Welcome to the Provincial Grand Secretary’s Web Page.

W Bro Graham D Jones
Provincial Grand Secretary
Provincial Office: 7 New Bridge Street, Truro, TR1 2AA
Tel: 01872 276191
Email: secretary@pglcornwall.org.uk

I do hope this section of the Provincial Web Site will be of use to both experienced and new Lodge Secretaries. Please note, we are all bound by the rules laid down in the Book of Constitutions;  this book will be your guide to your conduct and responsibilities within the lodge. Additional information is also available in the Information for the Guidance and Members of the Craft booklet. Both of these are available to view and download HERE.

 

Current Files and Application Forms

Please follow this Secretarial Resources link for downloadable forms.

If required further advice can be obtained by contacting the Provincial Office by email. Cheryl and Debbie will be happy to assist you Monday to Friday between the hours of 9-12.30pm. More complicated items can be directed via myself but may take longer resolve.


Below you will find some very useful information regarding your duties as Lodge Secretaries.

We are within sight of every Lodge Secretary being on line, and then Provincial communications can also be sent via e-Mail; hopefully making your life easier and saving a significant amount of postage.

If you are a new Secretary I hope the items below will be of particular interest, but remember that myself, and the all the Provincial Office Team are there to help you, as I am sure, will be your past Lodge Secretary and any other Secretary in the Province.

One request I would make to all Secretaries: please ‘rehearse’ your evening, just as you would do if you were to undertake some ritual. There is nothing worse than having to ‘suffer’ a Secretary sorting through piles of paper whilst on his feet and stumbling through matters like correspondence. Indeed Correspondence and the First and Second Risings are parts of the Minutes you could almost write before the meeting!

Masonic Contact Procedures

The Provincial Grand Master should be contacted via the Provincial Grand Secretary, similarly correspondence to Grand Lodge goes via the Provincial Office.

For Grand Lodge Returns please send directly to the Provincial Grand Lodge office in Truro, along with your cheque for onward transmission to UGLE.

Contact with Grand Lodges overseas should only be made after checking with Provincial Grand Lodge that the Grand Lodge is regular and then only when actually in that country.

ENVELOPES AND POSTCARDS. The Masonic rank or title of the person addressed should never appear on the outside of any envelope, postcard or wrapper.

Sending Bulk E-Mails

When sending your agendas, they will be distributed within the Executive and put onto the website Lodge Diary as an event. To avoid people receiving duplicate emails(which often happens) restrict this email to the office only and avoid sending this to everyone in the Province. Maybe add to those you have a special bond with like a Mother or Daughter lodge etc. Use the guidance below.

If you contacting a number of recipients you must protect their accounts by using the Blind Carbon Copy (Bcc) field in your email programme. It is your responsibility to protect others user accounts and adopting this method will hide all the recipient's mail addresses and conform to GDPR guidelines. If you are unsure how to do this, click on the video links. Using Bcc in Outlook VideoUsing Bcc in Gmail Video.

 

 

The Lodge Summons

The Lodge Secretary issues the summons for each meeting to all members of the Lodge at least seven clear days before the meeting, with e- mail copies being sent to the Provincial Grand Secretary.

Please Save As and distribute in PDF format. Word Docs are great for creating the summons but can often get jumbled when sent and viewed by the recipients.
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Emergency Meeting

No Lodge of Emergency may be summoned without a dispensation being first obtained (Rule 140 B.C.)

No business may be transacted at a meeting authorised by dispensation except that which is specified by it.

No minutes of the previous Regular meeting are to be read and there are no Risings.

No candidate can be proposed or balloted for at a Lodge of Emergency, except as provided in Rule 160 B.C. A joining member cannot under any circumstances be proposed or balloted for except at a regular Lodge Meeting.

Applications in writing for a dispensation should be sent to the Provincial Grand Secretary as soon as the need for one becomes apparent. A concise explanation of the reason for the dispensation is all that is required. There is a small charge.

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Minutes

The minutes are to be submitted to each Regular Meeting for confirmation as a true record of fact. They must be read unless the Lodge has agreed that an exact copy of the minutes may be circulated to members with the summons.

Rule 144 BOC is considered to be complied with if a typed (Word-processed) sheet is immovably affixed to the Minute Book. It should, in fact, be initialed by the Secretary at the foot of each page. A loose leaf folder is unacceptable.

