On January 9th, 1997 Brother Fred Bowker was installed as Worshipful Master under the direction of the Installing Master, V. Wor. Bro. Ken MacDonald. M. Wor. Bro. Myron Lusk dedicated the General Charge, which he delivered flawlessly, to the memory of Rt. Wor. Brother Clayton Bowker, who had passed to the Grand Lodge Above on November 23, 1996.
January 23 was the official 100th anniversary, reconstitution and rededication of our lodge and regalia. Wor. Bro. Bowker introduced the M.W.G.M. Basil Costurous and his party who presented the corn, wine, and oil for the impressive reconsecration ceremony.
January 30 was the night of our annual Burns night with 90 tickets sold. Wor. Bro. Burt Barker addressed the haggis and M. Wor. Bro. Don Miller immortalized Robert Burns.
February, March and April we're pretty much normal meeting nights aside from a memorial for Bros. Sandy McGruther and Jack Carney. In March, the Grand Junior Deacon from the Grand Lodge of England, Rt. Wor. Brother Peter Storry, gave an interesting and informative talk on the Grand Lodge of England and its structure.
May was our official visit from the D.D.G.M., Rt. Wor. Bro. Dave Thomson.
In June, with Grand Lodge falling on our meeting week, discussion was held on two items in the communication. It was followed by our traditional potluck supper.
On July 19, 1997, a special dispensated meeting was held to complete our final celebration of our Centennial. The afternoon started at Acacia Lodge with the conferring of a courtesy second degree for Baseline Lodge No. 198. The Grand Master, immediate past Grand Master, Grand Master of the G.L. of Manitoba and his Deputy were all in attendance. The lodge went from labor to refreshment for the unveiling of the 100th anniversary plaque which had been placed on the exterior wall of Acacia Hall. The dress for the occasion was Klondike attire as the event took place during Edmonton Klondike days celebrations. Approximately 130 Brethren and their ladies then attended a dinner at the South Convention Center for an evening of entertainment and presentations with both the Grand Masters of Alberta and Manitoba being presented with copies of the 100-year Registrars’ History Book. On the following Sunday morning of July 20, many of the brethren and their wives attended a church parade at St. Luke’s Anglican Church in Edmonton.
In August, as usual our hall was rented to the Fringe, but this year their program included something special called “Freemasonry at the Fringe”; and for the first time Rt. Wor. Bro. Rod Ponech, with the help of other brothers in the jurisdiction, put on several presentations of the play called “Ascending The Winding Staircase”, written by M. Wor. Bro. Rod Ponech, for the purpose of promoting the public image of Freemasonry. The cast received strong support from past Grand Master M. Wor. Bro Myron Lusk.
The September regular meeting started off at a historic site on the university campus known as Rutherford House; an original home of our First Worshipful Master. We had a wonderful dinner hosted by the staff of Rutherford House. Following dinner, Wor. Bro Bob Key and Wor. Bro Gerry Wilson, made a presentation of Masonic regalia to the exhibit room on the second floor. The regular meeting continued at Acacia Hall with the official visit of the D.D.G.M., our own Rt. Wor. Bro. Lorne Langman. For our emergent meeting that month, we went to the Fort Edmonton Park Lodge and conferred a Master Mason degree. We also had a barbecue put on by Bros. Bob Key and Brad Pool. October at Acacia saw three 50-year Jewels being presented. November contained a Remembrance Day program saluting all the fallen in the two world wars and Korean War. December was our regular quick meeting and ladies’ night dinner.
On January 8, 1998, Wor. Bro. Robert Key was installed into the chair of King Solomon according to ancient customs. The emergent meeting in January saw a second-degree put on for a Bro. who had been initiated in 1997. Discussions were held on the hands across the border with Saskatchewan. In April, Wor. Bro. Fred Bowker received his Past Masters apron and Jewel. Very Wor. Bro. Ken McDonald also received his 25-year pin.
At the regular meeting in September, the Acacia Building Association advised the members of our lodge that they were not eligible for funding under current conditions of the CFEP Grant Program for the renovations that had been planned for the building.
