Hailing as I do from a part of this country where the 1665 bubonic plaque (still a local memory) was held at bay by the selfless sacrifice of a remote village community, I am acutely aware of the need for physical separation until the present pestilential threat has been reined in.
It is also necessary to say that today’s linguistic laxity could lead to misunderstandings, so it is perhaps important to stress that in our lodges there is no social distancing!
The Faithful Few
When the meeting’s called to order, and you look around the room;
You’re sure to see some faces, that from out the shadows loom,
That are always at the meeting and stay till it is through.
The ones that I would mention, are the ‘Always Faithful Few’.
They fill the vacant offices, as they are always on the spot.
No matter what the weather, though it may be awful hot;
It may be dark and rainy, but they are tried and true;
The ones that you rely on are the Always Faithful Few.
There’s lots of worthy members, who will come when in the mood;
When everything’s convenient, they can do a little good;
They’re a factor in the order, and necessary too,
But the ones who never fail us are the Always Faithful Few.
If it were not for these faithful, whose shoulders at the wheel,
Keep the order moving onward, without a halt or reel;
What would be the fate of Orders, who have so much to do?
They surely would go under, but for the Faithful Few.
What’s the Attraction ?
We can’t tell you! Not because it’s secret but because it’s an experience, or rather, a set of experiences. Which experiences you have cannot be written or prescribed, because they are personal, depending on each individual and the journey or journeys you take within Freemasonry and how those experiences affect you in the wider world.
There’s the comradeship of being in a group (an extremely large one) of like-minded but diverse men. The group reinforces good and high values, provides lasting friendships and an unbreakable brotherhood bond. After any large conflict in the outside world there must be a reason why it is our membership surges.
There are philosophical threads some like to follow, that can lead to studies of the Higher Criticism and debates with those having similar interests.
Historical research opens the door to the origins and development of Freemasonic thought from the middle ages through the eighteenth century society coffee houses, the ‘Natural Philosophy’ of the Enlightenment and the founding of the Royal Society into the lineage of the global fraternity we have today.
The ceremonial activities by which we confer the degrees or steps of advancement in our Order, give opportunities to obtain and exercise Thespian qualities we didn’t know we had or would enjoy!
Many members who, before joining, had never been to or taken part in a business or committee meeting of any kind, let alone chaired one. Gaining those skills or lending your own existing experience can be most rewarding.
Caring for brethren, their families and relicts in times of distress brings its own gratification and entails working with one of the largest charitable organisations that there is.
An hierarchical organisational structure is a great comfort in this uncertain world, giving meanings appreciated by not only the military minded.
So, with this very brief glimpse, what’s not to like?
Slap on the wrist for a Past Grand Master
Anthony Sayer First Grand Master of the Premier Grand Lodge of England. 1749/50 copy of lost portrait by Joseph Highmore (edited) – print by John Faber the Younger.
IMAGE LINKED: wikimedia Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)
Minutes of Grand Lodge December 15, 1730:
‘Bro. Sayer  [Past Grand Master] attended to answer the complaint  made against him, and after hearing both parties, and some of the brethren being of the opinion that what he had done was clandestine, others that it was irregular – the Question was put whether what was done was clandestine, or irregular only, and the Lodge was of the opinion that it was irregular only – whereupon the Deputy Grand Master told Bro. Sayer that he was acquitted of the charge against him, and recommended it to him to do nothing so irregular for the future.’
The cause of the complaint is not recorded in the minutes but it is believed from other accounts that he, a Past Grand Master to boot, was accused of making at least one mason privately, not in a lodge.
So, to paraphrase, he was innocent and told not to do it again!
 Anthony Sayer had presided in 1717 as ‘Grand Master’ at the Grand Lodge of the City of London and Westminster.
 The nature of the complaint is not minuted but from elsewhere it appears to have been concerning the irregular making of a mason not in a lodge.
Article by: Hugh O’Neill
Past Master of Craft lodges under the constitution of the United Grand Lodge of England. Member of Quatuor Coronati Lodge 2076, the world’s premier Masonic research lodge. Masonic historian and orator on Masonic topics.