It is now considered desirable that minutes be circulated, as this assists in keeping absent members involved in Lodge affairs and will hopefully help to avoid them ‘falling by the wayside’.

The Provincial Grand Secretary will usually specify those matters which need to be drawn to the attention of the Brethren on the Second Rising and his instructions must be followed. It is now hoped that, wherever possible, copies of his letter and any attachments can be ‘cut and pasted’ and sent to members with the Lodge summons. This reinforces the hope expressed in the previous paragraph.

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Circulation of Lodge Minutes

The Board (of General Purposes) is most anxious to encourage Lodges to save time at meetings by distributing the Minutes of the previous meeting to members with the summons. It notes, however, with concern that in some cases such Minutes contain far more detail, particularly in relation to ceremonial work of the Lodge, than is necessary or appropriate. The Board considers that the function of Minutes is to provide the formal record of the business transacted at each meeting of a Lodge, rather than a detailed description of every aspect of the ceremonies and administrative business. It also notes that such lengthy minutes are a relatively recent development, in many cases linked with the increasing use of word processors. It accordingly suggests that Lodge Secretaries should restrict the Minutes, in so far as they relate to the ceremonies of the three degrees and the Installation of the new Master, to identifying the ceremony, the Candidate and the particular Brethren undertaking the work (if that is not immediately obvious from the offices such Brethren hold).

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Returns to Grand Lodge

The following annual returns are required:-
To the GRAND SECRETARY :

A list of the Subscribing Members with fees. (B.C. 146, 147, 148, 151, 152,270).

Payment should be made for a Member who is in arrears, but his name must be returned with the words, "in arrears" written against it. Should a member be two years in arrears he thereupon ceases to be a member of the Lodge and can only become so again by regular proposition and ballot.

Every name that appeared on the previous return must be accounted for.

When a Member ceases to subscribe, the cause must be stated in the next return, whether it is resignation, death, exclusion or made Honorary

Immediately after the installation Meeting, a return of the Master, Wardens and Past Masters claiming the right to attend Grand Lodge. (B.C. 151). must be sent to the Grand Secretary via the Provincial Office.
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Secretary - Joining Members

A brother resigning from a Lodge must be issued with a Certificate under Rule 175 BOC, stating whether or not he is in good standing.

Due enquiry should be made regarding any proposed joining member. Before the ballot is taken the candidate must produce to the Secretary of the Lodge his Grand Lodge Certificate and, in accordance with Rule 175, a certificate of good standing from each of the Lodges of which he is a member to show that all dues have been paid, as well as a certificate from each of the Lodges of which he has ceased to be a member, stating the circumstances in which he left the Lodge, and whether at that time all dues were paid, or have since been paid. (Rule 163(c) B.C.).

A Lodge failing to make due enquiry as to any joining Member whom it may admit is liable to pay the arrears (if any) that may be owing by such members to the Lodge to which he previously belonged. (B.C. 163).

It is the joining candidates own responsibility to obtain letters of good standing from all Lodges of which he is, or has been, a member.

Brethren Joining from other Jurisdictions

In the event of a Brother who has been initiated in a Lodge not under the Grand Lodge of England applying to join a Lodge under this Grand Lodge, the secretary of the lodge shall, before the ballot is taken, apply to the Grand Secretary to ascertain that the Grand Lodge under which the Brother was initiated is recognised by the Grand Lodge of England. Upon election or within one year after his election and previously to being admitted for the first time as a member of the Lodge, the joining Brother shall make the declaration as set forth in Rule 163 B.C. and this must be recorded in the Lodge Minutes.

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Secretary - Change in Lodge Membership

Please inform the Provincial Office of any changes of address or the death of a Brother. It is particularly important if a Lodge Secretary, Almoner or Charity Steward dies, as correspondence may otherwise be sent to him, causing distress to the family.

The Province would always wish to be represented by a Grand Officer at a brother’s funeral, and, indeed, support a brother at his wife’s funeral.

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Secretary - Financial Matters

Grand Lodge Returns

Please ensue your Returns and dues are sent promptly to Grand Lodge via the Provincial Office to to enable the information to be cross-referenced with our computer records. Remember to send your Cheque.

Lodge Accounts

Rule 153 B of C state that all Lodge Funds including the accounts of Charity Stewards, Almoners and supplementary accounts for the bar etc. should be examined annually and presented to the Lodge.
A copy of the Lodge Accounts should be submitted to Provincial Grand Lodge as soon as possible.

