Freemasonry is one of the world’s oldest secular fraternities. It is a society of men concerned with moral and spiritual values whose members are taught its precepts by a series of ritual dramas which follow ancient forms, and it uses stonemasons’ customs and tools as allegorical guides. It has over 300,000 members within England and Wales making up nearly 8,000 Lodges making it the largest fraternal organisation in the United Kingdom, and there are a further 30,000 members overseas. It is unknown precisely how long Freemasonry has been in existence. However our earliest records detail one Elias Ashmole who was made a Mason in England in 1646; these ancient records show that Freemasonry has been existence for at least three hundred and fifty years.
About the fraternity
Freemasonry, also known as Masonry, is based on the belief that each man has a responsibility to help make the world a better place. Through our culture of philanthropy, we make a profound difference for our brothers, our families, our communities, and our future.
The Basic Principles of
Freemasons have a set of basic principles that they all live by. Masonic Lodge members promise never to bring anything offensive or defensive into the lodge with them — both weapons and words. The object of the lodge is to create a place where those divisions are left outside, so Masons can engage in activities that unite them instead of separating them:
A Moral Code: Freemasons believe in honor and that a man has a responsibility to behave honorably in everything he does. Freemasonry teaches its members the principles of personal decency and personal responsibility. It hopes to inspire them to have charity and good will toward all mankind, and to translate principles and convictions into action.
Charity: Freemasonry is devoted to the promotion of the welfare and happiness of all mankind. Freemasonry teaches its members that unselfishness is a duty and that it’s not only more blessed to give than to receive, but also more rewarding.
Education: Freemasonry teaches a system of morality and brotherhood by the use of symbols and dramatic presentations. It encourages its members to expand their knowledge of the world around them.
Religious, not a religion: Freemasons believe in the brotherhood of man, under the fatherhood of God. Freemasonry isn’t a religion, but it is religious because it requires its members to have faith in a Supreme Being, according to the individual Mason’s belief. It’s not a sectarian organisation and does not promote one religion over another. Masonic ceremonies describe a moral code, using basic principles that are common to all religions.
Social Responsibility: Freemasonry stands for the reverence of God and the proper place of individual faith in society; for truth and justice; for fraternity and philanthropy; and for orderly civil, religious, and intellectual liberty. It charges each of its members to be true and loyal to the government of the country to which he owes allegiance and to be obedient to the law of any state in which he may reside.
Nonpolitical, Nonsectarian: One of the first rules of Freemasonry forbids the discussion in Masonic meetings of religious matters and politics — topics likely to cause personal arguments. It’s also against the fundamental principles of Freemasonry for Masonic organisations to take political action or attempt to influence elections or legislation.
Equality Among Members: Freemasonry regards no man for his worldly wealth, social status, or outward appearance. Kings, princes, sultans, and potentates have been Masons. So have cooks, cleaners, car mechanics, factory workers, office workers, managers and directors.
South East London Masonic Centre
3rd Monday in February
4th Monday in April, September and November
Installation - November
CATOR LODGE OF INSTRUCTION
Every Tuesday at 7.30pm from September to April inclusive.
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