Our Athol Lodge #74 is a collective of amazing people striving to build a delightful future.
One of the more recent Brethren said that although the Masonic Lodge had taken great trouble to discover their motives in wanting to join, the emphasis had been on the practical matters, i.e. could they afford the costs of fees and regalia, did they have the proper clothing and know the importance of paying annual subscriptions at the proper time!
However, not enough was said about the ideals of Freemasons & Freemasonry; where it fits into society, what are the expectations of the Mason’s lodge he was about to join, what he had the right to expect from Freemasonry and the lodge. These, and other questions, need to be addressed if we are to encourage the right calibre of men into Freemasonry and ensure that we retain them in our lodges for the good of the craft and to the benefit of society in general.
This masonic website, whilst specific to Athol Lodge No.74, will help not only the candidates but also their proposers or seconders who feel they need some assistance in explaining what they are encouraging their friends to join.
There are a number of excellent publications which have gone a long way to explaining to Brethren the degrees through which they have passed and encouraging membership of another avenue for Freemasons known as the Royal Arch. However, not too much appears to have been written in a practical form for those who have not yet made the decision as to whether Freemasonry is what they are looking for. I hope that this booklet will help to fill that gap. There is nothing in these pages that cannot be revealed freely to anyone outside of Freemasonry who is genuinely interested in the Masonic Craft in Birmingham.
I must acknowledge the various leaflets published by the Board of General Purposes of the United Grand Lodge of England in recent years, notably ‘Freemasonry and Society’ which were of help in deciding on the content of this website and to John Handley for his assistance in producing the content.
A Guide and Aid for New and Aspiring Athol Lodge Members, their Proposers and Seconders
by W.Bro. Les Leek, Membership Officer of Athol Lodge No.74
Anatomy of a Mason
What is Freemasonry?
Freemasons use four important guiding principles in life to help define their path through life.
Building good people:
Rather than working on buildings like the masons of old, today’s Freemasons focus on building themselves as people of integrity and membership provides the structure to help achieve that goal.
One of the oldest social organisations in the world, Freemasonry is not defined by an ideology. It is open to people of all religions and political persuasions and provides the common foundation for friendship between members, many of which will last for life.
With a membership of more than 200,000 people drawn from communities across the UK, Freemasonry brings people together irrespective of their race, religion or any other perceived differences that can divide us as a society.
Kindness and charitable giving are deeply ingrained within the principles of Freemasonry. The organisation provides support structure that helps members make positive contributions to communities and worthwhile causes through fundraising events or volunteer work.
Why I am a Mason at Athol Lodge.
I have been married for 18 years and have 3 teenage children which are our world and we spend all of our time doing many activities with them. I studied for my degree and since then I have worked in the construction industry as an Electrician and Project Management Officer for a large Local Authority. For the last six years I have been employed as a Facility Engineer for a major UK motor manufacturer.
In freemasonry, family and work is always considered to be a priority but I have managed to combine these aspects of my life with freemasonry which has given me a very worthwhile interest where I can put my life and business experience to work on behalf of my family and others in so many ways.
Charity is a large part of Freemasonry, being able to contribute to charities and being a member of one the UK’s largest charity providers is a great honour. There is a wonderful satisfaction that I am supporting and providing for many people, some of whom desperately need our help.
Though relatively new to Freemasonry I have moved through the offices of the Lodge and have thoroughly enjoyed each role as it has helped me to integrate and mix with the members of the lodge. I have found Freemasonry has helped me develop personally and made me reflect on my own moral standards, as well as executing better judgement in difficult situations.
My approach to Freemasonry has come from a sense of enquiry and general interest. I am pleased to say that, as an advocate of life long learning and personal development, Freemasonry has helped me to develop on many levels. It has been a sincere pleasure to meet so many distinct yet like minded people on my Masonic journey so far and that has fostered a deep sense of mutual respect and comradery.
It is also important to mention that Freemasonry can offer an individual much welcomed moral support during the challenging times one faces in life, something for my part, I would hope to reciprocate.
In my opinion, Freemasonry can offer something for everyone, from whatever walk of life, something I consider to be a rare and precious thing in today’s world.
I was drawn to freemasonry through a naturally inquisitive mind and a desire to find out more about freemasonry in general and understand why it was attractive to so many people. Once I began to talk to freemasons about what it offered I was convinced I needed to be part of it.
