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Welcome to the home of Berkshire Freemasonry where you can find out what Freemasonry is all about, the names and meeting places of our lodges, how to contact us, and how to become a mason.
Freemasonry provides a unique environment for people from all backgrounds to learn skills, form lasting friendships, make a contribution to society and their local community, and above all enjoy themselves.
Every Freemason has his own reason for joining. What's yours?
Your Questions Answered
- Why become a Freemason?
- Each Freemason gets something different out of their membership and often it is not what they expected to get. Freemasonry helps men to develop themselves in a supportive atmosphere whilst encouraging them to enjoy the experience. However, at no point should Freemasonry be used for your own personal or professional financial gain.
- How do I become a Freemason?
- All you need to do is ask. We will then put you in contact with a group of Freemasons in your local area (work or home) and they will talk to you about joining, to make sure that you are comfortable with them and they with you.
- Do I have to be invited?
- No, we prefer that you ask to join. We are looking for members that are truly interested rather than those that feel in any way pressured to join.
- What does it cost?
- This varies from Lodge to Lodge. There will be annual fees (£100 - £200 per year, less for under 25s) as well as dining fees (£15 - £25 per evening for a 3-course meal) and charitable donations which are set by you.
- When do you meet?
- Lodge meetings usually occur in the evenings with start times typically 5.30 or 6 o’clock. Meetings can occur any day bar Sunday and there will often be more than one Lodge meeting in a location enabling you to find one that meets at a time to suit you.
- Where do you meet?
- There are 12 centres across Berkshire, all of which are listed here along with information about the Lodges that meet at that centre.
- What happens at meetings?
- Most Lodge meetings are broken into 2 halves, business and pleasure. The business element covers the running of the Lodge plus the ceremonial elements involved with moving members through the various stages of their Masonic career.
- The pleasure component is a multi-course meal with wine and some short speeches. Meetings are attended by Lodge members and Masons from other Lodges adding to the atmosphere of the event. There is often a raffle or similar charity fundraising effort at the meal. Occasionally Lodges will run events to which wives, partners and non-Masonic guests are invited.
- What is Freemasonry all about?
- It is almost impossible to do justice to Freemasonry in a couple of sentences. It’s a fun hobby, a way for good men to improve themselves, a fundraising organisation, a great night out with friends, a fun way to meet new friends. You can find out more by exploring our website further and attending an open day.
- Can I join if I am gay?
- 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.
- What do you expect from me?
- We expect you to be a good person without a criminal past. We ask that you participate in your 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.
- How much time is involved?
- Lodges typically meet formally from 4 to 8 times a year mainly in the evening with some meeting on Saturday. In addition, there will be meetings to learn what the ceremonies mean and to rehearse them for the future. Attendance at these meetings is encouraged, particularly for those members who wish to progress through the roles within the Lodge.
- Finally, there are meetings to plan the forthcoming formal meetings, set the subscription fees and generally run the Lodge. The more involved in the Lodge you get, the more you will understand and develop as a person. At the end of the day, you will be encouraged to do as much as you can but you are always in control.
- What about women and Freemasonry?
- 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! There is a Lodge under the Order of Women Freemasons that meets in the Newbury Masonic Centre and it is not unusual for a husband and wife both to be Masons.
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