New Masonic Lodge for Switzerland #122 is dedicated

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The oldest Masonic Lodge in the State of Indiana has a new home.

Switzerland Lodge #122, F.&A.M. held its official dedication and cornerstone ceremony for its new lodge on Saturday, with a crowd of more than 100 attending the public service.

The lodge building, which is located on Bob Slawson Avenue near the former Randal-Textron building, will also host the meetings of Florence Lodge #27 and the Bennington Lodge #407 of Eastern Star. At Saturday’s ceremony, officials from the State Lodge of Indiana were on hand to oversee the dedication.

Richard Lock, Worshipful Master of Switzerland Lodge #122, said that the lodge began planning for the construction of a new lodge home in 2010, when member Ron Thornton brought up the idea. After a committee was formed, the lodge broke ground for the new building in June of 2013.

In December of last year, the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of the State of Indiana granted official permission for the Switzerland lodge to permanently move its charter to the new lodge. The first meeting in the new lodge building was held on December 18th, 2014.

The laying of the cornerstone holds special symbolism for the Masonic Lodge. Normally the ceremony for the laying of the cornerstone, which is traditionally placed in the Northeast corner of the building, is held prior to the completion of the building; but weather and other issues necessitated that both the cornerstone ceremony and the official dedication happen at the same time.

Overseeing the ceremony on Saturday was Daniel J. Berenie, Grand Master of Masons in Indiana; William A. Reiners, Deputy Grand Master; Carey B. Carter, Senior Grand Warden; and Rodney A. Mann, Junior Grand Warden.

“Basically, they come down and the ceremony starts with the dedication of the building,” Richard Lock said. “The Grand Master dedicates the building in the name of God and St. John. Each officers goes around and makes sure that the building is square, level, and plumb. Once they do all of that, they dedicate the building that it is true.”

As part of the cornerstone ceremony, officials use the symbols of corn, wine, and oil to consecrate the cornerstone.

The pouring of the corn is an emblem of Nourishment; the pouring of wine is an emblem of refreshment; and the pouring of oil is an emblem of joy.

“The significance of the cornerstone is a long one,” Lodge Secretary Jim Baker said. “They have been doing public buildings for hundreds of years with Masonic ceremonies. They put corn, wine, and oil on the cornerstone.”

Officers of Switzerland Lodge #122 include:

Richard Lock, Worshipful Master; Charles Schmidt, Senior Warden; Tom Conroy, Junior Warden; Roy Leap, Treasurer; Jim Baker, Secretary; Steven Coplen, Senior Deacon; Gary Clark, Junior Deacon; K.C. Banta, Chaplain; Andrew Christman, Senior Steward; James Ray, Junior Steward; and Corey Lay, Tyler.

The lodge’s Ambassador to the Indiana Masonic Home and Foundation is John Stafford; and the lodge’s trustees are Floyd Whitham, Roy Leap, and David McFadden.

At Saturday’s ceremony, the lodge bestowed a 50-pin to member Luther Giltner, and he joins a lengthy list of Switzerland Lodge members who have attained 50 years of membership.

Others include: Allen Wayne Aldred; Jerry Boggs; Harvey Browning; Steve Coplen; William Elder, Jr., Charles Green; Norris Lauderbaugh; Robert Neal; William Olds; Donald Stringfield; Glenn Taylor; Robert Weales; Paul Vernon Weaver; Marshall Wentworth; Wallace White; and Billy Joe York.

There are currently 113 members of Switzerland Lodge #122.