Freemasons to celebrate 300th birthday

EVANSTON — Members are celebrating 300 years of Freemasonry this year. Evanston Lodge No. 4 will host a public birthday party at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 9, at 130 9th Street. Cake and ice cream will be served to the first 25 people in attendance.

A Family Lodge will be performed at 2 p.m., followed by presentations from members of each Masonic body. Refreshments will be served following the presentations.

In 1717, the United Grand Lodge of England was formed, joining many, but not all, of the Masonic lodges of England and Scotland into one coherent body. In the 1730s, Provincial Grand Lodges appeared in the American colonies.

After the American Revolution, the Provincial Lodges were dissolved, and each state formed its own Grand Lodge; a structure that exists to this day. All American Masonic lodges trace their lineage back to these original English lodges.

The original Masonic lodges were guilds of stonemasons who erected most of the important cathedrals and large stone structures throughout Europe. In 1634, the first admission of a non-mason into a lodge was recorded; and in 1646, the first lodge consisting only of non-masons, or “speculative” masons was founded in England.

Eventually, more speculative lodges formed and became the basis of Freemasonry as we know it today. These speculative lodges engage in rituals and ceremonies designed to impart important moral truths through allegory, or storytelling, where a person or object is used in a superficial story to impart a deeper, more spiritual truth.

The working tools of the original masons and important historical characters form the basis of many of these lessons. They also practice charity, provide scholarships for high school seniors and help with disaster relief. Men from every walk of life have participated in the “mysteries” of the Masonic fraternity, which is the largest and oldest fraternity in the world.

 The Order of the Eastern Star is an appendant Masonic body open to men and women, but run by the women. It is based upon important women from Biblical history, but it is open to those of any religion who have a Masonic family member.

The Shrine, established in 1870, is another appendant Masonic body, more engaged in the lighter side of Masonic activities. The Shrine is responsible for the founding and operation of 22 nonprofit Shrine Hospitals for Children in North America. These hospitals specialize in the treatment of orthopedic conditions, burns, spinal cord injuries and cleft lip and palate.

The treatment is done in a family-centered environment, regardless of the ability of the family to pay. If you do not believe in miracles, visit a Shrine hospital; you might change your mind.  Each spring, Shriners in their red fezzes sell onions in the Murdoch’s parking lot in Evanston; the proceeds go to the Salt Lake City Shrine Hospital.

Job’s Daughters (informally called “Jobies”), is an appendant Masonic body for young ladies between the ages of 10 and 20. It was formed in 1920. The members are taught the principles of leadership, charity, public speaking and character building by conducting their own meetings, planning their activities, managing their finances and giving presentations in the “Bethel” under adult supervision.

The name “Job’s Daughters” refers to Job of the Bible, and his daughters, judged to be “The fairest in the Land.” Girls from 7 to 10 years of age may join the Bees, Jobies to be. No Masonic family affiliation is required.

DeMolay International is an appendant Masonic body for young men between the ages of 12 and 21. As in Job’s Daughters, the young men are taught the principles of leadership, charity, and character building by operating the organization under adult supervision. The order is named for Jacques DeMolay, a Knight Templar who fought in the Crusades, and was burned at the stake by King Philip of France in 1314 when, despite being tortured, he refused to betray his friends and comrades in the order.

The York Rite and Scottish Rite are appendant bodies open to Master Masons for the study of the more esoteric aspects of Freemasonry.

For more information, contact William Orvosh of Evanston Lodge No. 4 at (307) 799-7799 or [email protected]

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