ISSUE 21, April 2007
Editorial
Historic: Philanthropist and scientist: Sir Henry Wellcome
Travel: In Darwin's footsteps
Grand Secretary: Interview with Nigel Brown
Quarterly Communication: Speech by the Pro Grand Master and Report of the Board of General Purposes
Faith and Freemasonry: A Salvationist and the Craft
Young Mason: Keep up the tradition
Freemasons' Hall: Refurbishment
Ladies Groups: Cheshire Ladies Circle
   Library and Museum: Masonry and music - the role of the organ
Specialist Lodge: A new Lodge for showmen is consecrated
Serving the community: Two Masons win major rescue awards
Spain: How a Cleveland Mason found his Spanish roots
Wales: Welsh Mason lands national sporting award
Hospices: The Craft's historic links with hospices
Ancient Craft: Herefordshire's ancient boat builder
Education: Forthcoming events and Andrew Prescott and Own free will and accord and First Universities Scheme Initiate
Masonic Charities: Latest from the four main Masonic charities
Letters, Book reviews, Gardening

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Craig Adkins – nothing like Freemasonry in contemporary society


I am relatively new to Freemasonry, and at 33 still consider myself to be fairly young! Since my initiation I have read a number of articles within various publications concerning how best to recruit and retain younger brethren.
    Some of the comments I agree with and think sensible. However, others have left me feeling slightly uneasy.
    Some of these views suggest younger people are deterred from Masonry because Lodge proceedings are too staid, the ritual no longer resonates with modern values, speeches and ceremonies are too long and that morning attire is archaic. These views worry me.
    The most intriguing and exciting aspect of Masonry is that it is like nothing else available in contemporary society. The elements of the Craft which enthuse and draw me towards it are the same as those which some more established brethren are suggesting need reform.
    In today’s society the majority of young people have a full and hectic social life, so whilst the convivial side of Freemasonry is enjoyable, it is not the primary reason for me choosing to attend Lodge meetings.
    I also suspect that the value placed on this side of things has changed significantly over the years.
    The motivation for my attendance at Lodge concerns not only enjoying the experience of a regular monthly evening like nothing else, but also the immense amount of pleasure I glean from the serious parts of Freemasonry, namely delivering, understanding and contemplating the ritual.
    There is also a lot of enjoyment gleaned out of appreciating the art of speech-making during the festive board.
    The challenge of performing to the best of my ability in the disciplines of Freemasonry brings me back to my Lodge each month. It therefore follows that, in order to keep a new member energised about his Masonry, it is important to provide regular, appropriate challenges. A small speech or section of ritual to start before progression to more demanding responsibilities would seem the ideal.
    The Preceptors at my own Lodge have been incredibly supportive of my own development by providing me with incrementally challenging tasks, and by finding the right balance between challenge and over-exertion.
    I have also read many views on recruiting young brethren into our ranks. Thus far I have proposed only one person into my Lodge, but I have had many conversations with friends when the topic of Masonry has arisen. From these deliberations the most fascinating parts of Freemasonry which will entice them to delve deeper into the subject, are again, the traditional aspects.
    Before I joined my Lodge I remember vividly being enthralled by the prospect of wearing morning dress and belonging to a society which the general population believes is still surrounded by such mystique.
    I am conscious that my feelings on this matter represent a more traditional view of Freemasonry and are perhaps not what might be expected from the ‘next generation’. I make no apology for my stance. My plea to all involved is to understand that even for ‘us youngsters’ the conventional, time-honoured aspects of our fraternity provide the most fulfilment.
    I would not want to see Freemasonry become more open, nor would I want to change Lodge ritual or the structure of the Festive Board. Freemasonry is as valuable now, in its current guise, to the current generation, as it has ever been. I really hope that we start to realise and appreciate that the system, ethos and artefacts we already have are the best blueprint for our success in the future.

Craig Adkins is a member of Frankley St George Lodge No. 8212, Province of Worcestershire


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