Orders of Freemasonry
There are a number of orders related to freemasonry, some of which become available once passing the third degree of craft masonry and becoming a Master Mason. Howe 587 is associated with Lodges in Craft Masonry, Mark Masonry, Holy Royal Arch and General Lodge of Instruction.
Craft Masonry is the starting point of the journey for all Freemasons, through their Masonic experience.
Every Mason is a member of at least one Craft Lodge. The masonic journey commences by being initiated into a Craft Lodge. There are three distinct steps, called degrees. A newly made mason is known as an Entered Apprentice, he is later passed to the Second Degree of a Fellowcraft, and then raised to the Third Degree of a Master Mason.
Each degree is conferred by a Ceremony in the form of allegorical plays, which are designed to impart meaning to the candidate, and lead him to contemplate on his ethics and contribution to society in general.
Lodge meetings also provide a platform to come together, with other like minded people, although discussion of politics and religion are expressly forbidden.
After the formal Lodge meeting there is usually a meal, called the Festive Board, giving the opportunity to be with friends in a relaxed atmosphere.
Mark Master Masonry
The Degree of Mark Master Mason is open to all Master Masons. The ceremony, in which a Brother is ‘advanced’, can be said to comprise two Degrees; the first in which he is acknowledged as a Mark Man, followed by the second where he becomes a Mark Master Mason. The Mark referred to in its title takes its name from the mark or symbol with which the stonemason identified his work and can still be found in many cathedrals and important buildings.
Much use is made of Holy Writ to instruct the Candidate and Brethren in the story which serves to teach that the real message is one of contemplation of human strengths and weaknesses. In chronological terms the Degree follows that of the Second Degree in Craft masonry. There is reputedly some evidence that the Degree is 400 years old but the earliest English records stem from 1769 when it was first worked in Chapter of Friendship, Royal Arch Chapter No. 257 (formerly No. 3) in Portsmouth. However, a minute book dated 1599 of the Lodge of Edinburgh states that several speculative brethren had appended their marks after their names.
The first meeting of the Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons was held on Monday, 23 June 1856.
The ordinary members’ regalia comprises an apron and breast jewel. The apron is of white kid with a triangular flap bordered with a two inch ribbon of light blue with crimson edges. It has rosettes of the same colour whilst Masters and Past Masters have the rosettes replaced with silver levels. The jewel of the order is a key stone appended to a ribbon which matches the apron and bears a mallet & chisel which are the tools of the Order. The key stone, which bears certain characters, forms an integral part of the ceremony
Holy Royal Arch
The Lodge is the entry level of Freemasonry throughout the world. Once a member you can visit lodges in most countries.
You also have access to other orders and degrees in this country, depending upon satisfying certain conditions, mostly time and experience of Lodge membership. You should also be aware that each unit has its own subscriptions to charge, with meals and charity collections to follow!
Royal Arch Masonry, normally referred to as Chapter is, in common in the lodges, ultimately ruled by Great Queen Street in London. The chapter is attached to a lodge as it is formed, and holds the same number.
Howe Chapter No 587 was formed in 1855, and five of the founders were members of Howe Lodge.
The Chapter meets four times a year 1st Thursday of September, November, and January, and 2nd Thursday in March. As with Howe Lodge, it meets at Wretham Road, Handsworth.
General Lodge of Instruction
At a meeting of Howe Craft Lodge 13th February 1854 it was proposed that: “This Lodge to sanction a Lodge of Instruction to be governed by such regulations as may from time to time be made by the Howe Lodge” At a Special Meeting of Howe Lodge on 16th February the terms on which the LOI should be founded were agreed. The new Lodge met in March 1854. Bro Bassett Smith agreed to officiate as Director of Howe Lodge of Instruction at a salary of £10 per annum.