Increases in Grand Lodge Dues makes it advisable for Lodges to review their exclusion procedures. The timing is important to avoid the Lodge having to pay two years dues for a defaulting brother.

Provincial Grand Lodge Annual Returns will be issued at the end of November and these must be returned, with payment, by January 14th, at the very latest. This is a very important deadline, as time is needed to process the returns and thus enable the Provincial Grand Lodge Accounts to be produced for the Provincial Committee meeting at the end of January.
Contact with secretaries by E-mail is very useful and timesaving. A box will be printed on the Annual Return to enable notification to the Provincial Office of the Lodge Secretary’s e-mail address, if it is not already shown in the Year Book.
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Secretary - Election of Master & Treasurer

Rule 105 (a)

Following the amendment to this rule, the Master may declare an election in favour of the nominated member, provided that this intention, and the identity of the Brother nominated, is declared on the summons, and also provided, of course, that :

  • there is only one nomination
  • no other member duly qualified shall have indicated to the Secretary that he wishes to be considered
  • no other member calls for a ballot,

Brethren have asked for guidance on wording for the summons :

There is no official statement on this from Grand Lodge, but the following is acceptable :

To elect a Master and Treasurer for the ensuing year. ( Note : the only nominations of which the Secretary is aware are : Bro. x as Master and Bro. y as Treasurer. Subject to the provisions of Rules 105 (a) and 112 (a) B.O.C. respectively, it is proposed to declare the ballot in their favour. Any member, however, may demand a ballot.

This begs the question of how a brother is ‘ nominated’. It is generally the custom that the Senior Warden is the automatic nominee, and this long established custom might be deemed sufficient to justify the term ‘nominated’.
In all other cases one would expect the ‘nomination’ to be the result of a Lodge Committee Meeting ( eg General Purposes or Past Masters ). Indeed it would seem prudent that all Election Nights are preceded by such a committee meeting and the proceedings minuted.

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Secretary - Miscellaneous

New Lodge Banners
Approval must be sought from Province (which in turn informs Grand Lodge) even if it is a copy of the old one.

Prompting

Lodges have their individual ideas on this, but it should be made clear to everyone who the prompter is and no-one else should prompt.

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Secretary - Minutes

The minutes are to be submitted to each Regular Meeting for confirmation as a true record of fact. They must be read unless the Lodge has agreed that an exact copy of the minutes may be circulated to members with the summons
Rule 144 BOC is considered to be complied with if a typed (Word-processed) sheet is immovably affixed to the Minute Book. It should, in fact, be initialed by the Secretary at the foot of each page. A loose leaf folder is unacceptable.

It is now considered desirable that minutes be circulated, as this assists in keeping absent members involved in Lodge affairs and will hopefully help to avoid them ‘falling by the wayside’.

The Provincial Grand Secretary will usually specify those matters which need to be drawn to the attention of the Brethren on the Second Rising and his instructions must be followed. It is now hoped that, wherever possible, copies of his letter and any attachments can be ‘cut and pasted’ and sent to members with the Lodge summons. This reinforces the hope expressed in the previous paragraph.

Circulation of Lodge Minutes

The Board (of General Purposes) is most anxious to encourage Lodges to save time at meetings by distributing the Minutes of the previous meeting to members with the summons. It notes, however, with concern that in some cases such Minutes contain far more detail, particularly in relation to ceremonial work of the Lodge, than is necessary or appropriate. The Board considers that the function of Minutes is to provide the formal record of the business transacted at each meeting of a Lodge, rather than a detailed description of every aspect of the ceremonies and administrative business. It also notes that such lengthy minutes are a relatively recent development, in many cases linked with the increasing use of word processors. It accordingly suggests that Lodge Secretaries should restrict the Minutes, in so far as they relate to the ceremonies of the three degrees and the Installation of the new Master, to identifying the ceremony, the Candidate and the particular Brethren undertaking the work( if that is not immediately obvious from the offices such Brethren hold).

