Memorial Stone - St John's Church, Dundee - 21st September 1912.

Minute of Special Meeting of P.G. Lodge held within St Mark's Mission Hall, West Wynd, Dundee on Saturday 21st September 1912 at 2.30 o'clock afternoon for the purpose of laying with Masonic Honours the Memorial Stone of St. John's Parish Church, Dundee.

Memorial Stone St John's Parish Church

The chair was occupied by the P.G. Master, who was accompanied by the Most Honourable the Marquis of Tullibardine, M.V.O., D.S.O., M.P., Most Worshipful Grand Master Mason of Scotland.

Ex-Provost Stewart, P.G. Master
John R. Wilson Depute P.G. Master
Charles Y. Myles Substitute P.G. Master
James Ruxton P.G. Senior Warden
James D. Durkie P.G. Junior Warden
A.C. Anderson P.G. Secretary
David Dundas P.G. Treasurer
Revd D. D. McLaren P.G. Senior Chaplain
James S. Webster  
Thomas T. Macdonald  
James Grant  
D.D. Beaton  
Charles H. Birse  
John Moffat  
Thos Buik  
James K. Birse  
D. H. Bruce  


For particulars of other brethren see Tylers Book.
Apologies for absence from Brothers George Gibson, Past P.G. Senior Warden and Rev W.G. Donaldson, Junior P.G. Chaplain.
P.G. Lodge was opened in the First Degree and immediately thereafter the meeting was adjourned. The Various Lodges in the Province had previously been marshalled at the Masonic Temple and marched in procession to St Mark's Mission Hall where they were then joined by P.G. Lodge and proceeded to the site of the new Church in Blackness Avenue.

On arrival at the building the proceedings opened with the singing of the Doxology "Laud and Honour to the Father". This was followed by prayer by Rev Dr Martin of Peebles, and thereafter Rev. Marshall B. Lang, the minister of the congregation read a Scripture lesson. Then silence having being proclaimed by the Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies the Company joined in singing the National Anthem, and prayer having been offered by Rev. D.D. McLaren, Mr Henry Thomson (of Messrs H. & J. Thomson, Architects) presented a silver trowel, with a handle of carved ivory, and a silver mounted mallet to the Grand Master with which to perform the Ceremony.

Before proceeding with this duty, however, Lord Tullibardine called upon Rev Lang to place a casket in the cavity of the memorial stone, and this accomplished, Mr Lang read the terms of the explanatory parchment which formed part of the contents. The document, signed by Mr Lang, Mr Walter McGregor, Session Clerk, and Messrs H. & T. Thomson, Architects, narrated that the first sod of the site of the Church was cut by Lady Low of Kilmaron on 13th April, and that on the same spot the Memorial Stone had been laid by Lord Tullibardine "Where the sod was cut and the memorial stone laid," the document proceeded, "The communion table of the Church will be placed. Previous to the laying of the stone this sealed casket was placed in the cavity of the stone by the Rev Marshall B. Lang, B.D., minister of the Church, containing the following articles:- Dundee year book for 1912; newspapers of the day (Dundee Advertiser and Dundee Courier), Life and Work Magazine for September 1912; suppliment to Life and Work For St John's (Cross) Church; etching of the interior of the old church; sketch of the new Church; St. John's (Cross) church year book; coins of the realm; copy of the programme of the day's ceremony; Masonic Directory for the Province of Forfarshire. These are place within the stone in the pious hope that they may never be discovered. Laus Deo. September 21st 1912".

While Psalm C was being sung, the mortar was laid down, and Lord Tullibardine having smoothed it over with his silver trowel, the memorial stone was lowered into position. Under the direction of the Grand Master, the various implements. the plumb, the level, and the square were applied to it in turn by the respective office-bearers of the Provincial Grand Lodge, and then Lord Tullibardine having administered three knocks with his mallet declared the stone well and truly laid. While the Band played lively music, the Grand Master poured the contents of the Cornucopia, the wine vase, and the oil vase over the stone, and following upon this the company joined in the Hymn "Placed in form".

 Lord Tullibardine then addressed those present, and said he felt a great honour had been paid to the Masonic Craft by the minister and congregation of St John's Church. It was common enough for public buildings to be opened and their foundation stone stones laid with Masonic rites, but it was not so often that they saw a building dedicated to higher things than ordinary public buildings so dedicated. That, he thought, only went to show that the minister and congregation of St John's realised that the Freemasons of Scotland however often might be their backslidings, where honestly trying to be a power for good. In the ceremony which they had just witnessed there were perhaps a few rites which they could not follow. The Freemasons claimed no right to lay foundation stones or memorial stones, but the privilege had been so often accorded to them that they as Freemasons felt that no stone was well and truly laid unless it had been done with Masonic ceremony. Without going into the details and niceties of Freemasonry he might say that it was really founded on the erection of King Solomon's Temple. At that time masons were brought from all over the world. Many of them could not speak each other's language, they were surrounded by many enemies, and it was necessary that they should have some mark or sign by which they might recognise one another. These were what were called operative masons. After that came what they knew as speculative masons, other people, quite unconnected with actual masonry, but who saw in the signs and in the various things connected with buildings, much that could point to a higher moral and a higher spiritual life. These were really the masons of the present day, and in everything that they had done that day they saw the sign and symbol of something higher.

The first implement that was applied to the stone was the plumb - that was the sign of the upright life. The next implement that was applied showed that the stone was level, and was the sign that they all came from common stock, and had to meet each other on the level. The last implement was the square - the sign of rectitude, and, taken together, these things meant that their lives should, like the stone, be well and truly laid - upright, level and square. He had poured corn on the stone - the sign of plenty; then oil - the sign of gladness and peace; and, lastly, wine - the sign of joy and strength; and these were the outward and visible signs of what Freemasons wished the congregation - strength, peace and plenty. They also hoped that the congregation might find that true fraternity of spirit and feeling which animated them. As Freemasons they knew nothing of denominations or of party politics, and they hoped that that congregation would be amongst those who were broad-minded, and could understand that the big things in Christianity were those that mattered, and that these were common to all congregations not only of the Church of Scotland, but of many other denominations.

Concluding with a word to the Masonic brethren, his Lordship reminded them that that what they wanted was that the Freemasons of this country, by the practice of true charity, should be a power for good. They should make people realise that they consisted of the best people of their district, and that they had taken a pledge not only of loyalty to their King and Country, but to try to do something for their brother.

Kirkmaster Mechan, on behalf of the Corporation, called for a vote of thanks to Lord Tullibardine, and Rev Marshall Lang supported the motion, which was cordially responded to, and his Lordship having acknowledged, the proceedings were brought to a close with the singing of Psalm cxxii., verses 6-9, and the pronouncing of the Benediction.
The procession then returned in inverted order to St. Mark's Mission Hall where P.G. Lodge was duly closed.

©Transcribed by Iain D. McIntosh, 2014

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