Mizpah Lodge No. 17
Financing of the several projects required local fundraising, member subscriptions and a bank loan in addition to the Canada Works Grant. During the decade the loan was repaid and the mortgage that had been carried since 1955 was paid off. (Minutes, August 18, 1983) Annual yard sales were staged beginning in 1986 under the leadership of W.Bro. Benjamin Bears PM.. Proceeds from the first sale totalled $1305. (Minutes, September 18, 1986) At the Grand Lodge Visitation on November 14, 1986 the Brethren burned the Bank Note that had been paid off. Proceeds from the yard sale in 1989 ($518) were donated to the Equipment Fund for the Catscan at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. The decision to discontinue the yard sales was made in 1996.
During the decade (1978-88) a number of ‘firsts’ were noted in the governance and work of the Lodge. Three generations of one family shared in a Master Mason Degree on July 5, 1979 when Bro. Paul Smith was raised with the assistance his father, W.Bro. James A. Smith, Worshipful Master of Astral Lodge No. 130 in Halifax and his grandfather, W.Bro. Harold P. Smith PM. The first Past Masters’ Night was held on October 4, 1979. W.Bro. Sinclair MacTavish PM presided at the Opening and Closing of the Lodge. Fourteen Past Masters were present. The Office of Historian was added to the list of appointed Officers beginning in 1982. Slides to accompany the Master Mason Degree were shown for first time February 20, 1986 when Brethren from True Brothers Lodge No. 8 visited and presented their slides after the Degree was conferred for Bro. Gary Ross.
The decade of growth was also marked by several special events and initiatives. Stormy weather interfered with the plans to revive the St. John’s Night celebration in 1979. The event was held on January 3, 1980 at the home of W.Bro. Benjamin Bears and Mrs. Bears in Orwell. The Bears’ also hosted a Lodge barbecue in August 1980. The custom of an Annual Lobster Supper and Ladies’ Night was revived in 1983 after a recess of more than a decade. Bro. Finlay Smith PM and the Worshipful Master, Bro. Duncan Wilson, planned the event. Tickets sold for $8 and an attendance of ninety-two was recorded. (Minutes, June 24, 1983) The Lobster Supper and Ladies’ Night has continued as a tradition since 1983. On September 22, 1983 the Lodge hosted the homecoming of M.W.Bro. Sinclair MacTavish, the second Grand Master from Mizpah Lodge. Ninety-three Masons attended. The Lodge honoured Bro. MacTavish in April 1986 with the gift of a Past Master’s Apron. In 1986 W.Bro. J. Stewart Ross PM was named ‘Mason of the Year’ in Grand Lodge of Prince Edward Island.
The Lodge celebrated its Seventieth Anniversary in 1982. A successful Past Masters’ Night was held on May 6. Twenty-three Past Masters were present. The most senior was W.Bro. Wilfrid MacLean PM (1925). W.Bro. Daniel R. Cummings PM received his Fifty-Year Pin and Certificate on that occasion. On October 28 during the Grand Lodge Visitation the first copy of the Seventieth Anniversary History, ‘We, The Brethren at Eldon’ was presented to W.Bro. Donald Judson, the Worshipful Master, by the Lodge Historian, W.Bro. George Doughart PM. The History was written by Bro. Doughart and Bro. Irwin Judson. The Worshipful Master presented a complimentary copy of the History to the Grand Master, M.W.Bro. James I. MacKay.