Here are the thoughts and comments of our recently initiated brother. He has kindly agreed to use this page as a diary of his reactions and feelings over the coming period. The concept is for us to ensure he has a good start to his masonic journey and for us all to learn what a candidate and new brother experiences in his first few years to becoming a Master Mason.
Please comment regularly on what he writes and encourage him to dig deeper into his Masonry.
23 thoughts on “Apprentice Diary”
Reflecting on events from last month, I’m still finding it hard to take in that I’ve now reached the dizzy heights of Master Mason. It only seems minutes ago that W.Bro Bob Summers and I were discussing my entry into Freemasonry and agreeing that slow and steady progress would be the order of the day, with my Third Degree scheduled for some eighteen months hence. How far away that seemed, with both my Initiation and Second Degree ceremonies to attain first.
Despite my frequent enforced absences, things progressed more or less on track…………until I suddenly found myself once more outside the Lodge room door, having answered another set of questions from the Worshipful Master.
Again, being duly prepared, I was led into the Lodge, familiar, but this time different, being bathed in the warm candlelight within. Many Brethren had expressed the view that this was probably the most elaborate and special of the three degrees, and so it truly proved to be.
Although giving me the most things to learn and remember, this only served to intensify the feeling and belief that this was something very special and precious to be a part of, the candlelight only adding to the atmosphere. No fear or trepidation was to be found here, only an overriding feeling of security and support from the assembled Lodge.
I should, as always, express my deep and heartfelt thanks to all those Brethren who worked so hard to make the occasion as memorable as possible, and without whose unstinting efforts, this could not have had the same significance and meaning as it did, and continues to do. To those who delivered faultless and extensive pieces of ritual, who literally raised me and to everyone who came to share in my special night, Thank You. And thanks to all of you for your very kind words at the Social Board later, especially from W.Bro Summers, my Proposer, who surprised me with a gift of Masonic cufflinks in the form of a Master Mason’s apron. Yet more to be treasured and highly valued.
Now, my journey truly begins, and I sincerely hope that it will result in many years of friendship, learning, support and enjoyment with Pendle Lodge and other Brethren.
Thanks for your commentary Ian. Its been a joy to read and reflect upon. I hope it helps those brethren in similar situations get to grips with what they are about to embark upon.
Your journey truly begins.
My last Chinese Take-Away……..or rather the last time China takes me away!
Having participated in Brother Smith’s recent initiation, I am both pleased to welcome him as a fellow Mason and also that I didn’t fail him on such an auspicious evening. Being a part of the ceremony brought home the realization that my journey into Freemasonry is proceeding apace, almost without my realising it.
At our last practice, it was wonderful to hear Brother Masons telling Bro Smith, “Sit there with Ian, and he’ll look after you” It only seems moments since my Initiation, but I was surprised to realise how much I now know and was hopefully able to make Bro Smith feel a little less self conscious and puzzled about the people involved and their respective roles.
With regards to the title of this entry, one of my major disappointments in relation to my Freemasonry has in no way been related to the Craft, but to the fact that my job has frequently taken me out of the UK to places such as Brazil, Mexico, India, but mainly China. In fact, this entry is being written as I sit in a Changchun hotel room. However, I am delighted to announce that I have secured a new job which means that this travel will come to an end following my return on the 19th April, freeing me to be a far more regular attendee at the lodge from that date onwards.
So, proving that good things come in threes, after a new car and job, my 3rd Degree is scheduled for May, following which, our DC says that he may have a small job for me……….
I suspect that it may involve a ritual passage beginning ‘It is customary, at the erection……………….
Sitting here, in a Chinese hotel room, seems (and to some extent is) a million miles away from the familiarity of the Lodge and my fellow Brethren. However, all is not completely lost, as I find myself reciting and re-reciting the Explanation of the First Degree Apron which I am to deliver to a newly initiated Brother the week after my return to the UK.
After recently receiving yet another excellent explanation, this time of the Second Degree Tracing Board from W.Bro Roy Langtree, it’s now time for me to roll up my metaphoric sleeves and begin to take an active, if only minor part in the Business and Ritual of the Lodge.
