Masons seek to bolster youth programs
United Lodge No. 8, the eighth lodge formed in Maine, is the oldest charitable and social organization in Brunswick. United Lodge was chartered in 1801 and has remained an open and active lodge to this day.
In the early years the lodge met in Topsham in a second floor room in a building known today as the Holden Frost Home on Elm Street. In 1816, the lodge received permission to move to Brunswick, where a new hall was built on Mason Street.
In 1872, the lodge left Mason Street and moved to the Lemont Block on the corner of Maine and Pleasant streets, known today as the Chandler Block.
In 1902, the lodge moved north on Maine Street to the Lincoln Block and remained there until moving in 1967 to the current Masonic Hall at 65 Baribeau Drive.
Today, United Lodge remains an active part of the local community, participating in or sponsoring many programs throughout the community.
Brunswick Masons provide annual college scholarships for graduating seniors from Brunswick and Mt. Ararat high schools. United Lodge, in conjunction with constituent 14th District lodges and the Grand Lodge of Maine, provides funds and support for the annual Mt. Ararat High School “ Project Challenge Day.”
Another important event that has been most successful in the community is the CHIP ( Child Identification) program. Twice a year, Brunswick Masons conduct the program, making available to parents, at no charge, a video interview, fingerprint and photo ID for any dependent child. This also includes a free annual update of information, which is invaluable should a child go missing.
United Lodge, with other constituent lodges of the 14th Masonic District, hosts an annual American Red Cross blood drive. The drive is held each December at United Lodge and has collected upwards of 100 units of blood during each event.
Other United Lodge charitable programs include the distribution of Thanksgiving and Christmas Baskets of food and gifts to needy families.
In addition, more than $20,000 in financial relief is distributed annually from Masonic Charity Funds. These funds are disbursed by application to individuals and entities found to be in need.
Many youth programs receive financial support as well, including local basketball, baseball and soccer teams.
The lodge supports Masonic youth groups, including the International Order of Rainbow for Girls and Maine DeMolay for Boys.
United Lodge is in the process of increasing the membership base of these youth groups. The lodge is looking for interested young people to join these organizations. As members, they will be taught moral character, self-reliance, love for family and all mankind, preparing them for the challenges of the next generation with assurance and confidence.
DeMolay and Rainbow chapters are now accepting applications. Boys 9 to 12 years old are eligible to join the Squire program, leading to membership to DeMolay for boys 12 to 21.
Girls 8 to 11 years old are eligible to join as Pledge Girls, leading to membership in Rainbow for girls 11 to 20.
The Masons is open to men older than 18.
For more information on DeMolay, contact Harry W. Grinder at 353-8328. Inquiries about Rainbow should be directed to Frank E. Hilton at 833-0025. To inquire about the Masons, call Robert E. Webber at 725-5371.