City of Lancaster Lodge No 281 WM Lee Fisher, in the presence of Assistant Provincial Grand Master Peter Schofield, conducted the initiation ceremonies for three candidates, all of whom are students at Lancaster University who joined under the Universities’ Scheme.
The scheme was established in 2005 for undergraduates and other university members from 18 upwards to enjoy Freemasonry. The members of the lodge were delighted to welcome the return of honorary member John Stanley, coordinator of the Lancaster University Scheme who has been recovering from illness since the end of last year.
For the ceremony, the WM was assisted by his senior warden Alistair McIntyre, acting junior warden Andrew Ridal, senior deacon Connor Isted, junior deacon David Brayshaw and director of ceremonies Adrian Wells. The WM opened the lodge and conducted the usual business before proceeding to ballot for Ebenezer Pascal Ghunney, 35 years old residing in Lancaster, who is currently studying for a master’s degree in law and international politics. On completion of a successful ballot, the WM then proceeded to conduct the ceremony of initiation for Haaris Ahmed, the second candidate and Ebenezer Pascal Ghunney, all of whom were proposed in open lodge at the previous meeting.
Each of the candidates was admitted to the lodge and conducted through the ceremony individually up to an including their obligation commencing with Haaris, then the second candidate and finally Pascal. The candidates were led in the temple by David Brayshaw, accompanied by Connor Isted.
The WM then proceeded to carry on with the next part of the ceremony addressing the three initiates as a group after which the senior warden Alistair McIntyre was commanded by the WM to invest each candidate with the distinguishing badge of a Mason. The newly made Masons were placed in the north east corner of the lodge where David Parker from Preston Guild Lodge No 4408 explained the reason why they were placed in that part of the lodge and the virtue of charity.
The working tools of an entered apprentice were presented by Connor Isted. The WM then explained the authority under which the ceremony was conducted and the warrant of the lodge was shown to the candidates. An electronic copy of the Book of Constitutions and by-laws of the lodge was presented to each candidate before they were invited to retire from the lodge to restore themselves to their personal comforts. On their return the charge after initiation was presented by Andrew Ridal. At this point, assistant group mentor Nigel Parrish presented each candidate with a copy of the New Initiates Guide and an explanation of the first degree ceremony.
Haaris, who is studying politics and international relations, is an intern with the Richardson institute, who offer opportunities for students to develop analytical and research skills. During his time at Lancaster University, he has been editor of a philosophical magazine called Ethica.
Haaris’ parents were originally from Pakistan and now live in Windsor, Berkshire. He was deputy head boy at the Windsor Boys School and has served as an Air Cadet. Haaris is standing as a councillor at the upcoming elections in Windsor and is going to teach English on a short teaching assistant course in Rome this summer. He hopes to remain a member of the lodge commuting from Windsor.
The second candidate first showed an interest in Freemasonry at the 2022 Freshers Fayre and is more of a local lad.
Pascal is a native of Ghana currently living in Lancaster while studying for his Master’s Degree. He already holds two undergraduate degrees, the first a Batchelor of Science in Mathematics awarded in 2014 by the University of Education in Ghana and the second a Batchelor of Law degree awarded in 2022 by the University of Lancaster. He was a secondary school mathematics teacher in Ghana from 2014 to 2016 before becoming CEO of the EPG Group of Companies in Ghana from 2017 to 2022
At the festive board, 26 brethren dined and the raffle raised £108. The toast to the WM was given by immediate past master Adrian Wells. Assistant secretary Jack Baxter gave the toast to Haaris and the second candidate, while the toast to Pascal was given by his long-term friend and fellow Ghanian, Kwabeana Gyapong Osei-Bonsu, who joined City of Lancaster Lodge last year and travelled from London to be at the ceremony.