A Freemasons’ lodge meeting can be roughly divided into three parts; business, ceremonial and festive. The business component is much the same as any club or association, the minutes of the previous meeting are passed, The Secretary reads the correspondence, the Treasurer gives his report and general business is conducted.
The ceremonial component is generally the working of one of the three Masonic degrees, which represent the three levels each member works his way through. These are commonly referred to as the first, second and third degrees or the Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft and Master Mason’s degree.
Each of these ceremonies is like a play with the candidate for the degree taking centre stage. A number of the lodge members have walk on speaking parts and the Master of the lodge has the lead role. Each of the speaking parts is a lesson on morality, good conduct both within, and outside the lodge and many utilise the tools of the old operative stonemasons to illustrate the lesson in exactly the same way as they were in ancient times. It’s serious, solemn and as previously alluded to, rooted in antiquity. It is also fascinatingly complex and intricate which is why Freemasons never tire of performing and taking part in these beautiful ceremonies.
The festive component is a meal shared by all the brethren after the ceremonial has been completed. There are lots of toasts, speeches, clapping, singing and music but the whole banquet is conducted with both light heartedness and dignity. Some lodges have a catered five-course dinner while other lodges prefer a lighter style of supper. Some lodges serve alcoholic beverages and some lodges do not.There is no doubt that Freemasonry is not for everyone and Freemasonry does not make the boast that it can turn a bad man into a good one. Freemasonry is more about making good men better men in all kinds of ways; better family men, better employees or employers, better citizens and productive members of society. So, where does charity come in? Charity is a fundamental of Freemasonry and its good works are very many indeed, so many in fact that it really needs a separate discourse to do it full justice