What is the Difference Between a Masonic Lodge and a Chapter?

Masons meet as a lodge, not in a lodge. The word lodge refers to a local chapter of Masons that meets as a body, but it is often misused to refer to the buildings or rooms in which Masons meet. The basic unit of Masonry is the Masonic Lodge, the only one that can create (initiate) a Mason. These lodges are controlled by a Grand Lodge with national or regional authority for all lodges in their territory.

A Masonic lodge confers the three Masonic degrees of incoming apprentice, intern (or intern), and Masonic master. In 1653, the guild changed its name again, eliminating the prefix “Free” and becoming the Company of Masons. There are many organizations and orders that are part of the broad fraternity of Freemasonry, each with its own structure and terminology. Under the English Constitution, the Royal Holy Arch is the only title formally recognized by the United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE), apart from the three degrees of artisanal Freemasonry.

The subsequent Freemasons Regulation of 1356 gave way to the formation of a guild of Masons and Masons in the City of London, which was originally known as the Commonwealth of Masons. Collectively, members come together through an understanding of unity and equity, fundamental principles of Masonry. Being a Mason means something different to each person who joins, but whether they're looking to make friends or develop their own potential, all members share a sense of togetherness that strengthens their ability to succeed and grow. A Freemasonic Lodge is a place where members will spend an important part of their journey in Freemasonry and each member can freely choose the Lodge they want to be a part of.

In Ireland, after obtaining craft degrees awarded under the authority of the Grand Lodge of Ireland, there are several degrees and orders that are administered separately and are open to Masonic masters, either by request or by invitation. In medieval times, stonemasons wore aprons and gloves to protect themselves while working on forming pieces of rough stone, but in today's society Masons meet to build friendships and communities instead of cathedrals and castles. While there is no degree in Masonry higher than Master Mason, there are additional degrees offered only to those who are Master Masons. According to the Scottish Masonic Constitution, the master's degree in Mark can be studied in a Craft Lodge after obtaining the title of Master Mason, or in a chapter of the Royal Arch, before obtaining the title of Excellent Master.

Masons focus on becoming people of integrity, and membership provides the structure to help achieve that goal. The United Grand Lodge of England (which has no direct authority over other Grand Lodges, but being the oldest Grand Lodge in the world, it has a historical influence in terms of regularity and practice) defines pure ancient Masonry as comprised of the three degrees of admitted apprentice, scholarship, and master Mason, including the Supreme Order of the Royal Sacred Arch. Freemasonry unites people regardless of race, religion, or other perceived differences that may divide us as a society. These new rituals expanded the scope of Freemasonry and encompassed many elaborations, some of which included elements that had been practiced previously in the trade.

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