Dorch­ester Ma­sons to cel­e­brate long his­tory

Medal cer­e­mony, ded­i­ca­tion ser­vice will be in­cluded in spe­cial event

Sackville Tribune - - NEWS - STAFF RE­PORTER

Ma­sonry has a long and wellestab­lished his­tory in Dorch­ester. And that long­stand­ing tra­di­tion will be cel­e­brated at a spe­cial event in the vil­lage this Satur­day af­ter­noon.

The event — which will fea­ture a num­ber of ser­vices and pre­sen­ta­tions with sev­eral VIPS in at­ten­dance — will not only mark the 177th an­niver­sary of the es­tab­lish­ment of Sus­sex Lodge No. 4 in Dorch­ester, it will also com­mem­o­rate 150 years of Freema­sonry in New Brunswick along with Canada’s 150th an­niver­sary.

“It’s a his­toric land­mark oc­ca­sion,” said long­time mem­ber Macx Mac­ni­chol of the com­bined an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tions.

“It’s a group of guys that dis­cuss is­sues ... I think it’s a great way to have fel­low­ship, dis­cus­sions and ca­ma­raderie with­out all the pol­i­tics. And, at the same time, we also help out the com­mu­nity.”

Macx Mac­ni­chol

The af­ter­noon will kick off at around 1 p.m. when a num­ber of spe­cial dig­ni­taries will ar­rive at the Ma­sonic Hall build­ing, on Har­rop Av­enue in Dorch­ester, in­clud­ing the Grand­mas­ter of New Brunswick along with a num­ber of other Grand Lodge of­fi­cers. The hall will open up to other in­vited guests at around 1:30 p.m. for a cer­e­mony that will see sev­eral Ma­sons re­ceiv­ing ser­vice awards as well as spe­cial 150th com­mem­o­ra­tive medals.

This cer­e­mony will be fol­lowed up by a church pa­rade at the Angli­can Church, un­der the di­rec­tion of the Grand Chap­lain of Ma­sons NB, and a ded­i­ca­tion ser­vice for a new gravesite marker at Pioneer Ceme­tery for the first Grand Mas­ter of Sus­sex Lodge and one of its found­ing mem­bers, James Sa­muel Mcel­mon.

“It’s things like that that are go­ing to help us com­mem­o­rate the year,” said Mac­ni­chol.

The af­ter­noon will con­clude with a re­cep­tion at the hall fol­low­ing the pro­ceed­ings.

Sus­sex Lodge No. 4 was es­tab­lished in 1840 when about eight men, then mem­bers of the Cum­ber­land Har­mony Lodge in Amherst, were liv­ing in Dorch­ester dur­ing its bustling ship­build­ing era and de­cided it was time to start their own lodge there. They made an ap­pli­ca­tion to the Grand Lodge of Nova Sco­tia, as there was no Grand Lodge in New Brunswick at the time. That changed af­ter Con­fed­er­a­tion, when the lodge then moved un­der the aus­pices of the New Brunswick Ma­sons.

The Dorch­ester lodge was named for the Duke of Sus­sex, who was Grand Mas­ter for the Grand Lodge of Eng­land.

In its first 100-plus years, Sus­sex Lodge didn’t have its own place to call home and held its meet­ings and func­tions in var­i­ous spa­ces and com­mu­nity halls through­out the years.

But in 1958, an old church build­ing in Tay­lor Vil­lage came up for sale and the Dorch­ester ma­sons pur­chased it, dis­man­tled the struc­ture and brought it to Dorch­ester to con­struct their own unique build­ing (it was opened in 1960), which to this day still sits on Har­rop Av­enue.

The Ma­sonic Hall build­ing is filled with his­toric trea­sures that date back to its in­cep­tion, said Mac­ni­chol. From log books with the min­utes of meet­ings, to pho­to­graphs of past Grand Masters, and other doc­u­ments, along with an al­tar that was hand-carved by mas­ter stone­ma­son W.H. Har­rop and in­stalled in 1963, the story of Sus­sex Lodge No. 4 is well pre­served.

Freema­sonry is the old­est and largest fra­ter­nity in the world and is an or­ga­ni­za­tion ded­i­cated to, as their motto says, mak­ing good men bet­ter.

Mac­ni­chol, who has been part of the Ma­sonic or­ga­ni­za­tion for two and a half decades, ex­plains the fra­ter­nal bond­ing is what has kept him in­volved for so long.

“It’s a group of guys that dis­cuss is­sues ... I think it’s a great way to have fel­low­ship, dis­cus­sions and ca­ma­raderie with­out all the pol­i­tics. And, at the same time, we also help out the com­mu­nity.”

The mem­ber­ship to­day con­sists of about 24 Ma­sons while, at its peak, the Sus­sex Lodge once boasted about 90 mem­bers.

The Lodge con­tin­ues to hold weekly meet­ings and carry out com­mu­nity work in Dorch­ester, in­clud­ing fundrais­ers for the lo­cal school, Camp Good­time, and a bur­sary for high school stu­dents each year, among oth­ers.

PHOTO SUB­MIT­TED

An event cel­e­brat­ing the 177th an­niver­sary of the es­tab­lish­ment of Sus­sex Lodge No. 4 in Dorch­ester and com­mem­o­rat­ing 150 years of Freema­sonry in New Brunswick along with Canada’s 150th an­niver­sary will be held this com­ing Satur­day.

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