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Secretary - Alteration of Bye-Laws

Notice of the alteration should be given in open lodge. The circular convening the next meeting, whether regular or emergency, should contain full particulars of such alteration - a statement of the nature of the alteration is insufficient. An amendment to the alterations as originally intended may be moved and adopted at this meeting. When the alteration has been passed it should be confirmed at a subsequent Meeting if the Lodge By-Laws so provide. The circular convening the confirmatory Meeting should again contain full particulars of the alterations, as passed at the previous Meeting and it should be confirmed without further amendment or rejected.

Where the amendments conform substantially to the Grand Lodge Model By-Laws, they should then be submitted to the Provincial Grand Secretary for approval by the Provincial Grand Master. In certain cases such as Change of Venue, Meeting, Election or Installation Date, and the due date of the Annual Subscription, they will also be submitted to the Grand Secretary for approval by the Grand Master (via the Provincial Grand Secretary) See Rule 136 B.C.

The existing wording and the amendment should be sent in to the Provincial Grand Secretary on the form as specified by Grand Lodge. Wording must conform to the Model By-Laws as supplied by UGLE or they are likely to be rejected. You can find the Model By-Laws Here

To reiterate, where the alterations are concerned solely with changes in Lodge subscriptions, the approval of the M.W. Grand Master and the R.W. Provincial Grand Master is not required. Notice of the change in subscriptions having been adopted by the Lodge should be sent to the Provincial Grand Secretary for record purposes.

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Secretary - Candidates

Enquiries – Candidates for Initiation – Rule 158

Rule 158 Book of Constitutions requires Lodges to enquire about Candidates who both live and work outside the locality of their Lodges.

Our Provincial Grand Master RW Brother Stephen C Pearn is happy for lodges to make inter lodge enquiries; i.e If a Gentleman from Helston wishes to join a lodge in Redruth, then the Secretary in Helston should write to all lodges within the Redruth Centres and await a reply to ensure the Gentleman is of a suitable character BEFORE any proposing or balloting takes place.

Additionally the Provincial Grand Master has instructed that if more than one Lodge meets in the immediate locality, due enquiry should be made to those Lodges.

It is expected that candidates will have been known to the proposer and seconder for at least a year. If this is not the case, enclose a covering letter stating what steps have been taken to get to know the candidate and assess his suitability.

The Proposer and seconder should be at the meeting where a candidate for Initiation or Joining is to be proposed. However, the Provincial Grand Master is conscious that brethren may be unable to attend through illness or work commitments. The candidate may then be proposed in his absence, but make a clear note of the reason why in the minutes.

Occupation and business address is still required on the Summons.

It is essential that in the case of every candidate for initiation or joining, the particulars required by Rule 164. Book of Constitutions, must appear in the Summons for the meeting at which the ballot is to take place. They should be given in the order shown in the Rule 164(b), as follows;- (a) full name (b) age (c) profession or occupation. (It is not sufficient merely to state Civil Servant. Local Government Officer, Administrative Officer, Clerk etc. The address where employed or the employer's name and address should be supplied), (d) place or places of abode (e) business address. (This should be supplied in all cases, including professional persons) (f) the names of proposer and seconder, and (g) the date of proposal in Open Lodge.

The age need not be given in the case of a candidate for joining or rejoining.

No ballot can take place before certification by Provincial Grand Lodge

Proposal forms must be read by the secretary in Open Lodge before the ballot takes place.

Candidates Form can be found here

To assist recording at the Provincial Office the names of the proposer and seconder should be printed in the margin of the form after the signature.

Secretary - Unattached Visitors

A Brother who has ceased to be a Subscribing Member of a Lodge shall only be permitted to attend or visit ONE Lodge in Cornwall, and that only once unless he is, or becomes, a subscribing member of a Lodge. In the case of such attendance or visit, he shall, unless and until he is a subscribing member of a Lodge, append the word "Unattached" to his signature in the attendance book, and shall state therein the name and number of the Lodge of which he was last a subscribing member.

A Brother who has ceased to be a member of a Lodge by exclusion under Rules 148 or 181 shall not be permitted to attend or visit any Lodge unless or until he is, or becomes, a subscribing member of a Lodge.

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Secretary - Installation Proceedings

Attendance of Presiding Officer

The Provincial Grand Master can only attend a limited number if meetings. If a Lodge has a particular reason for wishing the Provincial Grand Master to attend their Installation, contact the Provincial Grand Secretary before April

Installation Invitations

Installation Invitations to the Presiding Officer and the Provincial Secretary should be sent to the Provincial Office.
Invitations to Provincial Wardens and the Provincial D of C should be sent direct to their home addresses. There may be a danger of the invitations being missed if sent via email.

