A RARE and unique ceremony was held in Invercargill at the weekend.
Members of the Invercargill Masonic Centre welcomed the New Zealand Grand Master Graeme Wrigley, of Christchurch, for the ceremony of dedication of the Freemasons’ new lodge Lodge of Remembrance.
Southland District Grand Master Russell Falconer said the group moved to the Invercargill Bridge Club building, Elles Rd, in August last year, following the decision to sell the former Southland Masonic Centre in Forth St.
Mr Falconer said the members of the Invercargill branch had thought about the future like many “other service organisations”to attract members.
The older building had “high costs” associated with maintenance and insurance, he said.
The Covid-19 outbreak last year had made things worse but was pleased the trend seemed now to be changing.
“Southland [Freemasons] is in actual fact, having its numbers starting to increase again is really good. All the lodges are busy, initiating new people.”
Mr Falconer said he was pleased of the opportunity to be part of such a rare and special occasion for the group.
The last ceremony of dedication in Southland happened in Gore in the 1960s and in Invercargill in the 1920s.
Mr Wrigley said the ceremony meant the lodge was now suitable for freemasonry and had become a room of neutral ground.
“We are nothing like politics or religious discussions – everyone is equal in the lodge room.”
He said it was like a blessing had been placed on the lodge room so that now it could be used for freemasonry.
About 50 members of the new lodge assembled for the formal ceremony on Saturday.