October saw the official visit from our D.D.G.M. Rt. Wor. Bro. Philpotts. In November there was a discussion on renovations and repairs to be done to the hall including a lift to the second floor. At the Emergent Meeting in November a Mr. Scott Watson was initiated in Freemasonry. December saw a motion from the floor to borrow $9000 for the repairs to the roof of our hall.
Wor. Bro. Bradford Pool was installed as Worshipful Master for the year 1999.
Two young gentlemen who had been initiated in 1998 completed their Master Masons degrees, and we affiliated one Past Master, Bro. Gordon Smith.
Two 50-year jewels were presented to Bro. Andrew Watson and Bro. Ron Niddrie.
It was a sad ending to 1999 as four members had passed the Grand Lodge above.
The year 2000 started off with the installation of Past Master Bro. Gerald Wilson into the Chair of King Solomon. Four new initiations and one Master Mason degree were put on in this year.
There was also another exciting installation taking place in June 2000. Rt. Wor. Bro. Rod Ponech was installed into the Grand Junior Warden's chair for the Grand Lodge of Alberta.
We would be remiss not to mention the building received a new front door funded by Avon Glenn Lodge and a personal lift to the second floor funded by the Strathcona Lodge. Strathcona Lodge has been a longtime supporter of the Acacia Building Association and continues to play major part in the operation of the Building Association.
To end with a sad note, we also lost four worthy Brothers to the Grand Lodge above this year.
Past Master Wor. Bro. Robert Hammel and his slate of officers were installed for the year 2001. During the year three brothers completed their Master Mason degree and three more were initiated into freemasonry. Rt. Wor. Bro. Rod Ponech was installed into the Grand Junior Warden's chair for the Grand Lodge of Alberta. Rt. Wor. Bro. Rod Ponech is the first Past Master of Acacia to be elected to be in line to be Grandmaster since 1962. Rt. Wor. Brother Earl Welton, a Past Master of our lodge, was also installed as a D.D.G.M. and stands for Three Rivers District of southern Alberta.
2002 began with the installation of another Past Master Wor. Bro. Gordon J. Smith along with his team of officers in January. Our "Sock It To Me" program was started with great success to collect socks for the inner-city agencies. 250 pairs of socks were distributed. Gordon was a great educator and the first Master of Acacia to present the FC candidate with the square that he received his on.
In the summer of 2002, Acacia Hall completed more renovations including washrooms in the entrance room on the main floor and the re-covering of all the chairs in the Lodge room with assistance from the Community Facilities Enhancement Program..
In September, Wor. Bro. Ernie Towne was presented with a long service jewel to commemorate his being our organist for over 10 years. During the year we had 3 deaths, 3 initiations and 2 demits.
2003 started with Wor. Bro. Gordon Smith remaining in the chair of King Solomon for a second term. Statistically, we completed 2 initiations and we had 3 deaths occur from our membership.
The Sock It To Me program really took off this year with over 1000 pairs of socks being collected.
In October, the emergent meeting saw the Northern Alberta Veterans degree team raise 3 candidates to the sublime degree of a Master Mason.
The emergent meeting in November 2003 saw the installation of officers for 2004, which soon became the standard for the installation at Acacia for the ensuing years
2003 seems to be a turning point for Acacia. With several new candidates being initiated, things were brightening up after years of darkness and shadows.
2004 saw the installation of Wor. Bro. Ken McDonald and his slate of officers. Statistically, Acacia initiated 3 new members with 2 affiliate members and 3 brothers had passed the Grand Lodge above.
Grand Lodge in June was an exciting year as it was the 99th anniversary of the Grand Lodge of Alberta and our own Rt. Wor. Bro. Rod Ponech was installed as Grand Master of Alberta Grand Lodge.
September saw a welcome back for the first time into our Lodge, M.W.G.M. Rod Ponech and he was presented with a Super Brothers Cape. 25-year pins were presented to Bro. Brad Pool and V. Wor. Bro. Ken McDonald.
