No, not an academic degree – a double first degree ceremony on the opening evening of the new Masonic season for Minerva Lodge No 4002.
After the summer recess it was nice to start the new season with a ceremony, in this case a double first! The ceremony was conducted by the worshipful master Jason Hengler and watched over by the director of ceremonies Gordon Farmer. Also attending the ceremony was the Liverpool Group Mentor John Leisk.
The first candidate was Stephen McBride who was proposed by his brother Phil. Phil had joined Minerva a couple of years earlier and during that time had spoken to Stephen about the good things that Freemasonry does and the friendship enjoyed by its members in Minerva Lodge. The second candidate was John Vaughan who was proposed by Minerva’s almoner Arnie Neale. John and Arnie are friends who have known each other for about seven years.
The ceremony being a double was interesting for Minerva Lodge members and guests to observe and one that will be remembered for a long time to come. It was interesting to note that Arnie Neal was the junior deacon and he took charge of the candidate he proposed, his friend John. The senior deacon was David Luing who also happened to be the seconder and friend of the other candidate, Stephen McBride. David and Stephen have known each other for many years as Stephen’s brother, Phil used to be David’s neighbour and the three often socialise together.
With the candidates in safe hands the ceremony went well and without any problems. The ceremony was followed by a loud and joyful festive board where all the members were happy to get together after the summer break. Stephen and John received a toast from the WM and after it had been responded to Stephen and John both said a few words expressing their happiness at becoming Freemasons and being admitted to Minerva Lodge. One interesting comment made was that before their proposers had actually explained what Freemasonry was all about, both candidates had misconceptions based on hearsay and rumour. That comment alone demonstrates the need for Freemasons to be more open in discussing Freemasonry with their family and friends.
After a tasty three course meal a raffle was held and £80 was collected for local charities. The winner of the raffle was able to take home a nice bottle of whiskey while the second prize, a bottle of spiced rum was recycled for the nth time and will appear as one of the prizes in next month’s raffle!