Lancaster Eagle-Gazette - OH
Local Freemasons sponsor Open House to dispel notion fraternity is 'secretive'
March 22, 2009
BY TY WRIGHT • E-G Staff Photographer
LANCASTER - On Saturday afternoon, the Lancaster Masonic Lodge No. 57 opened its doors to the public in an effort to "expose Masonry to people."
Visitors were welcomed by Freemason members to tour the lodge and ask questions about the organization.
Mike McCandlish, a third-generation Mason and Junior Warden of Lancaster Masonic Lodge No. 57, said opening the doors of the lodge can help people understand a little more about the world's oldest operating men's fraternity.
"By opening the doors we are trying to expose Masonry to people," McCandlish said. "We are trying to be more visible to the community by showing the people what we are and what we do."
Freemasonry is the oldest and largest men's fraternity in the world - about 4,000 years old - and have about 2 million members in North America alone - 110,000 of those being Ohio Freemasons.
But as the oldest and largest men's fraternity around many myths and legends have developed during the years describing the Freemasons as a "secret society."
But McCandlish said many of the myths just aren't true.
"We are a society with secrets, but we are not a secret society," McCandlish said. "The secrets that we have pertain to tradition and Masonic rituals."
Lancaster resident and local business owner Dick Benadum, who is the secretary recorder of the four Masonic bodies, has been a member of the Lancaster Masonic Lodge for the past 58 years.
Benadum, who is one of 332 members on the Lancaster Masonic Lodge roster, said he always has enjoyed being a Freemason and enjoys watching the new faces which join the organization.
"I enjoy the fellowship and camaraderie we have," said Benadum. "I really enjoy the ritualistic work and bringing new members in. Maybe they will enjoy it as much as I have."