Just 28 days since Michael (Mike) Wolf was initiated into Liverpool Mercantile Lodge No 4319, Mike took his next step towards becoming a master Mason, in what can only be described as a perfect ceremony. Mike set the standard by proving his ability to make a daily advancement in Freemasonry.
The lodge was opened in the first degree by Ian Walton, standing in as WM and assisted by his wardens Paul Shepherd who stood in as Senior Warden and Mike Jones. The deacons were Dr Rauf Kukaswadia and standing in as junior deacon David Hilliard. Brian Gillbanks acted as inner guard.
Mike being desirous of being passed to the degree of a fellowcraft, rose and was questioned by the WM regarding his knowledge of the Craft so far. Mike answered all the questions with confidence and in a perfect manner. He was later to be congratulated by one and all for his obvious preparation.
Once entrusted, Mike then retired to be prepared for the ceremony. On his return, the Chaplin Rev John Lynn, gave prayer, before Mike was passed to the degree of a fellowcraft according to ancient custom, in a perfect ceremony conducted by all the officers involved. David lead Mike around the temple confidently, whilst managing to put him at ease.
The working tools of a fellowcraft Freemason were delivered and explained by Dr Rauf, in a sincere manner. Mike then retired and on his return, the Second degree tracing board was explained by the secretary, Dr Peter Lindfield. The intricacies and meanings made crystal clear by Peter’s well defined and concise wording. Peter making full use of the deacon’s wand as if he was King Solomon himself greeting fellowcraft Freemasons in the middle chamber of his temple. Although Mike did not realise it at the time, he had been passed in a ceremony which was a joy to witness by the members and many guests present.
At the conclusion of the ceremony and following the risings, Paul Shepherd informed the WM and brethren, that whilst trawling through items for sale on ebay, he had come across a past master’s jewel which had been presented to a past master of Mercantile Lodge in 1961. Paul made a successful bid and presented the jewel to the lodge, now back in its rightful home. The brethren applauded in appreciation.
The steward Dave Glover, then retired to ensure that the pre-dinner drinks had been prepared for the assembled members and guests to enjoy. During which they took the opportunity to congratulate Mike and all the officers involved. The guests seemed to outnumber the members who were soon seated to enjoy the three course meal served by the friendly catering staff at The Adelphi Hotel. The meal was accompanied by a selection of wines and a nip of brandy, all served by the hard working stewards.
During the evening a sponsor form was circulated collecting sponsorship for Ian Walton, acting WM and group treasurer, who is raising funds for a summer walk, the proceeds of which will ultimately be donated to the MCF 2021 Festival.
Liverpool Mercantile Lodge was established in November 1921, to accommodate the growing number of men wishing to join Freemasonry after the First World War. It drew its membership from businessmen in the city and originally the lodge met at the Exchange Hotel, attached to the former Exchange Station in Tithebarn Street and later moved to the Adelphi Hotel, where they continue to meet. In a little over two years they will be celebrating their centenary.
Sadly, it was soon time for the last toast of the evening, which was in the hands of the tyler Paul Harford, signalling the end of a memorable evening for Mike, the officers and members of Liverpool Mercantile Lodge, together with their many guests.
Article and photographs by Phil Marshall