The Pencil is but one of the ‘tools’ with which every Freemason is presented. At first sight it might appear to be the simplest, humblest and least regarded but there is much we can learn by consideration of its simple attributes.

The pencil may be thought to represent flexibility. Unlike words written in ink, the pencil allows what is written to be changed. Mistakes we’ve made can be erased and overwritten perhaps many times until the final design or composition is perfected. It can easily be re-sharpened, reused and re-tasked.

Life, like our writing or design is scattered with wrong turns, ill considered decisions; miscalculations and disappointments; rewarded, sometimes, by a gratifying progress after frequent revisions and reconsideration.

We often learn important lessons in life by the things that go wrong and cause us to stop, reconsider, and redesign. The G.A.O.T.U.’s school of preparation includes some strange classes. The pencil offers us new chances, new opportunities; new ways of being and working. Humble, the pencil is not.

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Last Monday at 9pm the Lodge of Friendship (and friends) attempted their first Zoom 'gathering'. It was a chance to see faces and catch up. Twenty two faces appeared. The invitation had not specified dress for the occasion but our DC excelled with what looked like a smoking jacket that would have delighted Hercule Poirot. However, unlike the neat and precise Hercule he sported a set of whiskers that could have been offering residence to a family of small birds. It would not be too much of a surprise as he has spent almost the whole of the lockdown hacking undergrowth in his garden. Our Almoner had obviously washed, shaved and found a clean shirt. Maybe he was wearing a Provincial tie as he had recently learnt of his promotion to Provincial rank in November (2020? or sometime in 2021?) Variations in connections meant some came, and went. One never got beyond a blank screen. One couldn't find the unmute button of his new iPhone and spent the whole time gesticulating (silently) but, hopefully, he could at least hear the rest of us. One joined us now feeling a little better after he and his wife caught the virus when they didn't get out of Spain soon enough.

Another gathering is planned for our normal Lodge night in June and hopefully someone is already scribbling something stimulating and enjoyable. Altogether, a happy hour, spent with friends and a relief to the sense of isolation forced on us by this pandemic.

To our next merry 'gathering'...

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Updated: May 23, 2020

"Masonry must be fun” I’ve heard it said.

Personally I prefer to use the word ‘enjoy’. We must enjoy our masonry; enjoy our contribution and participation.

Words have a different ‘feel’ for different people, but fun (to me) has the association of lightness, silliness and things not mattering.

I take my masonry very seriously.

This does not mean that I do not smile or find the occasional reason in Lodge or Chapter cause to chuckle.

It does mean that I spend hours learning ritual, and attend practice and rehearsal.

To deliver the 1st Degree Charge, is no fun preparing but those who hear it will enjoy a significant piece of ritual delivered well.

Our rituals deal with the most significant aspects of human life - truth, kindness, honesty, care and compassion, shining light into the darkest corners of existence.

We can enjoy the most serious of rituals, such as the 3rd degree (which is no fun at all!) and enjoy the quality of how it is presented.

Our meetings must give members a sense of significance :-

  • that what we do matters;

  • that we do it as well as we can

Hopefully our members go home feeling cheered, inspired; glad that they attended; fully intending to be at the next meeting; committed to doing whatever work is necessary for that meeting and willing and able to speak of their enjoyment to friends and colleagues - to bring others to enjoy the warmth of our fellowship...

and have some fun!

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© Lodge of Friendship No44

      Province Of East Lancashire


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Freemasons Hall, Bridge Street, Manchester, England