What goes on behind closed doors ?
Regular Masonic Meetings consist of three parts
This is the general running of a Lodge where decisions are made and voted on. This maybe which charities are to be supported, reports on the wellbeing of absent members and their families, news being circulated from Provincial Grand Lodge and Grand Lodge.
There are votes to admit new members and on the progression of members into new offices. The Treasurer will give an annual report on the financial health of the Lodge which will have been verified by at least two other members.
Sometimes there may be a lengthy discussion on a matter of importance - or on a Committee's report on their deliberations pertaining to it. A question like a change to the bylaws, for example, would normally be referred to a committee that would consider all the options and make a recommendation. Sometimes too, there may be an award presentation for long-term service to the Fraternity, for example.
This part of the meeting involves the enactment of one of four possible ceremonies.
The purpose of these are to initiate new members, promote members to a higher degree or to Install an experienced member to be Worshipful Master of the Lodge and he in turn invest and instal his officers.
Everybody in Freemasonry has been through these ceremonies and be they Royalty, Prime Ministers, Celebrities or just everyday people it makes no difference.
In the Lodge they are brothers, all the members will have spent many hours learning their part to make the ceremony as accurate and meaningful as possible for the benefit of the brother involved.
For the most part it is telling one chapter of a three part story which is symbolic and has spanned the ages.
These ceremonies are dependant on there being someone eligible for promotion, or there being a new member to be initiated.
On occasions when this isn't the case lectures may be given regarding an aspect of Freemasonry or talks from people outside of Freemasonry, somebody representing a particular charity for example.
The Festive Board
Following the meeting there normally follows a Festive Board, this is where everyone dines together, regardless of social standing , colour, creed or religion. Hence the expression " We meet on the level". There are toasts made and received, ( this is where Masons learn the benefits of brevity) ,
A moment is always taken to remember those no longer with us.
Often raffles take place with the proceeds going to, in the case of this Lodge, the charity of the Masters choosing.
Festive Boards in this Lodge are scheduled to end at 9pm with the Tylers Toast, sometimes this is missed by any number of reasons and the evening runs later.
Sometimes afterwards, the calling of the bar proves irresistible, especially after such thirsty work.