Fraternity opens doors to public
Richmond Freemasons present a plaque to Milan and Maureen Ilich (left) for their contributions to the community.
For the second time in four years, the Richmond Masonic Hall on No. 3 Road opened its doors to the public for an evening of information and awards.
On Wednesday, Richmond Lodge No. 142 of the Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon recognized Milan and Maureen Ilich for their support of health care facilities, housing, education and sports, and Dr. John Yun for his contribution to internal medicine and medical oncology.
Brother Alan McLeod, chairman of the Cancer Car Society—a volunteer service established in 1989 that drives cancer patients to treatments—presented Yun with a $4,000 donation to the Richmond Hospital Foundation on behalf of the Freemasons.
But the evening wasn’t just about awards—it was also about dispelling myths. The ancient fraternity has long been criticized for its perceived secrecy, archaic rituals, paganism and racial exclusion. Freemasonry has been the subject of many films and novels, including Dan Brown’s latest fictional work The Lost Symbol.
Worshipful master R.W. Bro. Robert D. Gillon acknowledged certain misconceptions and lightheartedly assured visitors the Freemasons are not out to harm anyone, nor do they plan to take over the world or the police force.
“Our only role in Freemasonry is to take a good man and make him better,” he said.
Gillon added the Freemasons do not speak politics and do not push any one religion.
“Tolerance for everybody is what we do.”
It is, however, a condition of membership to believe in a supreme being and a Bible is always open in the lodge.
Worshipful brother David Redmile reiterated that Freemasonry is “not a religion nor a substitute for religion.”
He said the fraternity promotes brotherly love, benevolence and charity.
Redmile introduced the 15 officers at the Richmond lodge including the tyler, who sits at the door to guard against eavesdropping, and the inner guard, who greets the brothers and assures they are properly attired in tuxedos.
According to the Grand Lodge of B.C. and Yukon website, well known Canadian Freemasons have included hockey player and coffee shop founder Tim Horton, White Spot founder Nat Bailey and Canada’s first prime minister John A. Macdonald.
Membership data shows the jurisdiction in 2003 had 154 lodges with 12,378 members, down from a peak of 27,128 members in 1963.