Sunday, November 30, 2008

Extraordinary Gentlemen of the Connaught Club


In 2007, London's Metropolitan Grand Lodge (a grouping of UGLE lodges that meet in the geographic area of London) held a special reception of Masons under the age of 35. Sixty or so such brethren attended, and it was such a success that a club was created to serve such men—the Connaught Club.

According to their website,

"The Purpose of the Connaught Club is to give young Freemasons in London a means to meet and socialise with like-minded people of similar ages within masonry, to attempt to bridge the large geographic area that constitutes London and the diversity of its lodges.

"The Connaught Club will also act as a representative body for the views of these Freemasons, passing those views on to Metropolitan Grand Lodge, via the appropriate channels as required.

"The Club aims to encourage & support participation in our Lodges and Freemasonry in general, openness about our membership and the aims, and relations of the Craft, particularly with how it relates to modern society and the younger generations."


Membership of the club is open to any Freemason under the age of 34 whose Lodge or Chapter is under Metropolitan Grand Lodge or who lives or works within London. Membership is £25 (around US$40). Their Christmas meal this year will be at London's posh Carlton Club.


Oh, to be 34. And living in London. With a better exchange rate.

14 comments:

Chris said...

The exchange rate is the same as it was 15 years ago when I moved here from San Francisco.

As someone who is older but a relatively new Freemason (4 years as of next February 22nd) I would also welcome a club for new Freemasons (under, say, 10 years of membership). I haven't raised the matter yet, but I will do so. This would encompass both the young in age and the young in Freemasonry.

Chris Hansen, JW, Goliath 5595 UGLE

Justa Mason said...

It's remarkable how people join a Lodge espousing "no distinction among men" and then want to be part of a something which imposes artificial restrictions that would not be acceptable in their own Lodge.

Justa

Chris said...

Justa:

I would normally agree with you, and if there were some Lodge that required people to demit and join another Lodge when the Brother turned 35 (say), I would be horrified. The "Connaught Club" is there to help young Masons establish connections and support one another. I think this is commendable.

Jesse said...

I completely agree with Justa Mason! Whenever a clique starts to form among brethren in lodge wouldn't it better for somebody to reach out to the others and make a bridge?

Chris Hodapp said...

But.
This isn't a lodge.
And it sounds to me like such a club fosters friendships and cooperation across lodge boundaries. How is this undesirable?

Justa Mason said...

I could start a club, C.H., and limit it to PDDGMs only. But I'll bet you if one started, it'd be called "elitist" and hear "they think they're better than we are" while someone pontificates about equality among Masons.

I thought one of the benefits of Freemasonry is that you meet people of different ages, occupations, colours, religions, and so on. In other words, it's an organisation that's inclusive, not finding ways to exclude some of its members. Freemasonry doesn't say "We don't want you, old man."

Age can't be helped. I have a hard time believing someone who is 36apparently cannot establish connections with, nor support, a Bro. Mason as well as someone who is 35.

I wouldn't go as far as Jesse to call a club a 'clique', any more than I would a bunch of Lodge members who go bowling or play poker. There's nothing wrong with younger Masons getting together. I suppose I just don't believe in setting up hard-and-fast dividing lines amongst members. I imagine the first member who gets kicked out at age 35 might agree.

Justa

Chris Hodapp said...

Justa said:
I imagine the first member who gets kicked out at age 35 might agree.

Perhaps.

Our Shrine has a NextGen Club that has a cutoff age of 40 (although there are a few over-40 members accorded the honorary title of "Old Fart Emeritus"). Not being able to join them hasn't kept me up nights.

On the other hand, being sent unrequested information to join AARP before I even turned 50 DID keep me up nights. I suddenly felt like I needed to turn the TV to the Weather Channel 24/7 and obsess over what time the mailman arrived.

The Millennial Freemason said...

I really don't mind a club for young men within Freemasonry. Trust me, as one of about five men in my Lodge under the age of 35, it is nice to know that there are other brothers out there my age. As Chris has said, this group can help brothers connect and network leading to a more cohesive band in Freemasonry.

I am sure the guy who turns 35 already knew the rules of the club and leaves with a sense that he was a part of something. No hard feelings as everyone knew the game.

Nick

Anthony Williams said...

Despite qualifying to become a member of the Connaught Club, I have decided not to join.

Why not? Well, it seems a shame to spend £25 a year to be a member of what is essentially a dining club. Sure, one gets to meet the movers and the shakers within London Freemasonry, but there are plenty of other opportunities to do that elsewhere. I'd much rather spend that £25 on another Masonic order.

Secondly, despite the £25 cost, one also has to pay extra to go to their events, which can range from £10 (drinks reception) to £65 (Carlton Club Christmas Dinner). If they're trying to attract young Masons, £65 is a little steep, especially to brethren such as myself who are students.

Anthony Williams
JW, Tetragon Lodge (no. 6302, UGLE)
Rough Ashlar

Chris said...

I was unaware of the steep prices, Bro. Anthony. That would certainly debar a lot of young Masons who are already members of at least one Lodge and perhaps one Chapter, or who may also be members of the Mark or other side orders.

It would tend to draw in younger professionals who already have substantial disposable income, I would guess.

Mro. Chris Hansen, JW, Goliath 5595 UGLE

Anthony Williams said...

I know! It's totally beyond my means.

Incidentally, Chris (Hansen), you may be interested to know that some provinces have a "Light Blues Club", for Masons who've not attained Provincial rank. It's a nice idea, and everyone will have been qualified to be a member at some point!

Anthony Williams
JW, Tetragon Lodge (no. 6302, UGLE)

Chris said...

"Light Blues Club"...hm. I definitely am qualified for that one, and probably won't live long enough to be in the "Dark Blues Club", being an older Mason but young in the Fraternity.

Cain said...

Morning Bro. Chris,

I stumbled across your blog while organising our 2009 Connaught Club Christmas Dinner – this year at The Savile Club in Mayfair. Would you be able to attend? If you can’t, how about a beer next time you are over the pond?

S & F,

Cain Hayward-Hughes

connaught-club.org.uk/

Chris Hodapp said...

Brother Cain,
Unfortunately finances don't allow me to make such trips very frequently. But I do appreciate the invitation.