Freemason in Penarth and Vale

Becoming a Freemason in Penarth, Barry, Sully, Cardiff, Vale of Glamorgan

Becoming a Freemason

People from all walks of life think of becoming a Freemason for a variety of reasons. Some are attracted by the valuable work that the movement performs in

raising money for charity. A proportion of these funds is used to assist Freemasons and their depenhandshake1dents in times of need, particularly the sick and the elderly, but the greater part goes to non Masonic charities – local, national and international. Freemasons also assist the community in more direct ways, such as carrying out voluntary work. Others become Freemasons because of the unique fellowship it provides. Visit a Masonic lodge anywhere in the country – or indeed, the world – and you are greeted as an old friend. Freemasonry is the ultimate leveller, a community where friendship and goodwill are paramount.

Personal satisfaction not personal gain

It has been said that some people become Freemasons for personal benefit. This statement is true, but for the wrong reasons. The personal gain is in experiencing the warmth of an honourable society and being part of an organisation that works hard to help the less fortunate of the world. Freemasonry does ask its members to give as freely as they can to charity. How often have we told ourselves that we really should send money to help with some famine or other disaster we have seen on TV, only to forget all about it in the rush of everyday life? Freemasonry provides a structured channel for fundraising from its members and reacts quickly when help is needed urgently, as in the case of the tsunami disaster. In South Wales, we are currently raising raising £5million towards a charitable Festival in 2021, as well as supporting local charities.

Masonic symbolism has a purpose

But what about the so-called funny handshakes and the outlandish dress styles?UGLE Freemasonry has been in existence for over 300 years and over this time has developed a pattern of rituals. They are no more outlandish than ceremonies such as the State Opening of Parliament but, like this event, they perform a valuable function in reminding members of the heritage and standards they are expected to maintain. Once people have become Freemasons and understand the context of the rituals and symbolism, they no longer seem quirky.

Handshakes don’t give an unfair advantage

The handshakes are signs used within Masonic ceremonies. Certainly they can be used in everyday society, but to expect preferential treatment or some other sort of advantage from fellow Freemasons met in this way is both misguided and contrary to one of the basic principles of the organisation. Rather than spend your money on Masonic membership fees, you’d be better off buying a lottery ticket.
Has anyone ever used their membership of Freemasonry to try to gain personal benefit? Of course there have been cases. But that is true of just about every group, society or body where men get together. How many business deals are cooked up on the golf course? The difference is that, unlike the golf club, Freemasonry has a system of morality that says no to this.

Why the mystery?

If Freemasonry has nothing to hide, why the mystery? The ‘mysteries’ that are revealed to members as they progress are nothing more sinister than sound advice that helps them to lead a balanced life, for example through thinking about things like the welfare of others. Similarly, Masonic passwords are simply keys to the doors of the different levels within Freemasonry. Learning these principles on a step by step basis makes them easier to absorb and understand. Masonic ceremonies are like short morality plays in which members play different parts. Like any form of theatre, it demands the learning of words and the movements on stage. Through taking part in these ceremonies, Freemasons come to understand the truths that they contain.

So what is involved?

So do you need the acting skills of a West End star to become a Freemason? Certainly not. In the convivial atmosphere of a Masonic meeting, members soon learn to relax and enjoy taking part in something rather special. It’s a place where everyone can be themselves and contribute in a way that suits their own personality. Many members actually find that learning and performing these rituals is a useful programme of self development. For those that want to do it, Freemasonry also provides the opportunity to practise after-dinner speaking with a totally friendly audience.

How time consuming is it?

Doesn’t all this take up a great deal of one’s time? The majority of lodges in the Province of South Wales meet four or five times a year. The formal part of the proceedings (the ceremonies) usually start towards the end of the afternoon and are followed in the evening by a dinner and a few (hopefully short) speeches. Additionally there are weekly instruction meetings where members learn more about the principles of Freemasonry and to master the ritual performed in the ceremonies. Freemasons also gain great pleasure in visiting lodges other than their own, making new friends and seeing different traditions followed. While there are numerous opportunities to engage in Masonic pursuits, Freemasonry encourages its members to live well rounded lives and always stresses that one’s family and personal affairs must always come first.

