Freemasonry has existed for hundreds of years. It has survived changes in monarchs, governments, leaders and social fashions. It has even survived World wars. But everything has to evolve in some way or another, including Freemasonry, and we are indeed evolving. It is true to say that in the past 40 years there has been a decline in numbers joining Freemasonry – but to an extent it is just following a straight line trend over 300 years, because the recent trend is simply mirroring the the immediate post war period boom – and not dissimilar to the property market, Freemasonry is coning back to its proper levels.
Society as a whole, however, has also changed. Fifty years ago there weren’t the calls upon one’s time as there is now, either at work or at home. Technology has radically altered our social landscape – with on demand entertainment on cinematic style screens at home, a dizzying multitude of apps and vast realms of information exacting our attention most of the waking hours. And that’s just scratching the surface. And as we are offered more, so we seem to demand more.
The traditional lodge – a sanctuary for many, offers an immense bond between its members. But adding a further layer of a shared common interest outside of Freemasonry is the cement that binds them even stronger. The Provincial Executive within Oxfordshire were keen that we investigate the interest by existing members of lodges within the Province for the creation of some special interest lodges, and a survey went out to determine the feasibility. At about the same time (DATE) a new lodge was about to be created, Oxfordshire’s first new one for XXX years, The Provincial Grand Steward’s Lodge No 9957.
The survey results were in – and demonstrated strong possibilities for the formation of a classic car lodge, a rugby lodge, a real ale lodge, a football lodge, and a fine dining lodge. The rugby boys were first off the mark, and created the Ruck and Maul Lodge No. 9974 which was consecrated in March 2019.
The WM designate, Chris Wagstaff, called together a meeting of interested parties at the Provincial Grand Lodge meeting at Kassam Stadium in October 2018, and all those present were in agreement to start the process of the formation of the lodge, and so it began…