For many years it has been the tradition of Harmonic Lodge No 216, to end the season with a party. This could take the form of a variety of theme nights – ‘Navy Night’, ‘Pirate Night’, ‘Battle of Britain Night’, but on most occasions, a traditional ‘Olde English Night’. It is an opportunity to take a break from learning ritual, whilst at the same time raising charitable funds and more recently, inviting non-Masons to join the members at the festive board. This year however, a meeting with a difference was rolled out.
The meeting at the Adelphi Hotel, Liverpool, which impressed those visiting for the first time, was opened at 6.00pm prompt by the WM Phil Marshall. Phil welcomed visiting brethren from other lodges in the group. He also welcomed Gladstone Group Chairman John James.
Once the minutes of the previous meeting had been confirmed and signed, the lodge was opened in the second and subsequent third degree. The DC Jim Murphy, announced that at the recent meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge in Blackpool, two brethren had received promotion, Ian Winston Elsby, to the rank of Past Provincial Senior Grand Warden and Harold James Kinney, to the rank of Past Provincial Junior Grand Deacon. The brethren stood to order to salute them. Both Ian and Harry responded with modesty and humility and the brethren showed their appreciation by applauding loudly.
Closing down back to the first degree, the charities were honoured and the risings announced, the lodge was then closed in due form and perfect harmony. At regular meetings of Harmonic Lodge, the lodge is called from labour to refreshment and members and guests dine in Masonic regalia and calling the lodge from refreshment to labour at the end of the evening, in order to close the lodge.
The DC requested that all present should remain seated in their regalia, whilst the inner guard invited 10 visiting gentlemen to enter the temple, along with the tyler. Once they were seated, Ian Elsby welcomed them, explaining that to invite non-Masons into the temple was not usually done. But on this occasion, it was to give them a short insight of what goes on behind closed doors. Ian then commenced to deliver a concise but limited explanation of Freemasonry, its aims, background and charitable achievements. He pointed out the various officers, where they are situated and why. A representative of an entered apprentice, fellowcraft and master Mason were pointed out and also gestured towards a Provincial and a Grand Lodge officer. The presentation, which took about 15 minutes, gave a brief insight and description of Freemasonry without giving away any words, signs or mysteries, which would only be revealed should any of them decide to apply for membership. Although this was not intended to be a recruitment campaign to gain new members, it is hoped that their natural thirst for knowledge may encourage one or two to make further enquiries.
At the end of Ian’s presentation, the brethren and visitors applauded in appreciation. Phil again thanked Ian and although the lodge meeting had been closed, Phil requested the secretary, Eric O’Callaghan, to make a special note of how well the lecture had been presented and received.
Almost 40 members and guests were invited by the DC to make their way to the Crosby Suite to enjoy a pre-dinner drink. Harmonic Lodge was honoured by the presence of John James, who took his seat next to the WM, to first enjoy a fine three course dinner and then join in the fun.
Just two toasts were proposed on this occasion, the ‘Queen Duke of Lancaster’ and to the ‘Guests’. Following the meal, the DC Jimmy, took over proceedings, with the lodge members singing a welcome song and the visitors responding with a lament sung to the tune of ‘Oh Dear What Can the Matter Be’.
As part of the evenings entertainment thee were games of ‘Stand Up Bingo’, a ‘Raffle’ and a ‘Tombola’. The tombola ensured that everyone present won at least one prize, although some wished they had not. There was also a round of ‘tell a funny joke or pay a fyne’, – telling a bad joke ensured a fyne would be imposed. The evening was also interjected by the ‘Chief Snitch’ Ian Follett, who imposed fynes for the least indiscretion.
Towards the end of the festivities, the WM thanked the social committee for their organisation of the evening, as well as all the members and guests who had supported such a successful gathering. It was estimated that the event raised in excess of £350, which will be donated to the MCF 2021 Festival. Although nobody complained about leaving for home much poorer, there was no doubt that Masonry can be fun as well as serious. At the close of the evening, those still remaining sang the final song, ‘Good Night Brethren’, to the tune of that all-time classic ditty ‘Nice One Cyril’.