The Universities Scheme - Lodge of Good Fellowship visit
On Wednesday, I had the pleasure of visiting a “passing of the torch” of a failing London lodge, into the hands of the Universities scheme. Namely, the ‘Lodge of Good Fellowship’. Who were promised an injection of new life into it and had 10 joining members at that meeting. Some of which are good friends of mine and are on the scheme committee.
For those who don’t know, The Universities scheme started in 2005 as a way of reaching out to university students and getting them interested in freemasonry and initiated into said lodges as early as 18 years of age, often in multiple person ceremonies; a point which splits opinions on the scheme.
There is now over 60 university lodges in total which are all over the country and can be easily found on the website (http://www.universitiesscheme.com)
As I turn up, it becomes immediately apparent that the UGLE are putting a lot of effort into this as the number of distinguished brethren is very noticeable. Among the attendees are the Past Assistant Grand Master David Williamson and the Right Worshipful Metropolitan Grand Master Russell Race.
As the lodge is opened by the original existing members it was clear that it meant a great deal to them as their nerves were apparent and obvious.
The ten members of the universities scheme committee were then balloted for and were welcomed to the lodge.
I then had the absolute pleasure of witnessing the Past Assistant Grand Master perform what can only be described as an effortless, faultless installation of the new master Worshipful Brother Julian Soper and his officers. He then, together with the Assistant Metropolitan Grand Master Jonathan Spence delivered the addresses to the wardens, master and brethren without a single word or pause out of place. Amazing.
I count myself lucky to be able to see David Williamson do floor work and found his ritual genuinely inspiring how effortless and still so meaningful he was with every syllable.
After formally welcoming the lodge to the universities scheme, he handed the rest of the meeting to the hands of the master he installed and was told that he already had 7 candidates to initiate at their next meeting, something that I was dumbfounded by.
After the meeting we were treated to a wonderful champagne reception in the drawing room and I set off home.
It may well be that multiple ceremonies and lowering the initiation age will divide opinions of many. However, the figures speak for themselves and the university scheme is continuing to grow from strength to strength.