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Mount Calvary Lodge No. 76 Prince Hall F & AM, is the oldest Prince Hall Lodge in the city of Akron and for 29 years from 1917-1946 it was the only one.

It became a lodge U.D. (Under Dispensation) on November 11, 1916.  The following Grand Lodge officers officiated at its inception: Brothers Corey Adams - Grand Master, William Farrar - Worshipful Master, Ray E. Hughes - Senior Warden, Robert K. Stevens Jr. - Junior Warden, George P. Tytus - Treasurer, R.W. J.J. Lee - Secretary, W.D. Garnes - Senior Deacon, E.H. Sears - Junior Deacon, John L. Wilson - Senior Steward and J.R. Johnson - Tyler.  

Seventeen candidates were initiated, passed and raised on the above date.  They were G.F. Gross, Samuel Wilson, Levi Penn, Joseph Alexander, Julius R. Johnson, Michael O. Woolridge, Arthur McCrutcheon, William Hardy, Walter Mitchel, Charles Rideout, Nathan Scales, Jr., William Anderson, Charles R. Lewis, Charles C. Jackson, William Jefferies, J.M. Eldridge and J.A. Holloway.

After the work was completed the lodge was instituted and the following officers installed:  Brothers B.H. Andrews - Worshipful Master, Nathaniel Sheldon - Senior Warden, John A. Banks - Junior Warden, M.O. Wooldridge - Treasurer, Julius R. Johnson - Secretary, Charles C. Jackson - Senior Deacon, Joseph Alexander - Junior Deacon, James A. Holloway - Chaplain, Charles R. Lewis - Senior Steward, Levi Penn - Junior Steward and G.F. Gross - Tyler.

After some delay a warrant dated August 13, 1917 was issued to the worthy brethren. 

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St. John The Evangelist

 
By history, custom, tradition and ritualistic requirements, the Craft holds dear the days of St. John the Baptist on June 24, and St. John the Evangelist on December 27. A lodge which forgets either forfeits a precious link with the past and loses an opportunity for the renewal of allegiance to everything in Freemasonry symbolized by these Patron Saints. No satisfactory explanation has as yet been advanced to explain why operative Masons adopted two Christian saints, when St. Thomas , the patron of architecture and building, was available.
 
Most Freemasons are agreed that the choice of our ancient brethren was wise. No two great teachers, preachers, wise men, saints, could have been found who better showed in their lives and works the doctrine and teachings of Freemasonry.
 
St. John the Evangelist apparently came into our fraternal system somewhere towards the close of the sixteenth century; at least, we find the earliest authentic lodge minute reference to St. John the evangelist in Edinborough in 1599, although earlier mentions are made in connection with that may be called relatives, if not ancestors, of our Craft. For instance "The Fraternity of St. John" existed in Cologne in 1430.  " St. John's Masonry" is a distinctive term for Scotch Lodges, many of the older of which took the name of the saint. Thus, in its early records, the Lodge of Scoon and Perth is often called the Lodge of St. John, and the Lodge possesses a beautiful mural painting of the-saint, on the east wall of the lodge room.
 
Other Lodges denominated " St. John's Lodges" were some of those unaffiliated with either the "Moderns" or the "Ancients" in the period between establishment of the Ancients (1751) and the Reconciliation (1813).
 
In many old histories of the Craft is a quaint legend that St. John the Evangelist became a "Grand Master" at the age of ninety. It seems to have its origin in a book printed in 1789, in which one Richard Linnecar of Wakefield wrote certain "Strictures on Freemasonry," although his paper is really an eulogy. Whether this writer really continued a tradition, or invented the tale which was seized upon by Oliver and kept alive as a legend, impossible though it is, no man may say.
 
One Grand Lodge has ruled that Sts. John' Days are Landmarks! Of course any Grand Lodge may make it's own laws, but it is beyond the power of any Grand Lodge either to make a Landmark by pronouncement, or to unmake a Landmark by denying it. Inasmuch as Landmarks are universally admitted to be handed down to us from "time immemorial", and Sts. Johns' Days as Masonic festivals, are neither extremely old nor universal among the Craft (England using Wednesday after St. George's day; Scotland St. Andrew's Day; and Ireland St. Patrick's), we must consider only that Grand Lodge's intent to honor our patron saints, and not the validity of her results. 
 
