Friday, January 8, 2016

Homer Lodge No. 199: Ready For Another Generation

The story of Homer Lodge No. 199 (IL) is a common story.  It's an old Lodge with few members left.  The building itself was in need of repairs, and the Lodge had been neglected over the years as many have been.  The conventional wisdom would have said it would be better to close the Lodge and merge what few members were left in with another stronger Lodge.  It happens all the time.  After all, these old buildings are nothing but an expense, right?
Hours and hours of work have gone into bringing the Lodge back . . .
But that's not what this Lodge did.  The members were unwilling to let it go. Chartered in 1855 it was too much a part of the community.  The building itself, built in 1893, was worth saving.  So thanks to a number of dual members from nearby Ogden Lodge No. 754 and St. Joseph Lodge No. 970, Homer Lodge went about the task of making a comeback.
That's me during one of many work days at Homer Lodge
It has been a long process, and they haven't succeeded yet--but you can bet the farm they will.  The building has a new roof.  They created a museum room to share the Lodge's rich heritage with the community.  A new chapter of the Royal Arch, Admiration Chapter, has been formed and is operating under dispensation.  The Lodge has been scrubbed, the furniture has been cleaned, repaired and restored.  The walls have been patched and painted.  It has been restored to its former glory, and it is ready to be occupied by another generation of Freemasons.  The local newspapers have even picked up on this challenge, and featured it in their newspapers.  It is such a beautiful Lodge it was even used as the backdrop for an interview I did in a Scottish Rite video called "Seeking Further Light."
All the old York Rite stuff had to be pulled out, cleaned and restored for the new Admiration Chapter.  That's Midnight Freemason Greg Knott, who's been instrumental in the restoration of the Lodge.
Every time a Lodge like this closes, the community it serves loses something.  It loses a part of its history, and it loses an important resource--a place where good men become better men.  Once a Lodge closes, it's gone forever.  The world has never been more in need of men of good character, and these Lodges are a vital part of continuing to do that.  Some things are worth fighting for.

Todd E. Creason

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