Mount Zion Lodge No. 12
The Lodge maintained the practise of the Installation of Officers on St. John’s Night as set forth in the first Constitution of Grand Lodge. In the early years that ceremony was followed by a meal. In 1878 the meal was a basket lunch (pot-luck). In 1879 the members were invited to the home of W.Bro. D.L. MacNutt PM and in 1818 the supper was held at Bro. Wm Ashley’s residence in Margate. The Entertainment Committee outlined plans for St. John’s Night in 1882 stating that the Lower Hall with rented for $2 on condition that no dancing occur. Three waiters for the tables were secured for $2. The Committee engaged Bro John Ross and Bro. T.B. Reagh as well as Professor Eastay “in the literary and musical portion of entertainment.” The Committee’s plan was accepted with the proviso that “it is understood that the entertainment is to be purely Masonic as far as gentlemen were concerned.” The Brethren met at 6:00 p.m. to install the Officers before meeting their ladies for celebration downstairs. (Minutes, December 14, 1882) The St. John’s Night celebrations in 1901 were held at Bro. Leslie’s Hotel and were described in the January Minutes as ‘very interesting’ with ‘laughable gramaphone entertainment’ and ‘a sumptuous and elaborate repast’. When the new Hall was built the supper was normally held in the lower Banquet Hall. The last St. John’s Night supper on record was in 1936. In succeeding years the event was held earlier in the autumn.
The tradition of a Ladies’ Night Supper in the late autumn began in 1945. For many years some of the Brethren associated the event with the St. John’s Night tradition. In 1950 the event was called the St. John’s Night Banquet and was staged on November 30. In the Minutes of 1953 the event was referred to as a Ladies’ Night Banquet (November 5) and later as St. John’s Night Banquet (December 5). The event has been held in various locations including the Irishtown Hall, Kensington Recreational Centre, New London Community Complex and St. Mark’s Church Hall. Local Womens’ Institutes have often catered to the event. In 1958 it was a pot luck meal with an imposed expense limit of $25 to the Lodge.
Mount Zion Lodge experienced its most difficult period in the early 1930’s. Attendance at Communications was low, several Regular Communications were cancelled, overdue accounts were burdensome and Prince Edward Chapter was behind in its rent payments. The Deputy Grand Master, R.W.Bro. S.M. Daniel, made an Official Visit in 1933-34 and referred to “the adverse conditions” prevailing at Mount Zion Lodge. Only five Regular Communications were held in 1931 and only four were held in each of 1932 and 1933. Arrears totalled $368.50 in February, 1932 with forty-nine members owing dues for one to five years. In August, 1933 the Secretary reported a membership of fifty-one of which two were Associate Members and twenty-five were paid in full. On December 31, 1933 forty-four of the fifty-seven members were in arrears. Nine Brethren were suspended for non-payment of dues in the period 1930-34. As the Great Depression came to an end the total membership began to increase. Thirteen candidates were raised the last three years of the decade compared to seven in the first seven years. The Worshipful Masters during those few difficult years were W.Bro.Turner Glydon (1931), W.Bro. John Thompson (1932-33), W.Bro. H. Lloyd Howard (1934). It is significant that one decade later Mount Zion Lodge led the Jurisdiction by not having any members in arrears. (Proceedings, 1945)