Your Questions Answered
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It is almost impossible to do justice to Freemasonry in a couple of sentences as it means different things to those who join. For some, it’s about making new friends. For others it’s about being able to help deserving causes – making a contribution to family and for society. But for most, it is an enjoyable hobby.
Freemasonry is one of the world’s oldest and largest non-religious, non-political, fraternal and charitable organisations. It teaches self-knowledge through participation in a progression of ceremonies known as Degrees. Members are expected to be of high moral standing and are encouraged to speak openly to others about Freemasonry.
Look on google and You Tube you will find everything you want know about freemasonry. We are very open about who we are with many Lodges having their own websites like this one. You can even find out when and where we meet. However, Lodge meetings, like meetings of many other societies, clubs and professional associations, are private occasions open only to its members.
Freemasons are positively encouraged, and do, speak openly about their membership, while remembering that they undertake not to use it for their own or anyone else’s advancement.
As members are sometimes the subject of discrimination which may adversely affect their employment or other aspects of their lives. Some members are understandably reluctant about discussing their membership.
In circumstances where a conflict of interest might arise or be perceived to exist or when Freemasonry becomes an issue, a Freemason must declare his membership so that issues are open, transparent.
The rules and aims of Freemasonry are available to the general public. The Masonic Year Books, also available to the public, contains the names of all national office-holders and lists of all lodges with details of their meeting dates and places.
The meeting places and halls used by Freemasons are readily identifiable, are listed in telephone directories and in many areas are used by the local community for activities other than Freemasonry. Freemasons Hall in London is open to the public and ‘open days’ are held in many Provincial centres. The rituals and ceremonies used by Freemasons to pass on the principles of Freemasonry to new members were first revealed publicly in 1723.
They include the traditional forms of recognition used by Freemasons, essentially to prove their identity and qualifications when entering a Masonic meeting. These include handshakes which have been much written about. For medieval Freemasons, they were the equivalent of a ‘pin number’ restricting access only to qualified members.
Many thousands of books have been written and published on the subject of Freemasonry and are readily available to the general public. Freemasonry offers spokesmen and briefings for the media and provides talks to interested groups on request. Freemasons are proud of their heritage and happy to share it.
Freemasonry found a way to unite its members was to avoid one of the two most common topics that can destroy any friendship – politics. Freemasonry, as a body, will never express a view on politics or state policy. The discussion of politics at Masonic meetings is not permitted. Put simply, Masons are to be good citizens and keep their politics to themselves.
Freemasonry is not a religion nor a substitute for it and has never claimed to be. A Masonic lodge meeting is not a religious service. Active Freemasons know there is no conflict that exists between their religion and their fraternity.
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.Masonry encourages its members to be better and upright citizens and to seek answers to their religious needs in their own churches, temples and holy places.
No regular lodge of Masons may open without a Bible or another sacred book holy to its members that is opened on the altar. The holy book is referred to as the Volume of the Sacred Law, this is done as a non-sectarian reference to the Lodge’s religious tolerance. Depending on the where you are in the world, and the beliefs of the members of the Lodge, the scared book could be the King James Bible, the Proverbs of Confucius, the Zoroastrian Zend-Avesta, The Hindu Veda, the Muslin Koran or Hebrew Tanach.
Absolutely 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 or commercial gain from his membership.
If you do not know anyone who is a Freemason explore our website for more information. Once you have made the decision that you want to join complete this form to register your interest. We will then make contact with you so you can start your journey of discovery. We hope you will be agreeable to meet us shortly after in order for you to find out more about who we are. We really would like to get to know you.
Basic Freemasonry, which is also referred to as the Craft, consists of three degrees:
- Entered Apprentice
- Fellow Craft
- Master Mason
A distinguishing badge or mason’s apron is shown in the picture.
The degrees represent a mason’s journey through three stages of his life in the search of light or knowledge and wisdom, these being youth (first degree), manhood (second degree) and old age (third degree). At each stage, the mason learns more and is taught further lessons in morality, virtue, wisdom, honour, strength and fortitude.
