Grand Master Clark M. Gilmour’s Speech
I would like to thank you, Dr. Turner, and your congregation for this opportunity to speak this morning. Perhaps some of you in the congregation are wondering, what are all these people doing here this morning? What are they all about? Very quickly I would like to answer these questions.
As Freemasons of British Columbia we have commenced celebrating the 125th anniversary of the formation of the Grand Lodge of British Columbia, to be held in June, 1996.
As in the case of all family celebrations, birthdays and anniversaries, we wanted to share this event with members of our family, the Masonic Family, which consists of: The Order of the Eastern Star, Daughters of the Nile, Ladies of the Oriental Shrine, the Amaranth, Job’s Daughters, Order of Demolay, The Shrine, Scottish Rite Masons, York Rite Masons and the Van Zor Grotto. We believe in the strength of the family.
Freemasonry has been in Canada for the past 258 years and in British Columbia for the past 136 years and as I look around this beautiful Church this morning, I am reminded of some of our early history of St. Andrew’s—Wesley Church.
Freemasons such as Robert Twizell, the architect who designed this magnificent edifice, businessman Charles Woodward, who was given the honour of turning the key in the new church in 1933, and I noticed the beautiful stained glass window of Abraham, Moses and Samuel in the north transept which is dedicated to the memory of Ethel and Fred Begg who were also valued members of our Masonic Family.
I am reminded of two members of St. Andrew’s—Wesley, William C. Ditmars and the Rev. James S. Henderson, both of whom rose to the highest office in Freemasonry, that of Grand Master.
I would be remiss not to mention a great man held in high esteem by both the congregation of St. Andrew’s—Wesley and the masonic order, the Rev. Robert R. Cunningham.
The Rev. Cunningham was an active Freemason and Shriner who served as Chaplain of his masonic lodge and conducted the annual Shrine Easter sunrise service at the old Empire Stadium.
We, the masonic family, meet here together this morning in a house of God not only to share our celebration but also to affirm and proclaim our abiding belief in God—for that is what unites us.
I will not speak of religion, for neither Freemasonry nor her concordant bodies are a religion. Freemasonry does, though, speak to the spiritual nature of man. Freemasonry attempts to teach us to be better men, so that we can better serve ourselves, our families and our communities.
“A true Freemason is the man who is free from superstition and free from infidelity; who in nature sees the finger of the Eternal Master; who feels and adores the higher destiny of man; to whom faith, hope and charity are not mere words without any meaning.
The ideal of a Freemason is the personification of brotherly love, relief and truth. The touchstones of our fraternity are the four cardinal virtues; Temperance, Fortitude, Prudence and Justice… the theological virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity… and what we refer to as the three great social treasures: Fraternity, Liberty and Equality.
We believe in charity, so much so that as a masonic family we contribute over three and a half million dollars a day to our various charitable endeavors. The Shrine-masons alone contribute 416 million dollars a year to their Children’s Hospitals.”
The chief point of Freemasonry is to be happy with ourselves, and to communicate that happiness to others. I hope, in some small fashion, we have done that this morning.
Grand Master Clark M. Gilmour