 

Installation proceedings

( It is the Grand Master's privilege to instruct a WM on how to run his Lodge at his Installation, and the Presiding Officer (whoever it may be) is simply deputising for the PGM - which after all is really why Province attends Installations and why the Book of Constitutions requires a WM to offer the gavel to a PGM, DPGM or APGM.)

Unless there is a very compelling reason for a Lodge to do so in house e.g. father and son, the Presiding Officer always ought to give the address to the WM.

Lodges are perfectly free to give the address to the Wardens and Brethren but are advised that unless they have someone who can give them properly (i.e. without prompting) then please, for the sake of a smooth ceremony, ask Province to do them.

Under no circumstances will Province ever do the address to the Wardens or Brethren if the Presiding Officer does not address the WM.

If an Installing Master cannot cope with the ceremony, it is much better for his work to be farmed out at an Installation rather than for everyone to suffer the indignity of an embarrassing Ceremony. DC's should be prepared to justify to the Presiding Officer, or his DC for the evening, the reasons why a retiring Master was not side-stepped if his ritual is a complete disaster.

Although it is still the tradition for a few Lodges to allow attending Masters to personally congratulate both the new Master and his Installing Master after the Board of Installed Masters is closed and before Visiting Master Masons are admitted, it does add a very considerable time to the ceremony which the Pro Grand Master has wisely cautioned our movement against.

Such Lodges are asked to reconsider the matter in their committees to see whether it is still really appropriate for them to continue to do so.

The whole purpose of the Presiding Officer going down to the East at the end of the Board Of Installed Masters is to enable him to congratulate the new Master "ON BEHALF OF ALL THE WORSHIPFUL BRETHREN PRESENT." Accordingly there is no need for any individual brethren whatsoever to go up to the Master to shake his hand during the meeting. It is much more "personal" for anyone who wants to congratulate the new WM to do so before the Festive Board begins.

Timing of Installations and The Festive Board

In your planning, it is expected that the Installation Ceremony will take 2 ¼ hours, and the Festive Board no longer than 2 hours from the meal up to the first toast.
Arrange the meal time so that there is no excessive hanging around before the Festive Board begins. If a hotel can not manage to serve the meal before a certain time, then the commencement of the meeting should be adjusted to compensate.

Province and very often many brethren who are working the next day need to be away by 9.30 at the very latest.

The Provincial Wardens sit next to the Presiding Officer at the Installation banquet, followed by Grand Officers and Provincial Grand Officers in order of seniority. Even if a Grand Officer or provincial Grand Officer is invited by a member of the Lodge as his personal guest he must sit with the other officers.

The Third Toast is for Grand ( not ‘Lodge’ !) Officers, and Toast 4 is to the Provincial Grand Master.

Lodge Secretaries should instruct their Installation Festive Board caterers that the meal should be cleared away in time for speeches to begin by nine o'clock at the very latest. Secretaries should always check with their caterers exactly how many waitresses etc will be on duty to ensure that the catering manager has considered whether they have enough staff to cope with the number of brethren attending the meal so that everything is ready for speeches in time.

The number of raffle prizes given out on Installation night will be irrelevant to the amount of tickets sold. If there are more than say three prizes the brethren's attention always wavers, they start talking amongst themselves and the atmosphere of the evening – just before the important toasts – can degenerate. If there is a surplus of raffle prizes donated for the Installation raffle, it is far better to save the excess number for future ordinary Lodge meeting nights, rather than allow an Installation raffle draw to be seemingly never ending and therefore slightly embarrassing.

If the new Master feels that all the prizes given to the Lodge ought to be raffled on his Installation night, all he has to do is tell the brethren that owing to everyone being so generous, he has decided to keep back some of them for future evenings in his year so that the prizes (and net raffle takings!) can be spread out a bit. Brethren who are donating a prize ( usually a bottle of wine) might like to get together and donate a more substantial prize.

The Provincial Grand Master or his representative would be delighted to see potential candidates for initiation into the Lodge at the Installation Festive Boards if their proposers/seconders want to invite them, as well as any non mason visitors.

