Craig Bunday, Peterborough Freemasons:
Freemasonry can be time consuming and therefore it’s important that wives and partners are not excluded. We have spoken in this column before of the Lady Associate Members Society (LAMS) for those who want to get more involved, and there are also Ladies Nights and Luncheons, when the Master of the Lodge has a celebration together with members, wives and partners – traditionally held to ‘honour’ the latter.
In Peterborough, there is also a Daytime Lodge called Nantahala, formed for members who preferred daytime meetings to evenings, and specifically designed to allow partners to be included.
The Lodge came about as a result of a number of masons visiting another daytime Lodge in Huntingdon and, being impressed by its popularity, decided to form one locally. The suggestion was well received by the senior members at The Ellindon Masonic Centre in Peterborough and the wheels were set in motion.
But what could this Lodge be called? Once the formal approval had been given by The Province, the selection of its name provoked a considerable amount of very serious discussion, with no collectively acceptable name being forthcoming.
During this long debate two members were on holiday in America and in the course of a train journey in the North Carolina Mountains, they came across a town called Nantahala. This was the Cherokee Indian name for ‘Land of the Noonday Sun’ because the town lay in the bottom of a very deep ravine.
It was agreed that Nantahala was an appropriate name for a ‘midday’ Lodge. The name was submitted to The Province and after considerable explanation to them it was eventually submitted to Grand Lodge, formal approval was given, and The Nantahala Lodge came into existence.
Wives and partners are invited to attend the meetings and to join the social gathering, starting at 10am with coffee, whilst the members retire to the Lodge Room for the formal meeting. At its conclusion the ladies are invited to join them in the lodge room for a talk or demonstration of general interest. These have comprised of such topics as a display of exotic fruits, a concert on a selection of different guitars, the life of a country baker and the experiences of a prison visitor. In February of this year, their speaker was Sue Sewell, Chair Lady of the Stamford Flower Club, who spoke expertly about, and gave a hands on demonstration of flower arranging.
Many masons welcome the opportunity to share a lunch in convivial company and Nantahala remains an important route to introducing new members who prefer a daytime Lodge meeting.
There is a quote from a long established Masonic song that says: “No more can the ladies adore than a free and accepted Mason”, and perhaps when visiting Nantahala, this can be appreciated.
If you want to know more about Nantahala and Freemasonry in Peterborough, please visit www.northants-huntsmasons.org.uk or call Ellindon Masonic Centre on 01733 331948.
Pictured is Sue Sewell in full flow and the end results of her efforts.