THE HISTORY OF ST. ANDREW'S LODGE
|Written by R.W. Bro. T. E. Lewis in 1982|
Wherefore, there must be faith;
So reads the opening preamble in the lodge’s register book, upon which the lodge’s founding fathers based the formation of St. Andrew’s Lodge.
St. Andrew’s Lodge was formed from the St. Catharines and District Scottish Craftsmen’s Association, a composite body of Master Masons from the St. Catharines area, who made fraternal visits to various craft lodges, conferring degrees and performing installation ceremonies.
Following the end of World War II, Masonry saw a phenomenal increase in activity, with many lodges working at a feverish pace to accommodate the sudden increase in interest in Freemasonry , and to process the large number of applicants desiring to join the fraternity. The St. Catharines area was no exception. The established lodges were working at full capacity, and it soon became evident that a new lodge was needed in the district. But how would it evolve and develop?
At this time the St. Catharines and District Scottish Craftsmen’s Association, which had been formed in 1935, was similarly enjoying increased activity as a group. At a meeting of the executive, held at the home of R.W. Bro. J. Johnstone in 1947, discussions turned to the subject of the Scottish Craftsmen forming a lodge, or at least represent the nucleus for the formation of a new lodge in St. Catharines.
The seed had been sown, and it only remained for it to take root. By the next monthly meeting of the Scottish Craftsmen, they had reviewed the feasibility of establishing a new lodge and had decided to formally present the idea to the Scottish Craftsmen. Three brethren, Bros. J. Johnstone, A. Blaik and D. Donnelly, quickly gained converts to the idea of establishing a new lodge.
The matter of forming a new lodge was thoroughly explored, and the facts were submitted to R.W. Bro. E. G. Dixon, Grand Secretary, G. R. C. who after making certain inquires, approved and granted a dispensation.
The initial meeting of the charter members was held at the residence of V.W. Bro. James Thompson on January 10th, 1949. The purpose of the meeting was to organize the new lodge. R.W. Bro. J. Backus acted as chairman, while V. W. Bro. E. McLean acted as secretary.
The ensuing meetings of the founding members were held to organize the preparation of by-laws, finances, correspondences, dealings with Grand Lodge and matters pertaining to the Inaugural Ceremony for the instituting of St. Andrew’s Lodge, which was to be held on February 25th, 1949,
An item of interest worth noting, is that the crest of St. Andrew’s Lodge, which was adopted, was patterned after the crest of St. Andrew’s Lodge No. 53, G. R. Q., Montreal, Quebec.
The Inaugural Ceremony for the instituting of St. Andrew’s Lodge was held in the Masonic Temple, on Ontario Street, on Friday evening, February 25th, 1949. The ceremony was conducted by R.W. Bro. Charles Hesburn, D.D.G.M. for Niagara District ‘A’, assisted by Grand Lodge Officers and Worshipful Masters of Niagara District ‘A’.
Temple Lodge No.296 acted as sponsor for the new lodge, and rendered much valuable assistance to St. Andrew’s Lodge in the formative years.
Since the institution in 1949, St. Andrew’s Lodge No. 661, has continued to grow and flourish, proud of its founding heritage, and going forth with the fervent Prayer that the brethren, who seek to enter the tiled recesses of our lodge will take hold of the high ideals expounded in St. Andrew’s Lodge and carry them forward, as our founding fathers have handed them to us.
The future of Masonry in general, and St. Andrew’s Lodge, is today in our hands. let us make certain that the Masonry of tomorrow adds luster to the Masonry of yesterday and the St. Andrew’s Lodge of yesterday.