are open only to members, is normally in two parts.
Firstly, there are normal administrative procedures such as:
Minutes of the previous meeting
Proposing and balloting for new members
Discussing and voting on the annual accounts
Masonic news and correspondence
News about charitable work
Secondly, there are the ceremonies for:
Admitting new members
The annual installation of the Master of the Lodge and his officers
The second part of the meeting is the pleasure component, which is drinks in the bar followed by a three or four-course meal with wine and some short speeches. Meetings are attended by Lodge members and Masons from other Lodges adding to the atmosphere of the event. There is usually a raffle for charity fundraising effort at the meal.
Why do Freemasons take oaths?
New members make solemn promises concerning their behaviour both in the Lodge and in society. Members also promise to keep confidential the way they recognise each other when visiting another Lodge. Freemasons also promise to support others in time of need but only so far as it does not conflict with their family and public obligations.
Are Freemasons expected to give preference to fellow members?
Certainly not. This would be unacceptable and may lead to action being taken against those involved. On joining, each new member states that he expects no material gain from membership.
Who do the Masonic charities donate to?
Whilst there are Masonic charities that cater specifically, but not exclusively, for Masons or their dependants, others make significant grants to non-Masonic organisations.
What is Freemasonry’s relationship with religion?
All Freemasons are expected to have a religious belief, but Freemasonry does not seek to replace a Mason’s religion or provide a substitute for it. It deals in a man’s relationship with his fellow man not in a man’s relationship with his God.
Why do some churches not like Freemasonry?
There are elements within churches who misunderstand Freemasonry and its objectives. They confuse secular rituals with religious liturgy. There are many Masons in churches where their leaders have been openly critical of the organisation. Masonry has always actively encouraged its members to be active in their own religion.
Does Freemasonry accept Roman Catholics?
Yes, four Grand Masters of English Freemasonry have been Roman Catholics. Today there are many Roman Catholic Freemasons.
What is Freemasonry’s relationship with politics?
Freemasonry, as a body, will never express a view on politics or state policy. The discussion of politics at Masonic meetings has always been prohibited.
Is Freemasonry an international order?
Freemasonry exists throughout the world. Each Grand Lodge, however, is sovereign and independent. There is no international governing body for Freemasonry.
Are there women Freemasons?
Yes. Whilst UGLE, following the example of medieval stonemasons, is, and has always been, restricted to men, there two separate Grand Lodges which are restricted to women.
Can I join if I am gay or transgender?
Freemasonry brings together people from different walks of life, faith and outlook on life. We are encouraged to be tolerant to our differences and this applies equally to sexual orientation. We have many gay members within the organisation. This is not a recent occurrence; Oscar Wilde was a Freemason.
Why do you wear regalia?
Wearing regalia is historic and symbolic. Like a uniform, the regalia indicates the rank of the wearer in the organisation.
How many Freemasons are there?
Approximately 530 Freemasons belong to Lodges in the Province of Herefordshire and there are over 200,000 members under the United Grand Lodge of England.
The Grand Lodge of Ireland (which covers both Northern Ireland and Eire) and the Grand Lodge of Scotland which have a combined total of approximately 150,000 members and, worldwide, there are approximately 6,000,000 Freemasons.
How much does it cost to be a Freemason?
It varies from Lodge to Lodge. Anyone wishing to join will find a Lodge to suit his pocket. There is an initiation fee on entry and in due course regalia will have to be bought. The meeting is normally followed by a dinner, the cost depending on the venue. There is, in addition, an annual subscription. Members are invited to give to charity, but this should always be within their means, and it is entirely up to the individual how much he wishes to contribute.
What do you expect from me?
We expect you to be a good person without a criminal past. We ask that you participate in your Lodge as you would any other hobby, with passion and dedication. However, we recognise that balance is important in all things and that the correct order of priority is Family, Work, Freemasonry.
Why become a Freemason?
Each Freemason gets something different out of their membership and often it is not what they expected to get. Freemasonry helps men to develop themselves in a supportive atmosphere whilst encouraging them to enjoy the experience. However, at no point should Freemasonry be used for your own personal or professional financial gain.
Do I have to be invited to become a Freemason?
No, we prefer that you ask to join. We are looking for members that are truly interested rather than those that feel in any way pressured to join.