What are Masonic Meetings?
Freemasons belong to a Masonic Lodge, which is analogous to a “chapter” in other organizations. Masonic Lodges usually meet every month at a specific time and date in a building called a Masonic Hall.
The fundamental grouping in Freemasonry is the Masonic Lodge. When a Freemason joins Freemasonry, he does so by being initiated in to his local Masonic Lodge. All members meet, as a Masonic Lodge, usually once a month; these are Masonic Lodge Meetings.
Who attends the Lodge meeting?
All Masons who belong to that Lodge attend the meeting, unless you are unwell or there are family/work commitments. Sometimes, Masons from other Lodges in your area may attend as visitors to your Lodge. Likewise, as a Freemason, you can visit other Lodge meetings.
Non-Masons, even family members, are not permitted to attend Lodge meetings, and what goes on in the meetings isn’t discussed outside.
What happens in a Lodge meeting?
Lodge meetings are like business meetings in a corporation, but a little more interesting. Masonic Lodge meetings are well organized affairs with specific rituals and ceremony for opening and closing the Masonic Lodge.
We can’t go into specifics as to exactly what happens, but we’ll give you a summary – from the inside.
Opening the Lodge
First, the Masons put on all their necessary regalia and just have a quick catch up with their fellow brethren. Once everyone is ready, the meeting officially begins with a Lodge opening ritual which culminates in the striking of a gavel/maul that signifies the meeting has started.
During the meetings, important matters concerning the Lodge and its members are discussed. Discussions occur behind closed doors, guarded by the Inner Guard.
Discussions include some of the following:
- Announcements from Grand Lodge and Provincial Grand Lodge
- Lodge finances
- Charity programs and ideas
- Discussing how to assist sick members and their families
- Welcoming visiting Freemasons
Officers conduct the meeting
Masonic meetings are highly orchestrated; they aren’t free-for-alls. The meeting is conducted by the highest ranking Masonic officer of the Lodge, known as the Worshipful Master. There are other officers too, who help conduct the meeting.
Lodge members who are not officers will be given a chance during part of the meeting to express their thoughts and opinions, but during designated times. Whilst the meetings are in session, there’s no interruption (except for emergencies).
Closing down the Lodge meeting
Once all Lodge business has been concluded, it comes time to “close down” the Lodge. Like opening the Lodge, there is a specific ritual for ending the Lodge meeting. At the end of the ritual, the gavel is struck and the meeting is officially over.
What happens after the meeting?
After the meeting, the members of the Lodge will be treated to a dinner, known as a “Festive Board”. This usually takes place within the dining area of the Masonic Hall, and gives Masons a chance to socialize with their fellow brethren.
The festive board is an extremely important part of the Masonic meetings, because this is where you make connections and get to know one another.
It’s becoming increasingly more common to bring along family members, wives and non-Mason friends to these Festive Boards. This is allowed. However, non-Masons are strictly not allowed to attend Lodge meetings whilst in session.
The regular Masonic Lodge meeting is perhaps the most important of Masonic events. This is where you as a Freemason get to interact and make connections and friends with your fellow Lodge members. Its where you get your say in how Freemasonry is run. It’s fun too.
To readers who are Masons: with out giving anything away, what’s your favorite part of Lodge meetings?
To readers who are Non-Masons: what did you previously think happened at Lodge meetings?