What is Freemasonry?
Square and Compasses Freemasonry is one of the world’s oldest fraternal societies. Contrary to what many believe, it has no particular religious connection. The only spiritual requirement is that members hold a belief in a supreme being. It is open to men of all religions, faiths and beliefs – but neither religion nor politics is allowed as a topic of conversation at a Lodge meeting: Sikhs, Muslims, Christians, Buddhists – all meet as equals in masonic brotherhood.
Through a series of dramatic rituals, Masons are taught moral lessons and are led to a better self-knowledge. These rituals, which have been in use for centuries, use stonemasons’ customs and tools as their framework. Where stonemasons build structures with stone and mortar, Freemasons build character with support and friendship.
We are taught thoughtfulness for others and to practice concern for people and care for those less fortunate than ourselves.
There are three great Principles in Freemasonry. As the United Grand Lodge of England puts it:
Brotherly Love :Every true Freemason will show tolerance and respect for the opinions of others and behave with kindness and understanding to his fellow creatures.
Relief : Freemasons are taught to practise charity and to care – not only for their own – but also for the community as a whole, both by charitable giving and by voluntary efforts and works as individuals.
Truth : Freemasons strive for truth, requiring high moral standards and aiming to achieve them in their own lives.
Freemasons believe that these principles represent a way of achieving higher standards in life.
Organisation of Freemasonry
Freemasonry is not a single organisation. The whole is covered by a number of branches, or ‘Orders’. The foundation of Freemasonry from which the other Orders spring is ‘Craft’ Masonry. You must be a member of ‘the Craft’ before you can join the other Orders (Ipsley is a Craft Lodge), and other rules concerning membership also apply. Anyone who wishes to know more details about the diversity of Masonic Orders would do well to have a look at the Mark Masons’ Hall online shop. https://www.shopat86.co.uk/ There are several ‘craft’ lodges and other orders operating in Redditch, from the Redditch Masonic Hall.
(If you are contemplating joining Freemasonry, we would advise against trying to find out too much about the ritual before your Initiation. Your experience will, quite simply, be diminished by knowing too much in advance. Learn something of the goals, and achievements of Freemasonry, but let the details of the ritual unfold as you grow through your membership).
The rules by which ‘the Craft’ is governed are freely available for view by anyone who cares to do so. They are posted on the UGLE website, as are the rules and regulations appertaining to another Order in Freemasonry – The Holy Royal Arch.
Women in Freemasonry
“But it’s only for men!”
Actually, no it’s not. There are a number of Masonic organisations; the one we are part of is for men only. There are some for women only and others for both men and women. We are all staunchly in favour of our own “brand”, of course.
The Honourable Fraternity of Ancient Freemasons is an alternative for women’s Masonry.
Want to know more?
Visit the website of the United Grand Lodge of England.
Contact Ipsley Lodge via the Contact Page on this site or email:
Ipsley Lodge – Friendly Freemasonry in Redditch!