Thanks to Bro Iain White PM for the following article taken from Twelve Talk No 116

In another ‘Back to the Future’ initiative No XII will have a Special Meeting on 27th December to celebrate the 290th Anniversary of the Lodge and also the Festival of St John the Evangelist. The Lodge will be opened and then quickly go into harmony. There will be a 3-course dinner, provided by ICE Scotland and the usual Loyal and Masonic toasts will be observed. In addition, Bro Iain White PM will present a short paper entitled “No XII and the Festival of St John the Evangelist” and Bro. Alan D Beck PM will speak on the theme “Looking forward to the Tercentenary in 2028.” Freemasonry historically acknowledges St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist as its patron saints, reveres their memory, points to their exemplary lives in its ritualistic work, and dedicates its Lodges to them. The Feast of St. John, the Baptist, is celebrated on June 24th and the Feast of St. John, the Evangelist, on December 27th. St John the Evangelist has been particular associated with lodges in Scotland.

Lodge Greenock Kilwinning No XII had its first meeting on the day of St John the Evangelist, January 27th, 1728. This date was marked in No XII for This practice was observed in No XII for decades in the 19th and early 20th Centuries by a meeting and celebration on 27th December. This practice was also followed in the other local Lodges and visiting Deputations were exchanged. The celebration of the Feast was suspended when our country was plunged into the Great War. There was no celebration in 1914 because, with the onset of the Great War, it was felt by the brethren that this would not be appropriate. The evidence from the Minutes is as follows

At a Meeting of Lodge Greenock Kilwinning No 12 held in the Saloon of the Town Hall on Tuesday 15th Dec 1914 at 730pm

Bro RC Smith IPM in the Chair

The Lodge having opened in the EA Degree, the question of the propriety of holding a Meeting on St John’s Night was remitted to the Office Bearers

At a Meeting of the Executive held at the end of the foregoing Lodge Meeting on Tuesday 15th Dec 1914 at 730pm

Bro RC Smith IPM presided

St John’s Night not to be held this Year
The question of the propriety of holding a meeting on St John’s Night was before the meeting. After opinions had been expressed it was unanimously resolved to let this year pass without celebrating that time-honoured Festival in the usual manner.

The Festival remained suspended during the War Years but returned in 1920 as can be seen from the minute extract below.

Tuesday 14th December 1920

Bro John D MacFarlane, RW Master, in the Chair at a Meeting of the General Committee

Festival of St John the Evangelist


After an expression of opinion by members of the Committee, it was agreed that the Lodge should celebrate the Festival of St John the Evangelist on Monday 27th December… the meeting to be held in the Saloon and, that owing to the limited accommodation, it should be restricted to our qualified members and visiting brethren who were members of deputations.

It was stated that the Festival of St John the Evangelist was last celebrated by the Lodge in December 1913.

The Sub Committee appointed to carry out arrangements to consist of the RW Master, Secretary, Dir of Ceremonies, Dir of Music and Chief Steward.

It was resolved that an Offering on behalf of the Greenock War Memorial should be taken that evening.

From the opening paragraph, they were obviously expecting a crowd! The meeting duly took place and deputations were sent out to Lodge Greenock St John’s No 175, Cumberland Kilwinning No 217, Firth of Clyde Gourock No 626 and Crawfurdsburn Greenock No 1121. Deputations were received from these Lodges and also from Lodge Sir Michael No 989. The collection for the Greenock War memorial amounted to £8:9:6d augmented by a £20 donation from Lodge funds. (£28-9-6d donated on 25th January 1921 is equivalent to £1201.00 in 2018).

However, the next year saw the country struggling economically in the light of a world trade depression. It was decided not to hold the Festival (extract of Minutes below). From my researches thus far, it did not return - until this year, that is!!

Tuesday 13th December 1921

At a Meeting of the General Committee held at the close of the Lodge Meeting

Bro Duncan C Kerr RWM in the Chair


It was agreed that the Festival of St John should not be celebrated this year. The decision was

arrived at in view of the prevailing trade depression and its consequent unemployment

The Programme for the Festival of 1892 is in the Lodge Archives. We shall have a much smaller number of speeches. Bro Tony Buckley is working on the menu!!

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