Once again, the emergent meeting in November was the installation of officers for the 2005 ensuing year.
The year 2005 started out with installation of Wor. Bro. Scott Watson followed by the 70th annual Burns night held at Acacia Hall.
More upgrades were done to the kitchen facilities.
In April, more petitions were received and it was beginning to look like the rest of the year would be very busy for degree work.
In June, Grand Lodge was held in Medicine Hat. M.W.G.M. Bro. Rod Ponech had had a busy year and completed it in Medicine Hat with the Hundredth Anniversary of Grand Lodge.
The year ended with the installation of the Worshipful Master and his officers for 2006.
Within the Lodge in 2006, Wor. Bro. Fred Bowker lead members of Acacia Lodge to another successful and enlightening year. From January to May, Acacia held only regular meetings and celebrated Robbie Burns night, Saint Patrick's night and St. George’s night.
Bro. Ernie Town was given the title of Organist Emeritus and Bro. Fred Hendra was given the title of Inner Guard Emeritus. They were both outstanding Brothers amongst our lodge.
At the emergent meeting on Saturday, May 27, in conjunction with the Old Craft Lodge of Lakeland District, a degree day was put on. It was a successful day with degree work being done in the first and the third degrees with over 50 Brethren in attendance.
In September, we welcomed to the Lodge our newly installed D.D.G.M. Rt. Wor. Bro. Dennis Lemp for his official visit. The October regular meeting was the election of officers for 2007.
Bro. Colin Safranovich was installed into the Chair of King Solomon for the year 2007. The year was filled with regular business meetings and emergent meetings to put on degrees.
At the Christmas family potluck, Wor. Bro. Safranovich began Acacia’s tradition of “The Master cooks the Turkey” that remains in place today for this event.
As Wor. Bro. Safranovich had such a successful year, on January 10, 2008 he was reaffirmed as Worshipful Master for 2008. Wor. Bro. Colin had another successful year holding 10 regular business meetings and 5 emergent meetings for the purposes of degree work.
Rt. Wor. Bro. Lorne Langman was installed into the Chair of King Solomon for 2009. He too had a successful year of regular meetings and emergent meetings for degree work.
On April 7, Wor. Bro. Ken Powell received his 50-year Past Masters certificate at his seniors lodge, from our DDGM and a large group of dignitaries from Acacia Lodge.
At the Grand Lodge communication in 2009, Wor. Bro. Fred Bowker was installed as D.D.G.M. for Lakeland District.
Rt. Wor. Bro. Lorne Langman was reinstalled as Worshipful Master of Acacia lodge for the year 2010. It was nice to hear that Acacia Lodge was starting to grow again with five initiations held in October and two affiliates. The year ended with the installation of officers for 2011.
Rt. Wor. Bro. Bob Taylor was installed as Acacia’s Master for the second time for the year 2011. Acacia’s mixed Burns Night was again a roaring success, filling the hall to capacity. A great many visitors attended throughout the year but one highlight might have been Bro. Mounif Mouallem coming all the way from El Bar Downie Lodge No. 7 in Zahleh, Lebanon, at a Fellowcraft degree night in March. 2011 was a very busy year with a total of 8 degree nights, 4 mixed social events and a more somber memorial service due to the sudden passing of our V. Wor. Bro. Kenneth MacDonald. In addition to the April fish & chip social in March and the December pot-luck turkey dinner, Acacia hosted a successful mixed table lodge social in September with great success.
The installation of Officers for 2012 was truly a family affair, as our own M. Wor. Bro. Rod Ponech, installing Master, was both brother-in-law to the outgoing Master Rt. Wor. Bro. Bob Taylor and also father-in-law to the incoming Master, Bro. Jeremy Burke. Recognition of this family’s contributions extended into the year as Rt. Wor. Bro. Taylor received his 50-year jewel in September, and M. Wor. Bro. Ponech received his Honorary Life Membership certificate in October. Our own W. Bro. Mitch Cammidge was appointed as Grand Standard Bearer for 2012-2013 at the Grand Lodge of Alberta Annual Communication. Another busy year included 11 initiated, 5 raised and 5 passed.
