Moncton Times Article

Fraternity now boasts 3,500 N.B. members

More than 200 years ago, there were no automobiles, said W. G. Macx MacNichol of Dorchester, secretary and past master of the Sussex Lodge No. 4 and public relations officer for the Grand Lodge of New Brunswick.

In those days, masons in the province had to go by foot or road coaches to and from their lodge meetings 12 months a year, he said in an interview. “Just imagine what the roads would be like, then.”

Nonetheless, they continued to thrive to the point where there are now 3,500 members of the Order of Free and Accepted Masons in 35 lodges spread across New Brunswick.

He said this is but one of many examples of the commitment of their members to the ancient fraternity.

MacNichol made his remarks against the backdrop of the celebration Saturday of the 225th anniversary of the Masonic order in New Brunswick, which took place at. St. Ed’s Hall in Dorchester.

Approximately 100 masons across New Brunswick and Nova Scotia were on hand for the event. He always looks forward to meetings and gatherings of masons, he said.

The members will engage in “very heated” discussions during the sessions, he said, but they will always accept and support the final decision even if they had been arguing against it, earlier.

“Working with these people is a pleasure because we all have the same goals,” he said.

MacNichol said masons are not secretive, but rather discreet on their philosophy. “We keep to ourselves,” he said, but noted they have long espoused the basic credo of the order. And that is to “make a good man better.”

One thing you will never see, he said, is a mason on a street corner handing out pamphlets or in any other way, exhorting others to join the order.

“We don’t advertise ourselves. We don’t want a person who has doubts about our order. We don’t want people participating in something they don’t like or want.”

A member has to be approached by someone interested in masonry and wanting to become part of it, said MacNichol.

He emphasized there is no racism in the Order of Free and Accepted Masons. It does not matter what one’s colour, creed or religion is, he said, adding that anyone is eligible to the join the masons.

The lone stipulation is that they have to believe in a Supreme Power, said MacNichol. “It could be Mohammed, Manitou or Jesus, it does not matter as long as they believe in the Supreme Being,” he said.

Exactly how far back in history the fraternity goes is a matter of conjecture, he said, noting that modern-day masons have hours and hours of discussion on that matter.

Some suggest that the Knights Templar were established to escort the pilgrims to Jerusalem when they were fighting the Crusades back in the Middle Ages, said MacNichol. And it was the templars who were responsible for instituting freemasonry, according to this theory, he said.

But whatever the fraternity’s origin may be, for certain, the history of the Masonic order has been a rich and a long one, he added.

Over the years, MacNichol said the masons have been generous in raising large sums of money for various charities and community projects.

In this province, for example, he said the masons raise $35,000 a year for Camp Goodtime on Grand Lake, which serves as a yearly summer camp for children suffering from cancer.

MacNichol said they work in conjunction with the New Brunswick Cancer Society in funding the camp

Fraternity now boasts 3,500 N.B. members More than 200 years ago, there were no automobiles, said W. G. Macx MacNichol of Dorchester, secretary and past master of the Sussex Lodge No. 4 and public relations officer for the Grand Lodge of New Brunswick. In those days, masons in the province had to go by foot…