A closer look at the Rise and Success of the Essex Cornerstone

Not just a club for young Freemasons. Essex Cornerstone embraces vibrant participation

The Essex Cornerstone Club, since its inception in 2016, has become an emblem of Freemasonry's future in the Province of Essex. Catering specifically to Freemasons under the age of 40, this club has created a vibrant community and provided a nurturing environment for young Masons. This age requirement has allowed the club to focus on engaging and retaining younger members, creating a unique space for them within the Masonic community. With a steadily growing membership of approximately 300 members; accounting for about a third of the eligible brethren, the Cornerstone Club has proved to be an important factor in the success and future of Freemasonry in the region.

One of the distinctive features of the Cornerstone Club is its welcoming tradition. Each member is greeted with a welcome pack that includes a club tie, pin, and Masonic passport. More than mere symbols, these tokens represent an embrace into a unique brotherhood and encourage connections among Lodges. This initiative, along with the active Facebook group, reflects the club's commitment to community. It provides an immediate sense of belonging for new members and encourages them to explore and enhance their Masonic journey through visiting.

Monthly social gatherings are at the heart of the Cornerstone Club's success, providing a forum for connection, enjoyment, and shared experiences. Whether it's a gathering at The Boars Head pub in Braintree with stacks of pizza or a night out bowling, these social events serve as vital touchpoints for the members. They foster a spirit of camaraderie, friendship, and unity, creating lasting bonds that extend beyond the Lodge's walls.

Visiting is a key aspect to the Cornerstone Club which the members fully embrace. In March, twenty one members of Cornerstone attended the installation of their club's Chairman, W.Bro Bernie Smith, at Sibelius Lodge No 9448. The occasion took an extraordinary turn when Bernie was informed of his promotion to Provincial Grand Steward just ten minutes into his term as master. This remarkable achievement signalled the club’s influential role within the province, reinforcing its position as a vital part of the Masonic community.

Family inclusivity is an integral part of the Cornerstone philosophy, recognizing that Freemasonry is not an isolated pursuit but a shared journey with family. The annual 'Cornerstone Picnic', held this year at Lake Meadows exemplified this approach, creating an environment where members, children, and partners could all come together. Activities such as the pairs field badminton competition turned a simple picnic into a joyful celebration of Masonic principles and family values.

Cornerstone's upcoming social events, like the Curry Night at Brick Lane in September and Quiz night at Saxon Hall Southend in October, reflect the club's commitment to offering diverse and inclusive experiences. These social events provide something for everyone, ensuring opportunity for engagement across all members. Furthermore, these events are designed to reach across the county, making Cornerstone accessible to Masons all over Essex.

In 2019, the club launched The Essex Cornerstone Lodge No. 9968. This was created to maintain contact with our alumni members who have unfortunately exceeded the age limit. The lodge meetings have become known for its creative and imaginative meetings, thanks to the leadership team headed up by the Lodge’s Worshipful Master W.Bro James Tyrell. Themes like Game of Thrones or Mexican nights, complete with fitting music, food, and decorations, have infused regular meetings with excitement and originality. This creativity has enhanced the club's appeal and sets it apart as an exciting and dynamic environment for young Masons.

The spirit of Charity shines through Cornerstone and upcoming events like the Yorkshire Three Peak Challenge, showcasing the club's dedication to charitable causes. Funds raised from this event will support the Cornerstone foundation. Remarkably, just under £6,500 has been raised so far for the foundation, thanks mainly to the efforts of the lodge but also significant contributions from the club itself. This financial support further embeds philanthropy within the club's core mission and symbolizes its unwavering commitment to charitable endeavours.

Cornerstone's outreach to other Lodges and its proactive efforts to introduce eligible members to the club's unique culture have helped bolster its reputation. By visiting en masse, Cornerstone demonstrates the joy, friendship, and brotherhood that define it, making it an appealing choice for young Masons looking to engage more deeply with Freemasonry. If a lodge in Essex feels they have a candidate or initiate who could gain from the fun and retaining qualities of Cornerstone, they only need to contact Cornerstone who will invite members to the meeting. This not only enhances the event, but demonstrates the brotherhood.

The Essex Cornerstone Club is more than just a Masonic organisation; it's a thriving community that represents the dynamic future of Freemasonry. Its innovative practices, emphasis on family and community, commitment to charity, and ability to adapt to modern sensibilities make it a shining example of the successes of Freemasonry in Essex. Its growth and influence are sure to shape the landscape of Freemasonry in the region, affirming and revitalizing the timeless principles that have made Freemasonry a valuable and relevant force in society. By aligning traditional values with modern methods and creating an environment that nurtures and retains young members, the Cornerstone Club ensures that Freemasonry will continue to flourish in Essex and beyond.


Top: Essex Cornerstone In and Out evening

Middle-Right: Essex Cornerstone Tri-Peaks Challenge 

Bottom-Left: Essex Cornerstone Lodge Members

Bottom-Right: Essex Cornerstone Game of Thrones Festive Board Theme Night