The year 2013, under the leadership of Wor. Bro. Terry Kennedy and with the help of other Brothers recently affiliated from Norwood Lodge was once again an excellent Masonic year for the lodge.
A good deal of degree work was carried out in high form, with appreciation for the coaching work by Wor. Bro. Wes McCourt, including a joint Fellowcraft degree with Dynamic Lodge No. 96 on Wednesday, April 3. A Master Mason degree was conducted in May for 4 brothers, with visitors from Iowa, USA and Melbourne, Australia present.
Stimulating education pieces through the year included “What will you do with Freemasonry? The Moral Code and Real Leadership” presented by M. Wor. Bro. Gerald Waldren, “Quoin Up” on the four cornerstones of Freemasonry (Planning, Educating, Working, Socializing) by Rt. Wor. Bro. Chris Batty, and Masonic Charity by Rt. Wor. Bro. John Slade. Due to the canceled EA degree at September’s emergent meeting, Wor. Bro. Murray quickly assembled a variety of short presentations including a review of “The Universe Within” presented by the Worshipful Master, a presentation on the mathematical Rule of 9’s, 8’s & 7’s by V. Wor. Bro. Mitch Cammidge, and a paper entitled “Unseen Dimensions” by Bro. John McDermitt of Whitecourt Lodge. M. Wor. Bro. Rod Ponech gave an unrehearsed discussion on the history of Prince Hall Masonry in Alberta following the election of officers at our October meeting.
As for the social events of the year, the Christmas potluck dinner was made all the better for the increased diversity of the lodge and the ethnic dishes brought by the brethren and their spouses. Our Robbie Burns Night was sold out again. The annual St. Georges Night fish and chip supper included a display of swordsmanship by the Edmonton Fencing Club. A table lodge was held in the fall.
Despite a frigid start to 2014, newly installed V. Wor. Bro. Mitch Cammidge offered warmth from the chair of King Solomon. Under his guidance, the Lodge initiated, passed and raised 5 new brethren.
Another highlight of the year is that it included some well-traveled visitors in addition to the many representatives of local lodges: Bro. Fred Kiamieh of Wellington # 165, Grand Lodge of Canada in Ontario, Bro. O. Dunning from Barbados and Bro. Jose Rossario from Brazil. Bro. Rossario presented a paper on Freemasonry in Brazil which identified similarities and differences as compared to Alberta.
On October 23rd, a moment of silence was observed to pay respects to Corporal Nathan Cirillo, an unarmed Canadian sentry at the National War Memorial in Ottawa.
Acacia Lodge continued with its traditional program of festive evenings, which included an open Table Lodge and a summer barbecue at the home of our Junior Steward, Bro. Seamus Blue.
The members of Acacia Lodge bestowed the privilege of Worshipful Master for the year 2015 on Wor. Bro. Wes McCourt.
The year began with the suspension of 5 brothers, but this disappointment was immediately offset by the election of 5 new candidates and 1 affiliation.
Our own Wor. Bro. Terry Kennedy was elected as D.D.G.M. for Lakeland District for 2016-2017 on September 19th, and Bro. Gavin Scrimgeour was appointed as Grand Standard Bearer for 2015-2016 at the Grand Lodge of Alberta Annual Communication of 2015.
Several “gifts” were received and exchanged through visitation this year. In February, through V. Wor. Bro. Jeremy Burke, Acacia Lodge received the Traveling Gavel from Charity Lodge No. 67 and made plans to bring it to Bro. Tim Kucherawy’s brother’s (by blood) Lodge, St. John’s in Vegreville. On April 9th, past Grand Director of Ceremonies of the Grand Lodge of Canada in Ontario, Rt. Wor. Bro. Howard Adams, presented centennial coins from his own Lodge, Mississauga 524, to the Worshipful Master and the Secretary-Treasurer, and on April 30th, Bro. Kucherawy presented gifted hats from Las Vegas Lodge to the Worshipful Master, Senior and Junior Wardens.
