What’s a Lodge Meeting?

Every Freemasons Lodge holds their meetings during the year. At Grey Friars Lodge we hold a meeting on the second Wednesday evening in November, December, January, March, April and May. We then have a summer break, with maybe a social gathering.

In 2020 and 2021 we obviously had to stop our physical meetings due to Covid19, but in the summer of 2021 are planning some real physical meetings to catch up on lost time and progress some of the applications to join our Lodge.

But what actually happens at a Grey Friars Lodge Meeting?

Most of our meetings start at 6pm, so the members start to gather at the Berkshire Masonic Centre in Sindelsham from about 5.15, but some rush in, around 5.45 in a panic. A few get there earlier to get the room (The Lodge) set up.

Only members can attend a meeting, plus visitors and guests from other Masonic Lodges (Masons love going to other Lodges, it’s a big part of the fun of being a Mason, you can visit Lodges all over the country, and in fact all over the world where there are Masonic Lodges)

Masons wear an Apron to denote their rank and those in various roles have additional regalia to put on too. We all do this in a room where everyone chats and as you would expect, a bit of banter goes on! We are all friends through the Lodge. New members are warmly welcomed and are probably surprised at how friendly everyone is!

Greyfriars Lodge Reading 1101

Our Meetings

Arrive about: 5.15 pm
Start: 6pm
Finish about: 10pm
New lodge members

Then it gets a bit more serious, everyone lines up and is told to turn their phones off (penalties, usually involving beer are often threatened, but never followed through).

Into the Lodge and people sit down. Its all very traditional, as it should be, at Grey Friars, we have been doing it for over 155 years, so no great changes planned. (Not sure if the mobile phone bit was included in the 1800’s though).

Now it’s like any other meeting, with the minutes of the previous meeting, proposing and voting to (usually) accept new applications to be members, talking about the Lodge finances, Masonic news, news about charitable work and so on. But the major part of most meetings is the ceremony. There are different ceremonies for different reasons. They are like ‘playlets’ and different members of the Lodge have different parts. There are roles to learn, things to say, movements around the Lodge. Many members pride themselves, quite rightly, at learning the rituals in detail and repeat long passages without referring to the ritual book they learnt it from. Some, like the author of this page, never really grasp all the ritual to repeat without error, but this is accepted and everyone helps, it almost adds to the fun.

Once a year there is a special ceremony to install the Master of the Lodge and his officers. New members, when they are ready, can move up their role in the Lodge each year. Several members joined as undergraduates from the University of Reading and rose all the way up to become the Worshipful Master.

At the close of the meeting, the members leave the lodge, remove their aprons and regalia. Now it’s time to walk along a couple of corridors and meet in the bar for a quick drink before all going to one of the many dining rooms for a three course meal.

At dinner there will be a few toasts (a lot actually) and a chance to grow those friendships with their fellow Lodge members and guests. This is the Festive Board. Great fun, less formal but certainly still traditional. Remember the Lodge has members of all ages and of all backgrounds, so the Festive Board is probably like no other dining experience, all sorts of conversation goes on, with two taboo subjects, no one discusses religion or politics.

By 10pm, everyone is on their way home, with some members (or Brethren, as we call each other) offering lifts to others where needed.

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