Freemasonry is a society of men concerned with moral and spiritual values. Its members are taught its principles (moral lessons and self-knowledge) by a series of ritual dramas which follow ancient forms, and stonemasons' customs and tools as allegorical guides.
Freemasonry instils in its members a moral and ethical approach to life: its values are based on integrity, kindness, honesty and fairness.
At a meeting all the normal things you would associate with a any other society or group, such as minutes, motions etc. will take place. However, what distinguishes Freemasonry is the fact that a number of different ceremonies take place at the meeting in which many members of the Lodge can take part. The objective of the ceremonies is to instruct the candidates, in somewhat dramatic form, in the history of underlying principles of Freemasonry. They parallel a member's entry into this life, his interactions and relationships with others, and the understanding of himself.
Once the ceremony is over, members then retire to what is often called a 'festive board'. This is where the members enjoy each others company over dinner. In Chantry Lodge, this dinner is held at the Masonic Hall Gravesend.
Freemasons are urged to regard the interests of their civil, religious and family life as paramount but, importantly, Freemasonry also teaches concern for people, care for the less fortunate and help for those in need.
Freemasonry means different things to its members. For some, it's about being able to help worthy causes. Others get a feeling of achievement and self improvement. But for most Freemasons, Freemasonry is an enjoyable hobby in which they can meet new people from all walks of life.
The various officers of the Lodge take part in these ceremonies, led by the Master. They illustrate how a Freemason should interact with other Freemasons and with non-Masons alike. The words and actions of each role in the ceremony are usually learned by heart, they are often expressed in very descriptive language (often the English of two hundred years ago). There are some minor variations in the ceremonies in different lodges and countries, but the ceremony performed at The Chantry Lodge, Gravesend, takes basically the same form as those performed across the world. Because of this, a member can visit a Masonic Lodge in any country in the world and understand what is going on, even if he does not understand the language of that country.