Three or four years ago, a sports association was formed in the Province of East Kent, with the purpose of enriching masonic membership through a shared enjoyment of sport. It very quickly became apparent that there was a large section of the membership who shared a passion for rugby, and the East Kent Rugby Association soon had a membership approaching 100.
The close involvement of friends and family members at our rugby events began, inevitably, to attract potential candidates for initiation into our fraternity, which got us to thinking that there may, perhaps, be some scope for a ‘special interest’ Lodge.
Once we began to give the notion some serious thought, it very soon became apparent that the ethos of the game of Rugby Union Football has significant parallels with the core values of Freemasonry, in particular respect, integrity, cooperation, and of course, benevolence and charity.
It is our intention to reach out to the substantial rugby community around the province and to engage positively with local clubs through a programme of support, sponsorship, and physical presence. We thus hope to project a positive image of Freemasonry to club members, visitors, and spectators; as well as their spouses, families and friends.
Our new lodge has developed an approach to its meetings, which accommodates the life-style, work commitments, and family demands of modern man. Ideas we are trialling include slightly later start times to allow working men to attend meetings, alternative dining arrangements to the formal festive board, and social events which, whilst recognising our Rugby heritage, appeal to all the family.
In addition we hope to make involvement in our ceremonies easier for busy professionals. We have divided the usual degree and installation ceremonies into smaller segments. This allows more of our members to take part by reducing the workload involved in the memorisation of large amounts of ritual.
Traditionalists however need not worry, we still stick rigorously to the essential fundamentals of Craft Freemasonry.