Provincial Grand Lodge Of Gloucestershire

What is Freemasonry?

Our Guiding Principles

What Is Freemasonry About?

For Freemasons, there are four important values that help define their path through life: Integrity, Friendship, Respect and Service. In today’s world filled with uncertainty, these principles ring as true as they have at any point in the organisation’s history.

Integrity

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.

Friendship

Building Together

One of the oldest social organisations in the world, Freemasonry is not defined by an ideology. It is open to people from all religions and political persuasions, and provides the common foundation for friendships between members, many of which will last for life.

Respect

Building Unity

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.

Service

Serving The Community

Whether participating in events, fundraising for a charitable cause or volunteering for public or community organisations, service is at the very heart of Freemasonry. Our members make valuable contributions by donating time, resources and skills.

Our Mission

Mission Statement

We are a unique members’ organisation which has thrived for over 300 years. Having no political or religious affiliations, we comprise members of all ages, races, religions, cultures and backgrounds. We meet in our individual Lodges throughout the country where we have ceremonial traditions which encourage us both to be more tolerant and respectful and actively to fulfil our civic and charitable responsibilities; we also make time to eat, drink and meet together, and form lifelong friendships.

To attract those from all backgrounds and walks of life, enabling them to develop into more thoughtful and confident people. To inspire and challenge them to practise the core values we celebrate – Integrity, Friendship, Respect, Service – in their private and public lives. To cement our reputation as a force for good in our communities and society at large and as a thriving organisation that people aspire to join.

Over the next 7 years, we will enhance our reputation as a thriving organisation that people aspire to join and broaden our membership across all age groups. 

Learn More

What is Freemasonry?

For each of those who join, Freemasonry means different things to every Mason. Some Freemasons enjoy meeting new people and expanding their circle of friends. For others charity is one of the primary reasons, being able to help deserving causes and helping to make a difference to family and society. For most Freemasons it is a great way to spend quality time simply an enjoyable hobby they share with like-minded people from a surprisingly wide and diverse spread of society.

As one of the world’s largest and oldest fraternal, charitable, non-religious and non-political organisations, Freemasonry teaches self-knowledge through participation through a progression of ceremonies. Members are encouraged to speak openly about Freemasonry and are expected to be of high moral standing.

Freemasonry is a fraternal society, concerned with moral and spiritual values. Members are taught its guiding principles (moral lessons and self-knowledge) via a series of ritual dramas – a progression of allegorical two-part plays which are learnt by heart and performed within each Lodge – Using medieval stonemasons’ customs and tools as allegorical guides*.

A moral and ethical approach to life is instilled in its members, its values are based on integrity, kindness, honesty and fairness.

Members are urged to regard the interests of the family as paramount but, importantly, Freemasonry also teaches concern for people, care for the less fortunate and help for those in need.
(*An allegory is a term for a figure of speech. It is a story or picture with a hidden meaning. The characters in allegories are symbols which represent particular ideas. The story has a figurative meaning, not just a literal one. For example, a fable or parable is a short allegory with one basic idea or moral, so it is within Freemasonry).

Why become a Freemason?

Integrity, Friendship, Respect and Service
The benefits that members gain from Freemasonry may be described as follows.

Making New Connections. Becoming a member of a lodge provides the opportunity to make new lifelong friends. It gives you that ‘local’ feeling where you can meet regularly to eat and drink, have fun and feel supported by a group of like-minded people sharing common values in a unique setting.

Community Involvement. As a member of a lodge you have the opportunity to get involved with your local community through charitable and social events. Fundraising and charity is at the heart of Freemasonry and getting involved provides you, your partners, family and friends the opportunity to connect with people locally and make a real difference to the lives of others.

Personal Development. In Freemasonry you take part in interactive “plays”, first as a passive participant before moving on to more active and involved roles. Along the way, you hear about, look at, contemplate and describe various symbolic artifacts, learn the different levels of meaning behind them; all the while you practice the behaviours you can implement in daily life. Our ceremonial traditions encourage us to be both more tolerant and respectful and to fulfill our civic responsibilities.

Freemasonry Encourages Interaction with Diverse Groups of People. A lodge often has a diverse membership. Having no political or religious affiliations, we comprise members of all races, religions, cultures and backgrounds, range in age from 18 to 80 or older, and from a wide range of professions. You would not easily have access to such a broad range of people in most other areas of your life.

Freemasonry Activities Improve Your Confidence. Many lodge activities provide opportunities to deliver impromptu or planned speeches, hold offices, and to think on your feet. Networking opportunities, learning from peers and mentors and practicing lines for our ceremonies can help you to develop skills beneficial to both your professional and personal life.

Freemasonry is a Global Community. Once you become a Freemason, you can travel across the United Kingdom, and in many cases the World, meeting other Freemasons with whom you can connect with, find affinity, and take opportunities to broaden your own horizons.

Freemasonry has more than 200,000 members spread throughout England and Wales and worldwide. In total, we have more than 7,000 Lodges, with students over 18 able to join one of the 85 University Scheme Lodges. Women can join one of two female-only organisations: The Order of Women Freemasons and Freemasonry for Women.

Long Tradition of Support and inspiration. When you become a Freemason, you join a long tradition of great men in many fields who found inspiration and support in this organisation. You are embraced into an organisation that genuinely cares for each of its members and wants to see them excel and meet life’s challenges with strength and integrity. It can help to reach your potential.

History and Heritage. Freemasonry treasures its rich history and the extraordinary characters who have been associated with it since 1717. Its rich heritage, for those who are intrigued by its history and mysteries, can be found catalogued amongst the impressive collection of books in the Library at Freemasons Hall which you are welcome to visit. It contains texts and documents acquired over many centuries. It has an extensive art and artifact collection, which brings the history of Freemasonry to life.

Freemasonry Provides Access to Intellectual Discussions and Talks. Lodges provide regular opportunities to attend lectures on a broad range of topics. Sometimes these lectures focus on themes like integrity, charity and leadership.

Special Interest Lodges. Members may choose from a wide variety of special interest Lodges. These have been formed by members to enjoy shared interests and can enrich the social calendar. For example, there are Fine Dining Lodges, Rugby Lodges, Cycling Lodges and Heritage Lodges to list a few.