If you’ve never attended a Masonic lodge meeting, you might have heard a whole host of elaborate stories about what happens when Freemasons get together. From animal sacrifices to naked dances, conspiracy theorists tend to have a lot of fun proposing ridiculous suggestions about what actually takes place within a Masonic lodge.
In reality, lodge meetings are convivial affairs, where Masons come together to discuss topical issues, participate in rituals to further their knowledge of the Craft, and arrange gala events and fundraisers for their charitable projects.
Depending upon the specific agenda for the evening, which is usually circulated beforehand, the administrative part of a Masonic lodge meeting could include one or a number of the following points:
- The minutes of the previous meeting are shared and reviewed, to ensure any necessary actions have been carried out.
- Any new members are proposed or balloted, if the need arises.
- Annual accounts are discussed, reviewed, and voted upon as necessary.
- Masonic news and any inter-club correspondence is shared. If Masons have had the opportunity to visit other lodges, they share their experiences and offer suggestions about how their lodge could improve.
- Details about charitable events and projects are shared with all Masons.
If the planned lodge meeting is ceremonial in nature, it is a lot more formal, and could include:
- The admittance of new members.
- The annual installation of the Master of the Lodge and his officers.
- The performing of rituals and allegorical plays.
- The use and presentation of key Masonic symbols that play a significant part in the ritual teachings of Masonry.
- At ceremonial meetings, Masons often enjoy food and wine that accompanies the meetings.
While every lodge is different, they tend to follow similar guidelines when it comes to conducting their meetings and welcoming new members. In addition to the business and ceremonial style meetings that are conducted, Masons also arrange larger events that can be attended by those outside of the fraternity.
Fundraising events, banquet dinners, and ‘ladies’ nights are commonplace in lodges across the world, and really add to the social dynamic of the lodge. These are organized far in advance and the dress code, order of formalities, and fundraising objectives are articulated by the officers of the lodge.
Generally speaking, lodge meetings are a chance for Masons to come together with like-minded individuals and share their experiences of Freemasonry. Throughout the history of Freemasonry, lodge meetings have been the very center of the fraternity’s existence, and they continue to play a fundamental role in the evolution of Freemasonry in the present day.