Charity is a crucial part of Masonic life. Nationally, Masonic charity is managed by the Masonic Charitable Foundation, and you can find out more about their work on their website. In addition, Lodges support many local charities, and Lovekyn Chantry Lodge has a proud record in this respect.
There is an alms collection at every Lodge meeting, and for many years the collecting box used by Lovekyn Chantry Lodge was a model of the Chapel made by two of the Founder Members, Archie and David Hatten, shown on the right. It still stands on the Secretary’s table at all our Lodge meetings, but is no longer used for the original purpose. Instead we use a scrip purse, awarded in recognition of the Lodge’s contribution to the 2008 Charity Festival, in aid of the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys.
Over the past few years the members of the Lodge have made a number of charitable donations. The biggest of these was £5,500 towards the Province of Surrey 2019 Festival in aid of the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution (RMBI). A ‘Festival’ is a five year fundraising programme in aid of Masonic charity, and each Province undertakes a Festival starting every 12 years or so. The RMBI provides care facilities in residential and nursing homes through England and Wales. The Surrey Festival raised a total of £3.3million over its five year period, and Lovekyn Chantry Lodge is proud to have achieved Steward status through its generous support of the Festival over that period.
In addition the Lodge donated £500 in June 2018 to Teddies for Loving Care, a charity which provides teddies for children suffering the trauma of emergency hospital treatment. These are very effective in offering some comfort and reassurance in trying circumstances. In October 2019 the Lodge donated £2,500 towards the Kingston Grammar School Chemistry Prize, demonstrating the close bond which exists between the Lodge and the School.
The Lodge of Instruction, which meets weekly on a less formal basis, over 2018 and 2019 has donated £450 to the Kingston Association for the Blind, and £500 to Yorda Adventures, which provides engaging and stimulating play projects for children and young people with severe learning disabilities in and around the borough. A further donation of £325 was made to Princess Alice Hospice in Esher. £75 went to the Province of Surrey for the support of Masonic widows, and further £30 will be donated in December 2019.
Finally, the Lodge, through its Benevolent Fund, provided £240 for widows of Lodge members in December 2018, and a similar amount in December 2019.
All this money is donated by members of the Lodge, and none is collected from the public in any way. This demonstrates the commitment that members of the Lodge, in common with other Lodges, show towards local charities and needs – Masonic giving is by no means all though the main Masonic charity but has a local focus too.