Freemason Nick Jordan shows photograpjs of the original Miriam Masonic Lodge No. 20. The lodge celebrates its 125th anniversary July 28. (Parker Crook/Morning Star)

Vernon Freemasons celebrate 125 years

Anniversary celebrations planned for July 28

History, tradition, brotherhood.

Those are some of the key principles of Freemasonry embodied by Vernon’s Miriam Lodge A.F. and A.M., which is celebrating its 125th anniversary July 28.

“It’s the oldest fraternity in the world,” said secretary brother Nick Jordan. “We actually don’t know when it started.”

Vernon’s Masonic Lodge, however, has its roots in 1892 when eight or 10 Freemasons met in a hardware store and formed what would become the 20th oldest Lodge in the province.

Now 73 members strong, Vernon brothers meet in the lodge home built in 1932 following a member’s generous donation.

“It was probably one of the most imposing buildings downtown,” Jordan said as he flipped through old photographs of the construction and the building’s early years.

Extensions to accommodate growth have been added to the building since with portions of the land rented out to businesses and offices. But, inside the Lodge’s door that lays back from the sidewalk is a building and lodge steeped in history, both of Miriam Lodge No. 20 and Kalamalka Lodge No. 160 who also call the building home.

Since it’s formation, Jordan said 16 Miriam Lodge brothers have held the role of Vernon Mayor. Of those 16, four were also Worshipful Masters.

Jordan, who was Worshipful Master in 2015 and again in 2016 and who currently holds that honour in the Spallumcheen Lodge No. 13, said Freemasons are treated as brothers wherever they go both in Canada and overseas.

Freemasons prefer to avoid the limelight, but contrary to what some believe, they are not a secret society. Furthermore, Jordan said they are committed to community support.

Last year, the Grand Lodge of British Columbia donated $45,000 to support therapy dogs in the province. Jordan also said the Miriam Lodge provides scholarships to local students.

“We’re not building stuff. We’re building human beings,” Jordan said, adding that the key purpose of Masonry is to help each member become a better person through character strengthening and improving morality and spirituality.

“There is one basic tenet: if you want to be a Freemason, you have to have belief in a supreme being. It doesn’t have to be God with a capital G or Allah,” Jordan said, adding that all prospective members have to do is believe.

However, Jordan, who has been a Freemason since 2009, stressed that it is not a religion.

“Freemasonry is different things to different people. If you’re a person of good character who is committed to working for the community and the lodge, we will welcome you with open arms,” Jordan said.

New members are always welcome, Jordan said, and should get in touch with current brothers to begin the process.

“I want the fraternity to keep going. To me, it’s all about being social,” Jordan said. “I’m hanging out with guys I consider to be my best friends now.”

Vernon’s Masonic Lodge will celebrate its 125th anniversary July 28 and will hold an open house from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for the general public. Anyone interested in joining the Freemasons or who are curious about the fraternity or the building is encouraged welcome to participate. The Lodge will hold a private re-dedication ceremony at 3 p.m. and an invite-only banquet at 6 p.m.

“It will be a full day,” Jordan smiled. “But the 125th doesn’t happen often.”

Related: Vernon’s Masonic Lodge will open its doors to the public for 125th anniversary


@VernonNews
parker.crook@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Developer proposes “eco-villa” in West Kelowna.

The quasi off-grid proposal includes building 16 residential units at 3060 Seclusion Bay Road

Oyama Traditional School to hold fundraising event with local vendors

Proceeds from the event will go towards offsetting the cost for a playground at the school

Salvation Army unveils Kelowna’s new mobile community response unit

The mobile kitchen unit will be able to provide 3,000 meals a day during times of disaster

Province commits to supporting Indigenous tourism growth in B.C.

The Indigenous Tourism Accord signed during conference in Kelowna

UBC Okanagan, RCMP collab for study on reporting child abuse

A fundraising gala will present a UBCO psych student’s research on how and when abuse is reported

Gym enthusiasts invited to get in gear for kids

Spin4Kids Saturday at GoodLife Fitness

Disciplinary hearing date set for South Okanagan pharmacy

Hearing will take place on Dec. 4 in Vancouver

North Okanagan mom cherishes life-saving alert dog

Carrie Lemay, single mom and a diabetic, welcomed Freckles, an alert guide dog, into her life

Dream funds serve up dream kitchen for Okanagan organization

CMHA upgrades space thanks to Kalamalka Dream Auction donation

Shuswap resident seeks return of stolen jewelry box containing father’s cremated remains

Sicamous RCMP report handmade box was taken from a storage locker

‘It’s been 12 years’: Father of murdered B.C. real estate agent pleads for mayor’s help

Lindsay Buziak was stabbed to death on Feb. 2, 2008 in Saanich. Her case is unsolved.

Penticton’s OSNS benefits from $10,000 RBC grant

The OSNS Child and Youth Development Centre will use the money for tech upgrades

Radon levels in new Salmon Arm home a concern

Real-time monitoring shows radon concentration just within federally accepted guideline

B.C. First Nation Chief Ed John faces historic sex charges

John served as minister for children and families under then-premier Ujjah Dosanjh

Most Read