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First Night Masonic Welcome

Posted on | January 1, 2009 | No Comments

This is the short essay I wrote for the First Night programs at the Masonic Center last night.  There’s a little bit about the building and a little about Freemasonry in general.

On behalf of the Masonic Family in Fort Collins, I welcome you to our historic Masonic Center. This building is truly one of the treasures of Fort Collins and we are very proud and happy to be part of the 2008 First Night festivities.

Take a few minutes to look around the building and feel free to ask questions to the Men and Women who are part of the Masonic Family and have volunteered to host tonight’s activities. They are happy to answer your questions about the building or the Fraternity and its related organizations.

A quick bit of history:
Freemasonry is traced back to at least 1717 in England, and Freemasonry has been active in Fort Collins since 1870, when Collins Lodge #19 was founded. The great history of the organization has truly mirrored the history of Fort Collins itself. The men of the Lodge met in several buildings prior to constructing the current building. The cornerstone of this building was set in 1925 and the building was opened in 1927. The total cost of the building and furnishings (many of which are still in use) was $144,990. That would be about $16,250,000 today.

The building is owned by the local Masonic lodges and membership on the Home Board is restricted to active members of Collins Lodge #19. The Home Board is charged with the day-to-day operations of the building as well as the long-term planning and preservation of this historic treasure. The group is actively planning for the future preservation and renovation of the building with the goal of keeping the building as a vibrant hub of community involvement.

What is Freemasonry about?

Many people ask me what being a Freemason is all about. The quick answer is “making good men better.” How is that done? Through a series of ancient symbolic rituals that teach moral and spiritual lessons. The Mason learns invaluable lessons of faith, hope, and charity in addition to being exposed to some of the richest and most meaningful symbols in the Western spiritual traditions. Masonry is NOT a religion, although members are required to affirm a belief in deity.  Our members come from, and tend to be active in, a wide variety of spiritual backgrounds. Masonry is not about business networking either, although many relationships are formed outside the formality of the Lodge.

While “Blue Lodge” Masonry is for men only, there are opportunities for women and children to join the Masonic Family through organizations such as The Order of the Eastern Star, Job’s Daughters, Rainbow for Girls, and DeMolay for Boys.

Masonry may be best known today for it’s charitable work. For example, most people have heard of the Shriner’s Hospitals. Every Shriner is a Mason, and there are dozens of other very active Masonic charitable causes.

Finally, to be one, ask one.
Kevin E. Houchin, Esq.
Member, FC Masonic Center Home Board
Member, Fidelity Lodge #192 and Collins Lodge #19


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