Installations, celebrations, initiations and raisings are all welcomed by lodges and are greatly enjoyed by all who attend throughout this great organisation of Freemasonry, but how many lodges annually celebrate their founders? Well for one lodge in the Ormskirk and Bootle Group, namely Aughton Lodge No 7996, this is an annual event and has been undertaken since its consecration on the 15 January 1965 some 52 years ago. This celebration is carried out at the regular meeting each year as near to the original date as possible.
The WM Jim Carrie warmly welcomed everyone including a substantial number of visitors, one of which has become a familiar face over recent weeks. Mark Phillips has been a regular attendee at lodges meeting at the Ormskirk Masonic Hall; he is from the United States of America and a member of Colorado Springs Lodge No 76 Colorado and also Lee Lodge No 209 Waynesboro, Virginia.
After the usual business Jim proceeded to open the lodge in all three degrees following which he closed each degree the long way. It must be said that this is another practice that seldom takes place and for those present is a delight to witness. It is also a great form of exercise as I can testify, up down, up down and so on.
The next business on the summons was ‘a daily advancement in Masonic knowledge’ with the WM informing all present: “Tonight is our Founders Night and when this lodge was formed in 1965 it would have been the founders desire that members of this the Aughton Lodge stood by the promises they made throughout their Masonic membership. Two of the important demands on us as members are when we take on the roles of worshipful master and senior and junior wardens.” Continuing he said that as part of this special occasion and following the wishes of the founders the addresses to the master and wardens are being re-affirmed.
The IPM Stewart Cranage presented the address to the WM faultlessly and as befits an extremely well respected Mason with warmth and humility. It was then the turn of John Doyle to present the address to the wardens. John who has been extremely busy during this Masonic year; carrying out his duties visiting and representing in his acting role as PrGStwd; asked the wardens to stand before presenting the accustomed address to their respective stations.
Following on Ian Tupling DC gave a short explanation of what it means to be a Mason with emphasis on the special relationship that each brother brings to the fraternity. To clarify he read a short poem that he felt relevant to Masonic life.
‘The Cold Within’ (author unnamed) ‘Six humans trapped by happenstance, in dark and bitter cold, each possessed a stick of wood, or so the story’s told. Their dying fire in need of logs, but the first one held his back.’ The poem goes on to give the reasons why each had some reason not to help warm his fellow traveller; race, religion, social background or greed. The poem concludes with the words ‘Their sticks held tight in death’s stilled hands, was proof enough of sin; They didn’t die from cold without – They died from cold within.’
Later at the well-attended festive board, John Wootton, almoner of the lodge presented a comprehensive history which was compiled for the 50th anniversary, giving details of the foundation of the lodge including those who attended the early meetings before the lodge was consecrated. He read out the names of all the founding members as he said: “So that their names would once again echo around the hall that they had all known so well.” John then proposed a hearty toast to the founders of Aughton Lodge which was acknowledged by everyone present.
As a publicity officer I do not recall, other than on very special occasions, lodges that celebrate their foundation with such enthusiasm as Aughton Lodge or still celebrate and remember those very special people that formed the lodge that they as current members hold so dear to their hearts.
Story and photographs by Barry Hewitt