Our Robbie Burns night this year was not a sell-out but we hosted a very respectable 72 Brothers and guests, sufficiently entertained once again by the Marr Mac Highland Dancers. Our Bean ‘n’ Jeans “western” night was held at the regular meeting in June. Rt. Wor. Bro. Fred Bowker hosted the family Barbecue.
A number of “extracurricular” events were held in 2014. Over the course of the year, our Junior Warden, Bro. Bill Grattan hosted the “Diplomacy Tournament” several times and raised $100 for the Rite to Learn Foundation. In March, a Board Games Night was held at the Druid pub on Whyte. Plans were made to hold the event again the following year at the Hexagon Board Game Café.
On a somber note, one of our longest serving members, Bro. Ronald Freeland Niddrie passed to the Grand Lodge above on September 16th at the age of 95. Initiated on September 22nd, 1949, he had been a dues paying member of Acacia Lodge for 66 years.
In total, 11 candidates were initiated, 9 passed and 8 raised. Two brothers affiliated, and Lodge membership grew by 6. We received several visitors from Ontario, one from Norway, and Bro. Enrique Garces Lopez from Mexico who later affiliated.
The installed officers for 2016 would be under the direction of Wor. Bro. Bill Grattan.
In comparison to the growth of 2015, the statistics for 2016 were disheartening. While 2 candidates were initiated, 3 passed and 2 raised, and 2 members were reinstated, the Lodge suffered 1 suspension and 5 demits, plus 1 passing to the Grand Lodge above, for a net loss of 3 Brothers.
Some discord within the Lodge can readily be inferred from documented remarks given in an official capacity by the D.D.G.M, our own Rt. Wor. Bro. Terry Kennedy, first reflecting on Amity, Peace, Harmony and Friendship, and again, at his official visit, focusing on the importance of Trust in and outside the Lodge. This could be further evidenced by the uncommon contested election for Worshipful Master.
A particularly bright light for the year would be the reboot of the Canada Day Baseball Game, historically attended as a District event. After the previous year’s attendance of just two brethren, Rt. Wor. Bro. Fred Bowker managed to organize the largest masonic turnout ever in support of the Masonic Higher Education Bursary Fund. Happiness and joy continued to be spread at our traditional fests, including a well-attended Robbie Burns Night and St. Georges Night, and the Lodge barbecue held at the Junior Warden Bro. Darren Simmonds’ house. Unfortunately, this would be the last year for the Marr Mac Highland dancers at the Burns dinner, as instructor Scotia Wolf announced plans to open her own studio.
The practice of delivering potted lilies to the Widows for Easter was resumed through the efforts of several brethren.
V. Wor. Bro. Gavin Scrimgeour was elected to sit in the Chair of King Solomon for 2017.
The emergent meeting on February 23rd was held as a “Rusty Nail Meeting” with an opening and closing of the lodge in long form in all three degrees, followed by memorable education. Following a personal reflection by Bro. Don MacDougall about what it means to live “masonic lives”, Bro. David Van Leeuwen led a lively Q&A session with responses from M. Wor. Bro. Rod Ponech, Rt. Wor. Bro. Bob Taylor, and Rt. Wor. Bro. Lorne Langman. Discussions were open, frank and very enlightening and the remainder of the evening’s program was set aside so as to continue this incredible Masonic experience.
On April 13th, another personal reflection was offered by Bro. Michael Medina on the working tools, which also led to a lively discussion with many shared personal experiences and educational contributions.
Wor. Bro. Amjit Singh brought greetings from the Grand Lodge of India at our regular meeting in May, where V. Wor. Bro. John McKee was remembered and Rt. Wor. Bro. Terry Kennedy was congratulated on the completion of his term as D.D.G.M.
Participation in the Edmonton Masonic Day at Fort Edmonton Park and the Canada Day Masonic Baseball Event brought unity to the Lodge.
