For the first time in Freemasons’ history, more than 100 members were initiated at Freemasons’ Hall in one day. The Province of Buckinghamshire achieved the remarkable step for Freemasonry on 12 September.
During the event, all 24 Lodge Rooms as well as the Grand Temple were used by Buckinghamshire Freemasons for the ceremonies, with a total of 700 Freemasons present for the event.
The lodges carried out individual or double ceremonies throughout the day starting at 10:30am. The celebratory lunch and dinner were served in the gallery suite and the vestibule outside the doors of the Grand Temple. Throughout the day, each of the Buckinghamshire lodges carried out initiations of new members. At 3:30pm every lodge then gathered in the Grand Temple with their newly initiated members.
The head of Freemasonry for Buckinghamshire, John Clark said: “This is a memorable and historic day both for Buckinghamshire and for Freemasonry as a whole. In 300 years of history there has never been so many initiations taking place in one place and on one day. We are proud to have this opportunity, after nearly two years of delays due to the pandemic, to bring new members into the organisation, and this event opens a new phase in our lives where we hope to come together and enjoy ourselves again.”
During the celebration, Mr Clark opened the meeting and all of the new initiates received the ancient charge, a document dating from 1723, setting out the fundamental principles of being a Freemason. After the closing of the lodge, the 700 members then retired to attend lunch in the beautiful surroundings of the Grade 2* Art Deco masterpiece that serves as headquarters to English Freemasonry.
During the pandemic, the lodges of Buckinghamshire continued to engage with their respective communities. The charitable works carried out throughout the province gained a lot of interest. Activities, fundraising, volunteering became a regular element of work for so many and because of this, the enquirers came knocking.
A dedicated team of 26 members was formed to capture the influx of questions and this was an opportunity to engage with younger and keen individuals to build on our membership. Potential applicants contacted the membership team via a dedicated link on the website, and the team then assessed the submissions and put them in contact with suitable lodges based on location, availability and interests. Applicants were then invited to a meeting to discuss their interest further. When lockdown restrictions were eased, informal meetings began to happen in person before more formal interviews were arranged culminating in today’s historic event.