With four members of the Freemason Society of the Columbia Valley stepping up to make Invermere’s Masonic Lodge a preceptory, the local club is now the age-old fraternity’s prime location in the East Kootenays.
“We brought the Royal Arch and the preceptory to the Columbia Valley headquarters, which is now the East Kootenay headquarters,” explained member Ray Picton from Windermere.
The Masonic Lodge in Cranbrook was the previous regional command post, but the new ranking “means that we’ve got a stronger membership here than we do in the other end of the valley,” he explained.
After serving for years through different levels of Freemasonry, Ray Picton, along with valley residents Greg Constable, Brian Stringer and Glen Akselson, have taken on the Preceptory, which is the Christian arm of Freemasonry.
“Members first go through to be a freemason, and then a royal arch, Preceptory, which is the Christian arm of freemasonry,” he said.
The four men are a part of the Selkirk Preceptory #15 of the Knights Templar, after serving with the Rocky Mountain Chapter #7 Royal Arch Masons. While there are different labels for Freemason members, they are all under one concordant body, Mr. Picton said.
Having the new East Kootenay headquarters in Invermere will mean that many Freemasons will hold East Kootenay-wide meetings in
Invermere, saving many members on travel, as well as an annual churchparade, which was formerly celebrated in Cranbrook.
“But I don’t think you’ll see anybody marching around Invermere in their mantel,” Mr. Picton noted.
The centuries-old organization still sticks with it’s original membership requirements: one must be a male over the age of 21, be “free-born” and be of good report, said Mr. Picton.
Ideally every man would want to join the Freemasons, Mr. Picton said, as it is a guild for promoting principals of equality, fair play, uprightness, and a degree of morality.
To join, one must show interest by speaking with a Freemason, who can assist with an application.