There are other Degrees of interest which a Mason can explore. Those that are practiced within our Province of Surrey can be found by following the link.
Absolutely yes, and you would be warmly welcome as a brother. Freemasonry brings together people from different walks of life, faith or outlook on life. We are encouraged to be tolerant to our differences and this applies equally to sexual orientation. We already have gay members within the organisation. This is not a recent occurrence; Oscar Wilde was a Freemason.
There are two organisations of female Freemasons considered by the United Grand Lodge of England to be regular in their practice of Freemasonry. They are the Honourable Fraternity of Ancient Freemasons and the Order of Women Freemasons.
Both organisations have been in existence for over 100 years. Much like sports, Freemasonry is practiced in gender-specific organisations, the only mixed doubles being at the bar!
The meeting, which like those of other groups and institutions, are open only to it’s members. Our meetings are normally run in two parts. First, there are normal administrative procedures such as:
- Administration matters such as the confirmation of minutes of the previous meeting
- Proposing and balloting for new candidates
- Discussing and voting on the annual accounts
- Masonic news and correspondence from the Province or United Grand Lodge of England
- News about charitable work and where we decide we feel donations should be made
Second, there are the ceremonies for:
- Admitting new members into Freemasonry
- Progressing members to the next Degree
- The annual installation of the Master of the Lodge and his officers
- Generally a meeting will end with a sit down three course diner called a Festive Board, where members and their guests dine together.
New Freemasons make solemn promises as a personal commitment 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, work commitments and public obligations.
We expect you to be a good person without a criminal past. We ask that you participate in our 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.
There are Masonic charities that cater specifically, but not exclusively, for Freemasons or their dependants.
Porchway does make significant grants to non-Masonic organisations. This has in the past been to our local hospital where we have helped with equipment, patient welfare and medical research. Over the last three years, Porchway Lodge has donated just under £11,500 in support of 13 different well deserving good causes.
Currently we are raising money to help purchase an electric wheel chair for a young person who is looked after in a home and who has significant disabilities. A new wheel chair will give him and his carer a new quality of life.
The cost of being a full member of our Lodge is £265 per annum, which also covers your three course meal after each Lodge meeting. Meals are not provided at Lodges of Instruction. Like many other institutions, there is enrolment and administration fee, which is a one-off cost of £100. In due course, there will also be other costs to purchase your individual regalia. Freemasons are invited to give to charity at each meeting, but this should always be within their means and it is entirely up to the individual how much they wish to contribute. Following each Lodge meeting whilst we are having our meal together, we will run a charity raffle. All monies raised will then be donated to charity.
Yes. From its humble beginnings Freemasonry has been involved in local, national and international charitable activities, and since its inception it has provided support for many good causes, widows of Freemasons and orphans of Freemasons’ as well as for others within the community.
All monies raised for charity are drawn from amongst Freemasons, their families and friends, while grants and donations are made to Masonic and non-Masonic charities alike. Over the past five years alone Freemasonry has raised more than £75m for a wide range of charitable purposes including those involved in medical research, community care, education and work with young people.
Freemasonry has an enviable record for providing regular and consistent financial support to individual charities over long periods while at the same time making thousands of grants to local charities, appeals and projects throughout England and Wales each year. For the future, opportunities to obtain or provide matched funding are periodically examined with a view to enhancing the impact of the support Freemasonry can give to specific projects.
Yes there are. Our Lodge receives a monthly bulletin form the Provincial Grand Lodge of Surrey showing a range of events and social activities that Masons and the family can get involved in.
The Province of Surrey has its own social media page on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date with news and events. We have a number of social events such as summer BBQ’s, carveries, Ladies Nights, golf and fishing days along with white table events where Masons invite friends and family to the lodge to enjoy the Festive Board once the meeting has finished.
“We represent a fraternity which believes in justice and truth and honourable action in your community … men who are endeavouring to be better citizens … to make a great country greater. This is the only institution in the world where we can meet on the level all sorts of people who want to live rightly”
Brother Harry S Truman.