Encore Lodge was founded as a special-interest lodge, that particular interest being the performing arts. It has been created to appeal to Freemasons who seek to hear the ceremonies of Freemasonry delivered with a fresh, edgy and often humorous approach.
A few years back, Michael Goodman, Matt Phillips and Phil Salter were walking around Amsterdam when the idea finally took shape. Up until then, it had been merely a fanciful idea. Matt can recite ritual in hilarious voices, Michael has written comedy scripts and speeches for years, and Phil's talents lie in the field of music. Once understood, the concept of a performing arts (special-interest) Lodge became a very easy sell.
The founders are determined to preserve the principles of the Craft, enabling Freemasons at every level to make their daily advancements in masonic knowledge whilst being entertained and better informed as to the nuances of the ritual.
The evening began with the lodge opening conducted by the Lodge's Ruler, Michael Goodman. Before long, there was a knock on the door and John Curry, the Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies for the Province of East Lancashire, came into the lodge room to let the Master know that Robert Frankl, the Provincial Grand Master, was outside with a provincial deputation and they demanded admission,
The arrival of the Provincial Grand Master was met with resounding warmth and enthusiasm, adding an extra layer of honour to the occasion. The Master of the Lodge offered him the gavel, and, on this occasion, he was happy to accept. Once he had introduced the deputation, he announced to the brethren how happy he was to be finally here to conduct such a long-awaited ceremony.
Chris Wildman, the Provincial Grand Secretary, addressed the brethren and read out the dispensation. This was followed by Alan Potts, who is a past ruler of Arcturus Lodge, who delivered a lodge history.
Russell Conn, the Provincial Grand Chaplin, then delivered a heartfelt oration to the brethren before the Provincial Grand Master expertly conducted the rededication ceremony.
After the ceremony, the Lodge was pleased to present the Provincial Grand Master with a cheque for £500 to go towards the East Lancashire 2026 Festival. However, as is fitting the Lodge, this was no ordinary cheque and was of a size that required two hands to hold. After this, the Provincial Grand Master retired, and the Lodge was closed in due form.
The evening's festivities continued with a convivial social board, abuzz with the presence of so many brethren. The usual toasts were delivered with added fervour, as many of the honourees were in attendance, and their responses were truly remarkable.
This extraordinary evening will be etched in the memories of all who were fortunate enough to be in attendance. It promises a bright future for Encore Lodge, making it an absolute must-visit for anyone seeking an unforgettable experience.