The Freemasonry community in England marked a historical event as a lodge in Cornwall initiated a same-sex couple, a first in the fraternity’s history.
Penwith Lodge in Hayle, a quaint port town in Cornwall, was the setting for this milestone event. Ben Evans, a member of the lodge, led his partner, Valentin Nicolae (Nick) Ilovan, who hails from Romania, through the initiation ceremony. This included delivering the charge after initiation and giving the extended presentation of the first-degree tracing board. The lodge was brimming with Freemasons from all over the province who came to witness this significant event.
Nick expressed his gratitude towards his partner Ben and the Worshipful Master, Anthony Wilkins, for guiding him through his initiation into Freemasonry, a process that was initially intimidating due to his unfamiliarity. He highlighted the support and guidance he received from Ben and others, which enabled him to confidently undertake the process. He also noted the camaraderie he experienced, especially from a fellow Romanian, which alleviated his apprehensions. The event was a memorable one for Nick, and he looks forward to engaging more with his new fraternity brothers.
Ben described the event as one of the most unique in his nearly ten-year journey in Cornish Freemasonry. He highlighted how the initiation reflected the accepting nature of modern Freemasonry. He emphasized that today’s Freemasonry is a fraternity that welcomes all, irrespective of their race, religion, sexual orientation, or background. Ben reflected on how this event, two men of different nationalities openly discussing their relationship and joining the same lodge, would have been unthinkable in the past. He regarded Nick’s warm welcome as a testament to the progress of Freemasonry and its continued relevance as a force for acceptance and equal opportunity. He hoped that people, both inside and outside the fraternity, would see that Freemasonry in Cornwall is far from the stereotype of a 19th-century old men’s club, but a vibrant society that adapts to the times and accepts individuals as they are.