Machen Lodge 1782 - Manent Optima Clo

Frequently Asked Questions

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What is Freemasonry?

Freemasonry means different things to each of those who join. For some, it's about making new friends and acquaintances. For others, it's about being able to help deserving causes - making a contribution to family and society. But for most, it's an enjoyable hobby.

Freemasonry is one of the World's oldest and largest non-religious, non-political, fraternal and charitable organisations. It teaches self-knowledge through participation in a progression of ceremonies. Members are expected to be of high moral standing and are encouraged to speak openly about Freemasonry.

What happens at a Lodge meeting?

The meeting, which like those of other groups, are open only to members and is normally in two parts.

First, there are normal administrative procedures such as:

  • Minutes of previous meetings
  • Proposing and balloting for new members
  • Discussing and voting on the annual accounts
  • Masonic news and correspondence
  • News about charitable work
Second, there are the ceremonies for:
  • Admitting new members and advancing them through their Masonic career.
  • The annual installation of the Master of the Lodge and his Officers, who help him run the Lodge.
Why do Freemasons take oaths?

New members make solemn promises concerning their behaviour both in the Lodge and in society. Members also promise to keep confidential the way they recognise each other when visiting another lodge. Freemasons also promise to support others in times of need but only so far as it does not conflict with their family, personal or public obligations.

Are Freemasons expected to give preference to fellow members
Certainly not, this would be unacceptable and may lead to action being taken against those involved. On joining each new member states that he expects no material gain from membership.

Who do the Masonic charities donate to?
Whilst there are Masonic charities that cater specifically (but not exclusively) for masons or their dependants, others make significant grants to non-masonic organisations. Throughout the year, we have collections contributing to the masonic charities. In addition, once each year at the Ladies Formal event, we have a special fund-raising event. All of the money raised at this special event goes to a non-masonic charity, chosen by our current WM and or his Lady.
What is Freemasonry's relationship with religion?
All Freemasons are expected to have a belief in a "Supreme Being" i.e God, but Freemasonry does not seek to replace a Freemason's personal religious beliefs or provide a substitute for them. It deals with a man's relationship with his fellow man not in a man's relationship with his God.

Why do some church's not like Freemasonry?
There are elements within certain churches who misunderstand Freemasonry and its objectives. They often confuse secular rituals with religious liturgy. There are many Masons in churches where their leaders have been openly critical of the organisation. Masonry has always encouraged its members to be active in their own religion should they so desire.
Does Freemasonry accept Roman Catholics?
Yes. Four Grand Masters of English Freemasonry have been Roman Catholics. Today there are many Roman Catholic Freemasons.
What is Freemasonry's relationship with politics?
Freemasonry, as a body, will never express a view on political matters or state policy. The discussion of politics like religion at Masonic meetings has always been strictly discouraged and we are charged not to do so because Freemasonry accepts that a man's political convictions are his own and should not be openly debated at Masonic meetings, lest it offends.

Is Freemasonry an international order?
Freemasonry exists throughout the world. However, each Grand Lodge is sovereign and independent. There is no international governing body for Freemasonry.

Are there women Freemasons?
Yes. Whilst the United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE), following the example of medieval stonemasons, is and has always been, restricted to men, women freemasons have two separate Grand Lodges, which are restricted to women.
Why do we wear regalia?
Wearing regalia is historic and symbolic in origin. Like a uniform, the regalia indicates the rank of the wearer in the organisation and marks his progression within the Craft and any other masonic orders he may belong to.
How many Freemasons are there?
Under the Grand Lodge of England, there are over a quarter of a million Freemasons.
There are Grand Lodges in Ireland, which covers both Northern Ireland and Eire, and Scotland which have a combined total of approximately 150,000 members.
Worldwide, there are approximately six million Freemasons.
How many degrees are there in Freemasonry?
Basic or Craft Freemasonry consists of three degrees:
  1. Entered Apprentice -1st Degree - Ceremony of Initiation
  2. Fellow Craft - 2nd Degree - Ceremony of Passing
  3. Master Mason - 3rd Degree - Ceremony of Raising
Each member of the Craft is expected to progress through these three stages gaining more understanding as he does so. There are more degrees to be "worked" as Freemasons express it, but these are associated with the many so-called "Side Orders" within the fraternity. Whether one chooses to join any of these other Orders is entirely up to the individual themselves, and to what extent his level of curiosity, available time and interest drives him to do so.  

How much does it cost to be a Freemason?
It varies from Lodge to Lodge. Anyone wishing to join will find a Lodge to suit his pocket. There is an initiation fee on entry and in due course regalia will have to be bought. The meeting is normally followed by a meal known as the Festive Board, the cost depending on the venue. There is, in addition, an annual subscription fee for every member, which covers the costs of running a Lodge. All costs should be clearly explained to a Candidate or Joining Member and any Visitor before he enters a lodge. These costs but not all are normally set out in full in the Lodge By-Laws as prescribed in the Book of Constitutions governing the whole fraternity.
Members are invited to give to charity but this should always be within their means and it is entirely up to the individual how much they wish to contribute. A Mason will never be asked or expected to contribute anything beyond their means or to the detriment of themselves or their connections.

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