There is a men’s organization in 100 Mile House that some folks might not know much about, yet the Freemasons have been established locally for more than four decades.
This year, about 30 fraternal members and visitors turned out when 17 new officers of the lodge were installed in a ceremony at the Mt. Begbie Lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons #183 hall on March 7.
A banquet followed in the Valley Room, and treasurer Right Worshipful Brother (RWB) Alan Boyd says it seemed everyone had a good time at both events.
Several guests and “a lot of the ladies” attended the well-presented banquet, he adds.
At the ceremonies, Brother (Bro.) Randall Schenkeveld was installed as the Worshipful Master Elect, the leader of the group for the 2015/16 annual term. He will be assisted by Immediate Past Master-Worshipful Brother (Wor. Bro.) George Sinkler.
Boyd, Senior Warden-Wor. Bro. Dave Clearwater, Junior Warden-Bro. Rob Catto, and secretary Bob MacKenzie were also installed, along with 11 other officers.
Boyd notes freemasons go back to 1970 in 100 Mile House, when the first group was formed with about 30 founding members.
It was constituted as a Lodge of Instruction by the Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon around 1975, as a sort of apprenticeship program under an established lodge’s wing, he explains.
“We were constituted as an official lodge on Aug. 20, 1977.”
That year saw Boyd in a regional role as the District Deputy Grand Master. He says it was his first official function.
“We do have a few of those founding members still with us – I’m one of them. Jim Dunsmuir is another one in town.”
A few founders have since moved away but retained their membership, such as Jim McMillan, he adds.
“Next year, I’ll get a 50-year jewel for 50 years of being in the Masons. Jim McMillan has already had his for a few years now.”
Boyd says being a Mason is all about “taking good men and making them even better.”
“Certainly there is a lot of memory work involved – if you want to get involved in the work.
“But virtue, morality and brotherly love are three of the foundation posts of Freemasonry, and we hope that we can expand on that by taking good men and improving their moral stature.”
Today, there are more than 60 local members, although some of them are non-residents, he explains.
“We will have 20-25 come out for our regular meetings, and a few visitors thrown in, usually.”
Freemasonry traces its origins to the local fraternities of stonemasons at the end of the 14th century.
While all Shrine Club members must first be Freemasons, that is a “more public” fundraising arm, he notes.
Boyd adds all Freemasons are men, but there is a branch for both men and women called The Order of the Eastern Star, as well as for girls (Job’s Daughters) and boys (DeMolay).
Men aged 21 or over interested in joining the lodge may speak to a local member for more information on membership and the application process, or call Alan Boyd directly at 250-456-7651.