By Clint Confehr
COLUMBIA, TN — Morning Star Lodge No. 11, Prince Hall Affiliated of the Free and Accepted Masons, is inviting the public to its annual Prince Hall Americanism Day on Saturday in Mt. Lebanon Missionary Baptist Church.
A short program will be conducted to honor John the Baptist during the event starting at 1 p.m., said Terry Nevette, worshipful master of Morning Star Lodge No. 11. “Prince Hall Americanism Day is a celebration of St. John the Baptist,” Nevette said. The lodge is hosting the event and the 18th District of Tennessee Prince Hall masons is sponsoring it, he said.
Mt. Lebanon Missionary Baptist Church, 218 E 8th St, Columbia, is an historic black church.
“That church used to be a way-station for the Underground Railroad,” said Paco Havard, secretary at Morning Star Lodge No. 11, Prince Hall Affiliated of the F&AM.
In Addition to celebrating St. John the Baptist, the lodge also celebrates John the Baptist Evangelist late in each year, Havard and Nevette said.
“This,” Nevette said of the Sept. 14 program, “is part of our ritual because we are Bible-based, and known all over the world. It’s done because of things pertaining to scripture to make good men better men. It’s not a cult. To be a Mason, you’ve got to believe in God, an all-seeing God, and you’ve got to be baptized.”
Most of Masonic Lodge rituals are passed from one generation to another largely by an oral tradition that dates back centuries in America and much longer world-wide.
“Yes,” Havard said of lodges in this country. “We go back to the late 1700s.” Masonic history reaches back to early Egyptian days.
A meal will be available during the event in Mt. Lebanon Missionary Baptist Church.