The regular meeting in September was a grand spectacle. Following dinner and fellowship at the Malt & Mortar on Whyte Avenue, the D.D.G.M, Grand Master and his officers were welcomed into the Lodge. An impressive 51 brothers were present including 14 Dignitaries, 13 visitors and 24 members. A memorial was held for Wor. Bro. Ken McTavish, and the 50-year Jewel was presented to M. Wor. Bro. Rod Ponech. Presentations included Masonic History by Rt. Wor. Bro. Bob Taylor (brother-in-law), personal story from V. Wor. Bro. Jeremy Burke (son-in-law), presentation of the certificate and jewel by the D.D.G.M. and G.M. respectively, presentation of the Secretary’s 10-year Jewel by the Worshipful Master, and remarks from Rod himself.
Remembrance Day was all the more meaningful with a decorated veteran in the Chair of King Solomon. In V. Wor. Bro. Scrimgeour’s remarks nearing the end of his term, the Worshipful Master thanked Rt. Wor. Bro. Fred Bowker for his mentorship and M. Wor. Bro. Rod Ponech for holding the Lodge together, acknowledging the division in the Lodge in recent years. He was pleased that the Lodge was again working together in a more relaxed atmosphere.
The members of Acacia Lodge bestowed the privilege of Worshipful Master for 2018 on Wor. Bro. Preston Meyer.
The year 2018 was comparatively unremarkable based on the Registrar’s Report. Of note were the number of discussions regarding the Acacia Building Association Limited and control and transfer of shares.
Memorable education pieces through the year included “Block or Brick or Box” by Wor. Bro. Preston Meyer, “Symbolic Role of the Deacons” by the Worshipful Master of Ivanhoe Lodge, and “The Role of Women in Freemasonry” by V. Wor. Bro. Zawatsky.
The usual social festivities which carried on with success included the Christmas potluck, Burns Night, St. George’s Night, and family barbecue.
Lodge membership dropped from 61 to 56 through the year, but 7 petitions for membership and 1 for affiliation are in hand.
Wor. Bro. Tim Kucherawy was installed into the Chair of King Solomon for the year 2019 by Wor. Bro. Preston Meyer. This marks the first time in the recent history of Acacia Lodge that the sitting Master has chosen to install his successor.
Excitement was palpable throughout the year with the amount of degree work needed to initiate, pass and raise a big group of youthful and enthusiastic candidates. The membership worked in unison to present 6 degree nights and initiate 7, raise 7, and pass 5. The Lodge also accepted 2 affiliates, reinstated 1, and received 2 demits. No suspensions or deaths were recorded. The average age of the 64 members at year end was 54 years which is considered the youngest lodge in the Grand Lodge of Alberta.
At the District meeting, our own Wor. Bro. Bill Grattan was elected to serve as D.D.G.M. for Lakeland District for the 2020-2021 term.
We still managed to squeeze in some education, which included “The Initiation and Balloting Procedures” by Rt. Wor. Bro. Fred Bowker and Rt. Wor. Bro. Leano, “Masonry and Mental Health” by V. Wor. Bro. Gavin Scrimgeour, and “Why Masons Do Not Read…(the Good Ones Do)” by Bro. Andrew Penner.
An impressive turnout of 26 members and 33 visitors assisted in the installation of Wor. Bro. David Van Leeuwen as Worshipful Master for 2020.
The Christmas Potluck and Burns Night were well attended.
Our first Regular meeting of 2020, Roll Call night, had a somber tinge as we observed a moment of silence for the loss of life on a civilian aircraft downed by a missile strike over Syria. Included in the toll were 30 Edmontonians. At the February regular meeting, we mourned for Bro. Ken Taylor, POW and veteran of WWII. The Registrar’s Report was presented by Bro. Dalton Rouse. An Entered Apprentice degree was held February 27th for Bro. Odin Guzman Sanchez and Mr. Ryan MacKeigan.
In January, news was breaking of a new Corona virus discovered in Wuhan, China. By February, the WHO had declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. In March, the Grand Master, M. Wor. Bro. Ken Cheel first advised all Lodges to take appropriate measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, then advised and ultimately ordered Lodges to cancel all meetings.
