Initiates’ Dinner (A Younger Mason Speaks)
By Bro Luke Carsson
Being the son of a Freemason, and having always been curious about where my dad would go in his dark suit when growing up, I always felt it would be natural to join a Lodge when I came of age. Moving from Northern Ireland to London to study at UCL, it seemed logical to reach out to the University of London Lodge No 2033. The initiation ceremony was something I could never have expected and was made all the more special, as my father flew out to be there for the event.
After the initiation, W Bro Sami Steinbock, our Lodge’s Membership Officer, swiftly approached me, asking if I would like to attend a new initiates’ dinner at the end of the month. It was an opportunity to get many of my questions answered, and also meet many others who were at a similar stage in their masonic journey to me. The answer was, of course, a resounding yes.
So, a few weeks later, I found myself in the basement of a pub on Great Queen Street, surrounded by 26 other lively initiates and experienced mentors. It provided a brilliant forum to ask any questions that we had, but more importantly, to make new Masonic friends. One mentor sat at each table and rotated throughout the meal, providing great conversation and insightful help as to how we could make the most out of our journey through Masonry. A presentation was given between courses by W Bro Jonathan Powis PSGD, MetGInsp, which was very informative about this organisation we had just joined. The presentation was light-hearted and entertaining yet filled with facts and further advice.
Then, completely unadvertised, and to the surprise of the whole room, RW Bro Sir Michael Snyder, MetGM entered, along with E Comp Timothy L’Estrange PGSN, DepMetGSupt, and W Bro Matthew Christmas SLGR, MetGSec/MetGSE. Sir Michael proceeded to take the floor and talk about his own experiences in Freemasonry and the future of Masonry in London, and then opened up a question & answer session. As the evening started to draw to a close, Sir Michael stayed with us for what must have neared an hour, enjoying a glass of wine while meeting and discussing things with many of us recent initiates individually, including myself.
Our chat ranged from university life to the future of Freemasonry and the challenges it faces. For my first time meeting a ‘Sir,’ it was a rather surreal experience, and I was surprised by the genuine interest he took in us all and how down to earth he came across. It was really notable how affable Sir Michael (as well as Bros Timothy and Matthew) really were. It made me proud to be a London Mason. It was strange going from toasting to him at our festive board to being able to have such a normal conversation with him. He even invited some of us initiates to one of his own Lodges!
He offered real encouragement for progression within our Lodges and gave us all real confidence that we would all be made welcome in this new family of Masons. It was a great night that I am so grateful to have been invited to (respect to the organisers), and it has invigorated me for my future within the fraternity. I’ve even already received invitations to visit three lodges of friends I made that evening.
This article is part of the Arena Magazine, Issue 51 April 2023 edition.
Arena Magazine is the official magazine of the London Freemasons – Metropolitan Grand Lodge and Metropolitan Grand Chapter of London.
Read more articles in the Arena Issue 51 here.