Lodges might like to consider inviting local civic or religious leaders to their annual Installation Banquet as the Lodge's guest so as to help dispel any of their local community's lingering disquiet about masonry. If this is going to happen, check with the Provincial Grand Secretary on the etiquette to be observed, such as where the official guest sits.

If a Lodge plans to carry out such a policy, please let the Presiding Officer know beforehand so that he can be properly prepared.

There is no longer any worries about tyling during speeches - there is nothing to hide, however the Booklet “Information for the Guidance of Members of the Craft” states that Firing and the Tyler’s toast are considered specifically masonic and should be avoided. The Tylers‘s Toast should be modified to omit the word “Freemasons”.

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Secretary - Role of APGS

70th, 60th and 50th Year Certificate Presentations

The Assistant Provincial Grand Secretary helps to organise the 50 and 60 year presentations and liaises with lodge secretaries when asking them for potted histories of recipients. These histories are extremely important and are to be supplied to the Presiding Officer well in advance of the meeting with any data supplied by the lodge Secretary. If you wish the event to be recorded and photographed, please arrange it in advance with Phillip Lakin, our Provincial Communications Officer.

He will also assist the Provincial Secretary in organising the Annual Provincial Meeting.

Email Simon Copas at: srcopas@pglcornwall.org.uk

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Secretary - Bringing New Candidates into Freemasonry

The ancient traditions and tenets of Freemasonry have remained the same for over 500 years but society and culture in the way we live today has progressed.
The application to join Freemasonry has basically stayed the same since speculative Masonry began but the prospective candidate today has different work and family commitments and financial pressures in life.

When we interview a candidate today for acceptance into our Lodges, the standard questions are asked by the General Purpose Committee :

  • Do you believe in Supreme Being,
  • Are you over 21
  • Have you been convicted of a criminal offence etc..
  • Why have you been prompted to join Freemasonry
  • Have you discussed this with your wife ?
  • Are you aware of the time commitments ?

The candidate attending an interview is a daunting time for anyone and there are usually 2 types of candidate.

Those who come with a little knowledge that they have picked up from information they have searched for on the internet and from the basic questions they have asked their Proposers.

Then there are those who have not done any research into what they are joining but have been told that they would like it, make many acquaintances and the Festive Board after the meetings was great.

After the basic questions have been asked, the candidate then gets a chance to ask any questions if he has any.

What questions could he have ? He knows nothing of the organisation, what it does, or its principles. Most candidates, if you think about it, will not have any questions, many may be too scared in case they say the wrong thing.

We ask candidates why they want to join. Curiosity, want of a social life and helping charity if they are honest, because this is all they know and have been told.

Ideally, the following information should be given to all candidates to peruse at their leisure before applying for an interview. If after reading the article they wish to continue with the application, they should re-approach their proposer for an interview.

Information for candidates wishing to join Freemasonry.

Freemasonry is one of the world's oldest fraternal societies and is a society of men concerned with moral and spiritual values.

Its members are taught its precepts by a series of ritual dramas, which follow ancient forms, and use stonemasons' customs and tools as allegorical guides.

The essential qualification for admission into and continuing membership is a belief in a Supreme Being. Membership is open to men aged Twenty-one years or over, of any race or religion who can fulfill this essential qualification and who are of good repute.

Freemasonry is not a religion or a substitute for religion. Its essential qualification opens it to men of many religions and it expects them to continue to follow their own faith.

Freemasonry is also non-political so the discussion of religion and politics is not allowed in Lodge meetings.

From its earliest days, Freemasonry has been concerned with the care of orphans, the sick and the aged. This work continues today. In addition, large sums are given to national and local charities.

Freemasonry demands from its members a respect for the law of the country in which a man works and lives. Its principles do not in any way conflict with its members' duties as citizens, but should strengthen them in fulfilling their public and private responsibilities. The use by a Freemason of his membership to promote his own or anyone else's business, professional or personal interests is condemned, and is contrary to the conditions on which he sought admission to Freemasonry.

His duty as a citizen must always prevail over any obligation to other Freemasons, and any attempt to shield a Freemason who has acted dishonourably or unlawfully is contrary to this prime duty.

Freemasonry is a fraternal society and all members are free to acknowledge their membership and will do so in response to enquiries for respectable reasons. In ordinary conversation there is very little about Freemasonry that may not be discussed.

Its ceremonies are private. Like many other societies, it regards some of its internal affairs as private matters for its members. On enquiry for acceptable reasons, Freemasons are free and will be proud to acknowledge their own membership.

