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Vacant Chair

The First 50 Years

By R.W. Bro. Ed Balleine

Like most Lodges, Glenbow Lodge was formed by Masons of vision who wanted to establish in an era where men of like values could meet and share their dreams and aspirations and practice Masonry.

Such was the dream of W.Bro. Charlie Ball. He was a member of Crescent Lodge. No 87. On December 11, 1960 he invited thirty brethren to meet at Meadowlark Park Community Hall to consider the formation of a Masonic Lodge in South West Calgary. Thirty Brethren attended and signed the register as being interested in the formation of a new Lodge; the Grand Master M.W. Bro W. H Harper was present and gave his assistance and encouragement.

The name was chosen to be Glenbow, which was derived by conjoining the names of the Glenmore Reservoir and the Elbow River. The Lodge was instituted on May 31, 1961 at Meadowlark Park Hall. The three principal officers were W.Bro Charlie Ball as W.M., Bro Harry Thomson, S.W. and Jim McCulloch as J.W. Thirty-two charter members and sixty-three visitors were present at the ceremonies of of Constitution and Consecration which were held September 26, 1962 in Henry Wise Wood School with over 200 hundred brethren in attendance. The Grand lodge Officers who presided were M.W.Bro W.L. McPhee, Grand Master and R.W. Bro.C. Kumlin D.D.G.M. The first installation took place and No, 184 GRA was registered.

The first candidate for initiation was Mr James Cox. Since the Lodge Held its meetings in a Community hall all the furniture and trappings had to be put away and secured after every meeting. Bro. George Patterson built the Lodge furniture which was designed by Bro Harry Williams who was the first secretary of the Lodge. The Lodge could be called a 'knockdown lodge' because it was required that the furniture and regalia be stored away after each meeting, so special cupboards had been made for that purpose.

During the next 25 years the Lodge initiated 66 members, affiliated 88 and reinstated 2. As in all Lodges, there were 47 demits, 18 suspensions, and 18 deaths. At the end of 25 years the total membership was 73. During the last 25 years the membership has had its decline from a low of 40 members in 1961 to the present of 63. The last 25 years Glenbow has initiated and affiliated 110 members this is indicative of the times that we live in, members come and go. In 1982 Glenbow Lodge had proposed that the Lodges in the Calgary area purchase a handy-bus with a Masonic logo to be used in the Calgary area. Grand lodge rejected that idea. Rt. W. Bro Brian Smith was involved with this project suggested that Grand Lodge establishes a Masonic Foundation which would support Numbered Charities, donations coming from the Foundation with matching funds for Lodges Glenbow has been involved in this project ever since.

One of the important events was the introduction of the Vacant Chair Ceremony, This event was introduce by W. Bro, Eric Astell in 1993 He had witness this ceremony in Australia and had it is performed in the Lodge once a year as close as possible to November 11th. This is a unique event and is open to all masons and families. Some other events which the Lodge is active are the "Highway cleanup" We have a section of Highway near Priddis and visiting our widows once a year. We also take our turn to man the Lodge at Heritage Park during the summer months.

The future looks bright for the Lodge. We have a young and eager membership who will be in a position to lead the Lodge for the next 25 years and beyond.

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