The Province of Yorkshire, North & East Ridings welcomed over fifty guests to an ‘Interfaith Luncheon’ at the Masonic Hall Beverley Road recently. Faith Groups represented included Anglican-Quaker, Greek Orthodox, Hindu, Roman Catholic, Church of England and both Reform and Orthodox Jewish. The presence of Reverend Michael Mewis, Provincial Grand Chaplain and Reverend Tim Boynes a member of St Cuthberts Lodge No 630 were examples of the ecumenical tolerance that was integral to the talks which followed.
The aim of this initiative was to disseminate information about the nature of Freemasonry. It is hoped that any misconceptions about the Craft may have been dispelled. It has been suggested that Freemasonry’s poor press in the past might dissuade men of different religious persuasions from becoming involved and may likewise alienate their wives, partners and families. A further aim of this pilot event was to address this issue which was raised by one of the guests Mrs Mary Munroe-Hill, Chaplain to The University of Hull.
Jeffrey Gillyon, The Deputy Provincial Grand Master, gave an erudite presentation titled ‘Freemasonry: not a religion but an Approach to Life’ explaining how the Craft does not possess a theological doctrine and forbids the discussion of religion and politics. He stressed the nondenominational concept of The Great Architect of The Universe embracing all religions and compromising none. The Deputy Provincial Grand Master described Freemasonry as ‘an approach to life’ which reinforces concern for others, kindness and care for the less fortunate, honesty in business, courtesy in society and fairness in all things.
Philip Daniels spoke about the history of Freemasonry and the links with the operative stonemasons in the middle ages. He referred to the documentary evidence of the seventeenth century and described features of the Lodge Room, relating how they had evolved with time.
There were many questions, skilfully fielded by the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, Philip and Sam Judah from the Provincial Grand stewards Lodge. Visitors were then invited to luncheon, where a wide range of interesting questions followed, to which the Deputy Provincial Grand Master responded.
Ms Jackie Loukes, Secretary of The Hull and East Riding Interfaith Group, gave a vote of thanks on behalf of the guests, applauding the presentation team and the hospitality of the Provincial Grand Stewards Lodge who had hosted the event.