On Thursday February 23, a team organised by the Blue Lounge Social Club conducted a historic and highly successful initiation ceremony at the Morwell Lodge. The average age of the twelve members of the team was just 35.
This initiation was made possible by special one-off dispensation granted by MWBro. Don Reynolds after the idea was raised by region BLSC President, Bro. Simon Reynolds, and unanimously supported by the Morwell Lodge. According to our book of Lodge workings, a visiting team may only conduct a second or third degree ceremony. The candidate had attended many BLSC events prior to his first degree and this special event allowed many of the younger brethren who already knew him to support him in his first step in Freemasonry.
The team consisted of brothers from ten different Lodges across Victoria and included four sitting Worshipful Masters, and two Master Elects. Morwell Lodge opened the meeting as usual and at the appropriate time, WBro. Tom Diaz, Worshipful Master of Morwell Lodge, handed the gavel to WBro. Robert Billing, Worshipful Master of Lodge Cornucopia and Secretary of the Greater Gippsland BLSC to enable him to conduct the ceremony of initiation.
The officers of Morwell Lodge vacated their positions in favour of BLSC representatives as each was formally introduced. The work for the evening was performed wonderfully with many reporting after that it was the best first degree they had ever witnessed. The brotherhood and support within the lodge, including loud and cheerful singing of all odes, created a extremely positive atmosphere that enhanced the night greatly. Many of the brethren were conducting their portion for the first time ever (excluding rehearsals!) but their work was strong and enthusiastic. The team filled all positions of the Lodge and conducted all charges, included a heartfelt solo sung by Bro. Steve Austin.
The wonderful night continued in the south with a highly positive attitude carrying from the Lodge room to the dining room. In all, just under 40 Freemasons attended this historic event including the District 105 coordinator, WBro. Chris Scott PAGDC, who included a glowing report of the night in his regular newsletter. Indeed, since that night, there have been many reports reflecting the positive outcomes, including references to halcyon days of old, and expressing many thanks to the Blue Lounge Social Club for everything it is contributing to the Craft.
The BLSC is not a Lodge, and its aims does not include conducting ceremonies or performing ritual. However, on this occasion, once the idea was raised, the network of brothers formed through the BLSC enabled this historic event to occur. Given the tyranny of distance, the team even used the internet to connect brothers for a virtual rehearsal, which was an extremely effective use of time and resources. The outcomes of this successful night may influence future first degree ceremonies and has certainly created a desire to relive the masonic experience that was shared at this special initiation.