Freemasonry, under the UGLE, is one of world’s oldest secular fraternal societies, a society of men concerned with moral and spiritual values, whose members are taught its precepts by a series of ritual dramas following ancient forms in a progression of allegorical two-part plays. Freemasonry is not a secret society; its secrets are confined to its traditional modes of recognition. Like many other societies it regards some of its internal affairs as private matters for its members, according to a media announcement by Sri Lanka’s Freemasons.
Freemasons have always followed three great principles: Brotherhood – Every true Freemason will show tolerance and respect for the opinion of others and behave with kindness and understanding to all humankind; Relief – Freemasons are taught to practise charity and to care not only for their own, but to the community at large by charitable giving and voluntary works as individuals; and Truth – Freemasons strive for truth, requiring high moral standards and aim to achieve them in their own lives.
In Sri Lanka, English Freemasonry has a rich heritage, its roots being established in 1799 and many Sri Lankans of eminence and distinction have been Freemasons over the years. The oldest Lodge currently functioning was established in 1838. In 1907, the then existent six Lodges were consolidated under the banner of the District Grand Lodge of Sri Lanka (DGLSL). At present, the DGLSL has 10 Masonic Lodges and 5 Chapters under its jurisdiction; and is headed by its District Grand Master, Henry Malin Goonetileke. Most Lodges under the DGLSL meet at the Victoria Masonic Temple, a landmark building situated in Galle Face, Colombo; while meetings are also held at the Kandy and Kurunegala Masonic Temples.
From its earliest days Freemasonry has been concerned with the care of orphans, the sick and the aged. This work continues today without undue fanfare or publicity. To commemorate the Tercentenary of the UGLE, the DGLSL with the assistance of the Sri Lanka Navy will be providing a number of Reverse Osmosis Plants for needy communities. The first of these will be provided for the Rantheti Uyana Baranda Village in Kurunegala.
This village comprises more than 600 villagers and has no consumable water, Families have to purchase water for daily subsistence at a cost of Rs.160 per bottle.
The purification plant will provide these families with free drinking water.This plant will formally be declared open by visiting Peter Geoffrey Lowndes, Pro Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England on July 20.