Masonic Lodges open doors to public

News Oct 22, 2009 Ancaster News

Masonic lodges in the Hamilton area are opening their doors next week to introduce themselves to the public and show there isn't a secret society meeting in their halls.Like many other organizations, the Masons have watched their numbers dwindle in recent years.Many people have wanted to join the Masons, but haven't known how to go about it, says Tom Young, chairman of the district-wide open house initiative.That's made more difficult by the fact the Masons don't solicit new members, he said.But opening the doors certainly helps, as last year's inaugural event showed."We had lodges who hadn't had new members in 10 years," says Mr. Young, but last year's open houses attracted about 40 new members across the 12 lodges and seven locations.Mr. Young said he borrowed he idea from Masons in Massachusetts, who attracted 4,000 new members over three years with their open houses.Many people see the symbols of the Masons –  the compass and square, the all-seeing eye – outside the hall but don't know what goes on inside, leading to speculation among some that the ancient order is harbouring some secrets.There are many traditions in Masonic lodges and not everything is discussed with non-members, says Robert Forbes, the past district deputy grand master for Hamilton Masonic District B."There are distinctions in each degree by which Masons know of each other," he admits, adding "there has to be a certain amount of mystery and control."No group reveals all the inner workings of their organization or business, says Mr. Forbes."If we were a secret society, we wouldn't be talking right now," adds Mr. Young. "To dispel any myths, we're opening our doors to give (potential members) insight."There are two basic requirements for men wanting to become a Mason: 21 years or older and believe in a supreme being.While the Masons are a fraternal organization, rather than a service club like the Lions or Optimists, the members are still philanthropic. Each year the district deputy organizes a campaign for a specific  charity. During Mr. Forbes' year in charge, it was public elementary school breakfast nutrition programs.At the open house there will be a 40-minute program followed by a question-and-answer period. While only men can be members of a lodge, the whole family can come out to the open houses.Open houses are being held Thursday, Oct. 29 at 7:30 p.m. at:• Hillcrest Masonic Hall, 257 Mohawk Rd. West, Hamilton Mountain• Stoney Creek Masonic Hall, 19 Dawson Ave., Stoney Creek• Hamilton Masoinic Temple, 4 Queen St. South, Hamilton• Binbrook Masonic Hall, 3038 Highway 56, Binbrook• Abingdon Masonic Temple, 1642 Abingdon Rd., Abingdon• Union Lodge Hall, 33 Main St. West, GrimsbyOn Oct. 31 at 10 a.m., Caledonia Masonic Temple, 173 Argyle St. North,  Caledonia, will be open.

Masonic Lodges open doors to public

News Oct 22, 2009 Ancaster News

Masonic lodges in the Hamilton area are opening their doors next week to introduce themselves to the public and show there isn't a secret society meeting in their halls.Like many other organizations, the Masons have watched their numbers dwindle in recent years.Many people have wanted to join the Masons, but haven't known how to go about it, says Tom Young, chairman of the district-wide open house initiative.That's made more difficult by the fact the Masons don't solicit new members, he said.But opening the doors certainly helps, as last year's inaugural event showed."We had lodges who hadn't had new members in 10 years," says Mr. Young, but last year's open houses attracted about 40 new members across the 12 lodges and seven locations.Mr. Young said he borrowed he idea from Masons in Massachusetts, who attracted 4,000 new members over three years with their open houses.Many people see the symbols of the Masons –  the compass and square, the all-seeing eye – outside the hall but don't know what goes on inside, leading to speculation among some that the ancient order is harbouring some secrets.There are many traditions in Masonic lodges and not everything is discussed with non-members, says Robert Forbes, the past district deputy grand master for Hamilton Masonic District B."There are distinctions in each degree by which Masons know of each other," he admits, adding "there has to be a certain amount of mystery and control."No group reveals all the inner workings of their organization or business, says Mr. Forbes."If we were a secret society, we wouldn't be talking right now," adds Mr. Young. "To dispel any myths, we're opening our doors to give (potential members) insight."There are two basic requirements for men wanting to become a Mason: 21 years or older and believe in a supreme being.While the Masons are a fraternal organization, rather than a service club like the Lions or Optimists, the members are still philanthropic. Each year the district deputy organizes a campaign for a specific  charity. During Mr. Forbes' year in charge, it was public elementary school breakfast nutrition programs.At the open house there will be a 40-minute program followed by a question-and-answer period. While only men can be members of a lodge, the whole family can come out to the open houses.Open houses are being held Thursday, Oct. 29 at 7:30 p.m. at:• Hillcrest Masonic Hall, 257 Mohawk Rd. West, Hamilton Mountain• Stoney Creek Masonic Hall, 19 Dawson Ave., Stoney Creek• Hamilton Masoinic Temple, 4 Queen St. South, Hamilton• Binbrook Masonic Hall, 3038 Highway 56, Binbrook• Abingdon Masonic Temple, 1642 Abingdon Rd., Abingdon• Union Lodge Hall, 33 Main St. West, GrimsbyOn Oct. 31 at 10 a.m., Caledonia Masonic Temple, 173 Argyle St. North,  Caledonia, will be open.

Masonic Lodges open doors to public

News Oct 22, 2009 Ancaster News

Masonic lodges in the Hamilton area are opening their doors next week to introduce themselves to the public and show there isn't a secret society meeting in their halls.Like many other organizations, the Masons have watched their numbers dwindle in recent years.Many people have wanted to join the Masons, but haven't known how to go about it, says Tom Young, chairman of the district-wide open house initiative.That's made more difficult by the fact the Masons don't solicit new members, he said.But opening the doors certainly helps, as last year's inaugural event showed."We had lodges who hadn't had new members in 10 years," says Mr. Young, but last year's open houses attracted about 40 new members across the 12 lodges and seven locations.Mr. Young said he borrowed he idea from Masons in Massachusetts, who attracted 4,000 new members over three years with their open houses.Many people see the symbols of the Masons –  the compass and square, the all-seeing eye – outside the hall but don't know what goes on inside, leading to speculation among some that the ancient order is harbouring some secrets.There are many traditions in Masonic lodges and not everything is discussed with non-members, says Robert Forbes, the past district deputy grand master for Hamilton Masonic District B."There are distinctions in each degree by which Masons know of each other," he admits, adding "there has to be a certain amount of mystery and control."No group reveals all the inner workings of their organization or business, says Mr. Forbes."If we were a secret society, we wouldn't be talking right now," adds Mr. Young. "To dispel any myths, we're opening our doors to give (potential members) insight."There are two basic requirements for men wanting to become a Mason: 21 years or older and believe in a supreme being.While the Masons are a fraternal organization, rather than a service club like the Lions or Optimists, the members are still philanthropic. Each year the district deputy organizes a campaign for a specific  charity. During Mr. Forbes' year in charge, it was public elementary school breakfast nutrition programs.At the open house there will be a 40-minute program followed by a question-and-answer period. While only men can be members of a lodge, the whole family can come out to the open houses.Open houses are being held Thursday, Oct. 29 at 7:30 p.m. at:• Hillcrest Masonic Hall, 257 Mohawk Rd. West, Hamilton Mountain• Stoney Creek Masonic Hall, 19 Dawson Ave., Stoney Creek• Hamilton Masoinic Temple, 4 Queen St. South, Hamilton• Binbrook Masonic Hall, 3038 Highway 56, Binbrook• Abingdon Masonic Temple, 1642 Abingdon Rd., Abingdon• Union Lodge Hall, 33 Main St. West, GrimsbyOn Oct. 31 at 10 a.m., Caledonia Masonic Temple, 173 Argyle St. North,  Caledonia, will be open.