WHY JOIN FREEMASONRY?
Can we answer a few of your most important questions?
Because becoming a Freemason means you’ll be joining more than 200,000 members throughout England and Wales, as well as Districts overseas. Worldwide there are nearly 6,000,000 members.
Membership is open to any man over the age of 21 irrespective of your race or religion. In total, we have more than 7,000 Lodges, with students over 18 able to join one of the 85 University Scheme Lodges. Both Oxford University and Brookes participate locally.
You can also read our new core leaflet here to find out what it means to be a Freemason and the four guiding principles which Freemasons use to help define their path through life.
What happens at a Lodge meeting?
Lodge meetings are typically held in two parts. The first involves more administrative procedures, such as proposing and balloting for new members and receiving news about charitable fundraising. The second part focuses on ceremonies, which might relate to areas such as the admittance of new members or the installation of the Master of the Lodge and his officers – a process made up of three degrees, or stages, each one marked by a special ceremony. These are called Initiation, Passing and Raising. Each is meaningful, enjoyable and we hope memorable for every good reason.
True to the sense of friendship and togetherness among Freemasons, meetings are also social events, providing an occasion for members to dine together. Outside of the Lodge, activities include community fundraising and volunteering activities, as well as a varied programme of events where spouses, partners and families are welcome.
How much does it cost?
Firstly let's be clear you do not have to be rich to join, nor will you become rich by joining! Here in Oxfordshire our fees could rightly be described as modest.
There is an initiation fee when you join and each lodge charges an annual subscription to cover its running costs. The start-up fees and first year's membership subscription could be a few hundred pounds. Thereafter perhaps £150 per year.
Student joiners under the Universities Scheme enjoy a concession.
Each meeting is normally followed by a dinner, with the cost depending on the venue. (On average just over £20) Most Lodges meet between 6 and 8 times each year. However, there is no requirement to attend the dinner if you are unable to. You will also be expected to wear a dark suit, white shirt, and black, or other suitable, tie and in due course you will need to buy your own regalia. This is only necessary when you become a Master Mason.
Members are invited to donate to charity, but this should always be within your means and it is entirely up to you how much you wish to contribute.
Costs can vary considerably from lodge to lodge, particularly for the dining, and your proposer and seconder should make them clear to you before you join. We want you to be informed and clear about being an Oxfordshire Freemason before you join.
Under non-Covid 19 conditions this would involve informal meetings over coffee, then a meeting with 3 assigned Lodge members, following this and admin, you are proposed and seconded in open Lodge. All being well, a date is set for Initiation and joining. Don't worry, there are rarely any snags if you are sincere and happy about proceeding towards joining.
How do I take the first step towards joining?
If you don't know anyone who is a member and that you can talk to, then your first step is to approach your local lodge or one which shares your interests which include sports, motoring and young member Lodges, or check out our Contact Us page and let us put you in touch with your local Masonic Lodges in Bicester, Banbury, Thame, Oxford, Burford, Caversham, Chipping Norton, Woodstock and Henley on Thames.
If you are between the ages of 18 and 21, you may also be interested to find out more about the Universities Scheme.
Tradition and continuity are two of the values which characterise the relationship between Freemasonry and universities.
It was nearly 200 years ago that the first university Lodge, Apollo University Lodge, was founded at Oxford, with Isaac Newton University Lodge following soon afterwards at Cambridge.
Since then many thousands of young men (and women via HFAF and OWF) have been introduced to Freemasonry through these two Lodges. They provided the inspiration for the Universities Scheme. This was set up at the beginning of 2005 with the objective: ‘To establish and/or enhance arrangements and opportunities for undergraduates and other university members to enjoy Freemasonry’.
There are now 83 other Lodges pursuing a similar, yet distinct, course. Their membership consists of undergraduates, postgraduates, senior members of the university and alumni, ranging in age from 18 upwards. All under-25s benefit from the recent decision by Grand Lodge to halve their dues in order to make Freemasonry as accessible to as wide an audience as possible.
The Scheme is headed by the Assistant Grand Master, Sir David Wootton, who explains: “We know from these long-established university lodges that students – whether undergraduates or postgraduates – enjoy Freemasonry to the full. Through the Universities Scheme, we hope that university members from all over the country will be able to gain the same inspiration, fulfilment and enjoyment.”