What is Freemasonry?
Freemasonry is a fraternal society that expects a high standard of personal conduct of its members and it promotes Fellowship, Charity and Integrity as well as care and concern for the family and the wider community.
There are over 6 million Freemasons world-wide and membership is open to men over the age of 21 years (in some cases such as University Lodges, 18 years) and are of good repute. Membership is open to any race or religion or socio-economic position in society. ALL FREEMASONS ARE EQUALS. The essential qualification is that the candidate has a belief in a Supreme Power/Being.
Freemasonry is one of the world’s oldest and largest non-religious, non-political fraternal brotherhoods and charities. Its values are based on integrity, honesty, kindness and fairness and provides a forum for discussion and an environment to learn from. English Masonry as we know it today goes back to 1717 however there are records of Masonic Meetings going back to the 12th century in the UK.
Politics and Religion are never discussed in Lodges and have no bearing on Freemasonry whatever.
The story of life, self discovery and the moral path are learnt through traditional rituals that go back to biblical times. A Freemason progresses through degrees in masonry just as a man progresses through life from birth to death with several crossroads and challenges on the path.
Freemasonry is grouped into Lodges which in turn are formed into Provinces or Districts which are then managed and controlled as a Constitution. In England and Wales we have one constitution, UGLE, The United Grand Lodge of England based at Freemason’s Hall, Great Queen Street in London. The Scottish and Irish have their own constitutions and in some countries, like the Germany for example there are three Constitutions as well as English and American Constitution Lodges.
In England and Wales there are over 8,000 active Lodges with 330,000 members. We make major contributions to society by providing charitable donations to relief funds world-wide and many charities. Freemasonry gives more money to charities per year than any other organisation except the National Lottery. We run care homes, hospices, sheltered accommodation and finance schools for orphans. We care for our widows and assist members with health, recuperation, mobility, accommodation and personal difficulties if required. Over 60% of our charitable funds go to non-Masonic charities world-wide.
Contrary to rumour and negative comments by many, Freemasonry is NOT a secret society and is transparent. Freemasons are encouraged to acknowledge their Membership and anyone can visit Freemasons Hall in London. Lodges throughout the country regularly open their doors to visitors.
Membership of a Freemasons Lodge opens the door to a world of friendship and brotherhood, personal growth, learning and charity. Masons are welcome to visit each other’s Lodges throughout the world and great networks of like-minded people are linked in a common bond of fraternity, harmony and goodwill.