I imagine that my feelings at this point are those shared by every Brother before me:
Will I manage to remember it?
Will I get all the words in the right order (apologies to Eric Morecambe !).
Will I be able to deliver to the standard necessary?
And, of course, then comes the realization that this is probably the easiest of the Ritual pieces to learn and that the really hard work lies still ahead. But, it feels good to finally be an active part of the Lodge instead of a passive recipient, and the initial trepidation experienced begins to give way to a feeling of anticipation and even a little excitement at the ceremony to come. Not only is there a great desire to do well for the Brethren in the Lodge, but also to play my part in making that new Brother’s night as special and memorable as was my own.
And hopefully not memorable for the wrong reasons, so if you’ll excuse me, Brethren, I have a piece of Ritual to get back to……
“Brother xxx, you will observe that this………………… “
Well, the big night came, and I’m both pleased and relieved that I didn’t let my fellow Brethren down! Just like my Initiation, this proved to be a memorable event, and it was really good to see the visiting Brethren who had come to watch the ceremony.
Although our previous Senior Deacon, Bro Kevin Pickering was not present as at my First Degree, his place was admirably filled by Bro Jim Duerden. Just as with Bro Pickering, his guidance was firm and secure, making my progress around the Lodge an easy task.
Having answered the questions posed by the Worshipful Master (and giving silent thanks for the absences of any significant mental blockages!), retiring from the Lodge to prepare for the next part of my passing seemed a little more familiar than the previous time, and I was readmitted to continue my progress.
Not being hoodwinked as before allowed me to see my assembled Brothers, and I felt a great sense of pride at being part of such company. Again, the preparation which had been put in to the event was self evident, and continued the high standards for which Pendle Lodge is justly famed. Having been invested with my Fellowcraft apron, the location of which caused some elements of mystery (but that’s another story), my passing concluded and we retired to the convivial atmosphere of the Festive Board.
Brethren, especially our visitors, were more than kind and generous with their congratulations for the ritual and also my relatively small part within it. Much food and drink was consumed in the most friendly and amenable of evenings and it was generally concluded that it was yet another successful night at Pendle Lodge.
Next year, my Third Degree…….everyone tells me that it’s somewhat different.
First practice leading up to my Second Degree, and I’m glad and more than a little relieved to have discovered that the answers to the questions have somehow managed to lodge in a small unused part of my grey matter! Now the challenge is to improve and polish, so that I can be a worthy member of the Lodge. Only one practice left before the big day……….
Well, September is almost upon us, and with it, my Second Degree. Have been beavering away to get my answers perfect and will continue to do so on my return from Brazil – luckily, I have Lynette to help me, and I sometimes think that she knows the answers better than I do! As with my First Degree, I know that my Brethren are also working very hard to ensure all goes without a hitch, and I aim to do my utmost to uphold the traditions of fine ritual for which Pendle Lodge is renowned. Also, there is this mixture of anticipation, expectation and curiosity as to what is to come……
At the moment, I am away, working with Ford in Taubate, Brazil. Whilst here, my wife, Lynette, suggested that I might try to make contact with the Lodge which is here
I have mailed whom I believe to be a contact for the Lodge earlier today (Sunday) and eagerly await a reply – here’s hoping!
What a great night at Royal Lancashire – firstly, what a setting! Not having been to Colne Lodge before, I was totally unprepared for what lay within, because behind an unremarkable exterior lay an interior steeped in masonic history. It was so pleasant to see an older building which had escaped the soulless modernisation so often inflicted on these properties. From the polished wood to the stained glass panels, it was a more than suitable setting for what was to follow……
Although differing slightly in certain aspects from my own First Degree ceremony (and here, I have to express my sincere thanks for escaping the sartorial elegance of the pyjama trousers !), it was nonetheless a privilege to be part of our newly appointed Brother’s first steps into this new phase of his life. Remembering how I felt at the various stages of the ceremony only served to make the whole thing both more meaningful and enjoyable, and made my first visit to another Lodge memorable for so many reasons.