Freemasonry gives me a sense of belonging and there is nowhere else that I get to meet and interact with such a wide and varied group of individuals in a great setting, building friendships that will last a lifetime. I am still relatively new to freemasonry but already have made some true friends who I know will be there for me in times of need and likewise I will always be there for them.
Family are my absolute priority and this is followed by my career and work. This is a model that flourishes in freemasonry, putting family and work before freemasonry is seen as a must and the fit into my lifestyle is perfect. Outside of freemasonry I have other interests and hobbies such as watching West Bromwich Albion and I am a mentor for various institutions helping to coach and guide young professionals along their chosen career paths.”
However, I wanted to make sure the timing was right for me, before I started this wonderful and rewarding journey and which I am now proud to be a part of.
My professional background is a major part of me heading in this direction. I have served 16 years in the Parachute Regiment of the British Army, I spent several of these being part of the Warrant Officers and Sergeants Mess, which brings me back onto Freemasonry. It is the camaraderie and the sense of belonging, which you cannot differentiate from the two very different organisations! It is an environment where you will get back exactly what you are prepared to put into it and you will not be disappointed along the way! I was definitely missing something when I left the military and already having one member of my family and many friends and work colleagues already deeply embedded within Freemasonry, I chose to join one of the oldest lodges in the country, Athol No.74.
Most ex-servicemen I know are constantly searching for something to fill that void and it was not long at all before I made the leap and joined Athol Lodge No.74, one of the oldest lodges in the country. Athol Lodge was originally founded by members of the 7th Dragoon Guards in 1811 and is now a vibrant lodge with some very interesting members and whose company I very much enjoy. I lead a very active, busy social and working life and I will always try and make time for a pastime which I thoroughly enjoy!
At a social event when I met my father-in-law’s fellow masons, I was immediately struck by the friendliness and camaraderie amongst them and they made me feel instantly welcome. This continued over a number of months and each time I learned a little more about Freemasons, the ethos, ideals, and charitable aspects of freemasonry, which plays a large part in supporting the community we live and work in.
Sometime later I was privileged to join Athol Lodge No.74, one of the oldest, yet vibrant lodges of over 11,000 lodges in England. At first, in common with all new members, it does take some time to understand the workings of the lodge and the ritual which is involved which develops character and an excellent grounding in public speaking.
I progressed relatively quickly through the offices of the lodge, which is intended to develop knowledge and eventually become a Master Mason which is the culmination of the first three degrees in freemasonry.
I found the ritual involved intriguing, challenging, yet satisfying and I enjoyed the learning process and the understanding that it brought to me. Each role I fulfilled I enjoyed more and more and in 2015 my colleagues paid me the great honour of electing me to become the Master of the Lodge where I had the privilege of serving in that role and enjoyed a wonderful year where I was able to initiate and progress a number of Brethren within the lodge. Once again, in 2020 I have been elected as Master of the Lodge once more which is a great honour not only to me, but to my family.
Partners and families are very important to Freemasons and several times each year we organise a number of social occasions and events to which our partners and families join us and we always have a great deal of fun.
Visiting other lodges is encouraged within Freemasonry and is a great way to meet other interesting masons from a range of lodges in the UK and internationally. If I was to sum up what freemasonry means to me I would say it makes me think about being a better person, to consider others more, to help others develop and progress and to enjoy the social side that freemasonry encourages.
For me Freemasonry is totally complimentary with family and business life and when I was asked to join one of the oldest Lodges in Warwickshire and it being located in my favourite and home city of Birmingham I couldn’t refuse.
During the past 26 years as a Freemason I progressed through the various offices including becoming Master of the Lodge, an experience that’s up there with other life achievements, unbelievable!
Freemasonry accepts that family and work are life’s priorities which allows one to enjoy Freemasonry without restriction and can participate as much as life’s priority allows; all Brethren share very similar values and provide understanding, encouragement, comfort and support to each other in times of need, believe me this is most important for all of us to have in life in general (especially appropriate being a Blues fan)!
Freemasonry certainly also helps develop your character, you can express yourself without fear or contradiction in any Lodge which again helps you go through life more contented.
When the opportunity arises for you to become a Freemason grab it with both hands, you won’t regret it!