Brethren of Hand and Heart Lodge No 4109, along with a plethora of grand officers, Provincial grand officers and many, many, other distinguished brethren and guests attended an extraordinary meeting of the lodge at Urmston Masonic Hall.
The meeting, according to the summons, was a straight forward initiation ceremony preceded by a ballot for a new initiate. However, on this occasion, the ceremony was to be carried out by South Eastern Group stalwart and the lodge DC Ezra McGowan, and the initiate was to be his eldest son, Ezra. Furthermore, the subject of the ballot, (which proved unanimous in favour), was for his younger son Issak!
The initiation ceremony proved to be of great interest to the local Masonic community, so much so in fact, that the temple in the 1881 building proved to be woefully short of capacity and the ceremony was carried out in the older, much larger temple in the ‘Venue’ next door.
Lodge members were a little overawed as they had not seen such a large turn-out since the centenary celebrations in 2021, but once everyone had found a seat in the lodge room, the meeting commenced with Ezra senior (with WM, Darren Gregory’s permission) in the master’s chair.
The minutes from the last meeting were read and then the ballot was held. An alarm was then sounded and junior warden Ken Harding bade the candidate enter. Ezra junior entered the lodge in the usual condition of a new initiate, being expertly guided by junior deacon Mike Berrisford, ably assisted by senior deacon Rick Wiles.
Ezra junior circulated the lodge room and was then presented at the master’s pedestal where Ezra senior took over the proceedings, expertly leading his son through the obligation and presenting the first degree tools in an exemplary fashion. Ezra junior then retires form the lodge.
On his return to the lodge room having restored himself to his personal comforts, Ezra junior was then presented an excellent recital of the charge after initiation by the ‘father of the lodge’ Steve Masters, congratulated by the WM Darren and allowed to take his place in the lodge.
On completion of the ceremony, Brian Hayes rose to congratulate both Ezra’s, one for his superb presentation of the ceremony and one for his excellent conduct throughout. Brian also congratulated all the officers of the lodge who had taken part in what was, throughout, an impeccably worked piece of ritual.
As a little light relief from the initiation ceremony, under the banner of any other Masonic business, grand officer Mike Adams rose to present Grand Lodge Certificates to Hand and Heart members Malcolm Whittle and Mike Berrisford, giving a brief but fascinating insight into the history of the Grand Lodge Certificate and promising to come back at a later date when more time would allow him to give an in-depth lecture on the subject.
During the first rising, Gareth Jones, Chairman of South Eastern Group rose to add his congratulations to all concerned in the evening’s activity and Ezra junior particularly on his becoming a Freemason. He said the brethren had witnessed a most excellent ceremony that was a delight to witness, and that Ezra should be very proud of his work during the ceremony.
After the lodge ceremony and business concluded, the evening continued with a vibrant festive board with particular attention being given to the new brother.
Towards the end of the evening, Ezra senior proposed the toast to his son in a very meaningful and emotional manner and Ezra junior, for his part, gave an excellent response expressing his wish to see all those present return for next month’s ceremony when his younger brother was to be initiated.
With much laughter and good humour, an excellent evening concluded with all present awaiting the next instalment.