There will be no festive board following the meeting.

‘There will be no festive board following the meeting.’

That sentence has stuck with me since the summons for a meeting of six was circulated a year ago.

How depressing that was to read. Yes, we were lucky to meet at all, but for the first time in my 22 years as a mason, the meeting finished after the procession out of the lodge and a few socially distanced farewells. No drinks, no meal, and just a few of the elements that make a masonic meeting.

Which is why on August 14, Cheshunt Lodge met properly for the first time since a year last February. And what a meeting!

There was a growing buzz about it as we prepared at the LOIs beforehand, but seeing the main temple at Halsey Hall full with brethren in the East, South, West and North was such a joy.

We were given a special dispensation for an emergency meeting to install our new Master, Les Harrison, and our thanks to the Provincial Grand Master and to the Provincial office. The current Master didn’t fancy four more years!

The joy and emotions that usually accompany those remembering the first time they went into the chair of King Solomon were heightened because of the gap between meetings. It was a beautiful ceremony, with so much work put in by the Installing Master, Mike Scottow. His Dad (Ken) would have been so proud. The Cheshunt workings ritual was almost flawless!

Even the more mundane aspects of the meeting felt like a novelty – a question about the accounts before they were adopted; the procession around the lodge before and after the meeting; the elections of the officers.

We raised £230 for the new Master’s charities, the Garden House Hospice and the Intensive Care Unit at Addenbrookes Hospital, with the raffle and alms collection. It’s even been a while since we filled out a Gift Aid envelope, and now we have the option of digital donations straight into our relief chest. The new QR code now appears on our summons.

The meeting finished with news about two candidates on their journey to Initiation.

After the procession out, the meal at the Festive Board from Jeff and the team at Halsey Hall was delicious: Insalata Tricolore, braised beef with mash and vegetables, creme brûlée and cheese and biscuits. Definitely not one to tell the doctor about!

Only then did I remember the standing up and sitting down after such a big meal. As a temporary Warden, I stood up and sat down more then the rest, and I regretted eating so much mash!

But even as we remembered how to do a good Hertfordshire fire, something new was introduced. Our IPM had a significant birthday that week (40 is no age!) and so we enjoyed a bottle of Spiced Rum along with the cheese and biscuits. A new tradition which he has agreed to continue!

A few post meals drinks concluded a superb evening.

As one long standing member wrote afterwards: “It was good to see as many members as we did. There was a very good spirit about the ceremony and festive board. It was great to be back.”

Andy Jackson is Treasurer and Charity Steward of Cheshunt Lodge 2921, and a member of the Provincial Communications Team.