I should also like to thank W.Bro Roy Langtree and W.Bro Brian Lingard for accompanying me on this first visit and also to the Brethren of Royal Lancashire for their most warm and friendly welcomes, and look forward to returning in the near future.
Will hopefully be attending Royal Lancashire Lodge tomorrow night in order to be part of a First Degree……am really looking forward to this, as it will be my first ever meeting where I won’t have to retire for the majority of the time!
I’d like to take the opportunity to thank the members of Pendle Lodge for their generosity in supporting my Daughter-in-Law, Amie, in her recent London Marathon run. She was running in memory of her late Grandfather and to raise funds for Leukemia Care, to which the lodge made the generous contribution of £60. Many thanks from both her and I to you all.
Many thanks for your kind comments, I’m pleased that you enjoyed the explanation of the First Degree Tracing Board but I assure you it was a great pleasure and privilege to do it because I knew that it was being well received.
Yes you are right, there will be more!
Glad you are enjoying your Masonry,
As you will no doubt have read elsewhere on this site, I was one of two EA’s fortunate enough to receive WM Roy Langtree’s explanation of the First Degree Tracing Board earlier this month.
The explanation of the Tracing Board and its symbolism felt like my first real steps into learning and developing my knowledge of Freemasonry. But in addition, to hear the explanation delivered in such a fluent and flawless manner only added to the sense of this being something special, for which I would like to not only compliment the WM, but also offer my sincere thanks and appreciation. Having now been supplied with the text by the DC, I truly am awed by the amount of work which had been obviously dedicated to the task.
I can’t wait to find out what’s next, and hopefully, the chance to attend an EA Initiation may have presented itself. It will be an honour to be a part of another Brother’s most special day, but will also be good to see just what was happening on the other side of that blindfold!
This is a lovely idea and to think future Brethren from around the Province, Britain, even the World on reading this may put them more at ease in their Masonic journey in the knowledge that they are not alone. Well done and congratulations to you all from the W.M. of Three Chalices Lodge No.8249
Bob, thanks for your kind comments on the diary section. Ian is thoroughly enjoying his masonry as you can tell. The positive side to him posting on the website is that he knows what he is doing with the website platform and even has editor access to the site. Not many E.A. can say that.
We have slowed his progress right down so that he can get a clear understanding of what he is part of and hopefully by the time he is raised, which is planned for May 2014, he will be well qualified in his position as master mason.
Well, although I believed that I had previously entered a comment, it seems to have disappeared into the ether, so here’s trying once more!
As this was my first full Lodge Meeting following my First Degree initiation, I have to say that the sight of all the Brethren in their full regaila (including my own as a Steward) only added to the grandeur and feeling of belonging to something both historical and special. I’m beginning to understand why Freemasons as a whole usually only have one regret about their Masonry, that being that they didn’t begin it sooner!
W.Bro Coupe’s talk on the dress adopted by the candidate for the First Degree Initiation managed to be both entertaining and informative (not an easy feat to pull off successfully), and it was a little reassuring as an EA to discover that other Brethren also learned things of which they were previously unaware. I have to also extend my grateful thanks to W.Bro.Thompson who volunteered to take up the role as the Candidate, otherwise the suggestion was that yours truly may have been up for the role for a second time! Mind you, I don’t think I could have competed with those knees!!
My next planned leaning experience is the lecture on the First Degree Tracing Board, to which I’m keenly looking forward. Although wanting to progress and discover, I’m also learning that patience is a virtue and look forward to achieving that which I must in order to advance to the Second Degree later this year. With the most obvious and continued support of all the members of Pendle Lodge, I’m sure this will not be a problem, and I thank you all for that.
Good one, thanks for that. Bob
I think that this a great idea and will be implementing it onto our soon to be online website. Congratulations to Bro.Ian D you seem to have joined an excellent Lodge, best wishes for your future Masonic career. The most important piece of advice I was given was simply ” enjoy your Masonary “.
Yours S&F W.Bro R B Hawkins.
