Daily Herald - N. Il.
Church appeals ruling on symbols
By Jeffrey Gaunt | Daily Herald Staff
Church officials seeking to remove Masonic symbols from their downtown Elgin building are taking their case to a higher power.
Family Life Church officials are appealing a ruling by the city's heritage commission that they can cover -- but not remove -- two markings on the former Masonic temple on East Chicago Street.
Now the matter goes to the Elgin City Council, which is expected to discuss the case Wednesday.
"It's part of the procedure they're allowed," said Sarosh Saher, the city's urban design and preservation specialist.
Church officials could not be reached for comment on Monday.
But they've previously told city officials that the two markings on the side of their building conflict with their religious beliefs.
The first symbol is a compass and square near the top of the building's front side.
The compass and square is a traditional sign of the Freemasons, members of a fraternal organization based on a system of morality.
The second marking is on the building's cornerstone.
It says that the temple was built by the Masonic fraternity in 1923. It includes a second number that city officials have said is a Masonic date.
The former temple is in a historic district, so church officials had to ask the heritage commission if they could remove the symbols.
The commission, and its design review subcommittee, ruled that the church could cover the markings -- but not remove them.
"They are an integral part of the history of the building," Steve Stroud, head of the design review subcommittee, said at the time. "We don't try to be biased against any religion. Our job is to maintain the historical integrity of the buildings.
"Things that are removed are never replaced," Stroud said. "If it has historic significance it should be maintained."
The city council meeting starts at 6 p.m. at city hall, 150 Dexter Court.