Provincial Grand Lodge Of Gloucestershire

Lodge of Instruction Goes Rogue

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Lodge of Instruction Goes Rogue

At their last meeting of the Masonic season Sympathy Lodge of Instruction (or LofI, as it is popularly known) meeting in Wotton under Edge ‘went rogue’. Rather than the usual practising the three degree ceremonies and installations Gary Shellard came up with the idea of holding a session on the protocols and procedures at the festive board. It is after all one of the most important components of a vibrant lodge giving maximum value to its members and attracting new ones, but an aspect which is often overlooked, certainly by Lodges of Instruction. As Gary has influence in the right circles not only was a sausage and chips supper provided at the all time bargain price of £5 but it came with a punchy curry sauce! Added to which thanks to John Lewis the bar was open so ‘Happy Days’, as they say.

Chris Riley, the Secretary of the Sympathy LofI, organised a quiz to find out just how much everyone knew about this venerable organisation of ours. Let’s just say that when they saw the questions many, including some very experienced masons, were looking perplexed. This could be a tell tale to Lodges of Instruction generally that there is a need to educate our members on a broader basis beyond the little blue book of ceremonies.

Richard Reeve, past Provincial Mentor, then proceeded to do just that by revealing many aspects of the festive board that members had not appreciated previously. Dave Leivers, a frequent flyer with the Sympathy Lodge of Instruction, suffered what an experienced master would find difficult in the face of constant interruptions but still seemed to enjoy himself in the ‘big chair’. Walter Eley, assistant preceptor (or leader) of the Lodge of Instruction tried manfully to maintain control of proceedings as Director of Ceremonies despite it being very clear from the off that he stood little chance. Patrick Nilsson and Colin Drewitt from the Lodge of Instruction in Stroud were clearly wondering whether to emulate proceedings or regard it as a lesson in what not to do. Sid Yule, a past member of the Provincial Director of Ceremonies team (aka ‘the professionals’) threw in several further nuggets most of us had not known. Rob Stephens, part of the current team, brought his son along as part of his education. Mark Smith, Assistant (and soon to be Deputy) Provincial Grand Master added a further top level perspective.  Of the 44 present 26 were visitors, several being members of lodges from other centres who were especially welcome.

The aim, as ever with a Lodge of Instruction, was to have fun and learn. Freemasonry has been arguably the most successful fraternal and charitable organisation for well over three hundred years. Why it is more enduring and stronger than other similar organisations is doubtless down to the shared experience of working together in the lodge and particularly in the lodges of instruction where many firm friendships are forged by learning together. This departure from the norm in concentrating on the after meeting proceedings will hopefully help members when visiting other lodges and also to remind them to welcome visitors into their own lodges. It has given many of us food for thought as to how there might be other avenues where we can shed light on other aspects of Freemasonry and open up further opportunities for our members.

If you have any comments or questions on any aspect of this article or the meeting please contact provcomoff@glosmasons.org.uk

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Richard Reeves - Lessons of Protocol
Lodge of Instruction Goes Rogue