Masonry & The Church
Some consider discussing any religion a delicate topic, and rightly so, every person’s beliefs are a very personal thing.
Freemasonry and Royal Arch Masonry make a point of striving to avoid debating denominational differences, or religious differences, instead attempting to focus on that which all members agree upon, and doing so in a spirit of brotherhood.
Freemasonry and Royal Arch Masonry are not religions, and have no “faith” of their own. Royal Arch Masonry is a completion of Freemasonry. They are however not open to membership by Atheists. Belief in a Supreme Being is one of the requirements for membership, and is generally speaking understood to mean God. Ask a Freemason who is a Christian from any of the Christian denomination who he defines God as, and he may perhaps tell you that he sees God as the Trinity which include God the Father, God the Son (meaning Jesus) and God the Holy Spirit, or he may give you a less exacting but still acceptable answer. Ask a Freemason who is a Jew, and he might tell you that God is God. Around the world there are Freemasonry from various religions, though within Canada, the vast majority are most likely drawn from the various Christian denominations, (including the Roman Catholic Church.) However you see in this paragraph we are starting to get into religious differences, which is not the intent of Freemasonry, as we are not a religion, rather we are a God centered fraternity which tries to focus on what unites men rather than the differences which may divide them. Unlike modern society Freemasonry does not try to delete God from the world in order to try and 'find common ground'. Many people, regardless of if they are masons or not, would tell you that 'God is God, he is, was and always will be' and to try and make him go away or start pretending the world goes on without him is 'silly'. (It is ironic at times that some very few Christians criticize the fraternity because it will not remove God from the fraternity, and that if it had been Atheist based they would find it more agreeable or even no longer have any objection at all to it, which is if you think about it not really such a logical argument for any Christian to be making!)
The Holy Bible tells us at John 1:1, that “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” The Holy Bible is open and prominently displayed at our meetings in both the Lodge and the Chapter, and it most cases in this part of the world it represents the faith of each man present.
Freemasonry is a God centered fraternity, well suited to men of faith, from all denominations, and encourages them in their faith, as expressed by the denomination to which they already belong. It is not suited to Atheists, and as such they are not eligible for membership. Royal Arch Masonry is merely a logical extension of Freemasonry, and continues that God centered focus. We do not discuss denomination differences in the Lodge or Chapter, but we do share in fellowship and brotherhood. Masonry and Royal Arch Masonry also promote high moral values, consistent with the Christian faith.
Traditionally there is an annual Divine Service for Freemasons (including Royal Arch Masons, as all Royal Arch Masons are also Freemasons) and their families, during which Masons of all Christian denominations are invited to gather as a group to attend a Church service together. This is done with the prior approval and arrangement with a local Church. Masons traditionally wear their Masonic regalia (aprons, etc) to this service, which clearly identified them to the public as Freemasons.
The 2012 service was held on Sunday April 18th, at Central United Church Barrie. (This is long standing, and much valued Masonic tradition, stemming from the fraternity’s Christian roots.) It was a huge success, and the Deputy Grand Master of Georgian South District A.F. & A.M., by invitation of the Minister, addressed the congregation and clearly explained Freemasonry. This was followed by some learned Brothers (of which at least one was a Royal Arch Mason, and also very active member of that Church) in their Masonic aprons, giving a story to the children at the front of the Church on the meaning of Jacobs Ladder. Many Freemasons were in attendance in full Masonic regalia, and were accompanies by their families.
On Sunday 24 Oct 2010 District 9 arranged a District Divine Service at the Cookstown Masonic Hall at 2 PM.
In some Churches in Canada, and elsewhere, there has been a strong and very old tradition of many men of the congregation belonging to the fraternity.
Anyone with a “burning interest” in history, governmental and religious institutions, and The Monarchy may (or not) be interested to note that:
“The Queen of Canada is also the 'Defender of the Faith and Supreme Governor of the Church of England', (and an “ordinary member of the Church of Scotland”). In Canada the Church of England is called the Anglican Church of Canada. The Queen in this role also does her best to maintain friendly relations with the Pope (of the Roman Catholic Church) as well as other denominations. Masons are “God fearing men”, and often “church going men” as well. Masons are loyal to their country, and in Canada and other Commonwealth realms they are loyal to The Queen. In return Masonry has long held the support of the Monarchy, and indeed since at least 1772 some members of the Royal Family have themselves been Masons and Royal Arch Masons. It is very doubtful that the Royal Family would involve itself in Masonry and Royal Arch Masonry (especially given the role of the Monarch in the Church) if it saw any conflict between the fraternity of Ancient Free & Accepted Masons (including Royal Arch Masons) and Christianity. Neither given her numerous other important roles in the UK and various Commonwealth counties, (i.e. in Canada The Queen is the head of state and the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, but is normally represented in these duties by the Governor General of Canada) would she (or her predecessors) likely permit the Royal Family to be supporters or members of Masonry or Royal Arch Masonry if she felt there was anything “untoward” about it.”
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