The Masonic Temple of Highland Lodge 38 Free and Accepted Masons will have its reconsecration Saturday, May 4 at 9 a.m., with the ceremony to be followed by a group photo and lunch at noon, and with all master masons of the Highland Lodge encouraged to attend.
Officers of the Grand Lodge of Ohio will perform the ceremony, which is a celebration of 200 years of freemasonry in Hillsboro. Grand Secretary Mike Watson of the Grand Lodge of Ohio in Springfield told The Times-Gazette the reconsecration ceremony is essentially a rededication, much like a married couple renewing their wedding vows or a church holding a revival.
“Every lodge, when it’s chartered, is dedicated or consecrated to the basic tenets of what this organization stands for,” Watson said, referring to what the Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 13:13. “Those are very succinctly faith, hope and charity.”
He said that when a lodge such as the Highland Lodge reaches a significant milestone in its history, the Grand Lodge of Ohio will return to the local lodge, if asked, to rededicate it for those basic tenets that form its service to the community.
The purpose of the reconsecration ceremony is to encourage and exhort the members of the local lodge, Watson said, to remind them of their heritage and what their forefathers did 200 years ago to receive the charter, in addition to reinforcing what the lodge and its members should stand for in the community they serve.
The ceremony is open only to those who are members of the Masonic fraternity, with Watson saying that the proceedings would be confusing to a non-member in that while there isn’t anything concealed in secrecy, it wouldn’t have that much significance or understanding to those unfamiliar with Masonic traditions or rituals that were first observed more than 200 years ago.
The Highland Lodge is one of the older ones in the state, he said, and is one of only a dozen or so that have reached the bicentennial milestone. He added that there are other Ohio lodges that are older than the Grand Lodge of Ohio, which was chartered in 1808, just five years after Ohio became a state.
“Hillsboro is what I like to call a ‘pioneer lodge,’ and many of those lodges are down along the Ohio River, for example, down around Marietta,” he said. “They were founded by other Grand Lodges from Massachusetts, Connecticut and New Jersey during the Revolutionary War, before the state of Ohio was even founded.”
Ohio has one of the largest Masonic memberships in the nation, with the website www.freemason.com claiming 75,000 individual members and 450 local lodges, and a current worldwide membership totaling more than three million members of whom 1.1 million call North America their home.
“We’re second in total membership to our next-door neighbor Pennsylvania,” Watson said. “Populationwise, there are other states with way more people than us, but I think it just points to that Midwestern attitude that makes people from this part of the country special and unique.”
He said that the Masons will never solicit membership, and the mantra “To be one, ask one” is because a member should live such an exemplary life that when looked upon as a good example and a community leader, non-Masons will want to become part of the local lodge based on that alone.
According to its website, freemasonry is the leading fraternal organization in the world, and though its origins are lost in the long tunnel of time dating back to the medieval era, formal organization took place in London, England, in 1717.
Reach Tim Colliver at 937-502-2571.