Universities of Medway Freshers Fayre goes Co-Ed
Pentangle Lodge’s third visit to the combined Kent and Greenwich Universities Freshers Fayre was completely different to the past. We had had problems with the Student Union booking as a single sex organization, when they encourage co-education in all aspects.
So, for the first time we joined together with the ‘The Order of Women Freemasons ‘so we could offer information to both sexes on the benefits of Freemasonry.
Our normal size stand was duly shared and as you can see in the picture John Holder and Bryan Shaw sitting with the two of the ladies from the Women’s Order of Freemasons. The Women’s Order was taking their first event very seriously and sent two active Grand Lodge Officers to test the water; Jennifer Robinson GDC and Jacqueline Stillwell SGD who came very prepared with a banner, free pens and some very nicely printed leaflets. They seemed to enjoy the day and have said they will happily share a stand with us next year.
With a steady flow of enquiries, we hope to introduce new members to the Fraternity in the near future.
We were all very surprised to hear how similar the ladies organisation is to our own and will be happy to have them join us next year. But perhaps we should consider a bigger stand.
The ladies were so impressed by the Universities Scheme and how Pentangle operated within the scheme that they are going to suggest to their own executive that they need to have their own similar scheme.
Tradition and continuity are two of the values which characterise the relationship between Freemasonry and universities.
It was nearly 200 years ago that the first university Lodge, Apollo University Lodge, was founded at Oxford, with Isaac Newton University Lodge following soon afterwards at Cambridge. Since then many thousands of young men have been introduced to Freemasonry through these two Lodges, and they provided the inspiration for the Universities Scheme. This was set up at the beginning of 2005 with the objective: ‘To establish and/or enhance arrangements and opportunities for undergraduates and other university members to enjoy Freemasonry’.
There are now over 85 other Lodges, two in East Kent, St Augustine and Pentangle ,pursuing a similar, yet distinct, course. Their membership consists of undergraduates, postgraduates, senior members of the university and alumni, ranging in age from 18 upwards. All under-25s benefit from the recent decision by Grand Lodge to halve their dues in order to make Freemasonry as accessible to as wide an audience as possible.
The Scheme is headed by the Assistant Grand Master, Sir David Wootton, who explains: “We know from these long-established university lodges that students – whether undergraduates or postgraduates – enjoy Freemasonry to the full. Through the Universities Scheme, we hope that university members from all over the country will be able to gain the same inspiration, fulfilment and enjoyment.”
Chris Sanford Pentangle Lodge 1174.