Lifting the veil of secrecy and misconceptions is a priority for the new leader of South Canterbury masonic lodges.
District Grand Master Peter Smith hopes to change New Zealanders’ perception of the Freemasons during his three-year tenure.
Smith planned to be “more open and speak up about what we do”.
“We have nothing to hide,” Smith said.
“In the past, no one would talk about it.”
It was not a secret society, but it was a society with secrets, particularly about Freemason ceremonies, he said.
About 7000 New Zealanders are Freemasons in 225 lodges across the country.
These lodges are divided into 18 Masonic district. Smith oversees the Midland district, located between the Rakaia and Waitaki rivers, which has between 300 and 400 members.
He is responsible for supervising and managing the affairs of the district lodges as well as having other ceremonial duties.
Hundreds of Freemasons and members of the Order of the Eastern Star from around the world convened on St. Croix Saturday to celebrate establishing the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of the Virgin Islands – incorporating lodges from the mainland and overseas.
Until now, members of the organization’s local lodges on St. Croix and St. Thomas were affiliated with grand lodges in Oklahoma, Louisiana, Maryland, Dubai, Saud…i Arabia and Iraq. The V.I. Grand Lodge includes eight lodges from those areas.
Gov. Kenneth Mapp and V.I. Brig. Gen. Deborah Howell greeted the 247 men in tuxedoes and women in royal blue gowns at a luncheon on Saturday at the Renaissance St. Croix Carambola Resort and Spa.
Grand Master Alvin K. Wilkins, Freemason most worshipful grand master, addresses the newly established Prince Hall lodge on St. Croix.
Guest speaker Sen. Novelle Francis, Jr., talked about Virgin Islands history and its freedom fighters. He said that “our humanity transcends race and culture,” especially now, while the “nation is in turmoil.”
He also spoke about the importance of serving the community, especially youth.
Yesterday, we had our 26th session and it was a fine masonic meeting, repeating a tradition we got from our ancestors. Two very nice work of architecture, one about symbolism and another about the duties and obligations of a Fellowcraft. They received great applause from the collective of the Brethren. We are reaching the third year of operation and the lodge is consolidating itself steadily, with preserverance. Gratitude to all that are making it possible.