I can only confirm that your assumptions are absolutely correct, as the Brethren of Pendle Lodge have made me more than welcome, and although I have only been an EA for a relatively short time, the feelings of belonging are almost as if I’d been here for ages! I’m really looking forward to learning more as time progresses, but have to temper this with getting the pace right. Also hoping to see a First Degree ritual as soon as we can find one, as it would be good to see what happens on the other side of the blindfold! It will also be good to be able to hear the various addresses, etc, again and be able to listen that much more closely, not actually being involved in proceedings. Many thanks for your kind words of support.
As 2013 begins, it’s good to look forwards to what the New Year promises for me in my onward journey.
One positive for the year is that, although I will still be globetrotting somewhat, rescheduling and changes within my work should now mean that I will only miss two Lodge Meetings during this time. Of course, that’s as long as nothing happens out of the blue, so fingers crossed!
I’m looking forward to the forthcoming lectures on the Initiation Ceremony and also on the 1st Degree Tracing Board. Although some may suggest just jumping on the Internet and finding out, I’m more than happy to take a more structured approach as planned, not wishing to run before I can walk. Besides, I don’t remember anyone saying that this was a race!
It certainly isn’t a race, and those who have decided it is, have in most cases, come away learning and experiencing very little. You have made a wise choice Obi Wan.
As for the ceremonies planed in March and May, they will have to stay as they are due to the amount of work already committed. No fear, we can get you along to an initiation ceremony elsewhere in the district. In fact I think, making a visit to see a first degree ceremony as soon as possible after you are admitted yourself, should be an official part of the learning process.
Well, three days in and all’s well! Or at least, I certainly feel that it is. Having been told of the preparations made for my initiation into Pendle Lodge, I must admit to approaching the event with a certain sense of unworthiness, as it’s hard to accept that lots of people are putting in so much work to make the occasion such a special one when you aren’t actually doing anything towards it yourself. Having met most of the Brethren before at social events, I knew that joining Pendle Lodge was the right choice to make, and as such, felt no sense of embarassment or trepidation at what was to come. I had been told that this would be something special and enjoyable, and so it turned out to be. The support and welcome on that evening was way beyond anything I could have expected, and my heartfelt thanks go out to each and every one of you who obviously worked so hard to make it the memorable occasion that it was.
Moving on from there, I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised to actually have a role in the forthcoming Installation later this month. As the most junior member of the Lodge, I fully expected to be more of an observer during my first months as an Entered Apprentice, but am more than happy to be involved, even if only in a minor capacity. Still trying my hardest to remember everything, (even setting off on my left foot in Asda!), but things are even now at this early stage, beginning to find their place in my head. Just hope there’s enough room for the rest!
My decision to get you involved in Freemasonry was a simple one. The timing when to ask you was far more difficult. I had no hesitation that you would fit into the fraternity and be welcomed by the brethren, what with you attending many ladies evenings and social events, you already knew many of the guys anyway. Committing to the time and financial requirements is always far more difficult to manage and getting it right for you was always a challenge, and even now, with you away on business we will have to manage the ceremonies of the lodge to fit in with some of your away visits.
I’m really pleased you agreed to join us and I know you have the full support and blessing of your wife Lynette, who is always more than keen to attend our Ladies Evenings and social nights.
As for the hard work displayed at your recent ceremony, there will come a time when you are required to be involved with a similar performance, don’t worry, it wont be for a while yet.
For you, the plan is to ensure you have a rewarding and educational journey up to the point of Master Mason, and you will find that small steps are far easier and more interesting to take than rushing headlong into something new. If there is anything you don’t understand or have a question of then please ask any of your fellow brethren. If the answer is beyond your current position they will say so, but they will also give you their answer to any question you have. It is their answer, and I suggest you take it on board and even ask the same question of other brethren, until you have your answer. Question everything you do, and come up with a conclusion that is right for you. Freemasonry is a personal journey, its just we are all on the same path heading in roughly the same general direction.
As for the Installation this Thursday. It’s the high-lite of our masonic year and a very important meeting. Enjoy the part you have to play, it is likely to be the only time you perform this role, it has been done many times before by many of the brethren before you.
As for this diary exercise, I’m pleased you agreed to take part in it and commit the time to writing your thoughts and experiences down for us all to learn from. You never know, it could be the start of something new.
Enjoy yourself Ian