Honor, history, symbolism and mystery guided a Masonic Lodge ceremony yesterday. Muskegon Lodge 140 celebrated 150 years by rededicating its temple on Clay Street April 13. Office holders in the masonic fraternity across the state participated in a ceremonial inspection of the building with a square, level and plumb line before telling Most Worshipful Grand Master Dean A. Barr of the Grand Lodge of Michigan that “the craftsmen have performed their duty.”
The men’s organization emphasizes morality, friendship and community service. It has its roots in England during the early 1700s, and has been in America for more than 250 years. Muskegon Lodge 140 was chartered on Jan. 16, 1863. Members over the years have included philanthropists Charles Hackley and L.C. Walker, and the poet John Nims.
Although many Masonic ceremonies are secret, the April 13 event was open to the public, with officials from the cities of Muskegon and Norton Shores among those attending.
“As a kid running through Muskegon, you’d always come past this building and wonder what was in it,” said Muskegon Mayor Stephen Gawron. “It always had a mystique. … Congratulations on this auspicious occasion.” Scripture was read, prayers were offered, vessels of wine and oil were presented, and corn was poured on the ground during the ceremony. Much of the ceremony was explained to attendees: The mason’s square, for example, symbolizes virtue. North Muskegon’s Dan Stewart, a Mason attending the event, said the lodge had been meeting at the Clay street temple for more than 60 years and he hopes to live to see the lodge’s 200th anniversary, 50 years from now.
Many members stay with the organization for life. “We have guys in their 20s, all the way up to their 90s,” said Stewart, 34. He said that the organization means different things to different people, but “a good way of stating it is, we take good men and make them better. “It convinced me to go back to college,” Stewart said. “It makes me look at the bigger picture.”
(source: Stephen Kloosterman email@example.com The Muskegon Chronicl, http://www.mlive.com/news/muskegon/index.ssf/2013/04/masonic_temple_rededicated_by.html)