THE world of Freemasonry remains shrouded in mystery.
But what is not so confidential is Matt Phillips’ appointment as worshipful master of his lodge, Zion Menorah.
Matt, of Whitefield, said: “It means I am the boss! I will conduct the ceremonies, but will also have a team of people helping me.
“When you first join a lodge, you start as a ‘steward’.
“You serve wine to other members, which everyone hates doing, but you have to do it. Then, over time, you move up the ranks.”
The office of worshipful master is the highest honour to which a lodge may appoint any of its members.
There was also an installation ceremony, but Matt, who will hold office for a year, is not allowed to divulge details.
The 42-year-old, who is married to Joanne and father to Ella and Leo, is keen to emphasise the Freemasons’ charitable nature.
He explained: “People are always a little suspicious about the Freemasons because the media has given us a lot of bad press, but really we are just a big charity.
“We are the second biggest charity in the country after Camelot and we give away millions of pounds every year to whoever needs it, whether it be financial or medical.
“At every meeting, we raise money for charities and the other lodges do the same, so it goes into one huge pot.
“Recently, the Freemasons paid for a helicopter to give to Bury Air Ambulance.
“The Freemasons is secret, but we effectively learn about morals and behaviour.”
Despite the name of Matt’s lodge — which meets seven times a month at New Manchester Hall, in Bridge Street — it is not exclusively Jewish.
“Strictly speaking, we are not allowed to have a ‘Jewish lodge’,but the majority of our members are Jewish,” said Matt, a former William Hulme’s Grammar School pupil.
“We have helped Belong Morris Feinmann, The Fed, Tender Loving Care and Magen David Adom, as well as non-Jewish charities.”
Away from Freemasonry, Matt is a part-time actor and recently finished filming new Sky One drama Bulletproof, where he plays a Serbian gangster.
Matt, who read economics with professional gambling at the University of Salford, also appeared in online sitcom Deadweights and on TV in No Offence, Hollyoaks and Broken — as well as Father Christmas in BBC One drama Last Tango in Halifax.