Wives and partners matter to Freemasons

In the interests of domestic harmony, people interested in becoming Freemasons are strongly recommended to bring their wife / partner into the picture at the earliest possible stage. All of the Masonic Centres in the Province of South Wales are happy to give guided tours to the general public. Visitors can see inside the Masonic temples where the ceremonies take place and ask about the issues discussed here. There are also entertaining lectures, held inside a lodge or chapter rooms, for anyone interested in learning more about Freemasonry. These are usually followed by an informal dinner.

Not just for the well heeled

What about the cost ? Membership subscriptions compare favourably with everyday sports and social clubs. Freemasonry is not a rich man’s hobby but an affordable and rewarding pastime for the many.

What else?

What else is involved in becoming a Freemason? You have to be male, aged 21 or over and be of good character (which means not having any criminal convictions). You must also believe in a Supreme Being, but Freemasonry is not a religion; men from a variety of faiths belong.

There are approximately 7,000 South Wales Freemasons in some 160+ lodges and 65+ Chapters meeting at the twentytwo Masonic Centres located at Aberdare, Bargoed, Barry, Brecon, Bridgend, Builth Wells, Caerphilly, Cardiff, Cowbridge, Llandrindod Wells…..

What it costs

Firstly, Let us dispel the myth that you have to be well-off to become a Freemason. It costs less than you may think!  For the answer to these questions, keep reading.

If you decide to join the Services Lodge, you will be asked for certain fees, which under Grand Lodge rules, have to be paid prior to joining. These will include a one-off joining fee of £100.00 plus a one-off registration fee to Grand Lodge & Provincial Grand Lodge.

You will then be expected to pay the annual subscription levied by the Lodge. The fee for Services Lodge for 2015/16 is £235.00 a year, starting at our January 2015 meeting.

Most Lodge meetings have an official ceremony followed by a dinner. You may choose to dine with your brethren or go home after the Lodge meeting, again this is your choice and there will never be any pressure on you to stay to eat. The meal though is great fun with entertaining speeches and some fine traditional Toasts and costs approximately £12-£15

Depending on the Lodge, a Masonic dinner could include a starter, main course, desert, cheese & biscuits and coffee. If you invite any Masonic guests, it is normal that, as their host, you would pay their dining fee.

Most Lodges will have a ‘dress code’ which requests that members wear a dark lounge suit, shirt with a white collar, a black tie and black shoes. In time, certain items of regalia will be required, which initially will not be expensive, and often, there is the opportunity to buy used regalia at very little cost.

From time to time, many Lodges have a special evening, or daytime event, specifically to raise money for charity. You will never be pressurised into attending them or to donate money at these events if you are unable to, or prefer not to.

However, it is hoped that you will participate in the Lodge’s efforts to raise money for the various charities they adopt.
Freemasons are encouraged to donate money to charity, dependent upon their means. You will never be pressurised and some Lodges will not ask you at all, as giving to charity is a matter for your own conscience.

How do you join the Freemasons ? Suggested Steps

If you have any questions not answered by this page, please feel free to contact the Secretary by E-Mail: nigwil@aol.com ensuring to include a contact telephone number,

If after reading the pages on this site, you are interested in becoming a Freemason, we advise that you first talk to a family member, friend or colleague whom you already know to be a Freemason. They will be able to explain to you what they can about the fraternity and help you find a suitable Lodge.

If you don’t know anyone who is a Freemason and you would like to join a Penarth Lodge, please send an email telling us more about yourself. You can find details of when each Lodge meets, so we can endeavour to find the right evenings to suit your work & life patterns.

Arrangements will be made to meet you socially to find out more about you, and to give you a chance to find out more about us.

If you live, or want to join a Lodge in another part of South Wales, The Provincial Grand Lodge of South Wales is there to help you or contact me and we will transfer your enquiry to the appropriate person