Parry Sound NorthStar
Wednesday, September 8, 2004
Freemasons celebrating 150 years of service to the community
by Stephannie Johnson
PARRY SOUND - The society of Freemasonry is neither a service club, such as the Lions, nor is it "a secret society, but there are secrets," said Master of the local lodge Neil Whetham. "Be square with your fellow man and treat others as you would treat yourself, Golden Rule stuff."
The Masonry in Ontario has started celebrating its 150th anniversary that runs through until June 2005.
To mark this milestone, locally, the brethren in this district will be hosting a variety events throughout the community.
All of the proceeds from these events will go to the "Fight Against Breast Cancer."
"Each district has been asked to create projects for whatever charitable organization and to raise money for that event, as well as promote the Masonry within Ontario for the past 150 years," said Mr. Whetham. "This district, which has eight lodges, has selected breast cancer research."
The Masonry has a rich past, starting in 13th century in England, with the trade guilds.
"[The Masons] were available and open to receiving benefits for their families for sickness, or for death and they would meet once a month and give out money to whoever needed it and they grew and grew."
Later on Speculative Masons joined, who weren't in the mason trade, but followed the same beliefs and rituals.
"Two of the principal instruments in architecture required to build anything are a compass and a square," he said. "Well, they're also to moralize on. You're to be square with your fellow man, keep yourself in due bounds between the two points of the compass. So, it's a morality thing as well."
It is common for Masons, who raise all of their money through donations within the group, to give secret donations to various charities.
"Masons don't do a lot of fund raising,"he said. "Most of the money, if not all of it, comes from our own pockets."
High profile members
"Every president of the United States has been a Mason, except two, almost all of them have been Shriners as a result. You become a Mason first, then you can become a Shriner.
"Lots of guys just become Masons and you don't even know they're Masons," he said. "They just go on with their life, being square."
The Parry Sound Masonic Lodge is hosting a sunset cruise aboard the Island Queen on September 11 leaving the town dock at 6 p.m. and returning at 8. Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for kids. For more information, contact Mr. Whetham at 746-7295.