Historians believe that only after 1,717, when the Mother Grand Lodge was formed, did Freemasons generally hold festival meetings on either or both June 24 and December 27.
 
Here are two addresses, either of which is appropriate to either June 24 or December 27, and a Masonic story, which, if well read by some brother with some elocutionary training, is also appropriate and informative:
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St. John the Baptist
 

St. John the Baptist is considered one of the Patron Saints of Freemasonry. By history, custom, tradition and ritualistic requirements, the Craft holds in veneration the Festival Day of St.

 

John the Baptist on or near June 24th. Any Blue Lodge that forgets this important Festival Day forfeits a precious link with the past and loses an opportunity for the renewal of allegiance to everything in Freemasonry symbolized by this Patron Saint.

 

No satisfactory explanation has yet been advanced to explain why operative Masons adopted this particular Christian saint, when, for example, St. Thomas , the patron of architecture and building, was already in wide use. However, Freemasons agree that the choice was, indeed, wise. No other great teacher, wise man, or saint could have been found who better exemplified through his life and works the sublime doctrine and ageless teachings of Freemasonry.

 

It was a common custom in the Middle Ages for craftsmen to place themselves under the protection of some saint of the church. All the London trades appear to have ranged themselves under the banner of some saint and if possible they chose one who bore some relation to their trades Thus, for example, the fishmongers adopted St. Peter.

 

John had a popular ministry. It is generally thought that his ministry started when he was about the age of 27, spreading a message of repentance to the people of Jerusalem . John's ministry became so popular that many wondered if he was the Messiah prophesized in the ancient Hebrew teachings. We are also told that John the Baptist baptized Jesus after which he stepped away and told his disciples to follow Jesus. It would seem logical that these two would combine their ministries. Oddly enough, however, they apparently never met again.

 

Descriptions from various historical sources seem to indicate that John was a strong, handsome, well-formed man, and there is every indication that he was attractive to the opposite sex. However, we know that he never married, and chose to devote his life to his ministry.

 

St. John's Day, June 24, symbolically marks the summer solstice, when nature attains the zenith of light and life and joy. In John the Baptist we have a singular instance of purity, of zeal, simplicity of manners, and an ardent wish to benefit mankind by his example. To him we are indebted for the introduction of that grand tenet of our institution, which it is our glory to support: Peace on earth, good will toward men.

 

St. John the Baptist was a man of character and integrity, and someone we would all do well to emulate. John was a humble man, in the best sense of the word. John preached a message of repentance. Repentance means more than just saying that, "you are sorry." The Greek word "metanoia," from which the word "repentance" comes literally means, "to turn around." In other words, John urged his followers to literally turn around and move in a new direction, i.e., to move toward God instead of away from God. - mere lip service was not enough because actions speak louder than words. John wanted his followers to live lives that demonstrated their orientation toward God. Moreover, he preached this message not only with his words, but through his actions as well.

 

John the Baptist was simply a man who lived in one particular historical moment. Yet, his message of repentance, humility, devotion and love of God transcends time and culture. It is a message that is just as urgent and just as true today as it was 2,000 years ago. It is a message that was illustrated by John's daily life. Moreover, it is a message that underscores so many of the values that Freemasons today exalt as ideals for the living of a moral life.

 

We may never know the truth about John's historical relationship with Freemasonry. We may never find out if he was a member of our Fraternity, although it is highly unlikely that he was. The truth is that it really does not matter if he was a member of our Ancient Craft. Freemasonry honors the humble man who came to be known as St. John the Baptist because his entire life exemplified duty to God through his faith, his religious practices, and through the very living of his life.

 

The imminent Masonic scholar, Joseph Fort Newton, wrote, "Righteousness and Love -- those two words do not fall short of telling the whole duty of a man and a Freemason." And Freemasons around the world could do no better in their choice of a Patron Saint and a model for living than they have in John the Baptist - a man whose life continues to shine as an example to us all.