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What is Freemasonry and is there a Masonic Lodge near SHAPE?

By Laurie Daykin

 Perhaps you’ve heard of Freemasonry but have given it little thought. It’s an ancient institution dating back several hundred years if not millennia. The first inauguration of the first ‘Grand Lodge’ is disputed but organised freemasonry as we would now recognise it, probably started in Ireland, England or perhaps Scotland in the 18th century. 


Freemasonry is not a religion nor is it religious, but it does have a spiritual element. It is sometimes said that the aim of freemasonry is to make men reflect on their existence and make good men better. Freemasonry is open to all men over the age of 18 who have a belief in a Supreme Being, whatever or whoever he may believe that to be, who is of good character and recommended by members of the Lodge in which they seek admittance. Some suggest that it is a fraternity of likeminded men. However, in Regular Freemasonry, politics and religion cannot be discussed in the Lodge, in fact involvement in politics by our Lodge is forbidden by its constitution. Freemasonry does not discriminate in any way on the basis of age, colour, nationality, creed or religious beliefs.


A local masonic Lodge that has links with SHAPE is King Leopold the 1st Lodge No. 3. It is a member of the Regular Grand Lodge of Belgium (RGLB), which is recognised worldwide. It was formed in 1968 and the lodge history reads ‘Our Lodge today consists of men from several nations and so did the founders of our organization.  The charter members came from Belgium and The United States of America.’ One of the first meetings of King Leopold the 1st Lodge No. 3. was held in the SHAPE Chapel. From that time, meetings were held on a Tuesday, (although not every Tuesday) and the Lodge colours of gold and Green were adopted and are still used today. 


King Leopold the 1st Lodge No. 3 has a proud history and many Shapians have been welcomed as they step through the doors of the Lodge to be initiated into the light of our ancient fraternity. We have had members of as many nations as there are nations in NATO and we have welcomed Generals (including a SACEUR) and Privates, as well as many NATO Civilians. But, rank is left outside the Lodge for we meet ‘On the level’ and in the Lodge we are all equal. We are an English speaking Lodge but have strong links with the local community and support several charitable causes.


King Leopold 1st has faithfully maintained the precepts of Free Masonry since 1968 and by keeping the tenets of friendship, morality, and brotherly love in their hearts and minds, the success of the next years 50 years will be as great as the last.


King Leopold 1st Lodge No. 3 is a friendly lodge, professional in its workings whilst maintaining a sense of humour. If you would like to know more about Freemasonry or King Leopold the 1st Lodge No. 3, please send me an email: 


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