This shutdown, within the Masonic community and all organizations globally, had the effect of promoting “virtual” meetings. Many thanks are due to W. Bro. Tim Kucherawy for organizing many regular get-togethers and education pieces on lodge nights using the Zoom platform. Even the most technologically illiterate of us became familiar with its use, and most of us remembered to mute ourselves when we weren’t speaking. The extraordinary result of the technology on Masonry was the opportunity to “visit” other Lodges globally for education and fellowship. The effect on Acacia Lodge was of a tremendous coming together, bringing us all on the level and face to face and welcoming each other into our own little corners of the world. Pets were introduced and trophy walls and shelves of board games were in full view. Many brethren who would otherwise not have been able to attend called in from hundreds of kilometers away, while they were parenting at home, or from their trucks parked outside their motel.
Outside of Lodge meetings, some Acacia brothers and friends played and enjoyed several rounds of a game called “New World Order: Bavaria” (created by our own Wor. Bro. Preston Meyer) on another technology platform called Facebook Messenger. This platform continues to be used as a chat room by a majority of the brethren of Acacia to stay connected outside of regular meetings. From birthday announcements to
In September, Lodges were permitted to resume meeting with restrictions, including mask wearing and no festive boards. Despite the long break, the Lodge conducted itself with competence and pride at its September emergent meeting by opening in all three degrees and permitting Bro. Frank Blanchard to prove up with skill and a French flair. Work continued in October with an Entered Apprentice degree.
Rt. Wor. Bro. Lorne Langman was presented with his 50-year Jewel and granted an Honorary Life Membership at an emergent meeting in October. This also included a Zoom component so that those at great distance or isolating at home could still participate and congratulate Bro. Lorne on this grand occasion.
Sadly, by November the trough of the COVID wave was over and meetings were once again canceled. Virtual meetings resumed without the ability to elect or install new officers.
The Officers for 2020 received dispensation to extend their term through 2021 as no business could be conducted outside a tyled lodge, and tyled lodges were forbidden under public health restrictions and on technology platforms. Wor. Bro. David Van Leeuwen thus remained in the Chair of King Solomon. As some chairs had been vacated, the following brothers acted in their roles pro tempore: J.W. Bro. Darren Simmonds and J.S. Bro. Ron Taylor. Also, for the first time at Acacia, the Worshipful Master appointed an Almoner, Rt. Wor. Bro. Fred Bowker.
Through determination, teamwork and ingenuity, Acacia Lodge was still able to host a Burns Night dinner during the COVID shutdown on January 28th, albeit with a slightly different format: Zoom! Pre-orders were taken. Traditional haggis, neeps and tatties, along with roast beef, gravy and rolls, were prepared by volunteers. More volunteers prepped the takeaway containers at Ben’s Meats, and others hand delivered 53 meals to all corners of the city the night before. Grand Lodge was well and truly represented by Grand Master M. Wor. Bro. Reg Karbonik and Lakeland’s D.D.G.M. Rt. Wor. Bro. Blair Mitchell who also performed the “Toast to the Haggis” with perfect panache. Visitors included Wor. Bro. Matt Matheson and his wife Terri, who responded on short notice and with poise to the Toast to the Lassies by virtue of being the only lass present. All of this most successful of events was accomplished in less than 10 days. In these trying times, it was a telltale tribute to the tenacity of Acacia Lodge.
With an abundance of precaution and planning, Acacia Lodge did host the traditional family barbecue at the hall in August. This was facilitated by the installation of an external gas line and the donation from the Junior Warden’s fund for the purchase of a barbecue.
Meetings were allowed to resume in September, with proof of vaccination against COVID-19 and mandatory mask wearing. General business was addressed at the regular September meeting, and the first election in 2 years occurred at the regular October meeting. Emergent meetings were replaced by online BoGPs. Installation of officers for 2022 was held on November 25th, welcoming back to work 6 Grand Lodge officers, along with other visitors. It’s great to be back!