Freemasonry is one of the worlds oldest secular fraternal societies and in England and Wales it is practiced under the United Grand Lodge of England rules. Freemasonry is essentially a friendly society of men concerned with moral and spiritual values. Members are taught its precepts by a series of enacted dramas which follow ancient forms and use the customs and tools of stonemasons as allegorical guides.
Membership is open to men of any race or religion and requires prospective and ongoing members to hold they believe in a supreme being – but does not stipulate adherence to any faith. The only other expectation is that members will be of good repute. Further, Freemasonry is not a religion, nor is it a substitute for one and members are expected to continue following their faith but not discuss the subject of region or politics at lodge meetings.
For Freemasons, there are four important values that help define their path through life: Integrity, Friendship, Respect and Charity. In today’s world filled with uncertainty, these principles ring as true now as they have at any point in the organisation’s history.
- Integrity: Building good people
Freemasons are focused on building themselves as people of integrity, and membership provides the structure to help achieve that goal. Being a Freemason gives members a sense of purpose, supporting and guiding them on their journey through life. Collectively, members are bonded through an understanding of unity and equitability – principles fundamental to Freemasonry.
- Friendship: Building together
Freemasonry provides the common foundation for friendships between members, many of which will last for life. Being a Freemason means something different to each person who joins, but whether looking to make acquaintances or develop their own potential, all members share a sense of togetherness that strengthens their ability to succeed and grow.
- Respect: Building unity
Freemasonry brings people together irrespective of their race, religion, or other perceived differences that can divide us as a society. Members are expected to be of high moral standing and are encouraged to talk openly about what the organisation does and what it means to be part of it.
- Charity: Building compassion
Kindness and charitable giving are deeply ingrained within the principles of Freemasonry and the organisation provides the structure for members to make positive contributions to their communities and various causes through fundraising events or volunteer work. Individuals can make an important contribution at local, national and global level by giving both their time and money