(by Jo Ann Jaacks, newstimes, Friday, April 19, 2019)
LITCHFIELD — It took nearly 100 years, but what might seem to be an unusual pairing between a Methodist church and the 11th oldest Freemason’s lodge, both just a short walk from each other, is a serendipitous sharing of beliefs, symbols and buildings.
St. Paul’s Masonic Lodge on Meadow Street, a short walk from the Litchfield green, was built in 1837 as the first Methodist Church. In 1920, the Methodist Society built a new church on West Street and their former building became the Masonic Hall of St. Paul’s Lodge No. 11.
Past Master and Secretary of the Lodge for 10 years Phillip Birkett, of Morris, said, “My grandfather and great uncle were Masons — there definitely is a family connection. The Litchfield Methodist church and the Masons here have a shared history. When the new Methodist church was designed and built in 1920, Masonic symbols were incorporated into the exterior.”
Birkett said the Masons were instrumental in creating the Grange organization in the late 1800s, whose mission was to advance methods of agriculture and support the social needs of…