Wednesday, April 30, 2014: Over 110 Masons from four States gathered at the Portsmouth Masonic Temple to celebrate that auspicious milestone. Of that number, there were 26 first time visitors who introduced themselves to all.
The Grand Lodge of New Hampshire performed the second section of the Master Mason degree on three new candidates. All degree participants were dressed as the New Hampshire Loggers Degree Team with full red suspenders, red bandanas and dungarees (Quite a sight from the usual dress of Tux or Tails.) Brethren from all over New Hampshire started with official portraits to remember this day before sitting down to a full dinner from Master Chef, Phil Fraser of St. Andrew’s Lodge.
Most Worshipful Stewart L. Aronson, The Grand Master, presented Worshipful Brother Floyd Caron of St. John’s with a proclamation outlining the history and longevity of the Lodge.
“St. John’s Lodge proudly dates its history to the year 1736 and was one of the earliest Lodges to be formed in what is now the United States. According to written records, only the larger cities of Boston, Philadelphia, Charleston and Savannah had Lodges before the small city of Portsmouth. All these Lodges were at some time or other faced with situations or conditions that forced meetings and operations to be suspended temporarily. St. John’s is proud to be the oldest continuously meeting Lodge in the United States, and indeed the Americas, as we are fortunate that Portsmouth was spared the many calamities and wars that interrupted the meetings and destroyed the records of other Lodges.” from an article at portsmouthfreemasons.org
The regular Officers of St. John’s #1, performed the first section and with the Grand Lecturer and his Deputy in attendance, they lived up to the pressure and did a great section. Next came the Loggers who did two candidates in short and one in long form. The night concluded with the Charge given by MW Aronson and the “Canadian Charge” by RW Richard F. Cole.
Grand Master Aronson closed St. John’s Lodge in full form.
The night was long, the numbers impressive:
5,000th Masonic meeting since 1736,
Continuous operation and never been dark,
110 Masons from four States,
26 first time visitors and ,
Three very impressed Candidates.
And a good time was had by all.