What happens at lodge meetings?

A Lodge is where the Meetings and ceremonies take place. What goes on in lodges is partly the formal business that any association has to do, such as the consideration of minutes of the previous meeting, and dealing with propositions for membership, accounts of general and charitable funds, subscriptions, donations, and the like. Once a year a new Master is elected and at the next meeting he is installed and appoints and invests his officers (i.e. the active players in the ceremonies which the lodge prepares for those becoming Freemasons). However, the real core of Freemasonry is the ceremonies which involve admitting new masons and teaching them Freemasonry's moral message.

The moral message is not peculiar to Freemasonry, but is common to many systems – (natural equality, dependence on others, benevolence, intellectual truth, inevitable death, fidelity) - all under God. The method of teaching is Freemasonry's own, a series of ritual dramas, based on ancient mythology and stonemasons' customs and tools, in which the members of the lodge work together to get the message across to each new member.

Masonic ceremonies are private but printed copies are freely available (its history is incidentally fascinating). The quality of its language is readily apparent and the actions are not hard to imagine. However, merely reading the printed word does not explain, that the ceremonies are delivered from memory, nor how everyone in a lodge (and not just the officers directly concerned) concentrates on familiar words and actions which are new to the candidate or how effectively the ceremony makes an impression on the candidate.

Of the various officers of the lodge, some are obligatory while others are optional. Those that lodges have to have are a Master, a Senior Warden, a Junior Warden, a Treasurer, a Secretary, an Almoner, a Charity Steward, a Senior Deacon, a Junior Deacon, and Inner Guard and a Tyler. The optional officers are a Chaplain, a Director of Ceremonies, an Assistant Director of Ceremonies, an Organist, an Assistant Secretary and a Steward or Stewards.

Lodge meetings are normally held once a month, and usually not throughout the whole year. The meetings usually between 6.00 and 7.00 pm with dining (festive board) afterwards and finish approx 10.00pm. A printed summons will be sent to every member of the Lodge with details of the day of the meeting and the start time.

Although joining a Freemasons Lodge can be very enlightening and enjoyable, it has commitments that have to be taken seriously.

Financial

There is the initial joining fee expense which you will be informed of before joining and then an annual subscription fee there after.

Your formal attire and regalia will have to be purchased as you progress.

The cost of the dining fee at the festive board, raffle tickets and an Alms collection at every Lodge Meeting has to be taken into consideration.

There are social charity events that take place throughout the year that you are expected to attend to help raise monies for charity.

Commitment to time

You will be expected to attend the Meetings once a month.

There is also a Lodge of Rehearsal which is held once a week between meetings as to practice the ceremony for the next meeting.

There are words you have to learn by memory to progress through your 3 degrees.

Once you have achieved your three degrees and wish to progress through the offices, you will have to learn your lines by memory for the dramas that are re-enacted for the ceremonies. There are 3 ceremonies for the candidates and you progress to a different role (office) every year where the lines are different and usually longer.

These are all things to be taken into consideration before joining. You should discuss them with your family and ensure they have no objections to you joining.

Fundamentally the Lodge and Freemasonry in general is made up from men of mature age, sound judgement, and strict morals who are inclined towards good works in the community, friendliness towards their fellow man, and a generous nature. If this describes you, then we are interested in considering you as a candidate for membership.

Secretary - FAQ's

Q: One of our members due for Honours is unable to attend Provincial Grand Lodge.
Can the Provincial Grand Master, or his representative invest him on a future occasion?

A: Brethren absent from Provincial Grand Lodge are considered Invested the moment the Provincial Grand Secretary reads out their names. They should therefore be wearing their new Regalia from that moment on.

Q: Recently our lodge has started sending out the minutes of the previous meeting with the summons. It saves a good ten minutes of lodge time and is certainly a good move forward especially for those who are unable to attend and can thereby be kept in touch with what is going on in their lodge.

However, what if the postman delivers the letter to the wrong address and the details of our ritual thereby falls into someone else’s hands ?
Are there any restrictions or rules regarding this new way of doing things?

