In an increasingly divisive world, many people are looking for unity and purpose to help guide their way. Compassion and respect are more important now than ever before.
Freemasonry is one of the oldest social and charitable organisations in the world, open to those of all backgrounds. Its roots lie in the traditions of the medieval stonemasons who built our cathedrals and castles.
The organisation’s aim is to empower members to be the best they can be, both for themselves and for society around them. It does this by providing a structure of support to help them make positive contributions to their local communities, whether it be through fundraising events or volunteer work.
In an uncertain world, the Masonic principles of integrity, respect, and charity ring as true today as they ever have before.
The only essential qualifications for admission to Freemasonry are:
- That you have a belief in a Supreme Being. This means that you profess a religious faith. Freemasonry is not restricted to certain faiths. Freemasons meet all over the world and embraces men of many differing religions.
- Candidates for membership must be over 18 years of age.
- That you profess allegiance to the Sovereign of your country and all that the Sovereign represents.
- That you are willing to strictly observe the Laws, Regulations and Constitutions of Freemasonry.
- That you are of good character and are prepared to abide by and uphold the Civil and Criminal Laws of any country in which you may be a temporary or permanent resident.
- That you have the full support of your partner and family.
The meetings, which like many other groups are only open to members, are usually in three parts. Firstly, there are the routine administration procedures such as the minutes of the previous meeting, proposing and balloting for new members, Masonic news and correspondence and 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 or there may be a talk or lecture on a Masonic topic. After this there will usually be a sit down semi formal dinner with Toasts and Speeches although some lodges have a more informal approach to this.
New members make solemn promises concerning their behaviour both in the lodge and in society. Members also promise to keep confidential the way they recognize each other when visiting another lodge. Freemasons also promise to support others in time of need but only as far as it does not conflict with their family and public obligations.
No. 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.
There are Masonic Charities that cater (but not exclusively), for Freemasons or their dependants. Most Masonic Charities make significant grants to non-Masonic organisations in the UK and overseas. More detail on Masonic donations can be found by following the links under Charity on both this and the United Grand Lodge of England web sites. Freemasons have funded Air Ambulances, Fire Engines, County Ambulances, St Johns Support Units, Hospitals, Hospices, Community Support for the elderly, Schools, Young Persons organisations such as Guides and Scouts, these are just a few examples where equipment is provided and significant funding received from Freemasons in the UK.
All Freemasons are expected to have a religious belief. However, Freemasonry does not seek to replace a Freemason’s own religion or provide a substitute for practising it. Freemasons are encouraged to fully participate in the religions of their own choice.
There are elements within churches that misunderstand Freemasonry and its objectives. They confuse secular rituals with religious liturgy. There are many Freemasons in churches where their leaders have been openly critical of the organisation. Freemasonry has always encouraged its members to be active within their own religion.
Yes. Four Grand Masters of English Freemasonry have been Roman Catholics. Today there are many Roman Catholic Freemasons.
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.
Freemasonry exists throughout the world. However, each Grand Lodge is sovereign and independent. There is no international governing body for Freemasonry.
Yes. Different Grand Lodges within Freemasonry have different policies for Membership. Some permit only male members. Some permit only female members and some permit mixed membership. These Grand Lodges do not permit inter visitation though. Each approach has its own merits and relative strengths and weaknesses, it is for the individual to choose which type of membership best suits them.
The wearing of regalia is historic and symbolic. Like a uniform, the regalia indicate the rank of the wearer in the organisation.
There are just under 200,000 members under the United Grand Lodge of England representing England, Wales and Districts and Lodges overseas. There are many more Freemasons in the UK whose memberships are held under the Grand Lodges of Scotland & Ireland.
There are a great many Grand Lodges around the world, each with their own territory and with an estimated total combined membership approaching 6 Million. There is no single international ruling body for Freemasonry.
Basic Freemasonry consists of three degrees: Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft and Master Mason.
The costs vary from lodge to lodge. Anyone wishing to join will find a lodge to suit his pocket. There is a one off initiation fee on entry and an annual subscription. In due course regalia will have to be bought. The meetings are normally followed by a dinner and the costs of this vary depending on the venue.
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 they wish to give. Giving up time to support the community is often just as valuable as contributing funds.