Picture of Richard Dixy, a visiting volunteer standing next to the MCF banner

sixteen very happy stalwarts of the Septem Lodge No.7788

trip organiser Kevin Kemp presented some gifts to the members of Lodge 5817

Thank you to you all for your fellowship and friendship. We must do it again.

Kevin Kemp writes:

On Friday 23rd June 2023, sixteen very happy stalwarts of the Septem Lodge No.7788 International Visiting Group boarded their minibus and took to the road again – this time to visit the Friedrich zur Vaterlandsliebe Lodge No.5817 in Koblenz in Germany.

Members of Septem Lodge ready for their travels.

After an early start, we drove by minibus to Folkestone, travelled on the Channel Tunnel shuttle to France and arrived that evening in Koblenz where our German hosts welcomed us with beers and a barbecue.

The members of Septem Lodge arrive and sit down for something to eat.

We were shown around the Lodge Building by the Senior Warden of the Lodge, Michael. We had a proper guided tour of all the rooms within the building. The Temple was set up very differently from the way that we are used to. Full explanations were given by Michael in extremely good English.

picture of some of the Septem lodge members inside the German Lodge

In 1933, known as the dark time by German Masons, the original Lodge building was seized and taken over by the German Socialist Party. Many Masons at that time were then persecuted for their membership. They never returned to the building: it was demolished during the war.

The tour completed, trip organiser Kevin Kemp presented some gifts to the members of Lodge 5817 – including a set of columns for the Senior and Junior Wardens’ Pedestals, a Blue Ritual Book and an East Kent Provincial Tie. Kevin thanked them all for their warm welcome and for their help and guidance in making the visit possible.

Lunch at the old Brew House and presentations.

The following day was the most important in the German Masonic Calendar: St John the Baptist Day. The opening ceremony at Lodge 5817 was quite different from ours, and naturally much of the meeting was conducted in German, with some translation into English. The main event was a lecture on the History of the Lodge, undertaken by a Past Master. He had very kindly taken the trouble to translate his piece into English and gave us copies of the document so that we could follow exactly what he was saying. Once this was finished, the Master presented every member and visitor with a freshly cut red rose, the symbol of St John the Baptist Day.

To get to the Festive Board we had to cross a public area and, according to custom, took off our regalia temporarily.

We had a fantastic meal and excellent company. We learned that the Lodge made its own wine with grapes from their own private Moselle vineyard: how’s that for style?

After the meeting and Festive Board, we went back to our hotel to change and then made our way to a beer garden called the ‘Deutsche Eck’ (German Corner). Long tables and bench seats had been reserved for us and we enjoyed the company of the wives and families of our hosts. Plenty of food and drink was available throughout the evening.

On the following day we were met by our host and taken to our lunch venue, the Old Brewhouse. After lunch there was some time for taking in the local history and sights of Koblenz. Next, we made or way down to the quay to embark on a River Tour.

Members, wives and partners, taking in the local history and sights of Koblenz, and on the quay to embark on a River Tour.

When we returned to the quayside, we had a little surprise for our hosts. In Septem Lodge we operate a light-hearted “fines” system. All members travelling get to decide where the fines money will go. After the Lodge meeting the previous day, it had been announced that the Alms collection which raised 350 Euros would be going to the family of a local volunteer fireman who had lost his life recently leaving behind a widow and children. After a consultation of all travelling members, it was decided that the fines collected would go to the same cause and so a further 550 Euros were donated to the family by our group.

The following day we had a pleasant but uneventful journey back to England.

I have now had the pleasure to have organised nine away trips. This one has been the easiest and best we have done to date. Thank you to all the Brethren for their support and company, and of course to our brothers in Germany and their families.  Thank you to you all for your fellowship and friendship. We must do it again.

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