Oh, wonderful masons!” is a phrase that does not escape the lips of the vulgar and profane world where ignorance is bliss. It must therefore have come as a special surprise to the faithful of Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Castries on Sunday, May 5 who witnessed the many regaled members of the Masonic fraternity march quietly and orderly into their reserved pews to honour God. The gospel reading of the transformation of Saul to Paul was most appropriate. It was further explained by Archdeacon Glasgow, the officiating priest, with candour and in a clear Caribbean diction unadulterated by foreign influences.
Church attendance is a new item introduced to the Masonic annual communications agenda by the new right worshipful district grand master for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean. At least twice a year the brethren from this jurisdiction gather in a member territory to discuss internal Masonic business and to enjoy each other’s company. This year it was the turn of Abercrombie Lodge, Saint Lucia to host the district communications. A day of Masonic business was followed by a superb banquet at Harbor Club in Rodney Bay.
It must have taken great effort and discipline on the part of the brethren to rouse themselves early and to be ready to board their respective buses from hotels in the north in time for 8am church. Such discipline is sufficient reason for the perceptive mason to proclaim of his worthy brethren, “Oh wonderful masons!”
During the gospel reading we learned that Saul, who had persecuted the early followers of Jesus Christ, had received permission from his Jewish elders in Jerusalem to journey to Damascus to rid that city of what in today’s language would be referred to as ‘backsliders’ of Jewish teachings. The gospel informs us that Saul was struck blind and arrived at Damascus in a state of helplessness. Something like scales covered Saul’s eyes. A Christian from Damascus named Ananias, who was directed by the Holy Spirit, went to the house of Judas where Saul was staying. He laid his hands upon Saul and imbued him with the power of the Holy Spirit. As the scales fell from his eyes he became transformed from Saul to Paul, the most famous apostle of the New Testament. That event in Damascus was only a small part of Paul’s life.
Those with the ability to search beneath that which the human eyes can only see, will ask: Why was Saul, an arch enemy of the followers of Jesus Christ, chosen to help spread the message of Jesus? Therein lies a most powerful message. God does not care what we look like or what religion we profess. If He desires to use us for His purpose, His will shall prevail. The sceptics and the doubting Thomases will be challenged to fully understand. It is only by keeping God’s supreme power always before our mind’s eye that we may finally come to accept that the stone which the builders rejected can indeed become the head cornerstone of the building.
The clear implication of the Saul to Paul message serves to remind those who may have thought of the freemasons as less worthy of God’s grace, to revisit such thoughts. Sadly, the more extreme condemnation of the Masonic movement looks upon its adherents as doing the devil’s bidding. It was therefore with welcome relief that the celebrant added a few pointed remarks to the gathered brotherhood. He suggested that the time may be right for the fraternity to consider accepting women in its ranks. This brought enthusiastic applause from the women present. There are already Masonic lodges for women and, at the highest international level, one understands that there are moves afoot to invite women to discuss a participatory way forward. We believe that once God is in the mix, all things Masonic will work together for good.
Soon after his incisive sermon Archdeacon Glasgow invited the right worshipful district grand master to address the gathering. He was obediently brief as he gave a summarized history of the Masonic fraternity. The first lodges in the Caribbean were formed in the 18th century, beginning in Antigua. Abercrombie Lodge, Saint Lucia was formed in 1900. He re-emphasized that the lodge is not a religion. It is the only institution wherein Christians, Jews and Muslims meet together as Masons under the same roof. The most important consideration for membership is a belief in a Supreme Being. There are two remarkable modus operandi or approaches that Masonic lodges observe: they do not reply to criticisms, and they do not advertise the charity they practise. There are others but these are not relevant to this short report.
Before he ended his short address, the right worshipful district grand master mentioned some past and present Saint Lucians who were and are freemasons. He paid tribute to such greats as Sir Garnet Gordon, Sir Allen Lewis, Sir George Mallet, Worshipful Brother Wilfred St. Clair Daniel, Worshipful Brother George Noon, Sir John Compton and, of course, former reverend Brother Eglon Braithwaite of the Anglican Church. Worshipful Brother Kenneth Monplaisir, Worshipful Brother Keith Weekes and Worshipful Brother Albert Daniels are active members of Abercrombie Lodge, the latter two being Anglicans.
After the service the brethren made their way out of the church as quietly as they had entered it. There was a brief thank you from the right worshipful district grand master to the brethren and their spouses, after which pictures
were taken to mark the occasion. The gathering then headed to the assigned location for brunch and continued fraternal socializing.
The visiting brethren reportedly had a magnificent weekend in Saint Lucia and departed to their respective homes that Sunday afternoon.
Abercrombie Lodge, by all accounts, can take a bow for hosting a superb 327th Masonic district communications meeting and the brethren can be justly proud of the support they receive from their partners in their daily Masonic journey.