The Duke’ – Making Good Men Better. The relevancy of Freemasonry today

The Duke of Albany Lodge or ‘The Duke’, as it is affectionately known and named after Queen Victoria’s son Prince Leopold, has been part of the Helensville landscape for 138 years. From the outside looking in, aprons, collars, formal ritual, secret handshakes, closed guarded doors and men only flies in the face of an open and equal society. Superficially it appears archaic and outdated.
The Franciscan Richard Rohr, in speaking about men, talks of ‘an uninitiated culture’ and suggests that through ritual and initiation a man is able to discover his own ‘inner authority’ and can learn to ‘own his own life, his experiences and his responsibility’. Freemasonry does this as one of the oldest secular social and charitable organisations in the world. It teaches self-knowledge through participation in a progression of ceremonies involving ritual that comprises moral and ethical approach to life that communicate the core values of respect, integrity, friendship, and charity. The interests of family are held as paramount but, importantly, Freemasonry also teaches concern for people, care for the less fortunate and help for those in need.
The core values are seen to be given expression in the following ways:
Integrity- rather than working on buildings like the masons of old, today’s Freemasons focus on building themselves as people of integrity, and membership provides the structure to help achieve that goal.
Friendship-as one of the oldest social organisations in the world, Freemasonry is not defined by an ideology. It is open to people from all religions and political persuasions and provides the common foundation for friendships between members, many of which will last for life.
Respect - with a global membership drawn from diverse communities around the world, Freemasonry brings people together irrespective of their race, religion or any other perceived differences that can divide us as a society.
Charity - kindness and charitable giving are deeply ingrained within the principles of Freemasonry. The organisation provides a support structure that helps members make positive contributions to communities and worthwhile causes through fundraising events or volunteer work.
A point of difference between Masonic charity work and other community organisations is that Freemasonry doesn’t run public fundraising events. Instead, the funds distributed to community organisations comes directly from the membership and income from investments.
The membership of ‘The Duke’ invites the community and anyone interested to discover what lies behind closed doors over Labour Weekend when the Lodge Room will be open and members on site alongside the floral display prepared by the Helensville Floral Art Club presented as part of ART in the VILLE.

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