Since the First World War, Freemasonry has lost a third of its membership. Lodges are closing at a rate of 100 a year and with just 2% of Masons under the age of 30, Freemasonry is aiming to attract new members into the Craft. With unprecedented access, this episode looks at what the future holds for the world’s oldest fraternity.
Apollo University Lodge in Oxford, where former members include Oscar Wilde and Cecil Rhodes, has been successfully attracting students into Masonry for centuries, complete with tail coats and stockings. For David Staples, who was initiated here 21 years ago, it’s the archetype for other universities to emulate.
Persuading Leicester University’s bright young things that Freemasonry is the best use of their spare time and money is more of a challenge but one that Worshipful Brother Andy Green is more than happy to take up.
The United Grand Lodge of England is keen to explore every avenue when it comes to attracting new members and part of their strategy is to encourage new ‘specialist’ Lodges. In Hampshire, David Lallana, father of Liverpool & England footballer Adam Lallana, is taking Freemasonry to the common man by founding the first ever football themed lodge, complete with a personalised football, their own song and even football boot shaped gavels. Eighteen months in the planning, he’s preparing for the Lodge’s official Consecration Ceremony, which has been filmed for the first time.
In recognition of their hard work, David Lallana, David Staples and Andy Green are all to receive Grand Rank at the Annual Investiture – the Masonic equivalent of New Year’s Honours. It’s the year’s biggest Masonic set piece, with 1800 Masons cramming the Grand Temple to see the Grand Master, HRH the Duke of Kent, officially invest 373 lucky Masons.
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