The Meaning of Freemasonry
Freemasonry is an ancient institution founded and developed over time on high standards of integrity and personal responsibility for oneself, family and the communities of the World. It is a secular, fraternal and charitable institution with its roots in local communities.
Its members enjoy the company of each other and foster a sense of fellowship amongst themselves and aim to communicate this to others. The spirit of mutual support between members is carried into the wider World by acts of charity, the personal exemplification of high principles and the desire to do good wherever possible.
In the Lodge a progression of three ritual ceremonies (known as Initiation, Passing and Raising) are conducted by the members to reinforce the high standards of morality, principle and unselfish contribution to society expected of all Freemasons. The ceremonies take the ancient customs and tools of operative stonemasons and classical styles of architecture and apply them in allegorical form to illustrate and inculcate the exemplary standards which members strive to practice in their daily lives.
Freemasons are constantly reminded to seek improvement in their daily lives and activities and to do more for society in general and particularly for the less fortunate within it.
After the Lodge meeting, members enjoy a dinner, at which there are a number of formal toasts and a charity collection, if the latter has not been taken during the preceding ceremony. The giving of charity is central to a Freemason’s sense of duty to others. Very large sums are donated by Grand Lodge, Provincial Grand Lodge and individual Lodges to those in need. Freemasons themselves raise these sums. It has never been the practice to canvass or collect funds publicly. Contrary to common belief, most of these charitable donations are made to non-Masonic organisations.
Social activities are organised by individual Lodges, depending on the customs of the Lodge and the imagination of its members. These social functions include families, friends and other guests, Masonic and non-Masonic. They emphasise the strong bonds between Freemasonry, family and the community as a whole.