Ask any of the 15,000 Freemasons in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory this question, and you’ll probably get 15,000 different answers!
Freemasonry means different things to each member.
Some would say it’s a personal development program which promotes family and community values. Others would describe Freemasonry as a chance for both social interaction and "philosophical brainstorming". Freemasonry also provides an opportunity for public service, and hands-on involvement in charitable or community issues.
The short answer to the question, "What is Freemasonry" is that it’s one of the world’s oldest and largest fraternal organisations. Made up of 5 million Freemasons around the world, it has adopted the fundamental principles of integrity, goodwill, and charity as foundations for an individual’s life and character.
SO A FREEMASON STRIVES TO BE;
The actual origins of Freemasonry have been lost in time, but it is known that it arose from the guilds of stonemasons which constructed Europe’s castles and cathedrals during the Middle Ages.
These craftsmen were in possession of highly prized skills in mathematics and architecture, which they in turn passed on to apprentices who had been accepted as being worthy of being taught the secrets of their trade. These trainees advanced, depending on their proficiency, to become Master Masons.
In England in 1717 four Lodges decided to create a formal organisation by forming the first Grand Lodge. Freemasonry then spread across Europe and to other countries with amazing speed.
In Australia, Freemasonry can be traced to the First Fleet’s arrival in 1788. The United Grand Lodge of New South Wales was officially formed in 1888, and later became responsible for Freemasonry in the Australian Capital Territory.
Freemasonry makes symbolic use of various practices and implements of those guilds from the Middle Ages. The craftsmen of yesteryear adopted a series of exclusive signs and words to be able to demonstrate that they were trained masons, and to enable easy identification as they moved from site to site. In that same way, the Masons of today use a series of signs and words to indicate their progress through the various stages of Freemasonry.
Stonemasons from centuries ago wore leather aprons to carry their working implements and to protect themselves from flying chips of stone. Modern Masons wear an embroidered lambskin apron to distinguish rank. As the Mason’s proficiency increases, the design of his apron becomes more ornate.
Ancient freemasons used the skirat to mark out the ground for the fundations of the intended building and the compasses were used to determine, with accuracy and precision the limits and proportions of its several parts.
Those skilled workers in times gone by used the square to test the accuracy of their stonework – to prove that it was square with the other sides and that angles were identical.
Freemasonry uses the square and compasses to remind members of basic guidelines for their dealings with other men.
The square symbolises integrity, truthfulness, and honour, while the compasses symbolise the importance of self-control, or keeping emotion and prejudice within bounds.
Masons usually gather once a month for a daytime or evening meeting lasting two to three hours, Lodge Dawn is of no exception and meets on the first Wednesday of each month at 7.30pm. Doors are open from 6pm for social purposes.
Like any organisation there’s a business element, with minutes, accounts, and plans for upcoming events to be read and discussed among the members. But a Lodge meeting is also ceremonial, involving a series of formalised and symbolic presentations which use drama to highlight the codes of conduct by which a Freemason strives to live.
During a Lodge meeting, instruction is also provided to assist in a Mason’s daily life and personal development. This may be on a range of topics, including public speaking, communication skills, leadership skills, or business management.
The final part of the meeting involves all Lodge members dining together. With Masons coming from all age groups and from all walks of life, the opportunity to sit down and enjoy a meal with each other provides the perfect chance to "catch up", and yet another forum for an exchange of ideas.
Apart from these meetings, most Lodges organise regular social activities for the entire family. Theatre parties, sports days, conferences, picnics – the holding of these types of events helps develop closer bonds, not just between Masons, but among their families and the community as well.
Give us a call and come along to our regular meeting, see why so many men are joining this unique organisation.
Wor Bro Rev John Reid
The District Chaplain for District 57 is Wor Bro Rev John Reid
Rev John is a Past Master of Twin Towns Daylight Lodge and a very popular figure throughout the Tweed Heads Area.
Rev John has a wonderful background in pastoral care and is a daily visitor hospitals and various other recognised places of care throughout the Tweed Heads area, Rev John's experiences will enable all necessary care arrangements to be made with a minimum of fuss and can assist masonic families in many ways.
Rev John is always on hand to assist when pastoral caring and councelling may be required by either a member, his spouse or his family and friends.
Rev John's work is based on the three great masonic principles of ....
BROTHERLY LOVE, RELIEF AND TRUTH
BROTHERLY LOVE - In the Masonic sense we must strive to achieve this feeling with our Masonic brethren. We must be wiling to overlook petty grievances or peculiarities. We must strive to see the good things in our brethren and we must cast aside our passions and prejudices and remember that, "All men are my eaqual."
By the exercise of brotherly love, we are taught to regard the whole human species as one great family; and that we must aid, support and protect each other.
With this in mind Rev John is available to help with Hospital ministry and if need be Funeral Assistance by way of providing Venue, Clergy or Celebrant.
RELIEF - The most common interpretation of relief is some form of charity. The word relief immediately suggests relief form pauperism. Organized charity is set up in almost every community to relieve the distressed. This charity is supported by taxation and public subscription. Its purpose is to assist worthy people who, through some misfortune beyond their control, become destitute. It is the duty of every normal person to contribute to this relief.
Masonic relief has a much deeper meaning. To contribute to public charity is the responsibility of everyone. Every normal citizen is obligated to society to carry his normal share of worthy charity expense. Unless he contributes his share of this burden, he does not pay his lawful debt to society. A person must contribute more than his natural share before he can be classed as one who has donated to relief. Anything less than this is classed as an obligation, not relief.
Masonic relief has still another meaning. A person may be distressed in many ways other than financial. He may have a business or a family problem that discourages him, and a helpful suggestion may give him the relief he needs. He may be lonely because he lacks proper associations; then a cheerful word may give the relief he seeks. We claim that there are many ways of giving relief.
To relieve the distressed is a duty incumbent on all men. To sympathize with them in their misfortunes, to console them in their sorrows and to restore peace to their troubled minds -these are the great aims we have in view. We, as Masons, must be alert to recognize these opportunities and offer our services in the way that will best bring relief.
With this in mind Rev John can assist with Transport - Shopping - Veterans affairs - CES etc
TRUTH - We commonly think of truth as the opposite of falsehood. When a person's word is as good as his bond, he is classed as being truthful. To be good and true is one of the first lessons we are taught in Masonry. Unless a person has a reputation of being truthful, he is not morally qualified to become a member of our order. Truthfulness is one of the fundamental requirements of good citizenship. Without truth there would be no foundation for trust and fellowship.
With this in mind Rev John offers Ministry, he is very approachable and willing to assist whenever he is needed and can be contacted on (07 55 991 417)
PLEASE CALL HIM IF YOU NEED ASSISTANCE
Rev. John also can assit you with Masonic Tributes and organisation of funeral services. Please feel free to contact him regarding your wishes.