The Journey to Consecration
This is not a summary of dates and events. It is an explanation of how the Founders shaped the way in which the Lodge was formed and reveals the steps they took on the journey to Consecration.
The ‘Founding Fathers’ of the Lodge of Daily Advancement are David West and Ken Cownden who first considered the concept of establishing a new lodge with a specific purpose in 2002. Throughout their Masonic careers David and Ken have contributed a great deal of their time in giving talks, presentations, entertainments and writing on a vast array of Masonic subjects to help brethren gain a deeper understanding of Freemasonry.
David and Ken also found that brethren from many lodges in the Province shared their enthusiasm for advancing Freemasonry in this way. They also came across those with a keen desire to carry out research, present talks and give demonstrations but who were without any forum for their work or help from others with more experience. A regular Craft lodge can only do so much for members who do want to study and share their research and experience with others in the Province, so the concept of a ‘Lodge of Daily Advancement’ was born and began the journey to Consecration.
Many ideas and thoughts were considered before the growing number of Founder members eventually agreed on six objectives for the Lodge. There was never any intention to focus only on fresh research but rather to also use what could be found from existing sources to enhance the Masonic knowledge of members and then share it in other Craft lodges by delivering talks and giving demonstrations.
To assist learning in both a more realistic and enjoyable way, particularly when showing how things used to be, the Lodge would put together entertainments using period costumes and visual effects and in a similar way re-enact Masonic ritual from earlier periods or different workings or other recognised constitutions.
From the vast range of Masonic research and topics available, members with common interests would be encouraged to form a number of active sections within the Lodge. One thing many lodges have missed out on is in having dedicated archivists who could have preserved important artefacts over the years so, for example, there could be a section on Masonic Memorabilia, another section might focus on Music in Masonry by sharing research and perhaps also provide musical accompaniments. As one Founder member explained “The possibilities are only limited by our imagination”. In this way the objective of the Lodge to support the research or development needs of Freemasons in Essex was also agreed.
The Founders also recognised the growing need to give more help to longer serving Essex masons who want to help newer and younger masons learn about the history and heritage of the Craft. Most new members to the Craft have a keen desire to learn much more about Masonic history, philosophy and symbolism and they do want to be part of the heritage that already exists.
The Founders made it an objective to provide encouragement and support to all those willing to help new members in the Craft attain a deeper understanding of the rich heritage and history of Freemasonry. Having all agreed on five objectives which meet the purpose of the new Lodge, the Founders took the next step on the journey to Consecration.
How could Freemasons of similar outlook be brought together to encourage and help each other pursue their own research and present ‘papers’ of their work and join in with others to demonstrate different masonic ceremonies? With this in mind the Founders focused their attention on the membership, location and internal organisation for the new Lodge of Daily Advancement.
Throughout the Province it is accepted that ‘Core Freemasonry’ consists of three Craft Degrees and Exaltation into Royal Arch Masonry and the Founders believed this should be wholeheartedly supported by the Lodge and so as not to find itself restricted in discussions at meetings which may have a Holy Royal Arch content the Founders agreed membership should be by invitation and restricted to Master Masons who are preferably also members of a Holy Royal Arch Chapter.
After considering various options for the frequency, availability of locations and timings of meetings for the growing numbers of Founders and joining Members, the consensus arrived at was to hold early evening Lodge meetings at the Chelmsford Masonic Centre on the first Tuesdays in February, May and October followed by a festive board. In addition to the Officers of the Lodge a Demonstration Team and an Oration Team would be established with Team Leaders to plan and organise the presentations.
October was chosen for the Installation meeting at which each new Master would deliver a short presentation of his own work and during his year encourage the members to both enhance their own learning and participate in demonstrations and orations. As well as the normal business of a lodge the regular meetings would include additional learning on a subject of interest to the brethren with a presentation lasting about thirty minutes after which the Master and his two Wardens would each give their views before inviting discussion amongst the Lodge members so that everyone can be involved.
The purpose of the Lodge was now reflected in its Objectives and the qualification for membership and the location, frequency and structure of meetings had all been agreed. The next step was to put in place the administration needed to bring everything together and attend to all the details that are required for a proposed new lodge to be consecrated.
The Founders realised that the whole process would involve a considerable amount of coordination between all the members, the sponsoring lodge and the Provincial Office. Getting the message across to all Essex Masons that a new Lodge with such a specific purpose was being proposed, attending to all the applications for membership, organising the Founders’ meetings, preparing the petition for submission to Provincial Grand Lodge, procuring equipment for the Lodge, calling for volunteers to be Officers, Team Leaders, web and print design and management and making all the arrangements for the Consecration Meeting would require an experienced Mason with excellent communication and administration skills.
This unenviable role was accepted by Lawrie Morrisson, who took up the appointment as Secretary Designate and has acted as the main coordinator for all the multitudinous tasks, some of which are described above, that were needed. Lawrie stands alongside the two Founding Fathers in having significantly helped to fulfil those early aspirations for a ‘Lodge of Daily Advancement’ by working hard behind the scenes on behalf of all the Founders which has enabled the journey to Consecration to successfully be kept on course at all times.
The final step was to focus on the most important value for all Freemasons that of raising money for charitable causes. As all of the Lodge of Daily Advancement members would be members of other regular lodges through which they would also give generously a different approach to raising charitable funds needed consideration.
In addition to the alms collection at each Meeting it was also envisaged that the Demonstration and Oration Teams will raise additional funds as applause when invited to deliver presentations to other lodges and other ways would also be encouraged. On this basis the Founders wholeheartedly agreed that the sixth objective and final step for the Lodge Of Daily Advancement must be to seek new ways to raise funds for Essex Provincial Charities and so the ‘Journey to Consecration’ was made complete.