A: Take a look in that wonderful little blue book, Information for the Guidance of Members of the Craft, Page 15 Points of Procedure
CIRCULATION OF LODGE MINUTES

The Board is most anxious to encourage Lodges to save time at meetings by distributing the Minutes of the previous meeting to members with the summons. It notes, however, with concern that in some cases such Minutes contain far more detail, particularly in relation to the ceremonial work of the Lodge, than is either necessary or appropriate. The Board considers that the function of Minutes is to provide the formal record of the business transacted at each meeting of a Lodge, rather than a detailed description of every aspect of the ceremonies and administrative business. It also notes that such lengthy Minutes are a relatively recent development, in many cases linked with the increasing use of word processors. It accordingly suggests that Lodge Secretaries should restrict the Minutes, in so far as they relate to the ceremonies of the three degrees and the Installation of the new Master, to identifying the ceremony, the Candidate and the particular Brethren undertaking the work (if that is not immediately obvious from the offices such Brethren hold).

Q: A Brother has been excluded from our Lodge following an unpleasant falling out over certain irregularities connected to his office, and what we consider to be un-masonic behaviour. Is he free to continue his Masonic life on other Lodges ?

A: A brother is excluded from a private lodge and this does not affect his pre-existing membership of other private lodges, assuming that he is not in arrears.
A wish to join another Lodge would be a different matter.

The communications we get from Grand Lodge refer to expulsions from the Craft, which is a totally different matter and usually follows a criminal conviction.
Even if a brother has been excluded from a lodge for irregularities that could have led to criminal proceedings this still remains a private lodge matter and should not be referred to in another lodge.

If a brother is uncomfortable sitting with a brother excluded from another lodge, the only course open is to state that he is at variance with another brother and quietly withdraw, without stating the reasons. It remains, of course, within the power of any Worshipful Master to refuse admission to any visitor whose presence is in his opinion likely to disturb the harmony of the Lodge.

Q: Due to a fall of snow, we have cancelled our meeting, can we hold it next week, and do we need a Dispensation ?

A: There is no power to cancel, or adjourn, any regular Lodge meeting.

Rule 139 B.O.C. states that if a meeting falls on a Public Holiday the meeting shall be moved to an alternative day not more than seven days before or after the regular date.
No dispensation is needed for this.
Summonses having been sent out, no form of Dispensation is now possible.

Whilst, however, you cannot cancel a meeting you can abandon it because you are not quorate.

Enter into your Minute Book that owing to lack of numbers attending the Meeting, a quorum was not possible and the meeting had to be abandoned. Rule 119(c) B.O.C

Q: We would like to make our meetings less formal and wear Blazers and Slacks. We feel that this might attract more younger members, is this allowed ?

A: The Board of General Purposes made a pronouncement in 1950 re-affirming that dark suits, black shoes and tie and white collar should be worn. This was prompted by the ending of clothes rationing!

In March 1983 Grand Lodge reaffirmed the recommendations and they became enforceable under Rule 229 BOC.
Since then the Board of General Purposes has reconsidered the question of ties and acknowledged the potential value of Provincial ties, which, of course, should only be worn within the relevant Province.

In December 2002 the Board re-affirmed that, unless it is the custom of the Lodge to meet in evening dress, traditional morning wear or dark lounge suits continue to be the appropriate dress. Shirts should have a plain white collar and, if not be completely white, should be of a restrained hue.

I understand the wish to attract new members, but every club has its own rules and codes of practice, and I would hope that the men we wish to attract are those who appreciate the maintenance of such standards.

Accordingly, until Grand Lodge rules otherwise your members should continue to wear dark Lounge Suits rather than blazers.
There is, of course, no need for them ever to wear Morning Suits unless they are representing the Province on official business or are Grand Officers.

Q: When I go on cruises, the Freemasons usually get together in one form or another. We always elect the most senior member as ‘president’. How do we distinguish who is the most senior between a brother holding Provincial Rank, and a holder of London Grand Rank ?

A: No comparison is genuinely possible, as a Provincial or District Grand Officer has precedence as such only within his particular Province or District, and a Holder of SLGR or LGR only within London. Your cruise was on the high seas. There, rank and precedence can be determined only in accordance with Rule 5 of the Book of Constitutions. In the absence of any Grand Officer or Past Grand Steward, all those present fall within "The Master, Past Masters qualified under Rule 9, and Wardens of the Grand Stewards' Lodge, and of every other private Lodge."

That means that the order is (a) present Masters (if any) in order of Installation, followed by (b) Past Masters according to the date of their first Installation.