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Rain can't dampen ceremony as Masons dedicate cornerstone
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Clermont Masonic Lodge 512’s new cornerstone was unveiled Sunday afternoon during a dedication ceremony for the longtime lodge in Main Street in downtown Clermont.

CLERMONT — At 96, nothing was slowing down Carl Ridley, including the vision he had for a cornerstone at Clermont Masonic Lodge No. 512.

But he didn’t live to see the cornerstone laid, nor Sunday’s Masonic ceremony recognizing the stone’s setting in the two-story red brick building on Main Street.

"It got us started going (on the effort), but he passed away before he could endow the stone," said Ty Bishop, lodge master.

Ridley died May 30 from injuries suffered in a two-vehicle accident on Thompson Bridge Road at Enota Avenue.

"He was working on his third marriage and building a brand-new house (at the time)," Bishop said. "His desire was to see a cornerstone on the lot."

Lodge members "are here today to honor (his effort) and I know he knows what went on today," he added, with a smile.

Rainy conditions forced the group to move the dedication ceremony from the sidewalk to the Clermont lodge’s second-floor meeting room, above Bella’s On Main clothing store.

"I don’t think we have enough shelter and umbrellas to keep everyone dry," said Most Worshipful Grand Master J. Edward Jennings Jr., who presided over the ceremony, along with other members of the Grand Lodge of Free & Accepted Masons of Georgia.

The ceremony involves using certain tools "to symbolically test" the stone, which was depicted in a picture that had been taken.

Lodge members and guests watched the ceremony from chairs on opposite sides of the room. The ceremony began and ended with 16-year-old Daniel Bollinger of Murrayville playing bagpipes, including a version of "Amazing Grace."

The Clermont lodge dates to 1907, when it was known as the Concord Masonic Lodge and located where Concord Baptist Church is now.

The name change took place in 1957, but the lodge moved to its current location possibly in the 1920s, Bishop said.

"Nobody knows — there’s no record — why there’s never been a cornerstone at this place," he said.

A lot of lodges don’t have a cornerstone, "but we thought it was something pertinent that we had to do," Bishop said.

"The cornerstone, as in any edifice or building, is dedicated to a particular thing. The glory of God is what ours is dedicated to," he said.

The cornerstone features two Scriptures — Job 38: 3-7 and 1 Corinthians 3:7.

Overall, Bishop said he was pleased with the ceremony, which was followed by a reception featuring cake and coffee.

Also, he marveled at the number of people who attended.

"That’s a support structure that goes on in Masons," Bishop said. "(There’s) a lot of people here from other lodges all over the state."

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