The Campbell Masonic Lodge No. 316 recently held a Cornerstone ceremony to commemorate its new building at 204 Lynch Mill Rd, Lynch Station. The lodge, which was chartered on February 16, 1911, organized this event on Saturday, April 22.
The ceremony was led by Grand Master Donald Strehle, with Jeffrey Hayes, District Deputy Grand Master of District 1, acting as Grand Marshall. Several other officers from the Grand Lodge also participated in the ceremony.
The proceedings began with an address from Grand Chaplin Right Worshipful Howard Mason, who thanked the attendees and expressed his joy at the dedication of the Cornerstone. Drawing inspiration from Walt Disney’s saying, “If you can dream it, you can do it”, he emphasized the importance of unity, following biblical teachings, and pursuing one’s dreams.
The ceremony was further marked by the presentation of a Bible at the altar by Reggie Bennett. The Bible, owned by W. Russell Martin, Jr., has a rich history dating back to August 28, 1925.
One of the highlights of the event was a tribute to Steve Bozeman, a Vietnam War veteran who earned two Purple Hearts. He, along with Nathaniel Cuellar, performed the Presentation of the American Flag, while the Pledge of Allegiance was led by Mason. Bozeman, who believes he was kept alive by angels during his service in Vietnam, has been the organizer for Monument Terrace for the past two decades5.
The cornerstone’s placement was explained by Joe Broce, Past District Deputy Grand Master, District 41. Symbolizing prosperity, health, and peace, the cornerstone was adorned with corn, wine, and oil, representing nourishment, refreshment, and joy respectively.
Broce further elaborated on the significance of the cornerstone in Masonic rites, noting its form, situation, permanence, and consecration. The square form of the stone symbolizes morality, while its cubic content represents truth. Its position between the north (darkness) and the east (light) signifies the Masonic journey from ignorance to knowledge.
A detailed examination of the stone took place once it was set in its designated place. It was carefully scrutinized using a square, a level, and a plumb – all symbolic implements of operative masons. Following this, the stone was declared to be “well formed, true and trusty”.
The Masonic meaning of these tools was explained during the ceremony. The square represents virtue, the level symbolizes equality, and the plumb signifies justice and the importance of living uprightly. The stonemason’s trowel, a key tool in their craft, symbolizes the “cement” of brotherly love in the Masonic fraternity, used metaphorically to unite their society.
As part of the ceremony, a small box of items, akin to a time capsule, was placed within the cornerstone. This marked the Masonic consecration of the stone, which was solemnly set apart by pouring corn, wine, and oil on its surface, emblematic of the rewards of duty: Nourishment and Joy.
The ceremony concluded with the Grand Master applying the square, plumb, and level to the stone, striking it thrice with a mallet and offering a prayer for the success of their undertaking. He invoked the Almighty Architect of the Universe to bless their efforts and ensure the building serves as a lasting testament to the architects’ skill and dedication.
The Grand Master’s pin, engraved
with the date 1778, symbolizing the inception of the Grand Lodge of Virginia, was also displayed. The key depicted on the pin represents Truth, Knowledge, and Light, core tenets of Masonic philosophy.
The event concluded on a warm note with refreshments served in the fellowship hall, facilitating camaraderie among the attendees post the ceremony.